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Axiata sells tower unit stakes for US$600M; Android Pay arrives in Japan

TOP NEWS

* Malaysian telco conglomerate Axiata Group Berhad announced that investment company Innovation Network Corporation of Japan and Malaysian sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional Berhad will take stakes in its telecom infrastructure services unit, edotco, as part of a US$600 million primary and secondary equity private placement deal. Axiata will remain the majority shareholder of edotco when the deal is signed in January 2017.

* Android Pay, Google Inc.'s mobile payment system, launched in Japan, six weeks after rival Apple Pay debuted in the country, TechCrunch reports. The Alphabet Inc. unit teamed up with Japanese e-commerce firm Rakuten Inc. to power Android Pay using its Rakuten Edy payment system, which is available at more than 470,000 locations in the country.

PAN-ASIAN NEWS

* Telenor ASA issued a corporate statement to clarify the findings of internal audits into suspected financial crimes and issues relating to operations in Bangladesh. Auditing in April and May found deviations linked to site lease deals in Thailand, while another internal audit found sponsorship deals in Asia breached internal guidelines.

* Indonesian telco Indosat Ooredoo will be the first to implement Ericsson AB's Revenue Manager system after Ooredoo Group signed a five-year contract to adopt the system throughout the Middle East, North Africa, Southeast Asia and Oceania, Indotelko reports. It will allow Indosat Ooredoo to reduce operational costs for billing and payments.

JAPAN

* Japan Display Inc. will purchase OLED panel maker JOLED in a move to compete with South Korean and Chinese rivals, The Sankei Shimbun reports. The company will raise its stake in Tokyo-based JOLED from 15% to more than 50% by the end of 2017 via stock purchases from Innovation Network Corporation of Japan, which owns 75% of the venture.

* SoftBank Group Corp. started a cloud business communications platform, called Dialpad, for its customers in Japan. By logging in with a Google account, users can use voice, video, messaging or SMS. SoftBank will be the exclusive Dialpad distributor for five years.

* Sony Corp.'s Sony Movie Channel will be rebranded and launched across the Sky TV, Freeview and Virgin platforms in the U.K. on Jan. 10, 2017. Sony Pictures Television Networks U.K. will consolidate Movie Mix with its flagship Sony Movie Channel, Rapid TV News reports.

SOUTH KOREA

* Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.'s smartphone cloud service was erroneously activated on some devices in South Korea, resulting in mobile data consumption without users' consent, Yonhap News Agency reports. The company temporarily stopped the service and is investigating the error.

* South Korean telco KT Corp. successfully completed a wireless download at 2.3 Gbps, six to seven times faster than the current maximum speed for commercial tri-band LTE-A, iNews 24 reports. The test was performed in a central business district to check download feasibility in a high-traffic, high-rise building block.

* Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. was selected as sponsor for cable network facilities for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, a deal worth 20 billion South Korean won, Yonhap News Agency reports. Huawei will provide real-time streaming of sporting events, broadband authentication and security network monitoring.

CHINA, HONG KONG AND TAIWAN

* China's Ministry of Culture issued regulations on live-streaming services that require all performers to register with platforms using their real names. In addition, foreign companies must get approval from the ministry before live-streaming any content in mainland China.

* Hong Kong's securities regulator is testing the resiliency of brokers' internet and mobile trading systems against cyberattacks, Reuters reports. This comes after 16 incidents involving more than US$100 million in unauthorized trades were reported over the past 12 months.

* ZTE Corp. and Belgian provider Telenet demonstrated a download speed of 1.3 Gbps during a demonstration of 4.5G technology, which is four times faster than the maximum 4G speed, according to Telecompaper. The demonstration is one of the first steps in the recently announced collaboration between the two companies to improve Telenet's mobile network.

* Huawei signed Chinese software company Kingdee for a cloud-based Enterprise Resource Planning project. With Kingdee's expertise in the supply chain management area, Huawei is looking to use the partnership to help build a cloud-based sales management platform for retailers around the world.

* Microsoft Corp.'s Taiwanese unit rolled out training and certification services for its cloud computing platform Azure, DigiTimes reports. Microsoft will offer 13 online courses for free through its own cloud-based learning platform OPENedX.

