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Africa, ME, to overtake Americas in smartphone sales by 2020

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Annual smartphone sales in Africa and the Middle East are expected to grow by a compound annual growth rate of 15% to reach 238 million units by 2020, surpassing 204 million unit sales in North America and 201 million unit sales in Latin America.

This forecast is made in a new report, “Operator Strategies to Increase Smartphone Penetration in Africa,” published by Pyramid Research. It provides in-depth insights on a number of smartphone strategies that African telecommunication operators can use to increase smartphone usage and adoption on their networks.

Following significant network investments by African operators to capitalize on the rising demand for data services, operators are increasingly becoming concerned with increasing the number of smartphone users on their networks. Strategies highlighted within the report will help operators boost mobile data revenues and ensure competitiveness in terms of service innovations in the long-run.

Operators providing device financing schemes is one of the four direct strategies detailed in the report. In a region characterized by low income levels, smartphone prices can be prohibitively expensive. To overcome this, African operators have partnered with banks to address this barrier to purchasing smartphones, such as Tigo Ghana’s partnership with Stanbic Bank to provide financing schemes for the Samsung Galaxy range of devices.

“However, a key limitation is the large unbanked population in Africa,”  says Mak Rahnama, Senior Analyst at Pyramid Research. “To overcome this, operators need to consider financing schemes using mobile money.”

Indirect strategies, which focus on increasing mobile data usage to drive smartphone adoption, are also found to be essential given the majority of consumers in African markets purchase their devices from various retail channels (e.g. informal sector, independent retailers) rather than directly from operators.

Rahnama states that “by providing OTT localized content, operators can incentivize consumers to purchase smartphones, and in-turn increase smartphone penetration on their networks”.  The report provides an in-depth analysis of three indirect strategies that operators can deploy to boost smartphone usage on their networks.

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Password managers don’t protect you from hackers

Using a password manager to protect yourself online? Research reveals serious weaknesses…

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Top password manager products have fundamental flaws that expose the data they are designed to protect, rendering them no more secure than saving passwords in a text file, according to a new study by researchers at Independent Security Evaluators (ISE).

“100 percent of the products that ISE analyzed failed to provide the security to safeguard a user’s passwords as advertised,” says ISE CEO Stephen Bono. “Although password managers provide some utility for storing login/passwords and limit password reuse, these applications are a vulnerable target for the mass collection of this data through malicious hacking campaigns.”

In the new report titled “Under the Hood of Secrets Management,” ISE researchers revealed serious weaknesses with top password managers: 1Password, Dashlane, KeePass and LastPass.  ISE examined the underlying functionality of these products on Windows 10 to understand how users’ secrets are stored even when the password manager is locked. More than 60 million individuals 93,000 businesses worldwide rely on password managers. Click here for a copy of the report.

Password managers are marketed as a solution to eliminate the security risks of storing passwords or secrets for applications and browsers in plain text documents. Having previously examined these and other password managers, ISE researchers expected an improved level of security standards preventing malicious credential extraction. Instead ISE found just the opposite. 

Click here to read the findings from the report.

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MWC: Next generation of inflight connectivity to be unveiled

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Next week at Mobile World Congress, the Seamless Air Alliance will reveal progress on its mission towards enabling the next generation of inflight connectivity. This follows a significant start for the Alliance, which has seen membership increase five-fold since the first meeting in June of last year. The Alliance has a new research laboratory setup and continues progress through its three working groups, writing specifications for the technology, requirements, and operations.

These developments represent a huge leap towards the goal of making connectivity as easy and enjoyable in the skies as it is on the ground. Appearing as part of the Airbus stand (Hall 6, stand 6G34), the Seamless Air Alliance will reveal specification topics that have been completed and published to its membership.

“The passenger experience with inflight connectivity remains one of the great technology challenges. From Day One we have been determined to deliver on our mission to bring industries and technologies together to make the inflight internet experience simple to access and a delight to use,” said the Alliance’s Chief Executive Officer, Jack Mandala.

“I have been tremendously encouraged by the enthusiastic and committed response we have seen and the widening areas of expertise we can call upon as more and more companies and organisations continue to join us,” he added.

Announced during MWC 2018, the Seamless Air Alliance has since grown to twenty-three membercompanies with more than one-hundred key personnel from across the membership participating in its three working groups, with numbers continuing to increase.

The Seamless Air Alliance was created by founding members Airbus, Airtel, Delta Air Lines, OneWeb and Sprint, and quickly joined by Air France KLM, Aeromexico, and GOL Linhas Aereas Inteligentes and global technology leaders including Astronics, Collins Aerospace, Comtech, Cyient, iDirect, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Latecoere, Nokia, and Panasonic. 

Today, the Alliance is pleased to announce five additional new members: Adaptive Channel, Etihad Airways, GlobalReach Technology, Safran, and SITAONAIR.

“We are extremely pleased to have these companies join and be a part of the companies driving the next generation of connectivity.” said Mr Mandala.

The Seamless Air Alliance will enable travelers boarding any flight, on any airline, anywhere in the world, to use their own devices to automatically connect to the Internet with no complicated login process nor paywall to scramble over.

The Alliance is also announcing the release of a new research study on the economic benefit of standardization on the inflight connectivity market at Mobile World Congress. This report is available for download at https://www.seamlessalliance.com/publications/

The Alliance is moving rapidly towards an expected demonstration of the technology later in 2019 and anticipates massive interest in Barcelona from the whole communications eco-system.

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