Tag Archives: existing

What existing Virgin Media and O2 customers need to know as £31bn merger is approved

Well, that’s it. After months of consultation, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) approved the £31 billion merger between Virgin Media and O2 to go ahead on Thursday May 20, 2021. Despite some early concerns the Virgin Media-O2 merger could result in either higher costs for customers, or an incentive to reduce service for rival networks (like Sky Mobile) that rely on the infrastructure created by O2, the CMA has decided to allow the deal to proceed unimpeded. This isn’t wholly surprising.

After all, Virgin Media and O2 execs have been pretty boyish about the chances of the multi-billion deal getting the stamp of approval ahead of the summer (even naming the new CEO of the merged firm). And right on time, the companies can move to the next stage of their joint venture.

So, for anyone who currently has a contract with Virgin Media and O2 …what does all this mean?

Well, to be honest, it’s hard to tell at the moment. Virgin Media and O2 have both promised huge investment into their infrastructure to the tune of £10 billion over the next five years. If you’re an O2 customer and have struggled with low signal in certain areas, patchy 5G connectivity, or other issues, you’d hope that lump of cash would go some way to solve those issues. Crucially, if you’re a Virgin Mobile customer and have suffered with the same issues, your mobile network is set to be upgraded before any of that £10 billion is spent.

That’s because Virgin Media doesn’t own a 5G network at the moment. Instead, Virgin Media has struck a deal with Vodafone to piggyback on its 5G network so that its customers don’t miss out. With O2 operating its own 5G infrastructure, we’d have to imagine that one of the advantages of the merger is that Virgin finally gets its own infrastructure of 5G masts across the UK.

If you’re happy with your current SIM-only or phone contract from Virgin Media or O2, we’d hope to see 4G and 5G coverage (and fingers crossed, download speeds) slowly creep up in the coming months and years.

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But what about Virgin Media fibre broadband customers? What benefits will the £31bn merger bring to them?

Well, the green light from the regulators already brings some good news for any Virgin Media broadband customers patiently waiting for an upgrade to the firm’s next-generation gigabit-capable fibre connection. That’s because Lutz Schuler, who currently leads Virgin Media in the UK but will become the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the combined Virgin Media-O2 company, has pledged to connect an extra one million homes to this gigabit-capable broadband “within 12 months of the merger closing”.

Virgin Media had already pledged to reach a target of 15 million homes by the end of this year, so now that regulators have given the stamp of approval, the extra commitment will bring the total to 16 million by the end of 2021. That’s seriously impressive. For comparison, BT-owned Openreach – which supplies broadband connections to BT, EE, Sky, TalkTalk, Plusnet, and more – has connected some 4.5 million premises with its gigabit-capable fibre broadband. And Virgin Media-O2 isn’t planning to drop its vast lead over the competition anytime soon.

The newly-merged company has spoken previously about an “ambition to accelerate investments” and connect 7 million more homes to gigabit-capable broadband “in the coming years.” It’s unclear exactly where these homes would be, but it could see smaller towns and villages see these future-proofed connections start to come online. With millions choosing to work from home permanently, these upgrades could make a number of rural towns feasible options for those looking to leave cities behind.

This isn’t completely new. We’ve already seen rivals deploy these types of incentives – BT-owned mobile network EE is currently offering a three-month free subscription to BT Sport (and when watching on EE’s network, you won’t be charged for any of the data used to stream matches). There’s also a “Smart Benefit” available for some pay-monthly and SIM-only customers that bundles a free BT Sport subscription for the length of your contract, for example.

So, if you’ve been a loyal O2 customer and are looking to splash the cash on a new paid-for television subscription with Sky Cinema, Sky Sports, and a super-fast broadband connection… it might be worth holding off a few more weeks to see what Virgin Media has to offer customers from its sister brand before signing up to a two-year contract.

And finally, aside from the potential freebies and perks for existing Virgin Media and O2 customers, it could also be a good opportunity for a career change. That’s because parent companies Liberty Global and Telefonica have pledged to create 4,000 jobs and 1,000 apprenticeships if they receive regulatory approval from the CMA.

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Tech Feed

Volkswagen expects global chip shortage to further hit output with no chance to recoup existing losses – reports

Author: RT
This post originally appeared on RT Business News

The world’s second-biggest automaker, Volkswagen, said another production hit in the second quarter of 2021 is impending due to the global chip shortage. The projected losses will outpace the damage forecast in January–March.

