News

Pivotel launches Thuraya Big Bundle to connect more people in remote Australia

Elevate Communication • April 4, 2017

A new hybrid satellite and mobile phone plan to be launched in April by Pivotel, is set to strengthen connectivity and reduce safety risks for residents and travellers across more than 10,800 Australian mobile black spots that currently create unreliable mobile coverage.

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As Australia’s fourth mobile carrier, Pivotel is leading an industry-first initiative to bring historically more expensive satellite phone costs in line with contemporary mobile phone plans. Similar to ‘capped’ mobile plans, the service offers a large included satellite bundle and an unlimited voice and SMS bundle in standard mobile mode for $99 per month.

Pivotel CEO Peter Bolger said the new solution aims to help Australians stay in touch with friends and family from anywhere in the country, including notorious black spots areas, without the fear of satellite bill shock while providing them a single account for their mobile and their satellite services.

“Satellite phones have most commonly been used for emergency calls only as the cost per minute to talk is generally considered high compared to what we are used to with current mobile phone plans,” Mr Bolger said.

“For the first time in the satellite communications industry, we have engineered a new way to deliver a complete coverage solution, with customers enjoying unlimited voice and SMS to standard numbers while using the mobile service and having peace of mind that they have a very large satellite value bundle to use when outside of mobile coverage.

“It means peace of mind for travellers along some of the country’s most iconic off-road driving tracks including the Old Telegraph Track, Canning Stock Route and the Birdsville Track, which until now, have left travellers without network coverage, and with limited communication to friends, family and emergency services,” Mr Bolger said.

The new service builds upon Pivotel’s already unique satellite mobile service where the satellite phones use standard Australian mobile numbers, and callers on unlimited mobile bundles pay minimal costs to call a Pivotel satellite phone. This is in stark contrast to the high cost of calling competitor satellite phones that use satellite phone numbers.

The new plan will enable Pivotel customers to set up their Pivotel mobile service to automatically forward incoming calls to their satellite service when they are out of mobile coverage, with callers only needing to remember one mobile number.

“This really is a breakthrough for the mobile satellite industry; allowing travellers to stay in touch while also having a large enough mobile and satellite bundle to enjoy family milestones such as birthday calls, stay connected with friends and family, and take important calls from customers and suppliers from virtually everywhere,” Mr Bolger said.

“Australians travelling in remote areas rely on mobile devices to keep in touch with loved ones, and stay safe on the road. Running out of fuel, getting stuck in a storm or running out of water can quickly turn life threatening when exploring some of the world’s most remote terrains, which is why it’s important the satellite phone be regarded as a vital and helpful communication support, rather than an expensive emergency gadget.

“As well as all sorts of businesses, the Big Bundle plan will suit adventure seekers, grey nomads, tourists, and fly-in, fly-out workers who want to stay in touch with loved ones when outside of mobile range without breaking the bank,” Mr Bolger said.

The new offering extends cellular coverage by adding satellite connectivity on the Thuraya network and can work outside mobile coverage areas using a smartphone when accompanied by Pivotel’s SatSleeve. The SatSleeve is an innovative device that attaches to smartphones, instantly transforming a regular phone into a satellite phone without the need for a separate satellite phone.

Pivotel’s Thuraya Big Bundle plan will cost $99 and include unlimited calls and SMS when using the cellular service, plus $400 worth of satellite value for voice calling, SMS and data when using the satellite service. More information at http://www.pivotel.com.au/bigbundle.

Magnet offers free office space to Irish companies in London

TechCentral.ie • March 6, 2017

Ten Irish businesses looking to expand to Britain are being offered free office space in the heart of London as part of Magnet Networks’ Launchpad for London initiative.

“With Brexit dominating the news, it is easy to forget that Britain is our largest trading partner and offers better access to funders, a better attitude to risk and a massive market for many Irish firms,” said Magnet Networks CEO Mark Kellett.

Brentry

“We believe that 2017 should be the year of Brentry, giving Irish businesses a launchpad into the city that hosts many of the world’s top companies and offers the best place to test your fundraising model, product or service offering.

“Most importantly, Irish companies who are also operating within Britain will be in a stronger position post-Brexit.

“The 10 Irish companies who base themselves at Magnet’s headquarters at York House in the smart city will pay no rent for four months. They will have the fastest connection available, direct fibre optic connections from Ireland to their London desks and access to one of the largest Internet of Things and Smart City test beds in the world.”

Enterprise Ireland regional director for the UK & Northern Europe Marina Donohue said: “The UK is the largest export market for Enterprise Ireland client companies, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future,” she said. “Having a presence on the ground in the market has always been important, and even more so since the decision was taken by Britain to leave the EU.

