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COVID-19 kicks mobile giant CK Hutchison's '3' twice: Robs operator of roaming revenue, sends data use soaring
Wednesday, 14 April 2021 13:58

HTTP/2 200 date: Wed, 14 Apr 2021 14:00:23 GMT content-type: text/html; charset=UTF-8 link: ; rel=preload; as=script;,/8434e9cee1eefe61f4d52e1291d7c49c28a41d03/javascript/_.js>; rel=preload; as=script;,/default/8434e9cee1eefe61f4d52e1291d7c49c28a41d03/scaffolding.css>; rel=preload; as=style;,/default/8434e9cee1eefe61f4d52e1291d7c49c28a41d03/design.css>; rel=preload; as=style;,/5e49edbd1875f214e0decae1e24b200066780fa8/style/fonts/arimo/arimo-700.latin.woff2>; rel=preload; as=font; crossorigin;,/5e49edbd1875f214e0decae1e24b200066780fa8/style/fonts/arimo/arimo-400.latin.woff2>; rel=preload; as=font; crossorigin; cache-control: max-age=0 expires: Wed, 14 Apr 2021 14:00:23 GMT vary: Accept-Encoding x-reg-bofh: pfy01us x-clacks-overhead: GNU Terry Pratchett, Lester Haines cf-cache-status: DYNAMIC cf-request-id: 097247f11f000016b118b69000000001 expect-ct: max-age=604800, report-uri="https://report-uri.cloudflare.com/cdn-cgi/beacon/expect-ct" server: cloudflare cf-ray: 63fd75c8387616b1-SYD COVID-19 kicks mobile giant CK Hutchison's '3' twice: Robs operator of roaming revenue, sends data use soaring • The Register

Many European customers flee, Asia signs up in big numbers


Hong Kong-based CK Hutchison, operator of the "3" mobile brand across several geographies, has told investors that COVID-19 cut its revenues by 8 per cent and profits by 21 per cent, but it also found bright spots of business around the world.

Europe delivered muted financial performance as revenue dipped by 3 per cent year-on-year and margins were flat. Hutchison attributed those numbers to lower roaming revenues - thanks to COVID travel restrictions - while regulations reduced intra-EU mobile charges. Those blows were offset by higher margin contracts. However, the company lost customers: 5 per cent were lost to competitors.

Remaining customers' demand for data surged however. The company's Annual Report [PDF] stated:

All that data may have contributed to 3 Group Europe’s higher operating costs, which caused adverse year-on-year EBITDA and EBIT. EBITDA margin fell three points to 42 per cent and EBIT was lowered by nine percent due to an enlarged asset base as operations launched 5G. Without the infrastructure investments, EBIT remained level.

3 Group saw EBITDA declines in Italy, Denmark and the UK, and growths in Ireland, Austria, and Sweden. All EBITDA changes were in the single digits, except for the UK which took a whopping 22 per cent hit, partially due to Brexit regulatory changes and COVID troubles.

HTHKH (Macau and Hong Kong) saw a 3 per cent lower EBITDA in 2020 than in 2019 due to lower interest income and COVID travel restriction, all offset by the company controlling operating costs.

Trump facepalm

Hong Kong's Hutchison Group, which runs mobile carrier ‘3’, protests as USA puts it on new China ban list

READ MORE

HAT (Indonesia, Vietnam and Sri Lanka) saw a 25 per cent increase in customer accounts in 2020. Most users (70 per cent) reside in Indonesia, where widespread 4G infrastructure exists and active customer accounts grew by 31 per cent in 2020. Yet Indonesia only had a 6 per cent revenue increase in 2020. Vietnam accounts for 23 per cent of total active customers and had an 11 percent revenue increase. Sri Lanka lost 10 per cent of revenue and 7 per cent of its active customer accounts, but managed to grow EBITDA by a factor of 48 as it stabilizes and onboards its customer base.

