Issue no 510 25th June 2010
Vodacom has switched on its Long Term Evolution (LTE) trial network in Midrand, and becomes the first operator into the ring with this new mobile data technology. It has predictably high test speeds but even the scaled back estimated operational speeds are a jump away from current rates. Furthermore, the technology may be able to be tweaked to offer signal over longer distances.
Unlike many test networks the Vodacom LTE network - which uses Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) gear - is fully integrated with its current 3G/HSDPA network and uses the same spectrum.
According to a report by MyBoadband, the Vodacom trial LTE network has a theoretical downlink speed of 150 Mbps and a theoretical uplink speed of 100 Mbps, but Vodacom CTO Andries Delport pointed out that the actual speed which people experience on their wireless networks will be reliant on factors like the distance from the base station.
It should also be said that actual speeds will also depend on how many users there are on the base station and the volumes they are downloading. Actual operating speeds are more likely to be between 5-12 mbps for downloads and 2-5 mbps for uploads. These are clearly some distance from existing technologies (including WiMAX) but have yet to be delivered on a fully populated network.
The demo LTE dongle, provided by Samsung, proved to be a further bottleneck, only providing maximum downlink speeds of 100 Mbps and a maximum uplink speed of 50 Mbps. Real soon now, Samsung is planning to release a dongle that will have backward compatibility with HSPA and EDGE.
In live testing peak downlink speeds of over 70 Mbps were achieved, while uplink speeds of around 30 Mbps were seen. There was also only a latency of 14 ms which is much lower than HSPA and HSPA+.
But if the network is ready, handsets are not. The first LTE Multi Mode Smart phones are not expected to arrive before the end of 2010.
Of interest to those either living in remote areas in Africa or wishing to serve them is a test carried out by vendor NSN between two mountains in Australia. It discovered that it could operate over a distance of 75 kms and still achieve a download speed of 100 mbps in the 2.6 MHz band using “pre-commercial dongles".
According to a Telstra spokesman: "We had to make some software and configuration changes [in the network, not the device]." However, Telstra has confirmed that it had already modified GSM and CDMA networks to work at extended ranges, but said that the technical limit was around 100km.
The challenge in reaching Africa’s remote and sparsely populated areas is how to reach them from existing and planned fibre networks without satellite. This may prove to be another tool that might help in that process.
Telecoms operators in Rwanda have urged the government to stop competing with them in providing telecom services. The government is investing in the national fibre optic cable of 2,300 kilometres across the country. The cable will connect over 230 institutions in all 30 Districts and all Rwandan boarders with the main cities. Telecom operators are also investing in fibre optic infrastructure and they regard the government's move as direct scramble for market share.
The infrastructure will support various e-applications such as e-health, e-education and other government applications. The government is also finalising a Kigali Metropolitan and Wibro network.
In addition, the government is building a National Data Centre (NDC) staged to store public data. Private operators will also use the centre to store their data on commercial agreement.
"Government through the regulator should guide the operators on providing the best quality service without its direct involvement in providing telecom services," telecom operators said in a paper submitted to the government highlighting telecom specific challenges. The government says its investment will complement the private operators' investment and promote quality service.
The paper seen by East African Business Week was submitted this month during the budget consultations through the Rwanda Private Sector Federation (PSF). The three operators MTN Rwanda, Rwandatel and Tigo Rwanda jointly worked on the paper.
The government of Botswana has reaffirmed its goal of privatising incumbent telecoms operator Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC), local newspaper The Sunday Standard reports.
Presidential Affairs Minister Lesego Motsumi told parliament that ‘the cabinet has now taken a decision on the privatisation structure of BTC and the information will soon be communicated with all stakeholders.’ Motsumi added that the process was delayed because the government had to carry out lengthy consultation activities with all of the telco’s stakeholders in a bid to minimise risks and maximise benefits.
The privatisation of BTC was first mooted in June 2006, with initial plans envisaging the sale of between 40% and 49% of the telco to a strategic investor and a 5% share to BTC employees. The remaining shares would be retained by the government for a future stock market listing. The first stage of the privatisation began in January 2007, with a tender put out for 'advisory services'. In February 2008 the Public Enterprises Evaluation and Privatisation Agency (PEEPA) signed a contract with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to act as transactional advisor in the privatisation. The IFC completed due diligence in November 2008 and in 2009 the Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (Transition) Bill was enacted in parliament.
Econet Wireless Zimbabwe Limited has threatened to terminate any of its lines that MDC-T uses for political reasons in breach of Zimbabwe's laws. The audio service allows individuals to use certain numbers to hear news round-ups, receive messages from party leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, and get updates on party events and other issues. The service is run by Kubatana.com.
Last week Econet chief executive Douglas Mboweni wrote to Morgan Tsvangirai saying they would not allow the service on their network. "My attention as the chief executive officer of Econet Wireless Zimbabwe Limited has been drawn to media reports as well as enquiries claiming that MDC has an agreement with Econet for the provision of toll-free services to its members.
