Issue no 548 1st April 2011

top story

  • Intermedia has released the latest in its Audiencescapes series of surveys of media use in African countries. The survey covers Tanzania and contains a number of tantalizing clues as to how that country’s consumers are making use of different media. Russell Southwood picks over the findings for clues as to how things will develop in the future.

     The Audiencescapes survey of Tanzania was carried out in July 2010 and is a nationally representative sample, allowing the researchers to provide accurate breakdowns of urban vs rural use.

    Internet use has clearly grown in Tanzania but not at the same rate as in neighbouring Kenya. The table below shows percentage household access amongst those surveyed:

    Media            All sample        Urban        Rural
    Radio              85%                85%           84%
    TV                  27%                59%           14%
    Computer          3%                 8%             1%
    Internet            4%                 8%              2%
    Mobile phone   62%                82%           54%

    Television access is 71% in Dar es Salaam. The figure of 4% sounds small but if you translate that into people, there are around 1.5 million people who have household access to Internet.

    Mobiles are increasingly becoming a media in their own right and in urban areas, their penetration levels are as high as for radio which the universal African media. And as the table below shows, Tanzanians (like many Africans) are using their phone’s built in radio and in small numbers, watching what they describe as live TV (probably streamed via You Tube). Radio listening on mobiles is highest amongst those under 34:

    Activity         All sample        Urban        Rural
    Radio               13%              18%          10%
    Send SMS         61%             68%          57%
    Watch live TV      1%               3%           1%

    Mobile TV has yet to find the right business model and where it is offered as a service, has only acquired tens of thousands of subscribers. Furthermore the DStv version requires a special DVB-H handset and these are expensive and not many are on the market. Nevertheless, if relatively slow tech-adopters like Tanzanians are already watching live streams, there’s going to be a market out there. What else can you do when you’re sitting in Africa’s ubiquitous urban traffic jams and can’t get home for a live TV programme?

    Internet use in Africa used to be about a limited number of internet search activities and sending e-mail but as the table below shows, Tanzanians are now doing a much wider range of things:

    Activity                % of sample using Internet
    Send or receive e-mails        57%
    Latest news                         51%
    Research topics                    32%
    Social networking site           41%
    Listen to radio                        7%
    Play games                          13%

    The figures reflect the rise and rise of Facebook use in the early adapter markets across the continent but it’s worth noting that Tanzania’s Facebook user numbers are significantly lower than those in neighbouring Kenya. Again, there is a significant percentage of Internet users who are choosing to listen to radio over their Internet connection.

    If you look at media use on a once a week basis, to some greater or lesser extent, it reflects the overall household access figures above:

    Media            % of total sample
    Radio            91%
    TV                41%
    Newspaper    22%
    Mobile           62%
    Internet        3%

    But when those sampled, were asked what were the important sources of news and information on a weekly basis, the results look rather different:

    Source            % of total sample
    Radio                  83%
    TV                      41%
    Newspapers        21%
    SMS text            35%
    Internet               4%

    In other words, mobile is a news and information media with greater reach than newspapers and this is particularly true amongst lower income groups and those in rural areas. The position of newspapers is also threatened by Internet access: 4% vs 21% is a rather uneven fight but amongst the top income tier (who are among the key purchasers of newspapers) the percentage using the Internet is 17%. Interestingly, when those surveyed were asked about trustworthiness of different sources, they rated SMS and newspapers more or less equally.

    So what do these results tell us? Tanzania is not one of the continent’s early tech adopters so it is perhaps more representative of the middle range of countries. Nevertheless, it has a sizeable and growing economy. Therefore it is possible to draw some of the following conclusions:

    *    There is a steady build up of Internet use towards a “critical mass”, something much encouraged by the use of mobile Internet. It’s not a case of if it will grow further but when. On the basis of these figures, it is not hard to see Internet use going up to 7-10% in the next two years, particularly as prices to consumers continue to fall.

    *    Mobile is a media that is rapidly establishing its position with both SMS and Internet. In two years time, 20-40% of users may have either smartphones or feature rich phones. But there is no sign yet that mobile operators have grasped the significance of this shift and started to work with key content partners to create specific local (in Swahili) products.

    *    The same point can be made about delivering radio and TV to mobile users. Operators can either stream their own output to users or work with local media providers to build an audience through the mobile channel. Why do this and the news content development suggested above? Because mobile will slowly become an advertising medium and because of its wider reach and better colour presentation, it will take these revenues from poorly printed, expensive to produce newspapers and bad radio channels.

