The roll out of LTE in Africa continues apace as MTN announces that it will be launching a network in Uganda in 2013. The subsidiary of the South African network has announced plans to upgrade its network to offer speeds of up to 100Mbps and said it would be investing $70m in network infrastructure during 2013, following on from the $80m it said it spent in 2012.
France-based mobile operator Orange has signed an exclusive partnership with China’s premier search provider Baidu to bring a mobile web browser to customers in the Middle East and Africa.
Tunisiana, the largest provider of wireless communication services in the north African country of Tunisia, has awarded a four-year contract to build, manage and maintain a high-speed wireline broadband network to Paris-headquartered equipment vendor Alcatel-Lucent.
Qatari incumbent operator Qatar Telecom (Qtel) has announced that it is to acquire a further 15 per cent stake in its Tunisian counterpart, Tunisiana, from the North African country’s government. Q-Tel already holds a direct 75 per cent stake in Tunisiana through its subsidiary Wataniya and this latest 15 per cent, for which Q-Tel is paying US$360m, will take its holding to 90 per cent.
Ethiopia’s monopoly operator Ethio Telecom has announced plans to deploy LTE services in the country’s capital, Addis Ababa.The operator recently launched a program of 26 projects aimed at improving service provision, customer handling and communication, and network expansion.
MTN has chosen equipment vendor Ericsson to launch its LTE network in South Africa, which following a year-long trial is now live in the Johannesburg, Pretoria and Durban areas. LTE has not been deployed in the city of Cape Town at present.
Chams Eddine Diagne, Africa General Manager, Viadeo, talks to telecoms.com at AfricaCom 201, about growing a professional social network with 45 million members.
Nicola D’Elia, Growth Manager Africa, Facebook, talks to telecoms.com at AfricaCom 2012 about growing the social network’s presence in Africa.
Clinton Pierce, sales director for sub-Saharan Africa at StreamWide talks to telecoms.com at AfricaCom 2012 about two key opportunities: collect call and social telephony.
Spotting the opportunity in the African emerging market, France Telecom has launched the Orange brand in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The operator group acquired domestic operator CCT in October 2011 and has invested CDF87.4bn ($95m) since to expand and upgrade its network.
A software solution created by Orange is set to help African academic institutions, organisations and NGOs in their mobile services development projects. Emerginov, a solution produced by the operator group’s R&D subsidiary Orange Labs, incorporates multiple open source software components and enables the development of applications based on SMS or on vocal interfaces.
Already staking a claim to be the one of the most effective mobile money success stories to have graced the telecoms industry, Kenya’s M-Pesa service has now been extended to allow consumers access to interest-bearing saving accounts and the ability to take out small loans.
Shayan Sanyal, chief commercial officer, Bluwan, and Michale Cothill, CEO of Somaliland operator Somcable, talk to telecoms.com at AfricaCom 2012 about delivering ‘fibre-like’ access services to difficult environments at one tenth of the cost of GPON.
Alcino Lavrador, CEO of Open Idea, talks to telecoms.com at AfricaCom 2012 about the significant investment being made in the region. He anticipates mobile penetration to rise 20 per cent from 54 per cent in the next three years, indicating the significant opportunities in the region.
Robert J Richardson, VP sales – Global Submarine Solutions, Xtera Communications, talks to telecoms.com at AfricaCom 2012, about the provision of long haul telecoms equipment.
The African subsidiary of Indian operator group Bharti Airtel has extended its mobile money transfer service across the 17 African markets it operates in. Airtel Africa’s subscribers will be able to send and receive money transfers over the operator’s network, which will be connected to a community of mobile network operators, and money transfer organisations, through the HomeSend hub.
Gaming presents a valuable revenue source for mobile operators, as Eidos chief Ian Livingstone explained at Broadband World Forum in October. One such firm, global operator group Millicom International Cellular, under its Tigo brand, is aiming to grasp the opportunity by inking a deal with mobile games service provider and publisher Thumbstar Games. The deal covers various countries in Latin America as well as Africa.
As the African market continues to mature, the importance of optimising and monitoring network activity is growing in line, with Astellia providing such solutions to the region ever since the firm was established in 2000.
Financial services firm Fundamo has conducted research examining the opportunities in mobile money services in Africa, and has reported that it expects to see accelerated growth of such services in the coming years.
Service providers in the African region have a golden opportunity: a chance to prepare for the opportunities afforded by next generation services, while operators in developed markets have tried and largely failed to develop consumer services beyond connectivity.