"Being aware that Econet does not have such an agreement and that Econet does not offer services such as has been reported in the media, I have nonetheless enquired at all levels of our organisation and established that the only time that your organisation did, in fact, formally approach us was about a month ago," he said.
In an interview yesterday, Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe chief executive Obert Muganyura said MDC-T's toll-free audio service was illegal under the Broadcasting Services Act. "According to the law, broadcasts that are provided through cellular systems require a licence from BAZ. There are services that have been offered by some institutions, including MDC-T, where the public can dial and receive audio programmes. "These services are classified under the Broadcasting Services Act and once anyone decides to provide such services, the network providers must follow procedures of licensing for consideration," he said.
Only in a country in which broadcast media is so tightly controlled by Government would a service of this kind be an issue.
Reuters reports that Telkom Kenya will get a shareholder loan from the Kenyan government to enable it to pay the USD10 million 3G licence fee. ‘We are giving them a shareholder loan through which they will pay [for the 3G licence] so it is actually funded by Telkom itself through a shareholder loan by the government,’ Esther Koimett, investment secretary at the Ministry of Finance, told Reuters.
Although she did not say how much the loan will be, the communications regulator CCK charges operators USD10 million for a 3G licence, under a new fees structure unveiled this month.
* South Africa’s Telkom lost nearly 200,000 fixed line subscribers over the past 12 months, a trend which is accelerating.
* Nigeria-National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency, NESREA declared war on all telecom companies it considered operating in contravention of environmental laws and regulations. Its first catch was a big fish, Nigeria's Second National Operator, Globacom. According to the agency, the telecommunications masts Globacom erected at a residential area in OAU Quarters in Maitama, Efforts to get Globacom to confirm or refute the allegations were unsuccessful as the official to respond was said to be out on other official assignments.
* Johannesburg — Telkom is targeting a 10% share of the mobile market in the next three to five years as it prepares to become the country's fourth mobile operator.Telkom will spend R6bn in the next five years to roll out its cellphone network infrastructure. It wants new revenue streams as its traditional fixed-line business is declining. Telkom's headline earnings per share from continuing operations for the year to March fell 92% to 46,8c from 610,5c in the previous year.
* Kampala — The end of theft of mobile phones may be near after the launch of a new technology, which allows users to register their handsets with manufacturers after purchasing them. The E-warranty unveiled by Samsung Electronics in Uganda last week also protects Samsung customers from buying fake, refurbished or non-warranty phones. It also allows one to register their phone for warranty after purchase. By sending an SMS to 6585 on any network, the user will be able to check the status of their Samsung phones.
The average American waits less than a second for Google to respond to a search query. In most of Africa, it takes three seconds to do the same thing. This two-second difference may not seem a drastic, but such a delay typifies the gap between Internet use in Africa and other parts of the world.
Despite slow connection speed, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization estimates the number of internet users in Africa has grown an astounding 1,809.8 percent in the past decade; this is almost three times the combined rate of the rest of the world. Despite this increase, only 3.9 percent of Africa's population uses the Internet.
In attempt to bring the rest of the continent online, technology companies Novell and Vodacom are partnering in order to expand cloud infrastructure to Africa. Unlike older mainframe technology, cloud computing provides a new delivery method for information technology (IT) services through the Internet.
John Savingeau, President of Pacific-Tier Communications and presenter at this year's Digital Africa Summit in Uganda believes the effects of bringing the cloud to Africa could change the continent's relations with the world at large.
"Wireless and broadband communication capacity potentially brings access to global communities and intellectual resources to each and every person in Africa," says Savageau, "Without an entry point into the global community, no individual can expect to function as other than a victim or donor recipient."
Anchored in virtualized resources, cloud computing is far more scalable and accessible than older client-server methods of the past. While on-site servers are a distant memory for many US workplaces, they are still the best available Internet technologies in many developing nations.
The partnership between the two companies to bring cloud infrastructure to Africa was first announced at Novell's BrainShare Europe conference in Amsterdam in May. Integrating parts of Novell's intelligent Workload Management portfolio to Vodacom-owned cloud infrastructure, the partnership is aimed at helping Africa's businesses make the move to the cloud.
Cloud computing will allow businesses in Africa to access more efficent work management systems and thus take advantage of more advanced internet services like Google's Gmail, an e-mail system that is commonplace in the US. Systems like these offer many cost benefits for companies as they often streamline services.
Vodacom and Novell's partnership is their second on the continent. Their first collaboration, BasisOne, brought together Novell's security platforms and Vodacom's private cloud systems to help optimize internet use for South African businesses.
According to Bilel Jamoussi, Chief of the Study Groups Department for the UN's International Telecommunication Union, cloud computing has many positive implications for Africa's public sector in Africa as well.
