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Telkom backtracks on data caps for uncapped LTE

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Telkom has backtracked on the cap it placed in its Uncapped LTE service, revising its Fair Use Policy.

The organisation issued the following statement:

“Telkom has listened to its customers and has revised the conditions of its Fair Use Policy (FUP) for Uncapped LTE. The revisions seek to offer customers a fair and sustainable connectivity experience.

“Effective immediately, customers making use of the LTE Uncapped product will receive an additional 100GB of full speed data per month. This means that customers would have to use in excess of 300GB of data per month before Telkom’s FUP will be applied. Telkom has also included an additional 50GB data allocation for peer-to- peer services such as BitTorrent and Skype.

“In the few instances where customers exceed the data allocation of 300GB Telkom will offer 50GB of data at a reduced speed of 4MBps. Should customers exceed the additional 50GB of data, Telkom will offer another 50GB of data at 2MBps for the remainder of the month.

“A speed of 2Mbps is adequate for standard definition streaming to one screen across popular content streaming providers like Netflix and ShowMax.”

“We are confident that our revised Fair Use Policy offers greater value for our high data usage customers without compromising the connectivity experience of our other customers. In the few instances in which we are forced to apply the FUP, we have ensured that customers still have a fast enough connection to ensure that their service is still usable for the remainder of the month,” said Telkom spokesperson Jacqui O’Sullivan.

“Our decision to implement the Fair Use Policy is premised on our commitment to deliver a quality connectivity to experience to all our customers. Even in instances where our FUP is applied the reduction in speed will still allow for content streaming.”

Aside from managing usage behaviour, Telkom said, it has also ramped up investment in additional infrastructure to accommodate the growing demand of our LTE service.

“We understand that quality data connectivity is in high demand our new FUP reflects our understanding of this,” said O’Sullivan. “We have made every effort to ensure that customers receive a quality data experience. However, in instances where existing LTE Uncapped customers may have requirements beyond what we can cater for on this specific LTE product, we would like to engage these customers on alternate products better suited to their needs. We are also willing to release these customers impacted by the FUP from their existing contracts without any penalty.”

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Low-cost wireless sport earphones get a kickstart

Wireless earphone brands are common, but not crowdfunded brands. BRYAN TURNER takes the K Sport Wireless for a run.

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As wireless technology becomes better, Bluetooth earphones have become popular in the consumer market. KuaiFit aspires to make them even more accessible to more people through a cheaper, quality product, by selling the K Sport Wireless Earphones directly from its Kickstarter page

KuaiFit has an app by the same name which offers voice-guided personal training services in almost every type of exercise, from cardio to weight-lifting. A vast range of connectivity to third-party sensors is available, like heart rate sensors and GPS devices, which work well with guided coaching. 

The app starts off with selecting a fitness level: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Thereafter, one has the ability to connect with real personal trainers via a subscription to its paid service. The subscription comes free for 6 months with the earphones, and R30 per month thereafter. 

The box includes a manual, a USB to two USB Type B connectors, different sized soft plastic eartips and the two earphone units. Each earphone is wireless and connects to the other independently of wires. This puts the K Sport Wireless in the realm of the Apple Earpods in terms of connection style. 

The earphones are just over 2cm wide and 2cm high. The set is black with a light blue KuaiFit logo on the earphone’s button. 

The button functions as an on/off switch when long-pressed and a play/pause button when quick-pressed. The dual-button set-up is convenient in everyday use, allowing for playback control depending on which hand is free. Two connectivity modes are available, single earphone mode or dual earphone mode. The dual earphone mode intelligently connects the second earphone and syncs stereo audio a few seconds after powering on. 

In terms of connectivity, the earphones are Bluetooth 4.1 with a massive 10-meter range, provided there are no obstacles between the device and the earphones. While it’s not Bluetooth 5, it still falls into the Bluetooth Low Energy connection category, meaning that the smartphone’s battery won’t be drastically affected by a consistent connection to the earphones. The batteries within the earphones aren’t specifically listed but last anywhere between 3 and 6 hours, depending on the mode. 

Audio quality is surprisingly good for earphones at this price point. The headset style is restricted to in-ear due to its small design and probable usage in movement-intensive activities. As a result, one has to be very careful how one puts these earphones, in because bass has the potential of getting reduced from an incorrect in-ear placement. In-ear earphones are usually notorious for ear discomfort and suction pain after extended usage. These earphones are one of the very few in this price range that are comfortable and don’t cause discomfort. The good quality of the soft plastic ear tip is definitely a factor in the high level of comfort of the in-ear earphone experience.

Overall, the K Sport Wireless earphones are great considering the sound quality and the low price: US$30 on Kickstarter.

Find them on Kickstarter here.

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Taxify enters Google Maps

A recent update to Taxify now uses Google Maps which allows users to identify their drivers, find public transport and search for billing options.

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People planning their travel routes using Google Maps will now see a Taxify icon in the app, in addition to the familiar car, public transport, walking and billing options.

Taxify started operating in South Africa in 2016 and as of October 2018 operates in seven South African cities – Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Polokwane.

Once riders have searched for their destination and asked the app for directions, Google Maps shares the proximity of cars on the Taxify platform, as well as an estimated fare for the trip.

If users see that taking the Taxify option is their best bet, they can simply tap on the ‘Open app’ icon, to complete the process of booking the ride. Customers without the app on their device will be prompted to install Taxify first.

This integration makes it possible for users to evaluate which of the private, public or e-hailing modes of transport are most time-efficient and cost-effective.

“This integration with Google Maps makes it so much easier for users to choose the best way to move around their city,” says Gareth Taylor, Taxify’s country manager for South Africa. “They’ll have quick comparisons between estimated arrival times for the different modes of transport, as well as fares they can expect to pay, which will help save both time and money,” he added.

Taxify rides in Google Maps are rolling out globally today and will be available in more than 15 countries, with South Africa being one of the first countries to benefit from this convenient service.

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