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TV White Spaces trial in South Africa seeks to accelerate access to managed spectrum

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.

Mali: TSF reconnected Timbuktu’s population with the rest of the world.

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.

Smartphones vs feature phones – The handset war that will shape the coming transition to all-data services

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.

Sproxil aims to make counterfeiting unprofitable in Africa with mobile product authentication

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.

Africa’s race for data – making sense of the transition through everyday services today

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.

TV White Spaces Proof of Concept offers promising route for rural coverage

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.

Out of Nigeria and the UK, Gbamm! bids to become Twitter for football fans

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.

Corporate use of MPLS in Africa drives data growth and bandwidth provision increases

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.

Augmented reality comes to Africa – what is it and what can it do for the continent?

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.

VoD will be a major opportunity for African telecoms operators and investors...now

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).

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