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Vox launches uncapped satellite Internet

The satellite connectivity market is about to get a shake up as Vox unveils uncapped data and voice plans, made possible through its partnership with Avanti Communications.

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Satellite connectivity in the South African market is set for a shake up, with infrastructure provider Vox announcing the introduction of several capped and uncapped data and voice plans, made available through its partnership with Avanti Communications.

“Ka-band satellite has been growing around the world; it’s quick to install for end-users, and provides them with much higher throughputs as compared to other satellite technologies,” says Jacques Visser, head of wireless at Vox. “Our partnership with Avanti helps us expand our existing Ka-band satellite services portfolio, bring new data and voice offerings to the South African market, and give our customers more choice.”

Based in the UK, Avanti makes use of its fleet of four Ka-band HYLAS satellites and ground infrastructure in Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Istanbul, Johannesburg, Lagos and London among others, to provide satellite connectivity to individuals and businesses in over 118 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

“This partnership expands the coverage of our satellite services to more geographical areas, including the Northern Cape locally, giving us for the first time coverage on Ka-band across the entire country, as well as into much of sub-Saharan Africa,” says Visser.

According to Visser, the partnership with Avanti will allow Vox to offer an uncapped data plan, as well as several capped data plans. Subscribers to the capped data plans can add on an uncapped voice channel. While the uncapped data plan runs off the HYLAS 2 satellite, the capped data/uncapped voice plans run off the newer HYLAS 4 satellite with a local landing station in South Africa, that reduces latency.

Visser adds that increased promotional offers for data and voice plans, as well as consumer premise equipment (CPE) subsidies, are now making satellite services far more competitive against other forms of fixed, fixed-wireless, or wireless connectivity.

This makes satellite a solution for users who are not in major urban areas that benefit from high-speed connectivity such as fibre or LTE-A. Products such as uncapped voice could have a positive social impact in rural areas of the country, as small businesses or farmers can now affordably provide their workers with free calls so that they can stay in touch with family and friends.

As a result of increased reliability and stability, a growing number of businesses are also turning to Ka-band satellite services as a failover connectivity, or even to connect their software-defined wide area networks (SD-WAN).

“Being able to offer our customers options such as high throughput uncapped data and uncapped voice plans, at this price point, is a game-changer for telecommunications in South Africa,” says Visser. “Gone are the days when satellite internet was seen as a slow, expensive service.”

Data plans available through Avanti include an uncapped data plan for R1 999 per month, as well as capped data options, with 5GB for R399 pm, 10GB for R699 pm, and 20GB for R1099 pm. Capped data plan customers can further subscribe to an uncapped voice channel, which offers them unlimited calls to South African numbers, at R172 per month including VAT.

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Qualcomm launches new Snapdragon chips for 4G

Three new chipsets by Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 720G, 662, and 460, have been released to address the growing need for faster 4G and Wi-Fi 6 connectivity.

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Qualcomm Technologies has launched three new mobile chipsets: the Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G, 662 and 460, which enable enhanced connectivity, gaming and entertainment experiences. They enable fast 4G connectivity speeds, deliver key Wi-Fi 6 features, and integrated Bluetooth 5.1. They also support Dual-Frequency (L1 and L5) GNSS to improve location positioning accuracy and robustness, and are the first system-on-chip solutions to support Navigation with Indian Constellation (NavIC) – India’s regional answer to GPS.

“While we see a fast adoption of 5G across geographies globally, we do recognise the phenomenal boost that 4G has given towards enabling broadband connectivity for Indian consumers,” said Rajen Vagadia, president of Qualcomm India. “4G will continue to remain a focus area for Qualcomm Technologies for regions like India, where it will stay a key technology for connectivity. Our goal is to enable our partners to continue creating solutions that offer seamless connectivity access and exceptional mobile experiences, that consumers can count on.”

Kedar Kondap, vice president for product management at Qualcomm Technologies, said: “Today’s smartphone users want fast, seamless connectivity, advanced features and long-lasting battery life. This expansion of our 4G lineup enables our partners to offer sophisticated solutions that meet global demand and enable a remarkable gaming experience across multiple tiers and price segments.”

For the first time supported on mobile, the Qualcomm Location Suite now supports up to seven satellite constellations concurrently, including the use of all of NavIC’s operating satellites, for more accurate location performance, faster time-to-first-fix (TTFF) position acquisition, and improved robustness of location-based services.

