Report: Samsung Might Split Itself in Two

South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd will consider splitting itself into two as proposed by U.S. activist hedge fund Elliott Management, reports say.

A split would allow the heirs of the founding Lee family to strengthen their grip on the global smartphone leader, the crown jewel of the Samsung Group business empire. Elliott proposed a split in October to boost shareholder value.

Samsung's board of directors will meet on Tuesday and respond to Elliott's proposals, the newspaper said. The Korea Exchange separately asked Samsung to comment by 6 p.m. (0900 GMT) on whether it planned a spinoff.
The company did not immediately comment on the newspaper report.

The hedge fund wants Samsung Electronics to divide into a holding vehicle for ownership purposes and an operating company, pay a $26 billion special dividend, pledge to return at least 75 percent of free cash flow to investors and agree to appoint some independent directors.

Neither the Lee family nor Samsung Group have commented on restructuring plans, but the conglomerate's reorganization efforts have accelerated since Jay Y. Lee took over the reins after his father and Samsung patriarch Lee Kun-hee was incapacitated following a May 2014 heart attack.

Samsung has sold non-core assets while pushing through a merger of two affiliates in 2015 to consolidate stakes in key affiliates under a company controlled by Jay Y. Lee and his two sisters, as the founding family moves to secure a stable transfer of control.

"Even if Samsung Electronics does not comment on specifics such as the timing of a split ... the firm will at least say it will implement ownership structure changes in a reasonable manner," HI Investment said in a report on Monday.

Source: Businessinsider

NCA Tightens Rules Against Unsolicited Messages, Calls

National Communications Authority (NCA) has begun a public consultation process to amend and tighten the existing Unsolicited Electronic Communication (UEC) Code of Conduct. If successful, the move will completely eliminate all third party UECs, be they free or paid for.

The UECs in question include fax, SMS/MMS and pre-recorded voice/video messages, which consumers receive on their phones without asking for them, and yet they get charged for some of those messages.
The NCA has therefore posted the newly draft code on its website seeking inputs from the general public between now and January 24, 2017 , to shape the new code to better protect consumers from UECs and ensure best practices in the telecom industry.

How we got here
It is no secret how telcos and or their value added service (VAS) providers send SMS and calls from short codes to phone users who have not asked them.

Some of these messages and calls are free of charge because they are just adverts, but others are not free of charge and customers often get charged premium rates without their express consent.
All this is happening in spite of the existence of a regulation that bars telcos and their VAS partners from sending such messages and calls to consumers without solicitation.

With the generally fair to low level of technology savviness among Ghanaians, loads of phone users are often not even aware they have been put on such premium-rated short code services.

Indeed, many of consumers complain in the mainstream and on social media about how they lose airtime without knowing exactly how, while others complain about flooded inboxes with messages they never asked for.

As a result of the several complaints, the NCA is seeking to amend the existing UEC code to completely eliminate all UECs from being sent to consumers, except a selected few like notification of transactions and relevant information directly from telcos.

The existing code allowed telcos to send notification of the transaction, service-related information directly from telcos, information/education about offers the telcos have, and free adverts from third parties.

But the new code, if it comes into force, would completely eliminate any third-party adverts, and more importantly any premium-rated short code service without the consent of the consumer.

Highlights of Code
The new code would only allow some categories of information from telcos; these include billing feedback, changes in tariffs and information on network disruptions.

"These messages should relate only to transactional communications and should exclude all promotional information from the network and third-party suppliers," the NCA said on its website.

It would also allow another set of UECs called Network Commercial Communications, which may be used to promote and educate consumers to enhance usage of the network or to introduce a network related product or service and without any third party supplier information.

The new code also seeks to provide the rules regarding the need to have the customer's consent before sending them certain categories of messages, and it also outlines details of what constitutes consent.

It, for instance, requires service providers to seek the documented (not verbal) consent of consumers before putting them on any short code service. This is because each service provider would be required to show proof of written consent in times of dispute.
The code states that even if a customer gives verbal consent, the licensee/service provider must ask that customer to send SMS to confirm consent before sending that customer any electronic communication. Without the written confirmation the service provider is not allowed to send any communication on the basis of a verbal consent.