    InterMedia has its AudienceScapes site which can be found on the link below. Whilst aimed at the development sector, there is a great deal of useful information for anyone involved in communications and technology in Africa:

    http://audiencescapes.org/


    Now available on Balancing Act’s Web TV Channel:

    SteveSong, Founder of Village Telco talks about: how the Mesh Potato came to be invented; how Wi-Fi Mesh works; the functions and capabilities of the device; and where the Mesh Potato is being used:

    Thomas Hesse, CEO, Explainer DC
    on the state of web development in Ghana

    Kofi Dadzie, CEO Rancard Solutions on the state of the mobile Internet in Ghana

    Nigeria: IPnx's CEO Ejovi Arror talks the Internet market in Nigeria

    To look at past telecoms videos, click here:

     

telecoms

  • After over six years of boardroom talk on implementation of mobile number portability, Kenya's mobile telephony scene looks set to roll out the system beginning Friday (March 25,2011).

    The plan has been subject to intense debate between industry regulator, Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) and the four main mobile phone operators--Safaricom, Airtel, Orange and YU--who are likely to see their operational environment greatly unsettled by the development.

    Mobile Number Portability allows subscribers to switch their networks without changing mobile numbers. Last week, CCK moved to assure Kenyans that the system would still be implemented beginning April 1.

    "The process of implementing MNP services in the country has been quite consultative and inclusive. Since inception of the project, the Commission has engaged mobile industry players in extensive consultations and discussions, which culminated in the signing of an agreement on December 17 2010 in which all operators agreed to implement mobile number portability by April 1 2011," said Charles Njoroge, CCK director general.

    According to the latest reports of the technical meetings, all operators were tested their MNP systems during the week ending March 19. "The mobile operators and Porting Access Kenya have displayed utmost commitment and co-operation. Although the mobile operators may not be exactly at the same level of preparedness, the Commission is yet to receive any formal notification suggesting inability to implement MNP by the agreed date of April 1, 2011," added Njoroge.

    He however stated that CCK "shall continue monitoring progress in respect to implementation and inform the public accordingly," a key issue and concern for most of the country's over 22 million mobile subscribers who up to now know very little about number portability leave alone when it will be implemented.

    "When you call a number that has been ported, you will first hear an audible warning tone (three beeps) before the ring tone or ring back music where applicable. Once the other person answers the call, the off-net tariffs will apply," wrote Christopher Wambua, CCK's deputy director in charge of communications on KICTAnet, while responding to how subscribers will know when a number has been ported.

    Number portability in Kenya, is being done in an environment of reduced voice and SMS tariffs, which analysts contend could have a significant impact on the success and adoption of number portability in the industry. This is because among the main reasons people port (or change networks without the need to change their subscriber numbers) is the differences in call and SMS tariffs charged by operators.

    The reduced tariffs in the market introduced by all the four operators means that subscribers who would have previously found porting attractive might decide to stay connected to their present networks.

    The significantly reduced rates in response to the CCK's downward revision of call interconnect rates from $0.06 (Kshs4.42) per minute to $0.03 (Kshs2.21), were effected after a network cost study by UK's Analysis Mason. Zain Kenya was the first to drop its call rates to $0.04 (Ksh3) per minute last month, forcing Safaricom to also introduce new tariff structures.

    The other mobile service providers--Telkom Orange and YU--also made reductions on their voice and SMS tariffs.

    Most networks currently charge less than $0.012 for on-net calls and SMS with only Safaricom, the industry's dominant player with over 19 million subscribers, still charging $0.035 for on-net calls and $0.012 for on-net SMS while off-net calls are charged $0.47 and SMS $0.04. The move by the CCK to review the rates downwards was aimed at encouraging telecoms operators to lower call tariffs, the aim being to gradually reduce the interconnect fees to $0.013 by 2013.

    Rene Mezza, Airtel Kenya Chief Executive said in an earlier interview that porting would "positively increase competitiveness in the industry," as subscribers would be looking forward to improved services as well as lower service charges. "With MNP, differentiation among mobile service providers will no longer be based on pricing but a combination of value propositions mainly value added services, customer service and network coverage and quality," said Mezza.

    Netherlands based Porting Access was awarded a contract to supply, install, commission and manage porting services in the country after paying a license fee of $2,564 to the CCK. The firm committed to invest between $2,032,370 and $1,968,750 per year in the coming years to boost uptake of MNP while subscribers would be charged $2 (Ksh173) per port though details about how frequently one can port are yet to be worked out.

