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July 6, 2015
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TM: It’s still too early to judge P1

When Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM) made the decision to buy into loss-making Packet One Networks (M) Sdn Bhd (P1) last year through a partnership framework with Green Packet Bhd and South Korea-based SK Telecom Co Ltd (SKT), analysts were unconvinced if the buy-out was a good deal for TM and its investors.

Today, nine months since the acquisition was completed last September with TM controlling 55.3%, Green Packet 31.1% and SKT 13.6%, analysts remain doubtful of the acquisition, with some saying that TM had overvalued the potential of its new wireless business.

But TM managing director and chief executive officer Tan Sri Zamzamzairani Mohd Isa, who has been at the helm of the telecommunications giant since April 2008 when TM undertook a demerger exercise that separated the group’s fixed line services from its mobile service operation, is not unused to having to prove doubters wrong, reported The Edge Malaysia in its latest cover story, ‘Tough Job for Zamzamzairani’.





Back then, he had had to convince his staff and investors that there was hope of survival and growth for TM without the mobile service operation, which was in an exponential growth phase.

He was also tasked with investing in high-speed broadband (HSBB) despite shareholders’ doubts about the returns from such a massive investment.

TM’s RM8.9 billion investment in HSBB has started to bear fruit with UniFi becoming a household brand now, as it continues to dominate the fixed-line telephone services in Malaysia.

To Zamzamzairani, the missing piece of the puzzle to secure the company’s growth into the future is mobile broadband services. Cue P1. He just has to convince the investing public that buying into P1 was the move in the right step that will eventually yield returns.

“If you look at the big picture, we are already the broadband champion in Malaysia. Our customer base has increased to 2.23 million, led by more than 780,000 UniFi subscribers, and counting. So, what is TM’s next step? The key is to become a convergence champion,” he told The Edge.

TM’s initial investment was RM350 million to subscribe for a 57% stake in P1 and RM210 million to pump into Green Packet’s newly issued medium-term notes (MTN), which may be exchanged for Green Packet’s stake in P1 at a later date.

To date, TM has invested close to RM120 million of the RM210 million MTN. The remaining RM90 million is expected to be used this year.

But it has yet to see any contribution from P1. Instead, it is still paying the price of investing in the unprofitable company – in its first quarter ended March 31, 2015 (1QFY15), net profit plunged 38.8% on-year to RM128.9 million, although revenue grew 6% to RM2.77 billion.

The weaker earnings was mainly due to the consolidation of P1’s loss of RM49.6 million at Ebit (earnings before interest and tax) level, as well as higher operating costs, such as direct and staff expenses.

Excluding foreign exchange and one-off gains/losses, TM’s normalised net profit of RM171.3 million in 1Q was still below market expectation – only 17.8% of consensus full-year forecast, said The Edge, which also noted that knee jerk reaction to the release of its 1QFY15 results on May 29 saw TM’s shares slid 6.2%.

Zamzamzairani told The Edge that the acquisition must be given time to reap rewards for the company. Similarly, P1 CEO CC Puan also said it’s too early to judge P1, while he shared P1’s plans to roll out LTE networks and services by upgrading is WiMAX networks, and its aspirations to be the first digital mobile operator in Malaysia.

Their calls for patience notwithstanding, the management teams of TM, Green Packet and P1 still cannot say when P1 will become profitable, noted The Edge.

Analysts expect TM’s earnings to continue to be weighed down by P1’s losses in the coming quarters – if not the coming years – and there are concerns that TM won’t be able to pay dividends as promised simply because of the heavy capital expenditure (capex) incurred by the second phase of its HSBB project (HSBB2) and P1.

TM, which is 28.95%-owned by sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional Bhd and 15.07% owned by the country’s largest retirement fund, the Employees Provident Fund, has a policy of distributing annual dividends of RM700 million or up to 90% of normalised profit after tax and minority interests (Patami), whichever is higher. Last year, the total dividend payout was RM846.8 million, or dividend per share (DPS) of 22.9 sen.

