U.S. FCC names heads of Comcast/TWC, AT&T/DirecTV deal reviews

Companies have to convince the FCC that their mergers are in the public interest for the deals to go ahead

Reuters

(Reuters) - A U.S. Federal Communications Commission lawyer will lead the agency's review of the proposed merger of Comcast Corp and Time Warner Cable Inc, while an external lawyer will join to lead the review of AT&T Inc's bid for DirecTV, the FCC said on Monday.

Google rates Internet service providers' video streaming quality

Customers can compare the performance of various Internet service providers in their area

Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Google Inc <GOOGL.O><GOOG.O> is rating Internet service providers' video streaming quality on a new website, the latest development in the fight between broadband providers and content companies over who is to blame for slow streaming speeds.

A link to the website appears when videos on Google's streaming service, YouTube, are slow to buffer. The website quietly launched in May, but recently drew growing publicity.

Atmel buys Wi-Fi gear maker in push into 'Internet of Things'

Chipmaker joins a list of semiconductor companies positioning for the trend known as the IoT with aquistions

Reuters

(Reuters) - Touchscreen chipmaker Atmel Corp said it would buy Newport Media, a maker of low-power Wi-Fi and bluetooth gear, for $140 million to gain ground in a technology that helps connect everything through the Internet.

Atmel's shares were down 1 percent in early trading on Thursday.

With the deal, the chipmaker joins a list of semiconductor companies that are acquiring technologies to position themselves for the trend known as the Internet of Things (IoT).

New online service disruptions in China; activists see HK protest link

Anti-censorship groups say government blocked info of pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong

Reuters

BEIJING (Reuters) - Access to online services such as messaging app Line and photo-sharing site Flickr was disrupted in China this week, a step that anti-censorship groups said was carried out by the government to block information about pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

Reuters reporters in China were unable to send messages on Line, owned by South Korea's Naver Corp 035420.KS, and KakaoTalk, owned by South Korean firm Kakao Corp. Both companies told Reuters they did not know the cause of the disruption or when service would return to normal.

EU clears Telefonica Deutschland's takeover of E-Plus

Raises prospects of more deals to come across Europe's telecoms markets

Reuters

BRUSSELS/FRANKFURT (Reuters) - European regulators have cleared Telefonica's bid to consolidate the German mobile market by buying smaller rival KPN's E-Plus for 8.6 billion euros ($11.7 billion), raising prospects of more deals to come across Europe's telecoms markets.

The European Union's powerful antitrust chief Joaquin Almunia said on Wednesday that Telefonica agreed to concessions - including selling some radio spectrum and renting out capacity on its network to smaller rivals - to ensure that the deal does not lead to higher prices for customers.

Brazilian board members of Portugal Telecom quit over debt buy: paper

Shares of Oi and Portugal Telecom tumble as analysts warn of potential credit risk

Reuters

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Two Brazilian board members of Portugal Telecom resigned after learning of 897 million euros ($1.22 billion) of short-term investments the company made without consulting them, newspaper Valor Economico reported on Wednesday.

The Portuguese company invested in debt issued by Rioforte, a firm controlled by the owners of Espirito Santo Group, which is a major shareholder in Portugal Telecom.

Microsoft sides with Qualcomm in showdown over connected home

Alliance is among a growing number of efforts for companies working alone or in groups to promote protocols for how smart devices should work together

Reuters

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp has joined Qualcomm Inc and other technology companies in a bid to establish standard ways for household devices like light bulbs and thermostats to talk to each other.

The Qualcomm-backed AllSeen Alliance is among a growing number of efforts for companies working alone or in groups to promote protocols for how smart devices should work together in a trend increasingly referred to as the Internet of Things.

China's Xiaomi smartphone shipments nearly quadruple in first half

97 percent of its smartphone shipments in the first quarter were still within mainland China

Reuters

BEIJING (Reuters) - Xiaomi, the Chinese smartphone maker valued at $10 billion last year, saw smartphone shipments for the first half of 2014 surge to nearly four times higher than in the same period last year.

The Beijing-based Xiaomi shipped 26.1 million handsets in the first six months of the year, it said in a press release on Wednesday. This was more than it shipped in the whole of 2013 and almost quadruple the 7.03 million units for the first half of last year.

U.S. sues T-Mobile USA, alleges cramming of bogus charges on bills

FTC asked the court to order the fourth-largest U.S. mobile brand to stop cramming, provide refunds and give up revenues

Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. authorities filed a complaint against T-Mobile USA on Tuesday, accusing the wireless provider of adding millions of dollars of unauthorized charges onto customers' bills, a practice known as "cramming."

The charges were for subscriptions for services like horoscopes or celebrity gossip delivered by text message, which often cost $9.99 a month. T-Mobile USA received 35 to 40 percent of the amount charged, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said.

Japan's KDDI, SoftBank say NTT's broadband plan risks monopoly revival

Reuters

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's KDDI Corp and SoftBank Corp said bigger rival NTT DoCoMo Inc (DoCoMo) could gain too much control of the wireless telecommunications business should DoCoMo's parent offer its fibre-optic broadband for resale.

Former state monopoly Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp (NTT) in May said it planned to sell its fibre-optic broadband to mobile phone network providers, which can then re-brand the service and sell it together with mobile phone contracts.

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