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IS to rain down 4G

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Internet Solutions and Rain will offer commercial LTE-Advanced, also known as 4G to local Internet service providers (ISPs).

IS will act as Rain’s ‘open access’ go-to-market partner for its fixed LTE-A product. Targeting local Internet Service Providers (ISPs) whose customers will benefit from fibre-like mobile connectivity, Internet Solutions and Rain anticipates that offering competitively-priced access to LTE-A will present local ISPs with new growth opportunities.

“Access to LTE-A on the Rain network, with streamlined provisioning of service from Internet Solutions, is an attractive proposition for ISPs that have identified LTE-A as a driver of business sustainability, through an expanded product portfolio and infrastructure savings,” says Murray Steyn, Executive Head: Wholesale at Internet Solutions.

“As Internet Solutions is already integrated into all existing telcos, with a sophisticated billing and management platform that allows ISPs to administer the packages they market to customers, adding LTE-A to their offering will demonstrate their responsiveness to new technologies and consumer demand.”

First announced in September 2016, the Rain LTE-A network of currently 750 active base stations, and increasing daily, already extends across South Africa’s major centres and metropolitan areas. The company is on target to reach 2,000 sites by the end of the year, and expects to increase its footprint to 5,000 base stations by 2018, and ultimately growing to 10,000 sites over time.

Where there is high-density mobile coverage, LTE-A offers ISPs and their customers distinct advantages over a wired network like ADSL or fibre, particularly for ISPs that wish to deliver services to customers quickly with minimal disruption during installation. As network coverage improves and gigabit LTE becomes a reality, mobile broadband is increasingly an attractive alternative to traditional broadband connectivity.

“As we invest in the significant undertaking of deploying a new national LTE-A network, we’ve partnered with Internet Solutions to deliver our fixed wireless broadband service, ‘Rain to the Home’ (RttH) as a Fibre or DSL alternative. We call this ‘fibre in the sky’”, says Duncan Simpson-Craib, CEO of Rain. “Internet Solutions will offer service providers access to the network in a manner that benefits South African ISPs, businesses and ultimately, consumers. We believe that the use of our companies’ respective strengths will best benefit the market.”

Rain is ready to roll out future wireless technologies like LTE Advanced Pro and 5G when they become available in the coming years.

“As we progress beyond 3G and 4G, there is increasing potential for mobile connectivity to profoundly change how we work, communicate and socialise,” says Saki Missaikos, Managing Director of Internet Solutions.

“In keeping with our network- and tech-agnostic approach to bringing new services to the market, we’re excited to add LTE-A to our existing connectivity offering because by increasing the breadth of available technologies, we bring local ISPs one step closer to offering their customers ubiquitous access to the Internet.”

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Revealing the real cost of ‘free’ online services

A free service by Finnish cybersecurity provider F-Secure reveals the real cost of using “free” services by Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon, among others.

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What do Google, Facebook, and Amazon have in common? Privacy and identity scandals. From Cambridge Analytica to Google’s vulnerability in Google+, the amount of personal data sitting on these platforms is enormous.

Cybersecurity provider F-Secure has released a free online tool that helps expose the true cost of using some of the web’s most popular free services. And that cost is the abundance of data that has been collected about users by Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon Alexa, Twitter, and Snapchat. The good news is that you can take back your data “gold”.

F-Secure Data Discovery Portal sends users directly to the often hard-to-locate resources provided by each of these tech giants that allow users to review their data, securely and privately.

“What you do with the data collection is entirely between you and the service,” says Erka Koivunen, F-Secure Chief Information Security Officer. “We don’t see – and don’t want to see – your settings or your data. Our only goal is to help you find out how much of your information is out there.”

More than half of adult Facebook users, 54%, adjusted how they use the site in the wake of the scandal that revealed Cambridge Analytica had collected data without users’ permission.* But the biggest social network in the world continues to grow, reporting 2.3 billion monthly users at the end of 2018.**

“You often hear, ‘if you’re not paying, you’re the product.’ But your data is an asset to any company, whether you’re paying for a product or not,” says Koivunen. “Data enables tech companies to sell billions in ads and products, building some of the biggest businesses in the history of money.”