Zamzamzairani, however, refuted the concern. “It shouldn’t be a worry. It used to be a worry when we launched the first HSBB, but we have proven that we can execute the plans well.

After all, the company’s balance sheet is healthy and we have a clear dividend policy,” he was quoted as saying.

He also shared the progress on the RM1.8 billion HSBB2 to build 1,000 new telecommunication towers and lay undersea cables, and the RM1.6 billion suburban broadband SUBB project that will cover suburban and rural areas by providing 420,000 ports across 750,000 premises within five years, as well as their possible impact on TM. – The Edge Markets, July 5, 2015.

July 6, 2015
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Sunday’s power rankings

1. Gerrit Cole, Pittsburgh Pirates: You don’t often talk about guys this good gutting out a win, but the Bucs ace got touched for three early runs, and if you’re a Pirates fan, you might have been worried. This was after he got lit up by the Reds on June 24 and gave up nine hits by the Tigers on June 30, so Cole hadn’t won a game since June 18. But he retired 16 straight Indians while the Pirates rallied to put up a five-spot in the fifth, getting Cole his MLB-leading 12th win.

2. Steven Matz, New York Mets: Two turns into his big-league career — it’s almost cooler that he notched his fifth RBI than his second win — Matz shut down the Dodgers with just five baserunners and no runs allowed over six innings in an 8-0 victory. He wasn’t even at his best.

3. Hanley Ramirez, Boston Red Sox: This came from a game that was the sort of contest the Astros are supposed to be built to win — having taken a lead in the top of the seventh on back-to-back homers from Carlos Correa and Evan Gattis. In came veteran lefty Tony Sipp to protect a lead with one out to get lefty-batting David Ortiz. He walked after an epic 11-pitch at-bat after fouling off six pitches, and created the situation you really don’t want: Hanley Ramirez with a big at-bat. Seeing somebody get out in front and one-hand a 1-and-2 changeup into the corner over the Monster? You don’t see that every day. Ramirez’s speed showed that the guy has hand-eye skills at the plate to do all sorts of unusual things, including win this game for the Red Sox by a 5-4 final score.

How weird a year has it been for Ramirez? In a season in which he has a career-low walk rate (fewer than 6 percent of his plate appearances) he’s a fly-ball hitter putting the ball in play 74 percent of the time that he’s at bat. That’s a higher rate he has had in any season since 2007. Yet for all of that extra contact, he’s putting a career-high 16.5 percent of all fly balls he’s hit into the seats. Sunday’s game-winner was his 18th, so he’s having a great season … but one that’s very different from anything he has ever done before, and perhaps very different from what the Red Sox expected when they ponied up major money.

4. Adam Lind and Gerardo Parra, Milwaukee Brewers: You might expect all sorts of guys on the Brewers to be rocking the Animals’ “We Gotta Get Out Of This Place” as they try to make themselves attractive as trade bait, so when you get to the Gap, you want people to make some noise at the plate. Given the comfort of Cincinnati’s confines in their “play me and trade me” quests, Lind homered on both Saturday and Sunday while Parra added one of his own in the Brewers’ 6-1 win over the Reds. Both boosted their value as rare commodities available at the deadline this year: productive lefty power sources. Given the number of contenders looking for help at first base, DH and the outfield, Doug Melvin’s phone should be ringing.

5. Tommy Pham, St. Louis Cardinals: Given a third straight start in center field since his call-up on Friday, Pham belted his first homer, a second double, drove in his first three runs and stole his first base to spark the Cards’ 3-1 win. Pham is sort of a fun story, in that he’s a premium defender who was the last guy picked in the 16th round of the 2006 and has slowly developed into the Cardinals’ latest later-round prospect. Across three seasons at Triple-A Memphis, he’s put up an .867 OPS, and with a glove that doesn’t give up anything to premium fly-chaser Peter Bourjos in center, he could be a bigger deal after this kind of weekend.