“Every year we help hundreds of Irish companies develop and grow their exports in to Britain, many of whom will establish a base here. The head start provided by Launchpad for London has the potential to be of huge value to help companies become established in the UK, as well as being well connected.”

Betcade returns to business having secured critical funding

SBCNews • March 6, 2017

Betcade the ‘real-money’ dedicated gaming/gambling app store has returned to business having gained critical investment from Vancouver-based private equity firm Columbia Ventures Corporations (CVC).

At the start of the year, Batcade management had issued a corporate statement informing industry stakeholders that the company had ceased its operations. At the time Betcade management did not disclose any specific reason as to why the company had shut down its enterprise.

The Pasadena-based (California) start-up returns to business, seeking to become the ‘go-to mobile app store’ for betting and gaming consumers. Betcade operations will continue to be led by CEO & Founder David Chang who commented on his firm’s return to business
“Every start-up has a near-death experience, and in those trying times you learn a lot about the company and those that you work with. Throughout the process, we have done our utmost to treat all stakeholders with respect and sincerity.”

Chang backs his firm’s revival with CVC as its new main backer. The CEO stated that Betcade would continue in its initial start-up strategy, focusing on facilitating ‘restricted’ Android app gambling/betting downloads, as well as delivering the industry’s best-in-class tailor-made mobile payment solution.

“In the near term, we will be working with our current partners with apps on the Betcade store. We realise our recent close call may have left our current partners with many questions and we will work hard to answer them while continuing to make a positive contribution to the gambling industry,” Chang further commented on Betcade’s return.

Pivotel invests in groundbreaking IoT deployment solutions

VIW Magazine • March 6, 2017

Leading telecommunications provider Pivotel Group, has partnered with Canada’s revolutionary LTE (4G) private network solutions company Expeto, to deliver an Australian first partnership allowing Pivotel to manage EPC core network elements in remote virtual environments.

Pivotel this month launched its remote 4G LTE solution ecoSphereTM, demonstrating its intention to build an ecosystem of leading sensor, device, modem, network technology and application providers to deliver state-of-the-art solutions enabled by remote 4G coverage in the mining, resources and agricultural sectors.

Unlike the big three Australian telecommunications companies who spend large on buying bulky centralized core network appliances located in substantial data centres, Pivotel Group has ensured its services remain competitive by partnering with Expeto to deliver its all software 4G LTE core network solution.

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Pivotel Executive Director Robert Sakker said with Expeto as its core network technology partner, customers will benefit from security, agility and flexibility in its network deployments.

“As Australia’s fourth mobile network operator in Australia alongside Telstra, Optus and Vodafone, Pivotel is a nimble network innovator, enabling us to push the boundaries and deliver global best practice,” Mr Sakker said.

“There is considerable value in partnering with Expeto. Firstly, it allows us to deploy targeted industrial and IoT solutions under our ecoSphereTM brand, which can be optimized for an end customer’s requirements, and secondly, customers maintain network access control at a granular level, with security forming a significant part of our service offering.

“Instead of the legacy solutions typically found only in large telco data centres, Expeto has developed an agile way for us to flexibly deploy our core network elements under a Platform as a Service model. Instead of a large upfront capex commitment, we are able to align our cost base with our revenue on an opex basis which will help us grow our 4G LTE footprint quickly,” Mr Sakker added.

The Expeto partnership will enable Pivotel to deploy the EPC core network elements in its remote virtual environments in seconds, without the need for a black box or multi-million dollar system integration. Critical customer data is kept secure, and most of the data can be processed locally, minimising expensive transfers over remote backhaul solutions.

Expeto CEO Ryley MacKenzie, said the foray into Australia helps expand the company’s global footprint.

“IoT service and solution providers such as Pivotel, are creating extremely innovative solutions. The Expeto platform ultimately enables enterprises to deploy wireless IoT and smartphone devices with more agility and configurability than ever before – all accomplished through IT methodologies, not telco complexity. We’ve built our service and reputation around the customers’ needs,” Mr MacKenzie said.

“It’s satisfying to see our developments rolled out by Pivotel in Australia. Expeto is cheaper, faster, easier and provides more control than legacy solutions. No boxes. No capex. With Expeto, Pivotel’s customers get their own network with their devices secured behind their firewall.”

The announcement comes in the lead up to Mobile World Congress, the world’s largest gathering for the mobile industry, held in the Barcelona, 27 February – 2 March 2017.

