State attorneys general are meeting on Monday in Colorado to discuss their probe into whether Google’s business practices break antitrust law, according to two sources knowledgeable about the meeting.
Perhaps about a dozen states were expected to send representatives to the meeting, one of the sources said.
The gathering was expected to be similar to one held in New York in October, where state and federal enforcers from the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission discussed their probe of Facebook (FB.O), reports Reuters.
The probe of Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O), is being led by the Texas attorney general’s office. That office did not respond to a request for comment, and a spokesman for the Colorado attorney general’s office declined comment.
Google had no comment about the meeting in Colorado but pointed to a blog post from September in which an executive, Kent Walker, said that the company has “always worked constructively with regulators and will continue to do so.”
Texas sent the search and advertising giant a subpoena on Sept. 9 asking for information about its online digital advertising business, which generates most of Google’s revenue and where Google is a dominant player.
Google faces two other major inquiries – a U.S. Justice Department investigation and a probe by the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee – both of which have broad reviews of the big internet companies underway.
Vivo: Innovation is key to our success
Smartphone maker, Vivo, has said it would continue to innovate to keep the brand at the heart of its customers. The company said its commitment in this regard has positioned Vivo in the minds of its customers as a company that has been consistent and innovative with its smartphone offerings.
Since its global debut in 2009, Vivo has produced and shipped well over 10 million smartphone devices around the world with each device boasting of a unique offering unrivalled by its closest competitor in the market.
Speaking on the company’s innovation journey, Vivo’s Head of PR, Chloe Wang, said the brand’s V7 and V7plus devices launched at the Mobile World Congress, were the first smartphones to spot an elevating 24MP front camera from APEX™. “Not stopping at that, vivo upgraded its V15 Pro from the 24MP to 32MP Elevating Front Camera.
“In January 2018, vivo received a global acclaim for introducing the first In-Display Fingerprint sensor with its X21 and the feat came at a time when the industry standard was having a fingerprint sensor either at the rear of the device or on the home button. Just recently, Vivo introduced yet another amazing feature with its latest device – the V17 Pro.
“This innovative device houses a total of six cameras made up of the first ever Dual Pop Up Front Camera and a 60MP AI Quad Rear Camera. The Dual Pop Up Front Camera also has the Selfie Softlight which helps to capture clear pictures in lowlight environments while the rear camera has a combination of lenses including the macro that helps capture every exquisite detail of close up shots. This camera also has a Pose™ Master which interestingly, suggests poses for users when taking photos,” he said.
Asides pioneering smartphone advancement, Vivo also shows interest in activities aimed at creating an extraordinary life for its youthful consumers.
From its involvement as a sponsor at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia to its partnership with PUBG Games Mobile as its official smartphone sponsor amongst many others, it has become evident that vivo knows how and where to connect with its teeming fans.
Data costs: MTN disagrees with S’African regulator
South African telecoms group MTN said on Wednesday it disagreed with the analysis and recommendations of the Competition Commission after the regulator instructed MTN and rival Vodacom to lower data prices.
“As we study the full report, (we) will continue to engage constructively and vigorously defend against over-broad and intrusive recommendations,” it said in a statement.
The country’s competition watchdog said on Monday Vodacom and MTN could face prosecution if they do not agree to cut data prices in the next two months, reports Reuters.
5G: Nigeria still studying security challenges – Prof. Dambatta
Muhammad Kabir, Kano
As Nigeria gets set to join the league of the users of the latest 5G technology in the world, the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), says, the technology will go through rigours testing to actually know the security challenges there in.
“As we know the benefits, which includes, faster speeds, very low latency and much better capacity; but we should also know the risk associated with it more specifically the security dimensions, so that we are careful of what we are adopting,” Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Office (EVC/CEO) of the NCC Professor Umar Garba Dambatta said.
Speaking after being conferred with the Special Fellowship of the Nigeria Institute of Electronic and Electrical Engineers which came with an Award of Excellence in Kano, at the weekend, during the Distinguished Electrical and Electronic Annual Lectures, Professor Dambatta, noted that many countries are very cautious of the security dimensions as they also adopt the 5G Technology.
