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NFC at heart of Brazilian mobile payments project

Brazilian flag

Claro, Bradesco and G&D are working together on an NFC mobile payments project in Brazil

Brazilian mobile operator Claro is planning to roll out NFC mobile payments across Brazil by summer 2014, through a partnership with banking group Bradesco and SIM card provider Giesecke & Devrient.

Under the plan, Brazilians will be able to use their smartphones to pay for their shopping. The project will begin in the state of São Paulo and will later be expanded to the rest of the country. G&D is supplying the SIM cards with secure storage for the payment software and the SmartTrust Portigo mobile wallet for smartphones, which will store the sensitive customer information such as debit card numbers and account details. It will also provide the trusted service manage tools to Bradesco and Claro, which will allow them to receive Bradesco account holders’ payment card information onto their devices in an encrypted form via Claro’s mobile network.

Claro is part of LatAm operator group America Movil. The company has been in Brazil since 2003 and is available in over 2,000 Brazilian towns and cities. Bradesco is one of the larger banks in Brazil and has 4,686 branches, 3,781 service branches and 59,307 Bradesco Expresso units, which consist of correspondent banks through partnership with supermarkets, department stores and other retail chains. Together, the companies claim that they are targeting a potential user base of 85 million.

According to G&D, users will initially be able to make payments at 200,000 payment points in retail outlets. However, the requirements are relatively limiting – the user needs to be a customer of both Bradesco and Claro, and needs to have a smartphone with an NCF-ready SIM card, before the customer can make a mobile payment. While mobile penetration had reached 136.6 per cent by December 2013,  smartphone adoption stands at 44 per cent, according to research firm Informa. The population of Brazil is 198.7 million according to the World Bank.

The SIM cards used are G&D’s SkySIM CX cards. The mobile wallet application can be installed onto existing Claro customers’ smartphones, and is available pre-loaded for new phones. The Claro branded mobile wallet provided by G&D can be downloaded from the Google Play Store.

“By adopting mobile payment services based on NFC technology Brazil is setting the course for all of Latin America,” said Carsten Ahrens, group SVP, server software and services division at Giesecke & Devrient. “We are delighted at the chance to furnish both our partners with a secure, overall concept. And in providing our award winning SmartTrust Portigo mobile wallet solution, we are making it real easy for people to make contactless payments with their smartphones.”

The firms claim the mobile payments scheme is the first of its kind to go live in the country. However, in May 2013 Telefónica and MasterCard rolled out a mobile payment service called Zuum in São Paulo and Belo Horizonte. That service allow Brazilians to transfer money, buy credits for pre-paid mobile phones and pay bills with their mobile phone, but not to make in-store payments. Users can also choose to receive a pre-paid card from MasterCard which is connected to the same pre-paid account, and can then be used to make purchases and withdraw cash from Cirrus ATMs.

In addition, Zong, a PayPal subsidiary started in 2008 by entrepreneur David Marcus, has signed Brazilian carriers Vivo, TIM, BRT, Claro and Oi onboard for its own mobile payment service in the country. Meanwhile, eFinance company Paggo is developing payment solutions with mobile operator Oi and the national bank, Banco do Brasil.

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Vodafone awards global deal to Samsung for Project Spring

Global broadband revenues to continue rising

Vodafone is investing in global infrastructure

UK-based operator Vodafone has tapped up Korean manufacturer Samsung for a global framework agreement, to deliver 2G, 3G and 4G infrastructure across the Vodafone Group footprint.

The framework agreement supports Vodafone’s organic investment programme, Project Spring, which is designed to accelerate its plans to establish stronger network and service differentiation for its customers. Earlier this week the operator also signed up Ericsson.

Vodafone is making significant investments in its global network infrastructure. As we ll as Project Spring the company’s Carrier Services division recently revealed that it is currently investing heavily in MPLS and by the end of the year will have what it claims is the world’s largest physical MPLS infrastructure.

