Fortumo launches bundling for VOD & TV network partnerships

Fortumo launches bundling for VOD & TV network partnerships

Fortumo launches bundling for VOD & TV network partnerships.

On January 23 2018, Fortumo, a digital enabling platform for app stores and digital service providers aiding in user, acquisition, monetization and retention, announced the launch of an updated version of its Bundling Platform that opens up new partnership opportunities for video on demand (VOD) services on its platform. Thanks to the update, VOD providers can now partner up with satellite and cable TV networks for user acquisition and monetization through the Bundling Platform, according to the company.

“In emerging regions such as Southeast Asia, mobile phones are starting to replace TV as the first screen of choice for consumers. VOD providers have successfully tapped into the trend and for TV networks, collaborating with these new players will allow to drive their TV Everywhere strategy. Fortumo enables scale and simplicity for such partnerships by enabling rapid launches through one integration and platform,” said Martin Koppel, CEO & Co-Founder of Fortumo.

Over the past few years, smartphone ownership has grown to similar levels with TV ownership in both mature and emerging regions of the world. At the same time, TV consumption is limited due to its lacking physical reach. “Bundling brings benefits to both sides, with networks getting mobile presence and new original content from VOD providers, while the latter in turn gain access to a direct distribution channel straight into the homes of millions of people,” explained Martin Koppel.

Fortumo believes that its bundling platform enables VOD providers to use the identity of customers present on satellite and cable networks for authentication, provision marketing offers such as free trials to them and collect payments through broadband billing for premium content.

Key features of Fortumo’s Bundling Platform include:

● Soft, hard and white-label bundling support as well as reseller functionality in both online and offline environments

● Capability to offer discounts and free trials to users

● Support for a broad range of offer triggers and inbound channels including top-ups, promotional emails, targeted SMS messaging

● Full-cycle user authentication, validation, entitlement and activation management

● Consumer UI for on-boarding, activation and deactivation management

● Smooth transition from promotional offers to paid access through broadband and carrier billing

● Integration based on REST API, SMS, coupon code distribution or custom integration

● Scalable infrastructure to support seasonal and mass promotion campaigns

● Real-time analytics on bundling performance and reconciliation

According to Fortumo, it offers digital merchants a solution for customer lifecycle management: beside bundling, its platform includes the capability to collect payments from users through broadband and carrier billing, as well as customer communication (2FA, notifications and marketing) through SMS-based messaging. To service its merchants in a scalable manner, Fortumo has partnered with more than 350 mobile operators in 100+ countries across the world.

Edited by Dean Workman
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5 things to expect from 5G in South Africa

5 things to expect from 5G in South Africa

5 things to expect from 5G in South Africa.

At the beginning of 2018 MTN and Ericsson announced that they have begun the first 5G technology and applications trial in Africa. Mobile Internet usage has grown exponentially the world over, South Africa has in turn looked to leverage faster network connectivity to accelerate digital transformation on the continent.

The fifth generation (5G) network will provide more than just faster connectivity for local businesses and consumers, as it seeks to deliver a range of benefits for mobile networks. These include being able to carry more data traffic at greater speeds, with more reliability, while connecting a myriad of devices to the Internet.

Sudhir Juggernath, Head of Orange Applications for Business, Africa, has identified just how 5G technology will push South Africa forward in terms of connectivity and technological innovations. “5G technology will meet the needs of a wide range of South African sectors through a single network that can adapt to suit demands. It will provide better overall performance than previous technologies and enable increased efficiency,” he says.

South African mobile operators continue to invest heavily into extending network coverage to serve unconnected communities and accelerate the migration to high-speed mobile broadband networks. “Mobile networks have transformed from 3G to 4G/ LTE in a short period of time due to the demand of mobile data as fibre and other forms of connectivity are limited or non-existent in major parts on the African Continent,” explains Juggernath.

“It is common knowledge that people in Africa have easier access to mobile phones than clean drinking water,” he says. Due to the prevalence of mobile connectivity in Africa, the path to 5G is appropriately timed. “However, 5G will not have the same short period roll-out as 3G and 4G, but rather a gradual introduction.”

