THE WRAP: India seeks web censorship; KT 2G switch off halted
It was the week that saw India push web sites to censor themselves, as KT was forced to delay its 2G network shutdown and Chinese telcos offered concessions to end an antitrust probe.
Reports revealed this week that India's telecom minister is leaning on web giants including Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo to pre-censor their respective web services for disparaging content.
According to the New York Times, acting telecom minister Kapil Sibal held a meeting with officials from the companies to ask them to censor disparaging or defamatory content about people including party officials. The companies are resisting, citing the obvious infeasibility of monitoring such a large volume of content.
South Korean incumbent operator KT suffered a blow to its LTE plans this week after a court ordered the operator to keep its 2G network running despite acquiring approval from the KCC last month.
KT had planned to shut down the network this week to free up the 1800-MHz band in order to refarm it for LTE. But following a class-action lawsuit filed last week by disgruntled 2G customers, a court suspended the KCC’s approval of the shutdown, putting the plan on hold. No word as we went to press on how the decision will impact KT’s launch of its LTE service, which was scheduled for this week.
It was also the week that China Unicom and China Telecom offered olive branches to regulators, in an attempt to close an antitrust probe into their internet access pricing practices.
Apple faces a European antitrust probe over its e-book deals with publishers Hachette Livre, Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster, Penguin, and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holzbrinck. The European Commission will investigate whether the agreements breach anti-cartel laws.
In other news for the week, Australia's opposition party launched a fresh attack against the viability of the government's planned National Broadband Network. Malcolm Turnbull, shadow minister for communications and broadband, alleges the project will cost A$6 billion (€4.5 billion) more to operate than forecast.
UK plans for superfast broadband rollout were highlighted when BT chief Ian Livingston told the government fiber to the home coverage could hit 90% within six years. The percentage of homes with access to a basic 2Mbps service will also fall from around 12% currently to 2%, he said.
Spanish incumbent Telefonica moved its mobile wallet plans forward through a deal with smartcard firm Giesecke & Devrient to develop regional NFC specifications. G&D will also supply compatible SIM cards to the operator.
Big technology announcements for the week: Cisco unveiled its new CloudVerse framework that offers an end-to-end approach to deploying business-class cloud services; and NSN announced new remote radio head capable of handling six pipes at once to boost TD-LTE network capacity 80%.
Other news for the week: European Commission vice president Viviane Reding outlined plans to update data protection laws to account for growing use of cloud services; and Qualcomm established an e-health subsidiary called Qualcomm Life and a $100 million (€74.5 million) investment pot for wireless health start-ups.
And finally, it was the week that saw Indonesian police charge Andrew Cobham, RIM's Indonesian chief, with negligence for his part in organizing last month's BlackBerry Belagio launch in Jakarta. The event ended in riots due to the rush to take advantage of the 50% discount offered to the first 1,000 customers.
Cobham, who has not been detained, faces a maximum penalty of nine months in jail, reports Reuters.