Thu, Jan. 29, 9:02 AM
Apr. 25, 2014, 12:58 PM
- Japan's NTT DoCoMo (DCM +5.5%) is surging on news it will try to unload its 26% stake in India's Tata Teleservices, following five years of losses plagued by telecom license cancellations in a corruption probe and repeated delays in rolling out high-speed networks.
- Tata may be an attractive asset for a new entrant hoping to crack the Indian market or an existing large player looking to add market share, but some analysts say they are few potential buyers with the cash to strike a deal.
Jan. 3, 2014, 4:30 AM
- Vodafone (VOD) is in reportedly early discussions to acquire Tata Group's 59.45% stake in Tata Teleservices in a deal that would create India's largest telco with 248M subscribers.
- However, Japan's NTT DoCoMo (DCM), which owns just over a quarter Tata Teleservices, has a right of first refusal on the majority holding.
- Should Vodafone prevail, it would look to acquire all of Tata Teleservices, whose market cap is 16.28B rupees ($261M).
- Meanwhile, Vodafone Egypt has been accused of inciting terrorism by incorporating secret messages supporting the Muslim Brotherhood in an advertisement.
- Vodafone has denied the allegations, which Egyptian prosecutors are investigating amid an intensifying crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood by the military government that deposed it.
- The accusations add another headache for multinationals that operate in Egypt to go with political instability, security worries and economic uncertainty.
Dec. 3, 2013, 5:35 AM
- UBS upgrades Apple (AAPL) to Buy from Neutral, bumps target to $650 from $540
- "While Apple's stock has improved, institutional ownership has not recovered. It peaked at about 73% in April 2012 and has fallen to under 64%. Our sense speaking with investors is that many are now equal or underweight Apple relative to their benchmark, which could result in new money supporting the stock. Apple fits the value description and with potential double-digit EPS growth in F14 could show up again as a growth story."
- "We think one or more of the following could boost the stock in the next year: i) the gross margin should be flat to up with iPad margins stabilizing and warranty accruals less of an incremental; ii) the imminent support of China Mobile (CHL) along with NTT DoCoMo (DCM) could aid the seasonally weak summer quarters; iii) the hire of Angela Ahrendts may provide an inspirational face to the company; and iv) new products should begin to renew faith in innovation, including wearables and iBeacon."
- AAPL +1.1% premarket to $557.26
Sep. 16, 2013, 11:08 AM
- China Unicom (CHU +0.6%) says its iPhone 5S/5C (AAPL -2.6%) reservations have topped 100K since it began taking them last week. Last year, Unicom took 200K+ iPhone 5 reservations in the phone's first two days of availability.
- Meanwhile, China Telecom (CHA +2.5%) has cut its iPhone subsidies. A subscriber signing up for an RMB289/month ($47/month) plan will get an iPhone 5S subsidy of RMB2890, 15% less than the RMB3400 subsidy it provided for the iPhone 5. It's worth noting CHA's ARPU is below $10.
- The Chinese figures come amidst sharp criticism of the 5C's unsubsidized pricing, which starts at $735 in China. For reference, upstart Xiaomi's new Mi3 flagship Android phone (5" 1080p display, 13MP camera) starts at $327 in the Middle Kingdom.
- On the other hand, Japanese carriers are aggressively subsidizing the 5S in the wake of NTT DoCoMo's (DCM +0.7%) iPhone deal. DoCoMo, SoftBank (SFTBF.PK), and KDDI are each providing the 5S for free with 2-year contracts for certain plans.
- Kantar Japan recently estimated 2/3 of DoCoMo subs who have been leaving the carrier ended up buying an iPhone.
- Also: Bernstein thinks Apple could still come out with a cheaper iPhone in the form of a sub-$400 iPhone 4C that puts the iPhone 4's components inside a 5C body.
