Find out the week’s top mobile stories from around the world.

This week.. European data roaming charges & net neutrality, Twitter & mobile ad revenue, Apple watch sales figures plus much more.

Mobile phones: Data roaming charges will be abolished

BBC

Extra costs of using a mobile phone in countries across the EU are to be scrapped, MEPs have agreed, after years of negotiations.

The ban on data roaming charges from 15 June 2017 has received a final green light in the European Parliament.

Roaming charges are added by mobile operators for calls, texts and internet browsing when phone users are abroad.

An interim cap on charges will take effect from 30 April next year, prior to the full ban across the EU.

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Twitter makes 86% of its ad revenue on mobile

Venturebeat

If you needed any more evidence that Twitter’s business has rapidly turned mobile, just follow the money.

The company reported today that almost 9 out of every 10 advertising dollars it brings in are earned on mobile devices, mainly phones. Actually, Twitter said in its quarterly report today that 86 percent of its ad revenues come from mobile, and that almost all of its revenues come from advertising. The rest — usually a few percentage points — comes from licensing historical tweet data through Gnip.

Actually, the high proportion of mobile revenue isn’t terribly new. Last quarter, 88 percent of Twitter’s revenue came from mobile. But at the time the company went public back in 2013, mobile constituted only 65 percent of revenues (interestingly, 75 percent of Twitter users were mobile at the time of the IPO).

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The European Parliament just dealt a major blow to net neutrality

Business Insider

Europe just dealt a major blow to net neutrality.

On Tuesday afternoon, the European Parliament voted against all amendments to a package on the European single market for electronic communications — raising fears among activists, tech companies, and NGOs that the proposals as they currently stand fail to properly protect net neutrality.

The proposals also end mobile roaming charges on the continent by 2017.

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Apple has sold more than $1.7B in Apple Watches, and 11 other tasty morsels from its annual filing

VentureBeat

Every year, people keep thinking that the Law of Big Companies has to kick in for Apple. Roughly speaking, that law says that as companies get bigger, their rate of growth inevitably tapers off.

Surely, even the world’s most valuable company can’t keep growing at the blistering pace it has maintained for the past decade. Can it?

That year may yet come. But the annual report that Apple has filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission reminds us that the fiscal year 2015 that ended Sept. 30 was not that year for Apple.

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McDonald’s App Sees 1.5m Coupon Redemptions in First Two Months

Mobile Marketing Magazine

Since launching its first branded mobile offers app in the US this September, McDonald’s has seen 1.5m offers redeemed in-app, and more than 2m downloads overall.

Those numbers are particularly impressive given that the rollout was initially limited to a trial in Philadelphia, and there’ hasn’t yet been any national advertising promoting the app – the campaign is slated to begin later this month.

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Juniper Research projects nearly 5 billion biometric transactions by 2019

Biometric Update

Juniper Research has published a new report that finds that the increased use of touchless payment services using fingerprint readers will push the number of biometric authenticated transactions to nearly 5 billion by 2019, driven by Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.

The report, entitled “Mobile Identity, Authentication & Tokenisation 2015-2020“, states that the there will be almost 130 million biometric authenticated transactions this year alone, primarily in the United States, United Kingdom and South Korea.

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China ranks dead last on global internet freedom survey

Tech In Asia

This has been an eventful year for internet freedom (or lack thereof) in China. The latest Freedom on the Net study from American NGO Freedom House was published today, showing that China – which ranked third from last in 2014 – has now sunk so far it can’t sink any lower.

In last year’s report, China was bested by Iran and Syria. For 2015, however, those two nations are now tied for second-to-last, and China has pushed its way to the back of the bus.

It’s worth mentioning that North Korea is not included in Freedom House’s survey, as there was not enough access to the country. But it would, presumably, be the only country to rank below China.

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MasterCard wants to embed payments in jewellery and appliances

Mobile Money Revolution

Making payments invisible is the stated aim of many money futurists. They believe that rather than having a card or even a mobile through which you transact, your credentials should be in multiple places, waiting to be activated. MasterCard clearly believes it.

It’s just announced a program that it informally calls the “Internet of Payment Things” (IoPT). This is an extension of its MasterCard Digital Enablement Services (MDES), a service layer that makes it simple for third parties to plug tokenization, security, identification and authentication in devices, apps and websites.

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Google installing hundreds of internet-enabled balloons in Indonesia

Guardian

How do you connect a country made up of 17,000 islands to the internet? That’s the huge infrastructure challenge faced by Indonesia, and one that Google hopes to address using its high altitude ‘Project Loon’ balloons.

The Silicon Valley giant has partnered with three Indonesian internet service providers – Telkomsel, Axiata and Inmost – to deliver LTE connectivity to remote areas via clusters of giant helium balloons to places where fixed-line service aren’t available. It’s part of the the company’s plan to help connect some of the billions of people around the world who remain offline.

“Indonesia is the perfect fit for Project Loon,” said Mike Cassidy, project leader for Loon, speaking at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View in front of a fully inflated balloon.

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More Christmas shopping goes online

Mobile Marketing Magazine

Whatever their concerns about the economy, Britons are set to spend almost £25bn on gifts this Christmas and many will be researching and buying online using multiple devices.

A survey for RadiumOne, programmatic marketing technology experts, polled 1,000 people aged 16 and over and found that almost all would be giving presents with the average spend coming in at £489.

It also reported that fewer shoppers would likely be heading to the high street to make their purchases. Among those who already knew how they would buy their Christmas gifts, less than one in seven (13%) said they planned on doing both research and shopping in-store.

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