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Opera debuts browser payments in Kenya

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Opera has integrated a new web payment platform in Kenya called OPay. The service directly runs on the Opera Mini browser, which will bring a new level of convenience to a nation that has become a world leader in leapfrogging its IT infrastructures.

Top up mobile airtime and pay utility bills with just a few clicks

Designed to be a fast and secure payment option, OPay will enable not only Opera Mini but also other mobile browser users to top up their Safaricom, Airtel and Telkom mobile phone accounts, as well as pay electricity, cable TV and utility bills directly through its secure, user-friendly platform. It will also accommodate multiple payment methods, from major credit cards to Airtel Money and M-Pesa.

With so much of a community’s economic well-being resting on the efficient, affordable and easy transfer of funds, much of Africa finds itself in something of a catch-22 situation. Growing businesses in the digital age, particularly in Africa’s critically important informal sector (which accounts for as much as 60% of the total GDP in some African states), require easy and secure payment functions that help people get around the continent’s many gaping holes in service delivery and infrastructure.

Get extra credits and cutbacks

Using OPay will get you something extra for a limited time. Users who make their first deposit to their Wallet will get a 100 percent bonus of up to 200 Ksh. They can use this bonus to pay for services or recharge airtime on the portal.

In addition, for every airtime purchase the user makes, users will receive 20 percent cashback in the form of credits in their Wallet. These credits are the same as the ones earned from depositing money within the Wallet and can be used to pay for services or recharge airtime.

“This mobile payment technology integrated into the Opera Mini browser will help Kenya continue the highest rate of mobile payment technology adoption in the world. More than 80 percent of the country’s population with access to a cell phone use it to pay for goods and services,” says Nuno Sitima, Executive Vice President of Payments and Fintech, Opera Software AS. “However, the challenges of long distances, difficult terrain and large rural populations who often lack access to formal banking systems are all addressed with OPay and the reach of the Opera Mini browser. Our ultimate goal is to fuel the growth of African businesses through a simple, affordable solution that can encompass many payment methods in one easy-to-use app.”

African development in the digital age is highly reliant on inclusive solutions that enable every citizen, no matter where they live or the resources available to them, to participate in the economy easily. High penetration of mobile phones and Opera Mini’s leading market share on the continent make OPay just the solution that Kenya needs to continue fuelling its reputation as one of Africa’s leading digital innovators.

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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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