The Realme 5i was launched in India at a price range of Rs 8,999, while the Realme 6 arrived in the country at Rs 12,999 for the base model.
The settlement announced over the weekend comes after Telegram in May announced its decision to withdraw its cryptocurrency-focused subsidiary, Telegram Open Network or TON.
- Last Updated: June 29, 2020, 3:22 PM IST
Telegram has agreed to return more than $1.2 billion to investors and to pay an $18.5 million civil penalty to resolve the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s charges that the instant messaging platform’s unregistered offering of digital tokens called “Grams” violated the federal securities laws.
The settlement announced over the weekend comes after Telegram in May announced its decision to withdraw its cryptocurrency-focused subsidiary, Telegram Open Network (TON), due to problems it faced as a result of the US SEC scrutiny. Telegram engineers had been working on the blockchain platform called TON and a cryptocurrency they were going to name Gram for the past two-and-a-half years.
On October 11, 2019, the SEC filed a complaint against Telegram, alleging that the company had raised capital to finance its business by selling approximately 2.9 billion Grams to 171 initial purchasers worldwide. The SEC sought to preliminarily enjoin Telegram from delivering the Grams it sold, which the regulator alleged were securities that had been offered and sold in violation of the registration requirements of the federal securities laws.
On March 24, 2020, the US District Court for the Southern District of New York issued a preliminary injunction barring the delivery of Grams and finding that the SEC had shown a substantial likelihood of proving that Telegram’s sales were part of a larger scheme to unlawfully distribute the Grams to the secondary public market.
“New and innovative businesses are welcome to participate in our capital markets but they cannot do so in violation of the registration requirements of the federal securities laws,” Kristina Littman, Chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Cyber Unit, said in a statement. “This settlement requires Telegram to return funds to investors, imposes a significant penalty, and requires Telegram to give notice of future digital offerings.”
Telegram Founder and CEO Pavel Durov said in May that “a US court stopped TON from happening”. Durov urged others to keep fighting for decentralisation, balance and equality in the world. “You are fighting the right battle. This battle may well be the most important battle of our generation. We hope that you succeed where we have failed,” he said.
GPay banned by RBI – the aforementioned is right now at the top of all trending topics on Twitter in India. However, it is important to note that the same is NOT true, and is yet again based on a misleading WhatsApp message that seems to be circulating social media. The trend has likely stemmed from a report from earlier this week, wherein a Press Trust of India report quoted the Reserve Bank of India as stating that Google Pay does not operate a payment system in India, and hence does not find a place in the list of authorised payment system operators published by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). RBI’s response came in light of a PIL to the Delhi High Court, filed by economist Abhijit Mishra. However, Google has since responded to RBI’s submissions, stating that it is a legal operator in India, and as a result, your money is as safe as it would be on another other payment service’s platform.
On June 24, Google Pay India posted a PTI article, stating, “Google Pay operates completely within the law. We work as a technology service provider to partner banks, to allow payments via UPI. UPI apps in the country are categorised as ‘third party apps’, and are not required to be ‘payment systems operators’.” A Google spokesperson’s statement to PTI on the matter said, “Some quotes on social media, wrongly attributed to the RBI, claim that issues arising while transferring money through Google Pay are not protected by the law, since the app is unauthorised. This is incorrect and can be verified on NPCI”s website.”
Google Pay operates completely within the law. We work as a technology service provider to partner banks, to allow payments via UPI. UPI apps in the country are categorized as ‘third party apps’, and are not required to be ‘payment systems operators’.
— Google Pay India (@GooglePayIndia) June 24, 2020
The statement on the matter further says, “All transactions made via Google Pay are fully protected by redressal processes laid out by applicable guidelines of the RBI/NPCI, and users can reach out for any help 24/7, through Google Pay customer care.”
Furthermore, a report by Times Now states that a Google India spokesperson has clarified that it is a Third Party App Provider (TPAP), which is in compliance with laws in India. “All authorised TPAPs are listed on the NPCI Website. All transactions made using any of the authorised TPAPs are fully protected by the redressal processes laid out by applicable guidelines of NPCI/RBI and customers already have full access to the same. Further, we would also like to clarify that all authorised TPAP’s are already bound by full compliance to all the regulations and applicable laws in India. UPI ecosystem is fully safe and secure, and we appeal to the citizens not to fall prey to such malicious news. We also request UPI customers not to share their OTP (one time password) and UPI Pin with anybody,” the spokesperson is quoted as saying.
