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

Boku Enables Carrier Billing for Global Sports Streaming Platform DAZN in Japan via NTT Docomo

Boku, the world’s leading provider of mobile payment and identity solutions and DAZN, the leading global sports streaming platform, this week announced the launch of mobile payments for NTT Docomo.

For 80 million NTT Docomo subscribers, they can now purchase DAZN subscriptions with just their phone number. DAZN is the rights holder for Japan’s J-League soccer and NPB baseball leagues, whose seasons have just begun as well as Formula One that starts on March 28 and the Premier League.

Jon Prideaux, CEO, Boku – Boku is thrilled at the opportunity to ensure that nearly every Japanese consumer can purchase a DAZN subscription to watch their favorite sport with a quick and easy mobile payment experience.

Ben King, Chief Subscription Officer, DAZN – 80 million NTT Docomo subscribers can now instantly add DAZN to their phone bill simply with the click of a button. Once again, entertainment services and operators are innovating and collaborating together to make premium sports easier to find, quicker to subscribe and better to watch.

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Unveiling the potential of direct carrier billing – interview with DOCOMO Digital

Jonathan Kriegel of DOCOMO Digital elaborates on the untapped potential of direct carrier billing and the advantages that make it ideal for merchants expanding into emerging markets

Considering the current global context, what can you tell us about the adoption of alternative payment methods (APMs) for mobile commerce? Where does direct carrier billing (DCB) fit into this picture?

When we talk about alternative payment methods, we break this concept down into all that is not a traditional or conventional payment method. Although APMs predominantly include digital wallets, they increasingly incorporate the direct carrier billing landscape as well.

Globally, digital payments are expected to touch $6.6 trillion in 2021 – a 40% surge in two years. By 2025, the digital payments sector will be worth $10.5 trillion. In particular, mobile payments have surged. With the proliferation of smartphones, there are now over a billion mobile money accounts globally, contributing $2.5 trillion or 37% to the total digital payments value in 2021.

The growth of APMs is determined by a continuous increase among the population that is underserved by traditional banking. Where does direct carrier billing fit in? Simply put, it enables consumers to pay for any goods or services as part of their post-paid mobile phone bills or their prepaid balances. This payment method is expected to account for over USD 77 billion in volumes by 2025 with new merchants in the OTT and gaming segments recognizing the potential.

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Evina scoops global anti-fraud accolade

Mobile payment cybersecurity specialist Evina has received the prestigious Gold Award at Juniper Research’s The Future Digital Awards 2021 for the inroads the Paris-headquartered firm is making in preventing up to 99,94% of fraudulent mobile transactions.

In Africa, Evina’s DCBprotect flagship anti-fraud offering protects up to 90% of mobile transactions in Ivory Coast, Morocco, Cameroon and Senegal. Evina also secures cellular traffic in other African countries such as Mali, Ghana, Congo, Kenya, Botswana, Angola and all countries in the Middle East including Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia and Libya.

David Lotfi, CEO of Evina, comments: “At Evina, our mission isn’t to only stop fraud, we strive to create a healthier ecosystem that unlocks more efficient payment flows and new business opportunities for all market players.

“This recognition highlights the crucial role Evina’s cutting-edge technology plays in boosting our clients’ business. It sends a clear message to all mobile market players: fraud is harming you, to an extent you probably do not realise. It is not fatal, however, and combatting it correctly can boost revenue. You just have to partner with the right experts.”

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New SMS rules: ‘Over 120 million messages failed to reach customers’, says aggregator Kaleyra

If you were trying to make a payment or shop online on March 8, chances were that you may have not received an OTP and the transaction would have not gone through. The reason behind the disruption of SMSes was the faulty implementation of new regulations by telecom companies brought in to regulate and stop pesky and fraud messages being sent to customers.

On Monday critical SMSes were not filtered by telecom companies and industry watchers said that millions of transactions had failed. One of the leading SMS aggregators for enterprises, Kaleyra, reported that over 100-120 million messages on their platform had failed.

Aniketh Jain, Chief Revenue Officer at NYSE-listed Kaleyra told CNBC-TV18 that the disruption on Monday could have led to an estimated 600 million commercial SMSes failing to be delivered across sectors and SMS aggregator platforms. CNBC-TV18 could not corroborate this statement.

