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What’s the news from the MEF community? Here’s your weekly round up of all the latest announcements from MEF members including product launches, partnerships, research insights and more…

Zapp’s Pay by Bank app mobile payments service has its first ‘challenger bank’.

Starling has joined the scheme that lets customers ‘push’ payments to mobile apps and sites direct from their bank apps.

It’s an alternative to handing over card details, which gives users more control. They can choose which account to pay from and see how much credit they have.

Starling is one of a handful of UK-based mobile first banks. It has no branches and offers a range of services all based around an app.

Julian Sawyer, COO of Starling, said: “Our partnership with Pay by Bank app is important as it not only allows customers to bank and transact on the go, but also to benefit from a greater range of choice and sense of security. This is an exciting innovation and we are proud to be part of helping it become a more mainstream form of online payments.”

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BICS to buy TeleSign in $230 million cash deal

BICS and TeleSign are to join forces to create a mobile services provider for the world’s enteprises.

Belgium-based BICS says it will close the $230 million deal in the third quarter of 2017.

Once complete, TeleSign will operate as an subsidiary of BICS under the leadership of current CEO Aled Miles.

“Combining our technology with BICS’ global carrier footprint, mobile operator reach and strong experience, puts us in a class by ourselves,” Miles stated.

BICS, also known as Belgacom ICS is a global voice carrier and mobile data service provider. It also provides business intelligence and fraud/authentication services.

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Viacom launches Global Product Development Group

Viacom has created a new team dedicated to developing digital apps and websites – with the emphasis on video.

It says the group’s initial priorities will be expanding Play Plex, Viacom’s successful suite of mobile apps. It is currently transitioning Viacom’s worldwide websites to a single web framework, which will ultimately help to deliver tailored content to audiences based on their geographic location.

The new team will be led by Dan Reich. He said: “We will focus our global resources on platforms that truly connect with our audiences, making them faster and stronger, and fulfilling our promise to deliver premium content to audiences when they want, where they want.”

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Robosoft raises $12m to fund further growth

Ascent Capital and Kalaari Capital have contributed to a $12m second round in India’s Robosoft.

The company will invest the cash in products and user acquisition. It says it will also create two new independent companies from subsidiaries 99Games and Global Delight.

Quoting Raja Kumar, MD of Ascent Capital, said: “Robosoft has successfully demonstrated that an Indian company can create globally acclaimed mobile applications and games. We are excited to support this talented team build the next generation enterprise solutions and games for the global and Indian markets.”

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RealNetworks names Cary Baker as CFO

Cary Baker is to look after the money at RealNetworks. He joins from a similar role at HEAT Software.

Baker will oversee all financial operations at RealNetworks and report directly to the company’s CEO, Rob Glaser.

Glaser said: ”Cary is an outstanding addition to our senior management team. His professional experiences and accomplishments are a perfect fit, both for where Real is today and especially for where we are heading.”

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MTS and Ericsson complete 5G network testing

Russia MNO MTS has made a big step towards building a 5G network in its home country.

The firm teamed up with Ericsson to complete a successful test of new radio network features.

Hannes Ekstrom, Head of Customer Unit MTS, Market Area Europe & Latin America, Ericsson, said: “With a scalable and dynamic 5G network as a base, an array of revenue streams will be available to operators. It will enable the automation required for the Internet of Things, as well as services like Virtual and Augmented Reality.”

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Onebip confirms new sales and marketing director

Florian Heuberger is to join the DIMOCO subsidiary Onebip to drive sales and marketing activity in the carrier billing space.

This is an internal move for Heuberger, who already works for DIMOCO – which bought Onebip in 2016. Onebip provides carrier billing for digital merchants in the gaming and dating industries.

In a statement, DIMOCO said: ”We are pleased that Florian, a long-standing and valued DIMOCO product manager, has accepted this appointment. He will complement Onebip’s outstanding industry standing and develop the company into new markets for direct carrier billing (DCB) businesses.”

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Ooredoo to launch mobile money services Myanmar

Qatar-based Ooredoo is working with Co-operative Bank (CB Bank) to bring mobile money services to 8m customers in Myanmar.

The company hopes to launch the product, M-Pitesan, later this year. It is waiting for licence approval from the Central Bank of Myanmar.

M-Pitesan will let the telco’s customers send money instantly and buy airtime for themselves or others.

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