In Brief:IoT devices set to overtake mobile phones by 2018 

Ericsson Devices connected to the Internet of Things (IoT) are poised to overtake the number of standalone mobile phones by 2018, according to Ericsson's Mobility Report. A growing demand for IoT devices connected to smart meters and cars, as well as falling costs and innovative applications, will help IoT connected devices grow by a CAGR of 23 percent annually over the next five years. As a result, IoT connected devices will account for close to 16 billion of a total 28 billion connected devices by 2021. Western Europe will lead the way in adding IoT connections, with the market projected to grow 400 percent by 2021, driven by regulatory requirements in the field of smart utility meters as well as the EU connected cars e-call directive to be implemented in 2018.

***Japan’s SoftBank said it will be selling USD 7.9 billion worth of shares in Alibaba in order to up its own liquidity and pay back debt. The transactions will include the sale of USD 2.0 billion worth of shares to Alibaba, USD 400 million worth of shares to members of the Alibaba Partnership acting collectively and USD 500 million of shares to a private equity group, plus another USD 5.0 billion to be offered by a newly formed trust in the form of American depositary shares (ADSs) in a private placement to institutional buyers. There will, in addition, probably be a greenshoe of USD 1.0 billon more worth of shares.

***Telenor could well be the only bidder in the 850-MHz spectrum auction due to take place in Pakistan later this month.The Norwegian operator submitted its application for the process on Wednesday, but its major rivals have indicated that they will not take part.The Pakistani news service said it has confirmed with regulatory body the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) that Telenor is so far the only bidder, noting that the deadline for submissions was Wednesday). Market leader Mobilink, Pakistan Telecommunications Company Ltd's (PTCL's) mobile arm Ufone, and China Mobile's Zong will not take part, it confirmed.

***Mexico's telecoms regulator has officially granted 4G licences that were won by AT&T and America Movil at auction earlier this year.In total, 80 MHz of AWS-1 and AWS-3 spectrum were tendered.AT&T picked up two blocks of AWS-1 spectrum with a bid of 1.87 billion pesos (€90.61 million), while America Movil, which offers mobile services in Mexico under the Telcel brand, bid MXN2.13 billion for six 5 MHz blocks, two in the AWS-1 band and four in the AWS-3 band. Some AWS-3 spectrum remained unsold. The results were confirmed by telco watchdog the Instituto Federal de Telecomunicaciones (IFT)

•***Ericsson forecasts 16bn IoT devices by 2021
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