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

American Express cardholders can now talk to Amazon Alexa

Amex has unveiled a new ‘skill’ that lets members check account balances, review recent charges, make a payment and browse limited time offers through Amazon Echo voice commands.

Luke Gebb, senior vice president, Enterprise Digital, American Express, said: “Our members are redefining how they engage with our brand across the digital platforms of their choice, and we want them to have great experiences wherever they are.”

Eligible cardholders can enable the Amex skill in the Alexa app.

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People.io takes data sharing rewards to Germany with Telefónica

UK startup People.io is to launch a co-branded version of its app with Telefónica O2 in Germany.

People.io is a personal data economy firm that lets people share data in return for credits they can redeem for goods and services. Users input their preferences and info in a Tinder-style swipe interface.

The firm is part of Telefónica’s Wayra accelerator, and is the first Wayra-backed startup to launch a co-branded product with its parent.

The partners hope to achieve one million downloads by the end of the first year.

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Boku enables carrier billing for Telus

Canadian MNO Telus is now offering charge to mobile billing to Windows 10 customers thanks to a deal with Boku.

It means Win10 users will be able to use their phone bill to make payments on a PC, laptop, tablet or Xbox. The integration is a first for Microsoft in Canada.

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CLX buys UK messaging firm Dialogue Group

Sweden’s CLX has added another acquisition to its growing list: UK mobile veteran Dialogue.

It paid £32 million for its latest target, which has offices in Sheffield, London, Sydney and Singapore. The deal will help CLX’s entry into Asia-Pacific and add to its roster of 200 carrier partners.

Johan Hedberg, CEO of CLX Communications, said: “Our vision is clear; we are building the world’s largest and leading CPaaS (Communications Platform as a Service) company. The acquisition of Dialogue is the next natural step in executing on the strategy we outlined at the time of our IPO.”

Dialogue is CLX’s fourth acquisition since its IPO in 2015, following Mblox, Sinch and Xura Secure.

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Syniverse launches global wi-fi marketplace

Mobile services specialist Syniverse wants to cut the fuss out of buying and selling wi-fi.

It worked with BandwidthX to create a new Mobile Marketplace, which brings together buyers and sellers in one centralised cloud location.

The firm says this eliminates the antiquated process of managing wholesale agreements around coverage, pricing, legal requirements and technical specifications.

Instead, they just enter the search parameters into the Mobile Marketplace interface to locate providers that meet their needs.

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Opera Software to invest US$100m in Africa

Browser specialist Opera has pledged a major investment in ‘digital Africa’ over the next two years.

Opera is a big presence in the continent thanks largely to the data-saving capabilities of its mobile browsers. That’s why one of the key initiatives in its new drive is an AI-powered news engine with compression technology.

It says this will deliver localised content that reduces data usage by up to 90 per cent. It is working with 47 African publishers covering 107 websites.

Over the next 12 months, Opera plans to add VAS, payment and data bundling into its browser product.

Richard Monday, Vice President of Africa, Opera Software, said: “This platform will expand the user base for content providers, e-commerce businesses, operators, OEM’s and others to strengthen the African internet ecosystem.”

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Gemalto finalises 3M identity MBO

In December, Gemalto agreed to buy 3M’s Identity Management Business for $850 million. Now the deal is complete.

3M provides biometric tech with a focus in civil identification, border control and law enforcement.
It will now become part of the Gemalto Government Programs business.

“3M will enable Gemalto to further accelerate the deployment of trusted national identities and to offer strong end-to-end biometric authentication solutions throughout the digital economy,” said Philippe Vallée, Gemalto CEO.

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