  • FSMS recently blamed mobile networks for “trying to filter their messages” but operators said that this is definitely not the case. Free SMS service FSMS was launched in June 2010. The initiative allows users to send and reply to SMSs entirely free of charge explained founder Daniel Schwartzkopff.

    “There are absolutely no restrictions on the service, provided you do not abuse it by spamming others or performing otherwise illegal or unethical tasks,” Schwartzkopff said at the time. The company received a boost recently through the investment firm World of Avatar’s acquisition of 50% of the company.

    On the back of this investment, FSMS also launched a new Call Service with which subscribers can call international destinations and only pay local cellular rates. According to FSMS they are targeted by mobile operators which are trying to filter out their messages.

    “Hi FSMSers, the reason we occasionally have delays and are using the +447 sender ID at the moment is because the networks are trying to filter our messages and we have to keep finding new ways to get the SMSes to go through,” FSMS told their subscribers.

    Schwartzkopff told MyBroadband that some of the larger providers (Vodacom, MTN, Cell C and 8ta) have been implementing filters on SMSs which contain their tags (free SMS sent from FSMS.co.za) - and those that include custom sender IDs, which allow users to have the SMSes appear to be from their own mobile numbers.

    “We have obviously become large enough to be noticed and they are taking action before we begin to impact on their profits. It comes at a very inopportune time as we are starting our major promotion on 5FM from Monday but we have managed to find some ways to work around the issue and continue to provide our free service to the public,” said Schwartzkopff.

    Vodacom’s Executive Head of Corporate Communications of Nomsa Thusi explained that Vodacom does not target specific organisations when it comes to SMS filtering, but does filter SMS messages which may harm their systems.

    “We filter Spoof/Spam and Alpha numerical SMS messages that come from foreign networks with an invalid source address since they are all seen as a risk to our systems and to our customers,” said Thusi. He could not confirm if FSMS forms part of the ‘filtered’ group, but added that if they use carriers or service providers with invalid source addresses then they will be affected.

    MTN spokesperson Nataska Basson said that they definitely do not block or filter FSMS’s messages, and in fact tested their system after being asked for comment to confirm that FSMS messages are successfully delivered on their network.

    Telkom/8ta also said that they definitely don’t filter or block SMS text messages from FSMS. Cell C could not immediately comment as to whether they are filtering out, or are trying to filter out, free SMSs from FSMS.

  • Mobile Money channels have become a convenient way of sending and receiving money in Uganda. However, the cost of transactions remains prohibitive to millions of Ugandans, according to one mobile banker.

    Matthew Krueger, the Project Manager M-Banking Research at Equity Bank Limited says mobile companies should significantly reduce the fees charged on mobile money transactions in East Africa. "Transaction costs need to come down. We believe that transaction costs need to be around 2 percent," Krueger said on Monday. He was speaking at a conference organised to discuss how to make mobile money more attractive to more phone users.

    Uganda has three mobile money service providers including; MTN Uganda, Airtel and Uganda Telecommunication Limited (Utl). The combined total of registered mobile money users is about 2 million. MTN controls 80 per cent of the market share with 1.6 million registered users.

    The company transfers up to $90 million (Shs216 billion) per month across its network according to Anthony Katamba, the MTN Uganda Company Secretary. But to do that, MTN bills mobile users between Shs1, 500 and Shs19,000 to complete transactions of Shs5,000 and Shs1 million when using its Mobile Money service.

    The charges reflect a proportion of between 1.9 and 30 percent per transaction. Airtel formerly Zain charges; between Shs500 and Shs5, 000 for transactions between Shs5, 000 and Shs1 million. This represents a commission charge ranging from 5 per cent to 10 percent for a deal to be sealed via Airtel Money. Utl through its M-Sente service levies between Shs1, 000 and Shs18, 000 (1.8 -20 per cent) on similar transactions, at agent level.

    People transacting less money pay the highest bills while those dealing with over Shs300,000 pay the lowest fees, when percentage proportions are considered.

    Krueger is pushing mobile operators to lower the fees to a range similar to what international plastic money companies like; VISA, impose on their customers. He believes that by lowering the cost of transactions, more people in Uganda and the rest of East Africa will be motivated to embrace electronic solutions of banking, saving and transferring money.