All losses and sales in 2020 are colored by CK Hutchison's sale of its tower assets, a Q4 deal that will bring in in €10bn ($12bn) if approved by regulators and according to CK Hutchison, allowed the company to “focus on developing its networks and IT platforms.” ®


The UK's competition watchdog has provisionally cleared the proposed merger of Virgin Media and O2 after concluding it would not materially impact competition (and thus the price and availability of services) in the telecoms wholesale market.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) started its more inquisitive second phase of the review in December following a request from O2 owner Telefónica and Virgin Media parent Liberty Global.

This review focused on whether the marriage of O2 and Virgin Media would give the combined company an incentive to degrade the standards of wholesale companies provided to other mobile networks and ISPs.

Continue readingThere's no place like GNOME: System 76 introduces COSMIC desktop GUI for its Pop!_OS Linux Private preview for now, Windows and macOS users sought for testing

System76, a US company which markets laptops, PCs and servers running Linux, is developing a new GNOME-based desktop GUI called COSMIC for its Pop!_OS distribution.

System76 has its own Linux distribution, called Pop!_OS, which is based on Ubuntu, though with a customised installer and drive encryption by default. The company said it is now developing COSMIC (Computer Operating System Main Interface Components) in time for the next release of Pop!_OS in June. This will be called version 21.04, based on the Ubuntu 21.04 release expected later this month.

Continue readingUS Homeland Security sued for 'stonewalling' over use of Clearview facial recognition Potential surveillance nightmare could be unfolding in secret, civil-rights warriors fear

The US Department of Homeland Security and its law enforcement agencies – Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Customs and Border Protection – have been sued for failing to respond to Freedom of Information Act requests about their use of Clearview AI’s facial-recognition technology.

Four non-profit organizations focused on civil and immigration rights – the ACLU of Northern California, Mijente, Just Futures Law, and the Immigrant Defense Project – filed the lawsuit [PDF] on Tuesday in northern Cali. They all put in freedom-of-information requests to Uncle Sam over its use of Clearview's tech last year, and have had no response.

“Facial recognition algorithms erroneously match and misidentify Black and Brown people at a disproportionate rate,” said Jennifer Jones, Technology & Civil Liberties Fellow at the ACLU of Northern California in a statement.

Continue readingElement rolls out bridge for Microsoft Teams to cross into Matrix's encrypted comms land For a small fee, of course – and no video or voice yet

Exclusive Element Matrix Services (EMS) is asking users tied into Microsoft's Teams platform but who "actually want [end-to-end] encrypted secure comms" to take a stroll over a newly built bridge to its own message network.

The managed bridge permits Teams users to message EMS users and vice versa while staying in their respective apps. Both group and individual messaging are supported as well as unlimited users over unlimited channels. There is, however, a cost to the managed service.

Matthew Hodgson, co-founder of Matrix and Element, told The Register that the cost of the Teams bridge service would be 50 cents per user per month from the Teams side, and "from the Matrix side, there isn't any additional cost at all, people are just using Matrix."

Continue readingState of Maine says Workday has shown 'no accountability' for farcical $56.4m HR upgrade It takes two to tango, says SaaS vendor

Maine has accused Workday of showing "no accountability" for its part in a flawed process to replace the US state's HR system.

Following a request for an official review into the $54.6m project, the Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability has published correspondence that Workday would almost certainly rather remain private.

In a May 2020 letter to the SaaS vendor about the replacement of the state's ageing HR and finance system, Kirsten Figueroa, commissioner of the Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services, said the project last year missed two go-live dates.

Continue readingGot $10k to burn? Ultra-rare Piet Mondrian-esque Apple laptop is up for grabs on eBay Colourful PowerBook 170 was a one-off for Japanese women's golf tournament

Another piece of Apple history has been put on the block, this time it's the turn of a weird - and in some eyes, possibly wonderful - limited edition of the PowerBook 170.

