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.
South Africa has had an independent data centre company (Teraco) and Nigeria has one as well (Rack) but until now there has not been one in East Africa. This will all change in Q1 2016 when Kooba launches its first data centre in Mombasa. Russell Southwood spoke to Kooba’s founder and CEO Richard Bell about what he’s got planned.
The transition to an all-data future in Africa will not necessarily be smooth or quick. But signs from elsewhere indicate an accelerating move from the old mobile ways to what may become the new data ones. Russell Southwood looks at recent global and African industry news developments that have important implications for Africa’s communications industry.
Nigeria’s digital entertainment platform Dobox has quietly built itself a user base by concentrating on getting a number of things right. According to its CEO, it is now looking at expanding into Francophone Africa. It is probably one of the first Anglophone VoD platforms to make this step. Balancing Act’s Analyst Sylvain Beletre interviewed Dobox’s CEO Gafar Williams about the move.
As if mobile operators did not have enough to worry about – with falling revenues and getting to grips with a data world – along comes the prospect of MVNOs. Equity Bank’s recent launch of Equitel is the stuff of nightmares: a respected retail brand outside telecoms creates an MVNO that has already got more than a million activations. Russell Southwood talks to Liudvikas Andriulis, CMO of Effortel, the company that provided the underlying operational platform.
Not a month goes past without some new African digital music platform or service being announced. There are two them in the story below but beneath this constant flow of activity is the sound of the wheels failing to bite the turf. The problem? You guessed it. The mobile operators are stuck with a historic ecosystem that marginalizes the talent and a business they don’t understand. Russell Southwood looks at the good news and the bad news.
Mauritian mobile operator Emtel has rolled out the first mainstream commercial deployment of Fibre Through The Air Technology in Africa. The technology has significant advantages for high-speed broadband service roll-out to less dense populations. Russell Southwood interviewed Emtel CEO Shyam Roy about why he deployed it and how things are going.
There have been trials of FTTA on the continent but until this announcement no mainstream commercial roll-out. A deal between Bluwan and Somcable in Somaliland was announced in 2012 but little has been heard since.