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

This week..  China Will Drive Mobile Spending to Record $380 Billion in 2020, Facebook & experts press for national US privacy rules, mobile gaming collects biggest revenue share of app stores spending and much more.

China Will Drive Mobile Spending to Record $380 Billion in 2020


Mobile app spending and usage hit a record in 2019 and show no signs of tapering off this year as faster cellular connections and more big-name video streaming services come online, industry tracker App Annie says. China should again prove the biggest driver of consumption on everything from video streaming to games operated by social media giant Tencent Holdings Ltd., propelling spending 23% higher to $380 billion this year, App Annie researchers said. China made up half of all consumer spending in 2019 and was among the fastest-growing markets when it came to time spent on a mobile device. The global average is now 3.7 hours per person per day, according to the researchers.

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Facebook, experts press for national US privacy rules

Mobile World Live

CES 2020, LAS VEGAS: A panel of government and industry experts tackled the tricky subject of privacy in the US, agreeing there is a need for federal privacy legislation, but differing on what rules should be included in any potential package passed by politicians.

Khaliah Barnes, privacy and public policy manager at Facebook (pictured, centre), pressed for “strong individual rights” allowing consumers to access, change, delete or move data companies have collected about them. She also called for baseline measures to ensure data security and minimise the amount of information collected from individuals in the first place.

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Mobile gaming collects biggest revenue share of app stores spending


The vast majority of money spent on mobile app stores went to games, according to a report, as did the majority of time spent on phones, and the majority of advertising revenue.

In 2019, more than $86bn (£66bn) was spent on mobile gaming, making the sector larger than the rest of the games industry combined. That revenue represented 72% of all App Store spend, according to data from the analytics firm AppAnnie, in its State of Mobile 2020 report.

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Mobile payment app Lydia raises $45 million round led by Tencent

Tech Crunch

French startup Lydia is raising a $45 million Series B round (€40 million). Tencent is leading the round with existing investors CNP Assurances, XAnge and New Alpha also participating.

If you live in France, chances are you already know Lydia  quite well. The company has become a ubiquitous mobile payment app, especially for people under 30 years old. Think about it as a sort of Square Cash or Venmo, but for France.

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Tinder, Grindr sell personal data in possible violation of privacy laws, study says

Mobile Marketer

Dating apps Tinder, Grindr and OkCupid are among the mobile apps that sell personal information about their users in possible violation of privacy laws, the Consumer Council of Norway on Tuesday alleged in a report. The government-funded consumer protection group commissioned cybersecurity company Mnemonic to analyze how 10 popular apps share data with third parties involved in advertising or behavioral profiling.

In addition to looking at Tinder, Grindr and OkCupid, the report studied dating app Happn, period tracker apps Clue and MyDays, makeup app Perfect365, children’s app My Talking Tom2, Qibla Finder and Wave Keyboard. The study found that the apps shared data with at least 135 different third parties. Some of the information included precise locations of mobile users.

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Gates Foundation mobile money projects in developing world to go live this year

Computer Weekly

Major mobile money projects in Africa and Asia being run by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will go live as early as the middle of this year, giving some of the world’s poorest people access to financial services.

The foundation, set up by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his wife Melinda, helps these projects in various ways. It provides philanthropic capital and technical assistance, as well as open source software in some cases. Kosta Peric, deputy director of financial services for the poor at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said projects in Pakistan, Tanzania and eight West African countries could go live as early as the middle of this year. “These projects will this year move from deployment and development to actually serving the poor populations,” he said.

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Electronic payments usage is up, but comes with privacy issues for consumers


Americans are spending more with digital payments and credit cards than ever before, as convenience and technology have relegated cash and checks more to the periphery.

Online shopping has proliferated on retail websites such as Amazon, mobile payment apps like Venmo have become more popular, and banks have made it as easy to transact on a smartphone as in a brick-and-mortar branch.

These trends point to the continued rise of digital and card transactions, said Jason Thacker, head of U.S. deposits and consumer payments at TD Bank.

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Brazil 5G auction timeline slides

Mobile World Live

An auction of 5G spectrum in Brazil could be delayed by 12 months as regulator Anatel remains embroiled in a dispute over the rules of the process, Financial Times (FT) reported.

The auction was scheduled to be held in March, but this was pushed to at least the end of the year: analysts told FT a Q1 2021 date was more likely.

An official timeline could be revealed in February when Anatel’s board meets, but a public consultation and judicial review still need to be held. A representative for Anatel said the consultations had been postponed and there was no timetable for the auction to be held at this stage.

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Will SD-WAN Solve IoT’s Toughest Questions?

sdx Central

IoT and SD-WAN might not sound like they belong together, but ask VMware’s VeloCloud or managed service provider Apcela and you might be surprised by what they have to say. The two companies see SD-WAN as the key to making large IoT deployments manageable at a human scale.

Sanjay Uppal, who co-founded VeloCloud and now serves as the head of VMware’s SD-WAN division, said the expanding scope of SD-WAN has opened the door to several applications that the technology wouldn’t normally be associated with, and IoT is one of them.

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