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Top 3 reasons interconnection dispute between Glo and MTN turned vicious

As Nigeria’s two biggest mobile network operators (MNOs), MTN and Globacom intensify talks to permanently resolve their interconnection disputes, more information has emerged to suggest that the issue may be deeper than earlier believed.

For about a week, subscribers of Globacom went through difficulties while trying to initiate calls to MTN subscribers following partial disconnection of Globacom by MTN as a result of interconnection disputes.

Obtaining formal responses from the two sides have been difficult but unofficial sources at MTN alleged that Globacom owes MTN up to N10 billion naira in unpaid interconnection fees. This was reported by a national publication, Businessday.

A report in Punch however quoted the Nigerian Communications Commission as saying the amount in dispute between Globacom and Mtn was about N4 billion out of which Globacom was said to have paid N500 million while discussions were still ongoing to agree on the final figures.

Globacom’s Communications Department refused to comment on the issue when contacted, saying there were ongoing discussions between the two companies towards a resolution.

A source in the communications industry on Wednesday alleged that MTN might have pushed the N10 billion narrative as a desperate attempt to garner public sympathy, since NCC had stated that the figure in dispute was about four billion naira while Globacom was believed to have argued that the amount was less than N4 billion.

The source said the sum of N500 million Globacom paid to Mtn ahead of the conclusion of the reconcilliation process was in good faith and wondered why MTN went ahead to implement a partial disconnection.

Telecom analysts hint at a long-standing undercurrent of rivalry dating back many years that have just been brought to the fore by the interconnection impasse.

Since its entry into the market, Globacom, has remained the disruptor in the country’s telecom market, running its own race independent of earlier operators’ unspoken agreement, especially where the operator believed running with other operators would mean giving subscribers less value for money.

For instance, when MTN and the other major operator at the time, Econet, insisted that the market was not mature for the introduction of Per Second Billing of calls, Globacom refused to play along and introduced per second billing to the delight of telecom users and chagrin of fellow operators.
Since then, Globacom has consistently played disruptive roles aimed at delivering more value to the consumers at the expense of the operators.

“There is also the angle of what I would call ‘competitive strategy’. You can’t rule that out. Globacom is recording steady growth as evidenced in the monthly report of the Nigerian Communications Commission in the last one year. MTN’s move might have been to strategically slow down the rate of growth of the aggressive competitor,” said the analyst.

He noted that this is not far-fetched when one considers how other South African brands have successfully weakened competition in other sectors and emerged the dominant figures. “In the pay TV sector today, DSTV is a near monopoly,” the analyst said.

Another analyst also cited the recent troubles MTN has had, especially in the area of xenophobic attacks, pointing out that these might also have accounted for its decision to come down hard on Globacom out of frustration as a distraction strategy.

Feelers from the two companies last night suggested that they are coming near a permanent settlement. Whatever the issues, it is hoped that the two will permanently resolve their issues for the benefit of their customers.

Enraged Nigerian subscribers have already sounded notes of warning to Mtn, warning the company not to kill a Nigerian telco.

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News Tech

Why WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram go down simultaneously

0f735805-whatsapp-down-2-750x375
It is no longer a news that WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook’s services are seemingly experiencing technical glitches since earlier on Wednesday.

The outage appears to be global, with media reports and tweets revealing that the issue is prevalent across Europe, USA and Africa as well.

Some Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp users cannot upload photos, videos and files.

Facebook, which owns all three apps, said it was aware of the issue and was “working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible”.

Why are the apps down?

Experts said from a technical point of view, there will always be the occasional disruption between connected apps and services due to the complexity of the services they’re offering.

Most of the servers and storage are shared among the different apps, services or platforms. When one breaks, it may very well affect all the other services connected to it.

Facebook experienced its worst outage ever back in March. It rendered Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp unusable for up to two days.

Users were unable to log into their accounts or share posts on Facebook and Instagram. On WhatsApp, messages couldn’t be sent or received. The social media giant blamed it on a “server configuration change.”

