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Report: Apple Developing Satellite-Based Internet for Future Devices – PCMag.com

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Apple is developing satellites that could one day offer high-speed data directly to its smartphones, tablets, watches, and computers. Bloomberg reports the Cupertino-based company has a “secret team” designing satellites, and the technology might allow future hardware to bypass traditional wireless networks altogether. Now, we’re seeing just how much Apple wants to cut out partners.

The project should take several years to formulate. Still, Apple CEO Tim Cook reportedly sees it as a priority. Apple’s satellites aren’t going to roll out anytime soon, and that’s fine if they’ll eventually reduce the dependency on wireless carriers or at least improve location tracking. Apple hasn’t finalized its strategy, according to the report.

Satellite-based internet could replace carriers such as Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint. In addition, global carriers outside the United States might be impacted. Apple’s satellites could offer high-speed data to next-generation iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac devices anywhere in the world. Carriers would be significantly hurt by losing Apple’s reliance on their networks, but it’ll streamline the company’s business.

Apple doesn’t want to rely on outside partners as much as it does today. Currently, the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and AirPods utilize in-house chips. The majority of components, though, are still made by other companies. Apple has started work on MicroLED displays, and it did acquire Intel’s 5G modem segment earlier this year. There’s no question Apple desires to handle the supply chain anywhere possible. Dropping wireless networks and instead transferring data through satellites aligns with that approach.

By hiring industry experts, Apple appears serious about developing satellites. However, it’s not the only company with similar plans. SpaceX, which Elon Musk owns and operates, should start offering satellite-based internet plans in mid-2020. It’ll also be joined by Amazon at some point. Regulatory filings reveal Amazon aims to launch as many as 3,236 satellites enabling high-speed, affordable internet. Both companies are prepared to spend billions of dollars in rolling out the necessary infrastructure.

The report suggests Apple would like to set its satellites into orbit within the next five years. So don’t expect the next iPhone or anything else in the pipeline to feature satellite-based connectivity. Everything should continue relying on 4G networks until 5G takes over, and then Apple might start transitioning its hardware to satellites if performance meets expectations.

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Britain in talks with 6 firms about building gigafactories for EV batteries

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Britain is in talks with six companies about building gigafactories to produce batteries for electric vehicles (EV), the Financial Times reported on Wednesday, citing people briefed on the discussions.

Car makers Ford Motor Co and Nissan Motor Co Ltd, conglomerates LG Corp and Samsung, and start-ups Britishvolt and InoBat Auto are in talks with the British government or local authorities about locations for potential factories and financial support, the report added .

 

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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EBay to sell South Korean unit for about $3.6 billion to Shinsegae, Naver

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EBay will sell its South Korean business to retailer Shinsegae Group and e-commerce firm Naver for about 4 trillion won ($3.6 billion), local newspapers reported on Wednesday.

EBay Korea is the country’s third-largest e-commerce firm with market share of about 12.8% in 2020, according to Euromonitor. It operates the platforms Gmarket, Auction and G9.

Shinsegae, Naver and eBay Korea declined to comment.

Lotte Shopping had also been in the running, the Korea Economic Daily and other newspapers said, citing unnamed investment banking sources.

South Korea represents the world’s fourth largest e-commerce market. Driven by the coronavirus pandemic, e-commerce has soared to account for 35.8% of the retail market in 2020 compared with 28.6% in 2019, according to Euromonitor data.

Shinsegae and Naver formed a retail and e-commerce partnership in March by taking stakes worth 250 billion won in each other’s affiliates.

($1 = 1,117.7000 won)

 

(Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

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Canada launches long-awaited auction of 5G spectrum

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Canada is set to begin a hotly anticipated auction of the mobile telecommunications bandwidth necessary for 5G rollout, one that was delayed more than a year by the pandemic.

The 3,500 MHz is a spectrum companies need to provide 5G, which requires more bandwidth to expand internet capabilities.The auction, initially scheduled for June 2020, is expected to take several weeks with Canadian government selling off 1,504 licenses in 172 service areas.

Smaller operators are going into the auction complaining that recent regulatory rulings have further tilted the scales in the favour of the country’s three biggest telecoms companies – BCE, Telus and Rogers Communications Inc – which together control around 90% of the market as a share of revenue.

Canadian mobile and internet consumers, meanwhile, have complained for years that their bills are among the world’s steepest. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government has threatened to take action if the providers did not cut bills by 25%.

The last auction of the 600 MHz spectrum raised C$3.5 billion ($2.87 billion) for the government.

The companies have defended themselves, saying the prices they charge are falling.

Some 23 bidders including regional players such as Cogeco and Quebec’s Videotron are participating in the process. Shaw Communications did not apply to participate due to a $16 billion takeover bid from Rogers. Lawmakers and analysts have warned that market concentration will intensify if that acquisition proceeds.

In May, after Canada‘s telecoms regulator issued a ruling largely in favour of the big three on pricing for smaller companies’ access to broadband networks, internet service provider TekSavvy Inc withdrew from the auction, citing the decision.

Some experts say the government has been trying to level the playing field with its decision to set aside a proportion of spectrum in certain areas for smaller companies.

Gregory Taylor, a spectrum expert and associate professor at the University of Calgary, said he was pleased the government was auctioning off smaller geographic areas of coverage.

In previous auctions where the license covered whole provinces, “small providers could not participate because they could not hope to cover the range that was required in the license,” Taylor said.

Smaller geographic areas mean they have a better chance of fulfilling the requirements for the license, such as providing service to 90% of the population within five years of the issuance date.

The auction has no scheduled end date, although the federal ministry in charge of the spectrum auction has said winners would be announced within five days of bidding completion.

($1 = 1.2181 Canadian dollars)

 

(Reporting by Moira Warburton in Vancouver; Editing by David Gregorio)

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