With roughly 17 out of 54 African countries already having rolled-out LTE networks, the technology infrastructure path has been paved for 5G. With 2020 nearing, we are expected to see over 30 billion connected devices across the globe. Juggernath says, “It is predicted that Japan will have the first commercial roll-out of the 5G network by 2020, which could mean that South Africa will only leverage the 5G network in the next two to three years.”

Here are Juggernath’s list of five things South Africa should expect from 5G:

1. 5G will be faster
It will be much faster than 4G LTE. The ability to handle massive data speeds, fast enough to watch mobile 4K videos and deliver broadband to homes and businesses without the need to deploy fiber infrastructure, for example. It will also be fast enough to power remote virtual reality (VR) applications for enterprise and personal use.

2. Faster moving
When using 3G and 4G networks, end-users travelling on a train or in a car often struggle to maintain a consistent connection, as the network is unable to hand the device over from one cell to the next quickly enough. 5G aims to address that issue and support devices travelling at several hundred kilometers per hour.

3. More connections
5G networks will be required to support a very large number of devices per cell. These will include Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity in connected cars, street furniture, environment sensors, wearable devices, the connected home, and in businesses across sectors and territories.

4. Network slicing
An interesting idea with big potential benefits for enterprises and multinational enterprises in terms of 5G is network slicing, where the network is virtually partitioned depending on need and usage. Carriers can dedicate different parts of network capacity to particular subscribers or applications, meaning, for example, that one 5G network can be simultaneously a fast broadband network for smartphones and a low-power, low latency, cost-efficient platform for specific IoT applications.

5. Cross-industry collaboration
The sheer scale of 5G networks means everybody becomes a stakeholder; and with more stakeholders comes the need for more collaboration than ever by those in various industries. For instance in the automotive, transport, healthcare, entertainment, and emergency services industries and all other potential 5G-industry users.

Mobile data in Africa is key to driving economic development. “5G provides benefits that have the potential to change lives on the African continent, and will bring with it immense innovation which will provide a better life for all those living in Africa – the possibilities are endless and the countdown is on for South Africa’s road to 5G,” concludes Juggernath.

Edited by Dean Workman
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Eskom’s controversial CFO resigns before court appearance

Eskom’s controversial CFO resigns before court appearance

Eskom’s controversial CFO resigns before court appearance

On Monday 22 January 2018 Eskom, an energy supplier in South Africa, announced that its Chief Financial Officer (CFO) – Anoj Singh – has resigned.

Singh has been embroiled in controversy since being suspended by Eskom in September 2017, after initially being placed on special leave at the end of July of the same year. The suspension was linked to Singh’s alleged involvement in aiding Gupta-linked businesses in unfairly winning contracts while receiving gifts and trips in return.

The power utility, in a statement, announced the resignation and revealed that the newly appointed board accepted the resignation on Monday evening.

“Eskom has today received, through Mr Anoj Singh’s attorneys, a formal letter of resignation by Mr Singh from his position as the Chief Financial Officer, in line with the terms of his employment contract. The board of Eskom, through the Chairman, has accepted the resignation and communicated the acceptance through Mr Singh’s attorneys. Mr Singh’s resignation is with immediate effect,” the statement read.

The resignation comes at a delicate time for the power utility as Singh is due to testify in the Eskom inquiry on 23 January 2018 after it was adjourned in December 2017.

Singh has made the headlines in South Africa since his participation in Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises, which is investigating mismanagement of state funds at the power utility, Singh failed to submit his documents on time, and was criticised by the committee’s chair, Daphne Rantho, for undermining Parliament.

Eskom was quick to state that Singh will still have to answer to Parliament.

Edited by Dean Workman
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Tanzania tour operators call for online tax platform

Tanzania tour operators call for online tax platform

Tanzania tour operators call for online tax platform.

Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (TATO) has urged the government to invent an online platform for tax payment. TATO says that its members would like to pay all taxes on a single online platform to save time lost on making multiple tax payments.

Tour operators are subjected to 37 different taxes, comprising business registration, regulatory licenses fees, entry fees, income taxes and duties for each tourist vehicle per annum, among others.

TATO represents over 300 tour operators and it is Tanzania’s leading lobby agency for a tourism industry it is a vital foreign currency earner for Tanzania. Highlighting key challenges facing the industry before the visiting deputy minister for Finance, Dr Ashatu Kijaji, TATO Chairman, Willbard Chambulo said multiple taxes compliance consumes a lot of time and money and could encourage tax evasion.

