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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Africa’s network operators need to make a New Year’s resolution that they will aim to both make their data cheaper for their users and to improve the quality of the networks they are delivering on. Data in Africa creates significant revenue challenges for operators and they must be prepared to meet them head on when they spend on their networks. Russell Southwood proposes five things that need to be done to bring these things about.
Dear readers, viewers, contributors and advertisers
It has been another action-packed year in which the pace of change in the industry has not left much time for reflection. However, there are now some very substantial issues the industry has to get to grips and this is perhaps slowing done some of the things that should be happening more quickly.
Mobile technology is changing as it comes to terms with the IP world and everything becomes data. The UK deployment of micro networks for rural areas by EE offers an interesting route for Africa’s mobile operators as they get to grips with 4G delivery. Russell Southwood spoke the vendors on that deployment, Parallel Wireless’ two founders Rajesh Mishra and Steve Papa to see why it may offer a cheaper solution.