Displaying items by tag: Growth

US tech giant signs content agreement with Samsung

Written on Tuesday, 08 January 2019 09:22

US technology behemoth Apple has signed a new agreement with Samsung in relation to its streaming and content services in an effort to offset a decline in iPhone sales. The deal brokered between Apple and the South Korean conglomerate will enable the use of iTunes streaming services on Samsung smart TVs.

Published in Telecom Vendors

Chinese smartphone vendor Huawei Technologies has altered its strategic approach in Kenya in a bid to boost sales of its handsets. It has restructured the price of some of its devices and is now showcasing smartphones that are retailing at between $100-200. It is hoping that a sharp increase in sales will boost its market share in Kenya.

Huawei is currently positioned as number three in relation to market share in the African nation which has been described as a fast-growing local smart devices market. Huawei is trailing South Korean conglomerate Samsung Electronics and Tecno which is owned by Hong Kong’s Transition Holdings.

Huawei’s manager in Kenya, Derek Du said it entered the smartphone market by introducing three smart phones, but it didn’t focus on products retailing for under $200 and that costed the company long-term. In an effort to increase its market share in that segment from 4% to 15% it will overall its entire strategic approach.

Kenya’s telecommunications incumbent Safaricom enjoys a 72% market share (around 28m users) and they reported that there is now 13 million smartphones on its network, which is a significant jump from 10 million last year.

Kenya consumers have finally parted with their well-worn standard phones in favor of relatively cheap devices that offer them faster internet speed and access to applications such as WhatsApp, online banking and taxi-hailing services. According to Du, Huawei has switched its strategic focus after it became evidently clear that the average Kenyan consumer is price sensitive.

Du added: “The new focus on the lower end of the market has come about because the Kenyan consumer is price-sensitive. The $100-200 is the key part we can play. If we can bring it up, it means we will also bring up the whole market share.”

He believes that change will enable Huawei to boost its overall market share to around 25-30%, from the current 14% it has been rooted on for the last two years. Research has revealed that the average Kenyan worker earns an annual wage of $1,200, which subsequently means that most people can’t afford expensive smartphones.

Huawei’s previous approach centered on their mid-range smartphones were it enjoys a 30% market share. Huawei has enjoyed a successful twelve months globally, and the Chinese conglomerate, based in Shenzhen, is now seen as a real threat to the smartphone monopoly which is dominated by Samsung and Apple.

Huawei’s African boss said that the Kenyan economy was enjoying a resurgent comeback after a difficult number of years, and is in a stable position. This makes it an attractable market for investors, and du has reiterated its commitment to growing its business in Kenya.

Published in Telecom Vendors

Mobile Klinik, Canada’s fastest growing professional smartphone and tablet repair chain, today announced completion of an acquisition of mobilFIX and Dr. Mobile smartphone repair businesses for an undisclosed amount. The chain has nine smartphone repair outlets, with seven established locations in the Edmonton area and two other stores opening soon, also in Alberta.

“This acquisition both accelerates our profitable growth and will anchor our growth strategy in Western Canada,” said Rob Bruce, Founding Partner and CEO, Mobile Klinik. “We are excited to work with the talented team at mobilFIX and Dr. Mobile to serve Albertans with while-you-wait, fully warrantied professional smartphone and tablet repair.

Sunil Goel, former CEO of mobilFIX and Dr. Mobile (www.mobilfix.ca) will take on a new national role at Mobile Klinik. He said: “Joining forces with Mobile Klinik gives us access to growth capital, experienced leadership, and an opportunity for our team to join the most professional smartphone repair company in Canada.”

mobilFIX and Dr. Mobile, established in 2013, operate two locations each in West Edmonton Mall. mobilFIX operates another three locations in the Edmonton area. All seven current locations will remain open to serve customers as they transition to the Mobile Klinik brand. The other two locations will open shortly as Mobile Klinik.

Mobile Klinik offers dedicated professional smartphone and tablet repair, most times in less than 60 minutes. Expert technicians offer immediate, on-site diagnosis and quote to repair a broken smartphone or tablet with premium quality parts and a lifetime warranty on parts and labour.

Mobile Klinik’s concept of while you wait professional smartphone repair was introduced to Canada by four Canadian wireless and retail industry leaders: Rob Bruce, former President, Rogers Communications; Ken Campbell, former CEO, WIND Mobile; and Alain Adam and Naaman Zorub, entrepreneurs who operate a number of wireless retail stores and other businesses in Ottawa and Gatineau. Since opening the first store in Ottawa in September 2015, and including today’s announced acquisition, Mobile Klinik operates 20 locations in major shopping malls and other high-traffic retail locations in Ontario, Quebec and Alberta. More locations will open soon.