Apple released a model of the laptop in 1992 to coincide with that year's JLPGA (Japanese Ladies Professional Golf Association) tournament. It was, to put it mildly, a bit of an odd fish.

Produced in small numbers (estimates put it at around 500), the Japan exclusive looked a bit like a Piet Mondrian painting. The display bezels and palmrest were blue; the display top-case was white; the battery case and sliding panels were red; the hinges were yellow; and the rotating kickstand was green. It almost looks as though it was made of Lego.

Continue readingSpy agency GCHQ told me Gmail's more secure than Microsoft 365, insists British MP as facepalming security bods tell him to zip it Keep using the provided tools, NCSC says

Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat has publicly claimed GCHQ sources told him Gmail was more secure than Parliament’s own Microsoft Office 365 deployment – but both Parliament and a GCHQ offshoot have told him to stop being silly.

The outspoken parliamentarian, who is chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, made his comments to BBC radio after person or persons unknown sent emails to his colleagues claiming he had quit the committee.

"I was told by friends at GCHQ that I was better off sticking to Gmail rather than using the parliamentary system because it was more secure," Tugendhat told the BBC’s Today Programme. He continued to splutter: "Frankly, that tells you the level of security and the priority we're giving to democracy in the United Kingdom."

Continue readingTelecoms Diversification Task Force urges UK government to give smaller hardware vendors a bigger slice of the 5G pie Filling the void left by Huawei

Smaller telco kit makers should provide 25 per cent of the equipment used in Britain's 5G networks following the removal of Huawei, according to the recently formed UK.gov-backed Telecoms Diversification Task Force.

The Task Force's report, seen by the Financial Times, also urged the UK government and its Western allies to formalise new telecoms standards that would form the basis of how networks work beyond the 5G era.

Continue readingOVH services still not fully restored as boss rates ongoing recovery efforts a 'real nightmare' 'A huge Tetris' as biz struggles prepping kit for relocation under renewed COVID lockdown

OVH is yet to bring all customers affected by its Strasbourg data center fire back online – and the French cloud operator's CFO has described ongoing restoration efforts as a "real nightmare."

The fire took place on March 10 and destroyed the SBG2 hall of the Strasbourg data center, damaged SBG1 so badly it won't be revived, and led to a massive effort to clean salvageable kit so it could be installed in the remaining three data centers at Strasbourg, or moved to other OVH facilities.

Work is going slowly, according to the most recent tweet from OVH co-founder and chair Octave Klaba.

Continue readingNeural networks give astronomers huge boost in identifying galaxies: 27 million done, 600 million to come AI algorithms in large-scale astronomy are mandatory, study says

A neural network has helped astronomers catalog a whopping 27 million galaxies collected from one of the largest astronomical surveys probing the mysterious nature of dark energy.

The Dark Energy Survey (DES) kicked off in 2013, and aims to snap galaxies and supernovae across an eighth of the Earth's night sky. Although that may not sound like much, the number of objects filling such a region of space – giving us a window onto the universe as far back as when it was just six billion years old, less than half of its age today – is staggering.

If we know the age of each of the galaxies we observe, and know where they are, we can better understand the workings and evolution of our universe. However, cataloging tens or hundreds of millions of galaxies by hand is largely infeasible.

Continue readingGrab, the superapp that made Uber quit Southeast Asia, to go public through controversial 'SPAC' Ride-sharing, food-delivering, payment-processing, home-insuring and money-lending org thanks COVID for pumping up its financials

Singaporean superapp Grab announced yesterday that it plans to go public in the United States – through a $39.6bn merger with a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC).

The company cited its strong financial performance despite COVID-19 as the reason to become a public company.

Grab said in 2020 that it accounted for 72 per cent of total regional ride-hailing gross merchandise value (GMV), 50 per cent of total regional online food delivery, and 23 per cent of total regional digital wallet payments. The company's GMV in 2020 was $12.5bn, more than double that number from two years ago.

