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?
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Huawei’s 5G technologies face potential ban in Europe
This could result in slow 5G rollout
The controversies and issues surrounding Huawei are far from over. Just last week, the telecommunications giant from China was charged by the US government with bank fraud, obstruction of justice, and theft of technology, among others. Things are not that different in Europe according to Reuters‘ latest report.
You might have heard about Huawei getting banned in certain countries including the US and Australia. These countries have restricted the Chinese company from building next-generation mobile networks or 5G infrastructure due to concerns regarding China’s National Intelligence Law which requires Chinese companies to cooperate willingly to the government when asked.
In Europe, a similar story may soon unfold as the European Commission is considering a de facto ban on Huawei’s 5G technologies within the European Union citing comparable concerns about security.
GSMA, a mobile communications industry body, is open to discuss these issues about Huawei in their next board meeting. The agenda, which was proposed by GSMA Director General Mats Granryd, will take place in late February during Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona. MWC is the industry’s biggest annual gathering spearheaded by GSMA.
As a leader in telecommunications equipment, Huawei is already in partnership with a number of operators worldwide to put up 5G infrastructure. This means a ban will make a big impact on the 5G rollout, at least in Europe. As an example, Europe’s largest telecoms company Deutsche Telekom will have to delay their 5G plans by up to three years if they have to take Huawei out of the picture.
Huawei continuously denies the existence of any backdoor granting easy access to the Chinese government. The company and its founder also deny the allegation that they would spy for China.
Data breach affects almost 9,000 Globe prepaid subscribers
All because of free tickets
Exactly 8,851 prepaid users of Globe Telecom responded to a text promo registration, and now their personal info is available for strangers to see. It appears to be a case of “wrong-send,” but this is something that users shouldn’t ignore.
Globe sent a text blast among its prepaid subscriber base for registration to an “exclusive community of Globe Prepaid customers.” To encourage people to join, the telco is raffling off free tickets to a Blackpink concert, a popular K-pop group, in Manila.
Everything seems to be just another promotional offer. But, once the confirmation email was sent to those who registered, there has been mismatching and users received personal details of another user. The emails contained someone else’s name, full address, and email address.
Globe has already acknowledged the issue with a posted statement via its GlobeICON Facebook page:
Globe Telecom has rectified the issue with affected customers on sending wrong confirmation receipt to another individual and reported the incident to the National Privacy Commission in compliance with regulatory requirements. It was just a case of sending the data registration confirmation receipt to the wrong individual and was not sent en masse or as a group of data. It only affected prepaid customers who have registered to the On The List program to avail of concert tickets and other music venues of Globe events. About 8,851 customers were affected out of 60 million prepaid customers.
Globe Chief Information Security Officer Anton Bonifacio said: “The On The List registration site was taken down immediately to remove access to potential registrants at the time and we have notified all affected prepaid customers of the issue.”
In response, the National Privacy Commission confirmed that Globe has formally notified the concerned government agency regarding the data breach.
The NPC is now “evaluating the incident and verifying the information given to us, following our standard procedure.” They also suggest that affected subscribers monitor their online and offline accounts for any unusual activity while they are looking into the issue.
US officially charges Huawei with technology theft
And 22 other charges
After a tense year of tug of war, the US Justice Department has finally pressed charges against Huawei. For most of last year, Huawei languished in judicial and geopolitical limbo. Stemming from the US, Huawei’s problems drew from shady Iran deals and cybersecurity concerns. As a result, Huawei found itself on the receiving end of numerous controversies.
Now, the war against Huawei has reached a crossroads. A month ago, Canadian authorities arrested the company’s chief finance officer, Meng Wanzhou. The incident underscored the war’s international reach and political implications. However, Meng has so far tread on relatively safe waters. Both Canada and the US have settled for house arrests. Of course, Meng’s light sentence was only temporary.
Recently, the US government has charged Meng (and Huawei) for bank fraud, obstruction of justice, and technology theft, among others. This tremendous list contains several surprises; so far, the conflict revolved only around the Iran deal and Chinese ties.
Overall, Huawei is facing 23 charges. According to the US government, the company’s fraud case comes from the Iran deal. Allegedly, Huawei misled financial institutions and the government about its relationship with Iran. Additionally, Huawei supposedly stole T-Mobile’s technology for its own purposes. The technology includes finger-mimicking hardware that tests phone durability.
Politically, the US primarily worries about the company’s ties with China’s government. However, America’s latest tactic involves throwing everything apart from the kitchen sink. Among all the US’s strategies so far, the charges will potentially inflict the most damage on US-China relations. All eyes are now on Huawei to pull a miracle against a rampaging US beast.
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