The firm is also investing on solutions that will run on this infrastructure and the division’s CEO Brian Fitzpatrick told that Vodafone will also have one of, if not the largest IPX infrastructure in the world, when work is complete.

UK, US businesses to double mobile project spend in next 18 months

UK and US businesses are embracing mobile at an unprecedented rate with a third of companies planning to launch four or more mobile projects in the next 12-18 months – but frustrations around the cost, complexity, management and timescale of those projects are growing, Click here for more.


AT&T takes on Google with Austin fibre project

AT&T will deploy its fiber service in Austin Texas, beginning December

AT&T will deploy its fiber service in Austin Texas, beginning December

US operator AT&T is aiming to steal a march on Google with the announcement that it will roll out a fibre network in the city of Austin, Texas this year, promising speeds of up to 1Gbps. The city is also the next urban metropolitan area in line for Google’s Fiber treatment, following the firm’s high speed fibre deployment in Kansas.

AT&T said its service should be live in the city in December this year, while Google has announced that it hopes to have its Fiber service to its first customers in Austin by the middle of 2014. It is also looking to deploy fiber in the town of Provo, Utah, after it deployed the 1Gbps service in Kansas City earlier this year.

AT&T said that its service will initially reach tens of thousands of customer locations throughout Austin and the surrounding areas before the end of this year, with additional local expansion planned in 2014 to reach more neighbourhoods and businesses.

“Austin embodies innovation and social consciousness, and is the heart of a vibrant, ever-evolving tech culture and entrepreneurial spirit,” said Dave Nichols, president at AT&T Texas.  “With our all-fiber U-verse services, we are building the foundation for a new wave of innovation for Austin’s consumers, businesses, and civic and educational institutions.  It’s about engaging the full community and empowering the city and its people with all that technology can offer us. This investment will help attract new business and new jobs to Austin.”

AT&T also announced the creation of a new executive position to lead its U-verse with GigaPowerSM initiative. Dahna Hull has been appointed vice president and general manager, Austin at AT&T Services.

Google’s Fiber City project goes live in Kansas City

Google's first fiber city is now ready for customers to sign up

Google has launched its long awaited Google Fiber project in Kansas City, offering a broadband service that it says is 100 times faster than the average speed currently available in the US. It has also launched an interactive TV service dubbed Google Fiber TV.

While the service is already available, customers in the catchment area are required to preregister by 9 September. Google is asking people to encourage their neighbours to sign up as only once each area, dubbed a Fibrehood, has enough people interested will it then make one of three packages available to customers. Each package has a $ 300 ‘construction fee’ to connect the fibre service to the house, but Google said it would waive this to those who initially sign up to one of the two monthly fee-paying services.

For $ 120 a month on a two-year contract, customers will get a Network Box with wifi and four Gigabit Ethernet ports, to deliver the 1Gb/sec download and upload speeds, and a TV service via a Google Fiber box that will offer a wide range of HD channels with the ability to record up to eight channels at once. A two terabyte network storage box is provided as well as access to one terabyte of Google Drive storage. Google is also throwing in its new Nexus 7 tablet as a remote control device for the service.

Customers who want a broadband-only service will get the network box for $ 70 a month and the Google Drive storage.

The third package will require payment of the $ 300 fee, but will guarantee free internet access for seven years via the provided Network box, though only at speeds of 5Mbps download and 1Mbps upload, with no data caps.

The search and advertising company intimated that once it had enough customers signed up it would also hook up schools, libraries, government offices, and other publicly accessed buildings to the fibre network.

To encourage people to sign up, Google has opened a Fiber Space in Kansas City for locals to come and try Google Fiber first hand to see if they like the look of 1Gb internet.

At the launch, Milo Medin, vice president of access services for Google said that over the past decade internet speeds have stagnated. “The access network hasn’t kept up with the rest of the network. It’s great that thing have gotten a little faster but we can do better. You know what, we can do a lot better.”

