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MediaTek’s Narrow-Band IoT effort

The MT2625 platform – the world’s smallest NB IoT module – is spearheading the deployment of IoT tech, with first product launches in association with China Mobile’s eSIM and supporting OneNET, China Mobile’s IoT open platform. (Note, however, that MediaTek’s major competitor, the Huawei Group already delivered such a solution with China Mobile, the M5310 module of only 19 × 18.4 × 2.7mm size using the HiSilicon Hi2110 chip. The already announced MediaTek based module would be only 16mm × 18mm in size)

eSIM – What’s it all about? (eSIM YouTube channel, Nov 27, 2015)

This makes it easy for device makers to quickly develop and bring innovative NB-IoT devices to market. For an understanding of a current view on eSIM potential see a recent 3d party (in the sense of no direct interest in any chip, device or operator companies) video:

It is all about connectivity! eSIM (Giesecke & Devrient* YouTube channel, Feb 23, 2017)

Giesecke+Devrient is a global company that offers security technologies, both in the physical and digital spheres.

MediaTek Announces Interoperability Tests with SoftBank to Drive NB-IoT Development in Japan (company press release, TOKYO and HSINCHU, Taiwan – Oct. 3, 2017)

MediaTek furthers its commitment in NB-IoT technology to meet market demand

MediaTek Inc. today announced it will conduct a series of interoperability tests of NarrowBand IoT connectivity (NB-IoT) with SoftBank Corp. (“SoftBank”), a subsidiary of SoftBank Group Corp., in the first quarter of 2018 to pave the way for development of NB-IoT commercial applications in Japan. This interoperability test will further efforts to advance MediaTek’s NB-IoT technology and ready the connectivity standard for global deployment. “MediaTek is proud to be at the forefront of NB-IoT technology innovation, which has the potential to deliver new ways to connect that are both cost effective and power efficient” said Yoshitaka Sakurai, General Manager of MediaTek Japan. “This initiative with SoftBank, along with the unveiling of our MT2625 NB-IoT SoC solution and our collaboration with leading telecommunications companies around the world, demonstrates MediaTek’s commitment to an exciting new era that’s set to fuel the massive growth of the Internet of Things.”

MediaTek has played a pivotal role in the formulation and implementation of the 3GPP LPWA specification for NB-IoT. The company recently unveiled its highly integrated and ultra-low-power MT2625 NB-IoT System-on-Chip (SoC) and announced its collaboration with China Mobile to build the world’s smallest NB-IoT module (16mm X 18mm) around the chipset.

The company’s MT2625 NB-IoT chipset is built to meet the requirements of cost-sensitive and small IoT devices and leverages MediaTek’s advanced power consumption technology to enable IoT devices to work with batteries for years. The highly integrated SoC combines an Arm® Cortex®-M microcontroller (MCU), pseudo-static RAM (PSRAM), flash memory and power management unit (PMU) into a small package to lower the cost of production while also speeding up time-to-market. The MT2625 supports a full frequency band(from 450MHz to 2.1GHz) of 3GPP R13 (NB1) and R14 (NB2) standards for a wide range of IoT applications including smart home control, logistics tracking and smart meters.

For more information about the MediaTek MT2625, please visit: http://www.mediatek.com/products/nbIot/mt2625

MediaTek’s latest technologies will be showcased at CEATEC JAPAN 2017, being held Oct. 3 – 6, 2017 at Makuhari Messe in Chiba, Japan. To see demonstrations and learn more, please visit MediaTek’s booth # D081.

How SoftBank head honcho Masayoshi Son thinks:
The crazy world of Masayoshi Son (Tech in Asia YouTube channel, Aug 25, 2017)

China IoT market scale estimated to exceed CNY1.5 trillion by 2020 (DIGITIMES, Sept 22, 2017)

China’s IoT (Internet of Things) market scale has posted an annual expansion of over 20% over the past few years, and the market value is estimated to exceed CNY1.5 trillion (US$227.6 billion) by 2020 from CNY900 billion in 2016, according to the China Annual IoT Development Report (2016-2017) recently released by China Economic Information Service (CEIS).

The CEIS report showed that 36 major IoT enterprises listed on the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchange markets, as well as key listed enterprises in three segments, such as smart medicine, smart home and smart transportation, registered aggregate revenues of CNY277.54 billion and combined net profits of CNY16.79 billion in 2016, surging 22.3% and 15.1%, respectively, on year.

