Tech Digest daily round up: Virgin and O2 merger approved


A £31bn merger between mobile networks Virgin Media and O2 has been provisionally approved by the UK’s competition watchdog. It will create one of the UK’s largest entertainment and telecoms firms, which could become a major rival to BT. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) launched an investigation into the proposals last December. Analysts said it was a “blockbuster merger” that could create greater choice for consumers. O2 has about 34 million mobile phone users, while Virgin has about six million broadband and cable TV customers, and another three million mobile users. As well as having its own subscribers, O2 provides the mobile phone network for Tesco Mobile, Giffgaff and Sky Mobile. BBC 

Sony has announced a trio of smartphones that take advantage of the firm’s high-end digital camera technology as it looks to boost its mobile business. The tech giant has unveiled its new flagship Xperia 1 III, as well as the smaller Xperia 5 III and entry-level Xperia 10 III. It comes as the firm’s mobile business continues to struggle against rivals such as Apple and Samsung, but also against emerging Chinese phone makers such as Xiaomi and Oppo and as another household name in electronics – LG – announced it was leaving the mobile business after years of declining sales. The Xperia 1 III has a 6.5-inch 4K HDR OLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate – which Sony says is a first for a smartphone – as well as a number of camera technologies normally found in the company’s well-renowned, high-end digital cameras. Yahoo! News.

Bitcoin rallied to record highs on Wednesday morning, as the Nasdaq prepared to host the public debut of the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the US, Coinbase.  In a note, Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives described Coinbase as a “foundational piece of the crypto ecosystem”.  He said: “The Coinbase IPO is potentially a watershed event for the crypto industry and will be something the Street will be laser focused on to gauge investor appetite.” Responding to the landmark moment, the world’s most popular cryptocurrency rose to above $64,000 this morning, up 3pc in the last 24 hours.  Coinbase has been priced by the Nasdaq at $250 per share which would give the exchange a market value of around $47bn (£34bn), based on the outstanding shares listed in its prospectus. Telegraph

A YouTube star has broken the record for the most paid subscribers on streaming channel Twitch after broadcasting himself non-stop for a month. Ludwig Ahgren broke the record, set by gamer Ninja in 2018, when he passed 269,154 subs on Tuesday. Mr Ahgren’s broadcast, which began on March 14, was a so-called subathon – a subscription marathon – in which he extended the length of the stream by 10 seconds for every new subscriber. Closing out his stream on Tuesday night, Mr Ahgren said: “I can’t know any of you – 200,000 people on my stream right now – but somehow you guys as a collective made me really happy.” Over the course of the month he has lived his life on camera – even keeping it rolling while he was asleep in his car-shaped bed. Yahoo! News 

Truckmaker Iveco, electric and hydrogen vehicle maker Nikola and German gas network operator OGE said on Wednesday they have entered a preliminary agreement to support hydrogen distribution for fuel-cell electric vehicle (FCEV) refuelling. The three companies will cooperate to set out a business structure for transporting hydrogen via a pipeline network from production sources to hydrogen fuelling stations in support of FCEVs.  Nikola will lead the installation of hydrogen fuelling locations for FCEVs from all producers at key locations, with the support of OGE’s hydrogen delivery systems. OGE owns and operates 12,000 kilometres of natural gas pipeline infrastructure network in Germany. Nikola and Iveco, a unit of Italian American vehicle maker CNH Industrial, are in a joint venture to build battery- electric and hydrogen heavy trucks. CHN Industrial has a 7.11% stake in Nikola, through Iveco. Reuters


Chris Price
For latest tech stories go to