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Big Data analysis pays off

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According to Deloitte Analytics, data-driven decision-making and performance is the next wave of the digital revolution that companies need to prepare for to enjoy the opportunities on offer.|According to Deloitte Analytics, data-driven decision-making and performance is the next wave of the digital revolution that companies need to prepare for to enjoy the opportunities on offer.

“Companies need to get smarter with how they harness the immense benefits of these changes, or be left behind by those that do. And with the jobs crisis causing such profound problems in our society today, businesses can harness the efficiencies data analytics provides to generate new jobs by innovating to grow faster,” says Wesley Govender, Director, Risk Advisory from Deloitte.

In its recently issued report, Magic Quadrant for Business Analytics Services, Worldwide, Gartner defines Business Analytics (BA) as services that “encompass decision management capabilities, analytics capabilities, and information management (IM) capabilities.

“This field continues to grow, moving squarely into the mainstream of business decision-making worldwide. Data is everywhere around us and analytics should be everywhere too—in every corner of the business, every day. It should not be a special initiative, or a ‘department’, but an ongoing part of how decisions large and small are made every day,” says Mr Govender.

However, the missing link in the chain is education and insight that matters and is at the cutting edge.

To help plug these gaps, and to provide the corporate world with the tools to bring about true data-driven change, Deloitte School of Analytics begins hosting a series of in-depth training seminars with international partners in South Africa in February next year.

“We want to see companies innovate and grow faster – but we are also the first to know that this cannot happen without regular and constant training and insights into current best practice. Our programmes are therefore designed so that the best international expertise in this field can be brought in to boardrooms in SA and on the continent, as it were, and the process of learning and implementation can truly begin,” says Mr Govender.

Deloitte was recently named a global leader in Business Analytics Services by Gartner and it aims to ramp up even further the assistance it provides to clients in solving a wide variety of data related problems and define strategies for them to better manage, interpret and monetise their data assets.

Analytics innovators continue to push the edge, looking for new ways to gain advantage over slower-moving competitors.

“ In some cases, that advantage comes through sweeping discoveries that can upend entire business models. In other cases, more modest insights may emerge that unleash cascading value,” says Mr Govender.

“The disruptive effects of these changes on business models are significant. However, this change creates opportunities quickly – one of which is an ability to expand and create jobs for people with the right skills sets. To us, this is extremely exciting when you consider youth unemployment in SA is at 51% according to recent world development indicators,” he says.

Exponential growth in the areas of mobile data generation, real-time connectivity and digital business has made the job of protecting these assets and securing the gates in a “big data” world an altogether different–and more challenging undertaking.

“Due to the increase in regulator involvement from a privacy perspective, it is best to have more efficient use of data, rather than more data,” says Mr Govender.

According to Deloitte, companies need to constantly ensure they are a step ahead of the changes, which continue to come at a very fast pace. Questions that need to be answered, and which the Deloitte seminar series hopes to answer, include the most efficient way to make long-term technology investments and the best ways to protect sensitive data on networks.

“Unexpected ways to understand a business or client’s needs can emerge by using rich data analysis, often to information that has been sitting idle for more than two decades. Near real-time insights can be highly beneficial – it is not about simply counting customer numbers or transactions anymore. Simply put, big data analysis pays off,” concludes Mr Govender.

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Rain, Telkom Mobile, lead in affordable data

A new report by the telecoms regulator in South Africa reveal the true consumer champions in mobile data costs

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The latest bi-annual tariff analysis report produced by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) reveals that Telkom Mobile data costs for bundles are two-thirds lower than those of Vodacom and MTN. On the other hand, Rain is half the price again of Telkom. 

The report focuses on the 163 tariff notifications lodged with ICASA during the period 1 July 2018 to 31 December 2018.

“It seeks to ensure that there is retail price transparency within the electronic communications sector, the purpose of which is to enable consumers to make an informed choice, in terms of tariff plan preferences and/or preferred service providers based on their different offerings,” said Icasa.

ICASA says it observed the competitiveness between licensees in terms of the number of promotions that were on offer in the market, with 31 promotions launched during the period. 

