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AT&T’s ‘5G Evolution’ Speed Boost Is Not Really 5G

Samsung's new Galaxy S8 and S8+ will get access to faster speeds on AT&T's network in more than 20 cities by the end of the year, the carrier announced on Tuesday.

The speed boost is made possible by something that AT&T is referring to as "5G Evolution"—it's not a true 5G network (that's still years away), but thanks to improvements in the way it manages its existing cell network, AT&T is able to promise speeds up to twice as fast as users currently experience.

The faster speeds are now available to subscribers with the Galaxy S8 and S8+ in parts of Austin. By the end of the year, the service will expand to Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Indianapolis, Nashville, and San Francisco, among other cities. It will also eventually be compatible with other devices beyond Samsung's flagships, although AT&T didn't say which ones.

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Assuming you live in one of the aforementioned cities and use a compatible device, you could see improvements like reduced lag while playing internet-connected mobile games and less buffering for streaming video.

Back in February, AT&T offered a glimpse of the software improvements that makes the speed boost possible. Known as software-defined networking, the open-source code enables engineers to treat the AT&T network as if it were a giant data center, remotely changing server configurations to optimize data flows without having to send technicians out into the field with trucks and ladders. Thirty-four percent of the network can be managed this way today, AT&T executives said, and they plan to have it manage 75 percent by 2020.

Like other carriers, AT&T is also working on building and testing a true 5G network. In addition to improving internet speed for smartphones, the 5G standard could also be used to replace DSL connections for in-home internet.

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Golden Gate Ventures closes new $100M fund for Southeast Asia

Singapore’s Golden Gate Ventures has announced the close of its newest (and third) fund for Southeast Asia at a total of $100 million. The first hit a first close in the summer, as TechCrunch reported at the time, and now it has reached full capacity. Seven-year-old Golden Gate said its LPs include existing backers Singapore sovereign fund Temasek, Korea’s Hanwha, Naver — the owner of messaging app Line — and EE Capital. Investors backing the firm for the first time through this fund include Mistletoe — the fund from Taizo Son, brother of SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son — Mitsui Fudosan, IDO Investments, CTBC Group, Korea Venture Investment Corporation (KVIC), and Ion Pacific. Golden Gate was founded by former Silicon Valley-based trio Vinnie Lauria, Jeffrey Paine and Paul Bragiel . It has investments across five markets in Southeast Asia — with a particular focus on Indonesia and Singapore — and that portfolio includes Singapore’s Carousell, automotive marketplace Carro, P2P lending startup Funding Societies, payment enabler Omise and health tech startup Alodokter. Golden Gate’s previous fund was $60 million and it closed in 2016. Some of the firm’s exits so far include the sale of Redmart to Lazada (although not a blockbuster), Priceline’s acquisition of Woomoo, Line’s acquisition of Temanjalan and the sale of Mapan (formerly Ruma) to Go-Jek. It claims that its first two funds have had distributions of cash (DPI) of 1.56x and 0.13x, and IRRs of 48 percent and 29 percent, respectively. “When I compare the tech ecosystem of Southeast Asia (SEA) to other markets, it’s really hit an inflection point — annual investment is now measured in the billions. That puts SEA on a global stage with the US, China, and India. Yet there is a youthfulness that reminds me of Silicon Valley circa 2005, shortly before social media and the iPhone took off,” Lauria said in a statement. A report from Google and Temasek forecasts that Southeast Asia’s digital economy will grow from $50 billion in 2017 to over $200 billion by 2025 as internet penetration continues to grow across the region thanks to increased ownership of smartphones. That opportunity to reach a cumulative population of over 600 million consumers — more of whom are online today than the entire U.S. population — is feeding optimism around startups and tech companies. Golden Gate isn’t alone in developing a fund to explore those possibilities, there’s plenty of VC activity in the region. Some of those include Openspace, which was formerly known as NSI Ventures and just closed a $135 million fund, Qualgro, which is raising a $100 million vehicle and Golden Equator, which paired up with Korea Investment Partners on a joint $88 million fund. Temasek-affiliated Vertex closed a $210 million fund last year and that remains a record for Southeast Asia. Golden Gate also has a dedicated crypto fund, LuneX, which is in the process of raising $10 million.

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