“Although Nigeria should not be left behind, because the 5G Technology is new it still requires being extremely careful, which is why only a trial would reveal what the risks are, and that is why we are doing what we are doing to to address the challenges associated with the technology,” he explained.
Report: Apple planning to release biggest iPhone ever in 2020
The biggest iPhone ever is coming next year, a report out of Asia claims.
Apple’s 2020 lineup will top out with an iPhone whose screen measures 6.7 inches diagonally, according to Korean news site ETNews. That’s only about an inch less than the display of Apple’s iPad Mini, which measures 7.9 inches.
The iPhone 11 Pro Max, for comparison, has a 6.5-inch display, reports the New York Post.
On the smaller end of the spectrum, the report said Apple will put out a 5.4-inch iPhone next year as well, which is smaller than the smaller iPhone 11 Pro’s 5.8-inch OLED display.
Samsung will manufacture the OLED displays for both models, ETNews says, noting that Chinese OLED production capabilities have yet to catch up to South Korea’s.
Apple will, however, keep a 6.1-inch model in its roster, a size that has proven popular with iPhone 11 buyers. The 6.1-inch phone will receive a screen quality upgrade, according to the report, with LG supplying OLED displays for the handset.
The Cupertino, Calif.-based company typically announces its new phones at a September event in the Bay Area. Last month, high-profile Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reported that the company was eyeing a first quarter 2020 launch for a low-priced iPhone SE2 that could sell for as low as $399.
Shares of Apple were up 0.8 percent Wednesday afternoon, at $266.46.
Made in China: Samsung farms out more phones to fend off rivals
Samsung’s plan to outsource a fifth of its smartphone production to China next year may help it compete with low-cost rivals such as Huawei and Xiaomi but it’s a strategy fraught with risks, people with familiar with the move said.
Samsung Electronics, which shut its last in-house Chinese smartphone factory in October, is quietly moving production of some Galaxy A models to contractors such as Wingtech, which are little known outside China.
Samsung has been coy about the volumes involved but sources said the South Korean tech giant plans to ship some 60 million phones made in China by so-called original design manufacturers (ODMs) next year out of a total of about 300 million devices, reports Reuters.
Wingtech and other ODMs make phones for multiple brands – including Huawei [HWT.UL], Xiaomi and Oppo – giving them the economies of scale to keep costs down, and the nimble contractors can develop and produce new budget phones quickly.
Critics of Samsung’s strategy say it risks losing control of quality and undermining its manufacturing expertise by outsourcing, and may even help rivals by giving contractors the extra volume they need to lowers costs further for all.
Samsung can ill afford another quality crisis. It scrapped its flagship Galaxy Note 7 in 2016 after reports the expensive phones were catching fire and delayed the launch of its folding phone this year after screen defects were identified.
But with margins razor thin for budget smartphones, people familiar with Samsung’s strategy say it has little choice but to follow rivals and use Chinese ODMs to shave costs.
“This is an inevitable strategy rather than a good strategy,” a source with knowledge of Samsung’s Chinese operations said.
Samsung said in a statement to Reuters that it has been making limited lines of smartphones outside its own plants to broaden its existing portfolio and “ensure efficient management in the market”. It declined to say how many Samsung phones are made by ODMs and said future volumes had yet to be determined.
Wingtech did not respond to a request for comment.
Research firm Counterpoint says ODMs can procure all the components needed for $100-$250 smartphones for 10% to 15% less than major brands with their own factories in China.
One supply chain source said Wingtech can get some parts for up to 30% less than Samsung Electronics pays in Vietnam, where it has three factories churning out smartphones, TVs and home appliances.
Wingtech started making tablets and phones for Samsung in 2017, accounting for 3% of its smartphones. That’s expected to hit 8%, or 24 million units, this year, according to IHS Markit.
Samsung’s outsourcing plans involve its lower and mid-range Galaxy A series, with Wingtech having a hand in both design and production, sources said. The A6S, one of the models to be outsourced, costs from 1,299 yuan ($185) in China.
YouTube superstar banned for life from Fortnite for cheating
A YouTube gamer with more than two million subscribers has been banned from playing Fortnite for life after being found cheating in a game.