The report pointed out that the global IoT development has witnessed some new features and trends. First, the global development of IoT technologies and applications has been in high gear, and is quickly moving into the era of Internet of Everything (IoE). Advanced countries have kept strengthening their strategic IoT deployments, while application scenarios for IoT technologies have been constantly enriched. In addition, the accelerated construction of open source IoT ecosystems has fueled continued expansion of the IoT industrial scale.

Some 400,000 NB-IoT base stations to be operational by year-end

Second, China’s “13th Five-Year” IoT roadmap has been unveiled, with the NB-IoT construction upgraded to a national strategy; and the Information Communication Industry Development Plan-IoT (2016-2020), released early this year, has become a guiding document for the development of China’s IoT industry in the next five years. It’s estimated that NB-IoT networks will cover municipalities, provincial capitals and other key cities in China by the end of 2017, when a total of 400,000 base stations will be operational around the country.

Third, the accelerated integration of IoT and new technologies such as cloud computing, big data, AI (artificial intelligence), 5G and LPWAN (low power wide area network) has significantly driven industrial innovations and upgrades. China’s IoT industry ecology has been optimized comprehensively, and the platform-based development and application of IoT in diverse fields has also been enhanced greatly, while the application value of IoT has been widely recognized to facilitate extensive IoT applications.

Fourth, the open source innovation ecosystems of IoT is taking shape gradually, and business revenues and profits of leading listed enterprises have posted stable growth. With platforms, alliances and open source communities serving as carriers, China IoT enterprises are actively engaged in cross-field and transnational cooperation in IoT R&Ds, applications and promotions.

Fifth, the degree of IoT industry clustering in China cities has been further strengthened, which is conducive to building the cities to smart ones through IoT applications.

NB-IOT: NARROW-BAND IOT (MediaTek subsite, June 21, 2017)

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What is behind the ARM Holding’s acquisition by SoftBank Group?

Update: Recently SoftBank Group among other Silicon Valley notaries such as Apple and Facebook, have poured over $100 billion into a new Softbank “vision Fund” that Founder Masayoshi Son says is going to be used to help develop AI. This is allocated to spending on emerging technology companies in the next 5 years. To put that number in perspective, the entire global venture capital “industry” is only $65 billion in size. Here is his presentation about that from MWC 2017:
March 3, 2017: Globalfuturist.org: Softbank CEO, Masayoshi Son Keynote at MWC 2017 (25 and half min)

The How to Invest in the Singularity – It’s Near from June 3, 2017 will also give you a deep analysis of this initiative. Highly recommended!
End of Update

The quick answer is that “ARM is the driver of the IoT era” when every thing is interconnected. Another reason is that they have been steadily working in an early investment mode from very beginning, and quite successfully.

SoftBank CEO and Founder Masayoshi Son has been referring back to the PC and Internet era when his company invested into Yahoo US which had only 16 employees then. In the beginning of PC broadband they have invested into mobile internet. And now is one of the biggest paradigm shifts is coming BIG TIME, that is IoT — he says. Some of his quotes shed light on what kind of perspective he is thinking of:

I truly believe Singularity [*] is coming and that computers will one day become smarter than mankind.

Every street light will be interconnected to the internet because we can save when car is not passing.

Automobile will all be connected so driverless car much safer.

All the things will be connected and what is biggest common denominator, that is Arm.

Technological singularity (Wikipedia): “is a hypothetical event in which an upgradable intelligent agent (such as a computer running software-based artificial general intelligence) enters a ‘runaway reaction’ of self-improvement cycles, with each new and more intelligent generation appearing more and more rapidly, causing an intelligence explosion and resulting in a powerful superintelligence that would, qualitatively, far surpass all human intelligence.[1][2] This would signal the end of the human era, as the new superintelligence would continue to upgrade itself and would advance technologically at an incomprehensible rate.[3]
For more information see the rest of the Wikipedia article.

And about the automobile opportunity alone he said:

I would say automobile is becoming smarter and smarter so when automobile becomes so smart it is required to have more and more chips integrated inside the car, especially when it becomes a driverless car. Automotive itself will become a super computer which consists of a bunch of multiple chips so ARM will be going into that market very aggressively.

More information along these lines see in the SoftBank CEO: the average person will have 1,000 internet-connected devices by 2040 article by Tech in Asia.

