In a regular series, Mobile World Live‘s Asia Editor Joseph Waring provides a regional roundup of news snippets:
Court backs Smart in SMS refund case
Smart is the last of the Philippines’ mobile operators to be granted a temporary restraining order blocking the telecoms regulator from requiring the companies to refund billions of pesos for allegedly overcharging for text messages.
The Court of Appeals ruled in Globe Telecom’s and Digitel’s favour in August and September. The National Telecommunications Commission in 2012 ordered the three to refund PHP7 billion ($160 million) to their subscribers for excess charges.
As in the previous two cases, the court agreed that “there are no means for the company to ascertain the existence of subscribers and the identities of the actual users of the mobile identification numbers” since most of Smart’s subscribers are prepaid users.
The 60-day order will take effect after Smart files a cash bond or surety bond of PHP500,000 (about $11,000).
Asustek to double handset output in 2015
Taiwan’s Asustek Computer expects its handset shipments to double next year to 16 million units after shipping almost three million smartphones in the third quarter.
The company’s handset group, which was profitable in Q3, is forecasting a profit of TWD2 billion ($65.7 million) next year, DigiTimes reported. The profit is expected to make up for the company’s struggling tablet business, which is earning almost no profits and will ship fewer units in 2014 than last year.
DTAC’s prepaid users offered free Facebook
Thailand’s number two mobile player DTAC is offering selected prepaid data customers three months of free access to Facebook to encourage users to connect to the internet.
The company found that 60 per cent of Thais aren’t connected to the internet. Yet the country has 26 million active Facebook users, 60 per cent of whom access the app from their mobile devices.
The Bangkok Post said 90 per cent of the country’s internet users access Facebook and spend an average of 2.5 hours a day on the site – more time than they spend watching TV.
Alipay opens to western e-commerce sites
Alibaba’s third-party payment service Alipay announced it will introduce a payments and logistics service specifically for western e-commerce sites looking to sell goods to Chinese consumers.
The ePass services will enable e-commerce firms to process transactions through Alipay. China-based iResearch said the firms will also have access to tracking information from China Smart Logistics Network, which Alibaba owns a 48 per cent stake in, and Alimama, an ad network that runs across Alibaba’s e-commerce properties Taobao and Tmall.
Alibaba also said it has changed the name of its Alipay financial services affiliate to Ant Financial Services Group as it pushes into the financial services sector.
Alibaba, the world’s largest e-commerce company, already processes about half of China’s e-commerce transactions through Alipay.