Even where the subscriber has given a written consent, the code says third party messages should be sent only once in a month and educational/network commercial messages directly from telcos should be sent not more than three times a month.

The code also seeks to cure the problem with determining messages coming directly from telcos and messages coming from third parties; so it insists on those sending the messages to provide their full identity as part of the message.

The new code also seeks to address the issue of how telcos transfer customers' private information to third party VAS players, some of whom are outside the country but keep bombarding phone users in Ghana with unwanted messages and voice calls.

Indeed, some telcos in Ghana have hired VAS providers in countries overseas and they have given them the details of customers in Ghana to be sending them unwanted messages and calls; some for free and some at a cost.

The new Code will, therefore, apply to all licensees, including telcos, telephony VAS providers and content providers, and it also captures their partners abroad, once their operation overseas is getting to local consumers.

The code is expected that adoption of this new Code will benefit consumers by establishing practices to reduce Spam volumes and also provide them with information on how to manage and deal with Spam.

The NCA also expects that the Code would actually benefit industry players by reducing Spam volumes and enhancing higher levels of customer satisfaction, as well as improve operational efficiency. But most importantly, the code provides sanctions for any licensee or its partners that violates the provisions of the code. The sanctions are spelt out in the Electronic Transactions Act, Act 772 and the Electronic Communications Regulations L.I. 1991.
But none of those provisions in the draft code can be implemented without the input of the general public between now and January 24, 2016.

The public consultation process is, therefore, to allow members of the general public to write down their complaints, suggestions and contributions and send them to the NCA, via their website, to help fashion a more consumer-friendly code.
Source: Adomfmonline

South Africa: MTN Offers Airtime and Data Jackpot on Black Friday

New and existing MTN subscribers were in for an airtime and data bonanza on Black Friday (25 November), with either a 3G, LTE device purchased, signed up or upgraded for a 24 months MTN contract.

Customers who upgraded to specified MTN tariff plans or signed up for a postpaid contract on Black Friday will receive 50GB data bundles each month and 10,000 MTN to MTN minutes, per month, for the duration of their contract.

Customers become eligible for this airtime and data bonanza when sign up or upgrade to one of the following tariff plans: My MTNChoice + S, My MTNChoice + M, My MTNChoice + L, MTN SKY Lite, MTN SKY Medium, MTN SKY Max, My MTNChoice Talk + S, My MTNChoice Talk + M and My MTNChoice Talk + L.

Pay As You Go customers will not be left out – prepaid customers who purchase a 3G or LTE device from an MTN store or retailer will receive free 2GB of data bundles that are valid for seven days.

Says Larry Annetts, Chief Customer Officer: MTN South Africa: “MTN is using Black Friday to continue to offer unparalleled value to its customers. We are offering compelling offers this Black Friday and we are confident that the airtime and data windfall will stand our customers in good stead and will ensure that they remain connected with loved ones over the festive season and beyond.”

Source: Itnewsafrica

WeChat Is Piloting Mobile Payments in McDonalds Restaurants in SA

WeChat is piloting mobile payments in selected McDonalds restaurants in Johannesburg and Cape Town. Called Quick Pay, a quick, easy and safe mobile payment option, it is an extension of WeChat’s wallet features, giving users other methods of making payments.

Quick Pay allows customers to generate a QR code that is then scanned by WeChat scanner at the PoS counter. Some McDonalds restaurants have commenced usage of the payments option.

Others, such as McDonalds Sunnyside, McDonalds Skinner, McDonalds Waterfront, McDonalds Carnival City and McDonalds Parktown, will start using it on December 1, 2016.

WeChat, a hugely popular messaging app in South Africa, first launched its mobile wallet services last year. It allows users manage payments with their mobile phone.

Users can add their debit or credit cards to the wallet, get money sent to them from friends and family, and pay for goods and services at SnapScan merchants across South Africa.

Also, they can buy airtime, electricity and any of the services in the WeChat’s growing ecosystem.
Source: Techloy