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Australia to invest a record A$1.35bn in cybersecurity The Australian government has announced an AUS USD 1.35 billion program to combat the rise in cybersecurity threats that have intensified in recent months. This initiative, named the Cyber Enhanced Situational Awareness and Response (CESAR) package, will seek to identify more threats, fight foreign cybercriminals and build stronger partnerships within the industry. The nation’s largest ever investment in cybersecurity will supercharge the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) and the Australian Cyber Security Centre. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said, “My government’s record investment in our nation’s cyber security will help ensure we have the tools and capabilities we need to fight back and keep Australians safe.” Read more at https://tinyurl.com/ya8q3xsl India has banned TikTok, WeChat, and other China-based apps The Indian government has banned 59 Chinese-made apps, including TikTok and WeChat, over concerns that “they are engaged in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty…

Liberty Global and Telefonica to merge their U.K. operations creating the leading fixed-mobile provider in the country Virgin Media, Liberty Global’s cable operator, and Telefonica’s mobile carrier O2 have announced an agreement to merge their UK operations in a 50-50 joint venture between the two companies. This mega-deal is valued at GBP 31.4 billion, with O2 worth GBP 12.7 billion and Virgin Media valued at GBP 18.7 billion. According to the announcement, this combination will create a stronger fixed and mobile competitor in the UK market, supporting the expansion of Virgin Media’s giga-ready network and O2’s 5G mobile deployment for the benefit of consumers, businesses and the public sector. The transaction is expected to close in mid-2021. Read more at https://tinyurl.com/yc42j66f Ericsson ‘talking to advisers’ about selling $1.2bn number portability unit Ericsson’s largest shareholder Cevian Capital has advised the communications equipment supplier to sell its 83.3% stake in the US number portability company Iconectiv, formerly known as Telcordia. For the past several years,…

Verizon buys Zoom rival BlueJeans for less than $500 million Verizon Business has announced a deal to purchase enterprise-grade video conferencing platform BlueJeans, thereby expanding Verizon’s unified communications portfolio and improving its service for business customers. This acquisition shows that the company is also trying to capitalize on the current trend of remote employees making extensive use of online services such as Zoom, Slack and Microsoft during the pandemic. BlueJeans has more than 15,000 customers, including Facebook, IBM-owned Red Hat, ADP, Zillow and LinkedIn. The deal is worth USD 500 million and is expected to close in the second quarter of 2020. Read more at https://tinyurl.com/yd9qtfhg Apple’s new iPhone SE is surprisingly powerful for $399 Apple is launching iPhone SE 2020, the second generation of its cheapest smartphone in the iPhone lineup, priced at just USD 399. The iPhone SE runs on Apple’s latest A13 Bionic chip that enables great battery…

Hailo raises $60 million to accelerate the launch of its AI edge chip Israeli startup Hailo has raised further USD 60 million in series B funding for artificial intelligence (AI) chips, bringing its total financing to date to USD 88 million. This round, led by existing investors, was joined by strategic investors including ABB Technology Ventures, NEC Corporation, and London-based Latitude Ventures. Hailo said the new funding will help to roll out its Hailo-8 Deep Learning chip and to reach new markets and industries worldwide. The Hailo-8 could give edge devices far more processing power than before, allowing them to perform AI tasks without having to connect to the cloud. The company was founded in 2017, and its technology is designed for the automotive market, smart cameras, smartphones, drones and AR/VR platforms. Read more at https://tinyurl.com/tbwyjnb Ericsson starts manufacturing of 5G base station in Texas Sweden’s Ericsson, one of the…

