Displaying items by tag: investment

In early January 2017, Apple announced plans to invest $1 billion in Japanese telecoms giant SoftBank’s $100 billion technology venture capital fund. Apple will reportedly join a list of other expected investors which include Foxconn Technology Group and Oracle Chairman Larry Ellison. Other companies like Qualcomm have already committed to the fund.

The purpose of SoftBank’s $100 billion Vision Fund is to invest in strategic areas including the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) as part of efforts by SoftBank CEO, Masayoshi Son, to help the company capitalize on emerging opportunities, according to reports.

A market analyst, according to The Wall Street Journal, is said to have stated that the investment could be aimed at helping Apple’s core smartphone business maintain competitiveness as the IoT markets grow. The investment could also reflect Apple’s increasing interest in partnering with other companies to ensure its growth.

For example, Apple’s change in strategy and growing interest in partnerships was evident by the company’s $1 billion investment in China’s alternative to Uber, Didi Chuxing, in 2015.

Published in Finance

Sprint announced a commitment to create or bring back to America 5,000 jobs. The company anticipates these jobs will support a variety of functions across the organization including its Customer Care and Sales teams. Sprint will begin discussions immediately with its business partners, states and cities to determine the right locations in the U.S. to create these jobs. The company expects to fulfill this commitment by the end of its fiscal year 2017 and will provide additional details when they are available.

“We are excited to work with President-Elect Trump and his Administration to do our part to drive economic growth and create jobs in the U.S.,” said Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure. “We believe it is critical for business and government to partner together to create more job opportunities in the U.S. and ensure prosperity for all Americans.”

Sprint is mostly owned by Japan's SoftBank, which has already announced a commitment to major U.S. investments, but clarified that not all the jobs would come from overseas. In 2013, SoftBank paid $22 billion for 80 percent of Sprint. The company announced a "commitment to create or bring back to America 5,000 jobs," although it has no specific plans yet.

The Sprint announcement gave President-Elect Donald Trump another opportunity to claim credit for job creation, and he referenced the December 19 announcement by satellite broadband firm OneWeb for 3,000 jobs over the next four years. Those jobs are as a result of a $1.2 billion investment from SoftBank, whose chief executive Masayoshi Son met Trump earlier this month and pledged to invest $50 billion in the US economy and create 50,000 jobs.

Published in Telecom Vendors

Ericsson announce ambitious 5G deployment strategy for China

Written on Wednesday, 28 December 2016 12:17

Swedish telecommunications giant Ericsson revealed their ambitious plans for 5G deployment in China. Ericsson endured a number of high-profile setbacks in recent months, but they’ve disclosed some of its strategies in relation to the 5G deployment in China – which is a market they feel is the future of global communications.

One of the central components of Ericsson’s strategies is in the increase of its resources in R&D. This has been implemented in an effort to create new opportunities for the company in China. As the mass deployment of 4G technologies slows down, a massive emphasis has now been put on the preparation of fifth generation mobile communication technology – and Ericsson has made a significant investment in its R&D sector in order to help with the transition from 4G to 5G to keep them a foothold in the market.  

Ericsson has been in China for almost 125 years, and Senior Vice President and Head of region North East Asia, Chris Houghton believes technological advancements being made in relation to IoT and autonomous transportation represent an exciting time for the tech sector in the Far East.

While the charismatic Senior VP highlighted that China is a challenging and highly competitive market, he feels that it truly represents the future of global communications and declared that it was imperative Ericsson were ready to readjust to economic realities in the region and embrace the transition from 4G to 5G.

Houghton said: “We have a significant investment in China already, with over 11,000 people in the country covering sales, manufacturing, R&D, global service center and other global functions. We also source a considerable portion of equipment and components in China for our global operations. We are currently increasing our R&D resources to prepare for 5G.”

He added that China’s growth over the past thirty years had been remarkable and that it was an exciting and key market for Ericsson citing that they had enjoyed a long and illustrious history in the region and hoped to continue that tradition.

“China's growth over the past 30 years has been remarkable and the benefits are there for all to see -- people's lives have been improved tremendously. I believe Ericsson China has a bright future; we have been in China for 125 years next year and we are planning for another 125. It's a dynamic, challenging and highly competitive market and will increasingly drive the future of global communications, so we are highly committed and will continue to contribute to China's economic growth and social development into the future. As the mass deployment cycle of 4G technologies slows, we are preparing for 5G to take off.”

Published in Telecom Vendors

A Japanese Telecoms company has agreed to invest a staggering $50 billion in business and job creation in the United States - following a deal which was brokered by incoming US president, Donal Trump. The president elect triumphantly told the assembled media in the lobby of Trump Tower, New York, that SoftBank had agreed to invest $50 billion in the United States which would create 50,000 jobs over the next four years.

