Tech / Telecom news — 4 Apr 2017

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

In the Netherlands, VodafoneZiggo just introduced its first convergent offers, with Vodafone customers who also take Ziggo services at the same address receiving double mobile data allowance, special discounts in TV offers, and a free security package (valued at €7/month). The offer is similar to KPN’s “Compleet” product (Story)

Components

Apple is designing its own graphic processing unit for the next iPhone, in a move that many link to preparations for entering into Augmented Reality. This had disastrous effects for the stock of Imagination Technologies, a British chip vendor getting 50% revenues from the iPhone, and where Apple owns a 9.5% stake (Story)

Also in preparation for the new iPhone, Apple is said to have ordered 70m bendable OLED displays from Samsung, confirming that this will be one of the key innovations of iPhone 8, and also that Samsung benefits a lot from the iPhone success (and is planning to deliver up to 95m units before the end of 2017) (Story)

Video

Molotov, a French startup offering free internet TV (36 channels, including 25 broadcast, with options to replay and/or record content online), has started to shift French TV audiences to online apps: 1m users 9 months after launch (targeting 2m in 2017), spending a daily average of 1h15 on the app (2h30 on Smart TVs) (Story)

CHANNELS

Amazon finding more ways to complement online and offline channels, now launching Amazon Cash, a service allowing customers to add cash to their accounts by showing a barcode at a participating brick-and-mortar retailer. The system will make it possible to add any amount between $15 and $500 in a single transaction (Story)

NETWORK TECHNOLOGY

Market intelligence firm CCS Insight thinks that recent re-emergence of commercial unlimited data plans in the US and Europe could drive network innovation and even be a key enabler for customers to appreciate some of the advantages from 5G (e.g. high download speeds that wouldn’t be attractive under usage restrictions) (Story)

Regulation

More benign signs from the new US administration towards telecom / cable incumbents. Now the FCC has voted to reverse a previous requirement on Charter that was posed as a condition to accept their merger with Time Warner Cable, and that forced Charter to pass +2m homes already served by a competitor (Story)

BIG DATA & ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

Google is using a combination of AI and human teams to identify offensive content within its YouTube service, as a way to avoid placing ads close to these videos, after the reaction by some high profile advertisers, threatening to retire their ads. Algorithms will now check the images and also what’s being said in the videos (Story)

Security

More security vulnerabilities discovered for Samsung smart TVs, as a Swiss hacker has been able to hijack a TV by adding malicious code to a broadcast signal. The problem is that using over-the-air signals (e.g. during live events) opens the possibility of a mass take-over of TVs (even if they’re not connected to the internet) (Story)

FINANCE

Shares of British operator CityFibre jumped +12% yesterday after saying it’s exploring options to fund new growth. CityFibre builds metropolitan fibre networks in 2nd tier UK cities, for local administrations or mobile providers, but then builds also the final drop (up to FTTH) if alt players like Sky or TalkTalk want to co-invest (Story)