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SA broadband catching up

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In the past Africa and South Africa have lagged behind Europe and the US in terms of network speeds. Fast forward to now, and a better picture is emerging, showing that we are fast closing the gap when it comes to 3G and 4G connectivity.

A slew of research papers in recent years from Europe and the United States (US) have shown that Africa, including South Africa (SA), have lagged behind in network quality and data speeds when compared to networks in developed economies. But a better picture is emerging where SA is fast narrowing the gap and is doing much better against the best in the world when it comes to 3G and 4G mobile networks coverage.

For instance, a comparison of the results of recent tests done by PC Magazine, a leading global technology magazine, testing data speeds of the top four cellphone network providers in 30 cities in the US, shows that SA has better upload and download speeds on 3G than the US and is almost on par in terms of 4G download speeds.

This is a clear demonstration that the hundreds of billions of rands that have been invested by the local cellphone network providers in broadband infrastructure over the last 20 years are yielding positive results.

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The latest results also show that Vodacom SA’s 35 million customers benefit from superior 3G and 4G download speeds than their counterparts in the US.

Andries Delport, Vodacom’s Chief Technology Officer at Vodacom commented:

“This is testament to the fact that our network investment efforts are paying off. We have always maintained that our networks are our key point of differentiation, and as such, it is in our interest to invest in them to increase data speeds, reduce dropped-called rates and deliver the best service to our customers. This year alone we invested R12.9 billion in our networks in South Africa, targeted primarily at expanding our 2G, 3G and 4G coverage, enhancing our network performance and improving customer experience.”

“If we factor in inflation, we have invested R142 billion in our network infrastructure in SA since our inception. By enhancing access to voice and data, our network and service offerings are helping to transform lives and stimulate economic growth in these emerging markets.”

A 2009 World Bank study found that low-income and middle-income countries experienced a 1.38 percentage point increase in GDP for each 10 percent increase in broadband penetration.

In South Africa, Vodacom’s 2G network now covers 99% of the country’s population, wider than any other service provider. Vodacom’s 3G network covers around 98.9% and 4G close to 70% of the population, well ahead of its competitors.

“Vodacom is committed to ensuring that we continue to extend our network coverage in South Africa. In particular our strategy includes doing a lot more to extend coverage in the remotest parts of SA but in order to do this, we need additional spectrum. There is no doubt that greater access to spectrum will give South Africans faster speeds, wider access to LTE coverage and, inevitably, lower data pricing,” Delport says.

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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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