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World Mobile, Altaeros Partner to Launch Aerostat Balloons to Connect the Unconnected in Africa

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World Mobile

World Mobile, the first mobile network built on blockchain and run by the people, partners with Altaeros, developers of the world’s first autonomous aerostats, to connect the unconnected. Through this partnership, Altaeros and World Mobile will provide low-altitude aerostats (tethered balloon platforms) with a coverage area of approximately 8,000 km^2 each, forming part of World Mobile’s Dynamic Network.

World Mobile plans to launch these balloons across Africa to connect hundreds of millions of people. Several aerostats will launch in Zanzibar anchoring the network and delivering connectivity near to 100% of the island. Each aerostat will connect hundreds of thousands of subscribers and each subscriber on the network will create a blockchain wallet. World Mobile will be deploying thousands of aerostats across the continent.

The aerostat system consists of a helium-filled envelope and stabilising fins. The unique 3-tethered architecture limits the aerostat’s movement in the air (pitch, roll and yaw), which is essential in stabilizing telco coverage so connectivity doesn’t drop in and out. The aerostat is attached to a movable mooring platform with built-in software that adjusts the balloon’s position depending on wind conditions. The onboard communication system, using beamforming technology (a technique that focuses a wireless signal towards a specific receiving device) will allow 3G, 4G and 5G handsets to connect directly and will also connect WM AirNodes in the vicinity via traditional and alternative spectrums.

“We’re on a journey to bring modern infrastructure to billions of un-served and under-served people around the world. We’re driven by a belief that business and technical innovation are the keys to creating a positive, scalable impact. World Mobile is the perfect partner to work with to deliver our vision as they strive to connect the unconnected, everywhere,” says Altaeros CEO/CTO Ben Glass.

“World Mobile is on a mission to connect the unconnected and build the first mobile network powered and run by the people. Working with leading tech partners who share our values will make us stronger,” says World Mobile Founder and CEO Micky Watkins.

World Mobile is the first mobile network powered and run by the people. Their fearless commitment to community, the environment, and technology will help them go where no telecom has gone before. By joining forces with their users, they’ll connect billions of unconnected people worldwide—allowing everyone the freedom to explore the world.

Altaeros is on a mission is to help bring connectivity to those who need it most. Founded at MIT in 2010, Altaeros is focused on developing and deploying innovative real-world infrastructure solutions to bring affordable services anywhere needed, helping businesses and communities access the basic building blocks to allow for prosperity. Altaeros is headquartered in Somerville, MA.

 

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Telecommunications

Call, Data Rate to Jump 100% as FG Imposes 5% Excise Duty on Telecoms

Call and Data rates could jump as much as 100% once the Federal Government implemented 5% excise duty on telecommunication services

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Services Tax

Call and Data rates could jump as much as 100% once the Federal Government implemented 5% excise duty on telecommunication services, a source from the sector stated.

According to industry experts, the increment will not only impact subscribers but also increase tax burden on telcos which would translate into rise in tariffs.

This, experts explained would increase the total consumption tax on the sector from just the 7.5% Value Added Tax (VAT) to 12.5%, a situation they said would worsen Nigerians’ economic status given the ongoing happenings in the country.

If implemented, Nigerians are now expected to be paying as much as N40 a minute, up from N20 and could be paying up to N2,500 per gigabyte.

Last week, Isa Pantami, Nigeria’s Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, decried the new tax, threatening to take the Federal Government to court for overburden the industry with so much taxes at a time when the telecommunication sector and the entire Nigerian economy was not faring well.

He said: “The 5 percent excise duty will overburden the industry. As a Minister, I was neither consulted nor obtained a memo to that effect. Even the appropriate lawmakers that were supposed to be talked with have also told me they were not.

”Things are not done that way. Besides condemning the tax, we will take every lawful step to guarantee that the tax does not stand.”

However, Ahmed Zainab, Nigeria’s Finance Minister, had different excuse for going ahead with the new 5% excise duty. According to her, the new 5% excise duty was in line with 2020 Finance Act and was part of Federal Government efforts at augmenting the nation’s revenue, especially from the non-oil sector.