Firms here offered free London office

Irish Independent • March 6, 2017

Irish businesses looking to expand to Britain are being offered free office space in the heart of London with the launch of telecoms company Magnet Networks’ BrEntry initiative.

Launchpad For London will see 10 Irish companies establish themselves rent-free in London’s new smart city at Wembley Park.

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CEO of Magnet Networks Mark Kellett and Louise McKeown
launch the BrEntry initiative. Picture: Conor McCabe

“With Brexit dominating the news, it is easy to forget that Britain is our largest trading partner and offers better access to funders, a better attitude to risk and a massive market for many Irish firms,” Magnet Networks chief executive Mark Kellett said.

“The 10 Irish companies who base themselves at Magnet’s headquarters at York House in the smart city will pay no rent for four months…they will have the fastest connection available, direct fibre optic connections from Ireland to their London desks and access to one of the largest internet of things and smart city test beds in the world,” he added, inviting interested companies to apply.

Enterprise Ireland’s regional director for the UK and northern Europe, Marina Donohoe, praised the initiative for focusing on the importance of having a UK presence in a post-Brexit Europe. She said the UK would continue to be the largest export market for Enterprise Ireland client companies for the foreseeable future.

Off the canvas, Betcade is primed for action again

Online Casino Reports • March 2, 2017

Android gaming and payment solutions provider Betcade is back, and fast.

Betcade’s Back, Alright

The solutions provider was working on an Android gambling store last January when it closed. Now they are back, with a new backer.

Mobile First’s Time

After closing to some confusion, a new deal enables Betcade to continue to pursue a better mobile user experience for the gambling industry with the expectation that the iGaming sector could formally adopt a “mobile-first” focus by the end of 2017.

Making a Mark

In its first 18-month go-round of start-up, Betcade established itself as the first provider of real money gambling products on Google’s Android mobile platform. The company further gained approval from the UK Financial Conduct Authority in October 2016 to launch Betcade Pay in December as iGaming’s first general purpose payment method, so the brand had certainly established a niche.

New Owner

Now, mere weeks the fold, the Android-focused mobile gambling app re-launches after being acquired by Vancouver private equity firm Columbia Ventures.

Restart

The first step back is bringing the customer acquisition business back online. The first round of outreach consists of alerts from Chang and his team to current and former partners of new users to prepare for the imminent arrival of new users.

Betcade Leader Reacts

Betcade founder and CEO and David Chang had this to say of the move:
“In the near term, we will be working with our current partners with apps on the Betcade store. We realise our recent close call may have left our current partners with many questions and we will work hard to answer them while continuing to make a positive contribution to the gambling industry,”

Trial by Fire

Of the company’s comeback, Chang acknowledged that “Every start-up has a near-death experience and in those trying times you really learn a lot about the company and those that you work with. Throughout the process we have done our utmost to treat all stakeholders with respect and sincerity.”

Outlook

With specialised Android mobile technology and the first tailor-made iGaming payment solution, the value remains. Hopefully, the capital investment of Columbia is all that was necessary to bring these innovations to market in sustainable fashion: iGaming certainly appears ready.

Betcade to re-launch following acquisition by Columbia Ventures

iGamingBusiness • February 28, 2017

Android-focused mobile gambling app store Betcade is re-launching just a few weeks after it announced it was closing all business operations.

Betcade told iGaming Business it had been acquired by Columbia Ventures Corporation, a private equity business located in Vancouver, in the US state of Washington, which plans to restart the business.

Initial steps will see the start-up bring the customer acquisition business back online and David Chang, Betcade found and chief executive, told iGaming Business that once the company felt it was ready to support more operators it “will open the Betcade store to new apps again – hopefully that won’t take us too long”.

Chang and his team are currently reaching out to current and former partners to make them aware that it will start sending users their way shortly.

“In the near term, we will be working with our current partners with apps on the Betcade store. We realise our recent close call may have left our current partners with many questions and we will work hard to answer them while continuing to make a positive contribution to the gambling industry,” Chang told iGaming Business.

He added: “Our near-death experience was a consequence of the acquisition of our investor and as a consequence not reflective of our business operations, metrics or promise. I really believe that our value proposition is stronger than ever and is a needed part of the mobile ecosystem if mobile gaming is to continue to grow.

“Every start-up has a near-death experience and in those trying times you really learn a lot about the company and those that you work with. Throughout the process we have done our upmost to treat all stakeholders with respect and sincerity.”

In the coming months Betcade will be engaging with partners, vendors and customers. Chang added: “It looks like we will be able to contribute to the industry after all, and we are grateful for the opportunity.”