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eSports final shares bill with UEFA Champions League

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Konami Digital Entertainment will use this year’s UEFA Champions League Final in Milan to host the 2016 PES World Finals of the UEFA Champions League eSports event.

It will also use the event to showcase the next addition to the Pro Evolution Soccer Franchise, PES 2017, for the first time.

“Exclusive to Pro Evolution Soccer, it is fitting that we use the UEFA Champions League Final, the world’s greatest club competition, and the culmination of another hugely successful PES League season to reveal PES 2017,” said Tomotada Tashiro, President at Konami Digital Entertainment B.V. “As 32 of the world’s best PES players gather to compete, our commitment to reaching new heights of realism and fun will also be demonstrated. May 27 and 28 will be a celebration of all that is great about football – and the first showing of PES 2017 will elevate the series to a whole new level.”

The top PES players from around the world will head to Milan for a two-day competition across May 27-28, where Konami will also debut an early version of PES 2017. With the previous two iterations securing the Gamescom ‘Best Sports Game’ accolade, Konami returns to the field with a game that builds on the strong on-field performance of its predecessors and with a detailed focus on control and reproducing the skills and possibilities afforded in a top-flight match.

Konami provided the following information:

Konami’s Fox Engine features a host of key gameplay advances. The focus of PES 2017 is the fun in playing against another player, and all the new features support this ethos. Central to the new game is ‘Real Touch’, which authentically reproduces a wealth of ways to receive and control a pass. Different players use varying techniques and Real Touch mimics these using complex ball physics and subtle control nuances as the pass is met. The new system is then complemented with the advent of the new ‘Precise Pass’ system. Precise Pass extends the Real Touch basis of using the ability of the player with the ball to determine the accuracy of each pass. The movement of the ball in relation to the position of the player and the intended target for the pass all contribute towards its accuracy, adding a genuine feeling of excitement when a defence is split with an inch-perfect ball. For a full listing of features and details on the newly announced PES 2017, please visit: https://www.konami.com/wepes/2017/

Taking place on May 27th – 28th, the 2016 PES World Finals of the UEFA Champions League eSports event give two finalists an incredible opportunity to play a match pitch-side at the Stadio Guiseppe Meazza (otherwise known as San Siro) stadium, ahead of the UEFA Champions League Final. The initial heats between all 32 entrants take place at the Terrazza Martini located near the UEFA Champions League festival area. Entrants are competing for a total prize pot of 23,000 Euro, with the winner receiving 15,000 Euro and tickets to the UEFA Champions League Final, with second and third place receiving 5,000 Euro and 3,000 Euro.

Following huge growth during the 2014/15 season, PES League is truly a global tournament opening the competition to players from Peru, India, and Saudi Arabia, and hundreds of thousands of people have entered this season. French reigning champion, Rachid Tabane, will return to defend his title, having emerged victorious in Berlin last year.

PES League originally started in 2001 by Konami as a national tournament in France, and later broadened its scope to become a full-scale global tournament. With the PES World Finals taking place on the same weekend as the UEFA Champions League Final, it’s one of the biggest football spectacles in the world and draws a great deal of attention each year.

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Rain, Telkom Mobile, lead in affordable data

A new report by the telecoms regulator in South Africa reveal the true consumer champions in mobile data costs

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The latest bi-annual tariff analysis report produced by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) reveals that Telkom Mobile data costs for bundles are two-thirds lower than those of Vodacom and MTN. On the other hand, Rain is half the price again of Telkom. 

The report focuses on the 163 tariff notifications lodged with ICASA during the period 1 July 2018 to 31 December 2018.

“It seeks to ensure that there is retail price transparency within the electronic communications sector, the purpose of which is to enable consumers to make an informed choice, in terms of tariff plan preferences and/or preferred service providers based on their different offerings,” said Icasa.

ICASA says it observed the competitiveness between licensees in terms of the number of promotions that were on offer in the market, with 31 promotions launched during the period. 

The report shows that MTN and Vodacom charge the same prices for a 1GB and a 3GB data bundle at R149 and R299 respectively.  On the other hand, Telkom Mobile charges (for similar-sized data bundles) R100 (1GB) and R201 (3GB). Cell C discontinued its 1GB bundle, which was replaced with a 1.5GB bundle offered at the same price as the replaced 1GB data bundle at R149. 