At the Broadband World Summit in Amsterdam last year, Google’s head of fibre access, Kevin Lo, faced down criticism of Google’s obsession with Fibre from Australian shadow minister for communications and broadband, Malcolm Turnball.  “We believe that we are on the right side of history,” Lo said. “If you put a gigabit in people’s homes they will be inspired to find new ways to use it. We have no idea why you need a gigabit today, but when we all had dial up you could not possibly imagine watching video over them. It’s not about doing email faster, it’s about doing those new things that you don’t do today.”

The Broadband World Forum 2012 is taking place on the 16 – 18 October 2012 at the RAI Exhibition and Convention Centre, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Click here now to register your interest. – telecoms industry news, analysis and opinion

Smart Home Project Director, EDF, France: “Data analytics will become a key competency.”

Jean-Paul Krivine, Smart Energy - Smart Home Project Director, EDF, France

Jean-Paul Krivine, Smart Energy – Smart Home Project Director, EDF, France

Jean-Paul Krivine, Smart Energy – Smart Home Project Director, EDF, France, is speaking in the Connected Home stream on Day Two of the Broadband World Forum taking place on the 22nd – 24th October 2013 at the RAI Exhibition and Convention Centre, Amsterdam. Ahead of the show we find out more about what role energy companies will play in the ‘digital home’ and the value added services they will be able to provide.

How will the ‘Digital Home’ change how you interact with your customers compared to what is standard today?

Thanks to the Internet and the ubiquity of smartphones, our customers are more and more connected, everywhere and anytime, with instant access to their data and their social networks. This is becoming the standard for customer relationship in all sectors. As a result our customers are not just comparing EDF channels with what our competitors in the energy sector deliver, but with what Amazon, Google and others are doing.

With the Internet of Things and myriad communicating objects, the digital home that is emerging provides a huge opportunity to add rich content to this interaction. Specifically, the smart meters that are about to be rolled-out in all European countries are key communication devices and will enable us to deliver on the primary expectation of our customers, that is transparency on consumption and clear bill understanding. However, they will also act as a preliminary step for further services.

Why will the consumer want to have a ‘smart’ meter in their house, and who should foot the bill for its installation?

The smart meter is not an end-it-itself. Customers haven’t a clear idea of what a smart meter is, and how they can benefit from it. What will interest them will be the services that will be built that make use of it. Examples are transparency on energy consumption, accurate bills, and remote actions without any need for appointments. Some of the basic services will be part of a normal modernisation programme and will be free of charge. For other applications though, the customer will be ready to pay for it.

In France, the full roll-out of smart meters is fully balanced by the value generated for meter and network operations, so the customer will not pay for it. In some other countries (the UK for instance), the benefit is at a more aggregated level, so any increase in the final bill will have to reflect truly new services.

The Broadband World Forum is taking place on the 22nd – 24th October 2013 at the RAI Exhibition and Convention Centre, Amsterdam. Click here to download a brochure for the event and here to register for a conference pass.

Is there a standard for ‘smart metering’ amongst the energy players and who is driving that process?

We have to consider this separately downstream and upstream from the meter. Upstream of the meter, meter operation and data collection, should be supported by a common standard at national level.

In France, having mainly one network and meter operator that covers almost all customers, we have a de facto standard. In some other countries, where meter operations are fragmented between several players (the UK for instance), a common infrastructure has to be designed to ensure interoperability and standards.

Downstream of the meter, i.e. the connection to the home network, the question relies on a digital home standard. This has yet to be created, and it will probably be solved for other reasons that energy. However, we are strongly involved in large scale trials (for instance, Smart Electric Lyon, in France) with the main digital home players to ensure standards will actually emerge, enabling interoperability and deployment of new services at the lowest possible cost.

What are the challenges involved in managing the data generated by smart meter?

