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Vodafone Australia and TPG head to court for merger approval

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Huawei ban sees TPG end rollout of Australian mobile network
Australian telco says the lack of a clear upgrade path to 5G will see it end its network rollout.

Vodafone Australia and TPG are heading to Federal Court to seek approval for their merger, following the decision of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to oppose the deal on Wednesday.

Chief Executive of Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) Inaki Berroeta said the merger involved two companies with little overlap.

“VHA is an established mobile business with less than one per cent of the fixed broadband market, while TPG is the second largest fixed broadband player with no mobile network,” said Berroeta.

“The merger provides a unique opportunity for VHA and TPG to combine their complementary assets.”

TPG was in the midst of deploying its Australian mobile network, when it made the decision in January to abandon its mobile network build in Australia, and cop a AU$230 million accounting hit.

The company said the decision was made due to the Australian government’s ban on Huawei 5G equipment. The telco said it had purchased equipment for 1,500 sites, as well as 900 fully or partially completed small cell sites. The company has already racked up AU$100 million in costs, with a further AU$30 million to come.

Berroeta argued that the proposed AU$15 billion entity would be able to take the fight to its rivals.

See: ACCC opposes TPG and Vodafone Australia merger

“The merger would create an entity that can compete more aggressively in this highly competitive market than either VHA or TPG could on their own,” he said.

“It is disappointing that the ACCC does not see it this way.”

Vodafone added that the merger agreement with TPG has been extended to the end of August 2020 to allow for the Federal Court to make a decision, and for the merger to be completed.

Explaining its decision on Wednesday, the ACCC said the merger would reduce competition in the telco sector, and said TPG had a “commercial imperative” to deploy its own 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.”

Sims noted that TPG has the fibre assets, transmission network, spectrum, and customer base to move into mobile, while Vodafone had moved into fixed broadband.

“TPG is also facing reducing margins in fixed home broadband due to the NBN rollout. Further, there is the growing take-up of mobile broadband services in place of fixed home broadband services which is expected to increase especially after the rollout of 5G technology,” Sims added.

“After thorough examination, we have concluded that, if this proposed merger does not proceed, there is a real chance TPG will roll out a mobile network.”

Related Coverage

ACCC opposes TPG and Vodafone Australia merger

Consumer watchdog rejects deal to create new telco worth AU$15 billion.

TPG is still king of NBN speed report

TPG still delivers on its download speed promises the most often, while Exetel won on upload speeds, Telstra on latency, and Optus on the highest number of daily outages, according to the fifth ACCC report.

ACMA warns TPG, Foxtel, Aussie Broadband on priority assistance

TPG, Aussie Broadband, MyRepublic, Foxtel, Activ8me, Exetel, Dodo, Skymesh, Southern Phone, Spintel, and V4 Telecom have been formally warned to provide accurate information on priority assistance services.

TPG quarterly profit drops 76 percent after Huawei ban

While the mobile network abandonment brought down TPG’s Q1 results, the telco also made less revenue thanks to the broadband market erosion caused by the NBN rollout.

Huawei ban sees TPG end rollout of Australian mobile network

Australian telco says the lack of a clear upgrade path to 5G will see it end its network rollout.

Vodafone Australia EBITDA tops AU$1b but continues to post net loss

Net loss for the company down by almost a third to AU$124 million.

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The Secret Photos Feature That Makes Your Hidden And Recently Deleted Photos More Secure

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Much like with Notes, you can now set passwords for the Hidden and Recently Deleted albums in Photos and keep them locked and secure. This MacOS Ventura feature is enabled by default. You would be required to key in your Mac computer’s login password or use Touch ID to gain access to either of the two albums.

This is especially useful for people who regularly transfer photos into a secret space within the Photos app so that other people who may have access to the machine won’t be able to snoop and view private shots that easily. You can keep photos from being displayed in your library by following these steps:

  1. Launch the Photos app.
  2. From the sidebar, hit “Library.”
  3. Pick the photo or group of photos you’d like to conceal.
  4. Choose “Image” from the menu bar that runs along the top of the computer screen, then hit “Hide [number] Photos.”
  5. Click “Hide” to finalize.

Marked photos will then be moved into the “Hidden” photos folder, which can be accessed by going to “Library” again in the sidebar and hitting “View” from the menu bar in order to “Show Hidden Photo Album.” Since the password-lock feature is automatically turned on for the secret folder on MacOS Ventura, you may be required to enter your login password or use Touch ID (if you have it set up) to display hidden photos again.

In addition to hidden photos being password protected, other users who hop on your Mac computer will not be able to just check out or recover any newly deleted photos. Photos that were moved into the Recently Deleted album can be restored and moved back into the main Photos library within the period of time stated for each file.

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Sony Just Kicked Off A Huge ‘End Of Year’ Sale On PS4, PS5 Games

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In all, there are just over 800 items on sale across both PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5. Not everything is games, however, as there are some expansions, add-on packs, and other forms of DLC that are also included in the savings. Filtering out the extras, it’s closer to 600 (573 or so) games and game bundles.

There is, of course, plenty of older stuff in the mix like 2013’s “Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag,” “Knack,” and “Murdered: Soul Suspect” (wow, remember that one?). But there are also a fair number of newer titles that are being discounted as well. If you were curious about “Gotham Knights” or you really want the X-Factor Edition of “NHL 23,” both are up for grabs at around 50% off. But if you want something that moves a little faster, there’s also the Digital Deluxe version of “Sonic Frontiers” for 30% off ($48.99).

If you want to check out the full list, you can find it over at the PlayStation Store or hop onto the online shop via your PS4 or PS5 console. Just look for “End of Year Deals,” or open the intrusive ad Sony most likely dropped in your system’s main menu.

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The Best SUVs Of 2022

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The Suburban is the largest SUV that Chevy offers, and it’s perfect for hauling large families, lots of luggage, trailers, or whatever else you want it to. The 2023 Suburban recently launched with GM’s latest Super Cruise semi-autonomous driving tech, but other than that, not much has changed over the past few years. The thing is, it doesn’t need to, as the reason the Suburban remains a perennial bestseller despite being one of the oldest nameplates on the road is simple: space. There are very few passenger vehicles on the market that offer such a cavernous interior as the Suburban, which means buyers can usually look past the SUV’s other shortcomings.

It might be huge, for example, but the interior isn’t always up to scratch in terms of quality, especially in higher trims where prices start to creep uncomfortably close to true luxury rivals. Its base suspension is also just okay rather than great, and suffice it to say, it’s far from the most efficient SUV on the market. But, all those things matter less if you’re just looking for a big car that can haul people or cargo with ease, and for that alone, the Suburban retains its title as one of America’s best SUVs.

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