EU loses WTO case over duties on electronic goods

EU loses WTO case over duties on electronic goods
(Telecompaper) The World Trade Organisation has ruled that European Union duties on certain electronics products broke international rules, the Financial Times writes. The decision claims that the EU violated its WTO obligations when it imposed tariffs on goods such as cable set-top boxes, computer monitors and certain printers that were developed after a 1996 agreement to eliminate trade barriers on technology goods. The case was brought by the US, Japan and Taiwan in May 2008, which insisted that the Information Technology Agreement, which slashed tariffs on a wide range of technology products, should account for technological changes and cover goods created in subsequent years. The EU countered that many of these products should be classified as consumer goods rather than technology products, allowing it to impose tariffs of up to 14 percent. It had argued, for example, that flat-panel computer screens that could be used to watch videos were more akin to televisions than to IT products. The European Commission said it would not comment before reading the 700-page report. It has two months in which to lodge an appeal.[Lees verder]

Intel to acquire Texas Instruments Cable Modem Unit
(Telecompaper) Intel has signed an agreement to acquire Texas Instruments’ cable modem product line. The purchase enhances Intel’s focus on the cable industry and related consumer electronics (CE) market segments, where the company’s expertise in building advanced system-on-chip (SoC) products, based on Intel Atom processors, will be applied. Intel plans to combine Texas Instruments’ Puma product lines with the Docsis technology and Intel SoCs to deliver advanced set-top box, residential gateway and modem products for the cable industry. Intel’s objective is to provide cable OEMs with an open and powerful platform for delivering innovative and differentiated products to service providers that improve the video, voice and data content experience at home. All employees of Texas Instruments’ cable modem team received offers to join Intel at sites in their home countries, primarily Israel, and will become part of Intel’s Digital Home Group. Additional terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The agreement, which is subject to regulatory review and customary closing conditions, is expected to close in Q4.[Lees verder]

Kenya gets second IXP in Mombasa
(Telecompaper) The Telecommunications Service Providers Association of Kenya (TESPOK) announced the creation of an Internet Exchange Point (IXP) in Mombasa. The new IXP will ensure that all the region’s traffic is exchanged locally, which will improve internet performance for end users, save operators the expense of backhauling regional traffic via Nairobi, and reduce the costs associated with traffic exchange between ISPs. The establishment of the Mombasa IXP was facilitated in part by the Internet Society’s African Interconnection and IXP Programme, an initiative to promote more robust internet connections within and between countries in Africa. The programme combines technical training, IXP deployment assistance, development of value added services at existing IXPs, and the establishment of regional communities to promote information exchange and joint problem solving. The Internet Society donated time, training, and equipment to assist the launch of the IXP in Mombasa. Located over 500km from the country’s first IXP in Nairobi, Mombasa is the landing point for all undersea fibre cables to Kenya and other landlocked countries in East Africa, making it an attractive location for international carriers to interconnect with the region. The first Kenyan exchange point was launched in Nairobi in 2001. The Internet Society’s Interconnection and IXP Programme is supported by the Amsterdam Internet Exchange (AMS-IX), the Deutscher Commercial Internet Exchange (DE-CIX) and Netnod, the Swedish Internet exchange provider.[Lees verder]

Hulu planning fall IPO – report
(Telecompaper) US TV-on-demand service Hulu is planning an initial public offering which could value the site at more than USD 2 billion, the New York Times reported. The company is in talks with investment banks to go public as soon as this fall, people briefed on the matter said. Hulu.com is owned by NBC Universal, News Corp and Walt Disney.[Lees verder]

Safaricom’s M-Pesa customers up 60 percent
(Telecompaper) The number of customers on Kenyan mobile operator Safaricom’s money transfer service M-Pesa has grown by 60 percent to 11.89 million as of last month, from 7.4 million a year earlier. The amount of money the service has transferred since inception in 2007 reached KES 525.84 billion in the financial year ended July. Statistics released by the operator showed that the monthly average of money moved in the system has increased by 30 percent. The service facilitated the transfer of KES 33 billion last month, compared to KES 20 billion in July last year. The operator said M-Pesa agents grew to 19,500 during the year to July. Sister company Vodacom in South Africa is set to launch the M-Pesa service on 31 August. Meanwhile M-Kesho, a product launched by Safaricom in partnership with Equity in May, has been able to grow its customer base to 455,000. The operator said of these, only 176,000 are active customers.[Lees verder]

Lime to invest USD 600 mln over next five years
(Telecompaper) Cable & Wireless Caribbean, which operates in the region under the Lime brand name, plans to invest around USD 600 million in its business across the region over the next five years. The investment will focus on delivery of innovative new services and the upgrade of existing infrastructure, bvinews reports, citing Lime’s CMO Chris Dehring. “Over the next five years, we intend to invest more than USD 600 million in our 13 business units across the region to improve the services that we offer and to roll out the kind of new technologies and innovative services that will help us to retain our present customers and attract new ones”, Dehring said. Among other initiatives, Lime plans to launch its TV service, initially in Jamaica and Barbados, by end-2010. In addition, Lime will upgrade its internet network capacity to deliver speeds of 8 Mbps or higher, as well as improve its mobile coverage, launch value-added wireless services, and roll out next generation fixed and mobile networks.[Lees verder]

