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Tata to lay off 5,000 telecom unit staff; SoftBank-Uber deal challenged


MediaTalk Episode 27


Insight Weekly: Bank boards lag on gender parity; future of office in doubt; US LNG exports leap


MediaTalk | Episode 26: Video game industry growth softens amid post-pandemic hurdles


Insight Weekly: Job growth faces hurdles; shale firms sit on cash pile; Africa's lithium future

Tata to lay off 5,000 telecom unit staff; SoftBank-Uber deal challenged


* Nearly 5,000 Tata Teleservices Ltd. employees are expected to be laid off in the coming weeks as the debt-ridden Tata Group unit prepares to shut up shop, The Economic Times (India) reports. The company is drawing an exit plan for a majority of its employees including a notice period of three to six months, severance packages for those willing to leave earlier, a voluntary retirement scheme for older staff, while transferring only a small portion of its employees to other group companies, according to the report.

* Uber Technologies Inc.'s major shareholders are threatening to maintain their rights to first refusal and delay the company's deal with SoftBank Group Corp., four people close to the talks told the Financial Times (London). The deal will reportedly trigger a series of governance changes upon closing and the removal of super-voting shareholder rights.

* Eros International Media Ltd. is allocating up to US$225 million to develop content in the 2018 fiscal year, wherein 70% will be spent on its film business, while the remaining 30% will be used to improve its over-the-top service Eros Now, Television Post reports.


* SKY Perfect JSAT Corp. — owner of the SKY PerfecTV! satellite broadcasting platform — announced the first Asia-based satellite connectivity deployment of Kymeta mTenna technology. The partnership between the Japanese satellite giant and Kymeta Corp., a U.S. antenna technology company, aims to provide uninterrupted, reliable connectivity on the move, where terrestrial networks are unavailable.

* SoftBank Group Corp. and U.S. software company Wellspring launched a partnership to delivery intellectual property and innovation management software, according to a press release.


* South Korean telco LG Uplus Corp. successfully completed a test to provide ultrahigh-definition IPTV services using next-generation 5G equipment through fixed wireless access technology, Yonhap News Agency reports. The technology enables wireless data transmission from a 5G base station to IPTVs in households so that UHD services can be available to the viewers in areas without high-speed internet connection. Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.'s equipment was used in the test.

* South Korean telco KT Corp. has won a contract worth over 20 billion won to build an autonomous vehicle cluster in the country's tech city Pangyo by 2019, ZDNet Korea reports. The company plans to set up a 5G trial network in Pangyo Zero City by the end of this year and finish turning the cluster into an environment where autonomous cars can drive alongside other traditional cars and pedestrians by 2019.

* Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. will unveil its artificial intelligence-powered building solution b.IoT, which automatically controls a building's heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, lighting, and security systems, on Oct. 18, Digital Times reports. The technology has already been applied in the company's R&D center in Poland.

* Meanwhile, the Samsung Group unit struck a deal with Thai cinema chain Major Cineplex Group Public Co. Ltd. to supply its high-resolution high-dynamic-range LED screen for cinema, ET News reports.


* Tencent Holdings Ltd. unit China Literature, or Yuewen Group, is eyeing an approval of its IPO in the Hong Kong bourse this week, The Standard (Hong Kong) reports. The company is reportedly seeking to raise as much as US$800 million.

* Tencent will invest US$400 million in Uber's Indian rival Ola, TNN reports, citing documents filed with the Registrar of Companies.

* China's UYoung and the UK's Sixteen South are partnering to produce children's programs for the international market, World Screen reports. UYoung also secured China broadcast rights to Sixteen South's animated series "Lily's Driftwood Bay," wherein the second season has been sold to iQiyi, Youku and Tencent.

* Chinese sports comedy "Never Say Die" raked in US$221 million in worldwide grosses in less than two weeks since its premiere, and topped the weekend's international box office with US$66 million in four markets, beating Sony's "Blade Runner 2049," Variety reports, citing comScore.

* Peng Gang resigned from the ride-hailing company Yidao Yongche as its CEO, Awtmt reports. Peng said he has no plan to go back to Yidao's previous owner LeEco, which he joined in 2010.

* Chinese e-commerce company JD.Com Inc. introduced China's first peopleless warehouse, Sina News reports. Located in suburban Shanghai and occupying 40,000 square meters, the warehouse is equipped with robots only.


