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Expiring data – the other side of the story



Expiring data is a hot topic in South Africa, with politicians, the regulator, and the public calling on mobile operators to offer data bundles which do not expire.

The argument is that consumers have paid for a certain amount of data and that they should not lose this data because it “expired”.

Ferial Haffajee, for example, called expiring data the “biggest ruse and we suffer its consequences all the time”.

“Milk can expire. Fruit can expire. Meat can expire. Kleptocratic presidents can expire – thank God. But data cannot expire,” Haffajee said.

Rain CEO Willem Roos said expiring data bundles are simply there for telecommunications companies to be more profitable.

“As data expires, telecommunications companies effectively charge a higher rate per meg than advertised. Breakage essentially improves the profitability,” Roos said.

The other side of the story

These arguments sound good, especially in a country where there is high unemployment and people struggle to afford Internet connectivity.

However, what is seldom mentioned is that the price for expiring data is significantly less than non-expiring data.

Breakage and expiring data allow mobile operators to design products which cost less than what they would have if the data did not expire.

To stop operators from offering data bundles which expire will limit consumer choice and result in higher data prices.

To call for the end of expiring data bundles will therefore not help consumers, but rather limit their choice and result in higher-priced data.

The chart below illustrates how the lifetime of data influences the price. It is clear that the longer data lasts, the higher the price is.

MTN explains

Jacqui O’Sullivan, MTN SA’s executive for corporate affairs, told MyBroadband that there are many benefits to expiring data – which include lower prices and better network planning.

O’Sullivan’s full statement is provided below.

MTN provides a wide variety of data bundles to the market to suit customers’ needs and usage requirements.

A variety of prepaid bundles are available to customers, ranging from a validity of one hour to one month. These bundles can be used on prepaid and can be added on to post-paid packages.

This enables customers to select a product, which meets their volume and validity needs.

The prepaid bundles are cheaper when the validity period is the shortest. For example, a customer can purchase a small data bundle for as little as R1.50 for a short validity period.

These small purchases are typically made to update a status on social media or check and send messages without having to make a large financial commitment.

Smaller purchases allow customers more control over their spend and increases data affordability by lowering the cost barrier.

At the same time, it allows the network to be used consistently over a period so that the investment in infrastructure does not lie idle.

This is an efficient utilisation of network capacity that may otherwise not have been used.

Expiry rules are also important for data network capacity and coverage planning purposes.

MTN must take into consideration the data service requirements of customers over a specific period of time and for specified data volumes. This information is vital for planning purposes.

Planning occurs well in advance, at least 18 months ahead, due to the long lead times for network deployment.

Capacity is planned to cater for this requirement and in addition thereto to allow for a margin of headroom on the network for unexpected traffic growth volumes.

If traffic exceeds these volumes, the quality of service experienced by customers on the network will be impacted negatively.

If, however, capacity is over provided for and not utilised this in turn will impact the ability of the network operator to manage the cost of providing data to customers.

If MTN were not able to determine the data requirements of customers and the period over which it will be used (indicated by expiry periods), the quality or cost of data will be affected.

It is important to note that MTN would need to pay its upstream providers for said capacity, regardless of whether customers utilise the capacity or not.

A longer expiry period would result in a substantial increased liability on balance sheet.

MTN is not able to recognise revenue for data bundle purchases until the data is utilised.

The increased financial unearned revenue liability on the balance sheet would have a negative impact on the MTN’s overall cost of capital.

As a result, the price of data would need to increase because the cheaper bundles with shorter validity would effectively become redundant.

MTN would need to rebalance data tariffs to cater for longer or no expiry rules.

This would mean that the current discounted in-bundle rates would not be available, and customers will pay a higher tariff for data.

Vodacom explains

Vodacom told MyBroadband that data bundles with shorter expiry periods invariably cost less than bundles with a longer expiry period.

“Bundles with shorter expiry periods have been instrumental in making data more accessible to customers who have sporadic and limited disposable income,” Vodacom said.

Three years ago, bundles with one-month expiry periods were the most popular. Last year, more than 80% of the bundles bought by prepaid customers had either an hourly, a daily, weekly, or fortnightly expiry period.

“This has contributed to the more than a 40% reduction in effective data prices over the past three years,” Vodacom said.

Vodacom said that it purchases capacity on data “pipes” from other providers and offering expiring data helps them understand how much capacity it needs.

“If we over-provide capacity and it’s not used, then that data is in effect lost and can’t be resold at a later date,” Vodacom said.

“This impacts our costs and our ability to continue to bring data costs down. If we under-provide then the end result would be network congestion and a diminished user experience.”

The company said if data did not expire, it will send data prices up and will substantially limit customer choice.

“It is our belief that an environment should exist where network operators are able to compete by giving customers more options,” Vodacom said.

For example, removing expiry periods will eliminate Vodacom’s popular hourly, daily, and weekly offers.

“Of the more than 2 billion bundles that our customers will use this year, the majority are smaller and micro-bundles,” the company said.

Now read: What you are not told about mobile data prices

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Riot police squads intervene as pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian protesters clash in Montreal




People wave flags atop cars in traffic during a demonstration to voice support for the people of Palestine, at Toronto City Hall in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on 15 May 2021.

