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Smartphone sales rise 28‰

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South African smartphone sales climbed 28% year-on-year to 3 million units in the third quarter of 2017, while basic mobile phone sales were up 6% to 1.6 million units for the same period, according to data from GfK South Africa.

Smartphone revenues were up 27% compared to the same quarter in 2016, as the market accelerated its transition from basic phones.

For the year to the end of the third quarter, smartphone sales are up 21.1% and smartphone revenues are up 8.1%. The smartphone market in 2016 grew 5.2% in value and 10.5% in units in 2016, compared to the year before. Basic phones dipped 13.7% in unit sales and 1.9% in revenue. However, basic phones still command a 35% share of the market.

“Mobile operators are on a drive to boost data usage to compensate for a steady decline in voice revenues,” says Nikolay Dolgov, General Manager, Point of Sales Tracking at GfK South Africa. “Falling prices of smartphones, aggressive operator promotions and growing Wi-Fi/4G penetration are all helping to speed up the adoption of smartphones in South Africa.”

Fierce competition from Chinese brands is reshaping the entry-level smartphone market in South Africa, with the average selling price (ASP) for smartphones falling despite the weakness of the South African rand. Around 25 brands are today contesting the entry-level smartphone market, compared to just six in 2013.

While owning a smartphone is becoming more affordable, smartphone penetration in South Africa nonetheless remains low, and there is still scope for growth. However, top brands are continuing to move out of the entry-level segment as the Chinese brands strengthen their grip on the market.

Norman Muzhona, Senior Product Manager of Telecommunications at GfK South Africa expects the year to end off on a strong note as Black Friday and festive season offers kick in. “Many of the seasonal offers may focus on data and value-added services for existing prepaid users and subscribers rather than on device discounts. Smartphone sales and revenues are likely to grow in double digits in 2018.”

South African 4G and Wi-Fi penetration will grow significantly over the coming years. E-learning, e-health and e-governance are taking off in South Africa, all pointing to robust growth for smartphone sales in the years to come.

GfK data shows that there are now almost three times as many smartphones in South Africa than there are television sets. This suggests that brands should re-evaluate their marketing mix and allocate more budget to mobile, especially if their spending is largely focused on TV.

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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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