    Katamba, said the 2 per cent fee for all transactions is not viable at this point. "As volumes grow then yes, it would increase our profitability," he said when asked if the company would consider the suggested commission.

    The Monitor
  • Airtel, Sierra Leone's award winning mobile telecommunication company of the year 2010 has embarked on super strategy to further expand its fast growing mobile network in the country. The company is currently targeting another one hundred new sites to be constructed in rural areas of the country. The initiative is to reinforce the company's commitment in providing world-class mobile services to its customers throughout the country. The $25M project will help provide customers the best geographical spread as well as a network free from congestion.

    The company's determination to increase the number of cell sites and coverage at both urban and rural areas is a landmark in improving the economy of the country. In an interview with the CEO of Airtel Anglophone Africa, Jayant Khosla stated that the company is highly determined to provide quality service for the average person in the country. "We are Pro-actively increasing coverage that will offer an unmatched network service in the country", he further said. He also noted that, the company is currently constructing over 27 new sites in the country and more sites will be constructed in order to expand quality network coverage in the country.

    This geographic expansion project will ensure that the network constantly stays congestion-free and Airtel subscribers will enjoy an unmatched mobile network experience. In rural Sierra Leone, the need is more basic: Communication. An industry belief, for example, is that rural areas with its poor infrastructure, sparse population and large open spaces could not be a good telecom market. However, the very factors that did not lend themselves to 'mobility' supported a 'communication' paradigm, Airtel has found. Airtel aims to give customers throughout Sierra Leone greater freedom by delivering available and affordable mobile communications for all.

    With the completion of the 27 new cell sites, the Airtel network will be available more widely and it will help boost the existing 159 sites that are in existence in the country. The $25M project aims to improving quality service nationwide and that, the company is aiming to reach the least village in the country. In a bid to maintain its number one status, Airtel is planning to have a total of 300 sites in the country.

    "Sierra Leoneans should feel free to embrace the Airtel brand as the company has started demonstrating its true strength in the market of mobile telecommunication in the country", said Kelvin Kellie, Airtel's Head of Corporate Affairs and Communications. He also noted that, the company is planning to launch its 3G network in the country. He further emphasized that, the company is highly determined to expand its coverage into smaller towns and villages so as to bridge the digital divide in the country.

    Concord Times
  • Experts seconded by UK-based Vodafone will head Safaricom's powerful portfolios of technical/information technology and marketing, it emerged on Thursday, a day after chief executive Bob Collymore unveiled a new management structure but left four positions vacant. In the meantime, however, the positions will be held by locals on an interim basis until Vodafone nominates its people.

    The UK-based telecoms company owns 40 per cent of Safaricom, through its local subsidiary. "We redefined chief technical officer role and added more responsibilities," said Collymore in an interview. "Our internal assessment found nobody who measured up to take up the role."

    The positions that have yet to be filled are general manager for enterprise, director of technical and information technology, director of marketing and customer service and executive business analyst. Collymore said the positions are demanding at a time when technology is evolving fast and so need someone with a global understanding of changing trends. "Safaricom is growing and adding more new technologies and we need talent to drive this agenda," he said. He said he had Vodafone would send another expert to develop local talent.

    On Wednesday Collymore, also seconded by Vodafone, filled a number of top management positions he had created two weeks ago, which saw the exit of John Barorot, the firm's Chief Technical Officer and Robert Mugo, the Chief Information Officer.
    "I'm confident that in the next few years we will have a Kenyan heading the technical department," he said.

    The new structure, known as Safaricom 2.0, will be supported by a strategy focusing more on customers as opposed to innovations, which the firm has been riding on for the last 10 years. The team is divided into three revenue centres including financial services, consumers and enterprise business. Each department will be responsible for financial performance, as well as accountability of operations.

    Under the new structure Peter Arina becomes the General Manager in charge of consumer business, Betty Mwangi General Manager financial services and Chris Tiffin director in charge of financials. Joe Ogutu becomes Director of Resources, Ivor Wekesa, Director Risk Management and Nzioka Waita, Director of Legal, Regulatory.

    Daily Nation
  • - MTN has emerged as Africa's most valuable brand and the only African global brand in the 2011 Brand Finance Global 500.

    - According to Times Live, South Africa-based telecoms group Vodacom is poised to unveil its new corporate colours at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto on Friday night. Although Vodacom has yet to confirm the details, mounting press speculation indicates that the firm will be re-branded in line with the red and white colour scheme used by parent company Vodafone, which secured a controlling stake in Vodacom in May 2009.

