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Eurobites: Vodacom puts M-Pesa on steroids with 'super app'Eurobites: Vodacom puts M-Pesa on steroids with 'super app'

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Hiber hooks up with Inmarsat; Forsway develops satellite-assisted 5G; AT&T taps Ericsson for 5G network expansion.

Paul Rainford

October 12, 2021

2 Min Read
Eurobites: Vodacom puts M-Pesa on steroids with 'super app'

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Hiber hooks up with Inmarsat; Forsway develops satellite-assisted 5G; AT&T taps Ericsson for 5G network expansion. South Africa's Vodacom is hoping to build on the success of its M-Pesa mobile money platform with the launch of VodaPay, a so-called "super app" that offers its users access to digital financial services as well as online shopping and "lifestyle tools." VodaPay, which is available from the Android and Apple app stores, allows users to securely upload and store their money in a "digital wallet" within the app. It is zero-rated for Vodacom customers, though this perk will be extended to customers of other mobile networks in due course. Vodacom says it has teamed up with some of South Africa's biggest businesses to broaden the appeal of the app. Netherlands-based Hiber has hooked up with Inmarsat to extend its Hiberband low-power IoT network via the power of satellite connectivity. The agreement basically pairs Inmarsat's recently unveiled ELERA network, a global satellite network for IoT, with Hiber's IoT-as-a-service offering. Hiber says the new arrangement will enable it to support new industrial IoT applications, even in areas without decent cellular or Wi-Fi coverage. Elsewhere on the extra-terrestrial front, Sweden's Forsway has announced Phase II of its ARTES hybrid satellite hub project, which is intended to provide satellite-assisted 5G for connected vehicles, be they earthbound or airborne. The central plank of the project is the integration of the Forsway Xtend Hub with 5G/NFV architecture. US mega-telco AT&T has turned to Ericsson for the expansion of its 5G network and C-band spectrum build. Under the terms of the five-year agreement, the Swedish vendor will be bringing a range of RAN technologies to the party, including its Advanced Antenna System, Advanced RAN Coordination, Carrier Aggregation portfolio and Fronthaul Gateway. AT&T has ambitions to reach 70-75 million people with 5G over C-band by the end of 2022. Budapest-based 4iG is to buy a controlling stake in Israeli satellite operator Spacecom for $68 million, according to a Reuters report. Spacecom operates the AMOS satellite fleet, which comprises four communication satellites that serve Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Belgium's Proximus is going ahead with the launch of a digital banking platform, though curiously, since its initial announcement back in June, the platform's name has morphed from "Banx" to "Beats." Go figure. Anyway, whatever it's called, it's the fruit of a collaboration between Proximus and Belfius, which is an existing bank based in Brussels. The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) has released a test specification for the existing consumer IoT security standard that is ETSI EN 303 645. The test spec, ETSI TS 103 701, is intended to allow manufacturers and others to assess the compliance of their devices against the standard in self-assessments or testing labs. — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Paul Rainford

Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

Based on the Isle of Wight, a rocky outcrop off the English coast that is home only to a colony of technology journalists and several thousand puffins, Paul has worked as a copy editor and sometime writer since the age of William Caxton, covering the design industry, D-list celebs, tourism and much, much more.

During the nougthies he took time out from his page proofs and marker pens to run a small hotel with his other half in the wilds of Exmoor. There he developed a range of skills including carrying cooked breakfasts, lying to unwanted guests and stopping leaks with old towels.

Now back, slightly befuddled, in the world of online journalism, Paul is thoroughly engaged with the modern world, regularly firing up his VHS video recorder and sending text messages to strangers using a chipped Nokia feature phone.

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