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Mobile Operators & Internet Tech

  • The Moon is getting its own 4G network in 2019

    I only just got 4G LTE in my area, but noooo, serving the planet Earth is just too damn boring for some companies. Four firms, including Nokia and Audi, will in 2019 build a 4G network on the surface of the Moon, because even Millennial space dust needs high bandwidth. The move was announced this week at MWC 2018 in Barcelona. But this ludicrous idea does have a point. The network will allow astronauts to beam information -- be it video, audio or raw data -- from the Moon to Earth, that is, once humans actually reach the satellite's surface once again. And...

  • These are MTN’s new customer care, airtime balance numbers

    Keeping in tune a new ICASA regulation, MTN will ditch its old airtime balance check number, voicemail numbers and customer care numbers (short codes) in the coming weeks. MTN is the second South African telecoms network to announce its new list of short codes, following Vodacom's announcement earlier this week. "From 24 March 2018 the short codes that MTN customers use to check their airtime balance, retrieve voicemail messages and to contact the call centre, will be replaced with a new set of numbers," the company explained in a press release. "To allow customers time to familiarise themselves with the new codes,...

  • Vodacom’s ditching its old customer care, airtime balance numbers

    Vodacom's customer care, prepaid recharge and airtime balance check numbers have just become a little bit harder to remember. The telecoms network will be "changing its customer care contact numbers to comply with the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) Number Plan Regulations, 24 March 2016, Government Gazette Number 39861," it notes in a press release. "The numbering plan regulations and standardisation of certain short codes is applicable to all licensees that have an independent electronic service licence (I-ECS) and applies to both mobile and fixed networks and not only 'cellular networks'." Vodacom users can still dial 111 to reach customer...

  • Watch out for the latest OTP scam plaguing MTN’s network

    If excessive spam calls weren't enough, South Africans will now need need to guard against a new MTN scam plaguing the network. Using OTPs, or one-time PIN numbers, scammers can gain access to a users' MTN account, purchase airtime and data, and then transfer said purchases to another number. According to MTN, fraudsters gain the OTP from users directly, asking them to provide it during spam calls. "Unfortunately, fraudsters are everywhere and we want to be sure all our customers are protected at all times, across our entire business," explained Jacqui O'Sullivan, the company's corporate affairs executive. "Our systems are designed to safeguard...

  • [Update] Vodacom users ‘can’t make calls’ in Johannesburg due to network issue

    Update: The issue that affected a large number of Vodacom users across Johannesburg has been resolved, the company tweeted. We have resolved the issue where customers in Gauteng were unable to make calls earlier this morning. We apologise for the inconvenience this caused. — Vodacom (@Vodacom) January 19, 2018 Original article: If you're in and around Johannesburg this morning, on the Vodacom network and can't make or receive calls, you're not the only one. The service provider is today aware of and addressing connectivity issues around South Africa's economic hub. Users on Twitter reported issues early Friday, complaining that calls cannot be placed --...

  • This movie is free to torrent on The Pirate Bay, thanks to its creators

    Torrenting, in the case of Hollywood, is the thing that shall not be named. It's the downfall of the movie industry, and killer of careers. But in this particular case, it has proven to be the complete opposite. TorrentFreak this week reported that a movie called The Man From Earth: Holocene is available to download right now on The Pirate Bay. But unlike most movies on the website, its creators put it there. In 2007, movie producer Eric Wilkinson found his indie sci-fi flick The Man From Earth was trending on IMDB. Not quite sure why, he stumbled across a review...

  • MTN is the fastest mobile network in South Africa, report reveals

    In South Africa, there's much debate surrounding which of the four mobile networks is fastest, let alone which is the most cost effective to use. But we can now, somewhat, put the debate to rest. MyBroadband today published its Mobile Network Quality Report for South Africa, looking at the Q4 2017 performance of these networks. Data is accrued through the publisher's Android Speed Test app, which played host to some 113 000 tests and 8250 users during this period. And notably, there is a clear winner. MTN's average download and upload speeds saw the highest average of any network, with 22.22Mbps and 10.07Mbps...

  • MTN, Ericsson’s new 5G network trial hits 20Gbps speeds

    It took a while for South Africa to embrace the speed that 4G LTE offers, but the latest generation of the mobile technology is already on the horizon. MTN, together with infrastructure giant Ericsson today launched their 5G technology and applications trial at the latter's HQ in Johannesburg. The trial itself won't be felt by South Africans just yet, but it does become the continent's first test of the technology, which promises faster speeds than 4G LTE, lower latency, and better coverage for high density areas. Initial numbers are promising too. According to MTN, initial tests saw a throughput of 20Gbps --...