Given these circumstances, it is advised to Indian citizens to NOT believe in forwarded WhatsApp messages that claim that Google Pay has been banned by the RBI, since that is not the case in India. Google India has also posted on the matter, clarifying that it is in accordance with the law of the land, and hence, transacting on Google Pay keeps your money as safe as it would be on any other payment platform in India.
Amazon Pay on Friday launched Smart Stores feature in India where customers need to scan the store’s QR code using the Amazon app to begin exploring the products available within the store. The ‘Smart Store’ feature would empower local shops with capabilities to increase footfalls, improve customer experience and generate more sales, the company said in a statement.
“Amazon Pay is already accepted at millions of local shops, we are trying to make customers’ buying experience at local shops even more convenient and safe through Smart Stores,” said Mahendra Nerurkar, CEO, Amazon Pay. After selecting the products, customers buy with Amazon Pay, which gives them a choice of using UPI, balance, or credit or debit cards.
Customers can on-the-spot convert a transaction into an EMI and from time-to-time avail exciting rewards from their banks or through Amazon Pay. Smart Store will enable a local shop to launch a digital storefront, thereby enabling customers to discover products, read reviews, evaluate offers while in the store or from anywhere using the Amazon app.
It will also enable local shops to offer Amazon Pay reward coupons to attract new customers. Thousands of local shops across the country have already signed up as Amazon Pay Smart Stores, like Sri Balaji Kitchens in Vishakapatnam, USHA Company Store in Jabalpur and outlets of brands such as Big Bazaar, MedPlus and More Supermarkets. “Through EMIs, bank offers and rewards, we seek to make these purchases more affordable and rewarding for customers, and help increase sales for merchants,” Nerurkar added.
Brazil’s central bank, Banco Central do Brasil, said it suspended Whatsapp’s payment services to “preserve an adequate competitive environment” in the mobile payments space.
- Last Updated: June 25, 2020, 1:12 PM IST
Brazil’s Central Bank has suspended Facebook’s new WhatsApp payments services in the country, just over a week after the messaging service announced its rollout. In a statement, Banco Central do Brasil, said it was taking the decision to “preserve an adequate competitive environment” in the mobile payments space and to ensure “functioning of a payment system that’s interchangeable, fast, secure, transparent, open and cheap.”
Following the announcement, other banks in Brazil have instructed Mastercard and Visa, which are among the payment partners for Whatsapp in the country, to suspend transfer via the app. Furthermore, companies who fail to comply with the new order will face fines and administrative sanctions. Brazil’s move is a major setback for Facebook’s payment ambitions, given the fact it is the second-biggest market for WhatsApp after India. To recall, Whatsapp launched a beta version of its payment service in India. However, its parent company Facebook has struggled to gain regulatory approvals to expand the service nationwide. Apart from Brazil and India, WhatsApp is testing its payment services in Mexico as well.
However, a WhatsApp spokesperson said the messaging service would continue working with “local partners” and the central bank to provide digital payments for its users in Brazil using a business model open to more participants, which would address regulators’ concerns on market concentration.
WhatsApp unveiled its mobile payments service in Brazil last week. It was the very first time WhatsApp had been able to conduct a nationwide rollout of its payments service in any market. The feature allows users to exchange money with one another and also pay businesses. The Facebook-owned service said that it was not charging any fee to users for sending or receiving money but was charging businesses a 3.99% processing fee.
“The over 10 million small and micro-businesses are the heartbeat of Brazil’s communities. It’s become second nature to send a zap to a business to get questions answered. Now in addition to viewing a store’s catalogue, customers will be able to send payments for products as well,” the company wrote in a blog post published last week.
As WhatsApp Payments remain stuck in India, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Monday announced to launch digital payments for people using WhatsApp in Brazil, where the users would be able to send and receive money to family and friends and make purchases. The Brazil launch comes ahead of India where the company began testing payments feature way back in 2018 but could not launch the feature for over 400 million users owing to regulatory roadblocks and data compliance issues.
“We’re making sending and receiving money as easy as sharing photos. We’re also enabling small businesses to make sales right within WhatsApp,” Zuckerberg said in a post. “To do this, we’re building on Facebook Pay, which provides a secure and consistent way to make payments across our apps. We’re working with local banks, including Banco do Brasil, Nubank, Sicredi as well as Cielo, the leading payments processor for merchants in Brazil,” he informed.
“Brazil is the first country where we’re widely rolling out payments in WhatsApp. With the addition of Visa’s trusted payment technology, WhatsApp users will now be able to swiftly and securely send and receive money to family and friends, and to make purchases from small businesses on the popular global messaging service.”
