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Huawei’s Plight Hangs Over Wireless Industry Showcase

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LONDON — Wireless carriers have for years said the next generation network, known as 5G, will provide not only hyper-fast mobile phone speeds, but breakthroughs for data-heavy technologies like autonomous vehicles, robotics and artificial intelligence.

So it came as a surprise last month when one of the world’s largest carriers, Britain’s Vodafone, said it was pausing some 5G investments in Europe. The decision stemmed from the roiling debate about the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, and uncertainty over whether European countries would ban the company from 5G networks because of national security concerns being raised by the Trump administration.

Vodafone’s decision involved only a small piece of its business in Europe, but shows how questions swirling about Huawei risk a cooling effect on the broader wireless industry. Even Huawei’s competitors have cautioned that the new uncertainty could harm business.

A blanket ban on Huawei, the world’s largest maker of telecommunications equipment, would have a “significant implication” for the wireless industry, and lead to a “significant delay” in the construction of new 5G networks, said Nick Read, Vodafone’s chief executive.

Huawei’s fate will hang over the wireless industry’s largest annual trade conference, MWC Barcelona, previously called Mobile World Congress, which starts on Monday. Typically a celebration of new handsets from Samsung, LG, Sony and other brands, this year’s conference in Spain is being overshadowed by less glamorous policy questions about how to safeguard the behind-the-scenes infrastructure that keeps those devices connected to the internet.

“Many operators are now delaying their 5G investments because there is so much uncertainty related to whether they can work with Huawei or not,” said Mikael Rautanen, an industry analyst with Inderes Oy, a research firm. “That affects the whole telecommunications sector.”

5G networks are considered critical to the future global economy, increasing mobile phone speeds by up to 20 times from the current 4G system, while also creating new applications in medicine, augmented reality and manufacturing. Telecom companies are starting to roll out the new systems this year, with wider adoption coming in 2020.

Huawei makes the antennas, base stations, switches and other gear that make the technology work.

The debate over Huawei is particularly intense in Europe, where network operators that have long relied on the company’s equipment are facing potential new regulations. Britain, Germany, France, Poland and the Czech Republic are among those considering new restrictions against Huawei.

British and German authorities have indicated that a complete ban is unlikely, but the United States-led campaign threatens to slow down construction of the new technology in Europe that governments and businesses believe is needed to stay competitive in a digitized economy. The head of T-Mobile in Poland warned this week that new restrictions could disrupt the introduction of 5G technology.

For a year, Trump administration officials have been working on an executive order that would effectively ban Chinese telecom companies, including Huawei, from American 5G networks. The order would block American companies from purchasing equipment from China and other “adversarial powers,” but would not stop purchases of European-made equipment.

The wireless industry’s global trade group, GSM Association, said a ban of Huawei equipment in Europe would disrupt the overall market and increase costs for consumers.

“The effects would be delay the roll out, delay the technology and very probably higher pricing,” said Boris Nemsic, chairman of Delta Partners, an advisory and investment firm focused on the telecommunications market.

Huawei has become a lightning rod in the broader trade war between the United States and China. The Trump administration argues that Huawei is beholden to the Chinese government, and that allowing its equipment into 5G networks will create a grave national security risk — a charge Huawei has vehemently denied.

The increased scrutiny of Huawei would appear to present an opportunity for rivals such as Ericsson and Nokia, but executives at the companies have said it risks creating a broader slowdown.

“All our customers are trying to work out what this means, and that is causing uncertainty,” Borje Ekholm, the chief executive of Ericsson, told The Financial Times this month.

Ericsson and Nokia, which declined to comment, have fallen behind Huawei in market share over the past decade, struggling to match its rival’s lower prices and large investments in 5G and other emerging technology. Many carriers say the Chinese company’s 5G technology is more advanced than that of its Western rivals.

Despite being blocked by the United States, Huawei is the largest seller of telecommunications equipment, accounting for about 28 percent of the global market, according to the Dell’Oro Group, a market research firm. Companies such as Cisco Systems provide equipment like routers used by carriers in other parts of their networks.