The report shows that MTN and Vodacom charge the same prices for a 1GB and a 3GB data bundle at R149 and R299 respectively.  On the other hand, Telkom Mobile charges (for similar-sized data bundles) R100 (1GB) and R201 (3GB). Cell C discontinued its 1GB bundle, which was replaced with a 1.5GB bundle offered at the same price as the replaced 1GB data bundle at R149. 

Rain’s “One Plan Package” prepaid mobile data offering of R50 for a 1GB bundle remains the most affordable when compared to the offers from other MNOs (Mobile Network Operators) and MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operators).  

“This development should have a positive impact on customers’ pockets as they are paying less compared to similar data bundles and increases choice,” said Icasa.

The report also revealed that the cost of out-of-bundle data had halved at both MTN and Vodacom, from 99c per Megabyte a year ago to 49c per Megabyte in the first quarter of this year. This was still two thirds more expensive than Telkom Mobile, which has charged 29c per Megabyte throughout this period (see graph below).

Meanwhile, from having positioned itself as consumer champion in recent years, Cell C has fallen on hard times, image-wise: it is by far the most expensive mobile network for out-of-bundle data, at R1.10 per Megabyte. Its prices have not budged in the past year.

The report highlights the disparities between the haves and have-nots in the dramatically plummeting cost of data per Megabyte as one buys bigger and bigger bundles on a 30-day basis (see graph below).

For 20 Gigabyte bundles, all mobile operators are in effect charging 4c per Megabyte. Only at that level do costs come in at under Rain’s standard tariffs regardless of use.

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Qualcomm wins 5G as Apple and Intel cave in

A flurry of announcements from three major tech players ushered in a new mobile chip landscape, wrItes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

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Last week’s shock announcement by Intel that it was canning its 5G modem business leaves the American market wide open to Qualcomm, in the wake of the latter winning a bruising patent war with Apple.

Intel Corporation announced its intention to “exit the 5G smartphone modem business and complete an assessment of the opportunities for 4G and 5G modems in PCs, internet of things devices and other data-centric devices”.

Intel said it would also continue to invest in its 5G network infrastructure business, sharpening its focus on a market expected to be dominated by Huawei, Nokia and Ericsson.

Intel said it would continue to meet current customer commitments for its existing 4G smartphone modem product line, but did not expect to launch 5G modem products in the smartphone space, including those originally planned for launches in 2020. In other words, it would no longer be supplying chips for iPhones and iPads in competition with Qualcomm.

“We are very excited about the opportunity in 5G and the ‘cloudification’ of the network, but in the smartphone modem business it has become apparent that there is no clear path to profitability and positive returns,” said Intel CEO Bob Swan. “5G continues to be a strategic priority across Intel, and our team has developed a valuable portfolio of wireless products and intellectual property. We are assessing our options to realise the value we have created, including the opportunities in a wide variety of data-centric platforms and devices in a 5G world.”

The news came immediately after Qualcomm and Apple issued a joint announced of an agreement to dismiss all litigation between the two companies worldwide. The settlement includes a payment from Apple to Qualcomm, along with a six-year license agreement, and a multiyear chipset supply agreement.

Apple had previously accused Qualcomm of abusing its dominant position in modem chips for smartphones and charging excessive license fees. It ordered its contract manufacturers, first, to stop paying Qualcomm for the chips, and then to stop using the chips altogether, turning instead to Intel.
With Apple paying up and Intel pulling out, Qualcomm is suddenly in the pound seats. It shares hit their highest levels in five years after the announcements.

Qualcomm said in a statement: “As we lead the world to 5G, we envision this next big change in cellular technology spurring a new era of intelligent, connected devices and enabling new opportunities in connected cars, remote delivery of health care services, and the IoT — including smart cities, smart homes, and wearables. Qualcomm Incorporated includes our licensing business, QTL, and the vast majority of our patent portfolio.”

Meanwhile, Strategy Analytics released a report on the same day that showed Ericsson, Huawei and Nokia will lead the market in core 5G infrastructure, namely Radio Access Network (RAN) equipment, by 2023 as the 5G market takes off. Huawei is expected to have the edge as a result of the vast scale of the early 5G market in China and its long term steady investment in R&D. According to a report entitled “Comparison and 2023 5G Global Market Potential for leading 5G RAN Vendors – Ericsson, Huawei and Nokia”, two outliers, Samsung and ZTE, are expected to expand their global presence alongside emerging vendors as competition heats up.

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