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Fri, 27 Oct 2017
“Mobile data could be R50 per GB”

MTN could deliver mobile data at R50 per gigabyte if the government releases more spectrum to mobile network operators.

This is according to Godfrey Motsa, CEO of MTN South Africa, who was speaking at the 2017 MyBroadband Conference.

Motsa said they could also reduce out-of-bundle data prices to the same levels as Telkom mobile – 29c per megabyte. However, the government has been dragging its feet on releasing spectrum – the capacity wireless networks require to offer connectivity to mobile devices.

Motsa said the government could release more capacity in the 2,600MHz band right now, as those frequencies have been lying dormant. Should the spectrum be released, it would reduce the amount networks need to spend to expand coverage and increase data speeds.

This in turn will allow them to reduce prices, which will have the greatest impact on South Africa’s poor. “Spectrum is oxygen for networks. Spectrum reduces prices,” said Motsa.

1GB of mobile data on South African networks currently costs around R150 for a 30-day bundle.


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Fri, 13 Oct 2017
Samsung CEO steps down

Samsung Electronics Co. Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Kwon Oh-hyun is stepping down after more than three decades at the company, saying that he’s making way for new leadership amid a corruption trial surrounding the de facto chief.

“As we are confronted with unprecedented crisis inside out, I believe that time has now come for the company start anew, with a new spirit and young leadership to better respond to challenges arising from the rapidly changing IT industry,” Kwon said in a statement Friday.

Kwon is one of the two vice chairmen at Samsung Electronics with Jay Y. Lee, who was sentenced to five years in prison in August for bribing a presidential confidante in return for help in succeeding his hospitalized father, Chairman Lee Kun-hee. The younger Lee has appealed, denying charges.

He’s stepping down even though Samsung’s business remains robust. Earlier on Friday, the Suwon, South Korea-based company reported better-than-projected profit on booming demand for displays and memory chips. Operating income almost tripling to a record 14.5 trillion won ($12.8 billion) in the three months ended September, according to preliminary results.

Kwon will resign from the management board in March next year when his term ends, the company said. Kwon has served as a vice chairman at Samsung Electronics since 2012 and also served as a senior executive at the company’s display division since last year.

“I want my resignation to be an opportunity for a higher level of challenge and innovation and to overcome this difficult situation,” Kwon said in the statement.


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Thu, 28 Sep 2017
Apple reaches an agreement to final terms for Toshiba bid

Apple Inc. has agreed to terms with Bain Capital in the private equity firm’s 2 trillion yen ($18 billion) bid for Toshiba Corp.’s memory chip unit, paving the way for a final agreement announcement as soon as Thursday, according to people familiar with the matter.

Apple is part of a consortium of partners Bain has assembled for the offer aimed at resolving a contentious auction that has stretched over eight months, said the people, asking not to be identified because the matter isn’t public. The formal announcement may slip given Toshiba’s track record of missing deadlines, they said. Dell Inc. and SK Hynix Inc. are also providing financial support.

Apple is interested in the chip unit because of the strategic importance of flash memory. The compact chips are essential for its iPhones and iPods, storing photos, video clips and phone numbers. Only a handful of companies make the highest-end technology and the dominant player is Samsung Electronics Co., a rival in smartphones that controls about 40 percent of the market for flash memory.

Toshiba is selling off its chips business to pay for billions of dollars in losses in its U.S. nuclear business. The company needs to raise the money by March to avoid seeing its shares delisted from the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Toshiba expects the deal to close by March 31 and aims to restore a positive net worth by the end of the fiscal year.

Seiji Ishibashi, a Toshiba spokesman, said the company is aiming to conclude the contract as soon as possible. An Apple spokesman did not respond to requests for comment outside normal business hours in California. Shares rose 1.7 percent in Tokyo trading Thursday.

The auction has been complicated by legal action from Western Digital Corp., which has argued it should have veto rights in any sale because of its partnership with Toshiba in the chips business. The Japanese company disputes that and sued Western Digital for interfering in the auction.

Toshiba said last week that its board had agreed to sell the chip unit to the Bain consortium. But Western Digital said that it would seek to block the sale and filed another request for arbitration. The U.S. company also warned Toshiba that legal proceedings against the planned sale of its memory chip business could drag on until 2019.

“We intend to continue our successful legal efforts into the binding arbitration process,” said John Hueston, counsel for Western Digital and partner at Hueston Hennigan.

KKR & Co., Bain’s rival in the chip bidding, tried to persuade Apple to switch sides, Bloomberg News reported this week. KKR and Western Digital had previously cooperated on efforts to buy the chips business and keep it from chip rivals such as Hynix.

Bain has been in discussions with Apple about more than financial terms for an investment. As the largest consumer of the type of chips that Toshiba produces, Apple is aiming to get the best deal on price and volume for a key component and has a vested interest in keeping the market competitive.


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