    - In Ghana, MTN has inaugurated a US$35 million switch centre at Kaase in Kumasi to enhance the quality of its services. The ultra-modern centre is the second of its kind to be opened in the country by the company.

    - The Namibia Communications Commission issued an order that off-net prices may no longer exceed on-net prices in respect of mobile cellular services.

internet

  • Tanzanian ISP Raha has resolved to extend its network connectivity services to cover medium and small scale enterprises, in a bid to expand its customer base. Raha's CEO, Aashiq Shariff said at a press conference in Dar es Salaam on Monday when announcing plans to re-brand that there is a swift growth and adaptation of the Information Communication Technology (ICT) into the economic activities.

    With the use of WiMax, he said Raha is committed to provide broadband connectivity solutions for small, medium businesses, schools and large enterprises. "Tanzania is evolving in the ICT thus compelling network connectivity service providers to take lead in offering quality, reliable and affordable services in the same pace," he said, adding, "We grow together, we support our clients for them to manage the fast growing digital world."

    He said that there has been a decline in the cost of internet connectivity services as it was early projected due to some overriding factors including poor infrastructures. "Generally the number of users for various internet packages is growing fast despite slow decline of costs," he said.

    National fiber-optic network that will cover every district in the nation by mid-2011 is expected to pull down costs for operators and improve connectivity in the country.

    Speaking earlier at the same occasion, the company's Chief Technical Officer, Nyangu Umeghji said connectivity to the rest of the regions across the country and frequent power cuts have been major challenges facing the ICT industry, leading to increased operating costs. "To ensure a constant provision of reliable services, Raha has embarked on the use of solar power in its various stations as solution to the problem of power blues," he said.

    However, he raised fears over the proposed condition by the National Information Communication and Technology Broadband Backbone (NICTBB), that a company seeking to provide broadband services should buy a minimum of 100megabits per second. He said the condition would be a stumbling block for the local small scale network providers enterprises to excel in the business.

  • Afrihost’s Free ADSL offer is currently available, and this time there is no fixed deadline on when they will be closing the promotion In October 2010 Afrihost offered consumers 500 free 1GB data packages which did not expire and without any catches. “Unlike many other ‘free’ offers these accounts do not expire and provide subscribers with 1GB of free ADSL data every month, forever,” explained Afrihost.

    The same offer was often repeated since the first launch, but the current Afrihost Free ADSL promotion is different in that it has no fixed ending date. “In the past we have released the free ADSL accounts in limited quantities, whereas currently we are keeping it open for an undefined period of time,” said Afrihost’s Brand Manager Tyler Theron.

    Theron pointed out that these free accounts are open to anyone who needs ADSL data, and are therefore not limited to Afrihost clients. Cybersmart has also been offering free 1GB ADSL accounts to anyone interested, but Theron argues that the Cybersmart offering is not a ‘no strings attached’ service like Afrihost's.

    Theron further highlights that the Free 1GB Afrihost accounts also qualify for their “well-priced data topups, which means that should you need more than 1GB Data, you can always just add more.”

    “We also don't ask for any payment details during signup for a Free ADSL account, which strengthens the 'no strings attached' statement,” said Theron.

  • Rwandan communities were for the first time, over the weekend, mapped by local cartographers using a Web program called Google map maker, during an exercise dubbed the Rwanda mapping party. The two day exercise, jointly organized by Google, the National University of Rwanda (NUR) and Rwanda Development Board (RDB) started on Saturday and ended last week.

    On its first day, the cartographers, drawn mainly from local Universities, RDB and the National Land Centre, were introduced to the mapping process using the ICT buses. The following day they grouped into two, with one group mapping the Eastern part of the country, and the other group, the Western part.

    Patrick Nyirishema, who heads the IT department at RDB, said that it was an opportunity for Rwanda to mark their areas. He added that the exercise was important for the country's development efforts, especially investment where important features could be easily traced on on-line.

    A Geographic Information Specialist from Google Kenya, Evans Arabu, said Google with seven branches across the continent was facing challenges in the process of mapping, given uncertain internet accessibility in most parts of the continent.

    "This is the major challenge and we normally try to deal with it by deliberately reaching various universities where we offer stronger internet facilities to enhance the process" he said.

    Arabu added that the exercise was part of Google's efforts to involve local people across the globe in contributing to the map by indicating features like social and economic infrastructures, tourist attractions and others in their local areas.