Extra-special De La Rosas-only power ranking: De La Rosa defeats De La Rosa for De La Rosa bragging rights. That’s Jorge De La Rosa of the Colorado Rockies beating Rubby De La Rosa of the Arizona Diamondbacks in a 6-4 win. It was the second-ever contest between the two in their battle for De La Rosa dominance, but both came away with no-decisions in their historic first matchup 11 days ago. So now this is settled … at least until their next confrontation, which will probably have to wait until the next time the two teams meet at the end of August.

Christina Kahrl writes about MLB for ESPN. You can follow her on Twitter.

July 6, 2015
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SSI Completes Acquisition of MyOpinions and SmileCity








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Survey Sampling International (SSI) is the premier global provider of sampling, data collection and data analytic solutions for consumer and business-to-business survey research, reaching respondents in 86 countries via Internet, telephone, …
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    Survey Sampling International (SSI) is the premier global provider of sampling, data collection and data analytic solutions for consumer and business-to-business survey research, reaching respondents in 86 countries via Internet, telephone, mobile/wireless and mixed-access offerings.









SHELTON, Conn., July 5, 2015 /PRNewswire/ – SSI today announced it has successfully completed the acquisition of the assets of MyOpinions in Australia and SmileCity in New Zealand.  The acquisition combines these large, high quality panels with SSI’s existing online panel assets to create the largest online panel in each country.

For market researchers, this means SSI now offers broader reach and better feasibility for conducting B2C and B2B research in Australia and New Zealand.  Together with its expert programming and hosting capabilities, SSI is the clear choice for marketers and researchers looking for a one-stop survey research partner.  

“SSI is pleased to complete this latest acquisition to further strengthen our presence in Asia Pacific and continue our worldwide expansion to offer the best products and services to our customers,” said SSI President and CEO Chris Fanning.  “This reinforces SSI’s position as the leading global online panel and survey research provider in the market today.”

This acquisition strengthens SSI’s leadership position as a global data solutions and technology company, and aligns with its overall strategy to invest in the Asia Pacific region.  SSI’s expanded presence in Australia and New Zealand combines industry-leading technology, proven online panelist recruitment techniques and a singular focus on quality to enable the best access to consumers and professionals available.

The MyOpinions Panel has been built over the past 14 years and sets the benchmark for quality online research for a large number of leading research agencies and corporate clients in Australia and elsewhere.

SmileCity Ltd., established in 2003, is an online rewards program exclusively for New Zealanders.

Both MyOpinions Ltd. and SmileCity Ltd. are owned by parent company PermissionCorp. 

The majority owner of SSI is HGGC, a leading middle-market private equity firm.

About PermissionCorp Pty Ltd.

PermissionCorp was founded in July 1999 in Sydney, Australia.  Since then the company has grown to become a major force in the online marketing arena, offering permission email marketing, online research, and online shopping loyalty programs and services.  Today, PermissionCorp has offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland and Taiwan and has a team of more than 70 full-time staff.  PermissionCorp has a network of Websites with a total reach exceeding 3.5 million and with page impressions in excess of 30 million per month.  Clients include major Australian brands and corporations.  For more information on PermissionCorp, please visit www.permissioncorp.com.

About SSI

SSI is the premier global provider of data solutions and technology for consumer and business-to-business survey research, reaching respondents in 100+ countries via Internet, telephone, mobile/wireless and mixed-access offerings.  SSI staff operates from 30 offices in 21 countries, offering sample, data collection, CATI, questionnaire design consultation, programming and hosting, online custom reporting and data processing.  SSI’s 3,600 employees serve more than 2,500 clients worldwide.  Visit SSI at www.surveysampling.com.

About HGGC

HGGC is a leading middle-market private equity firm with over $2.4 billion in cumulative capital commitments. Based in Palo Alto, Calif., HGGC is distinguished by its “Advantaged Investing” model that enables the firm to source and acquire scalable businesses at attractive multiples through partnerships with management teams, founders and sponsors who reinvest in deals alongside HGGC, creating a strong alignment of interests. Over its history, HGGC has completed platform investments, add-on acquisitions, recapitalizations and liquidity events with an aggregate transaction value of more than $10 billion, representing more than 45 transactions.  More information is available at www.hggc.com.

