Life moves fast, especially in the Philippine telecommunications industry. Earlier this year, the talk of the town was a potential joint venture between Australia’s Telstra and local conglomerate San Miguel Corporation (SMC), which would have brought an end to the telco duopoly of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) and Globe Telecom.
We all know how that turned out — how the ray of hope was shuttered just as quickly as it surfaced. And now, the possibility of SMC, a diversified firm with interests that stretch from food and beverage to oil and infrastructure, providing mobile and internet services is all but kaput.
A report from the Philippine Daily Inquirer today claimed SMC is expected to sell its telecommunications assets to PLDT and Globe in a blockbuster joint deal worth $1 billion. The agreement could be signed off this morning, the paper’s source added. You may recall a similar incident in 2011, when PLDT bought then-rival Sun Cellular from tycoon John Gokongwei.
The highlight of the agreement is the 700MHz spectrum PLDT and Globe stand to acquire, should the deal go through. The wireless spectrum is highly valued for its ability to cover larger areas and provide better cellular coverage inside buildings.
Globe had previously launched a full-on campaign with the promise to “improve internet speed in the country” to get the issue of ownership and distribution of the spectrum in the public discourse, but to no effect. PLDT echoed the same call. Now that they’re getting what they wanted all along, customers should hold them accountable to their words. Because, as anyone in the archipelago knows, delivering quality internet services at reasonable rates should be the top priority of any carrier, with or without the fire of competition.
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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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