Since that deal was officially announced by SoftBank, shares have soared in the Tokyo-listed telecoms firm. SoftBank jumped more than 5% after the opening bell, which came just hours after the tycoon announced the deal while he wrapped his arm around flamboyant billionaire founder of SoftBank, Masayoshi Son.

During his election campaign Trump passionately declared that he would bring jobs back to the US and insisted he would also attract investment from overseas investors. He has already delivered a huge statement of intent before he even sets foot in The White House with the announcement of this deal.

A smiling Trump told reporters: “SoftBank from Japan have just agreed to invest $50 billion in the United States which in turn will create 50,000 jobs.” It was also disclosed that SoftBank brandished a document which featured the names of his firm and that of Foxconn, the Taiwanese technology colossus that read; ‘Committed to invest $50bn + $7bn in US which will create 50k + 50k new jobs in the US over the next four years.’

The soon-to-be US president offered no specific details, and a Tokyo-based spokesman for SoftBank declined to comment. Foxconn, which assembles Apple's iPhone and supplies parts, also refused to comment. Son told reporters the money will come from a $100 billion investment fund he is setting up with Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund and other partners, a move announced in mid-October, Japan's Jiji Press reported. "Investors are welcoming the announcement," Shuji Hosoi, a senior strategist at Daiwa Securities revealed. He added that it was something unexpected, and the size of the pledge is big. Son's remarks were generally in line with what Trump has been saying (about boosting the economy).

SoftBank already has investments in the United States: in 2013 it paid $22 billion for 80 percent of Sprint. Son initially set his sights on a merger with T-Mobile, but that plan was abandoned owing to likely opposition from US regulators.

Published in Government

A UAE business has secured a lucrative digital contract in its attempts to create an online shopping empire. Alabbar Properties has entered into a joint-venture with Milan based online luxury fashion retailer Yoox Net-a-Porter (YNAP) in a deal worth a reported €130 million (Dh505.5m). It is remarkably the third digital deal secured by Alabbar Properties as the global property company seeks to stake its claim to the region’s underserved, but fast-growing e-commerce market.

The latest announcement comes just a fortnight after the group launched the US$1 billion e-commerce platform, Noon.com, which is expected to commence trading in January. In addition to this, the chairman of Emaar Properties, Mohamed Alabbar led two investor groups into buying a combined 16.45% stake in Dubai-based global logistics provider Aramex- a company which delivers large volumes of goods bought online from the UAE region.

He had already invested €100 million in reserved capital increase into the Italian company this year through his Alabbar Enterprises Company. The new Dubai-based joint- venture between Alabbar and YNAP will not start trading in the GCC for another year as it continues to integrate and test its technology platforms.

Speaking about the joint-venture, Mr. Alabbar conceded that it was a risk, but said that rewards are plain to be seen – and that they expect the luxury sector in the region to grow at 10 % per-annum – which is also five times the global average.

Mr. Alabbar said: “I want to promote the rewards of the digital space to private businesses and businessmen. If you do not have space in the digital world you die. Our digital tech fund is part of our duty to invest, support, help and grow. Our horizon for the digital space is five to ten years. I think we will still see the same amount of luxury retailers in Dubai Mall in five years if we get it right. I hope to see collaboration between ourselves and the traditional luxury retailers to the benefit of both parties.”

The joint-venture may look to expand its operations to the wider Middles East and African markets in the future, but for now, it is initially focused on the GCC states. Analysts say there is a very high growth potential in the luxury market in the Middle East - and the joint-venture should be a huge success because e-commerce in the region is largely underserved due to the fact that there is simply not enough local e-commerce websites.

On November 23, the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, announced £1bn ($1.5bn) of funding to boost 5G and fiber connections in the country. Included in the Autumn Statement from Britain’s Treasury, the Chancellor said he wanted the ‘UK to be a world leader in 5G’. The UK will also be allocating £400m ($500m) for a Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund to accelerate the roll out of superfast internet.

Viavi Solutions, a global provider of network test, monitoring and assurance solutions, is working with network operators, equipment manufacturers and its ecosystems as part of major industry bodies to develop well-defined and harmonized standards for 5G. The company is also part of The White House Advanced Wireless Research Initiative in the US which fosters R&D and collaborates with the likes of AT&T, T-Mobile, Nokia and Samsung on 5G connectivity and beyond.

