Tech / Telecom news — 23 Jun 2017

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Connectivity

A more benign regulation is coming for US telecoms, with Trump yesterday promising to remove current federal regulations that he claimed to be barriers to investments. 5G deployments were specifically discussed, with AT&T’s CEO offering the US to “lead the world” in this. Attitude to M&A deals was not discussed (Story)

After having invested aggressively to build a premium network in Mexico, where they already cover 2/3 of the population with LTE, and initiating a positive growth momentum in the market (+20% revenue in local currency), AT&T would now be planning to attack the high-end tiers of the Mexican wireless market (Story)

Applications

Facebook presented a renewed vision for the company at an analyst event yesterday, with a shift from purely enabling people to connect to a more active (but yet unclear) role in making people build communities. This could be driven by recent pressure on the app for having fostered radical ideologies, and even terrorism (Story)

Sina Weibo, the “Chinese Twitter” lost $1bn market cap yesterday (-6.1%) after the Chinese government decided to forbid video streaming in the platform, in an effort to control online content and avoid “propagation of negative speech”. Weibo is quite dependent on video to generate advertising revenues, so this is a big blow (Story)

Devices

India, now the fastest growing market for smartphones, could be an opportunity for Apple, but they’re late to market and just have a 3% share, so lots of efforts are under way to change this, from local manufacturing (starting this month) to local flagship stores & app development centres. Market low prices are also a challenge (Story)

SOFTWARE ENABLERS

Artificial Intelligence

As cost of AI implementation drops, non-profit organisations are starting to create AI apps for social good, a recent objective revealed also by Google’s Deep Mind. Current initiatives go from chatbots that help users report to the police, to apps prioritising use of clean energy by gadgets and online tools for children education (Story)

Cyber Security

In a nice, but disturbing piece that almost reads like a Science Fiction tale, a security expert from American carrier IDT claims that a more subtle cyberattack that happened almost simultaneously with WannaCry, might have invaded kernels of thousands of computers globally, that could now be vulnerable to further attacks (Story)

HARDWARE ENABLERS

Network

The FCC just approved SoftBank’s subsidiary OneWeb’s request to deploy a network of 720 low-Earth orbit satellites using the Ka (20/30 GHz) & Ku (11/14 GHz) bands to provide global internet connectivity. Ambitions are high, with targets to “inexpensively” connect up to 1bn people at 200 Mbps (down) / 50 Mbps (up) (Story)

FINANCE

IPOs

A very successful IPO day for Altice USA yesterday, with shares going up +7.2%. D Goei, the CEO, made explicit comments on this being “a currency for future acquisitions”, as they anticipate “something occurring (in M&A) in the near future”, but immediate plans are reducing debt and investing in infrastructure (Story)

Capital Allocation

Fast growing companies are vital for a healthy economy, and US analysts complain there aren’t more firms like Amazon, prioritising customer retention over cash generation, and with monetisation not being the primary issue now. In contrast, there are too many like GE, meticulously planning use of cash, and… not growing (Story)

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