Earlier today, Facebook experienced technical issues which affected WhatsApp and Instagram as well.

Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO and founder of Facebook, owns WhatsApp and Instagram too. Since founding Facebook, Zuckerberg has taken an aggressive strategy when it comes to acquisitions.

Acquiring Instagram
Zuckerberg knows what he is doing, too. When Facebook purchased Instagram in April 2012 for $1 billion, the image sharing site was not generating revenue and offered limited features.

Skip to 2019 and Instagram is worth $100 billion. It has been generating revenue since on-platform ads were introduced in 2013. Today, Instagram generates more revenue than Facebook.

Acquiring WhatsApp
Facebook acquired WhatsApp in February 2014 for $19.3 billion. While WhatsApp has been generating revenue for years before being bought by Facebook, its user base had spiked since 2014.

Within just four years, it can boast more than 1.5 billion active users, surpassing even Instagram’s user base.

How are they connected?

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News Tech

Urgent: WhatsApp asks users to upgrade app — after spyware attack

How to use Whatsapp
WhatsApp has asked users to upgrade to the latest version of its messaging app following a report that users could be vulnerable to having malicious spyware installed on phones without their knowledge.

Financial Times had reported the vulnerability in WhatsApp, saying it could allow attackers inject spyware on phones by ringing up targets using the app’s phone call function.

It said the spyware was developed by Israeli cyber surveillance company NSO Group.

“WhatsApp encourages people to upgrade to the latest version of our app, as well as keep their mobile operating system up to date,” a spokesman of the platform said.

“The upgrade will protect app against potential targeted exploits designed to compromise information stored on mobile devices.

“We are constantly working alongside industry partners to provide the latest security enhancements to help protect our users.”

Asked about the report, NSO said its technology was licensed to authorise government agencies “for the sole purpose
of fighting crime and terror,” and that it does not operate the system itself.

“We investigate any credible allegations of misuse and if necessary, we take action, including shutting down the system,” the company said.

“Under no circumstances would NSO be involved in the operating or identifying of targets of its technology, which is solely operated by intelligence and law enforcement agencies.

“NSO would not or could not use its technology in its own right to target any person or organisation, including
this individual.”

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Tech

How To Make Group Video Calls On WhatsApp

Social media platform, WhatsApp has updated its messaging service with support for group video calls. This will allow you to chat with up to three people simultaneously on its Android and iOS apps.

how to make group video call on whatsapp

If you are itching to try this feature out, you’ll need to follow a few, easy steps.

How to make group video call on whatsapp

  • Update the whatsapp app on your phone to the latest version.
  • Start a one-on-one video call with a contact like you normally would.
  • At the top right of your screen, you will see  “add participant” button, tap the button.
  • Add the contacts of the person(s) you want to share the call with.
  • You’re making a video call with more than one person.

One-on-one video calls were introduced to the application in 2016 and voice-calling in 2014. Its users spend up to 2 billion minutes per day talking on the phone. But WhatsApp took its time adding this feature that allows you to call more people at a time, regardless of where you are.

WhatsApp calls reportedly have end-to-end encryption like standard messages on the platform.

Facebook, the parent company for both WhatsApp and Instagram, announced in May at its F8 developer conference that it was building this feature (group calling with both voice and video support) for both apps. The feature became available on Facebook in June, with the same four-person limit.

The feature is engineered to work under less-than-stellar network conditions, according to the company, so you can video chat a friend or family member from wherever you are as long as you can connect to the internet.

Although this is good news for many active WhatsApp users, iOS 12’s FaceTime allows for up to 32 people at once.

Either way, this feature is rolling out today to its 1.5 billion monthly active users, so enjoy!

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Tech

Paxful To Launch Blockchain incubator in Lagos

Global peer-to-peer bitcoin technology firm Paxful is to launch a blockchain technology incubation hub in Lagos, Nigeria, later this year, providing a co-working space and services including mentorship, corporate and individual blockchain training, and networking for ICO advisors.

