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Isizwe rolls out more free Wi-Fi services in Tshwane

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Tshwane residents can look forward to making free calls as well as downloading blockbuster movies free of charge on the Tshwane Free Wi-Fi network, making Tshwane the first city in the world that offers free access to movies in this way.

Kgosientso Ramokgopa, executive mayor of Tshwane, announced today that three new services, Wi-Fi Voice, Drive In and WiFi Chat will be added from today. Wi-Fi Chat is a web-based platform for information and feedback, as well as a new service delivery mechanism where users can log queries and complaints.

With Wi-Fi Voice users connected to the Tshwane Free Wi-Fi network using the Wi-Fi Voice application, will be able to make unlimited free calls to each other and the city’s customer care line, while Wi-Fi Drive In will enable users to watch a selection of movies including some of the latest Hollywood blockbusters, on their private devices in a Wi-Fi Drive Inn area.

“The high cost of voice calls creates a barrier to stimulating economic growth and creating opportunity for our youth. The City of Tshwane will effectively reduce the cost of doing business in and with the city through the Tshwane WiFi Voice app,” says Zahir Khan, COO of Project Isizwe, the non-profit organisation driving the process of bringing free Wi-Fi to communities.

Wi-Fi Drive In will be available over weekends and offer family entertainment around thirty Hollywood blockbusters on personal devices, complemented by food kiosks, flea-market stalls and kids’ areas to offer a true family experience to enjoy content previously reserved for a privileged few.  The first site will be the Fountains Valley Park and more sites will be enabled based on the model developed here.

“We envisage that this site will offer a secure environment where people can congregate and be entertained. It is important for the city to create environments for family entertainment where citizens can break away from their usual routine and engage in a unique, ground-breaking experience,” Khan says.

The Tshwane Free Wi-Fi service realises the City of Tshwane’s vision of enabling every citizen to be digitally included and part of the digital economy, regardless of personal circumstance. The value the service offers to citizens in a city where connectivity is available to everyone, has established Tshwane as a true global metropole. In addition, it ensures that the City is poised for the long-term benefits of increased GDP, productivity and efficiencies from a service delivery as well as a digital inclusion perspective.

The Tshwane Free Wi-Fi network has 700 live sites, in more than 95% of the wards in the city. So far the service has had more than 720,000 unique users. The network is available at sites at various schools, tertiary centres, libraries, health facilities, customer and municipal centres, tourism and heritage venues, as well as sites on buses, at stations and curb stops on the Areyeng Trunk Route.

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Notre Dame, Scoop Makhathini, GoT, top week in search

From fire disaster to social media disaster, the top Google searches this week covered a wide gamut of themes.

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Paris and the whole world looked on in shock as the 856-year-old medieval Catholic cathedral crumbled into ash. The tragic infernal destruction of this tourist attraction of historical and religious significance led South Africans to generate more than 200 000 search queries for “Notre Dame Cathedral” on Monday. Authorities are investigating the cause of the fire that razed the architectural icon.

In other top trending searches on Google this week, radio presenter Siyabonga Ngwekazi, AKA Scoop Makhathini, went viral when it appeared he had taken to Twitter to expose his girlfriend, Akhona Carpede, for cheating on him. Scoop has since come out to say that he was not responsible for the bitter rant and that his account was hacked. “Scoop Makhathini” generated more than 20 000 search queries on Wednesday.

Fans generated more than 20 000 search queries for “Sam Smith” on Tuesday ahead of the the British superstar’s Cape Town performance at the Grand West Casino. Smith ended up cutting his performance short that night due to vocal strain.

Local Game of Thrones superfans were beside themselves on Sunday, searching the internet high and low for the first episode of the American fantasy drama’s eighth season. “Game of Thrones, season 8, episode 1” generated more than 100 000 queries on Google Search on the weekend.

As the festivities kicked off in California with headliners such as Childish Gambino and Ariana Grande, South Africans generated more than 2 000 search queries for “Coachella” on Saturday.

South Africans generated more than 5 000 search queries for “Wendy Williams” on Friday  as it emerged that the American talk show host had filed for divorce from her husband Kevin Hunter after 21 years of marriage. Hunter has long been rumored to have been cheating on Williams, which reportedly finally led to the divorce.

Search trends information is gleaned from data collated by Google based on what South Africans have been searching for and asking Google. Google processes more than 40 000 search queries every second. This translates to more than a billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide. Live Google search trends data is available at https://www.google.co.za/trends/hottrends#pn=p40

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5G smartphones to hit 5M sales in 2019

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According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, global smartphone shipments will reach a modest 5 million units in 2019. Early 5G smartphone models will be expensive and available in limited volumes. Samsung, LG and Huawei will be the early 5G smartphone leaders this year, followed by Apple next year.

Ken Hyers, Director at Strategy Analytics, said, “We forecast global 5G smartphone shipments will reach a modest 5 million units in 2019. Less than 1 percent of all smartphones shipped worldwide will be 5G-enabled this year. Global 5G smartphone shipments are tiny for now, due to expensive device pricing, component bottlenecks, and restricted availability of active 5G networks.”

Ville Petteri-Ukonaho, senior analyst at Strategy Analytics, added, “Samsung will be the early 5G smartphone leader in the first half of 2019, due to initial launches across South Korea and the United States. We predict LG, Huawei, Xiaomi, Motorola and others will follow later in the year, followed by Apple iPhone with its first 5G model during the second half of 2020. The iPhone looks set to be at least a year behind Samsung in the 5G smartphone race and Apple must be careful not to fall too far behind.”

Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics, added, “The short-term outlook for 5G smartphones is weak, but the long-term opportunity remains huge. We forecast 1 billion 5G smartphones to ship worldwide per year by 2025. The introduction of 5G networks, by carriers like Verizon or China Mobile, opens up high-speed, ultra-low-latency services such as 8K video, streaming games, and augmented reality for business. The next big question for the mobile industry is how much extra consumers are really willing to pay, if anything, for those emerging 5G smartphones and services.”

Strategy Analytics provides a snapshot analyses for the outlook for 5G smartphone market in this Insight report: 5G Smartphones : From Zero to a Billion

Strategy Analytics provides a deep-dive into the air-interface technologies that will power phones through 2024 across 88 countries here: Global Handset Sales Forecast by 88 Countries and 19 Technologies : 2003 to 2024

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