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Get the latest announcements from MEF Members across the mobile ecosystem globally in this weekly review of member news…

Axis Bank opens new technology ’thought factory’

Up to ten of Bengaluru’s most innovative start-ups will join an accelerator programme run by India’s third largest lender, Axis Bank.

The lab is a first by a bank in India, and is designed to drive new idea in the financial technology space. It will apply technologies such as blockchain, AI, mobility, and cloud to core banking services.

Start-ups join a three month programme of structured mentorship to fine-tune, validate and scale their businesses.

Rajiv Anand, Executive Director (Retail Banking), Axis Bank, said, “Our innovation lab will build on the ideas of innovators that can radically change consumers’ life in banking and beyond.”

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BlackBerry signs deal to bring rich content to BBM

Indonesia’s 60m BBM users will have access to a vast library of TV and video thanks to a deal between BlackBerry and local content giant Emtek.

PT Elang Mahkota Teknologi Tbk (Emtek) will make available content from free-to-air TV, and more than 100,000 hours of video and premium content. It will also open an office in the Toronto area to work closely with BlackBerry.

The partners will now develop new apps for the Android, iOS and Windows Phones versions of BBM. It’s all part of BlackBerry’s vision to advance BBM to integrate social, chat, commerce and content into the messaging app.

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AmEx will talk to its customers via messenger bots

American Express has confirmed it’s working with Facebook on a project to use chat bots to ‘talk’ to card holders.

A few weeks ago, Facebook announced it would open up its Facebook Messenger chat app to third parties so that brands could communicate with people as if they were regular ‘human’ contacts.

Now, AmEx has said it will experiment with the idea. So, for example, if a Platinum Card Member purchases an airline ticket, he or she would receive a purchase notification in Messenger plus reminders about accessing the lounge, restaurant tips, and more.

The pilot will launch in the coming months.

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SpotX expands into the Nordics

Video inventory management platform SpotX is making a big push into Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Finland.

It’s opening a new office in Stockholm and has named Stephen Byrne as senior business development director, Nordics. He’ll be helping Nordic publishers and broadcasters use programmatic video technology and expand SpotX’s inventory supply.

The expansion should continue SpotX’s recent growth – 56 per cent year-on-year from 2015.

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Telefónica abandons sale of O2 UK after Brexit

The proposed sale of O2 UK to Hutchison 3G is off, thanks to Britain’s vote to leave the EU.

Telefonica released a regulatory filing to say O2 UK’s operations would be “reclassified” and that “Telefonica continues to explore different strategic alternatives for O2 UK, to be implemented when market conditions are deemed appropriate.”

O2 had been the subject of a £10.5 billion bid from Hutchison, though the deal was being scrutinised by monopolies regulators.

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TIMWE and Airtel Ghana team up on football content

Football fans in Ghana will be able to stay up to date on English Premier League thanks to a new content deal between TIMWE and Airtel Ghana.

The partners have built a portal offering live text commentaries, updates, live scores, results, social media integration and daily prizes.

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Barclays’ contactless payment app goes live in the UK

Users of Barclays’ Android mobile banking app can now use it to pay in shops.

The UK bank has gone live with the feature, which lets card holders make contactless payments of up to £100.

This is all thanks host card emulation (HCE), which locates the secure element in the cloud, so it means banks don’t need the ‘permission’ of the phone OS to support contactless payments.

Apple doesn’t support HCE, but Google does.

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