Paxful is a bitcoin marketplace and digital wallet that enables buyers to purchase bitcoin directly from sellers via more than 300 different payment methods, including gift cards, cash deposits, online wallets or debit and credit cards.

The company said the launch of a blockchain incubator in Nigeria was part of its greater plan for investment in Africa. Paxful has also appointed Chuta Chimezie as regional director of Africa. He will be responsible for conducting business operations, facilitating local and international brand awareness, creating educational content on behalf of Paxful, recruiting, and overseeing the incubator’s day-to-day operations.

“Paxful is committed to fostering economic growth in Africa and helping the unbanked and underbanked gain access to the opportunities they have been denied for so long,” said the company’s chief executive officer (CEO) Ray Youssef. “The incubator is simply a starting point to help driven entrepreneurs in an industry that has shattered boundaries all over the world.”

Paxful will sponsor several blockchain and crypto-focused events in Nigeria, and plans to sponsor and speak at others in Ghana, Cameroon and Kenya. The company launched its #BuiltwithBitcoin charitable programme last year to encourage the cryptocurrency sector to contribute funds for humanitarian projects.

The post Blockchain incubator to launch in Lagos appeared first on Disrupt Africa.

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Tech

What to do when your iPhone’s battery is dying

There are few things as stressful as the moment you realize your iPhone is dipping below the 20% battery life mark.

It is a feeling of terror and uncertainty especially if you’re far from an outlet, but fear not.

Here is what to do to get every last drop of battery life from your soon to be deceased iPhone.

First, close all those applications running in the background, to do this, double-tap your home button and then swipe up to close apps.

Next, go to Settings -> Cellular and switch “Cellular Data” to the off position, this will cut your iPhone off from wireless Internet service, meaning you’ll be without access to email or iMessage  but you’ll still be able to make calls and send and receive regular SMS texts.

If you really don’t need to be accessible for a while and you’re just trying to save your iPhone for when you’ll need it later, swipe up from the bottom of your screen and hit the airplane icon on the far left to turn on Airplane Mode, which will disable all communications while cutting down dramatically on battery usage.

Finally, lower your screen brightness by swiping up from the bottom of your phone and moving the brightness slider to the left.

That’ll make your iPhone harder to read, but powering a bright screen eats up a whole lot of your iPhone’s battery power.

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Tech

How to increase VLC Player Volume to 300%

Today’s tech tips show you how to increase the volume of your VLC to 300%, just in case you like it loud.

  • One of the best things about VLC player before version 2.1.1 was the ability to raise the volume up to 200% as watching a movie in a noisy room without a headset can be frustrating, but with VLC player volume raised way above the normal level, the loudness makes it easier.

For reasons best known to Video LAN Organization, they decided to remove this feature and dropped the maximum volume to 125% right from version 2.1.1.

Here is a trick to make the player volume work like it used to and even crank it up to 300%.

  1. Launch VLC Player and go to Tools > Preferences

  2. Under Show Settings, select the All radio button.

  3. On the left panel, locate and expand Main Interfaces, then select Qt.

  4. On the right panel, scroll down to the bottom and change the maximum volume displayed.

You can change the value to whatever you like but the maximum volume is 300%.  Save your changes and restart the player.

Note: we are not responsible if something goes wrong with your speakers. There’s a reason this setting is hidden. There are cases where VLC damaged speakers.

Source: Geek

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Tech

Snapchat Reportedly Planning to Lay Off 100 Employees

The social media company, Snapchat, is laying off about 100 engineers or nearly 10 percent of the team according to CNBC.

The company has been conducting small rounds of layoffs in recent months, particularly in its marketing, recruiting and content divisions, and according to Tech Crunch, the layoffs of engineers is a sign that Snap looks to remake itself into something that’s different like Instagram, which had copied many of Snap’s core features like Stories.

While the company is still worth around $22 billion, although lower than Twitter’s market cap, Snap has struggled to show growth and that it can continue to register new users.