“We are being told from the suppliers and within the Volkswagen Group that we need to face considerable challenges in the second quarter, probably more challenging than the first quarter,” Wayne Griffiths, president of the company’s Seat brand, told the Financial Times.

Last year, Volkswagen said it had projected manufacturing output would drop by 100,000 vehicles in the first quarter of 2021 due to semiconductor shortages. The company now says it does not currently have enough production capacities to recoup that lost output later in the year.

Also on rt.com China plans to dominate this century through semiconductor chips, which are ‘THE NEW OIL’ – entrepreneur to Keiser Report

According to Griffiths, the shortage is the “biggest challenge” the auto manufacturer currently faces. He described production at Seat’s Martorell plant, outside Barcelona, as “hand to mouth.” It is reportedly being forced to decide which cars to build only after chips from suppliers are delivered.

“The name of the game this year will be flexibility. We have to try to build when chips are available,” he said.

Volkswagen has halted works entirely at several plants across the group, while output in its Slovakia plant, which builds many of its largest sports utility vehicles, has been partially stopped.

The enormous pressure from the crisis is taking a terrible toll on producers across the automotive industry. Supply shortages are projected to impact production until the second half of the year.

Last week, Ford shut a dozen facilities in North America and Europe, while Renault suspended production completely, citing uncertainty in the supply chain. Daimler cut the hours of more than 18,000 workers in Germany to lower production levels, while Jaguar Land Rover is reportedly planning to close two of its UK plants in the near future.

Also on rt.com India considers over $ 1 billion in cash incentives for every chip maker setting up in country – media

China’s soaring imports of semiconductors, along with the rise in the demand from electronics industries amid greater technology use during the pandemic, have resulted in a perfect storm in the global chip-making sector, causing a huge negative impact on supply chains. The crisis was further exacerbated by severe winter storms in Texas in February, a major US semiconductor producer, and a blaze at a Renesas chip factory in Japan last month.

Governments across the globe are pushing for the construction of semiconductor plants, with manufacturers banking on a recovery after the pandemic, involuntarily adding fuel to the fire.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

NEW Nintendo Switch Pro leak spells trouble for existing Switch owners

There’s potentially some bad news for existing Nimtendo Switch owners.

One rumour that seems to gaining traction is that Nintendo will release an upgraded version of the Switch in 2021.

The new and improved Nintendo Switch console will reportedly support 4K visuals when docked.

Unfortunately, however, new reports suggest that the Nintendo Switch Pro could launch with exclusive games.

That’s according to an industry insider on Resetera, who said that third-party developers will be especially keen to take advantage of the new technology.

“There will be some select exclusives, especially from third-party partners,” reads a Resetera post. “May not be a big number of them, but I know of at least one.”

Previous Nintendo upgrades have done something similar. Xenoblade Chronicles 3D and Fire Emblem Warriors were both exclusive to the New Nintendo 3DS, for example.

It makes sense that third-party developers would want to take advantage of the additional horsepower.

If the Nintendo Switch Pro could run games like Call of Duty Warzone and Cold War, then it could be a big earner for Activision.

Indeed, it’s hard to imagine any publishers not wanting to port their games to the Switch console.

The Nintendo Switch has been the console of choice for indie game developers looking to make a profit.

Indie games sold on the Switch tend to perform better on the Nintendo handheld than any other platform (the ones with decent eShop visibility, at least).

Games like Wonder Boy and Oceanhorn have reportedly sold more units on Switch than every other platform combined.

Popular indie games like Stardew Valley have also proven extremely popular on Switch, although exact platform sales are yet to be revealed.

Rumoured Nintendo Switch Pro games include the likes of Breath of the Wild 2 and Pokemon Legends: Arceus.

“The fun of exploring while catching Pokemon and filling in a Pokedex has always been a core part of the Pokemon video game series,” reads the official description.

“Pokemon Legends: Arceus was developed with the desire to deliver an experience infused with new action and RPG elements that go beyond the framework established thus far, while honouring the core gameplay of past Pokemon titles.

“As Trainers explore the natural expanses in Pokemon Legends: Arceus, they’ll encounter Pokemon that call these grand vistas home. To catch wild Pokemon, players can study the Pokemon’s behaviours, sneak up to them, then throw Poke Balls.”