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

This week..  Net Neutrality & mobile in Portugal, Black Friday to App Friday shopping trends, Google collecting Android user location data, Wechat’s domination in China + mobile banking and much more…

If Portugal is a net neutrality nightmare, we’re already living in it

The Verge

A few weeks ago, as it seemed more and more likely that FCC chairman Ajit Pai would successfully dismantle US net neutrality rules, California Congressional representative Ro Khanna tweeted an alarming-looking screenshot from Portuguese mobile carrier Meo. “In Portugal, with no net neutrality, internet providers are starting to split the net into packages,” he wrote.

Since October 26th, this message has been retweeted over 58,000 times, and liked over 46,000 times. As Techdirt pointed out, it looks remarkably similar to a satirical chart showing internet services split into cable-style bundles, a graphic that’s been used to drive home the importance of net neutrality for years.

But it’s also seriously misleading — in a way that misses a more important and subtle point about net neutrality.

Read more…

From Black Friday to App Friday: mobile madness has shifted the holiday shopping season

The Drum

According to Black Friday data research, 65% of all shoppers will turn to their mobile devices for holiday purchases.

This data, compiled in a study made by mobile engagement platform Leanplum and retail app platform Branding Brand details the shift, not just from retailers to digital, but from desktop to mobile. 35% of the shoppers surveyed will specifically use apps on smartphones and tablets. Nearly two out of three shoppers will utilize their phones to inform them of sales, coupons or other deals heading their way.

Mobile is an efficient role in every part of the purchasing process—from avoiding the long lines that make Black Friday infamous, to comparing prices between retailers. Over 63% of shoppers plan to use mobile just to avoid foot traffic in stores and 58% use their devices to find coupons.

Read more…

Google collects Android users’ locations even when location services are disabled

Quartz

Many people realize that smartphones track their locations. But what if you actively turn off location services, haven’t used any apps, and haven’t even inserted a carrier SIM card?

Even if you take all of those precautions, phones running Android software gather data about your location and send it back to Google when they’re connected to the internet, a Quartz investigation has revealed.

Since the beginning of 2017, Android phones have been collecting the addresses of nearby cellular towers—even when location services are disabled—and sending that data back to Google. The result is that Google, the unit of Alphabet behind Android, has access to data about individuals’ locations and their movements that go far beyond a reasonable consumer expectation of privacy.

Read more…

What WeChat’s domination in China tells us about mobile banking in the coming age of the super app

Banking Technology

Through increasing functionality and by consistently pushing boundaries, super apps could have the power to influence, shape and even redefine m-commerce of tomorrow. Tom Wood, co-founder and managing partner of experience design agency, Foolproof, shares his insight on the opportunities that super apps could bring to m-commerce.

In less than a decade, the speed, simplicity and mass adoption of mobile payments has turned China from a cash-only society into an increasingly cash-free society. China interestingly have a mistrust of credit cards, and by proxy contactless card payments and have instead developed more of a trust in mobile technology.

Read more…

The frightening truth behind free mobile VPN apps

Tech Radar

Today, people often think of their smartphone as their most ‘personal computer’, and last year, we saw mobile internet usage surpass desktop usage. Those seeking greater privacy online often take a leap of faith and install a VPNonto their device with the expectation that all of their online activities will be less visible. However, the concern is that too often it is unclear how private their data will be.

Perhaps the greatest offenders in this respect are the free VPNs, both desktop and mobile, that use the information which is sent through them for analysis, targeting ads, and possible sale to third-parties.

Mobile VPN providers represent a bigger potential worry, though, as they are happy to track their users’ every movement, using the phone’s sensors to provide a wealth of data including the location (from the GPS), and level of activity from the accelerometer.

Read more…

Skype is the latest messaging app to disappear from Chinese app stores

Ars Technica

Yet another popular communications app has disappeared from app stores in China. According to a report from The New York Times, Microsoft’s messaging service Skype is no longer available from app stores, including Apple’s App Store. Google’s Play Store doesn’t operate in China, but Skype hasn’t appeared on the various third-party Android app stores in the country since late October.

“We have been notified by the Ministry of Public Security that a number of voice over Internet protocol apps do not comply with local law,” an Apple spokeswoman told The New York Times. “These apps remain available in all other markets where they do business.”

Skype still functions in China, and a Microsoft spokesperson quoted in the report said the Skype app had been “temporarily removed” from Apple’s App Store. An Apple representative stated that the company is “working to reinstate the program as soon as possible.” However, that doesn’t address Skype’s removal on a number of websites from which Android users can download apps for their devices.

Read more…

Brazil rolls out digital driving licenses

ZD Net

The Brazilian government is rolling out digital driving licenses across the country after the initiative received the green light in July.

Aimed at reducing document fraud, the digital driving licenses will feature digital signature certificates and will be as legally valid as the physical document, which will continue to exist.

The rollout of the mobile-based license app has already started in the state of Goiás and has been extended to other states this week.

It is expected that all 27 Brazilian states will be able to offer the digital license by February 2018. The government hopes that approximately 1,5 million drivers will be using the digital license by 2022.

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Narendra Modi reiterates commitment to Digital India, says government using ‘mobile power’ to empower Indians

Firstpost

Reiterating that the Centre is committed to its Digital India programme, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said that his government is exploring ways to digitally empower every citizen.

Speaking at the inauguration of the two-day Global Conference on Cyberspace in New Delhi on Thursday, Modi said, “We believe digital platforms reflect democratic values. In India, we give primacy to the human face of technology. We believe in ease of living.”

The theme of the summit this year is Cyber4All: A Secure and Inclusive Cyberspace for Sustainable Development.

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There are huge differences in how much mobile data European countries use

Verdict

Across Europe there is a huge disparity between the countries that use the most mobile data each month and the least.

The average monthly mobile data use in Europe will be 2.4 gigabytes (GB) per sim card in 2017.

This is largely due to big disparities among different European countries, with a difference of over 10 gigabytes per month between Finland, which uses the most, and Ukraine, which uses the lease.

Finland, with 13.3GB per sim per month on average expected by GlobalData by the end of the year, Austria (5.7GB), Poland (3.7GB) and Russia (3.5GB) are among the most data-intensive countries in the region, largely due to unlimited packages on offer.

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Southeast Asia Snapshot: Southeast Asia’s mobile games market is booming

Pocket Gamer.biz

Southeast Asia’s mobile games market is booming, representing a lucrative opportunity for mobile developers and publishers.

Huge numbers of avid gamers, lower user acquisition costs, the prevalence of the English language, and a relatively open market for new entrants all make the region very attractive.

The number of mobile gamers in Southeast Asia is set to grow from 170 million at the end of this year to 250 million by 2021. Likewise, revenue is projected to grow from $1.1 billion in 2017 to $2.4 billion in the same timeframe, faster than previously forecast.

In this snapshot, I’ll look at the top mobile games in the region for October 2017 and discuss the various trends in play.

Read more

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