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How to upgrade and save on cellphone bills

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Recent results have shown that South Africans can save up to 18% on their cellular bills should they change their contracts on their expiry dates.

If you were on the perfect package 2 years ago, how much can you save by moving to the perfect package now? Tariffic, a South African company that helps businesses and individuals manage & minimise their cellphone bills, has just released its quarterly ‘’Tariffic Tracker’’.   The findings show that consumers can save 18% on their cellphone bills after 2 years by making sure they upgrade to the perfect cellphone contract for them.

Tariffic saves its users about 40% on their cellphone bills by ensuring that they’re on the right packages and that cellphone are being managed properly.  Antony Seeff, Tariffic’s CEO, says, “By optimising your contracts every time they expire, you can save an additional 18% which is a total saving of nearly 50% on your original cellphone bill.”

Key findings from Tariffic’s Tracker  

  • South African Mobile Network Operators are introducing new packages on a regular basis, and have introduced nearly 40 different packages over the past two years.  Within a period of under two years, our users could save an average of 18% on their voice contracts by making sure that they’re on the right packages when their contracts expire.  In order to achieve this, the consumers considered would have had to move to a different package in 75% of the cases.  And it’s impossible to identify which package to change to without help.  Consumers can find their perfect packages, for free, at www.tariffic.com
  • Telkom and Cell C currently offer the cheapest voice contracts, followed in most cases by MTN.  Vodacom comes in last in 3 out of 4 instances.
  • Cell C’s new Pinnacle packages are offering an incredible amount of value thanks to their introductory promotion which sees users getting 3x the inclusive value of the contract, for the lifetime of the contract, if they sign up before the end of January 2017.  These Pinnacle packages are being recommended for 3 out of 4 users and coming in as the Tariffic Pick in 2 of those cases.
  • Telkom’s new data-centric FreeMe packages are also performing incredibly well, and are being recommended for all the voice contract users considered.  Even though these packages are showing an average saving of 29%, they are being compared to Telkom’s previous packages which were also very affordably priced.
  • MTN customers are seeing an average saving of a massive 33% over the 18 months due to the introduction of MTN’s MyMTNChoice+ Packages.
  • Not only have Vodacom not introduced any new packages to our Tariffic Tracker users, but the prices for their Smart contracts have actually increased over the period.
  • When it comes to data contracts, there has been very little movement in the market.  No meaningful new packages have been introduced over the period and although Cell C’s data prices have come down slightly (by 5% for Maleek), MTN’s have increased by the same amount.

    The Tracker Findings

Notes On The Calculations

  • Tariffic only offers packages that are publicly available in service providers’ broadsheets and websites.
  • Only SIM-only deals from the 4 major network operators were considered.
  • The Tariffic Tracker users are based on actual user profiles, and it is assumed that these users’ behaviour has stayed consistent over the period.
  • Tariffic doesn’t take into account any short-term promotional bundles offered as part of a contract. Promotions that are included for the full 24-month period of the contract are included, and are valid as of the publication date.
  • The total price shown will include the additions of any necessary add-on bundles and out of bundle spend.

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Revealing the real cost of ‘free’ online services

A free service by Finnish cybersecurity provider F-Secure reveals the real cost of using “free” services by Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon, among others.

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What do Google, Facebook, and Amazon have in common? Privacy and identity scandals. From Cambridge Analytica to Google’s vulnerability in Google+, the amount of personal data sitting on these platforms is enormous.

Cybersecurity provider F-Secure has released a free online tool that helps expose the true cost of using some of the web’s most popular free services. And that cost is the abundance of data that has been collected about users by Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon Alexa, Twitter, and Snapchat. The good news is that you can take back your data “gold”.

F-Secure Data Discovery Portal sends users directly to the often hard-to-locate resources provided by each of these tech giants that allow users to review their data, securely and privately.

“What you do with the data collection is entirely between you and the service,” says Erka Koivunen, F-Secure Chief Information Security Officer. “We don’t see – and don’t want to see – your settings or your data. Our only goal is to help you find out how much of your information is out there.”

More than half of adult Facebook users, 54%, adjusted how they use the site in the wake of the scandal that revealed Cambridge Analytica had collected data without users’ permission.* But the biggest social network in the world continues to grow, reporting 2.3 billion monthly users at the end of 2018.**

“You often hear, ‘if you’re not paying, you’re the product.’ But your data is an asset to any company, whether you’re paying for a product or not,” says Koivunen. “Data enables tech companies to sell billions in ads and products, building some of the biggest businesses in the history of money.”

