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    Mexico's telecoms regulator will open access to the "last mile" of Telmex telephone networks to competitors, two sources said on Tuesday, in a decision that aims to increase competition in a sector dominated by billionaire Carlos Slim. The move will force Telmex, owned by Slim's America Movil, to let other companies use part of its vast fixed line infrastructure.

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    Is Fitbit (FIT) currently more successful then the Apple Watch? It appears that way, at least according to research from Slice Intelligence. Taking data from 2.5 million emailed receipts, Slice noted that Fitbit (FIT) outsold the Apple Watch in May, selling 850,000 devices, compared to 777,000 for the Apple Watch.

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    Apple Music is finally live and so far, people are loving it. The new streaming service from Apple (AAPL), which costs $9.99 a month for a single user, appears to be an early hit, based on initial reactions moving on social media. Here's a few representative tweets of the new service, which was unveiled June 8 as part of Apple's (AAPL) developer conference. Loving the new iOS 8.4 update.

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    It’s only getting harder for retailers to close the deal with online shoppers.A new report has found that customers are leaving retailers’ Web sites more frequently without buying anything and, when they do open their wallets, they are spending less on average per order.The findings come as retailers have been pouring money into adapting their sites to appeal to customer’s fast-evolving digital preferences, and they may be a sign that, so far, retailers are struggling to get their online experiences to meet shoppers’ expectations.The online conversion rate, a measure of the share of shoppers who actually make a purchase, declined from 2.54 percent in the first quarter of 2014 to 2.32 percent in the same quarter this year, according to an analysis by Monetate, a company that provides retailers with a platform for personalized marketing. Monetate studied a random sample of the more than 7 billion online shopping visits that took place in the first quarter on its platform.A decline in conversion alone may not necessarily be bad for retailers. It might simply mean that many shoppers are researching an item online, only to make the purchase at the retailer’s brick-and-mortar store later.“Consumers are basically browsing and decision-making has moved online,” said Scott Galloway, a professor who teaches marketing and branding at New York University’s Stern School of Business.But it’s not just conversion rates that look lackluster. Monetate also found that the average “bounce rate” has shot up over the past year from 27.6 percent to 35.4 percent. A bounce rate is a measure of the number of shoppers who come to a site and immediately leave without clicking on or browsing any items.That suggests something more troubling for retailers, because it means their Web site was so unengaging that shoppers didn’t even stick around to browse, much less buy.So what would cause a shopper to turn away that quickly? Sucharita Mulpuru, an e-commerce analyst at Forrester Research (FORR), said it may be that their Web sites simply don’t work that well. Many retailers have not created differentiated experiences for laptops, tablets and smartphones, and so users end up finding their site is slow to load or hard to navigate.“It’s really hard to code for all the different sites that are out there, and a lot of merchants have basically opted for the lowest common denominator,” Mulpuru said.Monetate also found that average order values for online purchases have dropped to $122.65 in the first quarter of 2015 from $125.15 in 2014. Experts say there are likely two reasons for this: One is widespread free shipping offers, which have trained shoppers to unbundle their online orders. While a customer might once have ordered a Father’s Day gift for Dad and Grandpa in the same order to save on shipping, there is little incentive to do that at a time when many retailers offer free shipping on all purchases or most purchases. As a result, there are more transactions with a smaller total ticket value.Also, shoppers on mobile devices often place smaller orders, experts said.“That tends to be more hunt and kill,” said Lucinda Duncalfe, Monetate’s chief executive.As more buying moves to mobile devices, it makes sense then that the average order value would come down.




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    The following are mergers under review by the European Commission and a brief guide to the EU merger process: APPROVALS AND WITHDRAWALS. -- German conglomerate Siemens to purchase U.S. oilfield equipment maker Dresser-Rand Group Inc (DRC). NEW LISTINGS. -- Swedish insurer AMF Pensionsforsakring AB and Finnish insurer Ilmarinen Mutual Pension Insurance Company to set up a joint venture.

