More than two billion people globally will use mobile devices to connect to the Internet in 2016, with countries like India, China and Indonesia leading the way, research firm India Data Corporation said.
According to www.economictimes.indiatimes.com, overall, an estimated 3.2 billion people representing 44 per cent of the world’s population will have access to the Internet in 2016.
“Growth in Internet access is taking place around the world, but some countries are seeing particularly rapid growth. China, India and Indonesia lead the way and will account for almost half of the gains in access globally over the course of the next five years,” the portal quoted IDC as saying in a statement.
The combination of lower-cost devices and inexpensive wireless networks are making accessibility easier in countries with populations that could not previously afford them, it said.
According to Internet and Mobile Association of India, India was expected to reach 402 million by December 2015, registering a growth of 49 per cent over 2014. About 306 million of these are expected to access Internet from their mobile devices.
IDC said the global mobile Internet userbase is forecast to grow at two per cent annually through 2020 unless significant new methods of Internet access are introduced.
Efforts by Google, SpaceX, and Facebook among others to make the Internet available to the remaining four billion people via high altitude planes, balloons, and satellites are underway.
However, it remains unclear how successful these endeavours will be and when they will be operational at scale, IDC said.
“Over the next five years, global growth in the number of people accessing the Internet exclusively through mobile devices will grow by more than 25 per cent per year while the amount of time we spend on them continues to grow. This change in the way we access the Internet is fueling explosive growth in mobile commerce and mobile advertising,” Program Director of Strategic Advisory Service, Scott Strawn said.
More than two billion use email and read news online and more people than ever before are making purchases online, the statement added.
Internet start-ups in India are joining the front line against Facebook Inc. founder Mark Zuckerberg and his plan to roll out free Internet to the country’s masses.
The government has ordered Facebook’s Free Basics plan on hold while it decides what to do.
The program, launched in more than 35 developing countries around the world, offers pared-down web services on mobile phones, along with access to the company’s social network and messaging services, without charge.
But critics say the program, launched 10 months ago in collaboration with Reliance Communications, violates principles of net neutrality, the concept that all websites on the internet are treated equally. It would put small content providers and start-ups that don’t participate in it at a disadvantage, they say.
“India is a test case for a company like Facebook and what happens here will affect the roll out of this service in other smaller countries where perhaps there is not so much awareness at present,” said Mishi Choudhary, a New York-based lawyer who works on technology and Internet advocacy issues.
Also at stake is Facebook’s ambition to expand in its largest market outside the United States. Only 252 million out of India’s 1.3 billion people have Internet access, making it a growth marke ..
In a letter seen by Reuters, the heads of nine start-up including Paytm, backed by China’s Alibaba Group, and dining app Zomato, have written to the watchdog Telecom Regulatory Authority of India urging it to ensure Internet access was allowed without differential pricing.
The executives said in the letter, dated Tuesday, that differential pricing for Internet access would lead to a “few players like Facebook with its Free Basics platform acting as gate-keepers”.
“There is no reason to create a digital divide by offering a walled garden of limited services in the name of providing access to the poor,” they wrote.
According to Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg “We know that for every 10 people connected to the Internet, roughly one is lifted out of poverty,” he wrote in The Times of India newspaper this week. “We know that for India to make progress, more than 1 billion people need to be connected to the Internet.
“What reason is there for denying people free access to vital services for communication, education, healthcare, employment, farming and women’s rights?”
A company spokesman said the aim of Facebook’s Free Basics initiative was to give people a taste of what the internet can offer. And Facebook has issued a series of full-page newspaper advertisements and set up billboard banners in an unusual and aggressive campaign to counter the protests.
Fintech TagPay Rebrands to Skaleet
From today, TagPay will be known as Skaleet, an international fintech company offering a back-end technology platform. Its core banking platform is fully interactive with an ecosystem of banks, fintechs and technology partners.
It has the speed and agility required to quickly launch new personalized services to the market. Skaleet’s ambition is to bridge the gap between complex financial products and customers’ changing needs.
In this new digital world, Skaleet helps financial institutions become faster and more agile in adapting to their customers’ changing needs by offering innovative services. Our range of services allows banks, neobanks and fintechs to stay in the race against the Big Tech threat that is attempting to dominate this market.
Skaleet’s platform offers complete banking solutions for the day-to-day management of retail banking: onboarding, AML-CFT, bank accounting, regulatory reporting, card issue, SEPA, bank accounts, credit engines and a best-of-breed approach to facilitate the integration of key product and technology partners.
Breaking the banking industry’s IT glass ceiling to increase performance and innovation
With its flexible, modular and natively digital banking platform, Skaleet’s ambition is to innovate by offering new services to fully respond to the latest challenges facing the banking and financial markets, as well as to the growth and scalability requirements imposed by the rapid digitalization of the sector.
Skaleet enables banks and financial institutions to leverage its cloud-native platform to accelerate the launch of new financial services that fully meet their customers’ needs.