F-Secure is offering the tool as part of the company’s growing focus on identity protection that secures consumers before, during, and after data breaches. By spreading awareness of the potential costs of these “free” services, the Data Discovery Portal aims to make users aware that securing their data and identity is more important than ever.

A recent F-Secure survey found that 54% of internet users over 25 worry about someone hacking into their social media accounts.*** Data is only as secure as the networks of the companies that collect it, and the passwords and tactics used to protect our accounts. While the settings these sites offer are useful, they cannot eliminate the collection of data.

Koivunen says: “While consumers effectively volunteer this information, they should know the privacy and security implications of building accounts that hold more potential insight about our identities than we could possibly share with our family. All of that information could be available to a hacker through a breach or an account takeover.”

However, there is no silver bullet for users when it comes to permanently locking down security or hiding it from the services they choose to use.

“Default privacy settings are typically quite loose, whether you’re using a social network, apps, browsers or any service,” says Koivunen. “Review your settings now, if you haven’t already, and periodically afterwards. And no matter what you can do, nothing stops these companies from knowing what you’re doing when you’re logged into their services.”

*Source: https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/09/05/americans-are-changing-their-relationship-with-facebook/
**Source: https://www.theverge.com/2019/1/30/18204186/facebook-q4-2018-earnings-user-growth-revenue-increase-privacy-scandals
***Source: F-Secure Identity Protection Consumer (B2C) Survey, May 2019, conducted in cooperation with survey partner Toluna, 9 countries (USA, UK, Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Brazil, Finland, Sweden, and Japan), 400 respondents per country = 3600 respondents (+25years)

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WhatsApp comes to KaiOS

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By the end of September, WhatsApp will be pre-installed on all phones running the KaiOS operating system, which turns feature phones into smart phones. The announcement was made yesterday by KaiOS Technologies, maker of the KaiOS mobile operating system for smart feature phones, and Facebook. WhatsApp is also available for download in the KaiStore, on both 512MB and 256MB RAM devices.

“KaiOS has been a critical partner in helping us bring private messaging to smart feature phones around the world,” said Matt Idema, COO of WhatsApp. “Providing WhatsApp on KaiOS helps bridge the digital gap to connect friends and family in a simple, reliable and secure way.”

WhatsApp is a messaging tool used by more than 1.5 billion people worldwide who need a simple, reliable and secure way to communicate with friends and family. Users can use calling and messaging capabilities with end-to-end encryption that keeps correspondence private and secure. 

WhatsApp was first launched on the KaiOS-powered JioPhone in India in September of 2018. Now, with the broad release, the app is expected to reach millions of new users across Africa, Europe, North America, Southeast Asia, and Latin America.

“We’re thrilled to bring WhatsApp to the KaiOS platform and extend such an important means of communication to a brand new demographic,” said Sebastien Codeville, CEO of KaiOS Technologies. “We strive to make the internet and digital services accessible for everyone and offering WhatsApp on affordable smart feature phones is a giant leap towards this goal. We can’t wait to see the next billion users connect in meaningful ways with their loved ones, communities, and others across the globe.”

KaiOS-powered smart feature phones are a new category of mobile devices that combine the affordability of a feature phone with the essential features of a smartphone. They meet a growing demand for affordable devices from people living across Africa – and other emerging markets – who are not currently online. 

WhatsApp is now available for download from KaiStore, an app store specifically designed for KaiOS-powered devices and home to the world’s most popular apps, including the Google Assistant, YouTube, Facebook, Google Maps and Twitter. Apps in the KaiStore are customised to minimise data usage and maximise user experience for smart feature phone users.

In Africa, the KaiOS-powered MTN Smart and Orange Sanza are currently available in 22 countries, offering 256MB RAM and 3G connectivity.

KaiOS currently powers more than 100 million devices shipped worldwide, in over 100 countries. The platform enables a new category of devices that require limited memory, while still offering a rich user experience.

* For more details, visit: Meet The Devices That Are Powered by KaiOS

* Also read Arthur Goldstuck’s story, Smart feature phones spell KaiOS

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