"Without computing access cloud computing is difficult if not impossible. Broadband is the prerequisite for all cloud computing, electricity- these are the basics," Jamoussi said in an interview with MediaGlobal. For many governments this is the impetus to build and put those systems in place and it leads to development with benefits beyond the business deal itself."
One group working to apply the benefits of cloud computing to education is UConnect. Seeking to improve the quality of e-learning technology in Uganda, the group is working to place computer stations schools throughout the country. Daniel Stern, co-founder and Director of UConnect's School Programs believes the technology gap puts students and teachers at a disadvantage.
"The vast majority of students in Uganda are still copying into lined notebooks from the knowledge disseminated to them by their teachers by a piece of chalk on a blackboard. Text books are in short supply."
Stern says even with UConnect supplying computers, many schools are still unable to connect to the Internet and thus keeps them from accessing resources like digital textbooks and web streamed lectures.
"We [UConnect] had expectations that education ministry officials would support the spread of these repositories at the limited number of schools that have both mains electricity and computers, but this has so far not happened."
Strengthening the relationship between government and business has been a major objective of ITU. "Partnerships with the private sector often mean that the public benefits as well. In Rwanda, we knew that we couldn't bring in the systems and not the training. So we have partnered with universities to sponsor programs in IT training," Jamoussi told MediaGlobal. "We know the education is necessary and that knowledge stays in the country then forever. If courses in their own universities can provide that training then the country benefits in the long term."
According to an Information and Communications Development 2009 report from the World Bank, for every 10 percent increase in high speed Internet usage, African countries have seen a 1.3 percent increase in their GDPs.
"Cloud computing can extend centrally managed government, education, business, and social resources to end users - regardless of their location of physical access device," said Savageau to MediaGlobal.
"The user simply needs to have a method of accessing the global Internet, and once online, enjoy equal access...from Kampala, Palos Verdes, Danang, or any other location in the world."
Novell and Vodacom's goal is to have the entire continent "under the cloud" by 2015. If this happens, we will be looking at a different future not only for Africa and the World Wide Web, but the world at large.
Participants to the just concluded West and Central Africa Com (WECA) conference in Dakar, Senegal, are hopeful that Africa, like other developed continents of the world, would soon experience full broadband revolution.
Majority of speakers, who were concerned about the poor state of infrastructure in Africa, called on telecom operators from various countries in Africa, especially those from West and Central Africa, to intensify efforts in building networks that would accommodate the expected broadband revolution.
Some speakers that were particularly concerned about the deployment of last-mile services to homes and offices in the region said the expected broadband revolution would drive down cost and increase accessibility as well as Internet speed.
Participants welcomed the several submarine cable operators in Africa like Main One, Glo1, WACS and ACE, and encouraged them to invest more and bring the expected broadband revolution to Africa.
Chief Executive Officer for Etisalat Nigeria, Steve Evans, who delivered paper on enhancing connectivity in Africa at the conference, said telecom operators in Nigeria have invested so much in infrastructure and that Etisalat is building more networks to cover every part of the country.
According to him, "Etisalat is fully prepared for the broadband revolution and has bought broadband capacity from Main One, with plans to buy more capacity from another submarine cable operator.
While some participants were hopeful of imminent broadband revolution in Africa, some decried the current state of poor broadband and mobile penetration in Africa, explaining that Africa needs faster broadband and mobile penetration.
Thelca Mbongue, Senior Analyst from Informa Telecoms, organisers of WECA 2010 conference, explained that mobile penetration among the West and Central African countries remained at 40 percent and that operators in those countries were yet to make good penetration in the mobile market.
She however identified insufficient broadband capacity, poor regulatory environment, poor interconnection agreement, harsh government policies, unfair competition and poor funding as major obstacles to broadband penetration in the West and Central African countries.
Addressing the issue of connecting West and Central African countries to broadband, Jabulani Dhliwayo, director in charge of market development in Africa for Corning Optical Fibre, insisted that fibre remained the key technology that would drive broadband in Africa. He called on African operators to invest in fibre, be it wired or wireless. He was optimistic that the several expected sub-marine optic fibre cable coming to Africa, would boost fibre technology and increase technology usage in Africa. He listed SAT 3, which is already active in most African countries, and the expected Glo 1, Main One, ACE and WACS, as major sub-marine fibre optic cables that would boost technology in Africa, if properly handled.
Dhliwayo identified the deployment of Large Effective Area Fibre (LEAF), and the Wide Interoperability Microwave Access (WiMax) for last mile solution that would boost the deployment of broadband to homes and offices across Africa.
CEO of GeoidTel, Ismail Olubiyi, spoke on next steps for fixed line, mobile and wireless operators to deliver reliable and affordable broadband. He was optimistic that the expected landing of the several submarine cables to the shores of Nigeria would boost broadband penetration.
