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Welcome to Faulkner's Telecom Daily. We publish Monday through Friday, updating top stories as events warrant. If you would like to receive Telecom Daily emailed daily to your desktop, please click here: TelDailyEmail.

Friday, January 20...

Samsung's Vice Chairman Avoids Arrest as Warrant is Dismissed
Samsung has apparently avoided what could have been another black mark on its public image, as a South Korean court has dismissed the preliminary arrest warrant for the company's Vice Chairman, Lee Jae-yong, Reuters revealed. The warrant alleged that the high-ranking exec, who many see as the company's true leader, had bribed a close confidant of the nation's recently impeached president to gain illegal approval for a business merger. The judge in the case apparently did not feel that there was sufficient evidence to support the prosecutor's accusations, and subsequently dismissed the warrant. While this prevents any immediate action against Lee, it does not, in any way, prevent Korean prosecutors from continuing to strengthen their case against the executive, nor does it stop them from filing for a new warrant in the future. Whether or not they plan to continue to pursuing these charges remains unknown.

New Report Makes Bold Claim that Verizon Could Acquire Comcast or Charter
A new report from the New York Post claims that Verizon Communications could be considering plans to acquire either Comcast or Charter Communications. While the concept may seemed almost laughably unlikely, given the reduction in competition such a transaction would pose for the US cable market, several factors are lending at least a bit more credence to the possibility. Among them are the soon-to-be installed Federal Communications Commission (FCC) leadership that is widely expected to hold a much less restrictive view of telecom mergers; the fact that the occurrence would align with an earlier prediction from UBS analyst John Hodulik; and continual claims that Verizon needs the networking infrastructure of one or the other of these massive competitors in order to support its 5G rollout ambitions. While the concept of a Verizon/Comcast or Charter merger remains bare speculation, it is worth nothing that Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam has at least mentioned that the concept of a Charter purchase would make "industrial sense" when speaking at a recent JP Morgan investor event. None of the involved parties have commented on the rumors.

Google Rumored to be Bringing its Android One Brand to US Shores
Google could be planning to bring its budget-conscious Android One smartphone brand to US shores. Tech blog The Information claims that at least one of the inexpensive handsets will launch in the US market some time during the first half of 2017. The news site admits that it does not know which manufacturer will be tapped to make the device, but it suspects LG to be a likely candidate. Although Neither Google nor LG would confirm these rumors, the timing of a budget-conscious handset does make sense, as Google's first party smartphone line has now moved on from the traditionally mid-range pricing of the Nexus models to the premium price point held by both versions of the Pixel flagship offering. The Information's anonymous sources claim the device will likely retail for approximately $300, or about three times what the existing Android One devices have already launched for in developing market such as India. The blog notes that other devices could follow, if the first foray proves successful.

... Michael Gariffo, Faulkner Information Services

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