Daily Archives: June 7, 2018

Syntonic announces international launch of the Freeway Roaming Service™ for mobile carriers

New service enables operators to accelerate growth in international roaming ARPUs by participating in the US$676 billion generated by online travel services

SEATTLE, June 06, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Syntonic, a mobile platform and services provider, today announced the commercial launch of its international Freeway Roaming Service for mobile carriers.

Syntonic’s Freeway Roaming Service enables mobile carriers to capture new revenue streams from their international roaming subscribers by participating in the US$676 billion generated by online travel transactions.

The Freeway Roaming Service is a white-labeled service that can be branded by mobile carriers and offers data-free access to travel services paid for by app affiliation fees and transaction commissions from consumer purchases. The service enables travel app providers to capture lost transactional opportunities from travelers who turn off their expensive cellular data connection when roaming internationally.

Additionally, the Freeway Roaming Service provides a convenient way for travelers to purchase data roaming packages and micro-data plans to premium apps to further enhance carrier international roaming ARPU.

With the Freeway Roaming Service, international travelers no longer need to turn-off mobile data, wait for uncertain Wi-Fi access, or inconveniently purchase a local SIM. This always-connected international subscriber translates into additional carrier ARPU through participation in the app economy.

The first deployment of the Freeway Roaming Service is with Smart Communications, which will provide their 57.7 million subscribers, when travelling abroad, with sponsored access to mobile apps and content through the RoamFree by Smart® international traveler application, available in the App Store and Google Play Store. The upcoming version of RoamFree, powered by the Freeway technology platform, provides Smart’s international travelers with data-free access to essential and popular travel services such as Agoda, AirBnB, Grab, Uber, Klook, TripAdvisor, ATM Finder, Google Maps, and Groupon.

“This partnership and roaming service rollout with Smart represents an important milestone and the first announced deployment of our Freeway Roaming Service,” said Syntonic founder and CEO Gary Greenbaum. “Along with the revenue-advancing benefits, our technology platform enables mobile carriers to add more value for subscribers, reduce customer churn, and better monetize their roaming services.”

Alice Ramos, Vice President of International Roaming for Smart Communications, commented, “We are proud to be working with Syntonic that shares our zeal in delivering enriching travel experiences for our subscribers.”

“Smart customers already enjoy roaming plans that are simple, easy and affordable, with the power to track usage in real time,” she added. “Now, RoamFree democratizes roaming while allowing Smart to enhance in-trip experiences. With Syntonic, we are expanding our services from roaming access to travel content, further and faster than before.”

For more information, please contact info@syntonic.com.

About Syntonic 
Syntonic Ltd (SYT.ASX) is a Seattle based software company which has developed two mobile technology services: Freeway by Syntonic®, which allows consumers unlimited mobile access to content and applications, supported by paid subscription and sponsorship; and Syntonic DataFlex®, which enables businesses to manage split billing expenses for employees when they use their personal mobile phones for work. Founded in 2013, Syntonic has developed worldwide strategic partnerships with leaders in the mobile ecosystem.

For media enquiries, please contact:

Paul Lonnegren
Pulse8 PR
plonnegren@pulse8pr.com
(720) 470-7488

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/a2baf39d-196c-41ad-ab3b-5d3e36876084

Red Cross Pulls 71 Foreign Staff Out of Yemen Amid Insecurity, Threats

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Thursday it had pulled 71 international staff out of Yemen because of security incidents and threats, moving them to Djibouti.

The aid agency called on all the warring sides in Yemen’s three-year conflict to provide security guarantees so it can keep running its surgical, water and food assistance programs, which it said had been crippled by the partial evacuation.

Some 450 ICRC employees remain in Yemen, including dozens of expatriate staff, spokeswoman Marie-Claire Feghali said.

“Our current activities have been blocked, threatened and directly targeted in recent weeks, and we see a vigorous attempt to instrumentalize our organization as a pawn in the conflict,” the ICRC said in a statement.

An ICRC employee, a Lebanese national, was killed on April 21 by an unknown gunmen who opened fire on his car in the southwestern Yemeni city of Taiz as he was on his way to visit a prison, it said at the time.

