Talks of a wireless joint venture between beer giant San Miguel Corporation and Australia’s biggest phone and Internet company Telstra have broken down, as the two parties have conceded that they are no longer forming a third telecom operator in the Philippines, where Internet connectivity is notoriously slow and expensive, not to mention controlled by two large conglomerates, PLDT and Globe Telecom.
SMC president and COO Ramon Ang yesterday told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that SMC and Telstra have “agreed that we can no longer continue with the talks” despite working around the clock to “resolve some issues.” Ang said the local conglomerate would continue to push through with its plans to launch an affordable and high-speed Internet service, regardless of whether it finds a new investor to take Telstra’s place.
In a separate report by The Australian, Telstra chief Andrew Penn confirmed the latest development to what has been one of the biggest tech stories in the Philippines of last year.
“While this opportunity is strategically attractive, and we have great respect for San Miguel Corporation and its president Mr. [Ramon] Ang, it was obviously crucial that the commercial arrangements achieved the right risk-reward balance for all involved,” Penn said. It was previously reported that Telstra was looking to spend up to $US1 billion for proposed mobile plans in the country.
Telstra, for its part, has offered to provide infrastructure-related assistance and consultancy support to SMC and will continue to pursue growth opportunities in Asia. The latter has gained considerable momentum since the Australian carrier acquired submarine communications network Pacnet in 2015 for $US697 million.
The latest State of the Internet report by U.S.-based online content and network firm Akamai reveals that the Philippines has the second-worst average download speed (2.8Mbps) in the Asia-Pacific region, besting only India. By comparison, top-ranked South Korea averaged a speed of 20.5Mbps.
We can’t say we’re surprised to hear that negotiations have sputtered and came to a halt Sunday, leaving a trail of disappointment and unmet expectations. Anyone who has been following this story since it broke could see the writing on the wall, and Telstra must not have liked what it saw.
The skyrocketing estimates of offering affordable, reliable, and high-speed Internet service in an archipelago; the increasingly louder call to reallocate the much-sought-after 700MHz wireless frequency, which is currently mostly held by Liberty Telecom, a subsidiary of San Miguel Corporation; SMC’s failed attempt at making a dent in the local telecoms industry with Wi-Tribe — you can take your pick between these red flags, but there are other concerns.
But the bottomline is the arrival of a third force in the Philippines’ telecom market has been pushed back indefinitely, which means the long-suffering customers of existing telcos will continue to have little to no choice for quality mobile and broadband service.
Below is a copy of Telstra’s press release regarding the failed joint venture.
Negotiations ended on Philippines wireless joint venture
Telstra and San Miguel Corporation have been unable to reach commercial arrangements on a possible equity investment in a wireless joint venture in the Philippines and negotiations have therefore ceased.
Telstra Chief Executive Officer Andrew Penn today said the organisations had agreed at the weekend to bring negotiations to an end.
“Despite an enormous amount of effort and goodwill on all sides, we were simply unable to come to commercial arrangements that would have enabled us all to proceed,” Mr Penn said.
“While this opportunity is strategically attractive, and we have great respect for San Miguel Corporation and its President Mr Ang, it was obviously crucial that the commercial arrangements achieved the right risk-reward balance for all involved.”
Telstra has offered to continue technical network design and construction consultancy support to San Miguel Corporation, should those services be required.
“We continue to pursue growth opportunities in Asia consistent with our strategy. Following our April 2015 acquisition of Pacnet, Telstra is now one of the largest connectivity providers in Asia,” Mr Penn said.
“Our investment decisions will be guided by our capital management framework. Investments remain an important part of our future to ensure sustainable growth in earnings and shareholder returns over time.”
Telstra last year confirmed it had been negotiating a possible joint venture with San Miguel Corporation and envisaged investing up to USD$1 billion should the joint venture proceed.
[irp posts=”7566″ name=”Singapore, S. Korea dominate 4G LTE rankings, Philippines struggles”]
Qualcomm plans to buy Arm with its rivals
It’s a consortium of companies
For NVIDIA, Arm is its greatest the-one-that-got-away story. For months, the chip company worked on an acquisition plan for Arm. However, those plans eventually fell flat. SoftBank, Arm’s current holders, is still focused on getting a buyer for the asset. Now, a party led by Qualcomm is emerging as another potential suitor.
“A party” is, of course, an understatement, in this case. According to the Financial Times, Qualcomm is banding with other chipmakers (see also: their rivals) to each purchase a tiny bit of Arm. While a singular consortium of companies will buy the company, everyone will grab a minority stake in Arm. Of note, Samsung proposed the same deal years ago. Obviously, that old plan didn’t pan out well for either company.
Today’s renewed efforts, however, come after NVIDIA’s failure. NVIDIA reportedly backed out of its plans because acquiring Arm would have stifled competition in the market.
On the other hand, Qualcomm’s plan directly addresses this concern since everyone will own Arm. With enough companies in the consortium, it will end up with the “net effect that ARM is independent,” according to Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon.
Currently, it’s unclear whether the plan has any traction. It will require a lot of cooperation between several companies just to form a consortium. If anything, Samsung might go with the idea since the South Korean company proposed the same previously.
Samsung is increasing the prices of its chipsets
Others have already accepted
Shortages are still plaguing the tech industry. Because of various lockdowns throughout the past few years, new devices haven’t met the surge of demand from consumers. Besides not delivering devices, companies also deal with a loss in profit. Inevitably, that lost profit would rear its head in another way. Samsung, a major player in the chipmaking industry, has decided to up its chipset prices.
First reported by Bloomberg, Samsung is renegotiating the prices of its chipsets. If successful, the company’s clients will reportedly pay between 15 to 20 percent more to get their components. Additionally, chips made on legacy nodes will likely pay more in the end.
According to the report, some clients, currently unnamed, have already agreed to the price increase. Others are still in the process of negotiations. Though it’s certainly more expensive, the current forecast speculates that most clients will likely take the new deal. For one, other companies have already upped their prices as well. Samsung isn’t alone. However, the South Korean company has an advantage: more high-tech machines resulting in better chips and faster production.
Of course, the story doesn’t end there. While some clients have already accepted, there is no indication as to who will ultimately shoulder the brunt of the price increase. Will this mean more expensive devices in the future, or will companies graciously take a lesser margin of profit?
Qualcomm unveils its plans for Wi-Fi 7
Can reach up to 33Gbps speeds
The transition from 5G to 6G shouldn’t be the only thing we’re excited for. Companies are also working on huge improvements for Wi-Fi. Because of the ongoing popularity of 5G, not a lot of the spotlight was shone on the current Wi-Fi 6 and 6E standards. However, home internet is just as important. Now, the future wants to make things even faster. Qualcomm has announced the next chips to introduce Wi-Fi 7.
Recently, the company officially revealed the Wi-Fi 7 Networking Pro Series. The lineup will eventually don the future of routers for a variety of environments including home and enterprise use. According to Qualcomm, the chips will reach speeds of up to 33Gbps with stabler connections and lesser interference. They will support 2.4GHz, 5GHz, and 6GHz channels.
For reference, Wi-Fi 6 and 6E can reach only up to 9.6Gbps speeds. Though the jump is certainly dramatic, reaching higher speeds is crucial in today’s time when 4K streaming is quickly becoming a norm.
Of course, patience is key. Amid Qualcomm’s announcement, Wi-Fi 7 isn’t exactly here yet. Both networks and router makers haven’t released any products for the standard. However, some sources, like MediaTek, are currently predicting 2023 as a target date for the new standard’s launch in some capacity.
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