SOUTHEAST ASIA

* The sale of 2G-only mobile devices in Singapore will be banned from Jan. 1, 2017, as the city-state prepares to pull the plug on its 2G networks. The networks will be retired on April 1, 2017, so that the Infocomm Media Development Authority can reassign spectrum for more advanced mobile services.

* TOT, one of Thailand's two state-owned telcos, announced it will sign a memorandum of understanding on transparency and anti-corruption measures before starting installation of its high-speed village broadband network on Dec. 23, Manager reports. The MoU will be signed next week with representatives from the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society and the Anti-Corruption Organization of Thailand.

* Thailand's National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission completed a 60 million Thai baht campaign aimed at raising awareness about the country's switchover to digital TV, Prachachat reports. An NBTC spokesperson reportedly said the campaign was able to reach 77% of Thais ages 15 and older in the third quarter through a combination of radio, TV, print and social media advertising.

* Southeast Asian e-commerce platform Lazada has shown strong sales growth among provincial consumers in Thailand since its launch in the country in 2012, Prachachat reports. During the November-December sales period, customers outside Bangkok accounted for more than 70% of total purchases, compared to just 30% during the same period in 2012.

* Philippine telco Smart Communications is offering subscribers traveling overseas the Smart World Travel Wi-Fi portable hotspot. It allows connectivity in more than 100 countries for a daily fee of 390 Philippine pesos, with 1GB of data available for a 24-hour period.

* Marketing tech firm Amobee, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Singtel, appointed Todd Chu as senior vice president of global operator innovation. Chu will lead the company's new product offerings related to telecommunications operator assets.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* Australia is looking to introduce a levy on the telco industry to help pay for the continued rollout and service of the National Broadband Network in regional areas. According to The Sydney Morning Herald, the government plans to legislate a regional broadband scheme estimated to raise A$40 million a year, but the majority of costs would be passed on to consumers through higher prices.

* Melbourne-based wealth management firm BMY Group is seeking Asian investors to back its first venture capital fund worth A$50 million, The Australian Financial Review reports. The fund will target pre-IPO Australian startups that have Asian expansion plans coming from industries such as clean tech, biotech and aged-care technology.

* Vodafone Hutchison Australia named Kevin Millroy as its new chief technology officer, CIO Australia reports. Millroy has been serving as interim CTO since August after Benoit Hanssen vacated the post, and was formerly general manager for access network delivery.

INDIA AND SOUTH ASIA

* The launch date for Amazon.com Inc.'s Prime Video service in India is set to be announced today in Mumbai, Variety reports. There also could be an announcement about local non-feature film content for the streaming service.

* State-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. is augmenting 3G sites around the city of Visakhapatnam, with 60 new 3G towers sanctioned for rural areas and another 30 3G towers in the process of being built, The Economic Times (India) reports. The BSNL Vizag District also has gotten approval to establish 100 new 4G towers in the city, sources said, which are forecast to be ready by the end of May 2017. Tenders will be floated to build the 4G towers.

* Facebook Inc.'s Indian unit named Pulkit Trivedi as industry director for e-commerce, retail, travel and financial services verticals, The Economic Times (India) reports. Trivedi was previously Google India's head of industry for e-commerce and has worked with Microsoft, IBM and HCL.

FEATURED NEWS

CAPITAL Letters: A cable TV outlook from Wells Fargo Securities: High-yield investors offer a unique perspective on suspect sectors such as cable TV in which equity market pundits may harbor a more negative bias due to escalating broadband and mobile competition.

Capitol Connection: Media ownership reform: Caught between an FCC rock and a judicial hard place: With the prospect of a Republican-controlled FCC in 2017, many believe the political climate will soon favor reform of the FCC's media ownership rules. But writing new rules that can pass court muster may remain a challenge.

The week in OTT: Hulu unveils user profiles; Apple seeks newly released films: Hulu introduced profiles for its subscribers, while Apple is in talks with Hollywood studios about getting earlier access to movies for its iTunes platform.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Consumer Insights: Nearly half of US internet adults are TV binge viewers: Results from U.S. Consumer Insights surveys conducted over the past several years indicate that TV binge viewing has become common practice for many Americans, especially millennials.

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.