THE WRAP: Huawei foiled again, BlackBerry goes dark

It was the week that saw Huawei blocked from another US tender, as BlackBerry went dark for users in three continents, and flooding in Thailand threatened to disrupt the mobile supply chain.
 
Huawei’s efforts to grow its US business hit another snag this week as the company was barred by the US government from bidding in the planned Public Safety 700MHz Demonstration Network due to unspecified “security concerns”. Huawei is demanding an explanation for how the decision was reached.
 
On the bright side, Huawei said this week at a CTIA event it has succeeded in cracking the US handset market via its white-label strategy. Ovum analyst Jan Dawson agreed, noting that Huawei is in a better position than it was a year ago when it had virtually no presence in the US handset market.
 
It was a bad week for RIM after its BlackBerry Internet Service suffered an outage on Monday that lasted for days. The service blackout initially affected users in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, but reportedly spread to North America by Thursday.
 
BlackBerry users in Asian markets like India and Singapore also reported service problems (although Australia appears to have been unaffected). NTT DoCoMo reportedly said its BlackBerry service was unaffected for Japan-only communications, but users communicating with other BlackBerry users in affected regions could experience problems.
 
RIM has attributed the outage to a core switch failure, which also failed to failover to a back-up switch. RIM also said services are being restored, but the backlog of messages that piled up during the outage will mean more delays for some users.
 
Flood waters in Thailand forced the evacuation of Bangpa-in Hi-tech Industrial Park this week, raising concerns over the impact of the floods on the component supply chains for mobile phones and hard drives. One resident of Bangpa-in is Stars Microelectronics, a specialist in capacitative screens and surfaces that supplies finished touch screen assemblies to the leading handset makers in Taiwan and Korea.
 
 
In India this week the Uninor JV saga continued, with minority partner Unitech offering to buy out Telenor’s 67.25% stake for 2.69 billion rupees (€39 million). That’s well below the price Telenor paid when it bought into the venture in 2008, but Unitech says the valuation is based on Telenor's own estimate of Uninor’s market value.
 
It was a mixed week for Samsung. The good news: analysts estimated the company made strong strides in the mobile market during the September quarter, contributing to an expectation-beating operating profit. The bad news: Apple succeeded in its court bid to temporarily block Samsung from selling its Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet in Australia until its patent violation trial concludes.
 
That wasn’t the only good news for Apple this week. The company announced that it had received over a million preorders for its new iPhone 4S in a single day. That tops the previous record of 600,000 set by the iPhone 4 last year, according to Bloomberg. Not bad for a device widely regarded as a disappointment
 
The week’s Big Rumor: Sony is considering buying Ericsson out of the pair’s handset joint venture. With Sony-Ericsson losing market share and revenues, credit ratings firm Fitch said Ericsson would do well to sell out to alleviate concerns over future funding.
 
Fitch also made waves when it downgraded Italian operators Wind and Telecom Italia, citing worries over Wind’s ability to pay for a 4G license and a likely drop in business at Telecom Italia
 
European fiber network operator Interoute welcomed a decision to review the UK’s three strikes law. Director Lee Myall said the review gives time to examine the small print of the Digital Economy Act, which was rushed into law ahead of a 2010 election.
 
Other headlines for the week: NBN Co chief executive Mike Quigley confirmed the NBN rollout is several months behind due to delays in striking a deal with Telstra and issuing construction contracts; the European Commission approved Microsoft’s $8.5 billion (€6.1 billion) acquisition of Skype; and Augere Wireless Broadband awarded Ericsson a contract to handle the operator's TD-LTE rollout in an initial 14 cities of India.
 
And finally, it was the week when Sony’s PlayStation Network was hacked. Again.
 
According to the New York Times, Sony said it had locked around 93,000 PSN user accounts and other online services after detecting a spike in unauthorized log-in attempts.
 
Sony said it froze the accounts involved, and e-mailed account owners asking them to reset their passwords. “We believe very few accounts were actually accessed,” a spokesperson said.

Still, the attack comes six months after a breach in April in which 100 million PSN user accounts were compromised – and less than one month after Sony PSN altered its T&C under which users must agree not to sue Sony collectively in case their accounts get hacked again.

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