The recent deployment of the SEACOM broadband cable off the coast of east Africa has sparked "the dawn of a new era" in Internet communications in the region, according to one communications executive.
A June 28-29 symposium in Uganda organized by the U.S. telecom firm Verizon Communications and other planning partners is an effort to help improve East Africa's Internet links with the rest of the world and thus stimulate enhanced educational opportunities and economic growth and development across the region, the executive said.
Kathryn C. Brown, senior vice president of public policy development and corporate responsibility at Verizon, spoke with America.gov June 21 and previewed the event, which is expected to attract some 120 government, business and education representatives from the target countries of Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi. The symposium seeks to improve Internet access and applications for the region's institutions of higher education.
"There was no [easy] connectivity to East Africa prior to the installation of that underwater cable," Brown explained. "You would either have to come up from South Africa or you needed to go all the way up to Egypt in order to reach the rest of the world. Now Internet connectivity is sitting on the shores of East Africa -- and for that connectivity to be deployed for folks to start to see the potential for this infrastructure development, it is going to be a real eye-opener."
Brown, who will travel to Uganda for the symposium, said that, historically, East Africa has been "one of the least-connected regions" of sub-Saharan Africa. "The Internet connectivity there is largely poor, particularly when you get outside the international conference areas. Many African nations were forced to rely on limited, expensive satellite services alone for their international connectivity needs. This is now changing, due to the arrival of undersea cables. There is an opportunity now and a willingness on the part of the [telecom] carriers there to build out a national backbone infrastructure. The governments are very interested, the large stakeholders are very interested in having this connectivity, and Verizon, while not in East Africa right now, has had a real interest in seeing that the entire world is connected to the Internet."
If the region becomes fully integrated into the World Wide Web, Brown predicted that "the changes, frankly, will be far-reaching. As we have seen around the world, once a region becomes connected to the rest of the world, the amount of economic development is staggering. So the construction of a stable, reliable, trusted [Internet] infrastructure in the region will no doubt stimulate investment and competition in Africa" and increase foreign investment. "Fostering the innovation and expansion of the Internet allows the region to fully participate in the 21st century."
The major universities in East Africa are "hungry for connectivity," Brown said. Recalling how Verizon got involved in promoting the symposium, she said Uganda Martyrs University wanted to do "distance learning" (using the Internet to teach people remotely) throughout Uganda and East Africa.
The focus at the symposium, she explained, will be "the kinds of education gains that could be made if the connectivity was more robust and how that whole network of more than 50 universities all across East Africa could become the basis for network expansion all across the region."
Asked what gains could be achieved, she said: "If one looks at the program for the conference, you can see that there will be lots of deep thinking about getting ready for deeper and broader higher education in East Africa. ... Bringing students to the universities" across East Africa to access information they would not already have had access to will be "huge. You can tap all the great libraries of the world -- all of the medical schools ... the law schools, the international schools. It is a phenomenal access that one gains."
Second, she said, the symposium is trying to address distance learning all over Africa so that students can be reached wherever they are.
Third, she said, professional schools such as medical and law schools want to be able to use the Internet to reach out to local clinics and law practices across the region.
"As connectivity becomes more robust, the network becomes more robust and the things that one can do on the network just multiply. We have seen that in the United States, we have seen it in Europe. And, frankly, one only needs to look at India to see what happens when a country that was considered a developing country opens its borders to the Net. There, of course, we know that there is a huge middle class that never existed before and an opening to the world that I think has been an incredible story and one we would like to see all over the world and the developing world."
* The Korea Herald reports that the Korea Communications Commission (KCC) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Angola's Institute of Communications (INACOM) to cooperate in rolling out wireless broadband services in Angola based on the Korean-developed WiBro platform. Choi See-joong, chairman of the KCC, said that state-run incumbent Angola Telecom had already expressed interest in building WiBro networks during a working-level meeting.
* Vodacom has launched a LTE trial network in Midrand, the first in Africa. The South African company has fully integrated the 4G network with its existing 3G/3.5G network and uses the same 2100MHz spectrum. The trial network has a theoretical downlink speed of 150Mbps and a theoretical uplink speed of 100Mbps.
* Lagos — The President of the Internet Service Providers Association of Nigeria (ISPAN), Chief Samuel Adeleke, has tasked Nigerian youths on the use of the internet. Adeleke, charged Nigerian youths to be ideas creators as far as the internet is concerned, because by the time others would discover it, he or she must have made sufficient money.He did not see reason why some computers could not be made to use local languages to enable locals to read their own information on the internet in their own languages or local dialect. Pointing out that Google and Yahoo are companies that are solely based on the Internet and they are making more money than the oil companies in Nigeria and there are some other smaller Internet based.
Telkom and Telcordia dispute may cost Telkom millions of Rands after recent settlement. A dispute between Telkom and Delaware based telecoms service provider Telcordia arose in 2001 after Telkom felt that Telcordia did not fully satisfy their delivery obligations.