Payments on WhatsApp are made possible by tapping into the capabilities of Visa Direct, Visa’s real-time1 push payments technology, and Visa Cloud Tokenization, Visa’s new cutting-edge security capability that launches today in conjunction with payments on WhatsApp. Sending money or making a purchase on WhatsApp is free for people.
Businesses will pay a processing fee to receive customer payments, similar to what they may already pay when accepting a credit card transaction. Zuckerberg said earlier this year that the peer-to-peer, UPI-based payments feature will be rolled out in several countries in the next six months.
“We got approval to test this with one million people in India back in 2018. And when so many of the people kept using it week after week, we knew it was going to be big when we get to launch,” Zuckerberg said in January. “I’m really excited about this, and I expect this to start rolling out in a number of countries and for us to make a lot of progress here in the next six months,” he added.
Beginning Monday, select Brazilian WhatsApp users will gradually start seeing the payment option on the app, where they can set up an account by adding their Visa card to start sending and receiving money. For small businesses to be able to receive payments from customers, they simply need to create a WhatsApp Business app account.
“Using our technology to open up avenues like WhatsApp for more people to shop and pay each other digitally is an incredibly powerful proposition that we’re excited to bring to life,” said Jack Forestell, Chief Product Officer, Visa.
“We are very excited to bring payments on WhatsApp to our users across Brazil. Making it easier to send and receive money could not be more important than at a time like this,” said Matt Idema, WhatsApp’s Chief Operating Officer. “Small businesses are the backbone of the country. The ability to easily make sales right within WhatsApp will help business owners adapt to the digital economy, support growth, and financial recovery,” Idema added.
Reports state that over 70 percent of Tata Sky’s 5 million-odd subscribers either cancelled or reduced their monthly TV billings in May.
- Last Updated: June 8, 2020, 7:15 PM IST
Tata Sky is reportedly exploring ways to help its customers reduce cost of TV subscriptions, thereby retaining its subscribers to the DTH network. According to a report by NDTV, Tata Sky is set to revise subscription packs basis customer behaviour data that it has observed on its app or website for the past month. As per the data, over 70 percent of the 5 million-odd Tata Sky DTH subscribers logged on to the website to either cancel their subscriptions or reduce monthly costs, as the Covid-19 pandemic impacted both salaried and self-employed individuals alike.
In a bid to reduce the drastic fall of subscribers on its DTH network, Tata Sky is reportedly looking to “rationalise” monthly costs for users with billing of Rs 350 or lesser. This rationalisation process will be undertaken by using Tata Sky’s internal analytics engine to identify the said users, and then use the data to optimise the packs or channels selected, in a bid to reduce the overall monthly expenses and encourage users to not cancel their subscriptions right away. As a result, many users may soon be contacted and offered cheaper alternate plans by Tata Sky itself. According to reports, Tata Sky will give a prior notice of 15 days before reducing the cost of the subscription packs.
Reports by various publications indicate that Tata Sky may have already lost over 1.5 million subscribers during the Covid-19 pandemic period that began in March. In a bid to ebb the outflow of subscribers, Tata Sky’s new strategy to optimise the plans may reduce monthly costs by up to Rs 100. However, it remains unclear right now if such a strategy would ultimately help the DTH operator retain its user base. Even apart from the pandemic, users have been reportedly unsubscribing from DTH networks, as adoption of OTT platforms and online content viewing continue to rise.
It now remains to be seen if a similar trend is being observed by other operators such as Airtel DTH, Dish TV and others as well. Tata Sky has been attempting to target a crossover of users as well by offering Android TV boxes, in a bid to combine the benefits of both DTH channels and OTT content.
Amazon India has introduced this new feature only available on Android devices and it can be accessed by tapping the microphone icon on top of the page.
- Last Updated: May 27, 2020, 5:53 PM IST
In a bid to make shopping and paying various sorts of bills faster and hassle-free, Amazon India has now enabled voice search and bill payments on the Amazon app. Powered by Alexa and Amazon Pay, the feature is currently available on Android devices, where users can access it by tapping the microphone icon on top of the page. This update comes within two months of Alexa’s debut on the Amazon app.
Now Ask Alexa to Make Faster Bill Payments
Tap the microphone icon on the Amazon shopping app and ask “Alexa, pay my electricity bill” or “Alexa, recharge my DTH”. If you have paid bills in the past, then you will be navigated directly to the billing page with pre-fetched bill details. The company said that with Alexa and Amazon Pay balance, this monthly activity can now be done in just three taps.
