What's up with... Australia's NBN, SMS, Toshiba, 5G spectrum, Disney

TelecomTV Staff
By TelecomTV Staff

Aug 11, 2020

via Flickr © 401(K) 2013 (CC BY-SA 2.0)

via Flickr © 401(K) 2013 (CC BY-SA 2.0)

  • Digital Services Tax: resistance is futile
  • Australia's NBN turns the corner
  • SMS gets new lease on life

Masks on! And welcome to this wine, whine and mingle session. Finger food is available and views are various:  please keep up your social distancing.

Cracks are appearing in the US response to European countries’ (the EU as well as the UK and others) pushing forward with digital services taxes following US withdrawal from tax reform negotiations sponsored by the OECD. It’s been reported by Telecompaper that IBM is advising the US government not to respond with unilateral measures, pointing out that  subsequent retaliation from Europe could damage the wider US economy as European countries would be forced to respond with measures likely to impact multiple US sectors. To now US companies have seemed united in opposition to European digital services taxes.

New Zealand’s competent delivery of its Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) network may eventually be matched  by improved performance ‘over the Tasman’. Australia’s NBN is making steady progress after a decade and more of political strife and policy flip-flopping.  The annual losses incurred by NBN Co. have been halved in 2019-20 year-on-year, according to the company's results announcement on Tuesday. This financial year it was $648 million in the red compared to $1.3 billion for 2018-19. 

Good old SMS. Still with us after all these years and still making money. Juniper Research reports that operator revenue from SMS business traffic will hit US$50 billion by 2025, up from the $39.6 billion today. That's an increase of 26 per cent - however, it will be driven not by the actual growth of messaging but by the minimisation of "illegitimate traffic" thanks to much improved SMS firewall technologies. Juniper says fraudulent SMS traffic will fall by 75 per cent over the next five years, from 539 billion massages in 2020 down to 138 billion in 2025. That means operator revenues lost to illegitimate channels will fall from the $5.8 billion expected this year to $1.2 billion by 2025. That's an extra $4.6 billion straight to the bottom line without any increase in proper SMS traffic.

'Ello. Tosh, where's your Toshiba? (famous UK ad back in the day).  After 35 years Japan's Toshiba has consigned the laptop to history. It has sold the remnants of its once mighty personal computing business to Sharp, having already disposed of  80 percent of it to the same company in 2018 for a trifling US$36 million. In 2011 Toshiba was making 17 million laptops a year but by 2017 that had fallen to 1.7 million and the company posted a $318 million loss in 2018 - after fiddling the books and overstating its profits for six consecutive years. It might seem an odd time to pack in the PC, given that the global pandemic has resulted in soaring demand for laptops. But Toshiba regards that as a temporary upward blip on a graph heading relentlessly down. So it has bitten the bullet now and left the bitterly contested laptop market where scale of production and price is everything - apart for premium brands such as Apple.

The US government will assign another 100 MHz of  mid-band spectrum for 5G services once the Department of Defense vacates the 3.45-3.55 GHz range so the frequencies can be used for mobile services.  The move adds more spectrum to the pot currently being auctioned for 5G and means that 530 MHz in the range 3.45-3.98 GHz is set for release. 

Disney has followed through on its promise to increase the cost of its sports streaming service, ESPN, by 20 per cent. Existing subscribers hooked by the $4.99 initial offer will enjoy the existing price for the next 12 months. 

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