MEDIA CONTACT: 
Jason Kannon 
Kannon Public Relations
203.981.4230 (USA)
jkannon@kannonpr.com

Logo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20141102/156027LOGO

SOURCE SSI (Survey Sampling International)

RELATED LINKS
http://www.surveysampling.com

July 6, 2015
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What does AT&T’s $100 million fine mean to me?

Subscribers to ATT’s unlimited-data plan know all too well the pain of slow broadband service. Federal regulators have stepped in to take action.

Earlier this month, the Federal Communications Commission said it intends to fine ATT $100 million for violating a provision of the agency’s Net neutrality regulations.

At a high level, Net neutrality is the idea that all traffic on the Internet should be treated equally. That means your broadband provider, which controls your access to the Internet, can’t block or slow down your ability to use services or applications or view websites.

But it’s one of the lesser-known parts of the rules where ATT comes in — one that requires broadband providers to clearly inform their customers of the details of their service.

The FCC’s fine is the largest the agency has ever proposed. It sounds like a great victory for the average consumer, who’s likely seen his service slowed down to the same speed as dial-up Internet access. But what does it really mean for ATT customers? In this edition of Ask Maggie, I answer that question.

Dear Maggie,

I’ve been following your coverage of the FCC’s Net neutrality rules. And I saw that the FCC fined ATT a lot of money for violating those rules. I’m an ATT customer who still has an unlimited-data plan. How will this affect me?

Thank you for your time,
Ricardo

Dear Ricardo,

The FCC’s actions raise a lot of questions about what this means for consumers. To help you and others understand what it means, I’ve put together this FAQ.



CNET/Marguerite Reardon

Why is the FCC fining ATT?

The FCC alleges that ATT intentionally slowed service for 4G LTE subscribers to its unlimited-data service to the point where customers couldn’t even use the service. The agency claims that when ATT’s unlimited-data customers used more than 5 gigabytes of data in a month, the company dropped the speeds of their service to as low as 512 kilobits per second, which is about 5 percent of what it advertised for its 4G LTE service. It’s a practice known in the industry as throttling.

If you remember the painfully slow days of dial-up Internet access, that’s what the connection felt like for customers whose service was slowed by ATT.

The FCC also alleges that ATT failed to adequately notify its customers that they could receive slower-than-advertised speeds. By “falsely labeling” these plans as allowing unlimited data usage and by not giving customers information that explained how and when their services would be slowed, ATT violated the 2010 Open Internet Transparency Rule, the FCC said.

Did ATT violate the new Net neutrality rules that prohibit broadband providers from slowing down Internet traffic?

No. While it may seem like ATT broke the “no throttling rule,” the truth is it didn’t. The rules the FCC adopted ban network operators from slowing down or blocking specific applications, content or services. If a service provider is slowing down all traffic on the network, it’s not being discriminatory. Therefore, it’s not violating the rule.

Then what rule is ATT violating?

The FCC is not accusing ATT of violating the new Net neutrality rules voted on in February. Instead, it says ATT violated the only piece of the 2010 Net neutrality order that survived the court challenge in 2014.

According to the FCC’s information guide, the “Transparency Rule empowers consumers to make informed choices about broadband services.” The FCC says this means broadband providers need to offer customers enough information about the speed and price of their service for a customer to know what they’re paying for. It also requires broadband providers to offer accurate service descriptions, including expected and actual broadband speeds. It requires operators to provide accurate pricing, including monthly prices, usage-based fees and any other additional fees consumers may be charged. And it requires broadband operators to disclose network management practices, such as congestion management practices and the types of traffic subject to those practices.

Does this mean that ATT will stop throttling my unlimited service?

Maybe. The FCC’s action isn’t final yet. ATT says it hasn’t violated any FCC rules. It claims it has informed customers of its its policies and therefore has complied with the Transparency Rule. The company has 30 days to appeal the FCC’s enforcement action. It can can ask the commission to reduce or eliminate the fine.