People wave flags atop cars in traffic during a demonstration to voice support for the people of Palestine, at Toronto City Hall in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on 15 May 2021.

  • Violence
    between pro-Israel and pro-Palestine protesters in Montreal was condemned by
    Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
  • Montreal’s
    city police force intervened and declared the protests illegal after tensions
    heightened and clashes broke out.
  • Israeli
    strikes killed 42 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, the worst daily
    toll in almost a week of clashes.

– Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Sunday condemned the violence and
“despicable rhetoric” that marked several weekend protests throughout
the country, after clashes between pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian protesters in

worst violence in years, sparked by unrest in Jerusalem, is raging between the
Jewish state and Islamist militants.

strikes killed 42 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, the worst daily
toll in almost a week of deadly clashes.

after protests in Montreal, Trudeau condemned what he said was “despicable
rhetoric and violence we saw on display in some protests this weekend”.

insisting on the “right to assemble peacefully and express themselves
freely in Canada”, Trudeau stressed in a tweet that there was no tolerance
for “antisemitism, Islamophobia, or hate of any kind”.

on Sunday, Montreal police used tear gas following clashes between pro-Israel
and pro-Palestinian protesters.

hundred demonstrators, draped in Israeli flags, had gathered in a central
Montreal square to express solidarity with the Jewish state.

‘Protesting is a right’

the protest started peacefully, tensions ratcheted up with the arrival of
pro-Palestinian demonstrators and clashes soon broke out.

SPVM, Montreal’s city police force, declared the protests illegal, and squads
of riot police intervened, using tear gas to separate and disperse the two
groups, according to an AFP journalist at the scene.

police spent much of the afternoon in pursuit of the pro-Palestinian
protesters, who spread out and regrouped in commercial streets in the city centre.

the clashes, Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante said on Twitter that
“protesting is a right”, but that “intolerance, violence and
anti-Semitism have no place here”.

She said:

Montreal is a city of peace.

thousand pro-Palestinian demonstrators had gathered on Saturday in central
Montreal to denounce what they said were Israeli repression and “war
crimes” in Gaza.

Israel”, some protesters chanted, while others held up a banner that read,
“Stop the genocide of Palestinian children”.

protests happened the same day in multiple Canadian cities, including Toronto,
Ottawa and Vancouver.

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Peter Thiel Helps Fund an App That Tells You What to Do




“How would you feel about being able to pay to control multiple aspects of another person’s life?” asks the BBC.

“A new app is offering you the chance to do just that.”

When writer Brandon Wong recently couldn’t decide what takeaway to order one evening, he asked his followers on social media app NewNew to choose for him. Those that wanted to get involved in the 24-year-old’s dinner dilemma paid $5 (£3.50) to vote in a poll, and the majority verdict was that he should go for Korean food, so that was what he bought…

NewNew is the brainchild of Los Angeles-based entrepreneur Courtne Smith. The app, which is still in its “beta” or pre-full release stage, describes itself as “a human stock market where you buy shares in the lives of real people, in order to control their decisions and watch the outcome”. For many of us that sounds a bit ominous, but the reality is actually far less alarming. It is aimed at what it calls “creators” — writers, painters, musicians, fashion designers, bloggers etc. It is designed as a way for them to connect far more closely with their fans or followers than on other social media services and, importantly, monetise that connection…

Whenever a vote is cast the creator gets the money minus NewNew’s undisclosed commission… In addition to voting, followers can also pay extra — from $20 — to ask a NewNew creator to do something of their choosing, such as naming a character in a book after them. But the creator can reject all of these “bids”, and if they do so then the follower doesn’t have to part with the money…

Co-founder and chief executive Ms Smith, a 33-year-old Canadian, has big plans for NewNew, and has some heavyweight backers. Investors include Peter Thiel, the billionaire co-founder of PayPal, and the first outside person to put money into Facebook. Others with a stake in the business include leading US tech investment fund Andreessen Horowitz, and Hollywood actor Will Smith (no relation to Courtne). Snapchat has also given technical support.

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Sandpapergate will haunt Australia cricket forever: ex-bowling coach




Cameron Bancroft. (Photo by Brenton Geach - Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Cameron Bancroft. (Photo by Brenton Geach – Gallo Images/Getty Images)

The 2018 ball-tampering scandal will haunt Australian cricket forever, much like the infamous underarm delivery of 40 years ago, the team’s former bowling coach David Saker said on Monday.

Saker was responding to opening batsman Cameron Bancroft suggesting that Australia’s bowlers knew about the plan in Cape Town to alter the ball which earned him a nine-month ban and rocked the game.

Saker was Australia’s bowling coach when Bancroft was caught trying to rough up the ball with sandpaper during the third Test against South Africa.

While refusing to be drawn on who knew what, Saker said “the finger-pointing is going to go on and on and on”.

“It’s like the underarm, it’s never going to go away,” he told Fairfax Media, referring to a 1981 incident when Trevor Chappell bowled underarm to ensure New Zealand lost a one-day match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

The notorious delivery is still cited in New Zealand and in cricketing circles as a prime example of unsporting conduct.

