New Zealand denied that telecommunications giant Huawei was banned from a 5G network rollout because it is Chinese, saying the problem it faced was a technological one. Wellington also dismissed suggestions its intelligence services came under pressure from allies in the Five Eyes spy network to bar Huawei amid fears about cybersecurity and its potential links to Beijing.
Hong Kong prepares for first online-only banking licenses
In the preparation for Hong Kong’s granting of first online-only banking licenses, numerous banks, fintechs and telecom firms are lining up to get a piece of Hong Kong’s retail and small business banking market.
Spark - Huawei 5G collaboration hindered by NZ intelligence agency ban
New Zealand's largest telecoms carrier Spark said that the country's intelligence agency had barred it from using equipment provided by China's Huawei in its 5G network as it posed “significant national security risks”. The move follows reports the United States is urging its allies to exclude the Chinese telecoms giant from 5G rollouts over cybersecurity fears.
Dubai, Singapore partner on fintech development
The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) entered into a cooperation and referrals agreement between the innovation teams of each authority. The agreement mainly echoes the commitment of both authorities to help design an environment that supports the sustainable development of financial services through emerging technology.
Hong Kong adopts a ‘sandbox’ approach for crypto exchanges
Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) CEO Ashley Alder disclosed that the commission will adopt a “sandbox” regulatory regime for crypto exchanges in the Asian financial hub in order to efficiently monitor digital assets and cryptocurrencies.
Qualcomm and Taiwan Fair Trade Commission end dispute over licensing practices
Qualcomm Incorporated announced that it has reached a mutually agreed settlement with the Taiwan Fair Trade Commission (TFTC) resolving the TFTC’s investigation of Qualcomm and Qualcomm’s litigation challenging the TFTC’s decision alleging violations of Taiwan’s Fair Trade Act. As a result, the whole TFTC decision is replaced by the settlement terms and the decision shall be deemed revoked ab initio (from the beginning) and Qualcomm’s litigation filed in the Taiwan Intellectual Property Court is closed.
US indictment halts ambitions of Chinese semiconductor
Chinese semiconductor maker Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co Ltd has been striving to pave the way for “the era of Chinese chips”. However, the Chinese company is facing hurdles notably with the US Justice Department indicting Fujian Jinhua and Taiwan-based United Microelectronics Corp (UMC) for industrial espionage.
Cuts in spectrum prices in India set to attract bidders
In preparation for the next auction in the country, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has suggested to release more than 8,500 MHz of spectrum across nine bands, including the 3.6GHz 5G frequency. No date was assigned for the sale, but, if all goes according to plan and all lots were sold in the reserve price, it could generate up to INR 5 trillion ($ 73 billion).
At the auction, the Agency wishes to sell the 5G spectrum at INR 4.92 billion per MHz in 20 MHz bands and recommended a 100 MHz cap on the band per bidder. It was reported that the country's revised spectrum limits (a total cap of 35% and a cap of 50% on the spectrum built into the sub-1GHz bands) should be extended to the 3.6 GHz band.
The TRAI will adopt a different strategy this time in order not to repeat what happened in the auction of October 2016, when 60% of the available airwaves were unsold. So, in order to attract interest, TRAI reduced reserve prices of most of the bands. The base price of the 700 MHz spectrum was reduced by 43% to reach INR 65.7 billion per MHz. In 2016, there were no bidders for the 700 MHz band because of the high reserve price.
Analysts believe that despite price reduction, 5G and 700MHz base prices are still high by international standards and expect low interest in the bands
Mobile operators in India are facing a fierce price war after Reliance Jio entered in September 2016, with the three major players bearing heavy debt burdens and low profitability.
The Telecom Department must approve TRAI's recommendations before the Cabinet gives its final approval.
Australia seeks access to encrypted data with controversial legislation
Major tech giants Facebook, Apple, Alphabet and Amazon have expressed opposition against an Australian law that requires them to give authorities access to private encrypted data related to suspected illegal activities, following fears of the increasing risk of terror attacks. The four tech titans will jointly lobby against the proposed bill ahead of a parliamentary vote. If it enters into force, Australia would be one of the first countries to impose such measures.
China Tower’s $6.9 billion IPO becomes the world's largest in two years
State-owned China Tower, the world's largest operator of telecommunications towers, has raised $6.9 billion after pricing its initial public offering at the low end of the expected range. The Chinese company sold 43.1 billion shares at HK$1.26 (US$0.16) apiece.