Rain’s “One Plan Package” prepaid mobile data offering of R50 for a 1GB bundle remains the most affordable when compared to the offers from other MNOs (Mobile Network Operators) and MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operators).  

“This development should have a positive impact on customers’ pockets as they are paying less compared to similar data bundles and increases choice,” said Icasa.

The report also revealed that the cost of out-of-bundle data had halved at both MTN and Vodacom, from 99c per Megabyte a year ago to 49c per Megabyte in the first quarter of this year. This was still two thirds more expensive than Telkom Mobile, which has charged 29c per Megabyte throughout this period (see graph below).

Meanwhile, from having positioned itself as consumer champion in recent years, Cell C has fallen on hard times, image-wise: it is by far the most expensive mobile network for out-of-bundle data, at R1.10 per Megabyte. Its prices have not budged in the past year.

The report highlights the disparities between the haves and have-nots in the dramatically plummeting cost of data per Megabyte as one buys bigger and bigger bundles on a 30-day basis (see graph below).

For 20 Gigabyte bundles, all mobile operators are in effect charging 4c per Megabyte. Only at that level do costs come in at under Rain’s standard tariffs regardless of use.

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Qualcomm wins 5G as Apple and Intel cave in

A flurry of announcements from three major tech players ushered in a new mobile chip landscape, wrItes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

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Last week’s shock announcement by Intel that it was canning its 5G modem business leaves the American market wide open to Qualcomm, in the wake of the latter winning a bruising patent war with Apple.

Intel Corporation announced its intention to “exit the 5G smartphone modem business and complete an assessment of the opportunities for 4G and 5G modems in PCs, internet of things devices and other data-centric devices”.

Intel said it would also continue to invest in its 5G network infrastructure business, sharpening its focus on a market expected to be dominated by Huawei, Nokia and Ericsson.

Intel said it would continue to meet current customer commitments for its existing 4G smartphone modem product line, but did not expect to launch 5G modem products in the smartphone space, including those originally planned for launches in 2020. In other words, it would no longer be supplying chips for iPhones and iPads in competition with Qualcomm.

“We are very excited about the opportunity in 5G and the ‘cloudification’ of the network, but in the smartphone modem business it has become apparent that there is no clear path to profitability and positive returns,” said Intel CEO Bob Swan. “5G continues to be a strategic priority across Intel, and our team has developed a valuable portfolio of wireless products and intellectual property. We are assessing our options to realise the value we have created, including the opportunities in a wide variety of data-centric platforms and devices in a 5G world.”

The news came immediately after Qualcomm and Apple issued a joint announced of an agreement to dismiss all litigation between the two companies worldwide. The settlement includes a payment from Apple to Qualcomm, along with a six-year license agreement, and a multiyear chipset supply agreement.

Apple had previously accused Qualcomm of abusing its dominant position in modem chips for smartphones and charging excessive license fees. It ordered its contract manufacturers, first, to stop paying Qualcomm for the chips, and then to stop using the chips altogether, turning instead to Intel.
With Apple paying up and Intel pulling out, Qualcomm is suddenly in the pound seats. It shares hit their highest levels in five years after the announcements.

Qualcomm said in a statement: “As we lead the world to 5G, we envision this next big change in cellular technology spurring a new era of intelligent, connected devices and enabling new opportunities in connected cars, remote delivery of health care services, and the IoT — including smart cities, smart homes, and wearables. Qualcomm Incorporated includes our licensing business, QTL, and the vast majority of our patent portfolio.”

Meanwhile, Strategy Analytics released a report on the same day that showed Ericsson, Huawei and Nokia will lead the market in core 5G infrastructure, namely Radio Access Network (RAN) equipment, by 2023 as the 5G market takes off. Huawei is expected to have the edge as a result of the vast scale of the early 5G market in China and its long term steady investment in R&D. According to a report entitled “Comparison and 2023 5G Global Market Potential for leading 5G RAN Vendors – Ericsson, Huawei and Nokia”, two outliers, Samsung and ZTE, are expected to expand their global presence alongside emerging vendors as competition heats up.

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