However, the ball-tampering scandal – dubbed “sandpapergate” – had a greater impact on Australian cricket, with the then-captain Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner suspended for a year from all cricket and stripped of their leadership roles.

Darren Lehmann also quit as coach and all the top brass from Cricket Australia left after a scathing review blasted their “arrogant and controlling” win-at-all-costs culture.

No one else among the team or coaching staff was held to account but Bancroft’s remarks in an interview with The Guardian newspaper hinted that the team’s bowlers at least knew about the plan.

“Obviously what I did benefits bowlers and the awareness around that, probably, is self-explanatory,” he said.

Saker added: “There was a lot of people to blame. It could have been me to blame, it could have been someone else. It could have been stopped and it wasn’t, which is unfortunate.

“Cameron’s a very nice guy. He’s just doing it to get something off his chest … He’s not going to be the last.”

In response, Cricket Australia said that if anyone had new information, they would look into it.

Saker said he was not opposed to a fresh investigation but added “I just don’t know what they’re going to find out.”

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Mexico’s Andrea Meza crowned Miss Universe




Miss Universe Andrea Meza

Miss Universe Andrea Meza





1. Mexico

2. India

3. Brazil

4. Dominican Republic

5. Peru



1. Jamaica 

2. Dominican Republic 

3. India

4. Peru 

5. Australia 

6. Puerto Rico

7. Thailand

8. Costa Rica

9. Mexico

10. Brazil





1. Columbia

2. Peru 

3. Australia 

4. France

5. Myanmar

6. Jamaica 

7. Mexico 

8. Dominican Republic 

9. USA

10. Indonesia 

11. Argentina 

12. India

13. Curaçao

14. Puerto Rico

15. Phillipines 

16. Brazil

17. Great Britain

18. Nicaragua

19. Thailand 

20. Costa Rica

21. Vietnam



74 contestants will compete for the title of Miss Universe on 16 May in Hollywood, Florida. 

The Miss Universe pageant takes place on 16 May in the US (02:00 to 05:00 on 17 May SA time). The show will be broadcast live on 1 Magic (DStv Channel 103) with a repeat at 21:30. 

Reigning Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi of South Africa will crown her successor at the end of the event.

Representing South Africa is Natasha Joubert, and South Africans are hoping for the “magic double” – back-to-back consecutive wins, which has only happened once before in the pageant’s history.

Natasha wowed crowds at the national costume competition last week and on Friday impressed during the preliminary round

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Miss Mexico crowned Miss Universe 2021




By AFP Time of article published 16m ago

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Washington – Miss Mexico was crowned Miss Universe on Sunday in Florida, after fellow contestant Miss Myanmar used her stage time to draw attention to the bloody military coup in her country.

Sunday night marked the Miss Universe competition’s return to television, after the pageant was cancelled in 2020 for the first time due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Andrea Meza, 26, finished first ahead of the Brazilian and Peruvian finalists in a flashy televised event, hosted by American actor Mario Lopez and television personality Olivia Culpo.

Former Miss Universe contestants Cheslie Kryst, Paulina Vega and Demi-Leigh Tebow (who won the title in 2017) served as competition analysts and commentators, and a panel of eight women determined the winner.

Dressed in a sparkling red evening gown, Meza tearfully walked the catwalk as Miss Universe for the first time, before rushing back for a group hug with the other competitors.

Meza beat more than 70 contestants from around the globe in the 69th installment of Miss Universe, which was held at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.

In the days leading up to the final competition, Miss Myanmar Thuzar Wint Lwin, who made the top 21, made waves when she used her time in the spotlight to bring attention to the coup in her country.

“Our people are dying and being shot by the military every day,” she said during her biographical video, which showed photos of her taking part in the anti-coup protests. “Therefore I would like to urge everyone to speak out about Myanmar.”

Natasha Joubert, Miss Universe South Africa 2020 competes on stage in Ema Savahl swimwear during the MISS UNIVERSE® Preliminary Competition.

She also won the award for best national costume: during that competition segment on Thursday, she wore an outfit beaded in traditional Burmese patterns and held up a sign that said, “Pray for Myanmar.”

Myanmar has been in uproar since February 1, when the army ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

At least 796 people have been killed by security forces since then, according to a local monitoring group, while nearly 4 000 people are behind bars.

Miss Singapore Bernadette Belle Ong – who did not make the top 21 – also used the national costume portion to make a political statement.

Dressed in a glittering red bodysuit and matching thigh-high boots, she turned around to reveal her cape – in the colours of the Singaporean flag – was painted with the words “Stop Asian Hate.”

“What is this platform for if I can’t use it to send a strong message of resistance against prejudice and violence?” she wrote on Instagram alongside pictures of her outfit.

The United States in particular has seen a surge in anti-Asian violence in the past year, which activists have blamed on former president Donald Trump’s rhetoric, especially his repeated description of Covid-19 as the “China virus.”

The pageant has also drawn criticism in the past for objectifying the contestants.

In recent years, the competition has shifted image, focusing more on female empowerment and activism.

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