The National Association of Telecoms Subscribers and the Nigerian Telecommunication Consumer have joined Pantami and other Nigerians to kick against the decision they considered wicked and inconsiderate.

Chief Adeolu Ogunbajo, president National Association of Telecoms Subscribers (NATCOMS) also added his voice. He said the sector is barely holding its ground with the existing 7.5 percent VAT, additional 5 percent will sum the total VAT in the sector to 12.5 percent. This is a killer move on the sector, he said.

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Fintech

Soft POS User Base to Grow 475% Globally by 2027

The total number of merchants deploying soft POS solutions will surpass 34.5 million globally by 2027

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point of sales

A new study from Juniper Research has found the total number of merchants deploying soft POS solutions will surpass 34.5 million globally by 2027; rising from 6 million in 2022. This growth will be driven by Apple’s entrance into the soft POS space; enabling iOS users to access an affordable mobile POS solution.

Soft POS enables NFC enabled smartphones or tablets to accept contactless payments, without additional hardware.

1.2 Billion iOS Users Added to Soft POS Market

The research forecasts that Apple’s decision to enable third parties to develop soft POS solutions leveraging iOS NFC capabilities will result in an influx of iOS-specific services; leading to innovative solutions for merchants. Furthermore, the research predicts Apple’s entry will provide 1.2 billion iOS users with soft POS capabilities; unlocking a previously untapped market.

Soft POS is the latest development from Apple within the payments space; building upon Apple Pay and Apple Pay Later. Soft POS vendors should leverage Apple’s payment ecosystem by developing innovative solutions such as integrated QR payment acceptance, using Apple Pay and Pay Later compatibility to attract a broader iOS user base.

Increasing Contactless Payment Adoption to Drive Soft POS Uptake

The research anticipates soft POS adoption being driven by the increasing use of contactless payments – with volumes expected to rise from 195 billion in 2022 to 408 billion by 2027. Therefore, consumers will come to expect contactless acceptance as standard; forcing smaller merchants to adopt contactless-capable POS solutions. Merchants are anticipated to embrace soft POS, based on cost savings achievable from eliminating the need for additional hardware, as well as mobility advantages over contactless POS.

This will be profound for small-sum and mobile merchants that must accept contactless transactions, but lack the need for high-cost dedicated terminals. As such, the research recommends soft POS vendors must look to target micro and mobile merchants; designing solutions that meet their unique needs.

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Fintech

Buy Now Pay Later Users to Reach Over 900 Million Globally by 2027

Buy Now Pay Later users will surpass 900 million globally by 2027; increasing from 360 million in 2022.

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mastercard biometric payment card fingerprint

A new study from Juniper Research has predicted that the number of BNPL (Buy Now Pay Later) users will surpass 900 million globally by 2027; increasing from 360 million in 2022. This substantial growth of 157% will be driven by the anticipated economic downturn, which will increase the demand for low-cost credit solutions.

BNPL schemes enable consumers to spread the cost of their purchases without interest charges; making them a highly attractive alternative to credit cards. Additionally, BNPL services do not require hard credit checks and an increasing number of merchants are accepting this payment method; making it easier to access for consumers than traditional credit.

India to Experience High User Growth

The research identified India as having potential for rapid growth in BNPL, with users predicted to grow from 25 million in 2022 to 116 million by 2027. This is due to rising eCommerce usage and growing interest in international goods available through online retailers. In turn, it recommends that vendors build strategic partnerships with vendors in developing markets with established consumer bases, to successfully capitalise on this user growth and associated revenue.

Virtual Cards to Further Boost Usage

The research predicts that the adoption of virtual cards, where digital only cards are used for purchases, will increase the usage of BNPL solutions, as they only require merchants to accept card payments – overcoming previous limitations on growth. The advancement of virtual cards allows BNPL schemes to compete with credit cards; particularly in-store, where single use BNPL cards can be used within a digital wallet to complete contactless transactions.

Juniper Research recommends that in order to compete in this highly competitive landscape, BNPL vendors must differentiate their services: including offering virtual cards, browser extensions that automatically facilitate BNPL payment services, and digital loyalty schemes.

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