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Cell C drops data for black

Cell C has launched data products designed specifically for streaming or downloading on the newly launched black entertainment platform.

“The cost of data has often been cited as a barrier to entry for customers wanting to stream or download content using their mobile data,” says Cell C Chief Executive Officer, Jose Dos Santos. “The black data products will address this challenge. Customers can access data from as little as 1c/MB or R7.50 per GIG.”

black brings to consumers a full 360-entertainment experience from video-on-demand through to live TV streaming, catering for both the local market, and those that enjoy international content. It will include live streaming of five top European football club channels, and services like; gaming, sports betting and ticketing. Customers can subscribe from as little as R5 per day and use prepaid airtime, in addition to debit/credit cards and vouchers to purchase content.

“This is about bringing more relevant content to more people in our country. And content can consume quite a large amount of data, which is why we are bringing various products at exceptional prices for consumers looking to access black via a mobile connection,” says Dos Santos.

blackDATA bundles

blackDATA bundles come in varying sizes from 1GB through to 200GB depending on the content consumption needs of customers. The inclusive blackDATA can only be used to stream or download content on black via the Cell C network (excludes national roaming).

Table of bundles:

Bundle Name Inclusive Data(GB) Bundle Price (incl. VAT) In Bundle Rate Validity
1GB blackData 1 R30.00 R0.03 30 days
2GB blackData 2 R60.00 R0.03 30 days
5GB blackData 5 R150.00 R0.03 30 days
10GB blackData 10 R250.00 R0.02 90 days
20GB  blackData 20 R399.00 R0.02 90 days
30GB blackDATA 30 R599.00 R0.02 90 days
50GB  blackData 50 R799.00 R0.02 180 days
100GB blackData 100 R999.00 R0.01 180 days
200GB blackData 200 R1499.00 R0.01 180 days

The new blackDATA bundles will be available to Cell C customers on prepaid and current contract plans (Pinnacle, Connector, SmartData, LTE-A or C-Fibre Connector). Customers on contract plans that do not qualify can migrate to one of the current plans in order to utilise blackDATA bundles.

blackDATA bundles can be purchased via the Cell C App, portal (www.cellc.co.za), USSD (by dialling *147#) or any Cell C store.

Purchasing a blackDATA bundle does not include access to content on black and customers will need to register for black. Registration can be done at www.black.co.za or through the GETblack app, which is available from the Google Play and Apple App stores.

In addition to the blackDATA bundles and to ensure an excellent experience on the black platform, Cell C has also instituted a 15c/MB out of bundle (OOB) rate for any usage on black. This rate will only apply once customers have depleted black specific or general Cell C data bundles. This OOB rate applies to all Cell C customers and is exclusive for data usage on black. The rate applies to usage on both the Cell C network and while on national roaming.

black data on contract

Alongside the bundles, Cell C customers that are already using, or signing up for a Pinnacle contract (100 and up), will automatically receive additional data for use on the black platform. Existing Pinnacle customers will receive their new inclusive blackDATA from 1 December 2017 in addition to their monthly allocation of minutes, data and SMS.  New Pinnacle customers (100 and up) will get their pro-rata blackDATA allocation when they activate a new contract from 15 November.

PRODUCT Pinnacle 100 Pinnacle 150 Pinnacle 250 Pinnacle 400 Pinnacle 600 Pinnacle 1000 Pinnacle Unlimited
Subscription R 129 R 199 R 299 R 399 R 499 R 699 R 999
Minutes (min) 100 150 250 400 600 1000 Unlimited

(FUP 5000)

SMS 100 150 250 400 600 1000 Unlimited

(FUP 5000)

Current Data 100 150 250 400 1GB 2GB 10GB
New Inclusive black Data 1GB 2GB 5GB 10GB 10GB 20GB 20GB
Free W-Fi Calling Minutes 1000 1000 1000 1000 1000 1000 1000

*Also included on Pinnacle 100 TopUp and above

“Customers can expect a few exciting promotional offers coming through the pipeline over the next few months specifically, and going forward,” says Dos Santos.

Launch promotional offers

Over and above the black data allocations on contract, and the blackDATA bundles, Cell C is launching several promotional offers available from 24 November until further notice on both prepaid and contract.

Prepaid customers on the SupaCharge, MegaBonus, Easychat and 66c prepaid tariff plans that recharge with between R50 and R99.99 will receive zero-rated data access to download or stream a movie rental or purchase for 2 days or up to 50GB, whichever comes first. Customers that recharge with R100 or more will get zero-rated data access to download or stream a movie rental or purchase for 5 days or up to 100GB. This promotion is only applicable to data usage on the Cell C network and excludes national roaming.

Contract customers that are on any of the Connector plans or the Pinnacle 100 and up Postpaid and TopUp packages will also receive zero-rated access to stream or download any movie rental or purchase within a calendar month or up to 150GB.  National roaming does not apply.

In addition, new Pinnacle 1000 and Pinnacle Unlimited customers (on 24-month contracts) will receive a free blackBOX (multimedia device) when they sign up.  This promotion is valid while stocks last.

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Personal computing devices sales still decline in MEA

The Middle East and Africa (MEA) personal computing devices (PCD) market, which is made up of desktops, notebooks, workstations, and tablets, suffered a decline of -7.3% year on year in Q2 2017, according to the latest insights from International Data Corporation (IDC).

The global technology research and consulting firm’s Quarterly PCD Tracker for Q2 2017 shows that PCD shipments fell to around 6 million units for the quarter.