Continue reading

HTTP/2 200 date: Wed, 14 Apr 2021 14:00:23 GMT content-type: text/html; charset=UTF-8 link: ; rel=preload; as=script;,/8434e9cee1eefe61f4d52e1291d7c49c28a41d03/javascript/_.js>; rel=preload; as=script;,/default/8434e9cee1eefe61f4d52e1291d7c49c28a41d03/scaffolding.css>; rel=preload; as=style;,/default/8434e9cee1eefe61f4d52e1291d7c49c28a41d03/design.css>; rel=preload; as=style;,/5e49edbd1875f214e0decae1e24b200066780fa8/style/fonts/arimo/arimo-700.latin.woff2>; rel=preload; as=font; crossorigin;,/5e49edbd1875f214e0decae1e24b200066780fa8/style/fonts/arimo/arimo-400.latin.woff2>; rel=preload; as=font; crossorigin; cache-control: max-age=0 expires: Wed, 14 Apr 2021 14:00:23 GMT vary: Accept-Encoding x-reg-bofh: pfy01us x-clacks-overhead: GNU Terry Pratchett, Lester Haines cf-cache-status: DYNAMIC cf-request-id: 097247f11f000016b118b69000000001 expect-ct: max-age=604800, report-uri="https://report-uri.cloudflare.com/cdn-cgi/beacon/expect-ct" server: cloudflare cf-ray: 63fd75c8387616b1-SYD COVID-19 kicks mobile giant CK Hutchison's '3' twice: Robs operator of roaming revenue, sends data use soaring • The Register

Many European customers flee, Asia signs up in big numbers


Hong Kong-based CK Hutchison, operator of the "3" mobile brand across several geographies, has told investors that COVID-19 cut its revenues by 8 per cent and profits by 21 per cent, but it also found bright spots of business around the world.

Europe delivered muted financial performance as revenue dipped by 3 per cent year-on-year and margins were flat. Hutchison attributed those numbers to lower roaming revenues - thanks to COVID travel restrictions - while regulations reduced intra-EU mobile charges. Those blows were offset by higher margin contracts. However, the company lost customers: 5 per cent were lost to competitors.

Remaining customers' demand for data surged however. The company's Annual Report [PDF] stated:

All that data may have contributed to 3 Group Europe’s higher operating costs, which caused adverse year-on-year EBITDA and EBIT. EBITDA margin fell three points to 42 per cent and EBIT was lowered by nine percent due to an enlarged asset base as operations launched 5G. Without the infrastructure investments, EBIT remained level.

3 Group saw EBITDA declines in Italy, Denmark and the UK, and growths in Ireland, Austria, and Sweden. All EBITDA changes were in the single digits, except for the UK which took a whopping 22 per cent hit, partially due to Brexit regulatory changes and COVID troubles.

HTHKH (Macau and Hong Kong) saw a 3 per cent lower EBITDA in 2020 than in 2019 due to lower interest income and COVID travel restriction, all offset by the company controlling operating costs.

COVID-19 kicks mobile giant CK Hutchison's '3' twice: Robs operator of roaming revenue, sends data use soaring

Hong Kong's Hutchison Group, which runs mobile carrier ‘3’, protests as USA puts it on new China ban list

READ MORE

HAT (Indonesia, Vietnam and Sri Lanka) saw a 25 per cent increase in customer accounts in 2020. Most users (70 per cent) reside in Indonesia, where widespread 4G infrastructure exists and active customer accounts grew by 31 per cent in 2020. Yet Indonesia only had a 6 per cent revenue increase in 2020. Vietnam accounts for 23 per cent of total active customers and had an 11 percent revenue increase. Sri Lanka lost 10 per cent of revenue and 7 per cent of its active customer accounts, but managed to grow EBITDA by a factor of 48 as it stabilizes and onboards its customer base.