F-Secure is offering the tool as part of the company’s growing focus on identity protection that secures consumers before, during, and after data breaches. By spreading awareness of the potential costs of these “free” services, the Data Discovery Portal aims to make users aware that securing their data and identity is more important than ever.

A recent F-Secure survey found that 54% of internet users over 25 worry about someone hacking into their social media accounts.*** Data is only as secure as the networks of the companies that collect it, and the passwords and tactics used to protect our accounts. While the settings these sites offer are useful, they cannot eliminate the collection of data.

Koivunen says: “While consumers effectively volunteer this information, they should know the privacy and security implications of building accounts that hold more potential insight about our identities than we could possibly share with our family. All of that information could be available to a hacker through a breach or an account takeover.”

However, there is no silver bullet for users when it comes to permanently locking down security or hiding it from the services they choose to use.

“Default privacy settings are typically quite loose, whether you’re using a social network, apps, browsers or any service,” says Koivunen. “Review your settings now, if you haven’t already, and periodically afterwards. And no matter what you can do, nothing stops these companies from knowing what you’re doing when you’re logged into their services.”

*Source: https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/09/05/americans-are-changing-their-relationship-with-facebook/
**Source: https://www.theverge.com/2019/1/30/18204186/facebook-q4-2018-earnings-user-growth-revenue-increase-privacy-scandals
***Source: F-Secure Identity Protection Consumer (B2C) Survey, May 2019, conducted in cooperation with survey partner Toluna, 9 countries (USA, UK, Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Brazil, Finland, Sweden, and Japan), 400 respondents per country = 3600 respondents (+25years)

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WhatsApp comes to KaiOS

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By the end of September, WhatsApp will be pre-installed on all phones running the KaiOS operating system, which turns feature phones into smart phones. The announcement was made yesterday by KaiOS Technologies, maker of the KaiOS mobile operating system for smart feature phones, and Facebook. WhatsApp is also available for download in the KaiStore, on both 512MB and 256MB RAM devices.

“KaiOS has been a critical partner in helping us bring private messaging to smart feature phones around the world,” said Matt Idema, COO of WhatsApp. “Providing WhatsApp on KaiOS helps bridge the digital gap to connect friends and family in a simple, reliable and secure way.”

WhatsApp is a messaging tool used by more than 1.5 billion people worldwide who need a simple, reliable and secure way to communicate with friends and family. Users can use calling and messaging capabilities with end-to-end encryption that keeps correspondence private and secure. 

WhatsApp was first launched on the KaiOS-powered JioPhone in India in September of 2018. Now, with the broad release, the app is expected to reach millions of new users across Africa, Europe, North America, Southeast Asia, and Latin America.

“We’re thrilled to bring WhatsApp to the KaiOS platform and extend such an important means of communication to a brand new demographic,” said Sebastien Codeville, CEO of KaiOS Technologies. “We strive to make the internet and digital services accessible for everyone and offering WhatsApp on affordable smart feature phones is a giant leap towards this goal. We can’t wait to see the next billion users connect in meaningful ways with their loved ones, communities, and others across the globe.”

KaiOS-powered smart feature phones are a new category of mobile devices that combine the affordability of a feature phone with the essential features of a smartphone. They meet a growing demand for affordable devices from people living across Africa – and other emerging markets – who are not currently online. 

WhatsApp is now available for download from KaiStore, an app store specifically designed for KaiOS-powered devices and home to the world’s most popular apps, including the Google Assistant, YouTube, Facebook, Google Maps and Twitter. Apps in the KaiStore are customised to minimise data usage and maximise user experience for smart feature phone users.

In Africa, the KaiOS-powered MTN Smart and Orange Sanza are currently available in 22 countries, offering 256MB RAM and 3G connectivity.

KaiOS currently powers more than 100 million devices shipped worldwide, in over 100 countries. The platform enables a new category of devices that require limited memory, while still offering a rich user experience.

* For more details, visit: Meet The Devices That Are Powered by KaiOS

* Also read Arthur Goldstuck’s story, Smart feature phones spell KaiOS

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