The new SMS regulations led to a massive disruption across online services including net banking, credit card payments, e-commerce services, Aadhaar authentication and Co-WIN registrations.

Some payment gateway companies that CNBC-TV18 spoke to also said that they saw failure rate of around 40 to 60 percent on March 8. E-commerce firms on their part said that many orders remained incomplete, leading to some gross merchandise value loss.

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LivePerson And Innova Medical Group Announce Partnership For AI-powered, At-home COVID-19 Rapid Testing

LivePerson, a global leader in conversational AI, in partnership with Innova Medical Group, the world’s largest manufacturer of rapid antigen test kits and leader in COVID-19 testing solutions globally, today announced the launch of BELLA Health with Innova, a first-of-its-kind COVID-19 rapid testing experience with AI-guided instructions to ensure accuracy.

This new experience is being evaluated in the first-ever, large-scale at-home rapid testing study in the United States, led by Dr. Michael Mina, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Innova’s test, which has been authorized for use in the U.K. and the EU, is currently being used as a vital part of Operation Moonshot, the U.K. government’s ambitious mass testing protocol to safely reopen schools and the economy. Innova is also conducting clinical evaluations in an effort to gain Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) in the United States.

“Testing as Americans know it today simply isn’t convenient, affordable, or even accessible. Through the power of conversational AI, BELLA Health aims to become the low-cost, effective solution our communities need to enable at-home testing,” said Rob LoCascio, founder and CEO of LivePerson. “BELLA Health is designed to minimize human error and support users during home testing, and the study with Citi is intended to show it can be used effectively for COVID-19 testing at scale.”

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mGage and Oxfam successfully launch world-first RCS mobile payment campaign

In an exciting milestone for the charities sector, mGage, in partnership with Oxfam GB, has deployed its next-generation Rich Communication Services (RCS) mobile payment solution, to encourage more donations and higher levels of engagement.

At a time when charities are struggling amidst the pandemic, this world-first campaign is supporting Oxfam with its vital work worldwide, fighting poverty and assisting victims of humanitarian crises. With positive results when compared to a standard Premium SMS send, this channel is proving to be more popular than traditional card payments, offering a unique opportunity for charities to boost revenue, whilst deepening the relationship with supporters.

“With a simplified payment flow, a donation amount can be selected at the click of a button and added to the mobile bill, providing a truly seamless experience. This solution really is a gamechanger, especially at a time when so many charities need our support,” said Nick Millward, Vice President Europe at mGage. “RCS payments provide the ultimate convenience and an appealing experience for customers, who increasingly want organisations to contact them via mobile messaging. With more than 1.31 billion mobile payment users expected by 2023, it is a service that is soaring in popularity.”

Additionally, the service’s Verified Sender feature offers absolute peace of mind and builds trust between both charities and supporters. Accompanied by branding, users can be assured that a message sent to them is legitimate, protecting against fraud and the reputation of the sender.

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How Swisscom overcame the 5G deployment odds

Building a 5G network in Switzerland has come with a unique set of challenges for Swisscom, the telecom incumbent. The small European country is a skier’s paradise, for one thing, with more unaccommodating jagged peaks than convenient street furniture. The Swiss have also had an anxiety attack about the supposed health risks of mobile network equipment.

There are stricter limits on power levels than anywhere else in Europe. Despite all this, Swisscom has managed to construct a 5G network that today covers about 96% of the Swiss population. It is a source of pride for Ericsson, Swisscom’s network partner, as one of the Swedish vendor’s first live 5G deployments in Europe.

So how did Swisscom do it? Partly, it claims, thanks to a mobile network “grid” that is much denser than rival infrastructure, meaning there are more sites available.

According to its 2020 annual report, Swisscom has roughly 9,000 antenna sites, one quarter of which it shares with competitors. This gives Swisscom about 10.5 sites for every 10,000 people. The equivalent number for BT in the UK is just 2.9.

Those site numbers are important because Swisscom currently relies for its 5G services on midband spectrum that does not carry signals as far as lower frequencies.

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