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MTN calls for spectrum

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MTN recently said in a statement that the allocation of additional radio spectrum will enable operators to improve their service offerings by deploying new generation networks.

The growth of the telecoms sector and the development of the country is dependent on the expeditious allocation of radio spectrum, which will enable operators to improve their service offerings by deploying new generation networks in line with customer requirements, MTN said in a statement.

MTN says it is encouraged by the strides that the regulator has made to finalise the process of spectrum allocation. However, it believes that speeding up the process will augur well for an improved and seamless customer experience, as operators will have the leeway to deploy new generation networks that will meet the increasing data needs and absorb increasing data traffic.

Mteto Nyati, Chief Executive Officer of MTN South Africa, told the media at a press briefing hosted in Johannesburg that 98% of subscribers are served by just 40% of the allocated spectrum, which is exerting a constricting pressure on the networks that are built on frequencies that are not suitable for data intensive applications.

“The rapid adoption of smart devices, which compliments government’s vision of bridging the digital divide and universal access to broadband services, has increased traffic on our networks substantially, and has rendered access to spectrum more urgent,” said Nyati. He added that the growth of data intensive services such as video is exacerbating traffic and adding pressure on the already clogged networks.

Nyati said that MTN will continue to engage with its principals to speed up the auction of spectrum, as access to spectrum forms part of MTN’s ongoing efforts to improve customer experience.

“The re-farming of existing spectrum to cater for LTE technology is an interim measure, as access to the high demand spectrum is the prerequisite for the provision of high performance networks and seamless network experience,” said Nyati.

He added: “South Africa has made enormous strides in delivering voice telephony and data services. The availability of high-demand radio spectrum will allow deployment of networks for the digital age that permits higher data speeds, which increase network capacity and enhance customer experience. This will also allow us to introduce avant-garde digital solutions.”

Lack of high-demand radio spectrum has compelled MTN to re-farm existing spectrum to cater to the pent-up demand for digital services, which operators cannot continue to meet without the allocation of the high-demand spectrum.

Nyati said that despite a challenging operating environment, MTN has made encouraging progress in meeting its strategic objectives, namely returning to growth, transforming customer experience and overhauling people engagement.

Nyati said MTN has prioritised transforming customer experience as one of the key differentiators that will set MTN apart from the competition. To that end, MTN embarked on an aggressive network rollout which saw the operator increasing spend by 92.9% last year and adding 966 2G sites, 1 593 largely co-located 3G sites and 3 148 LTE sites to its network.

 

In response to customer demands, MTN has also simplified its products, processes and systems, and will be introduced a cutting-edge platform called Shifta, which allows customers to create their own post-paid packages by customising the duration, services, devices that suits their needs.

Nyati said that MTN has also opened a flagship store at the Mall of Africa, a cutting-edge paperless store that is geared towards improved customer experience.

 

MTN has also signed a recognition agreement with the Communications Workers Union (CWU). The recognition agreement creates a formal bargaining agreement environment that will govern relations between MTN and its unionised employees.

As a socially responsible corporate citizen, Nyati said, MTN always seeks to ensure that its operations have minimal impact on the environment. To that end, MTN continues to invest in sustainability and energy management initiatives. This includes the 2MW tri-generation plant, the first of its kind in Africa, which powers its head office in Fairlands, Johannesburg.

Nyati announced that the thermal plant in Doornfontein, which generate 1MW + 750kW, is operational, and so is the thermal plant in Newlands, which generates 5.2MW + 2MW. MTN also has a concentrated solar plant, which has a capacity of 380kW and powers its data centre, and a free cooling Heat Wheel, which generates 600kW of energy.

“We are closer to being certified as an Independent Power Producer by the National Electricity Regulator of SA (NERSA), and we look forward to contribute positively to the energy eco-system in the country by offloading the excess capacity that we generate back onto the grid,” said Nyati.

Looking ahead, Nyati announced that MTN will be ramping up its full service ICT offering through MTN Business, delivering high-speed broadband to households and businesses through FTTx rollout, driving LTE and 3G handset distribution across all segments and decreasing 2G distribution share across all channels.

“Additional focus areas for this year will be revisiting customer value proposition to drive data usage and digital content services, streamlining the supply chain model, incorporating our comprehensive back-office transformation programme,” said Nyati.

MTN is the largest digital music distributor and the largest mobile bank in Africa, based on digital music and funds transferred. “We will continue to build a digital ecosystem to deliver a bold new digital world for our customers,” said Nyati.

Through the MTN SA Foundation, MTN continues to make a positive difference in the communities it operates in.

“Using the power of ICT, MTN contributes to enhancing learning and teaching in South Africa through educator ICT training and up-skilling, learner ICT support, school connectivity and curriculum digitisation. MTN also contributes to socio-economic development of disadvantaged communities in South Africa through tele-medicine and e-health training, health screening and wellness initiatives support, enterprise development and strategic arts partnerships in communities,” said Nyati.

