South African economy well positioned to recover from current slowdown

first_imgJohannesburg, Tuesday 6 October 2015 – Brand South Africa notes the statement by the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry that the country’s Business Confidence Index has fallen to its lowest level since 1993.It cannot be disputed that the South African economy is experiencing challenges with the World Bank and the South African Reserve Bank having revised growth targets downwards in the recent weeks.However South Africa has a range of strengths which can be leveraged to turn the economic situation around. To name a few:• The World Economic Forum in its 2015 Global Competitiveness Index last week said that “South Africa hosts the continent’s most efficient financial market (12/140) and benefits from a sound goods market (38/140), which is driven by strong domestic competition (28/140).”• The Ibrahim Index on African Governance in its 2015 assessment of 54 countries in Africa, released yesterday, found that South Africa ranks number 2 in the continent in terms of business environment and number 1 in terms of public management.• The Department of Trade and Industry earlier this week announced that FDI inflows into South Africa amounted to US$3.31 billion from January 2015 to July 2015. This indicates confidence in South Africa’s investment climate by foreign investors.• South Africa is also currently implementing a 9-Point Plan comprising simultaneous actions in key strategic areas, aimed at revitalising the economy.These statistics show that despite challenges in the South African economy which are contributing negatively to business confidence, the South African economy remains strong and well positioned to recover in terms of business confidence.Minister Radebe speaking at the Black Management Forum earlier today said, “Faced with a stagnating economy, it is imperative that we find effective and sustainable ways to accelerate the growth rate [and] we need develop the country’s industrial capabilities and reduce dependence on commodity exports.”The commitment by government and collaboration by the corporate sector will see South Africa being to leverage the strengths highlighted above to reverse the current economic situation in the country.Notes to the EditorThe statement by the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry can be found on their website.last_img read more

Why Verizon Killing Its 3G Network Probably Won’t Save You Money

first_imgdan rowinski Tags:#Carriers#lte#verizon Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Related Posts Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagementcenter_img What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … We will soon be witness to the death of 3G. At least, we will from Verizon. Speaking at the Deutsche Bank Media, Internet and Telecom conference, Verizon chief financial officer Fran Shammo said that Verizon could start phasing out its 3G CDMA chips by the beginning of 2014. The goal, ultimately, will be to lower subsidies that carriers pay to smartphone manufacturers to carry new devices.As it stands in the United States, the big carriers pay full price for smartphones like the iPhone or Samsung Galaxy S 3 then retail them at a reduced cost tied to two-year contracts. This subsidy costs the carriers a lot of money up front and is a drain on their quarter-to-quarter revenue. The carriers end up ahead if a user stays for the life of the contract (or pays an early termination fee), but anything a company like Verizon can do to lower its subsidy prices is good for its bottom line.“Then if you look out into late 2014 then you start to think of things like, okay, so now I can start to take the CDMA chip out of the phone and just have a pure LTE handset. That also starts to reduce subsidies. So over the next two to three years I think we will start to see subsidies come down,” said Shammo, according to a transcript of the interview from Thomson Reuters (PDF).What is stopping Verizon from phasing out its 3G CDMA network and moving to LTE permanently now? The answer lays with an overlooked aspect of smartphones that users tend to forget exists: voice.The Coming Of Voice Over LTEAs it stands now, smartphones running LTE cannot make calls over the 4G network. LTE is a big, fat data pipe and it is indeed very fast. Yes, you can use some IP-based services to make calls (Skype, for instance), but the traditional phone call is not available on the newest wireless standard.The challenge is that LTE is an IP-based system (akin to Wi-Fi) and does not handle traditional voice. When you make a call with your 4G LTE Verizon phone, you are actually still using the 3G network. Most people do not know or care how that works, but it forces companies like Verizon to keep expensive chipsets in their smartphones to handle voice calls. Verizon’s CDMA network is also why devices like the iPhone 5 cannot simultaneously make calls and browse the Web. The standard just does not allow it. This will change when Voice Over LTE (VoLTE) is available, likely near the end of 2013 or the beginning of 2014. “So I am a believer that over the next two to three years subsidies will start to decrease just because of the ecosystem. Then, for us, I think – for Verizon Wireless one other important ingredient for us is obviously we are investing in all this LTE technology. We will ultimately get to Voice Over LTE, probably end of this year, beginning of next year,” said Shammo.What Does It Mean For You?More than any other industry, the mobile operators play a very fluid game of ARPU – average revenue per user. As we have seen in the past, the supposed “deals” we have seen from the carriers are really just rearranging how the language and structure of contracts are made. For instance, with Verizon’s “Share Everything” plan, you are going to pay basically the same as you were under the previous plan for data plus a couple extra dollars per device you add. It remains to be seen if Verizon will actually pass on savings from lower subsidies to consumers buying devices. So, Verizon cutting out CDMA in the next year for the sake of lower subsidies is not likely to lower your own data bill. If there is anything that consumers can count on it will be that companies like Verizon will always be looking for ways to squeeze the ARPU out of them.  The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technologylast_img read more

