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Standard Bank becomes mobile operator

Standard Bank South Africa has launched its MVNO, with attractive loyalty benefits, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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With a focus on the convergence of banking and mobile, Standard Bank has launched its own mobile network service offering. Standard Bank Mobile works through its loyalty system, which is based on a customer’s use of banking services. Customers will also be able to buy airtime and data through the Standard Bank app, as one would with other service providers.

“We are not just launching a new mobile network. We are extending our digital offering to our clients,” says Funeka Montjane, chief executive for personal and business banking at Standard Bank South Africa. “It’s impossible to separate your phone, from your credit card, insurance or ability to transfer funds across borders. SB Mobile is an extension of our digital offering.”

The mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) is made possible through infrastructure deals with Cell C and MTN, both of which provide LTE services to SB Mobile subscribers. These deals allow Standard Bank customers to get good coverage through these strong networks.

The bank’s customers will be rewarded for simply having an account with the bank. For example, Standard Bank credit card clients with the monthly service fee of R39 will receive R100 in airtime per month on their linked SB Mobile accounts.

Rewards continue from there, as SB Mobile customers will be rewarded 1MB for every R10 they swipe on their Standard Bank card.

Contract device offerings will be made available to enable the bank in acquiring customers in the same way other network providers do – through device and SIM offerings. This is expected to launch in the first quarter of 2019.

The bank’s future plans are to launch fixed LTE and fibre services, keeping closely in line with telecommunications providers like Vodacom, MTN and Cell C.

Montjane says that the MVNO is a customer relations effort: “We are constantly seeking ways in which to connect and grow with our customers, which is the primary reason for launching this service.”

With restructured methods of offering mobile services through loyalty, Standard Bank has positioned itself to be a prominent player in the telecommunications industry.

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Samsung unfolds the future

At the #Unpacked launch, Samsung delivered the world’s first foldable phone from a major brand. ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK tried it out.

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Everything that could be known about the new Samsung Galaxy S10 range, launched on Wednesday in San Francisco, seems to have been known before the event.

Most predictions were spot-on, including those in Gadget (see our preview here), thanks to a series of leaks so large, they competed with the hole an iceberg made in the Titanic.

The big surprise was that there was a big surprise. While it was widely expected that Samsung would announce a foldable phone, few predicted what would emerge from that announcement. About the only thing that was guessed right was the name: Galaxy Fold.

The real surprise was the versatility of the foldable phone, and the fact that units were available at the launch. During the Johannesburg event, at which the San Francisco launch was streamed live, small groups of media took turns to enter a private Fold viewing area where photos were banned, personal phones had to be handed in, and the Fold could be tried out under close supervision.

The first impression is of a compact smartphone with a relatively small screen on the front – it measures 4.6-inches – and a second layer of phone at the back. With a click of a button, the phone folds out to reveal a 7.3-inch inside screen – the equivalent of a mini tablet.

The fold itself is based on a sophisticated hinge design that probably took more engineering than the foldable display. The result is a large screen with no visible seam.

The device introduces the concept of “app continuity”, which means an app can be opened on the front and, in mid-use, if the handset is folded open, continue on the inside from where the user left off on the front. The difference is that the app will the have far more space for viewing or other activity.

Click here to read about the app experience on the inside of the Fold.

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Password managers don’t protect you from hackers

Using a password manager to protect yourself online? Research reveals serious weaknesses…

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Top password manager products have fundamental flaws that expose the data they are designed to protect, rendering them no more secure than saving passwords in a text file, according to a new study by researchers at Independent Security Evaluators (ISE).

“100 percent of the products that ISE analyzed failed to provide the security to safeguard a user’s passwords as advertised,” says ISE CEO Stephen Bono. “Although password managers provide some utility for storing login/passwords and limit password reuse, these applications are a vulnerable target for the mass collection of this data through malicious hacking campaigns.”

In the new report titled “Under the Hood of Secrets Management,” ISE researchers revealed serious weaknesses with top password managers: 1Password, Dashlane, KeePass and LastPass.  ISE examined the underlying functionality of these products on Windows 10 to understand how users’ secrets are stored even when the password manager is locked. More than 60 million individuals 93,000 businesses worldwide rely on password managers. Click here for a copy of the report.

Password managers are marketed as a solution to eliminate the security risks of storing passwords or secrets for applications and browsers in plain text documents. Having previously examined these and other password managers, ISE researchers expected an improved level of security standards preventing malicious credential extraction. Instead ISE found just the opposite. 

Click here to read the findings from the report.

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