The total contract value was around USD 51.8-million for voice software and USD 34.8-million for the non-voice software, but according to a court document Telkom refused to effect payment of certain moneys to Telcordia.
After a long legal battle the case was settled in Telcordia’s favour on 11 June and the ruling will cost Telkom millions of Rands. Telkom last week confirmed that Telcordia has been awarded a partial amount of USD 30,597,451(excluding interest). This forms part of a total lawsuit of USD 128-million against Telkom.
“The question of liability for costs in the arbitration has not yet been decided by the arbitrator. It is expected that the question of liability for costs will be determined before the end of August 2010,” said Anton Klopper, Telkom's Group Executive for Legal Services.
Klopper further pointed out that it has not been proven whether Telcordia have beaten the tender. “If they have not beaten the tender, they will be liable to pay Telkom's costs since 2007,” said Klopper.
Telkom said that they cannot divulge any more information since this is a matter of private arbitration. “The Company is dismayed that this information has been leaked to media as Telkom respects the confidentiality of private arbitration,” said Klopper.
The Angolan mobile-phone operator Unitel approved Wednesday, in a general assembly, a USD 800 million investment plan for the 2010/2011 period. According to a press release of the company that Angop had got access this Thursday, the firm will sponsor this investment through integral resources with its own funds, generated by current operations of its activity, without planning to ask for bank financing or other financial solutions.
The investment, mentions the document, will strengthen the access of clients to new services, named as third generation, such as date services as the access to Internet, video call and MMS.
The company will also be capacitated of a network in order to strengthen the increase of the clients base of 8.5 million, with main focus on the provinces, reaching all the districts of Angola.
Orascom Telecom has spurned members of an investment consortium bidding for shareholding in Telecel Zimbabwe and instead proposed a listing of its Zimbabwean unit on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE).
President Robert Mugabe's nephew, Leo Mugabe, exiled businessman James Makamba and businesswoman Jane Mutasa, who are individual members of Empowerment Corporation (EC), an empowerment consortium that holds a 40% stake in Telecel Zimbabwe, have been jostling for a 20% stake they allege should be disposed to the group under terms of the telecommunication's licence.
EC is owned by Kestrel (23%), IEG (18%), Indigenous Business Women's Organisation (17%), National Miners' Association (14%), Zimbabwe Farmers' Union (14%) and Magamba eChimurenga (Liberation war heroes) (14%). The consortium has pre-emptive rights but could not raise cash as a block due to infighting.
A statement issued on Sunday, 20 June 2010 said Orascom would only reduce its 60% shareholding in Telecel Zimbabwe to 49% and not to 40%.
Orascom, owned by Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris, holds its stake in Telecel Zimbabwe through Telecel International. It originally held a 40% stake but acquired an additional 20% shareholding from EC in exchange for a significant capital injection and guarantee on an international debt to allow the building of the network in 1999.
The announcement said the majority shareholder had presented its proposal to government for a listing of Telecel Zimbabwe on the ZSE.
"This would provide the company with fresh capital to expand its network and ensure a broad-based indigenisation of the company," the announcement said.
It said the plan, if accepted by government, would enable ordinary Zimbabweans to participate in the value creation of Telecel, as well as allow past and present shareholders of EC "to become direct shareholders in Telecel Zimbabwe".
President of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Titi Omo-Ettu, and key players in the telecom sector have emphasised on the need to focus on improved technology and investment in the sector.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 2010 Wimax Forum organised by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and Telecom Answers Associates in Lagos, the ATCON boss said, "Our take is that environments that either do not plan or are unwilling to participate in all phases of development of technology must be ready to turn themselves into laboratories where these technologies would be tested.
"Technologies and solutions have been emerging at dizzying speed and it is easy for us to think that all we need to do is to cope with the speed and keep life going. An emerging technology is one that has moved from research laboratory into the field and is in migration from demonstration to full deployment."
Omo-Ettu identified five phases of technology process as research, invention, prototype development, demonstration and deployment but regretted that the nation only focuses on technology deployment. "Before we make attempt at deployment, the technology inventors has already passed the 'death zone' which phases of prototype development and demonstration are."
"The truth is that really their deployment stage is actually our own demonstration phase. That imposes the need on us to make a very close study of our environment and to make a very close study of our environment and alert ourselves on what we should be doing to ensure that investment does not go into ruin."
"There is a high chance some societies may not survive the testing stages because investment in such environment will be endangered if not totally dangerous to those who make them. It is not that the societies will die. What will die are investments and emerging business" he warned.
