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The case for remote operators in Africa grows stronger with new regulatory approaches and low cost technology

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.

O3B starts operations in Africa and launches second constellation which will cover more countries

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.

2014 may be the year Africa’s mobile operators start operating VoD platforms – This week Glo Nigeria joins the party

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.

Africa’s Untold Universal Service Agency Story – Reaching the parts others don’t reach

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).

Nigeria’s bitflux to launch an LTE-A local access wholesale network on open access principles

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.

Volo Broadband targets operators wanting to reach edge-of-network data markets in Sub-Saharan Africa

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.

TV White Spaces comes under fire as number of African pilots grows

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.

Satellite in Africa – Huge opportunities but it’s time for some disruptive business models

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.

Rotten Wi-Fi – Driving better quality and speed in Wi-Fi hot-spots and 3G in Africa through getting consumer information

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.

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