Kristen Bell Named Celebrity Ambassador For Polio Eradication

first_imgKristen Bell is the newest face to join Rotary’s ‘This Close’ public awareness campaign for polio eradication.Kristen Bell supports RotaryA paralyzing and life altering disease, polio is on the verge of becoming the second human disease ever to be eliminated worldwide after smallpox.Bell joins Rotary’s fight against polio as the service organization and its partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative enter the final push to eliminate the vaccine-preventable disease. With the historic removal of Nigeria from the list of polio-endemic countries last month, just two continue to report polio cases– Pakistan and Afghanistan.“I am overjoyed to work with Rotary at such an important moment in history,” Bell said. “To help create awareness about this horrible disease is exhilarating.”Bell is best known for her roles as the quick-witted, sassy title character in the hit series Veronica Mars, razor-sharp Jeannie van der Hooven of House of Lies and the voice of Princess Anna of Arendelle in Disney’s third highest-grossing film Frozen. She became interested in the importance of vaccines after the birth of her two daughters, Lincoln (age two) and Delta (age one).“As the mother of two young girls, I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to make sure every child is safe,” she said. “Polio can be prevented with just 60 cents worth of vaccine – there’s absolutely no reason any child should suffer from it. Hopefully by lending my voice to send this message, I can help rid the world of polio forever.”Video: “This Close” Rotary PSA with Kristen BellAs part of the ‘This Close’ campaign, Bell will be featured in ads raising her thumb and forefinger in the ‘this close’ gesture with the tagline ’we’re this close to ending polio.’ Since the initiative launched in 1988, the incidence of polio has plummeted by more than 99.9 percent, from about 350,000 cases a year to less than 400 confirmed in 2014.The actress joins other public figures and celebrities participating in Rotary’s public awareness campaign, including Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Supermodel Isabeli Fontana; Nobel Peace Prize laureate Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu; action movie star Jackie Chan; boxing great Manny Pacquiao; pop star Psy; golf legend Jack Nicklaus; conservationist Jane Goodall; premier violinist Itzhak Perlman; Grammy Award winners AR Rahman; Angelique Kidjo and Ziggy Marley; and peace advocate Queen Noor of Jordan.Bell’s ad will debut during Rotary’s World Polio Day livestream event, taking place on Friday, 23 October at 6:30 p.m. EST at the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City. Click here to view the streaming event.Rotary launched its polio immunization program PolioPlus in 1985 and in 1988 became a spearheading partner in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative with the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and more recently the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.Rotary’s roles within the initiative are fundraising, advocacy, raising awareness and mobilizing volunteers. To date, Rotary has contributed more than $1.4 billion and countless volunteer hours to fight polio. Through 2018, every dollar Rotary commits to polio eradication will be matched two-to-one by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation up to $35 million a year. To date, more than 2.5 billion children have been immunized against the paralyzing and sometimes deadly poliovirus.last_img read more