The TATO chairman argued that the contentious issue is not only how to pay myriad taxes and make profits, but also the modality and time spent in complying with intricate taxes. “Tour operators need streamlining of taxes to ease compliance because the cost of compliance is so high and as such it acts as an obstacle for voluntary compliance” Chambulo explained.

A study on Tanzania tourism sector indicates that the administrative burdens of completing license tax and hefty paperwork place a heavy cost on businesses in terms of time and money. For instance, tour operator spends over four months to complete regulatory paperwork, whereas in tax and license paperwork consume his or her a total of 745 hours per year.

The report done by Tanzania Confederation of Tourism (TCT) and BEST- Dialogue, shows that average annual cost of personnel to complete regulatory paperwork per local tour operator is 2.9m/- (1,300 US dollar) per year. Tanzania is estimated to be a home to over 1,000 tour companies, but official data shows that there are as few as 330 formal firms complying with tax regime, which is likely due to the complexities of compliance.

TATO hopes that the new system of issuing Tanzania Tourism Business License (TTBL) introduced by Natural Resources and Tourism Minister, Dr Hamis Kigwangala, would effectively bring informal tour operators into the tax net.

Late last year, Dr Kigwangala took a bold step in scrapping off the old 2,000 US dollar flat rate fee for TTBL for all local tour operators without considering the size and business of the company. The Minister introduced a new category where TTBL fee for tour operators with between one and three tourist cars would be 500 US dollar in the efforts to encourage majority small-scale tour operators to formalize their businesses and boost the tax base.

Edited by Fundisiwe Maseko
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Understanding and measuring cyber risk

Understanding and measuring cyber risk

Simon Campbell-Young, CEO of Intact Software Distribution.

Although the vast majority of organisations are turning to digital technologies to boost their brand and increasing their online presence, only a tiny percentage of businesses have cyber insurance policies in place.

All stakeholders in the insurance sector are affected by information security and the risk of breaches. Digital transformation and innovative technologies that harness machine learning, analytics and artificial intelligence to make businesses more efficient and improve decision making lie on one hand. On the other hand, there is an increasing risk of cyber attacks, running the gamut from online fraud and advanced threats to phishing attacks.

Simon Campbell-Young, CEO of MyCyberCare, says there is an opportunity for brokers to broaden their portfolio of solutions, and offer cyber insurance to their clients, allowing them to transfer those security risks.

“However, measuring and understanding cyber risk can be complex and overwhelming for traditional insurance companies. On the one side, there is the pressure to comply with new and increasingly stringent legislation, such as the Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Act, on the other hand, they have to be able to effectively underwrite cyber risk. This requires collaboration between risk and opportunity, and the involvement of stakeholders, both internal and external,” he explains.

“The more connected a business is, the more its most private and confidential customer data is at risk. However, organisations simply don’t view cyber insurance as a priority, and brokers are playing a role in that perception.”

He says cyber insurance isn’t being properly sold to customers. “The fact is, too many brokers do not understand, and can’t identify risks that are not covered by general liability policies, specifically issues such as like cyber fraud, advanced attacks and ransomware.”

When cyber crime comes to mind, organisations think of a dodgy underground of hooded hackers infiltrating a businesses’ network to steal valuable information, or committing cyber espionage. “This isn’t the case. Cyber criminals often look for the ‘low hanging fruit’ and turn to other means, such as ransomware as a fairly effortless and hugely profitable alternative,” Campbell-Young says.

And irrespective of your type of business, losing access to your business data, be it patient information, billing systems, financial credentials, credit card numbers, or customer information, can be fatal. “Brokers need to be able to identify the areas of risk and then formulate an appropriate cyber policy to meet that risk. The best way for them to do this is to partner with a reputable cyber insurance provider who already understands the risks, and has solutions readily available to meet all possible needs.”

Correctly and adequately underwriting cyber insurance is a difficult talk. “There are many different risks in the cyber security sphere. Brokers need a good understanding of cyber risk and transferring that risk effectively is crucial.”

Moreover, he says digital innovation and the associated risks will grow and change far more quickly than traditional types of risk, so seizing the cyber insurance opportunity means having products and policies that are nimble and flexible, and able to adapt in a marketplace that is undergoing dramatic change as a constant.