Published in Devices

Three of China’s state-run mobile operators have posted positive financial results for the first-half of 2017, after enduring a difficult 2016. China Telecom, China Unicom and China Mobile all made solid gains on their bottom line, largely due to the continued rapid demand for data and 4G uptake.

All three entities suffered a decline in earnings during 2016 - but in the first-half of this year they’ve made a combined profit of CYN 77.6 billion ($11.6 billion) compared with a combined profit of CYN127.6 billion for all of 2016.

Analysts have attributed the success of the state-owned mobile operators to significant 4G subscriber gains from January-June. The trio took its LTE user base to 885 million. In addition to this, it was further disclosed that both China Telecom and China Mobile are increasingly close to reaching the 70% 4G penetration mark, with China Unicom lagging behind by a reported 14%.

China Mobile remains the market incumbent with a 64% share of total subscribers, 67% of which are 4G users. The Chinese operators ended June with 3.47 million 4G base stations, the breakdown of which consisted of China Mobile (1.65M) China Telecom (1.05M) and China Unicom (770,000). It was also disclosed that China Mobile has announced its intentions to construct an additional 120,000 4G sites in the second-half of next year, whilst China Telecom has said it will deploy another 110,000 by the end of this year.

Mobile voice revenue continues to decline sharply due to the dominance of OTT’s, but all three operators still managed to grow mobile service revenue by 5%. It’s the universal demand for data which has contributed to the operator’s success so far this year. China Telecom has enjoyed a healthy increase of 24% in mobile data, accumulating CYN55.3 billion in the process. China Mobile reported a 34% increase in mobile data accumulating CYN185 billion, whilst China Unicom’s data growth increased by 21%, accumulating CYN43.5 billion.

The state-run operators have signed up 23.7 million 4G subscribers in July, which takes the country’s total to 908M. However, China Mobile has announced its plans to end 2017 by amassing 630M 4G subs, which analysts suggest is a target they should easily surpass. At this extraordinary pace, China will likely end the year with well over 1 billion 4G customers, which would also subsequently mean that China would have 40% of the 2.45 billion global LTE connections by the end of the year.

Published in Telecom Operators

South Korean conglomerate Samsung Electronics has announced its plans to invest 21.4 trillion won ($18.6 billion) into South Korea in an effort to strengthen and extend its lead in memory chips and next-generation displays for smartphones. Samsung has claimed that the investment could create up to 440,000 new jobs from now until 2021 – which would significantly boost the South Korean economy.

Samsung is the world’s largest chip maker by revenue and has indicated it intends to invest 14.4 trillion won by 2021 in its new NAND factory in Pyeongtaek. In addition to this, it disclosed that it plans to invest 6 trillion won in a new semiconductor production facility in Hwaseong, but declined to elaborate further on the timing or product.

Samsung will also develop a new production line to its NAND plant in Xi’an, China, which investment analysts have suggested is in response to booming demand for long-term data storage chips. However, it has thus far not set an investment amount or time frame.

Industry experts have predicted that Samsung and other leading memory makers will post record profit in 2017 - caused primarily due to a persistent shortage and demand for more capability in smartphones and servers increase prices. Industry sources and analysts said the shortage is more acute for NAND chips due to increasing adoption of high-end storage products.

Analysts have also claimed that Samsung’s production technologies are much more mature and are at least a year ahead of its rivals such as Toshiba and SK Hynix. Samsung invests more than $10 billion in semiconductors on an annual basis, which has provided the foundations for Samsung to take the lead, and according to analysts this latest investment strategy will only widen the gap even further.

Samsung and its rivals Toshiba and SK Hynix has committed tens of billions of dollars to boost NAND output in recent years, yet analysts and industry sources have said that they believe shortages will persist through 2017 and new facilities created will not make any meaningful supply contributions until next year. However, some have suggested that additional capacity could lead to oversupply in early 2018, but that price crashes are unlikely as smartphone makers opt for greater internal storage.

"I believe NAND market conditions will continue to favor suppliers until 2020," said HMC Investment analyst Greg Roh. Any oversupply issues will be temporary and limited to seasonally weaker periods, he said.

