Globe Telecom, one half of the Philippines’ telco duopoly, held its first Wonderful Wold with Globe event last June 24. And on the sidelines of the evening’s program that saw Netflix, Sports Illustrated, and Turner Broadcasting, among others, joining Globe’s growing list of content partners, we spoke with Globe chief advisor Dan Horan about data capping, expanding fiber-internet service in the Philippines, what the Netflix partnership will look like and mean for customers, and his company’s evolution into a content provider.
Spoiler alert: Data capping — two words you should never ever say to an avid internet user — is here to stay for the foreseeable future. Or at least as far as Globe’s mobile and broadband services are concerned. On a more positive note, Horan hinted at the likelihood that data rates would drop over time.
This interview has been edited and shortened for clarity.
GadgetMatch: You introduced several new content partners this evening. How will your expanded list of streaming services affect your data-capping scheme?
Dan Horan: Obviously, over time content changes. Now, we’re seeing lots of on-demand videos. As you know, we just launched a partnership with Netflix.
One of the things that’s really important is that we’re continuously building our networks to allow services to truly operate well. Earlier, you saw speeds of up to 100Mbps, which is more than enough for video services. We’re also building our WiFi networks. In many shopping malls, you see our up-to-100Mbps WiFi connections. We offer those connections for free, and not just to Globe customers. We’re also building our broadband network, which is physically the hardest because you have to go from house to house.
All of those have different cost structures and different capabilities, and they cost a lot of money. The investment in San Miguel Corporation alone cost us three quarters of a billion U.S. dollars. As much as I would love to offer our carrier services for free, we do need to recover some money. So it’s a delicate balancing act between making our shareholders happy and getting content in the hands of consumers affordably and fast.
You’ll see over the next few months that we will start to introduce more and more data options. And in the coming years, we will be adjusting our packages and prices to allow the Filipino community to get as much content as we can give them.
Fiber expansion is a topic of interest among internet users in the country. What are your plans for the future?
We have so many new things coming. One of the things we’re working on right now is that we’re putting future builds on our website to give you an idea when fiber will be available in your area. We also have $60 million in terms of upgrades happening on a lot of existing infrastructure as we speak.
Binondo is a good example, where we installed fiber everywhere. So if you want gigabyte speeds in that area, we can give it to you finally. I can also tell you that we have a big investment right now, and within the next three or four months, you’re gonna be seeing a lot of new locations that we’ll be upgrading with fiber. In Quezon City, there will be a lot of locations.
Netflix mentioned earlier that Globe is its first partner in the Philippines. How will the deal impact consumers?
So we signed an exclusive agreement with Netflix. And what that means is that customers will soon start to see services from Globe and Netflix that won’t be available anywhere else. It will be a mixture of both content and streaming packages. I can’t be more specific, but you’ll start to see things that are currently not available in the Philippines.
Let’s talk about Globe’s transformation into an entertainment company. Is this the next crucial step for your company?
Absolutely. We don’t treat ourselves as a telco anymore. I don’t think anybody mentioned megabytes or gigabytes or things of that nature tonight. You saw stories, you saw emotions, you saw brands that bring content to life. For us, those brands go hand-in-hand with our networks. The two have to work together.
With Globe Studios (which will produce original films and shows for the company), for example, we have the ability to make our own content, which we couldn’t have done before, and deliver it to anyone, anytime, anywhere. For me, that’s where we start to think of things from a lifestyle perspective.
A big question is where Globe Studios will put the content it creates. Will it only be available on Globe portals?
No, not at all. What’s great is that we can put the content in different platforms. We can put it in the cinema, and take it from cinema to subscription and so forth. The others we can upload to YouTube; some we can put in services like Astro, HOOQ, and Netflix. What Globe Studios gives the Filipino community is a platform to create content and monetize it internationally. If we have something that’s marketable worldwide, then why not?
US government will be banned from using Huawei and ZTE tech
Not a total ban, though
The president of the United States has just imposed a major ban against two Chinese tech giants, Huawei and ZTE, from working with the US government. The ban is a component of the Defense Authorization Act which US President Donald Trump has just signed after months of discussions.
