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12 ways mobile money can go further, Mobile ads in Mexico and on Spotify, the Apple Watch Verdict, end of the road for Secret, Google’s mobile friendly algorithm and more…

Each week the MEF team curates mobile stories from around the world. Essential news you may have missed, the latest market insight & data nuggets, the Global Mobile News Round-up offers an instant international mobile content and commerce snapshot.

 Global News Stories

12 ways mobile money can go further


Establish trust: M-Pesa won the trust of the people when they came to Kenya as a brand for the common man. It used marketing and language that was simple and inclusive and followed through by offering a low-cost alternative. It maintained trust by building strong liquidity processes, which ensured that subscribers can confidently access their cash from a nearby agent.

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Mobile ads in Mexico to increase 81% to $390m in 2015, predicts eMarketer

The Drum

Mobile advertising in Mexico is expected to reach $390m in 2015, an 81 per cent increase from last year, according to eMarketer. The upswing looks set to continue for the foreseeable future with ad spend tipped to increase more than four times by 2019 to reach $1.7bn,

Mobile will account for 30 per cent of all digital ad spending in Mexico this year, making up 7.3 per cent of total media spend across the country, according to the report.

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Spotify’s Mobile Advertising Grew 380% In The Past Year


By now, it’s unlikely that there is anybody left that uses the internet to listen to music that doesn’t at least know about Spotify, even if they don’t use it. Advertisers know this, and they are injecting more and more money into making sure their brands are front and center, and that those listening for free hear their pitches.

While originally a desktop-focused business, many users have now gone mobile, and the advertisers have followed them. Year over year (from Q1 2014 to Q1 2015), the company’s mobile advertising revenue grew an astounding 380%. Mobile is quickly becoming a go-to for many listeners, but it is also just hitting its stride (hence the massive increase in ad revenue). This time next year, there is sure to be even more growth, but whether the company can match the almost-400% jump is anybody’s guess.

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Mobile network in a rucksack deployed in wake of Nepal earthquake


The Vodafone Foundation has deployed theInstant Network Mini — its phone network in a backpack — in the Kathmandu Valley in response to the earthquake in Nepal.

It’s the first time the network, which can be set up in just ten minutes, has been rolled out in response to a disaster situation. The network can connect five users at a time to global telecoms networks and allows thousands of messages to be sent. As the rucksacks weigh only 11kg, the kit can be taken by foot into remote locations that cannot necessarily be easily accessed by vehicle.

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Tech Companies Line Up Behind Surveillance Reform Bill


A wide range of companies today released their support for a surveillance reform bill that would effectively end the NSA’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone records.

Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Reform Government Surveillance, a lobbying group representing many tech companies including AOL (they write my paychecks), came out backing the 2015 version of the FREEDOM Act.

“We support the bicameral, bipartisan legislation, which ends existing bulk collection practices under the USA Patriot Act and increases transparency and accountability while also protecting U.S. national security,” Reform Government Surveillance said in a statement.

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Google’s mobile friendly algorithm: four early test results


Google’s ‘mobile friendly’ update came into effect recently and I have some early data showing the possible effects of the changes.

For example, Barclays’ mobile-optimised homepage ranks well, but its non-optimised pages have dropped in the search rankings.

Here are a few other test cases…

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IoT Platform Revenues Worth £1.7bn Worldwide by 2020


Internet-of-Things platforms are predicted to grow to a £1.7bn industry over the next five years, with total IoT platform revenues forecasted to grow by at a compound annual growth rate of 32.2 per cent.

According to research by analyst firm Berg Insight, IoT platform revenue will increase from 450m (£326m) in 2014 to 2.4bn by 2020, with third party IoT platforms driving a growth in diversity of functionality and application areas.

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india-power-night-aerial1Mobile internet use grows in India


NEW DELHI: Mobile internet use in India is increasing as more users from lower socio-economic groupings go online and as older consumers come to see value in mobile according to a new report.

The findings contained in The Changing Mobile Broadband Landscape, from Ericsson’s ConsumerLab, were based on 4,500 face-to-face interviews with smartphone mobile internet users in ten cities and towns, a sample the ICT business estimated represented 127m smartphone users in urban India.

As smartphone prices have fallen over the past two years, the option of using the mobile internet has become possible for many more people. The report indicated that the proportion of users who came from an urban, less educated and low income background had risen from 38% in 2013 to 45% today.

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Tencent takes aim at Xiaomi with launch of OS for smartphones and smart gadgets

Tech In Asia

After three months in beta, Chinese tech titan Tencent today unveiled its Android-based OS that’s designed for use across smartphones, game consoles, wearable tech, and smart home gadgets.

The software, called TOS+ (pictured above), was unveiled this afternoon at the GMIC conference in Beijing by Tencent COO Ren Yu Xin, Bloomberg reports. The OS is designed to help Tencent take on the might of Xiaomi across mobile and smart gadgets, as well as to tackle Alibaba’s expansion into things like smart TVs.

Aside from unveiling a logo for TOS+ and pinpointing what kind of gadgets the system could be put on, details are still scarce at this stage. We’ve contacted Tencent with questions.

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Anonymous messaging Secret app ‘worth $100m’ shut down


Anonymous messaging service Secret, at one stage thought to be valued at more than $100m (£66.5m), is shutting down.

Founder David Byttow said: “Secret does not represent the vision I had when starting the company” and that he believed in “failing fast”.

The app was created, in part, to promote free speech but was criticised for promoting cyber-bullying.

User numbers have dwindled in recent months. Secret said it would return some of its $35m funding to investors.

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Apple Watch review: a status symbol for iOS devotees


Mankind’s fascination with watches capable of more than simply telling the time is nothing new. But recently, our collective interest in intelligent timepieces has spiked, and we have more and more powerful wrist-worn computers to choose from than ever — whether made by startups with record-setting Kickstarter campaigns or the biggest names in consumer electronics. Of course, the biggest name of all, Apple, had yet to release one of its own. Well, the Watch has arrived, and its maker has loftier aspirations for it than the smartwatches preceding it. Apple’s Watch isn’t some utilitarian gadget — it’s jewelry, an object of lust, not only for what it can do, but also for how it looks.

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Global News Round-up – These articles are not written by MEF and do not represent any views of individuals, members or the organisation.