* Indian telecoms group Bharti Airtel has said it will spend USD100 million on network expansion in Malawi over the next three years, news agency Reuters reports. Earlier this month Bharti finalised the acquisition of the African assets of Kuwait-based Zain Group, in a deal valued at USD10.7 billion. The company has taken over Zain’s operations in 15 countries, including Malawi, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Uganda. The Indian company expects to introduce the Airtel brand across its new units by October 2010. ‘We plan to invest USD100 million in Malawi in the next three years to improve coverage and reach out to Malawi's rural farmers ... and help the country's economy grow,’ chief executive officer of Bharti Africa, Manoj Kohli, told a news conference. Kohli added that Bharti plans to increase the number of its subscribers in Malawi from the current 2.5 million to seven million, although no date has been given for the company to reach its target.
*Telkom South Africa said fiscal 2010 full year profit fell because of increased competition from mobile operators and lower price increases. Revenue for the twelve months ended 31 March 2010 rose 0.7% to ZAR37.029 billion (USD4.887 billion), while EBITDA fell 15.2% from ZAR11.574 billion to ZAR9.809 billion. The earnings measure excludes a profit from the sale of its 50% stake in Vodacom Group and ZAR5.2 billion (USD698 million) write-down on its Nigerian unit. Low tariff increases, greater competition in its domestic market and Nigeria, coupled with high, ageing handset stocks and above-inflation wage increases, cut margins. Voice traffic volumes fell 9.3%. Capital expenditure fell by 44.2% to ZAR5.4 billion during the year.
*Zain Kenya has said its plans to start offering 3G phone services in Kenya are at a ‘very advanced stage’ now that the country has reduced the cost of a licence. The Communications Commission Kenya (CCK) last week slashed the cost of a 3G permit by 60% from USD25 million to USD10 million in a bid to boost competition. Safaricom, Kenya’s largest cellco by subscribers and owner of the country’s only 3G licence to date, plans to seek a rebate after it paid the higher amount in 2007 to acquire its permit.
After 11years of paper share certificates, the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE) is gleaming with success as it moves closer to the automated system of trading. Effective June 28, all shares traded on bourse will be in electronic form, according to a statement from USE last week. The final batch of shares will be immobilised starting June 24.
The companies in this batch include Bank of Baroda, East African Breweries, Equity Bank, Jubilee Holdings, Kenya Airways, National Insurance Corporation and British American Tobacco.
Immobilisation is the process through which securities held in certificate form are deposited into corresponding clients' accounts in the Securities Central Depository (SCD).
This is where they are turned electronic. However the manual system of trading will still be on-going as the transition into automation picks up. Automated trading may start before January 1, 2011. "Liquidity once again will be the issue but this is not likely to impact the market performance in the long run," a market analyst from Baroda Capital Markets told East African Business Week.
Since immobilisation started on April 29, a total of 19,864,217 shares have been traded translating to a total turnover of over Ushs3b ($1.5m) as of close of trading last week. This compared to statistics between March 11 and April 29, is a reduction. In between those days atleast 74,985,793 shares were traded which recorded a turnover of over Ushs12b ($6m). This fall, according to some analysts , is because of this transition from paper certificates to the electronic way.
"With immobilisation going on, we are likely to see reduced liquidity on the bourse as few shares will be exchanging hands," A market analyst. The Manager Securities Depository, Mr Joel Lutamaguzi told East African Business Week that USE was witnessing improved response from the public in the immobilisation of shares.
"The ultimatums have worked. I am thrilled with the response from the public and if we can get this through this process then we will be getting closer to automated trading," Lutamaguzi adds.
The ultimatum by USE to shareholders for them to own SCD accounts after June 28, may just continue to spark the public response. The investors now need to open accounts with the Securities Depository Agents (SDAs). The agents include all the brokerage firms licensed by the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) and commercial banks.
The Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE) is the only one across the East African region that uses the automated system. In Nairobi the market also responded in almost same way as that of Uganda. Their trade volumes went low during the immobilisation process.
Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) will in the coming two months roll out its T24 software technology in Tanzania in efforts to modernize its service to the growing clientele in the country. The T24 service enables KCB account holders to transact business on their accounts where they are, just the same way they would do from their local branches.
KCB board Chairman, Dr Edmund Mndolwa said recently when President Jakaya Kikwete opened a new KCB branch in Moshi that the move to introduce the T24 software technology was aimed at making their services better for the growing number of customers in Tanzania.
He said that the bank had already sent 10 of its staff abroad to be trained and equipped on how to use the state of the art technology. He said that the technology is already in use in other countries like Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan where the bank has operations.
He said that with the new software, the banks operations will be more efficient fast and even more customer friendly. The bank has branches in Samora Avenue, Mlimani city, Buguruni, Uhuru, Msimbazi and Oysterbay in Dar es Salaam and others are in Arusha, Morogoro, Mwanza and Zanzibar.
*Vodacom’s Tanzanian mobile unit has launched a new promotion dubbed ‘Cheka Time’ under which subscribers can register to receive 25 voice call minutes and 25 messages (SMS) for TZS1,000 (USD0.70), or pay TZS400 for a bundle of ten call minutes and 15 SMS. Subscribers will also be awarded five free SMS after registering for only TZS100, with all services available for 24 hours upon registration.
