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ACCC starts breaking out Vodafone NBN customer connections

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(Image: ACCC)

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has provided some insight into what technologies customers on Vodafone are using to connect to the National Broadband Network.

The latest Wholesale Market Indicators Report to the end of March shows Vodafone has just under 17,000 fibre-to-the-premises customers, 2,650 on fibre-to-the-basement, and just over 10,000 on hybrid coaxial-fibre.

For fibre-to-the-node, Vodafone Australia numbers were lumped into the Other category, which sits at just over 2% of all customers at 54,000.

In its latest yearly earnings, Vodafone disclosed having 33,000 NBN customers.

Overall, more than half of all NBN customers are now on a 50Mbps plan, after the network crossed the threshold of having a majority of customers on 50Mbps and 100Mbps plans last quarter.

Between the December and March quarters, over 166,000 people moved off 12/1Mbps plans with the total dipping just below 1 million, while 220,000 more have 25/5Mbps plans taking the total to 1.14 million, and 336,000 premises now have 50Mbps plans that puts the most popular plan at 2.62 million customers.

“Although the number of consumers on [12Mbps] plans has dropped, they still account for a significant number of NBN users,” ACCC chair Rod Sims said.

“We would be concerned if the options to acquire entry level plans declined, either through availability or higher prices. Indeed, we continue to have concerns about the impact of NBN pricing changes on affordability of entry level plans for those consumers who only require a basic service.”

According to the ACCC, Telstra holds 49.2% of the NBN market, TPG has 21.6%, Optus is on 14.2%, while Vocus sits on 8.3%, and the others category is 6.8%.

Earlier this month, TPG continued its run of taking out the top spot in the ACCC’s speed-monitoring report.

Behind TPG were Aussie Broadband, Optus, Exetel, TPG-owned iiNet, Telstra, and MyRepublic.

The ACCC also recently announced it was opposing the prospective merger between TPG and Vodafone Australia.

The consumer watchdog said it believed the merger would substantially lessen competition, and that TPG had the commercial incentive to roll out a mobile network.

“TPG is the best prospect Australia has for a new mobile network operator to enter the market, and this is likely the last chance we have for stronger competition in the supply of mobile services,” ACCC chair Rod Sims said.

“Wherever possible, market structures should be settled by the competitive process, not by a merger which results in a market structure that would be subject to little challenge in the future. This is particularly the case in concentrated sectors, such as mobile services in Australia.”

In explaining its decision, the ACCC pointed to Australia’s concentrated mobile services market, with the three network operators, Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone, boasting over 87% market share. Similarly, it said the fixed broadband market is concentrated, with Telstra, TPG, and Optus having approximately 85% share.

The announcement was posted earlier than was intended on the ACCC site, with the Commission pointing the finger at its content management system.

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ACCC opposes TPG and Vodafone Australia merger

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ACCC happy with competition level in NBN aggregation

Competition watchdog will not require dark fibre providers and NBN aggregators to report pricing data.

Australia has 24.3m active retail mobile services: ACCC

Although 91% of the total volume of data downloaded is through fixed-line and wired connections.

ACCC questions fairness of NBN basic pricing

With the gap between basic 12Mbps plans and 50Mbps plans closing, the ACCC questions the fairness of NBN plans compared to existing ADSL plans.

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BMW iX5 Hydrogen Production Starts, But Don’t Expect To See This Fuel-Cell SUV In Dealerships

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The reality, though, is that even with a small number of BMW iX5 Hydrogen SUVs being produced — using individual fuel-cells supplied by Toyota, but assembled into a stack by BMW using the automaker’s own processes and technologies — the expectation is that hydrogen as a fuel will be predominantly of interest to non-passenger vehicles. Instead, it arguably makes the most sense, BMW suggests, for larger vehicles like medium- to heavy-duty trucks, along with the marine and aviation sectors. We’ve already seen Toyota reveal its plans for such an FCEV truck.

Despite that, and an acknowledgment that battery-electric vehicles will undoubtedly lead in the mainstream, BMW still believes there’s a place for FCEVs. After all, the automaker argues, if the infrastructure is being built to cater for trucks, there’s no reason not to also use it for passenger vehicles like the iX5 Hydrogen.

The results of the small-series production beginning today will be used as technology demonstrators across select regions from spring 2023, BMW says. It’s unclear at this point how many will be built. Depending on the reception and the strengths of the technology, series production of a first model could follow mid-decade, ahead of a potential full portfolio of BMW FCEVs from the 2030s onwards.

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Tesla Set To Deliver The First Semi To Pepsi

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In October, Tesla’s CEO revealed that the production of the Tesla Semi had begun, and it was bound to be delivered today. Tesla has already started the countdown, and we expect the unveiling event to go down at the Nevada factory. The electric truck will be dispatched to Pepsi, which had ordered 100 units. Investor reports that Tesla’s stock price increased by 7.7% on Wednesday, probably in anticipation of Tesla’s Semi first delivery.

Musk tweeted on Saturday that the “Tesla team just completed a 500-mile drive with a Tesla Semi weighing in at 81,000 lbs!” However, considering that Musk said that the company is dealing with supply chain issues and market inflation, it’s unclear if Tesla will stick to the original $180,000 price it intended to sell at when it was announced in 2017. Then again, Tesla offers a cheaper Semi that will be available for about $150,000 — but it can only achieve up to 300 miles at full load capacity. For now, we can only wait until it’s on the road to confirm if the specs match up to what was promised five years ago.  

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Coinbase Joins Elon Musk In Slamming The Apple App Store Tax

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Coinbase complained that Apple’s insistence on its cut unreasonably interfered with its business.

Coinbase’s argument was largely the same as Elon Musk’s, and the basis of Epic Games’ aforementioned lawsuit. According to all of the above, Apple was half of a duopoly: with Google, it controlled the global app marketplace. The “duopoly” part of the argument is pretty much incontrovertible: As of October 2022, both Apple and Google control 99.43% of the global smartphone market between them (via StatCounter). Both get a 30% cut of everyone’s action on its marketplace. From the perspective of Coinbase, that took too much money out of too many elements of its business.

Epic sued over that and, as noted above, won with an asterisk. Apple had restricted in-app purchases, and courts found that anticompetitive, but did require that Apple get a 30% cut of the profits, even though they took place in someone else’s app. In short, according to the Verge, the court said that if you’ve found a way to make money using iOS, you owe Apple 30%, period.

Epic thought in-app purchases should be exempted from the tax. Coinbase thinks elements of the NFT development process — in this case, gas prices to run the processing equipment necessary to mint NFTs — should be exempt from Apple’s app tax. Apple treats all user expenses on an app as in-app purchases and, per the Epic court decision, in-app purchases mean Apple gets a cut.

It’s not a simple problem, and it’s not likely to be solved anytime soon. Stakeholders and regulators have barely begun to integrate cryptocurrency and NFTs into the conventional marketplace. Who gets paid for what is likely to be a conversation for years on end. For now, all that’s certain is that conversation has begun.

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