“As forecast, the market followed a similar pattern to recent quarters, with the downturn primarily stemming from a decline in shipments of slate tablets and desktops,” says Fouad Charakla, IDC’s senior research manager for client devices in the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa. “This was the result of desktop users increasingly switching to mobile devices such as notebooks or even refurbished notebooks, while users of slate tablets shifted to smartphones. These trends translated into year-on-year declines of -21.9% for desktops and -15.7% for slate tablets in Q2 2017, while shipments of notebooks and detachable tablets increased 11.0% and 63.3%, respectively over the same period.”

“Market sentiment in the region remained low overall, although an aggressive push from some slate tablet vendors meant the market declined much slower than expected,” continues Charakla. “At the same time, heightened competition has also made it harder for certain players to sustain their slate tablet businesses and generate profits, causing them to lose interest in the slate tablet market altogether. Despite this, slate tablets are still the most popular computing device among home users in the region.”

Looking at the region’s key markets, IDC’s research shows that when compared to Q2 2016 overall PCD shipments were down -11.4% in the UAE, -8.9% in Turkey, and -6.7% in the ‘Rest of Middle East’ sub-region (comprising Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Palestine, and Afghanistan). South Africa and Saudi Arabia bucked this trend, recording year-on-year increases of 3.5% and 9.6%, respectively.

A massive education delivery in Pakistan acted as a key driver for notebook shipments in the region overall. Similarly, the education sector was the biggest driver of detachable tablet shipments, triggered by a huge delivery in Kenya, as well as two other deliveries in Pakistan and Turkey, which enabled this category to achieve the fastest growth of all the PCD categories.

“While a component shortage prevented market players from reducing their prices too much, the average price of consumer notebooks experienced a considerable year-on-year decline in Q2 2017,” says Charakla. “This played a key role in driving demand from the consumer segment, and was reflected in the growing popularity of lower-priced notebook models.”

Looking at the PC market’s vendor rankings, each of the top five vendors maintained their respective positions compared to the previous quarter, with the top four all gaining share.

Middle East & Africa PC Market Vendor Shares – Q2 2016 vs. Q2 2017

Brand Q2 2016 Q2 2017
HP Inc. 23.7% 27.6%
Lenovo 19.8% 21.5%
Dell 16.3% 16.7%
ASUS 8.7% 9.4%
Acer Group 5.9% 4.1%
Others 25.7% 20.7%

Although Samsung continued to lead the tablet market, the vendor rankings in the space saw quite a few changes, with Huawei catapulting itself to second place. Lenovo also climbed up a position compared to the previous quarter, causing Apple to drop to fourth place.

Middle East & Africa Tablet Market Vendor Shares – Q2 2016 vs. Q2 2017

Brand Q2 2016 Q2 2017
Samsung 20.5% 18.9%
Huawei 11.2% 15.8%
Lenovo 12.7% 9.8%
Apple 9.1% 8.8%
Alcatel 2.9% 5.0%
Others 43.5% 41.7%

“Looking to the future, the MEA PCD market is expected to decline at a faster rate than previously forecast for 2017 as a whole,” says Charakla. “Technological shifts are playing a pivotal role in deciding the future of this market, with demand for certain products shifting to other PCD products and beyond (i.e., smartphones). Accordingly, shipments of slate tablets are expected to continue declining over the coming years as demand is cannibalized by smartphones. Meanwhile, the ongoing shift to mobile computing will see growth in the desktop market remain close to flat throughout IDC’s forecast period ending 2021. Notebook shipments will experience very slow growth beyond 2018, while detachable tablets will remain the fastest growing PCD category, eating away share from other computing devices.”

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Gazer cyber-spies exposed

ESET has released new research into the activities of the Turla cyberespionage group, and specifically a previously undocumented backdoor that has been used to spy on consulates and embassies worldwide.

ESET’s research team are the first in the world to document the advanced backdoor malware, which they have named “Gazer”, despite evidence that it has been actively deployed in targeted attacks against governments and diplomats since at least 2016.

Gazer’s success can be explained by the advanced methods it uses to spy on its intended targets, and its ability to remain persistent on infected devices, embedding itself out of sight on victim’s computers in an attempt to steal information for a long period of time.

ESET researchers have discovered that Gazer has managed to infect a number of computers around the world, with the most victims being located in Europe. Curiously, ESET’s examination of a variety of different espionage campaigns which used Gazer has identified that the main target appears to have been Southeastern Europe as well as countries in the former Soviet Union Republic.

The attacks show all the hallmarks of past campaigns launched by the Turla hacking group, namely:

  • Targeted organisations are embassies and ministries;
  • Spearphishing delivers a first-stage backdoor such as Skipper;
  • A second stealthier backdoor (Gazer in this instance, but past examples have included Carbon and Kazuar) is put in place;
  • The second-stage backdoor receives encrypted instructions from the gang via C&C servers, using compromised, kegitimate websites as a proxy.

Another notable similarity between Gazer and past creations of the Turla cyberespionage group become obvious when the malware is analysed. Gazer makes extra efforts to evade detection by changing strings within its code, randomizing markers, and wiping files securely.

In the most recent example of the Gazer backdoor malware found by ESET’s research team, clear evidence was seen that someone had modified most of its strings, and inserted phrases related to video games throughout its code.

Don’t be fooled by the sense of humour that the Turla hacking group are showing here, falling foul of computer criminals is no laughing manner.

All organisations, whether governmental, diplomatic, law enforcement, or in traditional business, need to take today’s sophisticated threats serious and adopt a layered defence to reduce the chances of a security breach.

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