Thursday, May 5, 2005

Korea's SK Telecom Grows Market Share

SK Telecom, South Korea's leading mobile carrier, expanded its market share from 42.6% to 54.5% in 2003, according to figures from the Korea Information Strategy Development Institute (KISDI). A report from The Korea Times states that SK Telecom continues to hold a greater than 50% market share despinte efforts from the Korean government to dilute its market dominance, including a restriction that only SK Telecom users were allowed to switch their carriers without having to change their numbers during the first six months of 2004. The duopoly of SK Telecom and KTF, a wireless affiliate of predominant fixed-line firm KT, accounts from an estimated 85% of the overall mobile market in Korea.

Vonage Raises Additional $200 Million

Vonage plans to raise $200 million through the private sale of securities. The new funding will bring total equity in the company to about $400 million.
  • In March 2005, Vonage crossed the 500,000 subscriber line milestone.

  • In August 2004, Vonage closed $105 million in fourth round venture funding, bring total investment at the time $208 million. That round was led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and included the participation of 3i, Meritech Capital Partners and existing investors.

Marconi Announces Corporate Restructuring

Marconi announced a major corporate restructuring around four different product groupings and geographic centres of excellence. Marconi will continue to market its full product range on a global basis. The four new business groups are:

  • SoftSwitch (Northern Europe)

  • Wireless (Central Europe)

  • Optical & Access Networks (Southern Europe)

  • Data Networks (North America)

Each of these groups will continue to provide its customers with Network Integration and Installation, Commissioning and Maintenance Services.

Marconi expects it will have to cut up to 800 jobs in the UK and has initiated discussions with its trade union. The restructuring will dismantle much of the company's current UK-based central Operations organisation. The company plans to provide a financial update on on 17-May-05.

U.S. Court of AppealsThrows Out FCC's Broadcast Flag

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. circuit ruled against the FCC in a case involving its requirement for electronic devices to support "broadcast flag" anti-piracy protection measures for digital broadcast television. The broadcast flag is a digital code embedded in a digital broadcast stream, which prevents digital television reception equipment from redistributing the content. The ruling is expected to have broad implications on the distribution of digital content.

The court found that Congress had never given the FCC the authority "to regulate apparatus that can receive television broadcasts when those apparatus are not engaged in the process of receiving a broadcast transmission." The broadcast flag affects receiver devices only after a broadcast transmission is complete.

The court noted that in the seven decades of its existence, the FCC has never before asserted such sweeping authority.

The American Library Association filed the challenge to the FCC's broadcast flag rule.
  • In November 2003, the FCC adopted its "broadcast flag" anti-piracy protection measure for digital broadcast television, saying that consumers' ability to make digital copies will not be affected. Under the order, the FCC permitted use of the flag at the discretion of the broadcaster. Equipment capable of receiving DTV signals over-the-air were required to support the broadcast flag requirements by July 1, 2005. Other products such as digital VCRs, DVD players and personal computers that are not built with digital tuners installed are not required to comply with the new rule. In addition, the FCC explained that existing televisions, VCRs, DVD players and related equipment would remain fully functional under the new broadcast flag system.