“While the Yemen delegation has received numerous threats in the past, we cannot now accept additional risk less than two months after a gunman killed a staff member. The security of our staff, who are being intimidated by parties to the conflict, is a non-negotiable prerequisite for our presence and work in Yemen and an absolute priority,” the statement said.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Sunni Muslim allies entered the war in 2015 to try to drive back the Houthis, an Iran-allied Shi’ite movement that forced a Saudi-backed government into exile in 2014.

The United Nations said there were no plans to evacuate staff. “We can confirm that U.N. international and national staff remain in place in Yemen, including in all five active field hubs (Aden, Hodeidah, Ibb, Sa’ada and Sana’a),” said Jens Laerke of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Unidentified forces attacked a U.N. aid vessel off the main Yemeni port of Hodeidah at the weekend, port authorities have said.

As forces of the Saudi-led military coalition close in on Hodeidah, aid agencies fear a major battle will shut down a vital lifeline for millions of hungry civilians.

Source: Voice of America

US Wary as Russia, China Set Sights on South, Central America

Russia and China are making steady progress in reshaping the current international order, worrying the United States and its regional allies.

Concerns that Moscow and Beijing are actively trying to reshape the balance of power are not new and have been a focus of the new U.S. national security and defense strategies.

But while top military officials have repeatedly sounded the alarm about Russian and Chinese activities in other parts of the world, from Europe to Asia to Africa, there is a sense that not enough attention has been paid to what both countries have been able to do in South and Central America.

“We can’t just pay attention to what they’re doing in Europe or in the South China Sea,” warned Admiral Kurt Tidd, the commander of U.S. Southern Command.

“Right here, far closer to home, there is competition going on,” Tidd told reporters Thursday in Washington. “It’s competition for influence and the single-most important thing we can do is compete ourselves.”

Russia, in particular, has been increasingly aggressive in re-establishing a military presence, sending ships to the region to make port calls while also boosting its intelligence-gathering platforms and operations, according to officials.

Defense ties

Moscow has also worked to repair or cement defense ties with former allies in the region, selling them advanced weaponry like military jets and air defense systems.

“The country that has benefited most from Russian military sales has been Venezuela, a significant number of high-tech systems that clearly are not warranted from the security threats in the area,” Tidd said.

U.S. Southern Command points to Nicaragua as another beneficiary of the Russian military push, saying the country recently took delivery of refurbished tanks.

Other countries looking to modernize or upgrade their military capabilities are also being targeted, often being lured with lower prices.

In January, during a visit by Argentinian President Mauricio Macri to Moscow, the counties signed a memorandum of understanding to boost uranium production in Argentina, and Russian President Vladimir Putin offered to sell Macri rocket engines.

Russia has also been exploring deals with Brazil, which bought Russian-made MANPADS [man-portable air defense systems] last year and has expressed interest in Russia’s Pantsir surface-to-air missile system.

Yet U.S. officials also accuse Russia of using information campaigns to gain an advantage, in one case scuttling a possible sale of U.S. armored vehicles to Peru.

“Some, I think, very unhelpful propaganda came out of Russia talking about undercutting and underselling the ability of the [U.S.-made] Stryker to do its job,” Tidd said. “And then they roll in with some refurbished BTR’s [armored personnel carriers] at a cut-rate price.”

But some analysts think the concern may be overstated.

“Two, three years ago you saw that sort of propaganda,” Stratfor Latin America Analyst Paulo Gregoire told VOA. “You do not see that sort of propaganda lately.”

Lack money for military

A big reason, Gregoire said, is that countries across Latin America do not have the money to spend on military hardware like they did even a few years ago.

That is not to say that Russia does not have other advantages.

“Governments in Latin America like to deal with other governments directly and get things done government-to-government,” Gregoire said, something they can do more easily with Russia and China.

“With the U.S., you talk to the government but actually have to talk to [defense] companies,” he said, adding there are persistent concerns that any arms deal could be blocked by the U.S. Congress.

China’s inroads in South and Central America, while equally worrisome to U.S. officials, have focused less on military sales and more on economic development.

One country of particular concern is Panama.

China is already the world’s second-largest user of the Panama Canal, according to Panamanian officials, and the two countries are set to begin a new round of trade negotiations next month.