British officials recommend role for China’s Huawei in 5G network UK officials have proposed allowing Chinese tech giant Huawei to play a limited role in the UK’s future 5G network, resisting calls from the US for a complete ban over fears of Chinese spying. Huawei will be kept out of the sensitive, data-heavy “core” parts of 5G infrastructure, but will be allowed to deploy its equipment in other parts of the network, according to sources speaking to Reuters. This recommendation comes ahead of a meeting of Britain’s National Security Council next week to decide how to deploy Huawei equipment. In addition, this proposal would satisfy Britain’s two largest telecoms operators, BT and Vodafone, which already use Huawei equipment and are against a total ban. Read more at: https://tinyurl.com/szmovzy CityFibre buys FibreNation from debt-laden TalkTalk for £200 million Britain’s TalkTalk Telecom Group has agreed to sell its FibreNation full-fibre network business…

Telefonica launches Tech and Infra units amid Latam spin-off Spain’s telecom giant Telefonica has announced a major organisational restructuring after a meeting of its board of directors. The company’s chairman and CEO Jose Maria Alvarez-Pallete has introduced a new bold strategy to spin off company assets and prepare for industry 4.0. With its 5-point plan, Telefonica aims to generate more than EUR 2 billion a year in additional revenues from 2022, by prioritising its four key markets of Spain, Brazil, the UK and Germany and carrying out an “operational spin-off” of its Latin American business. The company will also set up a subsidiary for its cloud, cybersecurity and IoT businesses called Telefonica Tech and another for its infrastructure assets, Telefonica Infra. Read more at: https://tinyurl.com/wjkobwc AT&T and Microsoft launch edge computing network Microsoft and AT&T have integrated 5G with Azure to launch their new Network Edge Compute (NEC) service for…

Google Cloud’s Contact Center AI hits general availability Google Cloud has announced the general availability of Contact Centre AI, which will enable corporations to deploy virtual agents for basic customer interactions. The service is built using conversational AI engine Dialogflow, the development suite for creating conversational interfaces such as chat bots and interactive voice responses (IVR). Furthermore, Google Cloud has introduced Cloud Run, a service for managing Knative for serverless apps like Kubernetes, and has also launched the Network Intelligence Centre, an AI-driven network management service. Read more at: https://tinyurl.com/yhn43zb9 Moto Razr 2019 is official: A foldable smartphone with no display crease One of the most iconic and best-selling flip phones is reborn. Motorola has unveiled the Moto Razr folding-screen smartphone with a large OLED display that folds in half. The most interesting thing about the new phone is the hinge design: there is a large empty space around it, so…

Samsung’s next flagship phone chip, the Exynos 990, is 20% faster Samsung has released its new Exynos 990 flagship chipset together with the 5G-capable Exynos Modem 5123 that are expected to help the next generation of mobile devices make intensive use of video and artificial intelligence (AI) applications as well as 5G communications. The Korean electronics giant said that the Exynos 990 is 20 percent faster at executing ordinary processing tasks, 20 percent faster in graphics processing and twice as fast in software tuned for the chip’s AI acceleration scheme. Read more at: https://tinyurl.com/y2qmemq5 Nvidia and Ericsson announce the first GPU-powered 5G mobile network At this year’s Mobile World Congress in Los Angeles, California, Nvidia announced the partnership with Ericsson and Red Hat to help mobile network operators accelerate 5G deployment. The company has compared the power of its GPU-accelerated EGX hardware to traditional CPU-based servers and claims that a…

Here’s everything Google announced at the Pixel 4 event At its new smartphone launch event in New York, Google introduced Pixel 4 and Pixel 4XL that offer a new and improved version of Google Assistant, a new Motion Sense feature for gesture control, an upgraded camera, and a new Recorder app that also transcribes speech. The fourth-generation Pixel is priced from USD 799 for a 5.7-inch display and USD 899 for a 6.3-inch display. According to Google, the Pixel phones will be available with all US operators and major MVNOs. The new phones will ship on October 24th, globally. Read more at: https://tinyurl.com/y3xw2v7q Apple pushes for own 5G modem by 2022 Apple has set a rather ambitious goal to have its own 5G modem in iPhones by 2022. The tech giant is currently using Qualcomm modems as part of a long-term supply agreement, but with the takeover of Intel’s smartphone modem…