M-Pesa may have begun to change the face of domestic African payments but one of the missing pieces has been allowing m-money customers to make international payments as easily. Russell Southwood spoke to MMIT’s COO Kim Fraser on how it’s starting to “connect the dots”.
With the news that last year’s global handset leader Samsung is in trouble, the speed with which consumers change their handset loyalties is dizzying. Russell Southwood looks at the kind of devices that might dominate African markets over the next three years.
The ups and downs of global handset manufacturers have an effect on Africa. Although there is no recent data, it is clear that Android phones in general and Samsung in particular have done well in many markets.
Using Mesh Wi-Fi software that sits on a range of popular devices, US tech policy intervention start-up X-Lab has created a way of rolling out local connectivity. With two working examples in Somaliland and Tunisia, this is not just a good concept. Russell Southwood spoke to X-Lab founder Sascha Meinrath.
With the bankruptcy of low cost, remote base station vendor Altobridge, it looked like the case for niche, remote vendors had taken a nose-dive. But a number of things have come together to make the picture somewhat brighter than it might first appear. Russell Southwood looks at recent developments.
It was nine years ago that O3B started as an idea but it seems like an eternity. But with the launch of its second constellation of 4 Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) satellites, it will now begin to swing into operation with services targeted at a range of countries, largely where fibre is absent. Russell Southwood spoke to Daniel Schapiro about current operations and what’s planned.
Operating VoD platforms is proving to be a tough call for Africa’s mobile operators. Many don’t have the network capacity to support video streaming by any great number of subscribers. The income from it in the short term looks less than compelling. Nevertheless, Russell Southwood believes 2014 may be year they finally start doing VoD platforms at scale.
In the main, Africa’s Universal Service Agencies have not covered themselves in glory. Although money has been collected from operators it has largely sat in the bank gathering interest. This week at the Intel Africa Broadband and USF Leaders Forum in Cape Town we caught up with two of these agencies that are getting things done: Nthabiseng Pule, Executive Secretary of Lesotho’s Universal Service Agency and Philip Prempeh, Business Development Manager, Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC).
The bandwidth glass in Nigeria seems to be going from half empty to half full. One of the first new licences aimed at cracking open broadband supply barriers went to a local company Bitflux. Russell Southwood spoke to the people behind it, Biodun Omoniyi and Tokunbo Talabi.
Except for new entry operators, the mobile companies have reached the edge of their addressable markets in most countries. If that’s true for voice, the situation is much worse for data where operators are primarily focused on the richer urban markets. But with the rise of Internet use in Africa, a new start-up – Volo Broadband – is determined to help operators address edge-of-network data markets. Russell Southwood spoke to one of the company’s co-founders Mark Summer about how they’re going to do this.
Last month saw the launch of another TV White Spaces Pilot in Ghana, joining the growing list of pilots across the continent. As the number of pilots has grown and their profile increased, they are meeting more opposition, both on and off the continent. Russell Southwood spoke to Professor H.Nwana of the Dynamic Spectrum Alliance and looks at what its opponents argue.