By Simon Campbell-Young, CEO of MyCyberCare

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Social media reacts to George Weah being sworn in as President of Liberia

Social media reacts to George Weah being sworn in as President of Liberia

Social media reacts to George Weah sworn in as President of Liberia.

From being one of the biggest football icons in the 1990s to becoming the president of Liberia in 2018, George Weah made history when he was sworn in as the president of Liberia on Monday, 22 January 2018.

Weah is the 25th president of the West African nation and has spent the last 13 years building political credibility. He takes over from Ellen Sirleaf Johnson as president of Liberia who steps down after two terms of six years each.

Weah won the presidency after run-off elections in December 2017 with 61.5% of votes.

Weah is the first African player to win both FIFA’s World Player of the Year trophy and the Ballon d’Or. Weah was largely absent from Liberia during the 1989-2003 civil war period, playing for a string of top-flight European teams including Paris Saint-Germain and AC Milan, and later Chelsea.

The 51-year-old has to tackle challenges such as unemployment—a biting problem for many of the country’s young people. He will also have to solve problems in the public sector such as corruption.

Weah has pledged to make the country more self-sufficient by transforming the agriculture sector and providing vocational training.

Here is what people had to say on Twitter:

Congratulations President George Weah. Your story; rising from a slum to the Executive Mansion/State House of #Liberia should be the ONLY story sensible Media in Africa are telling today. You inspire many children born in adversity. Eventually, democrats always win over warlords!

— Capt Collins Wanderi (@CaptWanderiCFE) January 22, 2018

George Weah takes the oath of office.

He is officially President George Weah

— Kemi Ariyo (@d_problemsolver) January 22, 2018

Congratulations to football legend, George Weah on his inauguration as president of Liberia.

— Supabets Ghana (@SupabetsGhana) January 22, 2018

George Weah is my inspiration! A perfect analogy of rags to riches

— Mwazighe A. Mwamburi (@abbah_mwamburi) January 22, 2018

The first peaceful transition in Liberia since 1944 as President Sirleaf Johnson hands over to Mr. George Weah. Congratulations to this historic African country!

— JJ. Omojuwa (@Omojuwa) January 22, 2018

George Weah and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf share a moment onstage ahead of his swearing in ceremony at Liberia’s presidential inauguration. This will represent the country’s first democratic transition of power since 1944.

— Jennifer O’Mahony (@jaomahony) January 22, 2018

“I have spent my life in Stadiums but I’ve never felt like this” said George Weah on his inauguration ceremony which is held in Samuel Doe Stadium Monrovia

— Moonira ⭐ (@falsafathabesh) January 22, 2018

George Weah, will be sworn in as Liberia’s new president today #sabcnews

— SAfm news (@SAfmnews) January 22, 2018

Ex-football star George Weah sworn in as Liberia’s 25th president marking first peaceful democratic transfer of power since 1944.

— JOYCE GITURO (@joygituro) January 22, 2018

This will represent Liberia’s first democratic transition of power since 1944.
George Weah during the swearing in ceremony at Liberia’s presidential inauguration.
Big ups to this Legend here

— Mac Nels (@mac_nels) January 22, 2018

Edited by Fundisiwe Maseko
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Kenyan authority warns internet users of third-party software risks

Kenyan authority warns internet users of third-party software risks

Kenyan authority warns internet users of third-party software risks.

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has, through the National Computer Incident Response Team Coordination Centre (National KE-CIRT/CC), issued a warning to Internet users on supply chain risks in third-party software. This follows a global trend where cybercriminals exploit the vulnerability within the supply chains to hit their targets.

Although Kenya has not been adversely affected by such attacks, the trend depicts a serious concern in cybercrime management and thus internet users are advised to take precaution when dealing with outsourced products and personnel. Internet users are advised to make informed and risk-free decision on the choices of their products by engaging Cybersecurity experts.

The trend is said to be gaining momentum with the increased offers of free anti-malware products by vendors. The free anti-malware are used as a bait to lure the unsuspecting users, while the real intention is to have the anti-malware installed into a system, then use it to capture personal and confidential data. Such vendors later monetise the data collected or use it to their political or business advantage. This trend applies not only to anti-malware solutions but also any other third party software.