First-time customers will be navigated to the specific bill page to register their account and service provider before proceeding with the bill payment. In order to pay make bill payments on Amazon Echo, Fire TV Stick on any other device Alexa built-in, users will just have to say, “Alexa pay my mobile bill”, or “Alexa, pay my gas bill” to their devices. However, for existing customers, Alexa will get the bill amount due to the registered account and ask for customer confirmation before processing the payment.
“Customers can also enable a voice pin on the Alexa app to secure these transactions. Once approved, Alexa will complete the transaction using Amazon Pay, and send a notification to the customer’s registered mobile phone number, confirming the transaction. For new Amazon Pay customers, Alexa will send a link to register their bill details on the Amazon shopping app before proceeding with bill payment,” Amazon said in a statement.
How to Ask Alexa to Add Money, or Check Your Amazon Pay Balance?
In order to ask Alexa to add money or check your Amazon Pay Balance, you have to tap on the microphone icon on the Amazon shopping app and ask, “Alexa, what is my Amazon Pay balance?” and your balance amount will be shown on the app screen. Ir order to add money, just ask, “Alexa, add Rs 500 to my Amazon Pay balance.” You will be navigated to the ‘Add Money’ page with the requested pre-filled amount.
Similarly, you can also use your Amazon Echo, Fire TV Stick, and other devices with Alexa built-in to avail these features. You have to just ask “Alexa, check my Amazon Pay balance”, or say “Alexa, add money to my Amazon Pay balance” and receive a link over SMS to complete the transaction.
HP also decided to cut by 25% the portion of the annual $100,000 cash retainer entitled by directors for the same period
- Last Updated: May 22, 2020, 2:44 PM IST
Hewlett Packard Enterprise on Thursday unveiled a plan targeting gross savings of at least $1 billion (817.5 million pounds) by 2022 and cut the base salaries of top executives by 25% as the software maker seeks to weather the coronavirus crisis. Shares, down about 35% this year, fell nearly 6% in extended trading after the company missed second-quarter revenue and profit estimates, hit by global lockdowns since February.
Chief Executive Officer Antonio Neri flagged concerns about cautious consumers and supply constraints during a post-earnings call. Beginning July 1, through the remainder of the fiscal year 2020, the base salaries of the CEO and officers at the executive vice president level will be reduced by 25%, HPE said.
The board also agreed to cut by 25% the portion of the annual $100,000 cash retainer entitled by directors for the same period. HPE will now focus on investments and realign its workforce to evolve with its supply chain and real estate strategies, as well as right-size the business.
“My expectation is at least 50% of our employees will never come back to an office,” Neri said on the call. HP, which in April withdrew its 2020 forecast, posted second-quarter adjusted earnings of 22 cents per share, missing the average analyst estimate of 29 cents, according to IBES data from Refinitiv. Revenue of $6.01 billion also missed an estimate of $6.29 billion.
The statement was made during the hearing of a petition seeking a ban on payment through WhatsApp, as it does not conform to the data localization norms.
- Last Updated: May 14, 2020, 11:44 AM IST
- Edited by: Shouvik Das
Social media platform WhatsApp assured the Supreme Court on Wednesday that it will not roll out its payment services without complying with all payment regulations and norms in the country.
A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices Indu Malhotra and Hrishikesh Roy took up the matter through video conferencing. Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing the social media platform, said: “WhatsApp Inc makes a statement on behalf of his client that they will not go ahead with the payments’ scheme without complying with all the regulations in force.”
The statement was made during the hearing of a petition seeking a ban on payment through WhatsApp, as it does not conform to the data localization norms. The top court took the assurance made by WhatsApp on record. WhatsApp made the statement during the hearing of a plea seeking a ban on its payment service, for not being in line with data localization norms.
In 2018, WhatsApp was granted a beta licence to launch its payment service, but a dedicated and separate app is yet to be launched. A petition was moved in the apex court that WhatsApp’s existing model for its payments service should be declared inconsistent with the Unified Payment Interface (UPI) Scheme, as a separate dedicated app has not been offered by the company.
The petitioner NGO, Good Governance Chambers, argued that the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) must change its model on the lines of the UPI payment scheme, and its operations may be suspended until these conditions are met.
The apex court today asked the Centre, Facebook and WhatsApp to file their replies within three weeks and it will take up the matter thereafter. The court noted that the government may process the applications filed by WhatsApp in accordance with the law and there is no stay on the same. Facebook was represented by senior advocate Arvind Datar.
The petitioner argued that lapses have been found in relation to WhatsApp’s claims of having a secure and safe technological interface for securing sensitive user data.