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SoftBank invests in satellite startup; Thailand tightens cybercrime law

Southeast Asian broadband providers report varying performance amid COVID-19

Cable networks react to pandemic by cutting SG&A, programming costs

Strong Competition Remains For Thailand Digital Terrestrial TV Channel

ITU: Regulators discuss impacts of COVID-19 on policymaking


SoftBank invests in satellite startup; Thailand tightens cybercrime law

TOP NEWS

* SoftBank Group Corp. will invest ¥100 billion, or about US$848 million, in OneWeb Ltd., a U.S. satellite startup that's aiming to launch a global telecom network, according to Jiji Press, citing sources familiar with the matter. The investment is reportedly part of SoftBank's strategy to boost profits overseas.

* Thailand's National Legislative Assembly voted unanimously to pass a new version of the Computer Crime Act that allows the government to block any webpage it deems harmful to national security or the "good morals of the people," Krungthep Turakij reports. The act also authorizes the government to establish a single internet gateway, despite widespread opposition from privacy campaigners and human rights groups.

PAN-ASIAN NEWS

* Fox Networks Group Asia named Italo Zanzi as executive vice president and managing director of its Fox Sports business, leading the team across Asia and the Middle East. He joins Fox from A.S. Roma, an Italian Serie A football club.

JAPAN

* Dentsu Inc. said its global business headquarters, Dentsu Aegis Network Ltd., acquired Indian digital design firm Fractal Ink Design Studio Private Ltd. Fractal will join Dentsu's Isobar network, one of the Japanese advertising giant's 10 global network digital brands.

* Panasonic Corp. agreed to supply Tesla Motors Inc. with solar panels, according to The Nikkei. The deal is expected to be announced officially this month.

SOUTH KOREA

* South Korean terrestrial TV station SBS (Seoul Broadcasting System) successfully completed the world's first UHD broadcasting test, E Daily reports. The test was conducted with an actual broadcasting system, unlike previous tests that were done in a modeled broadcasting environment.

* South Korea's first Apple Store is expected to open in late 2017, Chosun Biz reports. It will reportedly enable faster launches of new iPhone models and improved quality of after-sales services. The company normally prioritizes countries with Apple Stores for new product launches.

* U.S. mobile carrier Verizon Communications Inc. will join Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.'s software update to disable its discontinued Galaxy Note 7 in January 2017, changing its previous stance against it, Chosun Biz reports. This puts all four major U.S. mobile carriers onboard with the Samsung Group unit's initiative to block the device's battery charging.

CHINA, HONG KONG AND TAIWAN

* WeChat, the Chinese social media and messaging platform owned by Tencent Holdings Ltd., expanded its video sharing services from six to 10 seconds with editing functions enhanced, The Paper reports. This could reportedly create a rapid change in clients' advertising patterns, from graphics to video.

* In other Tencent news, the company is partnering with Shanghai International Automobile City, a government-backed car production base, to develop autonomous driving, high-definition mapping technologies and a smart network for cars, The Hong Kong Economic Times reports. Tencent will also set up a laboratory in the area aimed at accelerating commercialization of self-driving cars.

* Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group Co. Ltd. joined with Chinese e-commerce company JD.com and other investors to acquire 22.4% of Yinlong Group, a Chinese lithium battery maker, for 3 billion Chinese yuan, China Money Network reports. The Zhuhai-based new energy solutions provider is valued at 13.4 billion yuan, with Wanda injecting 500 million yuan in the acquisition.

SOUTHEAST ASIA

* Nokia Corp. and PLDT Inc. subsidiary Smart Communications achieved 5G speeds of 2.5 Gbps using 100 MHz with low latency of 1 millisecond, demonstrating 5G-ready capabilities for Internet of Things applications. Both companies will partner on conducting joint research to develop 5G technology.

* Apple Inc. will establish Apple Innovation Centers in four cities across Indonesia in 2017, Liputan 6 reports. The company will invest 1.1 trillion Indonesian rupiah to establish the centers.

