By Siseko Njobeni for Business Live
SA’s data-only network operator Rain, which is partly owned by businessmen Patrice Motsepe, Paul Harris and Michael Jordaan, has partnered with Chinese telecoms giant Huawei to roll out the high-speed 5G network by the middle of 2019.
The roll-out will make SA one of the first countries to launch 5G, which promises faster download speeds, reliable network connectivity and the ability to connect more devices at once.
“The network will provide fibre-like speeds without installation complexities, time delays and cost of laying fibre in underserviced areas,” Rain CEO Willem Roos said on Tuesday.
Rain and Huawei made the announcement at the 2019 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, where 5G took centre stage.
“5G is here. If there is any doubt, you only have to walk around [the conference],” said Harris, who is also Rain chair.
He said that the development of 5G products later in the year would hit the industry like a tsunami.
Roos said Rain would take advantage of its existing 4G network and allocated spectrum.
Huawei said its products would enable Rain to use the existing network, saying leveraging existing infrastructure would accelerate the roll-out of the 5G network. Rain had about 3,000 4G sites in SA, Roos said.
“It is well-known that as broadband penetration increases in a country, you get better economic growth. With better economic growth, you can see improvement in employment. We are big supporters of [President Cyril Ramaphosa’s plan] to re-energise investment in SA.
“We made a promise to invest a significant amount of money in 5G,” Roos said.
“We hope to have rolled out a significant number of towers in [Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban] by mid-2019 to offer commercial services to clients.”
Rain planned to roll out the network rapidly, aiming for “significant” coverage in metropolitan areas initially, he said. The company said it wanted to deploy 1,000 5G sites in major cities in the next two years.
Responding to a question during the announcement, Roos said Rain had no immediate plans to expand to the rest of Africa. “Obviously, there is complexity around spectrum, licences and those kinds of issues. Certainly, SA can play a crucial role as the gateway to Africa. We will see if commercial opportunities that make sense arise.”
GSMA director-general Mats Granryd said: “The arrival of 5G forms a major part of the world’s move towards an era of intelligent connectivity, which alongside developments in the Internet of Things, big data and artificial intelligence, is poised to be a key driver of economic growth over the coming years.”
GSMA is a global mobile industry body.
It said in a report that 5G would account for 15% of global mobile connections by 2025.
The latest figures from NetMarketShare show that Windows 7 is still the most popular desktop operating system globally.
The August 2017 statistics also reveal that iOS and Android 6.0 remain the most widely-used mobile operating systems, although an increasing number of devices are moving to Android 7.0.
Mobile OS numbers show that Android has a strong lead over iOS overall, with Windows Phone coming in third – sporting a total mobile market share of 0.81%.
NetMarketShare does not provide iOS version information, but figures from Apple’s Developer website show that 89% of iOS users were on iOS 10 and 9% were on iOS 9 as of 6 September.
The most popular operating systems on desktop and mobile platforms for August 2017 are detailed below:
Desktop operating systems
Mobile operating systems
Vodacom and the Eastern Cape Department of Education have launched ‘Virtual Teacher’, a platform that allows teachers to deliver lessons to multiple remote classes. The move follows Vodacom’s Programme for Mobile Devices introduced in the province earlier this year to promote the use of digital technology in Eastern Cape schools.
Virtual Teacher enables teachers or lecturers to deliver lessons through a range of smart devices, learners can join classes from anywhere and at any time. For the first time in South Africa, the technology can be accessed from any personal device.
The platform is supported by portable hardware which delivers high-quality visuals and sound. It can also accommodate unlimited viewer numbers. The technology enables live interaction with the remote audience through a texting Q & A facility for written responses during the lesson.
Vuyani Jarana, Chief Officer at Vodacom Business, says: “Vodacom is working with the Eastern Cape Department of Education to address some of the challenges facing our education system, particularly in rural and underperforming schools. This is all about bringing innovative technology to those who need it most in order to improve learning outcomes for all education segments in our country. The future of the South African education system is digital and we must embrace the opportunities this offers to leapfrog infrastructural backlogs and legacy issues in our schools.”
In order to improve the matric pass rate in the province, the Eastern Cape Department of Education will use the Virtual Teacher platform to provide extra classes to students at selected districts in the province. Lessons will be delivered remotely by some of the country’s best teachers, with an emphasis on Mathematics, Science and Accounting. Students from various locations will be transported to teaching sites in the Eastern Cape, including Mdantsane, Maluti, Lusikisiki and Mt Frere.
The Eastern Cape Department of Education’s Superintendent General, Themba Kojana, says: “The Eastern Cape Department of Education is promoting interactive virtual teaching and learning in the province, particularly in rural communities. Technology such as the Virtual Teacher platform allows teachers to interact with remote learners to increase their understanding of school subject material, with a goal to improve learning outcomes in the province.”
The Virtual Teacher platform encompasses a camera, microphone and streaming unit which can be streamed from any device. Lessons can be pre-recorded if needed and recorded content can also be downloaded to any device. The platform is easy to use and can be linked to a school website. Content can also be zero rated by Vodacom if required.
By Fundisiwe Maseko for www.itnewsafrica.com
E-commerce spending by South Africans via their mobile devices is set to grow by 70% in 2016, says a survey.
According to research organisation Ipsos, this figure is set to outpace overall e-commerce spend in SA which is forecast to grow by 29% this year.