FaZe Jarvis, part of the eSports group FaZe Clan, used “aimbots” during a public online match which he was streaming for a YouTube video.
Fortnite maker Epic Games handed him an immediate lifetime ban as punishment, reports Sky News.
He is also banned from attending Fortnite events or creating content around the game.
Jarvis, 17, posted a tearful apology video to his YouTube channel, saying “it didn’t even cross my mind to think that I could be banned for life”.
“This was a huge mistake and was completely wrong on my end,” he said.
Fortnite Battle Royale is a shooter game where users play as a superhero avatar and compete against each other to be the last one standing on a dystopian island.
Aimbots can be used to automatically focus weapons on opponents, making it easier to get kills.
Jarvis, who has more than two million subscribers on his YouTube channel, was not playing competitively when he used the aimbots in the Solos battle royale mode and openly said he was using cheat software in the video.
Glo records 2m new customers, regains 2nd position
National telecommunications operator, Globacom, has emerged the preferred network for 2 million new subscribers in Nigeria in September, the largest in the industry, according to latest statistics released by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
In the report for September, 2019, Globacom added a record 1,945,846 new subscribers. With the addition, the company’s subscriber base leapt from 47,265,628 in August to 49,211,474, the second largest customer base in the industry.
Airtel, which had briefly occupied the second position in the industry, now has a subscriber base of 48,909,678 at the end of September, after adding 987,787 new customers, representing 50% of Globacom’s new addition within the period under review. Its figure at the end of the preceding month of August was 47,921,891. It is now the third largest operator in the country.
The NCC statistics showed that it was only Globacom and Airtel that added new subscribers to their networks, as MTN and 9mobile recorded a decline in active subscriptions for the month.
According to telecom industry sources, Globacom’s record performance in September was buoyed by improved service delivery following continuous upgrade of its infrastructure.
Although MTN remained the largest mobile operator in Nigeria, it lost 379,795 subscribers in the month under review. This brought its total subscriptions down to 65,328,104 from the 65,707,899 it recorded in August.
The fourth mobile operator, 9mobile, lost 268,159 subscribers in September, going down from 15,602,255 in August to 15,334,096 in September.
According to the industry regulator, the number of active mobile users in the country rose from 176.6 million recorded in August to 178.9 million in September.
Ex-Apple executive joins startup aimed at banishing smartphone cables
For over 14 years at Apple Inc , Rubén Caballero had to include a cable with every iPhone design whose wireless engineering he oversaw, from the first prototypes in 2005 to iPhone 11 models on shelves now.
Now, as chief wireless strategist for Silicon Valley startup Keyssa Inc, Caballero hopes to cut the cord for good – for all smartphones. His new position has not been previously reported.
Every iPhone since the first released in 2007 has come with a cable as a failsafe way to transfer data, as has virtually every other brand of phone, reports Reuters.
Keyssa wants to end that with its chip that can transfer data nearly as fast as a wire by placing two devices next to each other. Early customer LG Electronics Inc uses the chip to connect the second screen of its LG V50 smart phone.
Wireless charging has taken hold in phones, but wireless data connections like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi remain too finicky to discard cables altogether.
Keyssa has raised more than $100 million from the venture groups at Intel Corp, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, Foxconn parent Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd and a fund run by Tony Fadell, another former Apple executive who helped create the iPod and then hired Caballero for the original iPhone team.
“Every single consumer product would love to solve the external connector,” Caballero, who left Apple earlier this year, said in an interview at Keyssa’s headquarters in Campbell, California.
Caballero, a retired Canadian Air Force captain who favors all-black attire, also has his eyes on the inside of phones. There, cables cause engineering headaches.
Camera modules connect to main circuit boards with a thin cables. Bend them enough and they break, creating an unintentional “beautiful antenna” that interferes with cellular data connections, Caballero said.
With Keyssa’s chips, camera modules could touch the circuit board to transmit data wirelessly. The chips use high frequencies that cause no interference inside the phone or with nearby devices.
“What’s beautiful about this is the frequency,” Caballero said. “It just fixes a lot of problems.”