“The UK government is right to invest in 5G, even though the standards have yet to be agreed,” said Dr. Sameh Yamany, Chief Technology Officer at Viavi Solutions. “Truth is, 5G can’t come soon enough for mobile operators. They will need to provide connectivity for over 20 billion IoT devices - so everything from smart homes to self-driving cars - for the Internet of Things (IoT). It is estimated that IoT revenues will grow to $3 trillion by 2025 and $1.3 trillion will come from end-users. No wonder operators want a piece of that pie, yet IoT poses some unique challenges and mobile operators aren’t ready for a 5G future.”

Dr. Sameh added that IoT devices have “different and in many cases paradoxical needs. Connected cars require ultra-low latency to transmit information at lightning-fast speeds so other cars can avoid a hazard. Conversely, video-intensive applications that run 4K videos will have demanding bandwidth requirements. And operators will also need to provide connectivity for the latest smartphones too. It is a delicate balancing act.”

He explained that a concept called “Network Slicing” in 5G holds the key to this connectivity conundrum. Multiple cloud-based network functions can be automated and programmed to meet different use cases across multiple technologies, bands and protocols, he said. Yet, mobile operators don’t currently have the infrastructure to take advantage of this.

“Hopefully, government initiatives such as the UK’s Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund and the Advanced Wireless Research initiative in the US will inspire mobile operators – across the world – to prepare their networks better for 5G and beyond. That will put them in pole position to monetize a future always-connected smart 5G world.”

Published in Finance

American media conglomerate invests $200m into BuzzFeed

Written on Wednesday, 23 November 2016 08:31

American multinational media company NBCUniversal has announced it is investing $200m into popular social media outlet BuzzFeed.

BuzzFeed, which was founded by Jonah Peretti in 2006 – has become an incredible success since its inception a decade ago – and continues to grow on a daily basis.

Its ability to engage audiences with a diverse range of content have made it a market leader for sharing video and editorial content online – to a specific target market who often don’t read newspapers or watch TV.

BuzzFeed now employs over 1,300 people and has eighteen offices dotted all over the world.

NBCUniversal has seen its potential to expand even further and have shown their belief in the BuzzFeed brand by investing $200m dollars into the internet media company.

In a joint press release, NBCUniversal President of Digital experiences Maggie Suniewick said: “NBCUniversal made an additional $200M investment to expand the strategic partnership between both companies. BuzzFeed has helped us engage millennial audiences with our content and extend the reach of our clients' campaigns to new platforms."

It is being suggested that profitability on the investment will depend on extending an advertising sales relationship between BuzzFeed and NBCUniversal – which is owned by US cable giant Comcast. BuzzFeed founder Jonah Peretti dismissed claims that NBCUniversal were now in control of the social media company due to the significant investment – and insisted that his company will remain an independent organization – but will get access to NBCUniversal resources. A spokesman for BuzzFeed said: “We will collaborate with NBCUniversal on production and distribution on social networks of short-form video content for advertisers.”

The massive investment will also help build up BuzzFeed's food-focused Tasty media network which has shown massive potential to engage audiences online – while there is scope to create other ad products which would be mutually beneficial for both companies. Analysts have praised the private company's ability to tailor content to spread on social networks, where it grabs the attention of young audiences, who often do not read newspapers or tune into cable television.


Published in Finance

An Australian suburb is set to undergo a dramatic transformation from a derelict town into a 21st century metropolis. Springwood, a suburb of Logan City, is located about 20km from Brisbane – and it has remained relatively untouched since the 1990’s. However, the dreary suburban town has been identified by developers and environmental planners alike as the ideal location for an incredible new high-tech smart-city.

Council officials are using Springwood’s traditional rural charm and green-space as the foundation for their new age cityscape to be built on – in other words it will embrace ‘green mobility’. City of Logan Mayor, Luke Smith, revealed that after consultations with residents, it was made evident that they wanted planners to maintain Springwood’s origins during the construction of this amazing new project.

Mayor Smith said, “In our engagement with local residents, we were reminded just how much they value the origins of the area. Springwood’s underground springs, plentiful trees and rich loam were the basis of settlement in 1931.The founder, Harold Langford, distributed his materials far and wide, even assist­ing with construction of the Story Bridge. Under our vision, Springwood will remain a place of water and trees. It will embrace what’s known as ‘green mobility’.”

However, developers, environmental planners and council workers are all determined that this innovative smart-city project will not become the latest victim of ‘urbanization’. In many other parts of the world - similar 21st century projects have been constructed – but those smart cities have been ravaged by the issues of urbanization which has unfortunately created an ugly ‘ghetto’ type climate in so many other cityscapes across the developed world.

The exciting smart-city project will undoubtedly give Springwood a major facelift that it badly requires - not only aesthetically but economically. There has already been interest expressed in the project from a number of Chinese investors.

