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MWC: SAP brings Mastercard into vehicles network solution

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SAP has announced the addition of new partners to its open, standards-based services Vehicles Network marketplace at this year’s Mobile World Congress.

New secured and tokenized payment options from Mastercard, navigation capabilities from HERE and on-demand delivery services from Postmates further expand and enrich the portfolio of services SAP Vehicles Network offers.

Powered by SAP Leonardo, SAP Vehicles Network connects vehicles to intelligent, automated services for parking, fueling, food, navigation and payment, transforming driving into the ultimate mobile experience. Through the network, participating members can provide mobility services to drivers and passengers, independent of devices or vehicles. Network members also can offer secure mobility services tailored for business travelers and individual consumers. (For more information, see video here.)

The following network features will be on display at Mobile World Congress:

Mastercard will leverage its technology to provide safe and secure payments for consumers while they are in their vehicles. The company will enable tokenized payments, providing for the replacement of the personal account number (PAN) associated with a consumer’s credit, debit, commercial or prepaid card with a secure “token” — an alternative number that replaces the existing PAN on the front of the card. Mastercard services including security, loyalty and analytics may also be incorporated into the network to further enhance the overall experience.

“With people so connected today, there is the potential for every device to be used not just to interact but to transact —and ultimately drive a better consumer experience,” said Sherri Haymond, executive vice president, Digital Partnerships, Mastercard. “As a part of SAP Vehicles Network, we’ll engage our bank and retail partners and use our technology to provide a seamless and secure way for people to pay for things like parking or gas while in the comfort of their car.”

HERE, one of the world’s leading companies in traffic, navigation and mapping products, intends to integrate SAP Vehicles Network into its product offering with an initial focus on parking solutions, allowing for easy navigation to the most convenient parking spaces and secure payments.

Postmates helps people unlock the best of their cities — and their lives — with a reliable on-demand “everything” network intended to enable drivers to place orders through the Postmates merchant and courier ecosystem using SAP Vehicles Network.

“From sidewalk-class robotic rovers to being able to order your next meal safely while you’re driving, Postmates is focused on finding innovative ways for people to experience the platform,” said Dan Mosher, Postmates senior vice president and merchant lead. “By being a part of SAP Vehicles Network, we’re able to give our users an additional way to get the things that they need.”

SAP Concur solutions are an expense, travel and invoice management offerings. By integrating SAP Vehicles Network with the Concur Expense solution, network transactions can be seamlessly pushed to Concur Expense to expedite reporting and reimbursement. The integration automates travel expense reporting, including parking and fueling transactions, eliminating multiple time-consuming and manual steps for the business and individual traveler. The integration will be available in the SAP Concur App Center.

“With new customers and partners Mastercard, HERE and Postmates combined with the power of SAP Concur solutions and SAP Leonardo, SAP is redefining the intelligent, connected driving experience,” said Gil Perez, SAP senior vice president, IoT & Digital Supply Chain. “SAP Vehicles Network is not only growing its member companies but also exponentially increasing the value of its open network by integrating with HERE, Mastercard, Postmates and SAP Concur solutions. It offers drivers a comprehensive portfolio of global services that make travel a seamless, digital and personalized experience.”

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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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