Snapdragon 720G creates better gaming and entertainment experiences, with some high-end Qualcomm Snapdragon Elite Gaming features, picture capture capabilities, and intelligent performance. Qualcomm says the 720G delivers smooth HDR gameplay, dynamic colour range and contrast, realistic and immersive in-game environments, and high-quality, synchronised sound with Qualcomm aptX Adaptive. In addition to gaming, users can experience a home theatre on-device with HDR viewing and smooth video streaming with the Qualcomm Spectra 350L ISP. One can also capture 4K video or snap 192-megapixel photos.

It also features the latest 5th generation Qualcomm AI Engine with an improved Qualcomm Hexagon Tensor Accelerator, which will enable a host of new AI experiences for gaming, photography, voice assistants, and virtually always-on contextual awareness.

The integrated Snapdragon X15 LTE modem supports 3-carrier aggregation, 4×4 MIMO on two carriers and 256-QAM modulation for fast download speeds up to 800 Mbps – allowing for quick app downloads and smooth video streaming and sharing. In addition, it doubles Wi-Fi speed and range, compared to single antenna devices, while also delivering key Wi-Fi 6 features such as 8×8 sounding with multi-user MIMO for up to 2x improvement over competitive Wi-Fi 6 devices.

The Snapdragon 662 adds new camera and AI capabilities to the 6-series for the first time. It will feature the new Qualcomm Spectra 340T, which supports triple camera configurations and smooth switching between them — a first in the 6-series.

The addition of the 3rd generation Qualcomm AI Engine with Hexagon Vector Extensions enables AI-based user experiences such as avatars, night photography, and face and voice authentication.

It also features the new Snapdragon X11 LTE modem with peak download speeds up to 390 Mbps thanks to 2-carrier aggregation, 2×2 MIMO and 256-QAM modulation, along with 150 Mbps peak uploads to support a snappy web browsing and social media experience.

The Snapdragon 460 boasts a leap in performance across the board in the 4-series, as well as significant boosts in connectivity, AI and camera improvements for the next-generation of mid-range smartphones. For the first time in the 4-series, Snapdragon 460 features performance CPU cores and an updated GPU architecture that translates into up to 70% and 60% increase in performance from the previous generation, respectively.

The Qualcomm Spectra 340 ISP is also among the many new additions to the 4-series, enabling the platform to capture sharp photographs and support for triple cameras. An integrated Snapdragon X11 LTE modem allows for download speeds up to 390 Mbps and uploads up to 150 Mbps.

Devices based on Snapdragon 720G are expected to be commercially available in Q1 2020 and devices based on Snapdragon 662 and 460 are expected to be commercially available by the end of 2020.

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Nissan showcases Leaf Nismo electric racing car

All-electric Nissan Leaf Nismo RC racing car makes European debut at Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, Spain.

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Nissan’s expertise in electric vehicles and high-performance vehicles have come together in the Nissan Leaf Nismo RC.

The all-wheel-drive Leaf Nismo RC boasts more than double the maximum power and torque output of its predecessor, which was based on the first-generation Leaf and revealed in 2011. Delivering 322hp and 640Nm of instantly available torque, it offers lightning-quick acceleration, achieving the 0-100km/h sprint in just 3.4 seconds.

The creation of the latest Leaf Nismo RC is not just for show; it acts as a testbed for future technological evolution and showcases the potential of Nissan electric vehicles. It explores what can be achieved with an all-electric twin-motor and all-wheel-drive drivetrain.

It shares its advanced technology with the Leaf road car, and touched down in Europe for the first time at Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, Spain.

“Nissan’s experience as a pioneer in electric vehicles for the road, combined with Nismo’s 60-plus years of motorsport innovation, led to the conception of a unique car,” says Michael Carcamo, Nissan Global Motorsport Director. “For Nissan, the ‘E’ in ‘EV’ also stands for ‘Exciting’. Putting this philosophy front and centre, we created the Leaf Nismo RC. It amplifies the fun-to-drive aspect of electric mobility, raising the thrills offered by EVs to a new level.”

As with the Leaf Nismo RC, instant acceleration is a feature of every Nissan EV model. The all-electric powertrains offer a fast driving experience that is complemented by the Leaf’s intelligent design and advanced connectivity.

For more details on NISMO and Formula-e: https://www.nismo.com/

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