July 18, 2016: ARM CEO Simon Segars about SoftBank acquisition 

Official video released at https://www.acceleratingtech.com/ a site to explain the SoftBank acquisition of ARM, they claim:
– SoftBank’s £17 offer price gives ARM shareholders a 43% premium on Friday’s closing share price and a 41.1% premium on the all-time high share price
– Assurance to double ARM’s UK headcount in the next five years and increase headcount outside the UK
– Leaves ARM’s successful partnership business model, culture and brand unchanged
– Great endorsement of UK tech

July 18, 2016: Acquisition of ARM Holdings plc
Background and Rationale by SoftBank Group Corp.
(from Recommended Acquisition of ARM by SoftBank)

The acquisition of ARM by SBG will deliver the following benefits:

  • Support and accelerate ARM’s position as the global leader in intellectual property licensing and R&D outsourcing for semiconductor companies

SBG’s deep industry expertise and global network of relationships will accelerate adoption of ARM’s intellectual property across existing and new markets.

  • Maintain ARM’s dedication to innovation

SBG intends to sustain ARM’s long-term focus on generating more value per device, and driving licensing wins and future royalty streams in new growth categories, specifically “Enterprise and Embedded Intelligence.”

  • Increased investment to drive the next wave of innovation

SBG intends to support ARM’s multiple growth initiatives by investing in engineering talent and complementary acquisitions with the aim of ensuring ARM maintains a R&D edge over existing and emerging competitors. SBG believes such an investment strategy in long-term growth will be easier to execute as a non-listed company.

  • Shared culture and long-term vision

SBG believes the two companies share the same technology-oriented culture, long-term vision, focus on innovation and commitment to attracting, developing and retaining top talent. These common values will be the foundation for the strong strategic partnership necessary to capture the significant opportunities ahead.

  • Maintain and grow the UK’s leadership in science and technology

SBG is investing in the UK as a world leader in science and technology development and innovation and, as evidence of this, intends to invest in multiple ARM growth initiatives, at least doubling the number of ARM employees in the UK over the next five years.

July 18, 2016: Our Business Model (from Presentation material (English) (PDF) )

SoftBank Group Corp. Business Model -- 18 July 2016

Everything in violet color has been added by myself to the slide.

July 2015, from CEO Message:

Transformation into “SoftBank 2.0”

Thirty-four years have now passed since the foundation of SoftBank, and so far, our position has been one of SoftBank holding assets in overseas companies as a company in Japan. Now, however, we are going to the second stage of SoftBank—“SoftBank 2.0”—in which we will transform SoftBank into a truly global company that can ensure sustained business growth over the long term. We are now in a major transition period.

As the founder, I have set out to create a business model that can deliver continued business growth for centuries. However, many technology companies face the common challenge of a 30-year life cycle where growth is followed by decline. This decline stems from factors such as the increasing obsolescence of technologies and business models, and an over-reliance on founders.

What is the solution? Not only do we need to transform our existing businesses, we also need to have a comprehensive structure in place for supporting disruptive entrepreneurs and facilitating continued development with them.

… [the rest is to see at the place of original]

July 18, 2016Press Conference: ARM to be acquired by SoftBank

Japanese SoftBank CEO and Founder Masayoshi Son (https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Masayoshi+Son), the richest person in Japan, speaks at the SoftBank Press Conference to announce the acquisition of ARM Holdings for $31.4 Billion, SoftBank promises to keep the same business model for ARM, to increase the employee count in the UK by 2x within the next 5 years, to increase ARM’s employee count around the world. You can read the official presentation materials here:
http://www.softbank.jp/corp/d/sbg_press_en/list/pdf/pressconference_01/material_en.pdf
[i.e. Presentation material (English) (PDF)]

July 2015, Major Subsidiaries

Company Name Voting Rights (%) Principal Business Activities

Mobile Communications Segment

SoftBank Mobile Corp.*1                         100 Mobile communications services, sale of mobile devices
BB Mobile Corp.                         100 Holding company
Ymobile Corporation*1*2                        99,7 Mobile broadband services, development and sale of communications devices, ADSL services, PHS-based mobile communications services
GungHo Online Entertainment, Inc.*3 40.2
[18.6]*
Production and distribution of online games for smartphones and other devices
Wireless City Planning Inc.                        33,3 Planning and provision of mobile broadband services
SoftBank Commerce & Service Corp.*5                         100 Manufacture, distribution, and sale of IT-related products, IT-related services
Brightstar Global Group Inc.                         100 Holding company
Brightstar Corp.                         100 Mobile device distribution, supply chain solutions, handset protection and insurance, buy-back and trade-in, omnichannel solutions and financial services
GRAVITY Co., Ltd.*6                        59,3 Planning, development, and operations of online games
Supercell Oy*7                        53,7 Production and distribution of mobile game applications

Sprint Segment

Sprint Corporation                        79,5 Holding company
Sprint Communications, Inc.                         100 Mobile communications services, sale of mobile devices and accessories, fixed-line telecommunications services