The new 5G networks represent a once-in-a-decade opportunity. In Europe, mobile carriers are expected to spend at least $340 billion by 2025 constructing the networks, according to GSMA.

Ericsson and Nokia have been careful not to appear to take advantage of Huawei’s misfortune, perhaps out of concern that China would retaliate against the European companies if new bans against Huawei were introduced.

The two companies each earn around $1.5 billion in revenue each year in China, according to an estimate by Pierre Ferragu, an analyst at New Street Research in New York. By contrast, Huawei earns $3.5 billion a year in Europe, Mr. Ferragu estimates.

Any company forced to replace Huawei equipment will have to shoulder heavy costs. “It would take time for the existing vendors to scale R&D, operations, sales, services and partner agreements to fill the void,” the Dell’Oro Group said in a recent report.

It may be for that reason wireless carriers that have long depended on Huawei are coming to its defense. Mr. Read of Vodafone urged governments to act carefully before imposing new restrictions, because much of the present debate was not “fact based.”

“The noise level is at an unhealthy level,” he said.

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Wedding attack and tech: How OpenText’s investigations service beats the traditional approach

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At its heart, an investigation is a hunt for relevant facts in order to tell a story — a story that drives strategies for organizations, including law firms.

Tracy Drynan, head of OpenText Recon Investigations — a seamless end-to-end service that helps companies and law firms find evidence for all types of investigations including internal investigations, litigation assessments, compliance and regulatory investigations, c-suite vetting and more — says these stories are a more powerful tool than most people think.

The team led by Drynan arms both in-house and external counsel with the information needed to guide their corporate and outside lawyers with the information needed to guide their clients: an investigation empowers them. What differentiates OpenText Recon is the speed with which the team utilizes specialized tools and workflows to efficiently locate evidence. This approach gains insights into patterns, gaps and relationships in a fraction of the cost of a traditional eDiscovery review, and more quickly gathers the relevant facts to create that critical story.

“Whether it be litigation or a regulatory investigation or an internal audit, often time is of the essence,” Drynan says. “Being able to make decisions that affect your bottom line, your liability, your risks which ultimately challenge your resources, even public opinion, is critical.”

Too often, an archaic model is applied to investigations — one derived when we still existed in a paper society — that analyzes all available information but doesn’t actively hunt for relevant facts, and that produces a disconnect. An efficient model does not need to analyze every piece of information.

“It’s flawed for this reason,” Drynan says. “When you review a set of information, even when you apply advanced analytics and information retrieval science, it is still at the end bucketed for a team to analyze it contiguously. In a way, we are still following the pre-electronic paradigm — we are reviewing almost paper documents one by one, and that unfortunately is handicapping both the talent and the technology in the hunt for the facts.”

While lawyers may make a living hunting facts and building narratives, Drynan would argue their approach could be improved and points out that many of the companies hired by firms to help out during an investigation still apply that outdated model. OpenText Recon breaks that pattern and approaches the hunt differently — they don’t compartmentalize anything, which means the team can identify patterns more easily. Those patterns become the clues, which become the facts, that become the story that allow lawyers to make those critical decisions. The result is not a stack of documents, but a more nuanced report outlining the important facts to analyze.

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Canada takes aim at Netflix, Airbnb in $6.5B big-tech tax plan

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Canada’s federal government is planning to force foreign-based technology firms such as Netflix Inc. and Airbnb Inc. to charge their users a sales tax in a move aimed at boosting the government’s coffers by as much as $6.5 billion over the next five years. 

The new taxation plans, outlined in the government’s Fall Economic Statement, attempt to level the playing field between Canadian companies and foreign-based digital corporations that were largely exempt from paying federal sales taxes. Some provinces — such as Saskatchewan, British Columbia, and Quebec — introduced taxes on streaming services like Netflix earlier this year. 

