Tag: signal

By Zoe Kleinman for BBC

Message platforms Signal and Telegram have both seen a huge surge in downloads around the world following a controversial update to WhatsApp’s terms and conditions.

WhatsApp has told its two billion users they must allow it to share data with its parent company Facebook if they wish to continue using it.

This does not apply to users in the UK and Europe.

However, the notification has been sent to everyone.

All WhatsApp users will be unable to continue with the service unless they accept the new terms by 8 February. The platform said the update will enable it to offer features such as shopping and payments.

It also said its practice of sharing data with Facebook was not new.

WhatsApp and Facebook to share data outside Europe
Both Telegram and Signal also offer free-to-use encrypted messaging services.

Signal strength
According to data from analytics firm Sensor Tower, Signal was downloaded globally 246,000 times the week before WhatsApp announced the change on 4 January, and 8.8 million times the week after.

This included big surges in India, where downloads went from 12,000 to 2.7 million, the UK (from 7,400 to 191,000) and the US (63,000 to 1.1 million).

In a series of tweets, Signal said some people were reporting issues with creating groups and delays to verification codes arriving because of the rapid expansion but that it was solving the issues.

“Our new servers are ready to serve you,” it said on 10 January.

It also received endorsement from Tesla co-founder Elon Musk, who tweeted “use Signal” on 7 January.

Telegram soars
Telegram has proved even more popular, with downloads booming globally from 6.5 million for the week beginning 28 December to 11 million over the following week.

In the UK, downloads went from 47,000 to 101,000. And in the US they went from 272,000 to 671,000.

During the same period, WhatsApp’s global downloads shrank from 11.3 million to 9.2 million.

Even so, one industry watcher said he did not think this necessarily represented a big problem for WhatsApp, which has been downloaded 5.6 billion times since its launch in 2014.

“It’s going to be difficult for rivals to break user habits, and WhatsApp will continue to be one of the world’s most popular and widely used messaging platforms,” said Craig Chapple, mobile insights strategist at Sensor Tower.

“It’ll be interesting to see whether this latest trend sticks, or users revert back to what they know.”

WhatsApp has said the data it shares with its parent company does not include messages, groups or call logs.

However, it does include:

  • Phone number and other information provided on registration (such as name)
  • Information about the user’s phone, including make, model, and mobile company
  • Internet protocol (IP) addresses, which indicate the location of a user’s internet connections
  • Any payments and financial transactions made over WhatsApp

It said its policies were in line with “applicable” privacy laws.

 

By Yasmine Jacobs for IOL

Cell C has started the migration of its 16 million subscribers to MTN’s cellphone tower infrastructure. This comes as the company prepares to switch off its own radio access network.

“From mid-December, our contract and broadband customers will be enabled to roam on a partner network. This change will be beneficial to our customers and ensure a connectivity experience that delivers both quality and value,” said Cell C in a statement released on Wednesday.

Cell C said its customers will be migrated in stages and it expects the transition to be completed by early February 2021.

“You will be alerted via SMS communication when your service will be enabled. This change will not result in any additional charges and your existing terms and conditions will remain in place,” Cell C added.

Customers have been advised to manually activate ’Data roaming’ in the phone settings in a bid to avoid disruptions to you data connectivity.

It’s worth noting that Apple device users’ data roaming will be activated automatically.

Customers still experiencing difficulties after this are encouraged to contact general customer service at 084 135.

According to MyBroadband, this infrastructure sharing strategy will help Cell C to cut down on network investments and forms part of a broader turnaround strategy to get the company out of deep financial woes.

 

By James de Villiers for Business Insider SA

SA’s two largest cellular networks warn that network connection might be lost if load shedding continues.

Batteries take up to 18 hours to recharge, and if electricity is repeatedly disrupted, it may result in network downtime.

Cellular network connectivity might soon be disrupted if load shedding continues or worsens, South Africa’s two largest network providers said.

Eskom implemented stage four load shedding for the first time in history on Monday morning, after seven generating units tripped, leaving up to 20% of South Africa without electricity at a time. Load shedding (stage 3) continued on Tuesday and into Wednesday.

Jacqui O’Sullivan, MTN South Africa’s executive for corporate affairs, said the operational impact will first be felt where the frequency of the load shedding exceeded the capacity of the back-up batteries.

She said their batteries generally have a capacity for six to 12 hours and require roughly 12-18 hours to recharge.

“Where consecutive load shedding took place, batteries were unable to fully recharge, resulting in reduced back-up times,” O’Sullivan told Business Insider South Africa.

She said MTN spent more than R100 million in the past year dealing with acts of theft and vandalism, and had to deploy security teams to protect the equipment.

“These crimes tend to spike during load shedding when the lack of power sees substations being vandalised for copper wire which then further exacerbates the power supply problem.”

Vodacom said their clients will not be able to access any services when backup power at their towers becomes depleted.

It said when the power is restored, customers will be able to catch up on missed calls and messages which would not have come through.

“It is, however, worth noting that when compared with our total network traffic, the recent impact on Vodacom’s network has been limited due to our back-up power facilities,” a Vodacom spokesperson said.

MTN’s O’Sullivan said the uncertainty surrounding load shedding and the duration thereof, particularly, puts additional strain on their network.

She said the duration and frequency of load shedding compromised their batteries which increases operational costs.

“We want our customers to be able to continue communicating and working, despite the electricity interruptions and we have operations teams working 24 hours a day to mitigate the impact on our customers, as far as we possibly can,” O’Sullivan said.

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