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Nigeria’s 3 LTE ISPs pull ahead of the pack as key spectrum remains unavailable

There have been significant delays in Nigeria’s digital broadcasting transition and other unexplained delays on a recent spectrum auction. These delays are giving independent LTE ISPs in Nigeria the kind of opening to expand that may be repeated elsewhere on the continent. Russell Southwood looks at how these ISPs are pulling ahead.

WeChat’s Brett Loubser on why Africa’s mobile operators have to change their attitude to OTT companies

Africa’s mobile operators and Over-The-Top (OTT) companies have moved in together but not yet worked out a way to live with each other. The mobile operators both want the love and interest OTT operators bring them. But in the main they can’t quite give up their defensive stance about what they feel should be their home. Russell Southwood talked to ex-mobile employee Brett Loubser, Head of WeChat Africa.

The Internet of vehicles – BMW brings ConnectedDrive to Africa in March 2015

When the BMW i3 and BMW i8 go on sale in South Africa in March 2015 they will have a built-in connection to the Internet. It will be able to make intelligent emergency calls offering the exact location of the car and real-time traffic updates. Russell Southwood looks at whether this is simply a high-end import or whether this kind of on-board connectivity has implications for Africa.

Getting cheaper data delivery for users and better quality networks in Africa in 2015 – 5 things that can be done

Africa’s network operators need to make a New Year’s resolution that they will aim to both make their data cheaper for their users and to improve the quality of the networks they are delivering on. Data in Africa creates significant revenue challenges for operators and they must be prepared to meet them head on when they spend on their networks. Russell Southwood proposes five things that need to be done to bring these things about.

Season’s Greetings from Balancing Act’s News Update

Dear readers, viewers, contributors and advertisers

It has been another action-packed year in which the pace of change in the industry has not left much time for reflection. However, there are now some very substantial issues the industry has to get to grips and this is perhaps slowing done some of the things that should be happening more quickly.

Micro networks may offer a way to get 4G out of Africa’s cities and into towns and villages

Mobile technology is changing as it comes to terms with the IP world and everything becomes data. The UK deployment of micro networks for rural areas by EE offers an interesting route for Africa’s mobile operators as they get to grips with 4G delivery. Russell Southwood spoke the vendors on that deployment, Parallel Wireless’ two founders Rajesh Mishra and Steve Papa to see why it may offer a cheaper solution.

Comoros Telecoms – The challenges of privatizing Africa’s remaining state-run monopolies

Comoros is a tiny telecoms and Internet market but has failed to develop as successfully as its more competitive neighbors in the Indian Ocean. All attempts to open the market and to privatize the state-run monopoly telco Comoros Telecom have run into the sand. Russell Southwood looks at what has happened in one of Africa’s smallest market and what lessons it might hold.

Africa’s Converged Content and Services Space – Finding out what’s what and who’s who in the new digital economy

With faster, cheaper bandwidth either ready or not far off, Africa is experiencing the digital content and services moment. Like all things at the beginning, it’s full of fits and starts but the direction is clear. Russell Southwood senses that something is happening here but maybe you don’t know it is.

About two years, we started (rather quietly) a web TV channel (called smartmonkeytv.com) to replace the now defunct Balancing Act You Tube Channel. It’s taken us a bit of time to get clear what it was about and who might be interested but we’ve got there.

Breaking through Africa’s payments pain barrier – lowering online mobile transaction costs

For Africa’s digital economy to work, it desperately needs an effective payments system that can handle micro payments and with transaction costs that are reasonable. Microsoft’s 4Afrika initiative has partnered with payments provider Skrill to offer an answer. Russell Southwood spoke to Nilesh Pandya, SVP Emerging Markets, Skrill and Frank McCosker, General Manager, Affordable Access and Smart Financing Africa Initiatives.

AfricaCom 2014: If you hum it, I’ll sing it – Africa’s mobile operators struggle to get to grips with the new content narrative

The big knock-down, drag out fight of industry talkfest AfricaCom 2014 was the Over-The-Top operators vs the mobile operators. In the event, the former arrived smiling and diplomatic, rather catching the more pugilistic of Africa’s mobile operators off-balance. Russell Southwood dips below the surface to take the temperature of Africa’s dazed and confused mobile operators.

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