Tech Digest daily roundup: Vodafone and Three in merger talks


Vodafone is in talks with Three about merging their UK businesses. It would mean the third and fourth largest mobile phone networks respectively combining to create a business with 27 million customers, larger than current leaders BT, EE and Virgin Media O2. The companies say it would accelerate the rollout of 5G and rural broadband. Any deal would be scrutinised by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). Reports suggest the two companies are hopeful of striking a deal by the end of the year. Vodafone said it would own 51% and Hutchison – which operates Three – 49% under the deal being discussed. BBC

TikTok has seen sales at its UK business grow almost sixfold to nearly $1bn (£890m) as advertisers flock to the Chinese social media company. TikTok’s London-headquartered international arm, which includes its European operations and its divisions outside of the US and China, reported $990m in revenues in the 12 months ending in December, up from $172m the previous year. The figures underline the speed of the Chinese company’s rapid rise. Its international arm has reached revenues of almost $1bn just two years after adding advertising to its app and six years after launching here. By comparison, Facebook hit revenues of $1bn in Europe after seven years of operations here. TikTok

Google UK’s staff earned an average of more than £385,000 each in the 18 months to the end of December, as the tech company gave almost £1bn in share-based payments. Google, which like other tech firms is looking at budget and potential job cuts as global economic conditions become tougher, reported £3.4bn in turnover and £1.1bn in pre-tax profits in the 18 months to the end of December 2021. The company, which reported a year and a half of financial results after moving its accounting period from the end of June to December last year, paid £200m in UK corporation tax. Guardian

Ukraine’s ambassador to Germany has fired back at Elon Musk after the Tesla boss tried out a Twitter poll to end the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Mr Musk floated a number of ideas to solve the conflict, asking his followers to vote “yes” or “no” on his proposals, which included formally allowing Russia to annex Crimea. “The only outcome ist (sic) that now no Ukrainian will EVER buy your f…ing tesla crap. So good luck to you,” Ambassador Andriy Melnyk wrote. Independent 

At a small independent record store tucked away in a neat courtyard of shops next to St Albans’ famous cathedral, a vinyl record that one band is hoping could become the most expensive ever sold in the UK is about to be released. Just one physical copy of prolific indie band The Pocket Gods’ latest album Vegetal Digital has been produced, going on sale at their hometown’s Empire Records for the rather large sum of £1 million. With charts of the music industry’s “most expensives” usually throwing up world-renowned artists…it might seem an improbable feat. But the Hertfordshire band’s frontman Mark Christopher Lee is confident they will find a buyer. Sky News 

Sony is reportedly planning to make 2m units of its upcoming PlayStation VR2 headset by March. That’s according to Bloomberg, which has reported that mass production of the headset began last month. These high production figures show Sony has an “ambitious” roadmap ahead of the VR2’s release, it was said. Sources at Sony said the company was anticipating a higher demand for VR2 than its original headset for PS4, which took eight months to sell a million units. Eurogamer

Chris Price
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