While U.S. military officials are not yet worried Beijing’s efforts will have any immediate impact on the ability of the U.S. to move military vessels and materiel through the region, they are wary given China’s ability to move quickly from economic ventures to military ones.

“I’m thinking of Djibouti,” U.S. Southern Command’s Tidd told reporters Thursday, referencing China’s first foreign military base in Africa. “How quickly they’ve ramped that up and established a fairly major presence.”

Source: Voice of America

US Wary as Russia, China Set Sights on South, Central America

Russia and China are making steady progress in reshaping the current international order, worrying the United States and its regional allies.

Concerns that Moscow and Beijing are actively trying to reshape the balance of power are not new and have been a focus of the new U.S. national security and defense strategies.

But while top military officials have repeatedly sounded the alarm about Russian and Chinese activities in other parts of the world, from Europe to Asia to Africa, there is a sense that not enough attention has been paid to what both countries have been able to do in South and Central America.

“We can’t just pay attention to what they’re doing in Europe or in the South China Sea,” warned Admiral Kurt Tidd, the commander of U.S. Southern Command.

“Right here, far closer to home, there is competition going on,” Tidd told reporters Thursday in Washington. “It’s competition for influence and the single-most important thing we can do is compete ourselves.”

Russia, in particular, has been increasingly aggressive in re-establishing a military presence, sending ships to the region to make port calls while also boosting its intelligence-gathering platforms and operations, according to officials.

Defense ties

Moscow has also worked to repair or cement defense ties with former allies in the region, selling them advanced weaponry like military jets and air defense systems.

“The country that has benefited most from Russian military sales has been Venezuela, a significant number of high-tech systems that clearly are not warranted from the security threats in the area,” Tidd said.

U.S. Southern Command points to Nicaragua as another beneficiary of the Russian military push, saying the country recently took delivery of refurbished tanks.

Other countries looking to modernize or upgrade their military capabilities are also being targeted, often being lured with lower prices.

In January, during a visit by Argentinian President Mauricio Macri to Moscow, the counties signed a memorandum of understanding to boost uranium production in Argentina, and Russian President Vladimir Putin offered to sell Macri rocket engines.

Russia has also been exploring deals with Brazil, which bought Russian-made MANPADS [man-portable air defense systems] last year and has expressed interest in Russia’s Pantsir surface-to-air missile system.

Yet U.S. officials also accuse Russia of using information campaigns to gain an advantage, in one case scuttling a possible sale of U.S. armored vehicles to Peru.

“Some, I think, very unhelpful propaganda came out of Russia talking about undercutting and underselling the ability of the [U.S.-made] Stryker to do its job,” Tidd said. “And then they roll in with some refurbished BTR’s [armored personnel carriers] at a cut-rate price.”

But some analysts think the concern may be overstated.

“Two, three years ago you saw that sort of propaganda,” Stratfor Latin America Analyst Paulo Gregoire told VOA. “You do not see that sort of propaganda lately.”

Lack money for military

A big reason, Gregoire said, is that countries across Latin America do not have the money to spend on military hardware like they did even a few years ago.

That is not to say that Russia does not have other advantages.

“Governments in Latin America like to deal with other governments directly and get things done government-to-government,” Gregoire said, something they can do more easily with Russia and China.

“With the U.S., you talk to the government but actually have to talk to [defense] companies,” he said, adding there are persistent concerns that any arms deal could be blocked by the U.S. Congress.

China’s inroads in South and Central America, while equally worrisome to U.S. officials, have focused less on military sales and more on economic development.

One country of particular concern is Panama.

China is already the world’s second-largest user of the Panama Canal, according to Panamanian officials, and the two countries are set to begin a new round of trade negotiations next month.

While U.S. military officials are not yet worried Beijing’s efforts will have any immediate impact on the ability of the U.S. to move military vessels and materiel through the region, they are wary given China’s ability to move quickly from economic ventures to military ones.

“I’m thinking of Djibouti,” U.S. Southern Command’s Tidd told reporters Thursday, referencing China’s first foreign military base in Africa. “How quickly they’ve ramped that up and established a fairly major presence.”

Source: Voice of America