It may be two steps forward and one step back but Somalia is beginning to pick itself up off the ground after years of civil war. In the absence of regulation, a telecoms sector has developed. Now the new Government must put in place regulation and start to focus on connecting the disparate parts of the country. Russell Southwood spoke to Tim Kelly, World Bank about what’s been happening there.
Until recently, the African gaming sector has been largely a small number of dedicated and enthusiastic developers in search of a business model. This week’s announcement that Nigeria’s Kulaya.com has raised small seed funding could be a flash in the pan but might also be the start of the development of a more prosperous games sector. Russell Southwood spoke to the Head of Kulaya, Kunle Ogungbamila.
With the developed world economies flat-lining, the prospect of investing in Africa has never been more attractive. With the halo effect from the mobile growth years still in place, buyers are coming to a set of markets that are much changed. Russell Southwood looks at who might be up for sale and who might not be sold and at who the possible buyers might be.
TV White Spaces offers two potential benefits: immediate use of unused spectrum for rural area deployment and better overall use of existing spectrum. Africa currently has two active trials, one in Kenya (sponsored by Microsoft) and a second in South Africa (sponsored by Google). This week Russell Southwood looks at the second of these two trials to see why it is different from the first one and the potentially revolutionary implications of managed spectrum.
Emergency aid usually seems focused on either food or medical help. France’s Télécoms Sans Frontières (TSF) chose to focus on the important issue of creating communications for both NGOs and the general population during emergencies. Balancing Act’s Sylvain Beletre spoke to TSF’s Clément Bruguera, responsible for emergencies at TSF on his return from his mission in Mali.
Safaricom’s recently announced that it would stop selling feature phones in its retail outlets in Kenya to encourage smartphone take-up. This was based on the fact that there is now a significant convergence in terms of price and features between bottom-end smartphones and top-end featurephones. Russell Southwood looks at what this might mean for the transition to and the price leap that still needs to be made.
Counterfeiting is rife in Africa and in many instances – with things like fake drugs and electrical products – it puts lives at risk. Sproxil has come up with a mobile-driven authentication system which it hopes will drive at least some of the counterfeiters from the market. Russell Southwood spoke to its founder Ashifi Gogo.
There’s a growing acknowledgement that the all-data future is upon us but much less idea what the road looks like between here and there. MTN has announced that it will launch Triple Play at some point in the near future and become a “services company”. Russell Southwood looks at the sequence of changes that will need to be made by any successful operator.
A joint venture between the ISP Indigo, Microsoft and the Kenyan Government has rolled out a TV White Spaces Proof of Concept in two parts of rural Kenya. This is the one of the first commercial trials of TV White Spaces on the continent. It offers another route through which connectivity can be delivered in rural areas. Russell Southwood spoke to Indigo’s Chairman Peter Henderson and Louis Otieno, General Manager, Microsoft East & Southern Africa.
A global football social community network called Gbamm! has been soft-launched by entrepreneur Ayo Alli, who divides his time between London and Lagos. Asa licensed Premier League Football agent who has already worked on marketing other social networks, he has the skills and connections to make it work. Russell Southwood talked to Gbamm!’s Ayo Alli about what he’s planning.