Aside from phones, Keyssa is testing chips with video display makers and at least one maker of lidar sensors, the electronic eyes of self-driving cars.
“Ruben is a powerhouse when it comes to commercializing great technology,” Fadell told Reuters.
Caballero brings with him experience overseeing more than 1,000 Apple wireless engineers in a department with a budget of $600 million for testing equipment alone.
Before joining Apple, Caballero worked at two startups and relished the frenzied pace there and during his early days at Apple working with Fadell.
When Fadell brought him to Apple in 2005, Caballero asked where all the test equipment and labs were for the group.
“He said, ‘We don’t have anything, but we’ll get it done,'” Caballero said. “You know when has something in his eyes – you can see the vision. After that, I was hooked. I used to sleep under my desk. When you have that passion, it’s incredible. And I feel it here.”
China to launch 5G services Friday
China’s three state telecoms on Thursday announced the roll-out 5G mobile phone services, marking a key step in Beijing’s ambitions to become a technology superpower at a time when it remains locked in trade tensions with Washington.
China Mobile’s, China Unicom and China Telecom’s said on their websites and online stores that 5G plans, which start from as low as 128 yuan a month, will be available from Friday, allowing Chinese consumers nationwide to use the ultra-fast mobile internet service, reports Reuters.
Beijing had originally said it would launch the ultra-fast mobile internet service, which promises to support new features such as autonomous driving, early next year. But it accelerated its plans as tensions with the United States, especially over its boycott of telecoms giant Huawei Technologies, heated up.
“China will have the largest commercial operating 5G network in the world on Friday, and the scale of its network and the price of its 5G services will have a pivotal impact throughout the supply chain,” Bernstein said in a report this week.
Authorities have said that they plan to install over 50,000 5G base stations across 50 Chinese cities in the country by the end of this year, and that big cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Hangzhou, are already covered by the 5G network.
Chinese companies from Xiaomi to Huawei have also unveiled new products in anticipation of the 5G roll out, with Huawei saying that it anticipates to start seeing a revenue uplift from the sector next year.
Smartphone marker Xiaomi said earlier this month that it plans to launch more than 10 5G phones next year and that there was a fear in the industry that consumers would stop buying 4G models.
MTN makes N460bn revenue as subscribers hit 61.6m
MTN Nigeria on Wednesday, released its quarter three results for the nine months ended September 30, 2019, where it recorded increased Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortisation (EBITDA) by 39.3 per cent to N460.1 billion and an increased subscriber number by 0.1 million to reach 61.6 million subscribers on its network.
The report also showed increased active data subscribers by 1.6 million to reach 22.3 million active data users on its network.
According to the Q3 financial report, the telecoms company’s service revenue, however, increased by 12.1 per cent to N854.9 billion, even though EBITDA grew by 39.3 per cent to N460.1 billion. The EBITDA margin increased to 53.7 per cent, while earnings per share rose by 29 per cent to N7.29k, with increased capital expenditure (Capex) by 39.5% to N154.1 billion.
MTN Nigeria CEO, Ferdi Moolman, while analysing the Q3 financial results, said the bottom-line remained strong with growth of 24.0 per cent and 28.9 per cent respectively in profit before and after tax.
According to Moolman: “Our company’s performance is very encouraging, demonstrating the resilience of our business despite a challenging operating environment. We sustained double-digit growth in service revenue led by growth in voice and data revenue.
“We recorded 61.6 million subscribers, representing a 0.1 million increase QoQ. We were required to undertake a SIM re-registration process, which resulted in a disconnection of around 0.6 million active subscribers, limiting base growth.
“During the quarter, we focused on the end-to-end optimisation and repositioning of our data offerings. We made significant investments in accelerating 4G network expansion; and leveraging 800MHz spectrum activated in Q2 2019, we launched enhanced 4G+ services in Lagos, Abuja, and Port-Harcourt.
“We also changed our pricing strategy, placing us in an even stronger competitive position going forward. As a result, we have begun to see promising results with active data subscriber net additions of 1.6 million and 4G population coverage at over 35% in 64 cities. Data traffic volume also increased by over 68 per cent, while data revenue rose by 34.9 per cent year on year.”
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