* South Africa: Data calls could be reduced by 2.1 percent if Telkom's tariff adjustments are approved by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa).
*Cell C recently announced that its subscribers can now access the search giant Google and social network Twitter on their mobile phones using MXit.
* M-Pesa monthly transactions have grossed over the Sh25 billion mark. M-Pesa, operated by Safaricom, had so far registered 9-million cellphone banking customers since its launch in March 2007.
Internationally certified personal computers brand in the country, Zinox Computers, has launched electronic learning revision suite in effort to bring relief to all stakeholders in the nation's education sector.
Announcing this last weekend, Head, Zinox e-Learning, Mrs. Loretta Agbakoba, said that this service is available through the Zinox Card, stressing that the new e-learning tool provides students with over 80, 000 questions and answers suitable as revision materials in Senior School Certificates Examinations, NECO, GCE, JAMB, and other qualification examinations into tertiary institutions.
"These practice modules are most likely to end the era of poor performance in examinations," she said. Mrs. Agbakoba also said that the Zinox revision modules were designed to complement sound teaching and learning processes, restore the credibility of the schools and schools' examinations, and substantially reduce the alarming proportions of examinations malpractices in Nigeria.
She explained that these modules were perfect examination revision tools because they help students to master the content of their syllabus and at the same time make them proficient in the practical details of exams.
"Students can choose from eight academic subjects, moderates his/her answers with timing, check answers, and personally monitor performance. The experience produces more confident students who would definitely score high grades in their examinations," she said.
Recalling that about 60 per cent of Nigerian students failed to meet the bare minimum standards for admission into tertiary institutions, noting that from the remaining 40 per cent who met the minimum cut-off marks most scored close to it, not really showing commendable academic brilliance.
She expressed the hope that the new e-learning tool from Zinox eLearning Technologies would aid millions of high school students to achieve the mastery needed to succeed in their future qualification examinations for tertiary institutions.
The revision modules, she said are being upgraded on a daily basis in keeping with the international standards of the World e-Books Library, disclosing that the inclusion of the revision modules would enhance the indispensability of the Zinox Card as Nigeria's foremost source for e-books and education resources.
As part of its determination to take its solutions across the globe, the worldwide leader in securing the Internet, Checkpoint last week announced its operations in Nigeria.
With this, the world renowned and market-leading IT security solutions will be distributed in Nigeria through its distributor, DataGroupIT, specializing in the distribution of leading-edge IT products in the African market. Product support will be delivered through local partners, supported by Check Point's service center.
With cybercrime on the rise worldwide, the company said that IT security has become a real challenge for Nigerian businesses. Through Check Point's best-of-breed security solutions, Nigerian customers will benefit from increased protection and a powerful shield against all types of emerging IT and Internet security threats.
"Our intention is to bring the Nigerian IT security market to the next level, and to reinforce Check Point's presence in Western Africa.
We will continue to actively recruit and train strategic partners and highly skilled personnel in order to deliver optimum customer service and to fulfill the increasing demand of sophisticated security solutions and IT infrastructures," Shmuel Agi, regional director of the Middle East and Africa at Check Point Software Technologies told IT journalists in a press conference last week.
First established in 1993, he said that Check Point launched the industry's first firewall and patented Stateful Inspection technology.
"We see tremendous business prospects in the Nigerian market, presenting a significant and untapped development potential for Check Point across our product lines. We look forward to further developing our customer base, mainly across the finance, oil and gas, te1co and the information communications and technology industry and governmental sectors," Agi said.
To further combat criminal activities in the largest African ICT market, the Computer Village Ikeja, the Divisional Police Officer in charge of Ikeja division, Imohimi Edgal (CSP), has launched Community Safety Partnerships during his visit to Ogunbiyi Communities recenly, even as he assured on 90% crime reduction in the said market.
The safety Partnership, according to him is to enhance the community policing earlier launched in Ikeja in September last year, in line with the Inspector General of Police 2nd Point Agenda which is the prevention and reduction of violent crimes and other forms of criminality through community policing, intelligence-led policing and partnerships.
He expressed optimism that the security partnership initiative when put in place would enhance cooperation between the police and the community and also boost productive relationship between the police and Ikeja community in general.
"My community visit to Ogunbiyi community today is aimed at enhancing the relationship already existing between you and the police, by engaging in consultations with the community and thereby creating a clearer understanding of shared problems; expectations and needs," he stated, adding that there must be a greater community input in crime prevention and control with it's attendant numerous benefits.
Quoting a community survey from the police division in 2009 and 2010, CSP Edgal said that the crime rate in Ikeja had reduced by over 60 percent, which he attributed to increased community partnerships in fighting crime.
