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.
This week the mobile operators’ trade association, the GSMA issued a report saying that overall revenues from data would exceed those of voice by 2018. The steady shift of different traffic elements to IP will be with us sooner than expected. The report predicted that data revenues in Kenya would exceed voice by 2016, a mere three years away. As part of this broader trend, operators are beginning to gear up their MPLS services in Africa. Russell Southwood looks at what’s happening.
Like a lot of technologies, augmented reality has long roots, going all the way back to the 1970s and 1980s. But the arrival of the smart phone has really started to put it on the map and generate a significant user base. Russell Southwood talked to Brett Levy, Managing Director, Rapid Blue Digital about how it’s been using the technology.
At the end of 2012, it seemed like every week Balancing Act was being approached by film and video VoD platforms, either in business or promising to start soon. Some like iROKO and AfricaFilms.tv have built their initial success on diaspora audiences, whilst others have begun to attract attract more local audiences. Last week Buni TV announced it had hit 1 million views, most of which have come from Africa. Balancing Act’s broadcast analyst Sylvain Beletre interviewed Marie Lora-Mungai, Founder and CEO, Buni TV and Enrico Chiesa, President of AfricaFilms.tv (AFTV).
Time was when the best content you could get in Africa was SMS services bought in from Europe or the USA. Now with the spread of smartphones and feature phones, there’s a much wider diet available including an increasing amount of local content. Russell Southwood attended the WSA Mobile Content 2.0 Awards in Abu Dhabi and reflects on what the winners say about the delivery of content in Africa and the challenges ahead.
No-one can tell you how long it’s going to be but at some point all services – voice in particular – will be data. This poses enormous challenges to existing operator business models. African markets are seen as somehow trailing rather than leading this shift. So operators comfort themselves that they only have to hold the line and things will go on more or less as usual. Russell Southwood argues that this change will be on them faster than they think and they ought to work out what they will do about it.
Along with video, the next wave of uses in Africa will be network gaming. Except for South Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa has not really had this kind of competitive gaming culture. But as the bandwidth increases and its price drops, it has begun to arrive and it seems to have started in Uganda. Russell Southwood talks to inveterate gamer Kyle Spencer about what’s happening.
While other African countries like Kenya, Nigeria and Mauritius have all started rolling out Fibre-To-The-Home and Fibre-To-The-Cabinet, there’s been a strange commercial caution in South Africa. What should have been one of the first counties to get into the game hasn’t been. It’s spent a lot of time looking at the “chicken-and-egg” problem without giving birth. Russell Southwood talks to Malcolm Kirby and Gary Williams of Metronet Fibre Networx about how things might change.
It’s the morning of 1 January, 2018 and Africa is waking up to the New Year. All across the continent, Africans are thinking about what’s changed for them over the past year and what they’d like to see in the coming year. Russell Southwood engages in a piece of imaginative speculation about the different kind of Africa that might emerge.
2012 has been the year that online content and services really arrived in Africa. The combination of fast-growing social media (from the well-known international names plus the less well-known like 2Go, biNu and Eskimi) and film and music sites (most notably iROKO Partners, Buni TV and Afrinolly) have created the excitement of a different market. Voice revenues remain central to mobile operators but the current financial challenges in competitive markets and the coming challenges of data are robbing operators of past certainties.