    "We usually hold mapping competitions among University students to increase awareness. This exercise is like sowing seeds and we expect it to grow after many people get used to the tool (Google Map maker)," he emphasized.

    Areas marked include; infrastructures such as roads, hospitals and schools as well as tourist attractions and memorial sites. The Google Ambassador to NUR urged participants to continue with the exercise and sensitize others saying it was crucial for the country's development programmes.

    The New Times
  • Companies are slowly reducing reliance on physical training programmes and adding online learning portals to their staff learning systems to improve output while ensuring maximum utilisation of office hours. Experts say online learning is convenient because it reduces the need for the learner to travel to a place to learn. "While applying online learning programmes, you do not need to send employees out of their workplaces," said Gathogo Kimani, CEO Octopus ICT solutions.

    Because of such convenience, not only companies but individual employees who may often lack enough time out of their busy office schedules to attend classes are choosing online training programmes. Locally, companies like those in the telecommunications, banking and health industries have adopted online learning programmes.

    Initiatives for similar programmes in the public sector also seem to be on the rise. "Right now we are building a portal and developing content for an online HIV/AIDS learning programme for use by various government departments. This is being done in collaboration with NASCOP, the ministry of medical services and the Kenya ICT board," said Kimani.

    While physical classroom training added value to employment life, particularly in regard to employee's performance at the workplace, well executed online training programmes have similar benefits in addition to saving time needed for training.

    To stay ahead of the rest in terms of efficiency and employee productivity which has direct impact on corporate performance, companies cannot afford to ignore staff training programmes.

    They provide avenues for workers to learn while on the job as well as to instill emerging concepts in their respective technical areas. Previously, learning centres either located within a company's buildings or in separate locations provided training avenues. And they came along with training schedules for staff which would often be hectic to balance in the case of large companies with many employees.

    In addition, training facilities meant a company has separate staff specifically dedicated to staff training all which spelt additional costs to companies.

    "Online programmes cut down on costs of training because even though they do not completely do away with physical trainers, they reduce the level of trainer services required," said Allan Akoko, staff development manager at Commercial Bank of Africa.

    While experts appreciate the role played by physical training programmes, they argue that online programmes are ideal in achieving faster results as all employees can undergo a course simultaneously without relying on scheduled training sessions.

    But online training does not necessarily mean an end to physical training. "For best results, it is ideal to blend both modes. While online training gives the employee a chance to explore training at their own initiative, some concepts are better dealt with in a physical learning programme," said Mr Akoko.

    Also, because of the flexibility that online learning allows, some employees have been known to be lazy in completing the recommended courses. It is advisable that employers include physical training to complement the role of an online learning programme. "It calls for high level of discipline among employees when applying online training programmes. Being a self directed learning culture, some employees may fail to complete the required courses," he added.

    Therefore, continuous evaluation of the online training programme in a bid to establish its exact yield in improving staff productivity is encouraged as the practice will help identify any shortfalls of such a programme.

    Business Daily
  • - Côte d’Ivoire, telecoms regulator, ACTI has ordered all mobile operators and ISPs to block independent news websites and websites opposing Laurent Gbagbo.

    - Intelsat S.A., announced last week that the launch of the Intelsat New Dawn spacecraft aboard an Ariane 5 rocket, initially scheduled for launch on March 30, 2011, was scrubbed after the launch sequence was shut down automatically. The spacecraft is secure. Arianespace is going to review the data and make another launch attempt at a later date.

    - The Angolan Government has obtained a USD 278.4 million loan to fund the installation of the country's national satellite telecommunication system (Angosat). This follows the signing of an agreement for the ANGOSAT project between the Finance minister, Carlos Lopes, and the chairperson of Eximbank of Russia, Nikolai Gavrilov, in representation of a syndicate of Russian banks.

    - The government of Tanzania has insisted that it will continue to invest heavily on the national fibre optic to ensure the rural communities get more access to communication services. With the first phase of 7,000 kilometres of network completed, the government is embarking on the second phase, which will connect southern and eastern towns and cities to the neighbouring countries of Zambia and Malawi.

computing

  • Omatek Ventures Plc, the leading indigenous computer assembling company, has introduced “Style Me” a new range of artistic cover designs for its Smart book and desktop casings. This makes it possible to customize such casings from a wide array of choices.