According to the authority, cybercriminals are now using third-party software to deliver threats to unsuspecting users in an attempt to compromise and steal their personal data. The authority further advised users to treat free or low-cost cybersecurity software as potential threats and where possible refrain from the usage. Users should strive to determine their monetization methods and their policies they should endeavour to read the terms and conditions of their usage however lengthy they are.

Government institutions and organisations are warned to properly vet software vendors in order to ascertain any concealed motive that might work against their interests especially with products interacting with organisation’s critical infrastructure. Products or vendors with tainted history should be dealt with as a risk, and constant reviews carried out.

The authority says that Kenyan ICT consumers should be concerned about the safety of their data more than ever before. Consumers should thus avoid “they will do it” approach but should rather collaborate with the service providers in securing the services.

It is estimated that a majority of cyber-attacks originate from the supply chain or from the external parties exploiting security vulnerabilities within the supply chain. Supply chain attacks are now moving into the mainstream of cybercrime, and with a number of successful attacks in 2016 and 2017, cybercriminals will focus on this method in 2018 and beyond.

Edited by Fundisiwe Maseko
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Nigeria: FirstBank upgrades internet banking solution

Nigeria: FirstBank upgrades internet banking solution

Nigeria: FirstBank upgrade internet banking solution.

On Friday 19 January 2018, First Bank of Nigeria Limited (FirstBank) announced that it has upgraded its Internet Banking Solution, FirstOnline. According to the bank, the upgrades include improved features to promote and safeguard the electronic banking experience of customers vis-à-vis payment efficiency, versatility and productivity in their business transaction.

According to the bank, the user-friendly and secure internet banking tool, which can be carried out on one’s computer or mobile devices, is designed for both individual and corporate customers to experience cutting-edge banking services anywhere, at any time and place, with a good internet connection.

Some of the features on FirstOnline include:

  • Self-verification for intercepted transactions
  • Statement download in different file formats
  • Multiple transactions with a single token entry
  • Bills payment
  • Creation and cancellation of standing orders or recurring transfers
  • Improved security

According to Mr. Chuma Ezirim, Group Head, e-Business, FirstBank, “the modern age is driven by technological advancement in business activities, including banking, and at FirstBank we are committed to leaving no stone unturned to continually reinvent and enhance our electronic banking operations across the board with a view to constantly providing secure and efficient state of the art banking services round the clock to our teeming customers.

“The upgraded FirstOnline is designed to promote flexibility in electronic banking whilst ensuring a user-friendly and secure customer experience,” Ezirim added.

First Bank of Nigeria Limited (FirstBank) is one of Nigeria’s largest financial services institution by total assets and gross earnings. With more than 12 million customer accounts, FirstBank has over 750 branches providing a comprehensive range of retail and corporate financial services.

Edited by Dean Workman
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Software in Africa: 4 enterprise trends to expect in 2018

Software in Africa: 4 enterprise trends to expect in 2018

Pieter Bensch, executive vice-president for Africa and Middle East at Sage.

Don’t be distracted by cool gadgets. The real technology innovation is happening in software architecture. African Businesses should not be fooled into thinking that technology innovation in 2018 is just about connected cars, talking robots and smartphones with facial recognition. The real revolution is happening in new forms of software engineering that are bringing a range of cool apps, gadgets and services to life.

Here are four software trends to watch out for this year:

1. The Rise of the Application Cloud
Cloud computing has been a game-changer for businesses of all sizes over the past decade. This year, we will see the market for cloud platforms compete on customer benefits rather than technology capability. Few cloud platforms are pure technology platforms and could be more accurately described as application ecosystems delivering app-centric user experiences.

The Apple iPhone pioneered this concept of an application cloud with the App Store, and Salesforce adopted it for business with its Lightning com platform (aka and AppExchange. Microsoft is taking Office 365 and elements of Azure in a similar direction, while Facebook and Google remain customer experience platform providers to watch.

The implication of this shift in 2018 is that enterprises in Africa should not only consider the technical merits of their cloud providers and applications – they should also evaluate how their platform choices will give them access to customers, markets and ecosystems of value-added apps and services.

2. De-productisation through microservices and ‘API-fication’
Mass migration towards application programming interfaces (APIs) and microservices is shifting the software world to move away from the monolithic architectures of the past.