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    Visit almost any coffee shop in America today, and chances are it's got a sign advertising free WiFi. Outside, though, you won't get very far before you lose the cafe's connection. That's when your smartphone knows it's time to pick up a data signal from the nearest cell tower, so that you can surf the Web and watch YouTube (GOOG) wherever you go next.Cellular data is one of the great innovations of the 21st century. Now it's about to take its next big leap, one its supporters say will improve service on carriers such as Verizon (VZ) and T-Mobile. Its critics, however, say it could undermine WiFi, a free, time-tested technology that handles roughly half of the Internet's mobile traffic today.It's called LTE-U, and it's being developed by Verizon (VZ), the chipmaker Qualcomm (QCOM) and a number of other telecom companies. The innovation represents the next evolution in mobile data — and a looming flashpoint for two gigantic industries.If you use any of the four major national cell carriers, you're probably familiar with 4G LTE, the current cutting edge of mobile data technology. Under ideal conditions, it provides download speeds that rival what you can get on a wired connection — fast enough to download a song in less than a minute.LTE-U is virtually identical to LTE, but with one key difference: It runs on the same frequencies that WiFi does. Unlike regular LTE, which piggybacks on airwaves owned exclusively by your carrier, LTE-U travels on public airwaves that are free to anyone. Garage door openers, cordless phones, WiFi routers — all also transmit over these open channels.Industry engineers promise that LTE-U will deliver faster speeds and downloads, and that it will make the most difference in crowded areas, such as cities and universities, where networks tend to get congested.Under LTE-U, your device will likely report being on "LTE" just as it always has. But its introduction reflects an unprecedented move by wireless carriers onto open airwaves — known in the industry as unlicensed spectrum — and that's going to have important repercussions.To cellular providers, WiFi represents a huge missed opportunity. Internet consumption on cellular data networks — your 3G or 4G connection - could've grown by a whopping 84 percent last year, according to Cisco (CSCO). But because consumers shunted so much traffic to WiFi, that figure was much lower, at 69 percent.Carriers could charge you for all that extra access to the mobile data network. Instead they're losing out when you hop onto WiFi at your home or office. And LTE-U is the industry's solution.The cable industry, on the other hand, wants to keep you on WiFi as much as possible.This is the math they fear: By 2019, Americans are expected to consume nearly 10 times more mobile data than they did in 2014. By then, 77 percent of all Internet traffic will be sent and received over mobile devices rather than stationary PCs. That's not good for cable, an industry that built its reputation on running fast (but fixed) Internet service into people's homes and businesses."Wireless is king," said Robert Pepper, Cisco's (CSCO) vice president of global technology policy.To keep up, cable companies will need to offer a solution that lets customers use their services outside the home.The workaround: Instead of keeping subscribers chained to their own cable boxes, companies are letting them take advantage of other people's routers, too. This means that if you're a Comcast (CMCSA) customer in Philadelphia, you can log on to any eligible Xfinity hotspot in, say, Washington. Thanks to a roaming agreement for cable-powered WiFi hotspots, Comcast (CMCSA) customers can even use routers belonging to Time Warner Cable (TWX) in New York.In 2012, the cable industry's WiFi consortium had 100,000 public, out-of-home WiFi hotspots to its name. Today, it's more like 400,000, creating a rudimentary if patchy equivalent of a cellular network.Firms such as Cablevision (CVC) have experimented with providing a kind of cellular service over WiFi in recent months. Non-cable companies such as Google (GOOG) and Republic Wireless also believe that WiFi can cheaply support voice calls with less reliance on the traditional cellular network run by companies such as Verizon (VZ) and AT&T.Both industries need each other. Cellular providers rely on the WiFi network to ease congestion on their proprietary networks, and the cable industry probably won't be able to provide a compelling cellular experience without partnering with a cell provider in areas lacking coverage.But there's no denying that as each becomes more like the other, the cable and cellular industries increasingly compete for customers.Can LTE-U coexist with WiFi?Tension stems from something else, too: A fundamental difference in technical design that could strangle WiFi, giving cellular providers the upper hand over cable companies, according to LTE-U's critics.Because it has to share the airwaves with so many other wireless devices such as Bluetooth headsets and wireless mice, WiFi antennas follow a "politeness" protocol that controls when they transmit and receive data. When your smartphone is on WiFi and it senses other devices communicating over the same frequencies, it backs off until the channel is clear. It's a lot like the automotive principle of yielding to pedestrians in a crosswalk.That's not the case with today's LTE technologies, in part because LTE was designed with proprietary networks in mind. So if left unchecked it could prevent WiFi devices from uploading or downloading content from the Internet — the equivalent of running through the crosswalk, the next five stoplights and over whoever might be in the way.Interference between the two technologies can slash WiFi transmission rates by 75 percent, according to a Google (GOOG) white paper filed last month to the federal government. The cable industry's top trade group, the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, argued the technology could be "disastrous" without further protections and "will severely degrade consumers' Wi-Fi experience, rendering unusable many services that are widespread today, to say nothing of the innovative new uses currently on the horizon."Whether it's voice calls, video conferencing or online games, services that rely on a steady WiFi connection could be slowed or interrupted by LTE-U. It could affect schools, libraries, homeowners and small businesses.LTE-U's designers say they've implemented safeguards to ensure that it co-exists peacefully with WiFi. For instance, LTE-U turns on only when the cellular network is full and needs extra capacity. Even then, it can only help a device download data — it doesn't have the ability to upload it."We're very excited about LTE-U," said Dean Brenner, Qualcomm's (QCOM) senior vice president of government affairs. "It's been designed from the ground up to be a very good neighbor to WiFi, and in many cases, actually improves WiFi throughput."A device running LTE-U will first look for the least occupied WiFi channel to minimize the chances of interrupting WiFi. And then it calculates, based on the number of other devices sharing the channel, what proportion of the time it's allowed to be active on it. If there are three WiFi-based tablets and an LTE-U smartphone on the same channel, the smartphone will adjust itself to talk only a quarter of the time.Even this may not help much when WiFi is experiencing heavy use, said Clint Brown, a director of wireless initiatives at Broadcom and the vice chair for the WiFi Alliance."It may look for a clear channel," Brown said. "But once it's on a clear channel, odds are the way it provides fairness may be about how much time you use the channel rather than whether there's traffic."Telecom industry officials say their efforts at designing a sharing mechanism that works is evidence of their goodwill toward WiFi. After all, cellular providers rely on it, too.One official for a large telecom company said that under the current rules, his firm could roll out the existing LTE on unlicensed airwaves today, but the resulting interference would make it a horrible experience — hence all of the work to develop LTE-U, which will be more polite.This fight is already settled — overseas, anywayIn places like Europe and Japan, strict rules on mobile data require carriers' technology to listen before talking, just like WiFi does by default. To meet that standard, a version of LTE-U called LAA, or License-Assisted Access, is being designed. An added benefit is that LAA is capable of uploads and downloads, unlike LTE-U.So why doesn't the U.S. cellular industry adopt that standard? The companies say they don't want to wait around for LAA to be finalized when the demand for cellular data is growing so quickly.






