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US legal loop-hole creates a business model for ZenoRadio’s phone-up radio service in Africa and elsewhere

A US law designed to compensate rural carriers has created an arbitrage opportunity for ZenoRadio’s IVR-based radio service that is both listened to by several African diaspora communities and more recently across Africa. Russell Southwood spoke to ZenoRadio’s Yossi Rosenberg about its African business.

African users fear of data – Time for the continent to stop selling its customers shortage

The way almost all African operators are selling data to their customers is the biggest barrier to developing a broadly based consumer data market. African users’ fear that they will run out of data too quickly makes them cautious consumers. Russell Southwood seeks to chart a path out of this dilemma.

AfricaCom 2015: Back to the Future – Africa’s mobile operators struggling to transform themselves

Chart below: AfricaCom 100 - 2015 survey extract.


Africa’s biggest annual meet-point and gabfest is always a good point to take the pulse of the industry. Shocks and changes seem to be coming faster than ever. The mobile incumbents are publicly saying many of the right things but a close up look reveals a sharp contrast between aspiration and reality. Russell Southwood had his ear to the ground throughout the event.

Group TigoPaare accounts in Chad may lead to Peoples’ Banks for communities across Africa

M-money has had a transformative effect in some countries but the success of its roll-out has been patchy. Some places have taken to it like a duck to water whereas others have not really taken it up in any great numbers. Tigo has developed a new m-money concept that seems to be gaining traction in one of Africa’s poorest countries, Chad. Russell Southwood spoke to Toffene Kama who is working with Tigo on the project.

Digitata’s Dynamic Voice Tariffing helps Africa’s mobile operators to sell unused capacity – data version could crack giving lower data prices

Africa’s mobile operators are running increasingly complex businesses with multiple revenue streams. It’s no longer possible to just focus on voice and everything else will take care of itself. Russell Southwood spoke to Tinus Neethling, CEO of Digitata about dynamic voice tariffing, the data version it’s developing and using mobile media.

Tinus Neethling has only just taken over as CEO of Digitata. Formerly he held the same position in Rorotika Technologies in which Digitata acquired a controlling stake in October this year.

Currency Storm is the looming shadow over Africa’s operators – Getting out from under it

Africa’s above average growth over the last decade has lulled everybody into the thinking it would continue forever. But as the Chinese economy has slowed and the oil price dropped, big and unpleasant changes are coming. Russell Southwood looks at why currency exchange shifts are a coming storm for operators.

Seacom’s Pamoja aims to build an IT-as-a-service market through African resellers – Not should I go but when and what?

With African international bandwidth going down to commoditized prices, everyone has been talking for several years about higher margin, value-added services that can be used with the new bandwidth. But it’s only now that things like the clould market has begun to be something more than hype. Russell Southwood spoke this week to Regional Channel Manager, Pamoja Cloud Services.

Google’s Project Link commits to building 1,200 kms of metronet fibre in three key Ghanaian cities and changes the pricing model

Working quietly “below the radar” Google has rolled out metronet fibre in Uganda and Ghana to break through the market barriers that are preventing lower cost retail bandwidth. Russell Southwood spoke to Project Link’s Estelle Akofio-Sowah who heads up its operations in Ghana.

Google has committed itself to building 1,200 kms of metronet fibre in Accra, Tema and Kumasi: the majority of the fibre will be rolled out in the Accra/Tema conurbation with 300 kms in Ghana’s second city Kumasi. Work started in June this year in Accra and Tema and on 2 October in Kumasi.

Tanzania’s E-KYC registers a mobile user in 5-7 minutes – mobile operators increase registration throughput

Registering the SIM cards of Africa’s mobile phone owners has been a real headache for operators. They know they have to abide by the law but the processes of registration can seem like an enormous distraction from real business. Russell Southwood talked to Nadeem Juma of E-KYC about its experience of helping mobile operators speed up the process.

Olleh Rwanda Networks’ 4G wholesale network plans to have 95% population coverage by 2017 and looks to expand across Africa

With the demise of Kenya’s idea for a 4G wholesale network, Olleh Rwanda Networks is the only fully implemented example of this type of model. Although not without its critics, it offers a very different approach to the speedy implementation of a national 4G network. Russell Southwood spoke to its CEO Patrick Yoon about its prospects.

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