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Amazon takes Prime Video global; TPG wins bid to be Singapore's 4th telco


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Ep.1: Broadcast's Big Year


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Amazon takes Prime Video global; TPG wins bid to be Singapore's 4th telco


* As expected, Inc.'s Amazon Prime Video is now available in over 200 countries and territories across the globe. Following Amazon's multiple investments to build its Indian content library, Prime members in India will now have access to new-release Bollywood and regional Indian films, as well as Hollywood movies and day-after-broadcast U.S. TV shows.

* Australia's TPG Telecom Ltd. made the winning spectrum auction bid to become Singapore's fourth mobile operator, according to the city-state's Infocomm Media Development Authority. TPG bid S$105 million, or about US$74 million, in the New Entrant Spectrum Auction and will be allocated 60 MHz of spectrum comprising 20 MHz in the 900 MHz band and 40 MHz in the 2.3 GHz band.

* Fox Networks Group's Asia unit filed legal actions against Bangkok Bank Public Co. Ltd. in Hong Kong and Bangkok, seeking more than US$71 million related to the distribution of its channels in Thailand. The 21st Century Fox Inc. subsidiary claims the bank failed to honor two bank guarantees securing payments on licensing agreements by Thai pay TV operators GMM Grammy Public Co. Ltd. and CTH Public Co. Ltd.


* Fujitsu Ltd. plans to finalize a deal with Lenovo Group Ltd. to partner on the PC business by the end of the fiscal year, which will preserve the Fujitsu brand, The Nikkei reports. Fujitsu also seeks to spend ¥100 billion on IT security R&D in the next three years.

* Sakai Display Products Corp., a unit of Sharp Corp. and its parent company Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd., will stop supplying LCD panels to Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. in 2017, The Sankei Shimbun reports. The companies reportedly could not agree on a price increase for SDP's panels.

* NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corp.) plans to start online broadcasts of its two terrestrial TV channels over the internet starting in 2019, The Asahi Shimbun reports. The public broadcaster is reportedly looking to expand the service in stages in the run-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.


* South Korean telco KT Corp. will complete its 5G network setup by September 2017, Yonhap News Agency reports. The network will be deployed in parts of Seoul and Pyeongchang, the host city for the 2018 Winter Olympics, before the 5G service officially launches during the Games.

* The Korean Agency for Technology and Standards is looking into recent reports of battery malfunctions with the iPhone 6S, asking Apple Inc. to submit relevant reports, Korean Economic Daily reports. The agency is investigating whether this is a safety issue similar to that of Samsung's discontinued Galaxy Note 7.

* Independent mobile phone dealers are criticizing a new ID scanning policy required by telcos SK Telecom Co. Ltd., KT and LG Uplus Corp., Chosun Biz reports. The telcos said they distributed ID scanners to dealers to prevent identity theft, but the dealers claimed the telcos demanded a deposit of 100,000 South Korean won and that the scanners have technical issues.


* Alibaba Planet, the music arm of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., has stopped providing music streaming services, Caixin reports. Alibaba Planet plans to transform into an online community for interactions between fans and celebrities.

* Beijing-based artificial intelligence technology company SenseTime raised US$120 million to build an AI business ecosystem, Sina reports. Dalian Wanda Group Co. Ltd. and International Data Group are among the investors.

* Chinese internet portal Inc. is seeking new ways to run its content department. Chief editor Chen Zhaohua, who will resign in early 2017, said Sohu will adopt more original content from self-publishers.


* Thailand's National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) ordered telcos Advanced Info Service and True Move to begin offering affordable 4G SIM cards to low-income Thais by March 2017, the Bangkok Post reports. NBTC Secretary-General Takorn Tantasith reminded the two companies that their 4G license agreements require them to offer at least 10% lower tariff rates on the low-cost SIM cards.

* In other NBTC news, the Thai telecoms regulator called on government agencies and state enterprises to return 537 radio frequencies by April 2017, Krungthep Turakij reports. Once the frequencies are returned, the NBTC will reportedly consider whether to reallocate the FM frequencies or introduce a digital radio system.

* Indonesian telco tower leasing company PT Bali Towerindo Sentra Tbk secured loans of US$1 million and 114 billion Indonesian rupiah from Sinarmas Bank, Indotelko reports. The funds will be used to buy components for microcell poles and fiber-optics.

* Prawit Wongsuwan, Thailand's deputy prime minister, dismissed public concerns that proposed amendments to the country's Computer Crime Act will violate basic rights to freedom of expression and association, Prachachat reports. Prawit also said Thailand will require a single internet gateway to safeguard national security, despite the government seemingly dropping this idea in 2015 due to opposition from privacy campaigners and human rights groups.

* Malaysian pay TV operator Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd. appointed Shafiq Abdul Jabbar as its new CFO, The Star reports. The former CFO of CIMB Bank Bhd. will start his new role on Jan. 9, 2017.


* Telstra Corp. Ltd. will not participate in Australia's 700 MHz spectrum auction, as competition rules prevent a single mobile operator to have more than two 20 MHz blocks of the 700 MHz band, The Australian reports. The ACCC, or Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, said allowing Singtel Optus Pty. Ltd, Vodafone UK's Australia unit or TPG Telecom to bid without competition from Telstra will provide better results for mobile customers.

* Australian pay TV provider Foxtel announced that its OTT service Foxtel Play is now available on Telstra TV, offering live HD streaming on the device.

* Telstra appointed Håkan Eriksson as its new chief technology officer, Community Radio Network reports. He joins the telco from Ericsson AB, where he was chief strategy officer for Southeast Asia and Oceania. He is set to start in late February 2017.


* The smartphone game "Pokémon Go" launched in India and other South Asian countries including Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. In India, developer Niantic Inc. and The Pokémon Company partnered with telco Reliance Jio to launch the augmented reality game, with almost 3,000 Jio Stores and select partner locations to be used as PokéStops and Gyms for gameplay.

* India's Department of Telecom issued notices to six telcos including Bharti Airtel Ltd., Vodafone and Idea Cellular for underreported revenues totaling 294.74 billion Indian rupees, The Economic Times (India) reports.

* Chinese smartphone manufacturer Nubia will invest US$100 million in the next five years to further its expansion in India, The Economic Times (India) reports. The company is also reportedly on the lookout for mobile technology startups to invest in and local content creators to partner with, and plans to commence local production soon.


Investors sell off Facebook, but analysts see buying opportunity: Recent metrics problems continue to mount for the social media giant, adding to a bear case that has long investors looking for value in the stock.

Trump adds Uber, Tesla CEOs to advisory panel, meets with tech leaders: President-elect Donald Trump will meet with leaders in technology to discuss ways to bring jobs in the sector back to America. Among the expected attendees are the leaders of Google, Facebook, Amazon, Tesla and Uber.

Capitol Connection: Media ownership reform: Perhaps the time for Congress or courts: With the FCC having tried unsuccessfully for years to update its media ownership rules, it may be time to look outside the agency, either to Congress or to the courts.


Economics of Internet: LeEco expands to US in an attempt to shake up OTT and other markets: The Chinese company began offering its hardware and over-the-top services in the U.S. in November, gaining the attention of many for its unorthodox style and business plan.

Broadcast Investor: Satellite radio projections: Sirius XM continues success amid increasing competition: In 2016, Sirius XM benefited from strong auto sales, with its strategic investments in the connected-car platform leading to improved revenue and subscriber guidance.

Nozomi Ibayashi, Sunny Um, Frances Wang, 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.