All losses and sales in 2020 are colored by CK Hutchison's sale of its tower assets, a Q4 deal that will bring in in €10bn ($12bn) if approved by regulators and according to CK Hutchison, allowed the company to “focus on developing its networks and IT platforms.” ®


The UK's competition watchdog has provisionally cleared the proposed merger of Virgin Media and O2 after concluding it would not materially impact competition (and thus the price and availability of services) in the telecoms wholesale market.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) started its more inquisitive second phase of the review in December following a request from O2 owner Telefónica and Virgin Media parent Liberty Global.

This review focused on whether the marriage of O2 and Virgin Media would give the combined company an incentive to degrade the standards of wholesale companies provided to other mobile networks and ISPs.

Continue readingThere's no place like GNOME: System 76 introduces COSMIC desktop GUI for its Pop!_OS Linux Private preview for now, Windows and macOS users sought for testing

System76, a US company which markets laptops, PCs and servers running Linux, is developing a new GNOME-based desktop GUI called COSMIC for its Pop!_OS distribution.

System76 has its own Linux distribution, called Pop!_OS, which is based on Ubuntu, though with a customised installer and drive encryption by default. The company said it is now developing COSMIC (Computer Operating System Main Interface Components) in time for the next release of Pop!_OS in June. This will be called version 21.04, based on the Ubuntu 21.04 release expected later this month.

Continue readingUS Homeland Security sued for 'stonewalling' over use of Clearview facial recognition Potential surveillance nightmare could be unfolding in secret, civil-rights warriors fear

The US Department of Homeland Security and its law enforcement agencies – Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Customs and Border Protection – have been sued for failing to respond to Freedom of Information Act requests about their use of Clearview AI’s facial-recognition technology.

Four non-profit organizations focused on civil and immigration rights – the ACLU of Northern California, Mijente, Just Futures Law, and the Immigrant Defense Project – filed the lawsuit [PDF] on Tuesday in northern Cali. They all put in freedom-of-information requests to Uncle Sam over its use of Clearview's tech last year, and have had no response.

“Facial recognition algorithms erroneously match and misidentify Black and Brown people at a disproportionate rate,” said Jennifer Jones, Technology & Civil Liberties Fellow at the ACLU of Northern California in a statement.

Continue readingElement rolls out bridge for Microsoft Teams to cross into Matrix's encrypted comms land For a small fee, of course – and no video or voice yet

Exclusive Element Matrix Services (EMS) is asking users tied into Microsoft's Teams platform but who "actually want [end-to-end] encrypted secure comms" to take a stroll over a newly built bridge to its own message network.

The managed bridge permits Teams users to message EMS users and vice versa while staying in their respective apps. Both group and individual messaging are supported as well as unlimited users over unlimited channels. There is, however, a cost to the managed service.

Matthew Hodgson, co-founder of Matrix and Element, told The Register that the cost of the Teams bridge service would be 50 cents per user per month from the Teams side, and "from the Matrix side, there isn't any additional cost at all, people are just using Matrix."

Continue readingState of Maine says Workday has shown 'no accountability' for farcical $56.4m HR upgrade It takes two to tango, says SaaS vendor

Maine has accused Workday of showing "no accountability" for its part in a flawed process to replace the US state's HR system.

Following a request for an official review into the $54.6m project, the Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability has published correspondence that Workday would almost certainly rather remain private.

In a May 2020 letter to the SaaS vendor about the replacement of the state's ageing HR and finance system, Kirsten Figueroa, commissioner of the Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services, said the project last year missed two go-live dates.

Continue readingGot $10k to burn? Ultra-rare Piet Mondrian-esque Apple laptop is up for grabs on eBay Colourful PowerBook 170 was a one-off for Japanese women's golf tournament

Another piece of Apple history has been put on the block, this time it's the turn of a weird - and in some eyes, possibly wonderful - limited edition of the PowerBook 170.

Apple released a model of the laptop in 1992 to coincide with that year's JLPGA (Japanese Ladies Professional Golf Association) tournament. It was, to put it mildly, a bit of an odd fish.