Sep. 10, 2013, 2:12 PM
- As expected, the iPhone 5S' (AAPL -0.9%) camera has dual LEDs (should improve color accuracy) and a larger (F2.2) aperture, the latter should help with low-light shots. It also has a bigger image sensor, though its resolution is unchanged at 8MP (Phil Schiller: "Bigger pixels make a better picture."). (live blog)
- Other new camera features: auto image stabilization, a 10fps burst mode, and a 120fps Slo-Mo video recording option. The camera improvement come as Nokia and Sony tout the high-end imaging capabilities of smartphones such as the Lumia 1020 and Xperia Z1.
- Also, the oft-rumored fingerprint sensor has been revealed. Called Touch ID, the sensor is embedded within a sapphire crystal home button (incremental positive for GTAT), and can be used to unlock the 5S, make iTunes purchases, and carry out other tasks within apps.
- Like the iPhone 5 (until now), 16-64GB 5S models will sell for a subsidized $199-$399. The iPhone 5 is being discontinued to make room for the 5C; the 4S will now be free with a contract.
- 5S/5C pre-orders start on Sep. 13. Sales begin in the U.S., Japan, China, and 6 other markets on Sep. 20. NTT DoCoMo (DCM +1.5%) will be among the Japanese carriers to sell the phones. 100 countries/270 carriers will be supported by December.
- 5S/5C sales should benefit from Apple's strong customer loyalty and the huge 4S sales recorded two years ago (many of those buyers are about to see their contracts expire). But will they be able to reel in many of the Android users who have come to love larger screens?
- More on Apple
Sep. 5, 2013, 2:25 PM
- The Japanese paper says DoCoMo (DCM +1.1%) is likely to announce a partnership with Apple (AAPL -0.8%) on the day of its iPhone launch. Apple has announced an iPhone satellite event will take place in Tokyo (along with ones in Beijing and Berlin) hours after its main Sep. 10 event in Cupertino.
- A DoCoMo EVP suggested last month a deal could be close. Previous talks between Apple and DoCoMo reportedly faltered due to Apple's purchase requirements and DoCoMo's insistence on pre-installing some of its apps.
- DoCoMo, by far Japan's largest carrier (60M+ subs, 1/4 of which are now using 4G phones), has been losing share to SoftBank (SFTBF.PK) and KDDI in large part due to its failure to carry the iPhone. Though DoCoMo's sub base is much smaller than China Mobile's 740M, a much larger portion of it can afford a $450+ (unsubsidized) phone.
- Japan is the iPhone's strongest major international market. Thanks largely to iPhone sales, Apple's Japanese revenue rose 27% Y/Y in FQ3 to $2.5B, even as revenue fell 14% in Greater China and 18% in the rest of Asia-Pac.
- Update: Bloomberg reports Apple is "near a final agreement" with DoCoMo, and that the carrier "may begin offering the iPhone later this year."
- Update 2: Reuters has joined the fray.
Aug. 26, 2013, 7:48 AM
- It may just all be about the timing at this point, according to NTT DoCoMo (DCM) senior EVP Kazuto Tsubouchi. "It would be difficult to start sales on the 10th," he tells Japan's Sankei Shimbun, referring to the date Apple (AAPL) is rumored to introduce the iPhone 5S, among other phones. "Docomo is ready but timing is the problem."
- It's not the first time a deal was believed to be near.
- DoCoMo shares rose 2.1% in Tokyo overnight.
Jul. 5, 2013, 2:53 PMApple (AAPL -0.9%) roundup: 1) In spite of the iPhone's growing Japanese sales, top local carrier NTT DoCoMo (DCM) continues to play hardball regarding an iPhone deal. Its stated reasons range from Apple's purchase requirements to a wish to pre-install its services. 2) A month after Google scooped up Waze, the USPTO has published an Apple patent application for a crowdsourced traffic/navigation service relying on route ratings and user reporting. 3) A couple of other patent applications: one for self-adjusting earbuds supporting noise cancellation, and one for flexible battery packs that could be used in an iWatch. | 2 Comments
Mar. 25, 2013, 2:17 PMNTT DoCoMo (DCM) is launching a China-specific version of its d-game mobile gaming service within China Mobile's (CHL) Mobile Market portal. 20 titles will be supported at launch time. The announcement comes 8 months after DoCoMo formed a mobile content JV with Chinese search kingpin Baidu. The Japanese carrier has a long history of striking mobile data services deals with foreign peers, with mixed results. | Comment!