  • This is how global internet speeds changed in 2017

    You may not feel it if you're still using ADSL over century-old copper lines in South Africa, but global internet speeds over both fixed broadband and mobile networks have increased in 2017. And increased by quite a fair bit at that. According to a new report by Ookla's Speedtest, the company noted a 30.1% jump in mobile download speeds between November 2016 and November 2017, and a 38.9% increase in mobile upload speeds during the same period. This equates to a global average of 20.28Mbps down, and 8.65Mbps up. Fixed broadband networks have also accelerated. 40.11Mbps down is now the global mean, increasing...

  • These are MTN’s Black Friday data deals for 2017

    There are so many deals hitting consumers on Black Friday, that it's hard to keep track. (Sidenote: Gearburn's doing an excellent job in this regard). But what if you aren't looking for hardware? What if you're looking for data? MTN will be offering a number of data deals it's calling "Mega Deals" on Black Friday, appealing to those of us who send one too many high-resolution moon moon GIFs. "MTN will be offering all customers on MTN Zone and MTN Muziq price plans, a guaranteed discount of 95%, during the HAPPY HOUR timeslot from 15:00 – 15:59 daily" between 24 and...

  • MTN data services down across South Africa

    MTN's data services are down for scores of users across South Africa's major cities after an "unsuccessful" network upgrade. "MTN undertook an upgrade on a section of its network last night," the company wrote in a tweet Thursday. "The upgrade was unfortunately unsuccessful and has resulted in a data fault on the network serving Randburg and parts of Cape Town. Only the data service is affected, voice systems remain fully functional." According to additional reports from users on Twitter, the network's customers have been experiencing issues since 7am Thursday morning. The company notes that users across Cape Town and Randburg are experiencing issues,...

  • RCS: introducing the successor to SMS

    It's been in the pipeline for a few years now, but RCS (Rich Communication Services) is slowly making its way around the world, being billed as the successor of sorts to SMS. But how exactly is the service better than traditional SMS? What do you need to take advantage of the service? We got some answers from David O'Byrne, RCS lead at the GSMA, the organisation at the helm of the standard. For starters, O'Byrne outlines the platform's capabilities. Effectively the draw card is that RCS hopes to be as seamless as placing a call or creating an SMS -- no extra apps needed....

  • Konnect Africa debuts SmartWiFi satellite broadband hotspot service

    Satellite broadband provider Konnect Africa has today announced its new hotspot service dubbed SmartWiFi. The announcement was made by the Eutelsat-owned company at AfricaCom 2017 in Cape Town. SmartWiFi will use Konnect Africa's satellite network to provide connectivity to the likes of hospitals, schools and retailers across South Africa. Unlike traditional access points that usually serve a small area, Konnect Africa's SmartWiFi will be "able to access the internet from a distance of several hundred meters around the hotspot". It can also be expanded further through the use of repeaters. This allows SmartWiFi to be employed in non-urban areas, explained Laurent Grimaldi, the...

  • Vodacom’s NB-IoT network is now live in Gauteng

    Vodacom's first commercially available Narrowband-IoT (NB-IoT) network is now live in Gauteng. This announcement is the latest in a string of IoT plays made by the company this year. The NB-IoT network, the company hopes, will accelerate the growth of IoT in South Africa by allowing customers to build and run Low Power Wide Area network (LPWAN) applications. LPWAN is slower than the likes of WiFi, but covers much greater areas and allows for devices to be connected more efficiently. In September 2017, Vodacom announced its three-millionth device IoT connection, and currently sees around 55 000 new devices registered on its network each...

  • MTN debuts ‘WOW’ voice bundles

    Dropping data prices is oh so trendy for mobile operators right now, but what about voice packages? MTN has announced its new "WOW" voice bundles, which aim to fill the gap for those who prefer calling contacts on their phone, or who still own feature phones. The packages are only applicable when calling another MTN number, but are available in daily, weekly and monthly bundles. Prices range between R3 -- for seven minutes within 24 hours -- and R300 -- which allows for 3000 minutes to be used in a month. That's more than enough for an hour-long conversation every day. "The WOW...