But if the enforcement action goes into effect, then ATT must notify customers of unlimited-data plans that its “disclosures were in violation of the Transparency Rule, and that ATT is correcting, or has corrected, its violation of the rule with a revised disclosure statement.”

In other words, the FCC isn’t ordering ATT to stop throttling customers. It’s only telling the company to make its policy clear.

ATT changed its policy in May. Previously, it slowed down service if a customer exceeded 5GB of data in a month, regardless of whether the network was congested. Now ATT says heavy users on the unlimited LTE plans are throttled only when the network is congested.

A $100 million fine is a big one. Does that mean I will get a refund?

No. The FCC’s enforcement bureau only has the authority to impose fines. The money will go to the US Treasury. But this doesn’t mean customers won’t get some relief from the government. The Federal Trade Commission is suing ATT over the same practice. If it wins its case, it could require ATT to pay back customers. Another possibility is that ATT may settle with the FCC and the FTC, as the company has done in other cases. Some sort of settlement may include reimbursement for customers.

Last year, ATT agreed to pay a fine of $105 million to the FTC and to state governments to settle charges over a practice known as “cramming,” or allowing third parties to put unauthorized charges on customers’ bills for unwanted text messages. On top of that, the company agreed to pay $5 million to the FCC.

What does this mean for the future of unlimited-data plans?

The days of the unlimited-data plan could be numbered. ATT stopped offering unlimited data to new customers in 2010. It has allowed customers who had that plan before 2010 to keep it indefinitely. But that could change. ATT isn’t required to allow customers to keep their old plans once their contracts expire. It could require customers to move to one of its usage-based plans.

Verizon, which also eliminated its unlimited-data plan for new customers, allows customers to keep the plan, but only if they meet strict requirements. Under Verizon’s plans, customers must pay full price for their phones if they want to keep the unlimited data. This has discouraged a lot of customers from keeping the plans. Verizon said there are few unlimited-data users left on its network.

ATT and other wireless providers may find it too costly or simply too much trouble to keep these plans. Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure said at the Recode conference last month that the company would likely stop offering unlimited-data plans in the future. In another, more recent interview, he said the company will increase the price of unlimited-data plans near the end of the year.

Even T-Mobile, which professes to be different from all its competitors, may eventually do away with unlimited data. As the company adds new customers to its network, it may hit a limit in terms of the number of customers it can handle. The company already raised the price of its unlimited-data offer from $70 to $80 a month. There’s a chance it might get rid of it entirely. Still, T-Mobile doesn’t charge customers an overage penalty if they exceed their allotted data even on plans that are capped. Instead, it slows customers down for the remainder of the billing period once they reach their max.

Ask Maggie is an advice column that answers readers’ wireless and broadband questions. If you have a question, I’d love to hear from you. Please send me an e-mail at maggie dot reardon at cbs dot com. And please put “Ask Maggie” in the subject header. You can also follow me on Facebook on my Ask Maggie page.

July 6, 2015
by admin
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Five shows you shouldn’t miss: July 10-16

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unREAL

Stan.com.au, from Saturday

Ever wondered just how real those reality TV dating shows are? This black comedy goes behind the cameras to reveal a manipulated world where nothing is as it seems.

What’s The Right Diet For You?

Monday, SBS, 7.30pm

Is it carbs, paleo, or just cutting down that helps you really lose weight? Experts put 75 dieters through their paces to try to find the truth.

Locomotion: Dan Snow’s History Of Railways.

SBS, Wednesday, 7.30pm

Yes, it’s about trains, but  a lot more too. Dan Snow takes us back  in time to show how one innovation in transport helped to transform the world. Fascinating stuff.

Finding Carter

Thursday, Fox8, 8.30pm

A teenage girl learns the family she had always known are a lie and she was, in fact, kidnapped as a baby. Meeting her real family, however, is far from a happy reunion.



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