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Nigeria – Dancing around the threshold of a real broadband take-off

Nigeria is poised to move decisively into a better bandwidth future. As Sub-Saharan Africa’s second data largest market and maybe one day its largest, what happens in Nigeria is crucial to the rest of the continent. It has the size of home market to make all sorts of things happen smaller countries do not. Russell Southwood takes a tape measure to the distance between dream and current reality.

Mobile as Africa’s debit card: Mobile Money Integration Services is the next wave of mobile money growth

In the countries where mobile money has been particularly successful like Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, the next unfolding wave of growth is payments integration. It sounds boring but it’s tying in merchants and banks to mobile money to allow more payments to be made more effectively. Russell Southwood talked to Arnold Sentuwa Luwugge and Gerald Begumisa of Yo Uganda about what it might mean.

What the future of African broadband could look like – testing real-life LTE in Kampala

The subjective experience of using the Internet in Africa has always been a strange one. Having been using it for over 14 years, we know it’s got better but it’s sometimes hard to see it as anything but frustrating. There’s always cost, network or capacity restrictions that pull you down even if things speed up a bit. Russell Southwood looks at how LTE is working on Smile’s network in Kampala and wonders whether this might be how it will be everywhere in the near future in Africa.

We Name The Guilty Men – Top 5 Monopoly Incumbents that Keep Prices High and Stall Market Development

Because so many African countries have made huge strides over the last decade in developing their telecoms markets, it’s easy to forget that the majority have stuck with the old monopoly incumbents. These state owned companies have kept prices high for customers and stalled the modernization of many African economies. Russell Southwood looks at why this happened and why it still matters.

Ghana’s Blu pitches content as the show-stopper for its new LTE service

Ghana’s mobile operators are in danger of being outmaneuvered by the new breed of LTE licencees. The newest kid on the block is Blu which is making content and VideoOnDemand a central part of its service offering. Russell Southwood spoke to its Chief Commercial Officer, Tara Squire.

The Battle Against High Fibre Prices from Monopoly Providers moves to Central Africa

Competition in many parts of Sub-Saharan Africa on fibre has bought lower wholesale prices and these have in time led to lower retail prices. The margins of competition may be contested but not the idea itself. Africa’s monopoly slow lane for some of its larger markets is to be found in Central Africa. Russell Southwood looks at a battle happening in Cameroon over fibre competition.

The Battle Against High Fibre Prices from Monopoly Providers moves to Central Africa

Competition in many parts of Sub-Saharan Africa on fibre has bought lower wholesale prices and these have in time led to lower retail prices. The margins of competition may be contested but not the idea itself. Africa’s monopoly slow lane for some of its larger markets is to be found in Central Africa. Russell Southwood looks at a battle happening in Cameroon over fibre competition.

Willstream Labs connects diaspora with merchants to ensure safe payment

M-money services are making steady inroads into how cash is transacted in countries across the continent. Far less progress has been made in enabling low transaction cost payments from the diaspora to individuals and families. Russell Southwood talked to Toffene Kama, Willstream Labs about the service it is pioneering in Senegal.

Season’s Greetings from Balancing Act’s News Update

Dear readers, viewers, contributors and advertisers

The pace of change in the telecoms and internet sectors in Africa in 2013 has seemed to accelerate. The established and accepted ways of doing things are being challenged on all sides by both global trends and by things that are particular to Africa.

ISPs steal a march on mobile operators with LTE roll-outs – YooMee will go live in Cote d’Ivoire in February

WiMAX used to be the technology of choice for data insurgent challengers but now they seem to be shifting to LTE. West African ISPs Surfline (in Ghana) and YooMee (Cote d’Ivoire) both look like stealing a march on the mobile operators with LTE roll-outs early next year. Russell Southwood spoke to YooMe Africa’s CEO Dov Bar-Gera about what the company is looking at doing.

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