    Mrs Florence Seriki, Group Managing Director and Founder of the company, at a media launch in Accra on Monday, also introduced other products including the new 11.6 inch notebook with Pine processor for fast booting and the 15.6 inch laptops with a sleek and glossy cover finishing.

    She said the portable, light weight and powerful Omatek “Style Me” notebooks had strong Wi-fi capabilities, in-built blue tooth and webcam which sets the tone for a new era of mobile computing experience.

    Mrs Seriki explained that with the Omatek’s “Style Me” concept, its Smart books and desktops now had a unique outlook and could identify with the lifestyle of individual customers who had the opportunity to choose different characters. The characters range from sports and favourite football clubs, love symbols, cartoon characters for children, music icons and personal photographs among other things.

    She said the designs therefore offered customers in every age category a variety of choices and also its ideal artistic cover designs could complement the Omatek’s e-learning initiative as the computers were best suited for students, teachers, lecturers and distant learning students as well as top executives who wished to express a unique style.

    Nana Benneh, General Manager, Omatek Nana Benneh appealed to government to initiate favourable policies to help grow local industries by enhancing the purchasing rate of locally manufactured products.

    GNA
  • The government will spend Sh1 billion to construct ICT workshops in public secondary schools in the next three years. Education PS James Kiyiapi said his ministry has given out computers to 1,050 secondary schools countrywide. They will all be connected to the internet in the first phase of the plan.

    The move will help integrate ICT in schools and enable government implement e-learning. "The government has already set aside over Sh980 million towards putting up these innovation and integration centres in our quest to have digital learning across the country," the PS said.

    He said this move will assist schools tap the already digitized curriculum developed by Kenya Institute of Education, as well assist schools access vast teaching resource materials.

    Publishers like the Kenya Literature Bureau and Oxford University Press have over the last few years digitised some of their titles in anticipation of learning in the digital age, the plan Kiyiapi says will make schools ready for these new delivery models.

    "We want ICT to become the language of instructions to all subjects and not only an optional subject. We want apart from being a subject all our students upon completion of form four to have become techno-savvy," Kiyiapi said during a familiarization tour of the upcoming ICT training centre at the Kenya Science-a constituent campus to University of Nairobi.

    He said the centre to be inaugurated in May will help train teachers by offering them with computer skills."The best way to inculcate ICT in the civil service and have e-government fully functional is through introducing ICT at primary and high school education because this is where the Kenyan workforce is sourced. We are going for the high schools and after that we will target primary schools as well," he said.To those schools without electricity, he said, the government will provide generators.

    However in the earlier phases of installation of ICT equipment he said priority will be given to schools which have already constructed laboratories.

    Nairobi Star
  • The Ovaherero Traditional Authority has developed a software management system to register all Hereros on one database. The system would capture various information, including individuals' profiles, paternal and maternal ancestry or heritage, history of the Ovahereros, heroes and heroines, a strategic plan, livestock database, customary law, traditional authorities and the 1904 Genocide.

    Paramount Chief of the Ovaherero, Kuaima Riruako, held meetings with the community, traditional leaders and experts at the Commando, near the so-called Herero Mall, recently where the new management system was introduced.

    According to Bethuel Katjimune, secretary of the Ovaherero Traditional Authority, last year's senate meeting in Otjimbingwe set up a structure for the Ovaherero leadership.

    Some of the resolutions were to set up a five-year strategic plan and a development fund, writing the history of the Ovahereros, and profile the authority of Ovahereros and traditional activities such as omuhiva, outjina and omatando that have been lost.

    The plan will also document the history of the Ovaherero leaders, forgotten heroes and heroines who are not in history books, what months on the calendar mean for the Ovahereros, explanation of roles of Otjiserandu (Red Flag), Otjingirine (Green Flag) and Otjijapa (White Flag).

    Children's education is also on the agenda - to set up a plan on the challenges learners face when they fail Grade 10 and cannot go back to formal schools, and find ways to explore scholarships for those who passed Grade 12.

    Other items on the strategic plan are to decipher information on how to prevent diseases such as HIV/AIDS, arthritis and cancer.

    Katjimune said there is also a need to start their own food production and identify areas where there is water to start ploughing. He added that although the Ovaherero are among successful livestock producers in the country, there is no proper market for their produce.

    "We produce but it gets into other people's hands," he said, pointing out that they need to research the market so that they can also produce different items up to finished products.
    This, he said, includes finished items such as mats (ovinguma), saddles (ovisara) and leashes (ovitoma) from cattle hide.