Mar. 6, 2013, 9:13 AMFoxconn has begun production of an iPhone 5S (AAPL) that looks much like the iPhone 5, claims Japanese blog MacOtakara, which has a mixed track record (I, II) with iScoops. MacOtakara also reports NTT DoCoMo (DCM) has slashed Android phone orders for the fall, which is fueling speculation an iPhone deal is on the way. Jefferies' Peter Misek argued last month preparation for March iPhone 5S production could be responsible for new iPhone order cuts. Possible/likely suppliers: CRUS, OVTI, SWKS, TQNT, AVGO, QCOM, BRCM, NTE, MFLX, LPL. (yesterday) | 30 Comments
Jan. 29, 2013, 8:08 PMJapanese stocks move up again today, piggybacking gains for the broader U.S. market earlier today. The Nikkei Average is currently up 0.9% to 10,958, with Telecoms leading gains: Softbank (SFTBF.PK +2.8%), KDDI (KDDIY.PK +2.6%), NTT DoCoMo (DCM +0.8%) and Nippon Telegraph & Telephone (NTT + 0.7%). Energy also trade higher: Japan Petroleum (JPTXF.PK +2.7%), and Inpex (IPXHY.PK +1.1%). | Comment!
Jan. 11, 2013, 12:06 PMIs Apple (AAPL -0.5%) finally close to scoring an iPhone deal with NTT DoCoMo (DCM)? The president of the top Japanese carrier, which has been bleeding share to iPhone-carrying SoftBank (SFTBF.PK) and KDDI, says his company is willing to sell the iPhone if it can reach a mutually beneficial deal. DoCoMo and Apple have reportedly been at odds in the past over Apple's purchase requirements and DoCoMo's insistence on pre-installing some of its apps. (China Mobile) | 10 Comments
Jan. 3, 2013, 1:51 PMSamsung (SSNLF.PK) confirms it will begin selling smartphones based on its Tizen OS this year. The phones will likely feature Intel (INTC) processors, given the chip giant's role in co-developing Tizen. Samsung is undoubtedly trying to lower its dependence on Android, but whether it succeeds depends on the willingness of consumers to embrace an OS that will initially have much less developer support. A Japanese paper previously reported NTT DoCoMo will sell Samsung's Tizen phones. | 6 Comments
Dec. 31, 2012, 10:17 AMSamsung (SSNLF.PK) is about to significantly expand its Silicon Valley ops: the electronics giant is building a 1.1M square foot sales and R&D center in San Jose, just a stone's throw away from Apple and Google, as well as opening other local facilities. Samsung has already made huge commitments for its Austin, TX facilities. Separately, the Daily Yomiuri reports Samsung will begin selling smartphones based on its Tizen OS (developed with Intel) to NTT DoCoMo (DCM) in 2013. | 1 Comment
Dec. 7, 2012, 11:24 AMSome Asian Apple (AAPL -1.8%) news: 1) The iPad Mini has launched to sparse crowds in China. The regular iPad controlled 71% of the Chinese tablet market in Q3, according to Analysys. 2) China Unicom (CHU) took over 200K iPhone 5 pre-orders in its first 2 days of availability. Unicom is fully subsidizing the phone to those who make a $947 deposit. 3) NTT DoCoMo (DCM) is facing more pressure to strike an iPhone deal (previous): the top Japanese carrier lost 40.8K subs in November to rivals SoftBank and KDDI. Apple's Japanese sales rose 113% Y/Y in FQ4. | 7 Comments
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