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T-Mobile/Sprint's merger update; Pentagon's cloud deal saga

Top news

* U.S. states seeking to block T-Mobile US Inc.'s merger with Sprint Corp. asked U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Lehrburger in Manhattan to make public the sensitive emails between senior executives and federal regulators who approved the deal, Bloomberg News reports. A lawyer for the states stressed that such records would help the public understand why the deal was approved by the Trump administration. States opposing the deal believe that the merger would hurt competition in the wireless industry and could increase prices.

* Inc. claimed that it lost a Pentagon cloud computing contract worth up to $10 billion due to political interference by U.S. President Donald Trump, Bloomberg News reports, citing the judge overseeing the case. The company in November filed a lawsuit under seal in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, arguing that the Pentagon's award of the deal to Microsoft Corp. was not based on a fair evaluation of the companies' bids. Amazon is reportedly seeking to prohibit the Defense Department from proceeding without a new evaluation or award decision.

* Top Democrats on the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee criticized U.S. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai on Dec. 5 over an agency probe into the sale and accessibility of customer mobile location data that they say has taken too long. The comments came during an FCC oversight hearing held by the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee. Pai said he hopes the investigation will wrap up by January 2020.


* Amazon's cloud unit, Amazon Web Services Inc., struck a deal with the National Football League Inc. to use cloud computing and artificial intelligence to improve players' health and safety. As part of the partnership, AWS will provide software to examine volumes of player health data and related information as well as scan video images to treat and rehabilitate injuries in a better manner.

* Apple Inc. acquired carbon-free aluminum from Montreal-based Elysis LP, a joint venture of Rio Tinto and Alcoa Corp., Reuters reports. The aluminum will be shipped this month from the Alcoa Technical Center in Pittsburgh and used in Apple products.

* Industry experts urged U.S. lawmakers to prioritize unserved and rural areas when freeing up spectrum for 5G deployment, noting this step is crucial for the U.S. to lead in the global race to next-gen technology. At a hearing before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation and the Internet, representatives from various wireless advocacy groups and local governments said states in middle America are often overlooked for 5G spectrum allocation due to their smaller populations, even though their infrastructure needs are equally as pressing.

* Travel platform TripAdvisor Inc. acquired menu management company SinglePlatform LLC from Endurance International Group Holdings Inc., a provider of cloud-based platform solutions. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Television & OTT

* Three-fourths of the way through its centennial season, the NFL registered 5% audience growth across its varied vehicles. Through week 13 of the pro football league's 100th season, its linear and digital outlets have scored an average per-game viewership of 16.9 million, a 5% increase from the corresponding stage of the 2018 season. On linear TV, CBS (US), FOX (US), ESPN (US), NBC (US) and NFL Network (US) through Dec. 2 tallied a 5% gain to 16.7 million viewers, according to data from Nielsen Holdings PLC.

* Netflix Inc.'s head of original films, Scott Stuber, said the streaming platform is working to make audience metrics for its films more transparent, Variety reports. Speaking at an event, Stuber said the company will release the viewership data since it recognizes the importance of such information to the creative community and to the press.

The day ahead

Early morning futures indicators pointed to a higher opening for the U.S. market.

In Asia, the Hang Seng was up 1.07% to 26,498.37, and the Nikkei 225 inched up 0.23% to 23,354.40.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 rose 0.81% to 7,195.32, and the Euronext 100 gained 0.50% to 1,119.24.

On the macro front

The employment situation report, the consumer sentiment report, the wholesale trade report, the Baker-Hughes Rig Count and the consumer credit report are due out today.

Click here to read about today's financial markets, setting out the factors driving stocks, bonds and currencies around the world ahead of the New York open.

Featured news

The Daily Dose Europe: Inmarsat deal completion; Dutch 5G auction; Telekom Deutschland deal concessions: A private equity consortium completed the takeover of satellite operator Inmarsat PLC, the Netherlands is preparing for the first round of 5G spectrum auction, and Telekom Deutschland GmbH and EWE AG offered regulatory concessions for their fiber joint venture.

The Daily Dose Asia-Pacific: Huawei sues US FCC; Tencent wins bid for Shenzhen site; ByteDance faces lawsuit: Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. is seeking to overturn a U.S. FCC ruling, Tencent Holdings Ltd. paid 8.52 billion yuan to develop a mixed-use reclaimed land in Shenzhen, and Beijing Byte Dance Telecommunications Co. Ltd. is facing a class-action lawsuit for Inc.'s alleged breach of child privacy laws.

Conference Chatter: NFL exec: Tech companies face high standards to gain major rights package: Brian Rolapp, the NFL's chief media and business officer, said tech companies must prove they can offer high-quality presentations that can stream concurrently to mass audiences.

The Program Guide: Disney+ lines up Star Wars game show; Amazon orders 1st Australian drama: Disney+ lined up a new game show set in the Star Wars galaxy, while Amazon Prime Video ordered its first scripted Australian original series.

Hires and Fires: Google co-founders step down as Alphabet execs; News Corp. names new tech chief: Alphabet Inc. co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin relinquished control of the company to Google LLC CEO Sundar Pichai, while News Corp. named David Kline chief technology officer of the company.

Hires and Fires Europe: Nokia board chair to step down; MTS unit names permanent CEO: Risto Siilasmaa is stepping down as chair of Finnish technology company Nokia Corp., while Mobile TeleSystems PJSC subsidiary MGTS appointed Vladislav Medvedev as its new CEO.

Featured research

Economics of Networks: Subscribers still sliding at basic cable networks: Changes in the pay TV landscape took an ongoing toll on linear subscribers to U.S. cable TV networks in 2018, driven mainly by the continued shrinkage of the traditional multichannel market.

Economics of TV & Film: KBOX Week 47: 'Frozen II' cannot thaw winter box office: It was another frosty week at the box office despite the huge debut from "Frozen II" in week 47. Total week 47 box office was down 31.9% to $243.2 million from $357.0 million in 2018.

Technology: Commercial AR/VR hardware climbs steadily in forecast: Annual shipments of headsets and smart glasses for commercial use are on track to hit 5.9 million in 2023 as companies slowly move from pilot programs and niche use cases to larger orders and wider acceptance.

The Program Guide: Disney+ lines up Star Wars game show; Amazon orders 1st Australian drama: Disney+ lined up a new game show set in the Star Wars galaxy, while Amazon Prime Video ordered its first scripted Australian original series.

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