The challenges are numerous, such as the quantity of data and the frequency of collection, amongst others. Compare to now, where we collect a few indexes per year, the challenge is significant. It concerns both the data operator (in France, the DSO) and the suppliers. But, from a supplier’s point of view, another exciting challenge has to be handled: how to transform data in useful knowledge that will be the basis for added-value services for our customers. Data analytics will become a key competency.

What partnerships and relationships have you built up with carriers to enable smart metering?

In France, smart meters are rolled-out by the network operator that is a regulated and neutral entity. EDF, as with all others suppliers, is working with it to ensure that the processes will be smooth from the beginning. Then, value-added services could rapidly be implemented. But more generally, energy suppliers need to develop partnerships with infrastructure operators to ensure they can benefit from connectivity at the lowest price and the greatest efficiency.

Is a ‘smart home’ automatically going to be more profitable for suppliers and bring cost savings to consumers?

The smart home is not primarily oriented to energy. The main drivers are comfort, entertainment, security, and health. Customers are ready to pay for such services, and some profitable businesses do already exist. However, customers are mainly concerned with energy when they have to pay their bill or when they haven’t any. The ‘smart home’ promise is a home that is easy to live in and as an energy company we want to also make it an efficient house.

What are you most looking forward to about attending the Broadband World Forum this year?

As mentioned before, the digital home is developing, mainly for reasons coming from outside the energy world. For an energy supplier, being part of this story is an opportunity. Interoperability, for instance, is necessary to enable services on top of energy, and to lower the cost of these services. Also, considering how energy services could be integrated in other services is another key issue. All these questions require exchange and partnerships with players coming from the Digital Home world and the Broadband World Forum is a great opportunity for that.

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Cellular News

Ericsson wins role in New Zealand’s Ultra-Fast Broadband project

Ericsson has become the latest vendor to win a slice of New Zealand's UFB initiative

Ericsson has been selected to supply Gigabit Passive Optical Networking (GPON) technology for the Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) networks being built in New Zealand.

The Swedish vendor is to provide GPON technology for the Northpower Fibre Network in Whangarei in the far north of the North Island, which will be one of the first networks developed under the government’s UFB initiative.

The UFB initiative has been set up as a public-private partnership, with the state-owned Crown Fibre Holdings representing the government and forming alliances with local partners, including Northpower, UltraFast Fibre (which awarded the contract to Huawei), Enable Networks and Chorus.

The New Zealand government has allocated public funds of NZD 1.5bn ($ 1.2bn) for the project, which aims to connect 75 per cent of the country’s population by 2019 and deliver speeds of 100 Mbps initially, with speed increases of up to 10 Gbps anticipated further down the line.

Other vendors which have won a role in the project recently include Huawei, which will supply equipment for the network in the Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki and Wanganui regions, and Alcatel-Lucent, which is providing its IP/MPLS (Multi Protocol Label Switching) solution for the areas of Hawke’s Bay, Rotorua and Taupo. – telecoms industry news, analysis and opinion

Du signs project management agreement with Huawei

Du has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Chinese infrastructure Huawei

Du has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Chinese infrastructure Huawei

UAE operator Du has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Chinese infrastructure Huawei. Under the terms of the agreement, the two firms will and exchange project management experiences, knowledge and research, according to the operator.

They will exchange best practice industry methodology, concepts, tools and techniques and work together to better define best practice portfolio and project management concepts, processes and techniques, said Du.

“By signing this agreement with Huawei, we are fulfilling our commitment to the pursuit of best practices in all that we do,” commented Ananda Bose, chief corporate affairs officer at Du.

Wang Haitun, director at Huawei, added: “[The MoU] will facilitate a stronger relationship between our two companies as we work together to develop best practices that will be implemented in our respective project management offices for the benefit of the telecommunications industry.”

Huawei is already working with Du’s rival, Etisalat, after it signed a global consultancy services deal last month with the UAE-based operator group.

Huawei’s business consulting team is partnering with Etisalat to assist in developing the operator’s mobile broadband services and its digital services portfolio. – telecoms industry news, analysis and opinion