Mobile World Live brings you our top three picks of the week, as Huawei shows life in China’s smartphone market with the Mate 60, Apple is hit with a €1.8 billion fine from the European Commission (EC) and Singtel cut its stake in Bharti Airtel.

China proves no Mate to Apple
What happened: Counterpoint Research stated Apple’s iPhone sales in China fell 24 per cent year-on-year in the first six weeks of the year as it faced tough competition from domestic rivals. Huawei figures stood out, with sales up 64 per cent due to demand for its Mate 60.

Why it matters: The decline of iPhone sales in the opening weeks of 2024 signals a win for Huawei and shows the impact of the Mate 60, which Counterpoint Research branded as one of the only bright spots in the country’s smartphone market. “Huawei is making a comeback trying to win back the defectors to iPhone from a couple of years ago,” Counterpoint Research analyst Neil Shah told CNBC, adding “other non-Apple brands in the premium segment are also feeling the heat from Huawei.”

Massive EC fine hits jarring chord with Apple
What happened: The EC hit Apple with a €1.8 billion penalty over anti-competitive practices linked to the music streaming market, concluding years of investigation prompted by Spotify’s complaint in 2019.

Why it matters: James Robinson, senior analyst at Assembly Research, told MWL the news is significant “due to the size of the fine and the fact that it was imposed just days before the Digital Markets Act’s (DMA) obligations kicked in”. Robinson added the €1.8 billion fine ranks as the fourth largest antitrust fine levied against a tech giant and is “the biggest Apple has faced to date for its anti-competitive practices”.

Singtel raises $711M in Airtel stake sale
What happened: Operator Singtel trimmed its stake in Bharti Airtel to 29 per cent, after selling a 0.8 per cent holding to US-based investment company GQG partners for SGD950 million ($711 million).

Why it matters: The move represents Singtel’s commitment to a strategic reset it introduced in 2021, which is aimed at driving growth. The capital raised is intended to solidify its balance sheet and deliver sustainable returns for shareholders. Singtel said it has raised a total of SGD8 billion since May 2021, cash it has used for IT services and to cut debt.