With these rounds of layoffs which began in January, it seems that Snap is trying to set itself up for a new direction. The company last month rolled out a redesign of its pioneering photo messaging app, which separated publisher content from content posted by friends and connections, and users were not happy.

we might even be looking at a new version Snapchat soon.

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Tech

BlackBerry sues Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram for alleged infringement

BlackBerry Ltd (BB.TO) has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Facebook Inc (FB.O) and its WhatsApp and Instagram apps, arguing that they copied technology and features from BlackBerry Messenger.

The core of BlackBerry’s complaint, which is a sprawling 117 pages, is that Facebook, along with its subsidiaries WhatsApp and Instagram developed messaging applications that “co-opt BlackBerry’s innovations” by using patented features touching on security, the user interface, and battery life.

“Defendants created mobile messaging applications that co-opt BlackBerry’s innovations, using a number of the innovative security, user interface, and functionality enhancing features,” Canada-based BlackBerry said in a filing with a Los Angeles federal court.

Facebook Deputy General Counsel, Paul Grewal said in a statement that the company intended to fight the lawsuit.

“Blackberry’s suit sadly reflects the current state of its messaging business,” Grewal said. “Having abandoned its efforts to innovate, Blackberry is now looking to tax the innovation of others.”

According to Reuters, litigation over patent infringement is part of BlackBerry Chief Executive John Chen’s strategy for making money for the company, which has lost market share in the smartphone market it once dominated.

BlackBerry sued Nokia Corp in February 2017, alleging infringement of patents relating to 3G and 4G wireless communications technology. That case is still pending in federal court in Delaware.

Last year Qualcomm Inc (QCOM.O) agreed to pay BlackBerry $940 million to resolve arbitration over royalty payments.

In October 2017 BlackBerry announced a confidential settlement with Blu Products Inc, a Florida-based maker of low-cost mobile devices it had also sued for patent infringement.

BlackBerry was an early leader in the messaging market with the success of its smartphones and BlackBerry Messenger product in the mid-2000s.

The patents cited in their lawsuit against Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram describe foundational elements of today’s messaging services. One patent deals with notifications for the total number of unread messages.

Other patents address photo tagging and messaging time stamps.

BlackBerry is seeking unspecified monetary damages. It also appears to be seeking a partnership.

“As a cybersecurity and embedded software leader, BlackBerry’s view is that Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp could make great partners in our drive toward a securely connected future,” the spokesperson said in the statement.

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Tech

It does not really count if you are a tech enthusiast or an ordinary consumer, you will always look forward to the tech developments especially the tech trends that will make a difference in the future.

Here are 5 technology set to define 2018.

Artificial Intelligence 
Artificial intelligence (AI) will be bigger this year. More and more organisations will embrace AI which is made possible through machine learning algorithms and will be incorporated in uncountable applications.
5 Generation Technology 
This year, developers and engineers are getting ready to make a new generation of internet possible. By the end of 2019, 5G networks and phones with 5G will be available.  5G internet has the potential to be almost 10 times faster than 4G, making it even better than most home internet services.
Data overload 
In 2018, data collection is going to become an even higher priority as companies have seen the advantage of collecting consumer data. With consumers talking to smart speakers throughout their day and relying on digital devices for most of their daily tasks, companies will soon have access to big amounts of personal data.
Automation 
Automation is inescapable as robots are becoming more effective in performing jobs. AI has become advanced enough to replace at least some white collar jobs for years. 2018 may be the year that we see more sweeping job transformations and companies making big technology changes by automating functions.
IoT becomes Blockchain IoT 
The Internet of things (IoT), which involves adding smart sensors to connected devices so that users can do things like asking Amazon’s Alexa digital assistant to turn off the lights or order a pizza. Combining IoT with blockchain —or BIoT— brings in a whole host of new services and businesses. For example, BIoT can be used to track shipments of pharmaceuticals and to create smart cities in which connected heating systems better controls energy use and connected traffic lights better manage rush hour.
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Tech

Facebook Bans Ads For Bitcoin, Other Cryptocurrencies

Facebook says it is banning all advertisements related to cryptocurrencies in an effort to fight scams.

