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No such thing as a free phone

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A report by Tariffic has revealed that although some service providers offer subsidies on phones when signing up for a contract, there is no such things as a free phone, and in many cases it turns out cheaper to buy the phone for cash.

Most South Africans buy a new cellphone contract based on the phone they are looking for.  But is this a good deal? Are the networks subsidising the phone substantially or is it cheaper for you to buy it yourself?

Tariffic, a South African company that helps businesses and individuals manage & minimise their cellphone bills, has just released its quarterly ‘’Tariffic Tracker’’ focusing on how much you are actually paying for your cellular handset.

Tariffic has analysed 3 different subsets of cellphone packages for each of the 4 major Mobile Network Operators to see how much consumers are paying for their handset on these packages.  The handsets considered are the Galaxy A5 (32 GB), the Galaxy S8 (64 GB), and the iPhone 7 (32 GB).  The effective amount that customers land up paying over 24 months is calculated by comparing the “deal fee” (how much you will pay every month for the contract plus the phone) against the SIM-only fee for the exact same package.

The results are astounding. There are cases where you get a great deal on a handset, and receive a substantial subsidy from your network.  However, in many cases you will actually land up paying more over 24 months for the phone than if you would have just bought it retail from Takealot.

Tariffic’s results clearly show the biggest subsidised deals (out of the 3 handsets analysed) are available on the iPhone 7 while MTN and Cell C generally give the largest subsidies.

The best subsidy available came from Cell C who will subsidies an iPhone 7 by nearly R5 500 on a Pinnacle Unlimited package (so you will only pay R8,400 over the course of your contract for a phone that retails for R13 810).  The worst deal is from Vodacom, where you will land up paying R19 680 for a Samsung Galaxy S8 on their Smart L+ package, compared to the retail cash price of R13 045 from Takealot.

Tariffic Tracker image 2017Q3 (final)

Antony Seeff, Tariffic’s CEO, says, “There’s no such thing as a ‘free phone’ when it comes to cellphone contracts”.  He continues, “sometimes you’ll pay less for your phone and receive a decent subsidy from the networks, but other times it will be better to get a SIM-only deal and buy your phone cash or finance it through your bank”.

“Sometimes these SIM-only deals come with additional minutes or data as well”, says Seeff. The Tariffic CEO recommends that people who are looking for a new contract should find the best contract for them, based on the phone they want but also based on their unique behaviour.

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Huawei Mate 20 unveils ‘higher intelligence’

The new Mate 20 series, launching in South Africa today, includes a 7.2″ handset, and promises improved AI.

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Huawei Consumer Business Group today launches the Huawei Mate 20 Series in South Africa.

The phones are powered by Huawei’s densest and highest performing system on chip (SoC) to date, the Kirin 980. Manufactured with the 7nm process, incorporating the Cortex-A76-based CPU and Mali-G76 GPU, the SoC offers improved performance and, according to Huawei, “an unprecedented smooth user experience”.

The new 40W Huawei SuperCharge, 15W Huawei Wireless Quick Charge, and large batteries work in tandem to provide users with improved battery life. A Matrix Camera System includes a  Leica Ultra Wide Angle Lens that lets users see both wider and closer, with a new macro distance capability. The camera system adopts a Four-Point Design that gives the device a distinct visual identity.

The Mate 20 Series is available in 6.53-inch, 6.39-inch and 7.2-inch sizes, across four devices: Huawei Mate 20, Mate 20 Pro, Mate 20 X and Porsche Design Huawei Mate 20 RS. They ship with the customisable Android P-based EMUI 9 operating system.

“Smartphones are an important entrance to the digital world,” said Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer BG, at the global launch in London last week. “The Huawei Mate 20 Series is designed to be the best ‘mate’ of consumers, accompanying and empowering them to enjoy a richer, more fulfilled life with their higher intelligence, unparalleled battery lives and powerful camera performance.”

The SoC fits 6.9 billion transistors within a die the size of a fingernail. Compared to Kirin 970, the latest chipset is equipped with a CPU that is claimed to be 75 percent more powerful, a GPU that is 46 percent more powerful and an NPU (neural processing unit) that is 226 percent more powerful. The efficiency of the components has also been elevated: the CPU is claimed to be 58 percent more efficient, the GPU 178 percent more efficient, and the NPU 182 percent more efficient. The Kirin 980 is the world’s first commercial SoC to use the Cortex-A76-based cores.

Huawei has designed a three-tier architecture that consists of two ultra-large cores, two large cores and four small cores. This allows the CPU to allocate the optimal amount of resources to heavy, medium and light tasks for greater efficiency, improving the performance of the SoC while enhancing battery life. The Kirin 980 is also the industry’s first SoC to be equipped with Dual-NPU, giving it higher On-Device AI processing capability to support AI applications.

Read more about the Mate 20 Pro’s connectivity, battery and camera on the next page. 

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How Quantum computing will change … everything?

Research labs, government agencies (NASA) and tech giants like Microsoft, IBM and Google are all focused on developing quantum theories first put forward in the 1970s. What’s more, a growing start-up quantum computing ecosystem is attracting hundreds of millions of investor dollars. Given this scenario, Forrester believes it is time for IT leaders to pay attention.

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“We expect CIOs in life sciences, energy, defence, and manufacturing to see a deluge of hype from vendors and the media in the coming months,” says Forrester’s Brian Hopkins, VP, principal analyst serving CIOs and lead author of a report: A First Look at Quantum Computing. “Financial services, supply-chain, and healthcare firms will feel some of this as well. We see a market emerging, media interest on the rise, and client interest trickling in. It’s time for CIOs to take notice.”

The Forrester report gives some practical applications for quantum computing which helps contextualise its potential: 

  • Security could massively benefit from quantum computing. Factoring very large integers could break RSA-encrypted data, but could also be used to protect systems against malicious attempts. 
  • Supply chain managers could use quantum computing to gather and act on price information using minute-by-minute fluctuations in supply and demand 
  • Robotics engineers could determine the best parameters to use in deep-learning models that recognise and react to objects in computer vision
  • Quantum computing could be used to discover revolutionary new molecules making use of the petabytes of data that studies are now producing. This would significantly benefit many organisations in the material and life sciences verticals – particularly those trying to create more cost-effective electric car batteries which still depend on expensive and rare materials. 

Continue reading to find out how Quantum computing differs.

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