Samsung's investment plan comes on the back of South Korean President Moon Jae-in plea for local businesses to create more jobs and help reinvigorate the economy. In China, some South Korean firms have suffered from sales decline or have been forced to scale down operations due to retaliatory measures from Beijing over the deployment of a US anti-missile defense system outside Seoul. However, China smartphone makers remain one of Samsung’s biggest customers and are among its biggest buyers of memory chips and displays.

Published in Telecom Vendors

Qualcomm CEO, Steve Mollenkopf has claimed that 5G will represent a revenue opportunity of around $12 trillion by 2035. Mollenkopf made the statement when he was delivering his keynote address at Mobile World Congress Shanghai. However, the CEO of the global chip giant did express his belief that we have to utilize 4G technology. He said it was imperative we made the most of 4G and focused particularly on new gigabit LTE networks.

Published in Finance

China Unicom has identified IoT as its key focus area in order to drive future revenue growth. However, despite China Unicom enjoying growth in mobile traffic, the organization expects to see mobile traffic growth decline significantly in the next number of years and will focus on IoT applications.

At MWC in Shanghai, Asia’s premier ICT industry and exhibition – China Unicom expressed its intentions to accelerate its NB-IoT rollout as parts of its strategic plan to expand its range of IoT services. Shanghai Unicom is a subsidiary of China Unicom and the firm’s General Manager Shen Hongbo stated that he doesn’t expect to see the company generate income from mobile traffic – instead suggesting that future revenue streams will be driven by IoT.

Shen said: “We’re seeing a bottleneck in subscriber growth in Shanghai, and we don’t see a lot more income being generated from traffic. More revenue will be generated from IoT converged businesses as well as content-related operations. We will have to rely on IoT to grow our business.”

In addition to this, Shanghai Unicom’s GM claimed that the IoT sector will be driven low-power, low-speed data collection applications like smart metering. Unicom has estimated that China’s low-power segment is at 3 billion connections – whilst the high-speed segment will be less than 200 million. Shen added: “So we’re first looking at the low-power, extended coverage market. This will be our priority.”

In 2016, China Unicom selected NB-IoT because it felt it was a more mature technology and decided to deploy LPWA technology. Analysts have claimed that China Unicom’s decision to do so was conservative suggesting it was ‘safe to go with the flow’ especially with many operators opting for NB-IoT running on 900MHz band.

China Unicom’s NB-IoT network covering all of Shanghai went live at the beginning of May, and has thus far been hailed a success. It was also disclosed that in addition to Shanghai, China Unicom has launched NB-IoT in Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Fuzhou with applications including smart parking, smart fire sensors and smart meter services.

Published in Telecom Operators

The US government has announced that it is set to refocus its efforts on examining ways in which it can help speed up the process of taking new technologies to the marketplace. The Trump administration has announced its intentions to bring together a group of drone makers, wireless companies and venture capitalists to explore practices that will enable the commercialization of these technologies in a much more streamlined fashion.

It has been confirmed that President Donald Trump will meet with the CEOs of General Electric Co, Honeywell International Incorporated and AT&T. Representatives from major drones industries and venture capitalists will also attend the meeting as part of a combined effort to focus on innovative technology in a bid to kick-start new job growth.

The White House’s deputy chief technology officer, Michael Kratsios has said the primary objective of the discussions is to drive ‘economic growth’. He said: “The goal of the session is to find ways the United States can maintain its leadership, creating and fostering entirely new technologies that will drive our economic growth."

The Trump administration has expressed its desire to promote the development and commercialization of emerging technologies – and has shown a particular interest in the development of unmanned drones and 5G wireless technologies. Some analysts have predicted that the impact of 5G will be similar to that of electricity.

The Obama administration has implemented rules and practices that enabled low-level small drones to be deployed for education, research and routine commercial use. It has been reported that the Trump administration is currently weighing up the option of expanding drone use for purposes such as deliveries where aircraft would fly beyond the sight of an operator. However, security issues would need to be resolved before such legislation could be passed.

The FAA has projected that by 2021 the number of small hobbyist drones will more than triple – whilst the commercial drone fleet will increase tenfold to about 442,000. In addition to this, last year, the FCC cleared the way for 5G - with the race to commercialize the technology underway which is expected to be deployed by 2020.

New 5G networks are expected to provide speeds at least 10 times and maybe 100 times faster than today's 4G networks. The next generation of wireless signals needs to be much faster and far more responsive to allow advanced technologies such as virtual surgery or controlling machines remotely, regulators say. The networks could help wirelessly connect devices such as thermostats or washing machines to facilitate the internet of things.