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    Worldwide spending on information technology is on pace to decline 5.5% this year, according to new data from Gartner. Analysts are blaming the decline on the rising U.S. dollar, which weighed heavily on U.S. companies in the first half of 2015. Excluding the foreign exchange impact, the market is projected to grow 2.5%. "We want to stress that this is not a market crash," said John-David Lovelock, research vice president at Gartner.

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    The Hamas-appointed attorney general in the Gaza Strip shut down the offices of the territory's only mobile-phone provider on Tuesday, saying the company, Jawwal, had not paid its taxes. Police were deployed outside the firm's headquarters and posters were put up on the walls outside reading: "Jawwal Company is closed upon the attorney general's order."

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    Apple (AAPL)  has the full attention of the tech, music and consumer markets as it launches its music streaming service at 11am EST on Tuesday. The iPhone maker is credited with revolutionizing the music industry back in 2000 when it introduced iTunes. The Numbers: Apple Music will have about the same amount of music as its competitors, clocking in at 30 million tracks.

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    Germany's cartel office would scrutinise any proposed asset swap between Vodafone (VOD) and Liberty Global (LBTYA) in Europe's biggest economy, it said on Tuesday. Vodafone (VOD) and Liberty have begun talks on swapping selected assets. "We would look at it closely," cartel office President Andreas Mundt told journalists when asked about a possible combination of cable and mobile assets in Germany.

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    The following bids, mergers, ** Insurance broker Willis Group Holdings Plc said it would combine with financial services provider Towers Watson & Co to create a new $18 billion insurance, personnel and risk company.

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    Sprint Corp (S) said on Tuesday it will offer an $80 a month cellular phone plan, including both service and smartphone device fees, hoping to draw users who dislike complex price plans and hidden costs. The "All-in" plan will offer unlimited talk, text and data at $60, plus $20 to lease phones such as the iPhone 6 and Samsung's Galaxy S6, chief marketing officer Kevin Crull said in an interview.

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    Streaming video site Twitch said Monday that more than 21 million people tuned in to watch its coverage of this month's major video game convention, the Electronic Entertainment Expo -- better known as E3. That's compared to about 12 million viewers in 2014 and 9.5 million the year before.The site streamed all of the major press conferences and its own content, as well as hosting programming from its diverse community of self-streamers. According to an infographic released by Twitch, as many as 840,000 people were watching video streams at the same time -- 16 times the number of actual show attendees. Overall, the company said, viewers consumed just under 12 million hours of video from the four-day show.As for the companies that were at E3, Twitch offered few specific details  about how they fared. But it did say that Microsoft's (MSFT) news conference rated the highest of any hardware maker. Electronic Arts (EA), meanwhile, took the crown for the software makers' conferences.The success of Twitch, which Amazon bought for roughly $1 million last year, has shown how quickly the social video space has taken off in the world of video games. According to a study last year by the Wall Street Journal, Twitch is the fourth largest driver of peak Internet traffic in the U.S., ahead of Hulu. (Amazon chief executive Jeffrey Bezos is the owner of The Washington Post.)Just ahead of E3, Google (GOOG) announced its own gaming video vertical, YouTube Gaming, seen by many as an attempt to take Twitch head-on. The Google (GOOG) site isn't due to officially launch until later this summer. But it still squared off with Twitch at the conference, reserving a big booth in the same hall. And though YouTube (GOOG) didn't stream nearly as much as Twitch, it did log 8 million viewers in its first 12 hours of broadcasting.[Meet YouTube Gaming, Google’s answer to Twitch]The showdown will be one to watch. YouTube (GOOG), of course, is a streaming video juggernaut overall, with several high-profile gaming channels that draw millions of eyeballs. But Twitch has taken steps to cultivate goodwill within the community, hiring people from the e-sports and streaming communities onto its staff, as well as launching major charity efforts. (A promotion during E3 raised more than $390,000 for the Entertainment Software Association Foundation.)In a statement, Marcus "djWHEAT" Graham, Twitch's director of programming, said, "We continue to be both appreciative and awestruck by the support we get from our passionate community. We credit them for not only tuning into hours and hours of E3 gaming goodness, but for bringing their own voice to the mix by co-streaming our broadcasts. When it comes to major trends coming out of E3, the appeal of live social video is definitely one of them."