Day two of AfricaCom 2014 saw a group of the continent’s most influential telecoms companies engaged in a panel discussion around the importance of LTE to Africa’s digital economy. With fixed broadband infrastructure still relatively thin on the ground, mobile broadband represents the only opportunity many Africans have to get online. While 3G may be the entry point for this, LTE offers many advantages, including simplicity, speed and data-optimization.
In the name of variety the Informer reports from Cape Town, South Africa this week. It’s hard to think of a location that would contrast more with last week’s venue – Stockholm – than Cape Town, but they do have a few things in common. They’re both coastal, cultured and cosmopolitan, but the Informer must report that a beer here is a tenth of the price than it is in Sweden.
Ericsson has announced its Wallet Platform has been deployed by Millicom-owned Tigo Senegal to offer financial services to customers across West Africa. Tigo Cash mobile services allow subscribers to make payments, store, transfer and withdraw money using a mobile device, even if the user doesn’t have access to traditional banking services.
Mobile data connections and services continue to grow strongly in Africa, but the continent lags behind most of the world in terms of high-speed broadband connectivity, according to a report by analyst firm Ovum. However, mobile broadband connections in Africa are set to rise from 96 million in 2013 to 950 million to cover 77.3% of all mobile subscriptions in the continent by the end of 2019.
Half of the world’s population (3.8 billion people) will be connected to mobile internet by 2020, according to a report published by the international mobile operator association GSMA. The report, which focuses on digital inclusion and efforts made to connect ‘offline’ populations, said mobile web users in developing countries will double from 1.5 billion in 2013 to 3 billion in the next five years.
The introduction of VoLTE is accelerating with 21% of operators currently investing in deployments, and according to the Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) the figure is set to double next year. So far a total of 10, of which seven this year, commercial VoLTE-enabled HD voice services have been launched, and the GSA is expecting eight more by the end of 2014.
Orange will launch a new, ultra-cheap smartphone in select emerging markets week, starting with Madagascar. The Alcatel OneTouch Pixi 2 Maxi smartphone, which features a dual-SIM port, will be on sale for about $50.
Emerging markets specialist operator Bharti Airtel said this week that it has crossed the 300 million customer mark across its operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa. Its customer base consists of mobile, fixed line & DSL, and DTH users.
Nokia Solutions and Networks has announced the appointment of Salvatore Maisano as its new head of Central East and West Africa. It is the second senior appointment in Africa for NSN in less than a month as the firm refreshes its regional roster under the leadership of MEA senior vice president Igor Leprince.
Indian operator Bharti Airtel has seen its net income rise by 115 per cent year on year for its fiscal third quarter, ending December 31st 2013. Consolidated revenue also rose by 13.3 per cent to reach INR219,390m ($3.51bn).
African newcomer Smile has launched in three markets this year with a pure LTE play. The firm believes that new technology can only be properly exploited by new players and has pledged to shake up markets across the region. Tom Allen, Smile’s COO, talks to Mike Hibberd
A greenfield LTE operator that has launched this year in Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda would “happily prioritise Skype traffic” at the expense of standards-based voice services if that is what the market demanded, its chief operating officer has told Telecoms.com.
Singaporean incumbent operator Singtel is to up its stake in India’s Bharti Telecom to 39.78 per cent, taking its effective interest in Bharti Airtel, India’s largest mobile operator, to 32.34 per cent.
Group Director Marketing, Expresso Telecom, Africa: “LTE will become a critical enabling platform for commerce”
Asif Aziz, Group Director Marketing Products and Propositions, Expresso Telecom, Africa, is taking part in a panel discussion entitled ‘Getting Ready for LTE: Deployment Considerations’, on Day One of the LTE World Summit, the premier 4G event for the telecoms industry, on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Ahead of the show, Aziz gives us a few insights into the opportunities LTE presents in Africa.
The African arm of Indian operator Bharti Airtel has begun deployment of HD voice services, beginning in Rwanda, Kenya and Malawi. The firm said that these deployments are the “first step” in its ambition to roll the technology out across its entire African footprint.
Consumers in Sierra Leone are set to see a broader range of mobile money services after satellite television provider DStv announced that it has joined the Splash Mobile Money ecosystem. As a result of the deal, more than 5,000 DStv customers are now able to make payments immediately from anywhere in the country for their satellite subscriptions directly from their mobile phones.
This paper is the third in the series of outlining the potential threats Africa is facing with SMS spam. With Africa being the second largest mobile market in the world, second only to Asia, it is deemed to be the fastest growing mobile market today with 735 million mobile subscribers expected at the end of 2012, leaving a golden opportunity for messaging abuse attracting the likes of spammers, fraudsters and illegitimate users, resulting in revenue leakages and disputes for mobile network operators.
Mobile operator Orange said Monday that is has reached a total of four million mobile payment customers across its operations in Africa and the Middle East.
African ministers have set a target of delivering broadband to 80 per cent of the continent’s citizens by 2020. Dina Pule, South Africa’s deputy minister of communications told the delegates of the inaugural ICT Indaba conference, which took place on 4th-7th June in South Africa, that a framework had been created that would position Africa on a trajectory of sustained development through the deployment of broadband connectivity.
Africa is my destination this week. I’m on a mission that’s both personal and professional.
Officially, I’m here to work with clients, catch up with our growing regional team and speak at Informa’s inaugural Cloud Africa Summit.
Unofficially, I hope to prove myself wrong about the déjà vu that I feel about aspects of Africa’s ICT market.
The IMF just said that sub-Saharan Africa is beginning to stand on its own feet, pointing to its sustained and major progress since the millennium.