Fixed-line Telecommunications Segment

SoftBank BB Corp.*1                         100 ADSL services, IP telephony services
SoftBank Telecom Corp.*1                         100 Fixed-line telephone services, data transmission and leased-line services

Internet Segment

Yahoo Japan Corporation                        43,0 Operation of the Yahoo ! JAPAN portal, sale of Internet advertising, operation of e-commerce sites, membership services
IDC Frontier Inc.                         100 Data center business
ValueCommerce Co., Ltd.                        50,6 Ad affiliate marketing service, StoreMatch online advertising distribution service

Others

Mobiletech Corporation                         100 Holding company
SB Energy Corp.                         100 Generation of electricity from renewable energy sources, supply and sale of electricity
SoftBank Payment Service Corp.                         100 Settlement services, card services and related services
Fukuoka SoftBank HAWKS Corp.                         100 Ownership of professional baseball team, operation of baseball games, management and maintenance of baseball stadium and other sports facilities, distribution of video, voice and data content via media
SoftBank Robotics Holdings Corp.                         100 Planning, development, and sale of robots
SBBM Corporation                         100 Holding company
ITmedia Inc.                        57,9 Operation of comprehensive IT information site ITmedia, etc.
SoftBank Technology Corp.                        55,4 Solutions and services for online businesses
Vector Inc.                        52,4 Operation, sales, and marketing of online games, software downloads, advertising
SFJ Capital Limited                         100 Procurement of funds by issuing preferred (restricted voting) securities
SB Group US, Inc.                         100 Holding company
SB CHINA HOLDINGS PTE LTD                         100 Holding company
SoftBank Ventures Korea Corp.                         100 Holding company
SoftBank Korea Corp.                         100 Holding company
Starburst I, Inc.                         100 Holding company
SoftBank Holdings Inc.                         100 Holding company
SoftBank America Inc.                         100 Holding company
STARFISH I PTE. LTD.                         100 Holding company
SB Pan Pacific Corporation                         100 Holding company
Hayate Corporation                         100 Holding company
*1   On April 1, 2015 SoftBank BB, SoftBank Telecom, and Ymobile, merged into SoftBank Mobile.  On July 1, 2015, SoftBank Mobile changed its company name to SoftBank Corp.
*2   eAccess merged with WILLCOM on June 1, 2014 and changed its company name to Ymobile on July 1, 2014.
*3   As a result of the completion of a tender offer by GungHo for its shares on June 1, 2015, and other factors, GungHo became an equity method associate of SoftBank Corp. (currently SoftBank Group Corp.).  Please refer to page 190 for details.
*4   Holdings by parties in close relationships, etc., with SoftBank Corp. (currently SoftBank Group Corp.)
*5   SoftBank BB Corp., divided its commerce and service business and newly established SoftBank C&S on April 1, 2014.  All shares of SoftBank C&S held by SoftBank Corp. (currently SoftBank Group Corp.) were transferred to a wholly owned subsidiary of Brightstar.
*6   Since GRAVITY Co., Ltd.’s parent company GungHo is an equity method associate, as noted in *3, as of the publication of this annual report, GRAVITY is not a subsidiary of SoftBank Corp. (currently SoftBank Group Corp.).
*7   The Company purchased additional shares of Supercell from existing shareholders on May 29, 2015.  After this transaction, the Company’s share of voting rights stands at 77.8%.

July 2015, Major Associates

Company Name Voting Rights (%) Principal Business Activities

Internet Segment

ASKUL Corporation                    41,9 Mail order sales of stationary, office products, services, etc.
The Japan Net Bank, Limited                    41,2 Banking business
BOOKOFF CORPORATION LIMITED                    15,0 Auction service and reuse business

Others

Scigineer Inc.                    33,2 Provision of Internet marketing support services using the personalized engine “deqwas” for e-commerce business operators and retailers
Bharti SoftBank Holdings Pte. Ltd.                    50,0 Holding company
Renren Inc.                    43,0 Investor company of company operating Renren.com SNS site in China
Alibaba Group Holding Limited                    31,9 Investor company of companies operating e-commerce sites Alibaba.com, Taobao. com, and Tmall.com
InMobi Pte. Ltd.                    35,2 Mobile advertising services

Main Overseas Fund Data

Fund Name
Subsidiaries
SoftBank Ranger Venture Investment Partnership
SoftBank Capital Fund ’10 L.P.
Associates
SoftBank US Ventures VI L.P.
SoftBank Capital Technology Fund III L.P.