Yves Eonnet, CEO of Skaleet, said: “Our mission is to support the digital transformation of banking institutions, neobanks and fintech companies. Our ambition is to become the leading technology platform for digital core banking, offering our customers all the financial services they need.”
The company’s mission statement: to put technology at the forefront of the transformation in financial services
Fifteen years ago, Hervé Manceron and Yves Eonnet set out to take advantage of the latest technological innovations to support new ways of providing mobile financial services. This led them to launch TagPay, a technological platform for managing mobile money accounts.
In 2014, eager to respond to the increasing importance of digital technology and changing customer needs, the publisher launched a next generation international core banking system solution. The ambition of this platform: to accelerate the launch of new, competitively priced services. TagPay has developed a cloud-native platform to meet the needs of financial service providers. Cloud-agnostic, agile and scalable, it has quickly become a leading platform for many financial institutions across the world. At the beginning of the year, TagPay reached a new step by announcing its largest funding: €25M from our new investor Long Arc Capital to enrich its offering and accelerate its international growth.
Twitter Recommended Conditions To Lift Suspension Will Be Applicable To Other Social Media Platforms- FG
The Federal Government says the recommended conditions for the lifting of the suspension imposed on the microblogging and social networking service, Twitter will be applicable to all Over-The-Top and other social media platforms in Nigeria.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, disclosed this on Monday when he featured on a phone-in programme of TV Continental, “This Morning, ’’ monitored by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
The minister, who did not disclose the recommendations by the Federal Government ministerial negotiation team to engage with Twitter on the suspension, said its report would be submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari.
Mohammed, who headed the team, however, reiterated that the engagements with the microblogging and social media platform had been positive and fruitful.
“All I can say is that the recommendations we are going to make will not only be applicable to Twitter but they will be applicable to all OTTs and other social media platforms in Nigeria.
“Today, we are dealing with Twitter, we don’t want a situation where we will be dealing with Facebook tomorrow and Instagram the next day. Our recommendations will be very comprehensive.
“You will recall that during the 61st Independence anniversary celebration, the president said Twitter will return to Nigeria as soon as they meet the conditions of government.
“Even last night, the ministerial team met under my chairmanship and we reviewed the position of things.
“I want to say that we should wait for the committee to officially give its reports to the president but things are looking very positive and rosy.
“After submitting our reports and recommendations to the president, I will be disposed to say what we agreed and what have been met and what has not been met,’’ he said.
NAN reports that following the indefinite suspension of its operations in Nigeria for activities capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence, Twitter had written to the president seeking engagement over the suspension.
The president subsequently set up the ministerial team led by Mohammed, with other members including Ministers of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola and that of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, to dialogue with Twitter over its suspension.
Other members are the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami as well as Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige and that of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami.
Wicrypt, Nigerian Wi-Fi Sharing Startup Secures $1.5M Funding For Expansion
A Nigerian blockchain-based Wi-Fi sharing startup, Wicrypt, has raised US$1.5 million in a strategic funding round to help it expand operations into new countries.
Wicrypt is a decentralized mobile internet sharing and monetization network that allows anyone to earn money by sharing their Wi-Fi with others. Users can either download the Wicrypt software and deliver Wi-Fi from their mobile device or purchase a one-of-a-kind Wicrypt Hotspot Creator device.
Wi-Fi providers can customize their customers’ experiences using the Wicrypt dashboard, which includes surveys, ads, and data collection. Wicrypt-enabled devices are all represented by one-of-a-kind NFTs linked to the blockchain. While users using WiFi pay Wicrypt hosts, Wicrypt also rewards hosts with its native coin, $WNT, for having high device uptime.
In 2018, the startup launched in Africa, signing an exclusive agreement to supply internet service to the inhabitants of Enugu, Nigeria. It became profitable in 2020 after being bootstrapped by its founder, and it has now acquired US$1.5 million in investment to help it go even further.
The round was led by AU21 Capital, with participation from Polygon founder Sandeep Nailwal, Inclusion Capital, Outlier Ventures, Chain Capital, Pluto Digital Assets, Onega Ventures, N7 Labs, Cardano and PolkaFoundary.
“While we have formed substantial business partnerships in Africa, this funding allows us to grow into new countries by increasing our marketing efforts,” said Ugochukwu Aronu, chief executive officer (CEO) of Wicrypt.
“Wicrypt is providing last-mile internet to people of the world who need it while leveraging the blockchain by having hosts stake $WNT to become a part of the Wicrypt Network. This ensures overall security of the network and that host do not perform malicious actions while providing internet connections to clients.”
Wicrypt is offering people the option to access the internet in locations where Wi-Fi can be highly expensive and unattainable for many people, according to Nailwal, who added that investing in a profitable company was unusual in the blockchain world.
“By empowering people to share their Wi-Fi and make money, they are making this a win-win situation for all involved, particularly in remote regions where large internet companies are not incentivised to provide coverage,” he said.
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