Facebook said it is barring ads for “financial products and services that are frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices, such as binary options, initial coin offerings and cryptocurrency.”

Initial coin offerings or ICOs are a way for companies to raise funds by selling investors cryptographic assets.

This week, for instance, the US Securities and Exchange Commission shut down an initial coin offering by a Texas company called AriseBank.

AriseBank was accused of relying on celebrity endorsers such as boxer Evander Holyfield and social media to cheat investors out of $600 million of its goal of $1 billion for a currency it called “AriseCoin.”

In a blog post announcing the news, Facebook product management director Rob Leathern hinted that Facebook may modify the new policy at some point to allow bona fide crypto-related businesses to advertise again.

“We want people to continue to discover and learn about new products and services through Facebook ads without fear of scams or deception,” Leathern wrote. “That said, there are many companies who are advertising binary options, ICOs and cryptocurrencies that are not currently operating in good faith.”

“This policy is intentionally broad while we work to better detect deceptive and misleading advertising practices, and enforcement will begin to ramp up across our platforms including Facebook, Audience Network and Instagram. We will revisit this policy and how we enforce it as our signals improve,” he added.

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Tech

5 Smartphone Tricks To Make You More Productive

Many people have smartphones but they only use them to surf social media-Facebook, Instagram. What they do not realise is that their smartphone can do much more than surfing the internet. You can use to become more productive.

smartphone tricks
As such, whether you’re looking for an easier way to send that signed notice to your boss, or just want to stay focused on work when browsing the web, Jumia Travel highlights smartphone tricks that will make you more productive.

Use your iPad as a second monitor 
Add up the dozens of tabs crowding your web browser and the overflowing email inbox you’re catching up on, and there’s never enough screen space. It’s especially cumbersome if you’re trying to do those things on a small laptop. That’s where your iPad can come in handy — by doubling as a second monitor by using the Duet Display app, you can turn your iPad into a second screen for your Mac or PC.

Speed through voicemail with Google Voice transcriptions 
Google Voice will automatically convert your voicemails into Gmail emails or text messages that you can read later, at your leisure. You can convert those Gmail messages you receive from Google Voice into to-do list tasks with Gmail plugin.

Use your smartphone to scan documents 
Even if you tend to use email for work-related documentation, there may be occasions when sharing hard copy paperwork becomes necessary. Try a free app like Evernote Scannable or Adobe Scan to scan documents, receipts, business cards, forms and more by using your smartphone’s camera.

Turn off Notifications 
There are lots of things that distract us while working. Your smartphone is the biggest culprit here. Thus, your phone will be buzzing almost every second and it will become a distraction. So, the best way to be productive is to turn off notifications.

Airplane mode isn’t just for airplanes 
Airplane mode has a number of fantastic benefits that go far beyond the runway. For example, if you’re having trouble with your 3/4G signal when you clearly shouldn’t, just switch airplane mode on and then off, and your signal should be restored. Also, if you’ve been on-the-go all day and have 4% battery when you get back to the office, turn your phone on airplane mode and it will charge much faster. Lastly, if you’ve had a long day and send a text message to the wrong person, quickly turn on airplane mode and when the message fails to deliver, you can delete it and then actually send it to the correct person.

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Tech

iPhone X’s $1000 is not costly! It’s a “value price”, says Apple’s Tim Cook

The iPhone X is the most expensive iPhone ever made and actually the most expensive mainstream phone ever sold with a starting price of $999, but if you ask Tim Cook, he will give you a different perspective on that price.
iPhone X's $1000 cost? It's a "value price", says Apple's Tim Cook
The response came to a question on Twitter that asked whether Cook thinks that the new iPhone X is out of reach for the average American.
And here is Apple’s chief executive full response:
“Well it’s a value price, actually, for the technology that you’re getting, and, as it turns out you know most people are now paying for phones over long periods of time, and so very few people will pay the price tag of the phone initially. Also, most people actually trade in their current phone, and so that reduces the price further, and some carriers even throw in subsidies and discounts. So, when we look at it the phone – the iPhone in particular – has become so essential in our daily lives, people want it to do more, more, and more and so we built more and more technology in to be able to do that.”
Interestingly, the Apple iPhone 8 that has just been launched seems to be selling at a slower pace than usual, which suggests that many users are holding back to purchase the newer and better iPhone X.

