|Netflix reaches 12.7mn int’l subscribers, plans price hike – Regional
Video streaming service Netflix’s international subscriber base grew to 12.7mn in the first quarter from 7.1mn, as the US company announced plans to raise its subscription price US$1-2, depending on the country.
Net income for the quarter rose to US$53.1mn from US$2.7mn in 1Q13, according to the company’s earnings report.
In a letter to shareholders, Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) announced it intends to increase its pricing for new members only and starting in 2Q. The firm said it would use the additional revenue to acquire more content.
Currently, the company charges US$7.99 per month in the US; it said a price hike for new members in Ireland, to 7.99 euros from 6.99 euros, had limited impact on the company.
Netflix reported US$1.27bn in revenue in Q1, up 24% from US$1.02bn, while international streaming revenue increased 88% to US$267mn from US$142mn.
International streaming revenue accounted for 25% of total streaming revenue. Netflix anticipates that international revenue will ultimately surpass US market sales.
The company expects to reach 13.6mn international subscribers in 2Q, and for international streaming revenue to total US$ 304mn on the quarter.
Roundup: Microsoft, Orange Dominicana, Ideiasnet – Brazil, Dominican R.
Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) may rename the mobile devices unit soon to be acquired from Nokia as Microsoft Mobile Oy, according to website reports citing a leaked document supposedly sent to the Nokia supplier base.
The deal, originally proposed in September 2013, will see Microsoft pay Nokia a total of 5.44bn euros (US$7.53bn), which includes 3.79bn euros for the device and services business and 1.65bn euros for its patent licenses.
The deal is expected to be finalized at end-April.
Israeli-owned cable and mobile operator Altice has appointed Ernest Rallo as CEO of its recently acquired Dominican Republic mobile operator Orange Dominicana, according to local press reports.
A native of France, Rallo was previously Orange Dominicana’s general secretary with responsibility for the areas of human resources, risk management, security, auditing and processes.
In November, Altice announced the US$1.4bn purchase of Orange Dominicana and a US$400mn investment to acquire a 88% stake in Orange Dominicana competitor Tricom.
Brazilian IT and internet venture capital holding Ideiasnet has informed the securities commission CVM that it has sold its 87.5% stake in music application iMusica to mobile operator Claro for 30.3mn reais (US$13.53mn), Tele Sintese reported.
Ideiasnet will make 27.2mn reais with the sale, which is subject to approval of anti-trust regulator Cade.
Cuba files complaint against US over covert social network – Cuba
Cuba filed a complaint before the ITU over a covert mobile phone-based social network launched by the US on the island nation, according to state news agency Granma.
The social network, known as ZunZuneo, operated from 2010 to 2012, reaching more than 40,000 users at its peak.
After an Associated Press report uncovered the operation, Cuban leader Raúl Castro accused the US of “subversive” tactics to destabilize the local government. The US Agency for International Development (USAID), which ran the project, said it stood behind its work to promote human rights and universal freedoms in Cuba.
Cuban diplomat Anayansi Rodríguez said that ZunZuneo illegally used local service platforms, creating instability on the island’s telecoms network.
Cuba also claims that the social network violates not just Cuban laws, but also US legislation and international regulations that prohibit spam messaging.
Meanwhile, Cuba’s permanent mission in Geneva said that other social media platforms seeking to influence Cuban society – Piramideo, Martinoticias and Diario de Cuba – continue to receive US funding.
Those platforms aim to create a false opposition to implement a change in Cuba’s political system in line with US government interests, the release said.
The US government has stated that ZunZuneo was implemented in accordance with US law.
Chile advocates for net neutrality at NETMundial – Regional
Chile advocated for net neutrality at the NETMundial internet governance conference taking place in São Paulo, Brazil.
The head of Chilean telecoms regulator Subtel, Pedro Huichalaf, called for net neutrality to be included in the summit’s final declaration.
The official said Chile had already turned net neutrality into law and praised Brazil’s Marco Civil da Internet (civil internet bill) for doing the same.
“In practice, [net neutrality] is consistent with the development of telecommunications and information technology,” Huichalaf said. “We have to discuss the protection of critical internet infrastructure and networks.”
NET NEUTRALITY, SURVEILLANCE
Huichalaf spoke during public working sessions in which academia, civil society and technical community members also called for net neutrality and stronger wording against mass surveillance to be included in the final document.
Brazilian communications minister Paulo Bernardo confirmed that his government is also working on the inclusion of net neutrality in the document.
But according to European Commission VP Neelie Kroes, there is no consensus about the issue. “People have different ideas on what net neutrality is and the situation varies in each country,” she said.
Kroes said that net neutrality should be included in the final document under a broad and principle-based form, and suggested the issue be debated at the upcoming Internet Global Forum (IGF) summit.
Firefox mobile OS added FM radio from LatAm experience – Regional
Patchy mobile connectivity in Latin America led Mozilla to add the FM radio functionality to its Firefox mobile OS aimed at emerging markets, Mozilla’s VP of engineering Andreas Gal told BNamericas.
Spain’s Telefónica (NYSE: TEF), which operates under the Movistar brand in Latin America, was one of the first to join the Firefox mobile OS project.
Of the 15 markets where Firesfox OS is available, seven are in Latin America, and this year the operator plans to launch it in the seven remaining markets where it has a presence.
“There are a lot of people looking for an affordable smartphone in Latin America so we quickly decided that it was a good launch pad and we would design the first phones specifically for that market,” Gal said.
“We learned from Telefónica that music in Latin America is very important because the networks in some areas are not as developed as in Western Europe or North America, and radio is a big part of their life,” he added. “FM radio has now become one of the core features of the phones.”
Alcatel and ZTE were among the first to launch Firefox phones. During the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February, Mozilla OEM partner Spreadtrum announced reference designs for Firefox OS and the first chipset for a US$25 smartphone. That phone, however, is likely to be aimed at South East Asia and Africa, but not Latin America.
The full interview with Gal is available for subscribers in this week’s perspectives.