* Thailand's National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission plans to auction off an unused 80 MHz of spectrum from the 2,600 MHz band in 2017, in preparation for the arrival of commercial 5G services around 2020, Krungthep Turakij reports. The NBTC estimates the auction will generate 4 billion Thai baht in state revenue and 1.3 trillion baht in economic value added.

* In other NBTC news, the Thai regulator will launch a three-year, 2.5 billion Thai baht subsidies program in 2017 to help struggling digital TV stations broadcast to satellite and cable platforms, The Nation reports. The NBTC will also extend due dates for upfront digital TV license fees, and circulate another 4 million digital TV set-top box vouchers, each worth 690 baht, to accelerate expansion of Thailand's digital TV coverage.

* Indonesian e-commerce platform Bukalapak recorded total transactions of 350 billion Indonesian rupiah during Indonesia's National Online Shopping Day, Viva reports. Last week's event reportedly saw 1.2 million products sold.

* Singapore's Infocomm Media Development Authority named Tan Kiat How as its new CEO, effective Jan. 1, 2017, The Straits Times reports. Tan replaces Gabriel Lim, who will stay on as second permanent secretary of communications and information.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* U.S.-based IT giant Cognizant Corp. agreed to acquire Sydney-based IT project management service provider Adaptra for an undisclosed sum. Approximately 100 Adaptra personnel will join Cognizant as part of the acquisition.

* Fox Sports' Australian unit will remain the A-League's main broadcaster, with a deal worth A$200 million expected to be announced this week, the Herald Sun reports. Negotiations for the soccer rights are reportedly in the final stage and include free-to-air and digital components. The current deal expires in May 2017, and the new deal would start with the next season in October 2017.

* Australia-based Internet of Things startup Thinxtra will launch an IoT network in Hong Kong in 2017, the South China Morning Post reports, its first venture outside Australia and New Zealand. Thinxtra will work with connectivity provider Sigfox to deploy a low-power wide-area network to allow device connectivity over longer distances with reduced energy consumption.

INDIA AND SOUTH ASIA

* Australian-owned ride-hailing app Limofied will launch in the Pakistani cities of Lahore and Faisalabad on Dec. 25, The Express Tribune reports. The service will reportedly expand soon to other key cities in the country.

* Discovery Kids will deliver three "Angry Birds" TV series to India, World Screen reports. The Discovery Communications Inc. unit will air the animated shows, which are based on the characters from the mobile game created by Rovio Entertainment Ltd., starting in the first quarter of 2017.

* Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. unveiled Mobicash Mobile Wallet in partnership with the State Bank of India, The Hindu Business Line reports. It will be initially be available in Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana and Bihar and launched across India by the end of December. The service works with both a smartphone and a normal feature phone.

FEATURED NEWS

Facebook original content would enter crowded field, but opportunity exists: Facebook recently confirmed that it is considering an original content strategy. Industry observers outlined how it might avoid expensive competition for resources with established digital video giants like Netflix and Amazon.

CAPITAL Letters: Event ticket sale reform hits back at bot-powered scalping: After decades of paying a lot more for a lot less selection of live entertainment and sporting event tickets, frustrated consumers received some help this week.

MarketWeek: Redstone letter leaves Viacom investors seeing red: Prospective M&A has a tendency to get investors' hopes up. But when those hopes are dashed, so too are company stock prices.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Global Multichannel: Fox looking to consolidate global TV, film assets with bid for Sky: 21st Century Fox has wanted to take control of Sky for years, and it appears the timing is right as the pound has become extremely weak against the dollar in the wake of the Brexit.

Consumer Insights: Most popular content on Hulu not a surprise: Current season episodes of TV shows were the most watched and most enjoyed content on Hulu among subscribers we surveyed this fall. In our September 2016 online consumer survey we asked Hulu subscribers what content they viewed on the service as well as which type of content they found most enjoyable.

Joji Sakurai, Sunny Um, Emily Lai, Patrick Tibke and Kevin Osmond contributed to this report. The Daily Dose has an editorial deadline of 7 a.m. Hong Kong time. Some external links may require a subscription.