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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Last Smile announced that it had raised US$365 million in debt and equity financing. This moved it from being a small ISP with an interesting story doing LTE into a different place. This week Russell Southwood caught up with CEO and founder Irene Charnley about what Smile’s planning to do with the money.
Smile has gone through several versions including using WiMAX when it was seen as the coming technology but has seemed to hit its stride with implementing broadband mobile in three countries (Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda) using LTE.
There’s been a lot of individual pieces of news and a slowly building awareness of the scale of Africa’s Internet users but no-one has yet taken in the breadth of the momentum building up. Russell Southwood tries to get grips with the pace and variety of what’s happening.
It’s been a busy few months for Liquid Telecom as it gears up a new phase of its roll-out plans and it’s not over yet. It’s also launched a VoD platform that it can either operate itself or run “white label” for other operators. Russell Southwood caught up with Liquid Telecom’s CEO Nic Rudnic at Capacity Africa 2015 in Dar es Salaam.
Q: Does it make sense for mobile operators to continue to build their own fibre networks?
One of the recurrent themes of the last three years in this e-letter has been the need for operators to cut the cost of data. More competitive African markets may now have European or US level prices but that does little to widen the market to those with lower incomes. Step forward Argon Telecom that wants to turn this barrier into an opportunity. Russell Southwood spoke to Andy Halsall, one of its founders about its plans.
Who remembers HITS Telecoms? It came, it saw and it didn’t conquer. The blanched bones of failed businesses in the desert of lost opportunity can act as signposts for the road to the future. Russell Southwood looks at some of the recent retreats and tries to make sense of what they mean for the future of the industry.