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Now download a bank account

Absa has introduced an end-to-end account opening for new customers, through the Absa Banking App, which can be downloaded from the Android and Apple app stores. This follows the launch of the world first ChatBanking on WhatsApp service.

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This “download your account” feature enables new customers to Absa, to open a Cheque account, order their card and start transacting on the Absa Banking App, all within minutes, from anywhere and at any time, by downloading it from the App stores.

“Overall, this new capability is not only expected to enhance the customer’s digital experience, but we expect to leverage this in our branches, bringing digital experiences to the branch environment and making it easier for our customers to join and bank with us regardless of where they may be,” says Aupa Monyatsi, Managing Executive for Virtual Channels at Absa Retail & Business Banking.

“With this innovation comes the need to ensure that the security of our customers is at the heart of our digital experience, this is why the digital onboarding experience for this feature includes a high-quality facial matching check with the Department of Home Affairs to verify the customer’s identity, ensuring that we have the most up to date information of our clients. Security is supremely important for us.”

The new version of the Absa Banking App is now available in the Apple and Android App stores, and anyone with a South African ID can become an Absa customer, by following these simple steps:

  1. Download the Absa App
  2. Choose the account you would like to open
  3. Tell us who you are
  4. To keep you safe, we will verify your cell phone number
  5. Take a selfie, and we will do facial matching with the Department of Home Affairs to confirm you are who you say you are
  6. Tell us where you live
  7. Let us know what you do for a living and your income
  8. Click Apply.

 

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How we use phones to avoid human contact

A recent study by Kaspersky Lab has found that 75% of people pick up their connected device to avoid conversing with another human being.

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Connected devices are becoming essential to keeping people in contact with each other, but for many they are also a much-needed comfort blanket in a variety of social situations when they do not want to interact with others. A recent survey from Kaspersky Lab has confirmed this trend in behaviour after three-quarters of people (75%) admitted they use a device to pretend to be busy when they don’t want to talk to someone else, showing the importance of keeping connected devices protected under all circumstances. 

Imagine you’ve arrived at a bar and you’re waiting for your date. The bar is busy, and people are chatting all around you. What do you do now? Strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know? Grab your phone from your pocket or handbag until your date arrives to keep yourself busy? Why talk to humans or even make eye-contact with someone else when you can stare at your connected device instead?

The truth is, our use of devices is making it much easier to avoid small talk or even be polite to those around us, and new Kaspersky Lab research has found that 72% of people use one when they do not know what to do in a social situation. They are also the ‘go-to’ distraction for people even when they aren’t trying to look busy or avoid someone’s eye. 46% of people admit to using a device just to kill time every day and 44% use it as a daily distraction.

In addition to just being a distraction, devices are also a lifeline to those who would rather not talk directly to another person in day-to-day situations, to complete essential tasks. In fact, nearly a third (31%) of people would prefer to carry out tasks such as ordering a taxi or finding directions to where they need to go via a website and an app, because they find it an easier experience than speaking with another person.

Whether they are helping us avoid direct contact or filling a void in our daily lives, our constant reliance on devices has become a cause for panic when they become unusable. A third (34%) of people worry that they will not be able to entertain themselves if they cannot access a connected device. 12% are even concerned that they won’t be able to pretend to be busy if their device is out of action.

Dmitry Aleshin, VP for Product Marketing, Kaspersky Lab said, “The reliance on connected devices is impacting us in more ways than we could have ever expected. There is no doubt that being connected gives us the freedom to make modern life easier, but devices are also vital to help people get through different and difficult social situations. No matter what your ‘connection crutch’ is, it is essential to make sure your device is online and available when you need it most.”

To ensure your device lifeline is always there and in top health – no matter what the reason or situation – Kaspersky Security Cloud keeps your connection safe and secure:

·         I want to use my device while waiting for a friend – is it secure to access the bar’s Wi-Fi?

With Kaspersky Security Cloud, devices are protected against network threats, even if the user needs to use insecure public Wi-Fi hotspots. This is done through transferring data via an encrypted channel to ensure personal data safety, so users’ devices are protected on any connection.

·         Oh no! I’m bored but my phone’s battery is getting low – what am I going to do?

Users can track their battery level thanks to a countdown of how many minutes are left until their device shuts down in the Kaspersky Security Cloud interface. There is also a wide-range of portable power supplies available to keep device batteries charged while on-the-go.

·         I’ve lost my phone! How will I keep myself entertained now?

Should the unthinkable happen and you lose or have your phone stolen, Kaspersky Security Cloud can track and protect your device from data breaches, for complete peace of mind. Remote lock and locate features ensure your device remains secure until you are reunited.

 

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