The government announced Monday that any foreign-based company selling digital products or services to consumers in Canada will be required to collect and remit the Goods and Services Tax or Harmonized Sales Tax. The new tax changes are proposed to begin on July 1, 2021. 

“Canadians want a tax system that is fair, where everyone pays their fair share, so the government has the resources it needs to invest in people and keep our economy strong. That is why we are moving ahead with implementing GST/HST on multinational digital giants and limiting stock option deductions in the largest companies,” said Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, in prepared remarks. 

“And Canada will act unilaterally, if necessary … to apply a tax on large multinational digital corporations, so they pay their fair share just like any other company operating in Canada.”

Those taxes will include any sales on products or services made through digital marketplace platforms, sales to Canadians of goods that are located in Canadian fulfillment warehouses, as well as any companies whose platforms help to facilitate short-term rental accommodations in Canada. 

However, the new taxation moves wouldn’t see streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon.com Inc.’s Prime Video, Walt Disney Co.’s Disney+, and Spotify Technology SA meet certain Canadian-content requirements, something the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission​ recommended be adopted rather than introduce new tax measures in a wide-ranging report released earlier this year. 

The CRTC estimates that those streaming services record annual revenue of roughly $5 billion, according to its most recent financial data. The federal broadcast regulator said in January that Ottawa should require foreign streaming services to invest in local programming rather than “digital taxes” that would likely get passed down to consumers. 

“It is more appropriate to establish a regime that requires such online streaming services that benefit from operating in Canada to invest in Canadian programming that they believe will attract and appeal to Canadians,” the report said. 

Ottawa will also consider new corporate-level taxes for foreign-owned digital corporations and is working with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development to develop a framework it expects to provide further details on in the next budget. It expects the new measure will result in $3.4 billion in new tax revenue over the next five years once it is introduced sometime in 2022. 

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RevoluGROUP Canada Inc. RevoluPAY To Pursue Dubai Financial Services Authority PSP License

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia(GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — RevoluGROUP Canada Inc. (TSX-V: REVO), (Frankfurt: IJA2) (the “Company”) is pleased to announce that it has dispatched Company advisor Erik A. Lara Riveros to pursue the petition of a Payment Service Provider (“PSP”) Money Service Business License in the Dubai International Financial Centre (“DIFC”) from the Dubai Financial Services Authority.

Corporate Rational For a PSP License in Dubai

In May 2020, RevoluPAY was granted the European PSD2 license. In September, RevoluPAY received Pan-European passporting approval to operate in 27 E.U. countries. The Company has further expanded its international open banking reach through definitive agreements (“DA”) with BBVA, Flutterwave, and Thunes. Additionally, via direct PSD2 SEPA passporting, the Company added sixty-eight countries and territories to its financial operations roster. In November, the Company submitted petitions for both the analogous United States MSB licenses and the Canadian FINTRAC license. The MEASA region of the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia is a significant financial hub that necessitates exposure for both financial operations and a strategic base for the region’s operations. The Company considers the DIFC an excellent regional hub, having introduced robust legislation for payment services providers (“PSP”) like RevoluPAY.

Furthermore, DIFC conveniently fills the timezone gap for a global financial center between London and New York’s leading financial centers in the West and Hong Kong and Tokyo in the East. Company advisor Erik A. Lara Riveros is duly accredited with the Dubai Financial Services Authority, which should aid the Company’s plans to obtain the Dubai PSP license and establish a corporate financial hub in the region. The Company has diligently prepared all required documentation, and Mr. Lara Riveros arrives in Dubai on the 4th of December 2020 to initiate the license petition process. The global operations of RevoluPAY expect to benefit from the multi timezone capability garnered from a supplementary and PSP licensed subsidiary domiciled in the MEASA region.

License Sought in Dubai

The Company intends to pursue the Category 3D license, which covers the following activities, “Providing or Operating a Payment Account, executing Payment Transactions or Issuing Payment Instruments, including creating and maintaining accounts for executing payment transactions, issuance of personalized sets of procedures agreed upon by the users and the provider, for initiation or execution of payment instructions.”

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