“Apple has never been about selling the most of anything … We want to help people”

While it’s clear that there is a lot of interest for the iPhone X, is it really “a value price”? Apple has certainly invested a lot of money to make this new bezel-less phone possible, but claiming that a $1,000 phone is offered at a “value price” still seems far-fetched to the average consumer.
“Apple has never been about selling the most of anything – that is not our objective, our objectives are not big revenues, our objective is to make the best product that enriches peoples’ lives. We want to help people.”
Apple’s Tim Cook further emphasized that Apple is all about helping people, but let’s not forget that the company is the world’s richest and consistently commands a nearly 40% profit margin on its products, the highest of all phone makers.
source: ABC News
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Tech

WordPress vs Blogspot – The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

Blogger-vs-WordPress

WordPress vs Blogspot

      Blogging has gone from being a hobby to a profitable venture that many people take very seriously. If you are

planning

      on starting your own blog, there are a number of sites that offer their hosting services; the most notable are WordPress and Blogspot. The main difference between the two is the payment needed. Blogspot offers totally free services, which are supplemented by the ads that they show. Although you can get the bulk of WordPress

services

      for free, there are some that are only available once you pay for the premium subscription. For those who are just starting though, either service is more than good enough.

Another difference between Blogspot and WordPress is with Javascript. Blogspot allows you to include third party scripts into your blog, although they do not provide their own. In contrast, Javascript is not allowed in WordPress blogs. On one hand you get a more interactive interface, while on the other you get a cleaner and faster interface. So it is up to the user to decide on what is more important to him.

Both services allow the user to create private blogs, which are not visible by the general public. The difference in this aspect between WordPress and Blogspot is with who can view them. With Blogspot, you are limited to up to 100 people who can view a private post and these users must also have Blogspot accounts. In comparison, WordPress does not put any restriction to whom and how many users can be invited to view your private post.

Lastly, WordPress allows you to protect your posts with passwords, which is another way that you can limit who can view the contents of your posts. This is another feature that you do not get when using Blogspot.

WordPress and Blogspot are giants in the blogging world. One thing you should take note of is that Blogspot is owned by Google and it integrates some of the services that they offer. The most important one is Google Adsense. This is very important if you want to eventually monetize the blog that you are building.

Summary:

    1. Blogspot is totally free while a payment is necessary for the premium features of WordPress
    2. Blogspot allows Javascript while WordPress does not
    3. Blogspot limits the number of viewers for private blogs while WordPress does not
    4. WordPress allows password protected posts while Blogspot does not

 

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Tech

iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X: Here Is How Much They Will Cost

After months and months of waiting, with all the rumours and speculation, the new iPhones are here.

Let’s get straight to it, shall we!

Live from the new Apple Park campus in Cupertino, California, three phones have been announced so far: the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 plus and the special iPhone X (pronounced ten). Apple has also announced Apple Watch Series 3 with cellular, Apple TV 4k.

iPhone Prices

Inset: iPhone Prices

The iPhone 8 starts at $699 for a 64GB model, while the iPhone 8 Plus starts at $799 for a 64GB model. Pre-orders start September 15 and they will be available from September 22.

iPhone 8 & 8 Plus

Inset: iPhone 8 & 8 Plus

The iPhone X starts at $999. Pre-orders start October 27 and shipping will begin on November 3.

iPhone X

Inset: iPhone X

Check out the various specs for the new iPhones below:

iPhone comparison. Credit: Tech Crunch