Find out the week’s top mobile stories from around the world.
This week.. Telefonica, Liberty Global agree massive UK merger, why New Contact Tracing Apps Have A Critical WhatsApp-Sized Problem, gargantuan volumes of mobile data unused due to lockdown and much more.
Telefonica and Liberty Global agreed a blockbuster deal to merge UK mobile operator O2 with fixed provider Virgin Media and pump £10 billion into the market over five years, drastically stepping-up competition to BT.
The deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, is expected to create synergies of £6.2 billion within five years of closing, after integration costs of £700 million. Savings are to come from cutting wholesale charges; combining IT, marketing and administration costs; and “site rationalisation”.
Almost everyone reading this will own a smartphone, and almost all of those smartphones will have WhatsApp installed. In its top markets, those where it has its greatest penetration, the leading messaging platform has just over an 80% install base across smartphone users. Getting there has taken 11 years.
Now let’s talk about contact-tracing. These Bluetooth proximity apps are generating daily headlines as the effectiveness versus privacy debate rages on.
German fintech factory finleap connect has launched a white label mobile banking application that firms can quickly roll out with their own name and branding.
The ‘Digital Bank’ app enables a completely digital account opening process as well as mobile banking and card management.
The product is based on the full banking license and the APIs for digital bank accounts and payment cards of another German fintech player, solarisBank.
Mobile users in the UK are sitting on a combined 165 million gigabytes of unused data as the coronavirus lockdown causes people to switch to Wi-Fi instead, research shows.
Comparison site Uswitch said that non-essential workers are using 500Mb less data a month than they did before the lockdown, a fall of a fifth (21 per cent) on the average 2.4Gb monthly usage.
Truphone has announced a new eSIM solution that is designed specifically for connection to the Internet of Things.
The service aims to provide industries an opportunity to connect multiple IoT devices straight out the box. This solution uses Truphone’s eSIM technology and can help companies build smart home devices, asset trackers and connected cameras.
This pandemic has sent our country into a rapid economic downturn with massive job losses and millions of people seeking ways to cut costs. It’s a perfect storm on many fronts leaving consumers mainly focused on indispensable items should as food, shelter and yes communication devices such as mobiles and tablets. These devices have become the ultimate form of communication during this pandemic for news and updates and in many cases the only way family members can communicate with their loved ones. Interestingly PCS Wireless was ahead of itself when a few years ago it invested in the creation of a mobile device ecosystem similar to Carfax called IGWT Block.
In February, as cities throughout Sichuan Province were locked down to combat the spread of the coronavirus, unmanned drones circled the skies, broadcasting pandemic prevention measures, spraying disinfectant, and even conducting thermal imaging checks on residents.
Some 1,800 km away in Beijing, 5G-powered drones dispatched face masks near the Beijing National Stadium and delivered hot meals to hospital patients to reduce human contact. In Wuhan, the original epicenter of the outbreak, hundreds of driverless vans continue to sanitize the streets.
Zynga reported record revenue and bookings in the first quarter ended March 31 as more people turned to social mobile games while isolated because of the pandemic. But payouts to acquired companies that are producing these hit games have hurt the bottom line.
While the increase in mobile gameplay due to the pandemic was good for the company in the last two weeks of the quarter, Zynga didn’t have any particular big hits that launched during the quarter.
Africa’s first live 5G network supporting both mobile and fixed wireless services has gone live in the South African cities of Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town following a two-year network modernisation project.
Operated by Vodacom the network supports both mobile and fixed wireless services and is currently available on twenty live 5G sites – 18 in Gauteng and two in Cape Town – with further rollouts planned for other parts of the country.
The launch follows a two year network upgrade project by Vodacom, but the crossing of the final hurdle was actually propelled by the Covid-19 pandemic, which saw ICASA assign temporary spectrum to Vodacom for the duration of South Africa’s national state of disaster, including one 50 MHz in the 3.5 GHz band.