* Sony Corp.'s Sony Pictures Networks India won a six-year exclusive media rights deal with Cricket Australia for the Indian subcontinent broadcast of Australia's international matches, which it will air across its 11-channel sports network, Press Trust of India reports. The rights will secure broadcast in countries including Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

* India's National Company Law Tribunal Court will decide on Nov. 2 if it will admit Tech Mahindra's insolvency case against Reliance Communications Ltd., The Economic Times (India) reports.

* The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority ordered TV service operators and cable operators to block 79 unlicensed channels showing Urdu content, Propakistani reports.

* TCL Alcatel struck a data bundling deal with Reliance Jio that will give customers of the Chinese handset maker up to 20 GB of additional 4G data, The Economic Times (India) reports.

* U.S.-based Advanced Micro Devices Inc. will expand its India team by hiring 500 engineers who will work on new technologies including augmented reality and virtual reality, The Economic Times (India) reports.


* Hong Kong's Celestial Tiger Entertainment scored exclusive pay-TV rights to Chinese action blockbuster "Wolf Warriors 2" across multiple Asian territories, Variety reports. The deal covers Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, Singapore and the Philippines, as well as pay-per-view, video-on-demand and over-the-top rights for CTE channels Celestial Movies and cHK.

* Thai satellite operator Thaicom Public Co. Ltd. sold 42% of CS LoxInfo shares to Advanced Wireless Network for 7.8 baht per share, totaling at 1.95 billion baht, Thai Post reports. CS Loxinfo Public Co. Ltd. is one of Thailand's largest internet service providers and is a subsidiary of Thaicom.

* Vertex Ventures, the venture capital arm of Singapore's sovereign wealth fund Temasek Holdings Pte Ltd, has finished its biggest fundraising for Southeast Asian and Indian technology-related deals, DealStreetAsia reports. Vertex has concluded its third Southeast Asian fund at US$210 million, exceeding its target of US$150 million.

* Philippines-based Globe Telecom is looking into issuing retail bonds in 2018 to finance capital expenditures, The Philippine Star reports.

* Smart Axiata Co. Ltd., a Cambodia-based subsidiary of a Malaysian telco Axiata Group Bhd., has agreed to provide a US$1.5 million loan facility to Cambodian digital media and entertainment company Sabay Digital Plus Co. Ltd., business news website The Edge Markets reports. The agreement includes a call option agreement where Smart Axiata, should it decide to execute the option, will hold 30% of Sabay Digital's shares.

* Thailand's National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission said it successfully tested a new system to prevent signal interference during King Bhumibol's cremation service on Oct. 26, Nation TV reports. Over 900,000 Thais are expected to gather for the event at the Grand Palace in Bangkok, which will be broadcast live on TV and online.


* Foxtel added hybrid fiber-coaxial services to its National Broadband Network offerings, bundling broadband services with content plans that offer unlimited data access on all Foxtel content, ZDNet reports, citing Foxtel CEO Peter Tonagh. The addition of HFC allows the company to offer its services to "over 92% of Australian households with either ADSL or NBN connectivity," Tonagh said.

* The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission announced that it will hold off on its decision concerning NBN Co. Ltd.'s proposed changes to its special access undertaking, until the company reaches an agreement with its customers on the pricing model.

* Air New Zealand began trialing its new in-flight Wi-Fi service powered by Inmarsat plc's global GX satellite service on its 777-300 fleet, with the completion of the installation to be finished by June 2018.


The Week Ahead: Senator weighs wireline vs. wireless broadband: While a New Hampshire senator looks at ways to expand broadband in her state, a House subcommittee will look at security breaches at the standards setting agency that is supposed to help mitigate cybersecurity attacks.

Data Dispatch: Houston Rockets deal leads media M&A in September: The Houston Rockets purchase marked September's largest M&A deal in the media sector, according to data collected by S&P Global Market Intelligence.


Economics of Internet: Netflix (India): Netflix Inc. launched in India in January 2016 as part of its major global roll out. The service has maintained a strategy in the region of targeting upper-income clientele through a premium price point and highly selective content acquisitions.

Economics of Networks: License fee hikes help offset subscriber declines for cable networks: Cord cutting has hit the pay TV universe, but the industry continues to grow revenue with rate increases to affiliate fees.

Joji Sakurai, Myungran Ha, Frances Wang, Patrick Tibke and Ed Eduard 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.