Mayor Smith added, “Springwood is the commercial hub of Logan, and after the Springwood Summit we had last month things are ­really starting to move. There is genuine interest from the investment community, particularly the Chinese. That is a fantastic indicator for us to see such a genuine interest already in what we know is an incredible project we’re embarking on.”

Mayor Smith illustrated the example of Portland, Oregon, USA to highlight how successful these regeneration smart-city projects can be for urban renewal. He enlisted the expertise of social and environmental planner Adam Beck who devised the strategy used in Portland.

Mayor Smith concluded by saying, “This approach of community-driven partnerships – with residents, other levels of government, and the private sector – has worked exceptionally well in Portland, and the results speak for themselves. Portland has been transformed from a waning economy and neglected neighbourhoods to an eco-friendly city, with coffee shops, microbreweries and a thriving IT sector. Take a closer look in Logan and you’ll see that’s ­already starting to happen.”

Published in Government

Facebook recently announced that it will be increasing its spending on virtual reality (VR). Speaking at the Oculus Connect 3 conference on October 6, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the social media giant will invest $250 million on developing VR content such as moves and games. This adds to the $250 million Facebook has already invested in content.

Zuckerberg said at the event that he also plans to start a $10 million education fund for the development of education-based content, CNET reported. “That’s something we’re really excited about,” he said.

Facebook isn’t the only tech giant pushing for further investment in virtual reality, since it’s positioned as the next big trend in content consumption. Facebook first entered the VR industry when it purchased virtual reality business Oculus for $1 billion, after which Facebook launched its Rift VR headset earlier this year.

Oculus itself said that it will be devoting $10 million in funding to ensure diverse content keeps rolling out for VR. This includes Oculus’ VR for Good initiative, which helps non-profit organizations tell their stories through a virtual reality platform. Selected filmmakers have the opportunity to attend a bootcamp and then create incredible 360 films to bring a variety of social missions to life.

Published in Telecom Vendors

Telstra bumps up capex by $A1b per year for three years

Written on Thursday, 11 August 2016 08:59

Australian carrier Telstra has announced plans to increase capital investment by $A3 billion ($US2.3) over the next three years with the investment going into its network, digitization and customer experiences.

The move represents a significant increase on Telstra’s current capex levels: expenditure for the year to 30 June 2016 was $4.0 billion. The announcement was made along with Telstra results announcement for the year to 30 June 2016 and follows a series of large-scale and highly embarrassing outages of Telstra’s mobile network in recent months.

CEO Andrew Penn said details of the investment program would be progressively confirmed during FY17 to FY19 and would be aimed at maintaining strategic advantage by ensuring continued technological leadership and by significantly improving customer experiences in a heavily competitive environment.

He said the move would deliver business benefits such as capital efficiency, reduced operating costs and increased revenue, and reinforce Telstra’s market differentiation “Our customers and our networks are our biggest assets. We must invest to set new standards and deliver excellent experiences for our customers.”

He added:  “The opportunity is clear as average monthly data consumption on our networks increased seven-fold over the past five years, with mobile traffic growing almost nine-fold in the same period. We are now accommodating and anticipating growth in the number of connected sensors and devices as well as specialized applications and services.”

He said Telstra would retire legacy systems and invest in evolution of the network with a set of architectural advances such as virtualization and increased automation to build a dynamic and programmable next generation network around the virtualization of functions across network domains.

“Telstra will further boost capacity in key networks to cater for increasing demand for core services and undertake an ongoing evolution of 4G network capabilities as foundations were laid for the 5G network,” he said.  “The work will have distinct streams to support consumer and enterprise customers, recognizing the often unique needs of larger business partners.”

Telstra said mobile focus areas would include building on the success of the 4G network evolution and readiness for 5G, LTE-broadcast, voice over LTE and the Internet of Things.

“Telstra will make strategic investments in its fixed network services, taking into account the ongoing National Broadband Network rollout, particularly in ADSL service areas. This reflects rapid increases in data consumption in recent years with home and business users.”

Penn said investing in digitization was also a critical component of the additional funding, building on work in recent years to remove manual processes. The digitization program will include expanding digitally-enabled sales and service channels so that customers can interact with Telstra on their terms, as well as introducing capability to better pre-empt issues faced by customers.

“Telstra will develop a flexible, software-defined network architecture, so new capabilities of the network investment are fully integrated with sales and service channels,” the company said.

“A simpler product architecture which is easy for customers to understand would improve the way in which products are delivered, meaning all new products would be ‘born digital’.”

Published in Telecom Operators
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