We first heard news about the bill earlier this month followed by reports of Huawei spying on people and ZTE getting banned after getting accused of selling merchandise to US rivals. The fiasco hindered Huawei phones from getting sold through US carriers. ZTE, on the other hand, was saved by Trump as confirmed by his tweet.
In the end, though, both Chinese companies now have the same fate. The US Congress worked on a measure that will essentially ban the US government and soon-to-be allies from using components and availing services from Huawei, ZTE, and a number of other Chinese communications companies.
The ban, which will go into effect over the next two years, doesn’t completely cut the ties of the US with Huawei and ZTE. The Chinese companies are not allowed to be part of any “essential” or “critical” systems of the US government, but they can still work with the US government as long as they will not be used to route or view data.
Huawei is not happy about the ban, of course, and calls it a “random addition” to the defense bill which is “ineffective, misguided, and unconstitutional.” The company also said that the ban will increase cost for consumers and businesses.
Via: The Verge
Samsung falls to less than one percent market share in China
Might pull out of Chinese market by next year
Recently, Samsung launched the Galaxy Note 9 to worldwide acclaim. Ironically, despite the positive response, the company is still slogging through one of its most dismal years to date. Previously, the Galaxy S9 opened to tepid, abysmal sales.
Now, with the dawn of more capable competitors, Samsung is falling more drastically than ever before. Formerly a stalwart in China, the company has now fallen to less than one percent market share in one of the world’s biggest markets.
Just a few years ago, Samsung’s phones captured a comfortable market share lead at 20 percent. The huge lead accurately represented Samsung’s grip on the market at the time.
However, with the recent developments (or lack thereof), the balance of power is steadily shifting. This year, gigantic (but more affordable) outings from smaller companies — Huawei, OnePlus, OPPO, Xiaomi — have taken the market by storm.
Besides the downpour of competitive rivals, Samsung has cited the decline of the smartphone market at large as a reason. From the lack of revolutionary features, adoption and upgrade rates have declined, causing an overall plateauing of phone sales.
According to Reuters, Samsung is considering drastic measures to alleviate the slump in sales. Most radically, the company might pull out of the Chinese market entirely.
Specifically, the plan affects Samsung’s Tianjin factory in Northern China. On its own, the facility manufactures 36 million phones per year. Additionally, Samsung has other plants nearby in Huizhou and Vietnam.
Currently, Samsung officials have yet to decide on the Chinese market’s ultimate fate. However, the pull-out is still a tempting move to improve efficiency.
Regardless, Samsung will remain as a global powerhouse even if it withdraws from the Chinese market. If anything, the move will dictate the company’s (and its Chinese competitors’) trajectory for the future.
Besides Samsung, Apple has also fared similarly, bowing out to Chinese brands in multiple markets.
EU might force Apple to abandon the Lightning cable
Voting yes for a USB-powered iPhone
Recently, the EU has gone on a mass crusade against the world’s biggest tech firms. To the benefit of the region’s consumers, the European Commission is trying to create a universally competitive industry.
In 2009, the EU has urged tech firms to create a more universal standard for smartphone charging. At the time, fourteen companies including Apple and Samsung signed the pledge.
However, as you can probably guess, these efforts fell terribly flat. Companies have still segmented the industry into a plethora of charger options — micro-USB, USB Type-C, and Lightning, for starters.
Irked by the lack of results, EU Commissioner of Competition Margrethe Vestager has taken matters into her own hands. The Commission is researching if additional regulations can rescue the industry.
Currently, the EU is concerned over the rising number of wasted chargers and cables. Because of the different standards, users are forced to shelve their old cables to accommodate phone upgrades.
Among the affected companies, Apple has created the most disparity. Notoriously, the company has stuck with its own exclusive cables. Whereas its competitors have relied on USB standards, Apple has used FireWire, the dock connector, and the Lightning cable.
Apple’s exclusivity creates an advantageous but unfair revenue stream for the company. Users are forced to source their cables from the company directly (or indirectly through licensed products).
As such, any future EU regulations will likely affect Apple the most. From a consumer’s standpoint, Apple switching to USB will please users the most.
Even without the regulation, a USB-powered iPhone is still plausible. Previously, Apple had already considered a break from Lightning before releasing the iPhone X.
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