EU loses WTO case over duties on electronic goods
(Telecompaper) The World Trade Organisation has ruled that European Union duties on certain electronics products broke international rules, the Financial Times writes. The decision claims that the EU violated its WTO obligations when it imposed tariffs on goods such as cable set-top boxes, computer monitors and certain printers that were developed after a 1996 agreement to eliminate trade barriers on technology goods. The case was brought by the US, Japan and Taiwan in May 2008, which insisted that the Information Technology Agreement, which slashed tariffs on a wide range of technology products, should account for technological changes and cover goods created in subsequent years. The EU countered that many of these products should be classified as consumer goods rather than technology products, allowing it to impose tariffs of up to 14 percent. It had argued, for example, that flat-panel computer screens that could be used to watch videos were more akin to televisions than to IT products. The European Commission said it would not comment before reading the 700-page report. It has two months in which to lodge an appeal.[Lees verder]

Intel to acquire Texas Instruments Cable Modem Unit
(Telecompaper) Intel has signed an agreement to acquire Texas Instruments’ cable modem product line. The purchase enhances Intel’s focus on the cable industry and related consumer electronics (CE) market segments, where the company’s expertise in building advanced system-on-chip (SoC) products, based on Intel Atom processors, will be applied. Intel plans to combine Texas Instruments’ Puma product lines with the Docsis technology and Intel SoCs to deliver advanced set-top box, residential gateway and modem products for the cable industry. Intel’s objective is to provide cable OEMs with an open and powerful platform for delivering innovative and differentiated products to service providers that improve the video, voice and data content experience at home. All employees of Texas Instruments’ cable modem team received offers to join Intel at sites in their home countries, primarily Israel, and will become part of Intel’s Digital Home Group. Additional terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The agreement, which is subject to regulatory review and customary closing conditions, is expected to close in Q4.[Lees verder]

Kenya gets second IXP in Mombasa
(Telecompaper) The Telecommunications Service Providers Association of Kenya (TESPOK) announced the creation of an Internet Exchange Point (IXP) in Mombasa. The new IXP will ensure that all the region’s traffic is exchanged locally, which will improve internet performance for end users, save operators the expense of backhauling regional traffic via Nairobi, and reduce the costs associated with traffic exchange between ISPs. The establishment of the Mombasa IXP was facilitated in part by the Internet Society’s African Interconnection and IXP Programme, an initiative to promote more robust internet connections within and between countries in Africa. The programme combines technical training, IXP deployment assistance, development of value added services at existing IXPs, and the establishment of regional communities to promote information exchange and joint problem solving. The Internet Society donated time, training, and equipment to assist the launch of the IXP in Mombasa. Located over 500km from the country’s first IXP in Nairobi, Mombasa is the landing point for all undersea fibre cables to Kenya and other landlocked countries in East Africa, making it an attractive location for international carriers to interconnect with the region. The first Kenyan exchange point was launched in Nairobi in 2001. The Internet Society’s Interconnection and IXP Programme is supported by the Amsterdam Internet Exchange (AMS-IX), the Deutscher Commercial Internet Exchange (DE-CIX) and Netnod, the Swedish Internet exchange provider.[Lees verder]

Hulu planning fall IPO – report
(Telecompaper) US TV-on-demand service Hulu is planning an initial public offering which could value the site at more than USD 2 billion, the New York Times reported. The company is in talks with investment banks to go public as soon as this fall, people briefed on the matter said. Hulu.com is owned by NBC Universal, News Corp and Walt Disney.[Lees verder]

Safaricom’s M-Pesa customers up 60 percent
(Telecompaper) The number of customers on Kenyan mobile operator Safaricom’s money transfer service M-Pesa has grown by 60 percent to 11.89 million as of last month, from 7.4 million a year earlier. The amount of money the service has transferred since inception in 2007 reached KES 525.84 billion in the financial year ended July. Statistics released by the operator showed that the monthly average of money moved in the system has increased by 30 percent. The service facilitated the transfer of KES 33 billion last month, compared to KES 20 billion in July last year. The operator said M-Pesa agents grew to 19,500 during the year to July. Sister company Vodacom in South Africa is set to launch the M-Pesa service on 31 August. Meanwhile M-Kesho, a product launched by Safaricom in partnership with Equity in May, has been able to grow its customer base to 455,000. The operator said of these, only 176,000 are active customers.[Lees verder]

Lime to invest USD 600 mln over next five years
(Telecompaper) Cable & Wireless Caribbean, which operates in the region under the Lime brand name, plans to invest around USD 600 million in its business across the region over the next five years. The investment will focus on delivery of innovative new services and the upgrade of existing infrastructure, bvinews reports, citing Lime’s CMO Chris Dehring. “Over the next five years, we intend to invest more than USD 600 million in our 13 business units across the region to improve the services that we offer and to roll out the kind of new technologies and innovative services that will help us to retain our present customers and attract new ones”, Dehring said. Among other initiatives, Lime plans to launch its TV service, initially in Jamaica and Barbados, by end-2010. In addition, Lime will upgrade its internet network capacity to deliver speeds of 8 Mbps or higher, as well as improve its mobile coverage, launch value-added wireless services, and roll out next generation fixed and mobile networks.[Lees verder]

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