Published in Government

 Social networking platform Twitter announced details of a new initiative which has been specifically designed to crackdown on online harassment and ‘abusive accounts’. Twitter, like other social media platforms have struggled to manage the issue of online abuse from anonymous accounts.

Twitter vice president Ed Ho said they have introduced new measures aimed at identifying individuals who have been suspended from creating new accounts. In a statement issued to the press, Ho said: “We're taking steps to identify people who have been permanently suspended and stop them from creating new accounts. This focuses more effectively on some of the most prevalent and damaging forms of behavior, particularly accounts that are created only to abuse and harass others."

Twitter is hugely popular due to its ability to allow healthy exchanges on public issues, but the social network has also been utilized as a tool to harass and ‘troll’ people – celebrities and those in the public eye particularly come in for some vile abuse. Twitter suspends these users - but until now has been unable to prohibit them from creating a new account.

Former chief executive, Dick Costolo attributes Twitter’s issues in dealing with the problems as one of the primary reasons it has affected its efforts to grow.

Present chief executive added in his statement that Twitter will no longer tolerate ‘trolls’ from stifling users engaging with the platform. He said: “Making Twitter a safer place is our primary focus. We stand for freedom of expression and people being able to see all sides of any topic. That's put in jeopardy when abuse and harassment stifle and silence those voices. We won't tolerate it and we're launching new efforts to stop it."

Part of these efforts includes a new application Twitter added last week which enabled users to use a ‘safe search’ option. This removes tweets that ‘contain potentially sensitive content’ from appearing on their accounts.

In addition to this, the Twitter chief executive reiterated that his engineers will continue to work on identifying ‘abusive and low-quality replies so the most relevant conversations are brought forward.’

The changes are expected to be rolled-out on the social networking platform in the next coming weeks.

Published in Apps

Apple to begin building iPhones in India later this year

Written on Monday, 06 February 2017 07:29

Government officials in India have announced that US tech giants Apple will start building iPhones in the country later this year. It is believed the company’s decision to do so is in order to tap into a booming middle class while sales in China slow. The IT minister for Karnataka confirmed that Apple agreed to assemble its hugely popular iPhones in the southern state, whose capital Bangalore is recognized as India’s technology hub.    

Apple did not comment on the press release issued by the Indian Minister, and the company remains a small player in India, where sales of its smartphones trail behind rivals Samsung. However, Apple CEO, Tim Cook said earlier this week that he would ‘invest significantly’ in the country which has a population of 1.25 billion people.

Minister of Information Technology and Biotechnology, Priyank Kharge said he expected Apple to begin manufacturing operations in April. He said: “We have an understanding with Apple and we expect them to start manufacturing in Karnataka by the end of April.” He added that the operation would likely produce iPhones for the domestic market.

Research conducted by Canalys has established that Apple has only 2% of the Indian market, while rivals Samsung have 23%, by pricing itself exclusively at the luxury end, Apple has distinguished its brand from Samsung, which produces both low-cost and high-end smartphones.

It emerged last year that Apple had a 48% share of the premium sector in which phones sell for $450 and above, the US tech firm also applied to open Apple Stores in India, but it was rejected because of a rule which states that foreign retailers must source 30% of its products locally.

Those rules have since been relaxed, with New Delhi allowing companies up to eight years to meeting the required sourcing demands in order to attract foreign investment in the hope to boost job creation.

It has not been disclosed whether or not the Karnataka plans would enable Apple to clear that hurdle, but some experts are suggesting that manufacturing locally would significantly reduce the company’s costs and enable to sell at lower prices.

Apple enjoyed a brilliant 2016 in India, and shipped more than two million devices to the country – and now with the plan to manufacture there it will give them greater flexibility to respond to market changes. Apple sells through third-party retailers in India, which accounts for only around 1% of global iPhones sales. However, experts insist that India’s massive population and low number of smartphones users relative to its size means it represents a huge potential market.  

Apple CEO, Tim Cook, visited India last year and met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and presented him with a gold iPhones to launch the premier’s new app. If the move is confirmed, many analysts see it as a coup for India’s government which has been trying to persuade foreign companies to manufacture in the country.

Reports in Indian media said Wistron Corp, a Taiwanese electronics manufacturer, was lined up to assemble iPhones at a plant on the outskirtsof tech hub Bangalore.  Apple outsources all its manufacturing globally.

 

Published in Telecom Vendors
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