E-commerce spending via mobiles accounted for 25% or R7-billion of all online transactions in 2015, says Efi Dahan, the Africa and Israel regional director for PayPal. Payment service PayPal commissioned the Ipsos survey.
The survey further reported that South African shoppers spent R28,8-billion online in 2015, which is expected to grow to R46-billion by 2017, of which mobile will account for R19-billion.
“There is no doubt that the rapid penetration of smartphones in South Africa will continue to be the driving force of online shopping in the upcoming years,” says Dahan.
Most South African online shoppers (59%) buy locally, with 37% buying both local and cross border and 5% buying exclusively from international providers.
The most popular online shopping destinations for locals are the US, UK and China, but Dahan warned that security was a challenge.
“I believe that the smartphone shopping experience will continue to evolve as consumers feel greater comfort and security.”
Security firm Trend Micro recently reported that hacked PayPal accounts with a guaranteed balance of $500 (R7 941.54) were traded for $6.43 (R102.51) on the Deep Web.
And Check Point reported that giant e-commerce platform eBay had failed to fix a security flaw dubbed “JSF**k” that allows cyber-crooks to use the platform as a phishing and malware distribution platform.
Dahan says that the online space made geographical borders irrelevant.
“Though international shopping is still less popular locally, with the growing variety of products, larger range of prices, improved shipping options and increasing confidence in e-commerce, we believe that South African consumers will continue to purchase online, regardless of physical borders.”
PayPal is the most popular online payment method for South Africans who shop internationally at 68%, followed by Visa Credit card at 37%, the survey showed.
By Duncan Alfreds for Fin24
“South African consumers are driving a mobile payment revolution enabled by a slew of innovative home grown technology companies. Local retailers, brands and agencies are leveraging the power of mobile payments in clever ways to unlock new revenue streams and boost customer retention.”
Very small businesses (VSBs) with fewer than 25 employees have the same rate of mobile device adoption as large enterprises. However, most VSBs lack the security awareness, technical expertise, and budget needed to properly protect company-issued or employee-owned (BYOD) mobile devices.
A Kaspersky Lab survey asked 3 900 IT professionals worldwide about IT challenges they encountered over the previous 12 months, and 34% of VSBs said they had managed the integration of mobile devices into their business.
What’s noteworthy is this rate is nearly identical to the rate of mobile integration reported by enterprises, which was 35%.
This means the smallest companies in the world are adopting mobile technology at essentially the same rate as huge companies with more than 5 000 employees. In fact, VSBs actually reported a higher rate of mobile adoption than small businesses with 26 to 99 employees, as well as large businesses with 1 500 to 5 000 employees.
VSBs reported 6% more mobile integration than small businesses (defined as 26 to 99 employees), and 2% more than large businesses (defined as 1 500 to 5 000 employees). These statistics certainly cast doubt on any perceptions that VSBs are confined to antiquated technology or slow to invest in IT.
Mobile technology may not be restricted to businesses based on their size, but there are other key factors to consider. Expertise and resources are the most obvious limitations of VSBs, which frequently don’t have dedicated IT staff to manage technology implementations.
These limitations may lead to a knowledge gap even amongst security-minded business owners. For example, 31% of VSBs listed “Securing Mobile/Portable Computing Devices” as one of their top-three IT security priorities for the next 12 months (a rate comparable to the 34% adoption rate from the previous 12 months).
But when asked about BYOD (bring your own device) policies, where employees use their own mobile devices for business purposes, the survey uncovered a perception-gap based on company size.
When surveying attitudes towards technology trends, 28% of VSBs agreed that BYOD introduces an increased IT security risk to their business. But large businesses and enterprises had a response rate that was nearly twice the VSB response, with 52% and 48% respectively agreeing about the risks presented by BYOD. Is it possible that VSBs are overlooking employee-owned mobile devices as a security risk?
This seems like a particularly troubling possibility, given that VSBs and their limited budgets are most likely to view employee-owned devices as a cost-savings measure and gladly welcome these devices onto their networks.
Common threats from employee-owned mobile devices include malware or rouge applications connecting to the company’s network via the employee’s device, or company data disappearing along with a lost or stolen employee device.
Realising that most VSBs lack the budget and technical sophistication for advanced mobile security solutions, small businesses can still use mobile technology – including employee-owned devices – without a huge investment of time or money. A mixture of common-sense and the right technology can go a long way to securing mobile devices, and help the owners of a start-up get back to running their business:
* Employee education – the first lines of protecting your business data are employees with security mind-sets. Make sure new employees know that if their smartphones or tablets contain workplace information, that device shouldn’t be subjected to unnecessarily risky usage habits (e.g., browsing questionable websites), and if the device is lost or stolen, it should be reported immediately to the employer, not days later.
* Basic anti-theft – an inexpensive piece of software that can remotely-wipe the data from missing or stolen devices is essential. Some devices offer similar functions built-in, and there are many third-party applications that can accomplish this task. But make sure an employee understands that if their device is wiped, that typically means any personal information on the device is deleted as well.
* Avoid complexity – a newly-created start up business with five employees can’t spend hours purchasing, deploying, and managing a business-grade security product that wasn’t built for their purposes. Avoid purchasing a larger product than the business needs, and stick to core mobile security features.
For small businesses looking to learn more about Kaspersky Lab’s mobile security technology, they go to www.kapersky.com and read their Dummies Guide for mobile security and BYOD.