Produced in small numbers (estimates put it at around 500), the Japan exclusive looked a bit like a Piet Mondrian painting. The display bezels and palmrest were blue; the display top-case was white; the battery case and sliding panels were red; the hinges were yellow; and the rotating kickstand was green. It almost looks as though it was made of Lego.

Continue readingSpy agency GCHQ told me Gmail's more secure than Microsoft 365, insists British MP as facepalming security bods tell him to zip it Keep using the provided tools, NCSC says

Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat has publicly claimed GCHQ sources told him Gmail was more secure than Parliament’s own Microsoft Office 365 deployment – but both Parliament and a GCHQ offshoot have told him to stop being silly.

The outspoken parliamentarian, who is chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, made his comments to BBC radio after person or persons unknown sent emails to his colleagues claiming he had quit the committee.

"I was told by friends at GCHQ that I was better off sticking to Gmail rather than using the parliamentary system because it was more secure," Tugendhat told the BBC’s Today Programme. He continued to splutter: "Frankly, that tells you the level of security and the priority we're giving to democracy in the United Kingdom."

Continue readingTelecoms Diversification Task Force urges UK government to give smaller hardware vendors a bigger slice of the 5G pie Filling the void left by Huawei

Smaller telco kit makers should provide 25 per cent of the equipment used in Britain's 5G networks following the removal of Huawei, according to the recently formed UK.gov-backed Telecoms Diversification Task Force.

The Task Force's report, seen by the Financial Times, also urged the UK government and its Western allies to formalise new telecoms standards that would form the basis of how networks work beyond the 5G era.

Continue readingOVH services still not fully restored as boss rates ongoing recovery efforts a 'real nightmare' 'A huge Tetris' as biz struggles prepping kit for relocation under renewed COVID lockdown

OVH is yet to bring all customers affected by its Strasbourg data center fire back online – and the French cloud operator's CFO has described ongoing restoration efforts as a "real nightmare."

The fire took place on March 10 and destroyed the SBG2 hall of the Strasbourg data center, damaged SBG1 so badly it won't be revived, and led to a massive effort to clean salvageable kit so it could be installed in the remaining three data centers at Strasbourg, or moved to other OVH facilities.

Work is going slowly, according to the most recent tweet from OVH co-founder and chair Octave Klaba.

Continue readingNeural networks give astronomers huge boost in identifying galaxies: 27 million done, 600 million to come AI algorithms in large-scale astronomy are mandatory, study says

A neural network has helped astronomers catalog a whopping 27 million galaxies collected from one of the largest astronomical surveys probing the mysterious nature of dark energy.

The Dark Energy Survey (DES) kicked off in 2013, and aims to snap galaxies and supernovae across an eighth of the Earth's night sky. Although that may not sound like much, the number of objects filling such a region of space – giving us a window onto the universe as far back as when it was just six billion years old, less than half of its age today – is staggering.

If we know the age of each of the galaxies we observe, and know where they are, we can better understand the workings and evolution of our universe. However, cataloging tens or hundreds of millions of galaxies by hand is largely infeasible.

Continue readingGrab, the superapp that made Uber quit Southeast Asia, to go public through controversial 'SPAC' Ride-sharing, food-delivering, payment-processing, home-insuring and money-lending org thanks COVID for pumping up its financials

Singaporean superapp Grab announced yesterday that it plans to go public in the United States – through a $39.6bn merger with a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC).

The company cited its strong financial performance despite COVID-19 as the reason to become a public company.

Grab said in 2020 that it accounted for 72 per cent of total regional ride-hailing gross merchandise value (GMV), 50 per cent of total regional online food delivery, and 23 per cent of total regional digital wallet payments. The company's GMV in 2020 was $12.5bn, more than double that number from two years ago.

Continue reading

Source: https://bit.ly/3mK9pMh