Find out the week’s top mobile stories from around the world.
This week… Banking’s “Uber moment” is already happening, Google and Facebook fight it out for internet supremacy in India, Whatsapp suspension lifted in Brazil plus much more.
The “Uber moment” in finance that the former CEO of Barclays warned about recently is already happening — 11 big banks have cut a combined 10% of their staff this year.
Analysis by the Financial Timesshows that almost 100,000 banking jobs were cut this year, equivalent to 10% of the combined staff of the 11 big European and US banks that announced cuts.
They include HSBC, Morgan Stanley, Standard Chartered, Royal Bank of Scotland, and Credit Suisse. Barclays and BNP Paribas are expected to add to cuts early in the new year.
The analysis comes just weeks after Antony Jenkins, who until July was CEO of Barclays, warned in a speech that as much as half of banking jobs could be replaced by apps and algorithms over the next 10 years.
Google is launching a new accelerator program today. The Launchpad Accelerator will provide mobile startups in India, Brazil and Indonesia with mentorship, training, support, and up to $50,000 in equity-free funding.
As Roy Glasberg, Google’s Global lead for its Launchpad programs, told me, the accelerator was born out of Google’s existing Launchpad program for startups and its global series of events that launched about two-and-a-half years ago.
As Google looked at how it could have more impact on the startup ecosystem, the team realized that there were essentially two ways to scale its efforts.
At Least half of the global consumers in mature markets are expected to be using wearables and smartphones for mobile payments by 2018. This is according to research firm Gartner. At present, mobile payments are gaining acceptance in the developed markets, among consumers in North America, Japan and some countries in Western Europe, according to Gartner, Inc., with . This is just one of many innovations impacting customer preferences in the personal technologies market.
“Innovation in apps, mobile devices and mobile services are impacting traditional business models, particularly in the way people use personal technology for productivity and pleasure,” said Amanda Sabia, principal research analyst at Gartner.
A Brazilian judge on Thursday ordered the lifting of a 48-hour suspension of the services in Brazil of Facebook Inc’s WhatsApp phone-messaging application, overturning an order from a lower court.
The interruption of WhatsApp’s text message and Internet telephone service caused outrage in Latin America’s largest country, where the company estimates it has 100 million personal users, and led to angry exchanges on the floor of Congress.
Rival messaging system Telegram said on Twitter that it received 1 million downloads in Brazil in one day due to the outage.
Two of the world’s largest internet companies, Google and Facebook, are fighting for internet supremacy in Indian villages.
On Dec. 16, Google CEO Sundar Pichai—on his first overseas visit as the new head of the search giant—addressed a packed ballroom in Delhi. Dressed in a casual grey shirt and jeans, the Indian Institute of Technology graduate spoke about how India is going to be central to Google’s expansion plans in the coming years.
“Over the next three years, we plan to help more than 300,000 villages across India go online,” Pichai told a gathering of hundreds of journalists and developers in New Delhi.
China Mobile, one of China’s three massive state-run telecom companies, is planning a 4G explosion in 2016. 4G is already well off the ground in China – in fact China Mobile already has more than 200 million 4G subscribers – but the company is planning a massive expansion in 2016 that will see it add 300,000 new 4G stations to significantly increase its 4G coverage in 2016.
But the company has an even more ambitious goal for 2016: China Mobile VP Li Huidi saysthe company expects to have broken 500 million users by the end of that year.
China Mobile currently has about 1 million 4G base stations, according to Li, so in 2016 it plans a 30 percent increase in coverage. Given that it’s aiming for something more like a 100 percent increase in subscribers, the company is obviously banking on more people in currently-covered areas to jump onboard the 4G train. Its 4G subscriber numbers have been growing quickly in 2015, so that my be a reasonable expectation.
Europe has taken a big step towards stronger, pan-European data privacy laws, after agreeing the text of new reforms.
The agreement, four years in the making, comes after six months of “trilogue” negotiations between the European Commission, the European parliament and the Council of the European Union, in the last legislative session of the year.
Controversial plans that could have seen those under 16 blocked from social media by the increase in age of digital consent were watered down in the final text.
On the heels of reports that Apple Pay is gearing up for a February launch of its mobile payment service in China, the country’s biggest credit card company has entered into a JV with a startup out of the UK to take its own steps into smartphone-based transactions.
UnionPay Network Payments — a wholly owned subsidiary of China UnionPay, the state-run company that controls debit and credit card payments processing in China — has inked a 10-year deal with Powa Technologies, a venture-backed mobile commerce company based in London.
Initially, Powa developed a Square-like dongle for payments before moving into a wideromnichannel commerce strategy. It’s the latter of these two, promoting on-the-go shopping, that will be at the heart of this deal.
Following Android Pay’s September launch in the US, Google has announced the second market for its mobile payment service: Australia.
Android Pay will be available in the country ‘in the first half of 2016’, in partnership with six Australian financial institutions (ANZ Bank, Westpac, Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, ING Direct, Macquarie Bank and Cusca). At launch, Android Pay will support credit and debit cards from MasterCard and Visa, and Google says it is also working with EFTPOS to support its cards.