It was nine years ago that O3B started as an idea but it seems like an eternity. But with the launch of its second constellation of 4 Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) satellites, it will now begin to swing into operation with services targeted at a range of countries, largely where fibre is absent. Russell Southwood spoke to Daniel Schapiro about current operations and what’s planned.
Operating VoD platforms is proving to be a tough call for Africa’s mobile operators. Many don’t have the network capacity to support video streaming by any great number of subscribers. The income from it in the short term looks less than compelling. Nevertheless, Russell Southwood believes 2014 may be year they finally start doing VoD platforms at scale.
In the main, Africa’s Universal Service Agencies have not covered themselves in glory. Although money has been collected from operators it has largely sat in the bank gathering interest. This week at the Intel Africa Broadband and USF Leaders Forum in Cape Town we caught up with two of these agencies that are getting things done: Nthabiseng Pule, Executive Secretary of Lesotho’s Universal Service Agency and Philip Prempeh, Business Development Manager, Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC).
The bandwidth glass in Nigeria seems to be going from half empty to half full. One of the first new licences aimed at cracking open broadband supply barriers went to a local company Bitflux. Russell Southwood spoke to the people behind it, Biodun Omoniyi and Tokunbo Talabi.
Except for new entry operators, the mobile companies have reached the edge of their addressable markets in most countries. If that’s true for voice, the situation is much worse for data where operators are primarily focused on the richer urban markets. But with the rise of Internet use in Africa, a new start-up – Volo Broadband – is determined to help operators address edge-of-network data markets. Russell Southwood spoke to one of the company’s co-founders Mark Summer about how they’re going to do this.
Last month saw the launch of another TV White Spaces Pilot in Ghana, joining the growing list of pilots across the continent. As the number of pilots has grown and their profile increased, they are meeting more opposition, both on and off the continent. Russell Southwood spoke to Professor H.Nwana of the Dynamic Spectrum Alliance and looks at what its opponents argue.
African satellite industry event Satcom 2014 took place this week in Johannesburg. As the satellite sector digests the loss of backhaul traffic to fibre, it is clear that there are new but potentially difficult opportunities. Russell Southwood tries to pick apart what might connect these new satellite opportunities to customers and what’s holding them back.
Wi-Fi hot-spots and 3G coverage are the main ways that Africans get the Internet. Being charitable, quality of service and price are very variable. A new Lithuanian start-up Rotten Wi-Fi has set out to drive improvements in these two areas using consumer testing and feedback. Russell Southwood spoke to its co-founder Arturas Jonkus.
Alongside the growth of social media on the continent, using the Internet for everyday transactions is starting to become as natural as the things it is slowly replacing. Want to sell something? eBay-owned Gumtree in South Africa is now getting 3-5 million uniques a month. Russell Southwood spoke to is newly appointed Head Of Marketing Claire Cobbledick.