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Zimbabwean MVNO Viva! wants to take on the dominant mobile operator on price and service innovation

As we noted in Issue 747, the MVNO wave in Africa seems finally to be moving as regulators open up this space as a way of providing innovation and competition. Zimbabwe looks set to create an MVNO opening and a new operator called Viva Mobile Network is keen to be one of the first on the start line. Russell Southwood spoke to its CEO and founder Dzidzai Chidumba.

Main One to offer Infrastructure as a Service in April in partnership with EMC and Microsoft

The transition to cloud based services in Lagos is coming into view. As the Lagos Infraco, Main One wants to be able to offer pervasive fibre and is launching Infrastructure as a Service with EMC and Microsoft. Russell Southwood spoke to its CEO Funke Opeke about where the market has got to,

Main One’s independent data centre in Lagos launched in mid-January this year. It has 600 racks and is adjacent to its cable landing station in Lekki. Opeke says that:”Interest globally has been phenomenal” but it hasn’t yet sold a lot of racks.

Malian MVNO Aidou Telecom set to launch later this year with cheaper prices and LTE – The African MVNO bandwagon starts moving?

MVNOs have hardly made a dent on African markets. A number of regulators have talked about issuing MVNO licences but it largely remains talk. However, an influential Malian is now setting about launching one in a country that needs more competition. Russell Southwood spoke to Dr Adama Traore about the MVNO he wants to launch, Aidou Telecom.

Africa's Online and Mobile Music Platforms – The Puzzle of Who Will Succeed in a Crowded Field

There are well over 100 runners in the race to succeed as Africa's best and biggest online and mobile music platform (see last market report). Even now there are new entrants waiting in the wings. Russell Southwood looks at why the race to the top is so hard to call.

Africa’s Forgotten Featurephone Users – What they use, what they want and their future

Africa’s featurephone users number in the millions but are largely forgotten when start-ups start to target mobile Internet users. A piece of market research carried out by Balancing Act gives some insight into what they do with their phones and what they want. Russell Southwood looks at what emerges from the research and the uncertain future of the featurephone.

Mali – The Internet and social media but not as in other African markets

Francophone Mali is one of Africa’s poorest countries and the recent coup and military conflict in the north have threatened its former stability. Beneath these headlines, the country has continued to develop its telecoms and Internet networks. However, the pattern of development is sufficiently different that it raises questions about how it will change in the future.

TV White Spaces goes commercial in Africa – Microsoft seeks to calm the jitters of the mobile operators

The long-term shift in power between the OTT players and mobile operators is a bit like watching a Samuri wrestling bout. They move round each other threateningly, making loud grunts, then hang on to each other for a while before one falls over. As TV White Spaces goes commercial, some of the mobile operators have got the jitters again. Russell Southwood spoke this week to Fernando de Sousa, General Manager – Africa Initiatives about its TV White Spaces projects.

Nigeria’s 3 LTE ISPs pull ahead of the pack as key spectrum remains unavailable

There have been significant delays in Nigeria’s digital broadcasting transition and other unexplained delays on a recent spectrum auction. These delays are giving independent LTE ISPs in Nigeria the kind of opening to expand that may be repeated elsewhere on the continent. Russell Southwood looks at how these ISPs are pulling ahead.

WeChat’s Brett Loubser on why Africa’s mobile operators have to change their attitude to OTT companies

Africa’s mobile operators and Over-The-Top (OTT) companies have moved in together but not yet worked out a way to live with each other. The mobile operators both want the love and interest OTT operators bring them. But in the main they can’t quite give up their defensive stance about what they feel should be their home. Russell Southwood talked to ex-mobile employee Brett Loubser, Head of WeChat Africa.

The Internet of vehicles – BMW brings ConnectedDrive to Africa in March 2015

When the BMW i3 and BMW i8 go on sale in South Africa in March 2015 they will have a built-in connection to the Internet. It will be able to make intelligent emergency calls offering the exact location of the car and real-time traffic updates. Russell Southwood looks at whether this is simply a high-end import or whether this kind of on-board connectivity has implications for Africa.

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