African satellite industry event Satcom 2014 took place this week in Johannesburg. As the satellite sector digests the loss of backhaul traffic to fibre, it is clear that there are new but potentially difficult opportunities. Russell Southwood tries to pick apart what might connect these new satellite opportunities to customers and what’s holding them back.
Wi-Fi hot-spots and 3G coverage are the main ways that Africans get the Internet. Being charitable, quality of service and price are very variable. A new Lithuanian start-up Rotten Wi-Fi has set out to drive improvements in these two areas using consumer testing and feedback. Russell Southwood spoke to its co-founder Arturas Jonkus.
Alongside the growth of social media on the continent, using the Internet for everyday transactions is starting to become as natural as the things it is slowly replacing. Want to sell something? eBay-owned Gumtree in South Africa is now getting 3-5 million uniques a month. Russell Southwood spoke to is newly appointed Head Of Marketing Claire Cobbledick.
Cameroon's approach to increasing mobile data speeds for its citizens is wrong-headed and will lead it into a time-consuming dead-end. Cheap mobile data prices come from competition between operators, not from giving a single operator a monopoly. Russell Southwood looks at what's happening and remembers that Cameroon has previous form of this kind in the regulatory field.
Africa has a unique opportunity to make the transition to IP data more quickly than other continents. Using IP data will help reduce costs and could produce some of the cheapest data delivery in the world. Russell Southwood explores how Governments and regulators could create the right conditions to help bring this about.
South Africa is potentially a large market for home high-speed broadband but a number of factors have held up its implementation. Kenya got there three years ago so Russell Southwood looks at why and talks to Mark Elkins, Posix about what they've got planned.
Last week, YooMee launched the first TDD LTE in Cote d’Ivoire’s capital Abidjan. YooMee Africa Group is a Swiss based provider of mobile broadband Internet in sub-Saharan Africa. After becoming the market leader of broadband Internet in Cameroon (with over 20 000 customers), YooMee Africa continues its expansion by deploying an LTE network in Côte d’Ivoire where it expects to get up to 40 to 60 000 clients by 2017.
Naspers online investments outside of South Africa have had a mixed track record. But this week one of the more successful ones signed a branded deal with MTN in South Africa and will look at to sign with mobile operators in Nigeria, its other big market. Russell Southwood spoke to Andre de Wet, PriceCheck’s CEO.
Africa’s mobile operators are faced with a number of network challenges that will have major commercial consequences. One of the key ones is the need to transition to IP for both voice and data to reduce costs and to be able create a data network out of their legacy narrow pipe networks that is fit for purpose. A small start-up that is using OpenBTS to reach remote locations may have a contribution to make. Russell Southwood spoke to Paul Homburger, Range Network’s Director of Sales.
In terms of widening Internet use, Africa faces several challenges including lowering the cost of both data use and device costs. The Alliance for Affordable Internet has sunk its teeth into getting developing country Internet prices down, Russell Soythwood spoke to its Executive Director Sonia Jorge about the challenges and how she will tackle them.