API-fication is an architectural approach that enables the creation of interfaces between two software products to allow users to access additional features or data. Microservices is an architectural approach that revolves around breaking an application down into a set of independent services that are developed, deployed, and maintained separately.

This is the vision and long-term strategy behind Sage Business Cloud, a business platform and service ecosystem for companies of all sizes, across a range of verticals. In the long-run, technology will abandon the notion of a product completely and switch to an architecture that is made up entirely of microservices, similar to how Amazon originally envisaged reassembling its e-commerce application with Amazon Web Services building blocks.

3. Infrastructure shifts to ‘serverless’ event-driven programming models
Microservices require infrastructure to operate in a layer typically referred to as ‘platform as a service’ (PaaS). 2018 will see a shift in PaaS to ‘serverless’ environments, a technology in which the cloud provider dynamically manages the allocation of machine resources. These serverless, event-driven programming models are set to revolutionise software architecture.

Serverless applications do not require the provisioning, scaling, and management of any servers, and pricing is based on the processing consumed rather than on capacity provisioned. Amazon Lambda and Microsoft Azure Functions are two leading examples of this technology.

4. Rules of software distribution being rewritten
In the past, computer distributors played a vital role in pushing discrete technology building blocks like operating systems and productivity software into the market. In the future, the seams between customer solution and platform will be less recognisable, and the independent software vendor will assume a greater share of the value chain. For example, Office 365 is now fully embedded in some Sage Business Cloud solutions.

Trends making life easier for businesses
These four trends are making technology smarter, more connected and of greater value to the end-user. At Sage, that helps us fulfil our mission to make life easier for our customers, whether you are a small business starting-out or you are going global and exporting across the world. And when we talk about invisible accounting, taking advantage of artificial intelligence, machine learning and neuro-linguistic programming – it is the innovation in software architecture and application programming that is making it all possible.

By Pieter Bensch Executive Vice President, Africa & Middle East: Sage

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Opera adds Bitcoin mining protection in its mobile browsers

Opera adds Bitcoin mining protection in its mobile browsers

Opera adds Bitcoin mining protection in its mobile browsers.

Opera announced on 18 January 2018 that it is adding protection against cryptocurrency mining scripts to all its mobile browsers, which according to the company, will aid in protecting hundreds of millions of smartphone browser users. The announcement came after the company recently added the protection to its desktop browsers, becoming the first major internet browser to do so.

Cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, have become a hot topic and, with their surge in value, so has the mining for new coins, known as cryptocurrency mining. While some use their own data centers, many web developers are increasingly using people’s computers and smartphones for this – often without their consent. The phenomenon is estimated to be affecting more than a billion people worldwide, causing their devices to run warm, become slower and eat up their batteries.

“When you browse the web, there are no visual clues that your device is exposed to mining,” says Jan Standal, VP Product Marketing at Opera “A single webpage you visit can take up to 4.5 hours of your battery time, if you keep the tab open. This often turns out to be just the battery time you needed to use a ride-hailing app or check the map to get home”.

According to some reports, there are currently more than 3 million websites exposed to cryptojacking, so the need for extra protection is bigger than ever. By blocking mining scripts, Opera ensures that its users’ smartphones continue to run smoothly and that they have enough battery life for the things they really want or need to be doing.

How does it work?
The new anti-cryptocurrency mining feature is activated by default when activating the ad blocker on Opera Mini and Opera for Android. The ad blocker can be enable in “Settings”, and it will automatically detect and stop the mining scripts written into the coding of a webpage.

Check whether your browser is affected by cryptocurrency mining
To make it easier for you to tell whether your browser is affected by unwanted crypto mining, we have created a website which safely checks just that. Simply go to on your mobile or desktop browser to see if your device is impacted by mining.

Testing and results
After several tests of the Opera browsers for smartphones performed on Samsung Galaxy S8 and HTC One, developers at Opera determined that scripts mining for cryptocurrencies can increase the smartphones’ CPU usage up to 100 percent. This can cause increased battery draining and make the phone overheat.

After testing Opera Mini and after activating the ad blocker on Opera for Android, we found that some phones were able to recover 100% of their CPU usage.

Where to download?
Opera Mini and Opera For Android are available for download on Google Play.

Edited by Dean Workman
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