He noted that the informal policing sector particularly the neighborhood watch and Vigilante groups are now more active and work in partnership with the police, pointing out that the communities in the area now volunteer information more willingly to the police courtesy of the partnership.
"The biggest judge of police performance is the community that it serves. That is why I am here not only to solicit your continued support but also for you to objectively access the performance of the police in Ikeja and identify new problem area that we can jointly tackle using the strategy of community safe partnership which I intend to introduce here today," he stated.
He however, used the occasion to inform the community of the five new patrol vehicles recently allocated Ikeja Division, under the seven cities crime prevention and control scheme of the federal government.
Responding, the Ogunbiyi Community Development Association, and Community Development Council Chairman, Ikeja Local Government Oloye Osinubi described the introduction of the community safety partnership as the best thing to have in the market and an initiative that is coming at the right time.
He further assured the police of their preparedness to support the initiative, which he said would put them on a better stead to flush out criminal elements in the area.
On the roadside traders, the CDA Chairman, said punitive measures had already been put in place to discourage people from selling on the street, and promised that the market will soon be crime free.
It would recalled that Computer Village is a small area of roughly six square kilometres bordering Ikeja's Government Reservation Area (GRA), Anifowose, Awolowo Way and Agege motor road. This small area is regarded as Africa's largest I.T market both in terms of population of traders and customers as well as the sheer volume of transactions that takes place there.
This market is extremely popular for people looking for cheaper alternatives for computers, mobile phones camcorders, digital cameras and other digital and electronic devices. Hence it is a beehive of activities on all days of the week except on Sundays and public holidays.
The market is home to mostly mobile phone and computer dealers but also has the presence of technicians specializing in repair and maintenance of faulty mobiles phones and computers. There are also dealers in accessories such as mobile phone accessories like batteries, chargers, memory cards, LCDs among other phone components other dealers may sell computer components especially mother boards, batteries and monitors.
Another set of dealers in this market are people providing auxiliary services such as petty traders who sell edible items, pirated softwares, Movie DVDs and musicals and used mobile phones, memory cards etc. not forgetting technicians who like to call themselves engineers.
You can have any mobile phone, laptop or digital camera repaired here as most of the 'engineers' are quite good at what they although they are often exploitative so be prepared to haggle with them over their fees.
*Tunis — Developed recently as a result of the Tunisian-French cooperation, the "Neptune" application, is a software that enables remote management, monitoring, control and storage of data relating to treatment plants. The software aims at modernizing the management methods of these structures so as to reduce costs of monitoring and maintenance.35 treatment plants were equipped with this software, whose use will become widespread during the second half of 2010.Tunisia aims over the next five years, at establishing no less than 8,500 hectares of irrigated land that will be fed by treated wastewater using the latest technologies for treatment and pre-treatment of water.
- According to statistics published on June, 2010 on "Facebakers.com", the number of Tunisian Facebook users, has reached 1, 556, 340 million, including 59% males and 41% females, with a population penetration rate of 15, 07 %. The number doubled in just eight months (867, 380 members as of October 25, 2009, which makes Tunisia the first user of the social network in the Maghreb and throughout the Arab world.
* A general meeting of Mozambique's publicly-owned mobile phone company M-Cel on Tuesday elected Teodato Hunguana the new chairperson of its Board of Directors.
* The Federal Government has announced the appointment of Dr Bashir Gwandu as the new Acting Executive Vice Chairman, Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC).
* Kyle Whitehill has been appointed to replace David Venn as the new CEO of Vodafone Ghana and is expected to assume office from 1 July, 2010..
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*Angola and South Korea Sign Deal On Technology
Luanda — Angola and South Korea formalised this Sunday in Luanda, an agreement in telecommunication and information technology, aiming at training Angolans and share knowledge in this sector.
The agreement was signed by Telecommunication and Information Technology minister, José Carvalho da Rocha, and South Korean Commission chairperson, Choi See Joong.
On the occasion, José Carvalho da Rocha said that telecommunications and information technology represent an important factor for reconstruction and development of Angola.
On the other hand, the head of South Korean Communication Commission informed that his country is ready to supply training and technology of information and telecommunication to Angola.
According to Choi See Joong, this memorandum is also part of preparation programme for digital system to be implemented in Angola in 2012.
*Internet Solutions and ACSA – South Africa
Internet Solutions has won the Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) tender to provide exclusive broadband and telephony for eight airports nationally in the public internet services domain.
The deal includes a number of different technology sets including WI-FI (wireless access), fixed line internet access, Voice over IP (VoIP), telephony and internet café terminals in the respective airports.
Installation has already commenced with a R1-million investment into infrastructure at the King Shaka International Airport in KwaZulu-Natal.
*Cell C and Merchants – South Africa
Cell C today announced the conclusion of a partnership agreement with Merchants, a Dimension Data company, that will see the mobile operator’s customer contact centre managed and operated by specialist call-centre solutions provider, Merchants from 01 August 2010.