    One of the ways that the management system could help control livestock movement in the communal areas, is for members to register ownership tags and registration numbers that are branded on livestock through a centralised computerised system, so that they can be easily identified if they are lost or stolen.

    Katjimune divulged that the Ovaherero community needs to identify projects for funding and for business plans to be drafted to that end.

    The development fund's leadership is made up of Professor Peter Katjavivi, who is the patron; Vekuii Rukoro, chairman; Bethuel Katjimune, secretary; Dr Jekura Kavari, Dr Hoze Riruako, Dr Ida Kandjii Murangi, Jonathan Katjimune, Brian Katjaerua and Brian Black.

    To enroll as member of the management system, a N$150 fee is payable while every member must contribute a monthly fee of not less than N$30. "Anybody who enrolls would have access to bank details, statements and balance," said Katjimune, adding that the process started in March in Ovitoto. He said Otjinene and Gam communities have also requested to be enrolled on the system. Last weekend, the traditional authority was to make presentations in Swakopmund on the new management system.

    New Era
  • - MTN Business has unveiled a virtualized server solution in Kenya. This solution will enable business to store and secure data at the company's offices. "This solution is an outsourcing service that companies can subscribe to, depending on their needs." Says MTN Business Kenya Managing Director Tom Omariba. It is part of the re-branding solutions that the company promised the market.

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

  • The interim government of Tunisia is reported by French news media to have taken over the 51% of Orange Tunisia that was owned by the son-in-law of the country's former President, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali. The move had been expected for some time as part of a post-revolution investigation into favours offered to the family of the former President.

    The French newspaper, Les Echos noted that the move would mean the government now has control of the mobile network, which is 49% owned by France Telecom. France Telecom told Les Echos that "nothing changes on the operational level and that for Orange Tunisia, it is business as usual." The Tunisian government has set up a commission to decide what to will do with of Ben Ali's confiscated assets - and those of and his family and friends.

    It is expected that the government will sell the stake to a trade buyer or possibly float it on the stock market. A trade sale could be complicated though, as France Telecom is blocked from taking control of the company until 2014 under the terms of its license, and a sale of a controlling stake to a rival company could cause considerable problems between two competing shareholders.

    Les Echos
  • Orascom Telecom Holdings is looking to reduce its stake in the Zimbabwean mobile network, Telecel Zimbabwe to 49 percent from 60 percent and has entered into talks with Zimbabwe's government about the sale.

    The sale is to comply with the country's restrictions on foreign ownership of businesses that limits them to a a non-controlling stake in the company. Zimbabwe's Indigenization and Economic Empowerment Act aims to transfer at least 51 percent control of all foreign-owned firms, including mines and banks, to locals.

    Although the law was passed three years ago, the current government announced last week that it will give companies 45 days to submit plans to explain how they will comply with the law. Any such plans will have to be implemented within 6 months.

    Telecel Zimbabwe is the country's second largest mobile-phone operator with 1.8 million subscribers, and is currently 40 percent owned by a holding company controlled by President Robert Mugabe's nephew, Leo Mugabe.

    Cellular News
  • The government of Tanzania lost $308 million by selling Zain Tanzania to the India-based company Bharti Airtel last year, the Public Corporations Accounts Committee (POAC) said yesterday. The POAC chairman, Zitto Kabwe, said the government did not benefit from the transaction following the application of a weak structure that allowed Bharti Airtel to buy Zain Africa without considering shareholders in Tanzania.

    He said Zain Tanzania had a total of four million subscribers and each subscription was supposed to be sold at $252."It is obvious that Tanzania has lost a lot of money... If every subscriber had been sold at $ 252, the government would have got at least 30 per cent of the total cash obtained from the transaction ... This means that we were supposed to earn at least $308 million," said Kabwe. The Committee ordered the ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs to make an evaluation of how the company was sold and identify legal weaknesses in the process.

    The Ministry should also establish the amount of income tax that was supposed to be collected from the new company as well as ensure there is transparency in handling of shares owned by the government in different companies.

    Zitto said POAC was looking ahead to submitting the recommendations for the amendment of the Income Tax Act of 2004 which seems to have several weaknesses, to enable TRA to collect revenues. On his part, TRA director general Harry Kitilya said his office was operating on the basis of principles and laws. He said what was sold was Zain Africa which owned Zain Tanzania and that the structure for Zain Tanzania remained the same.

    "There was no room for TRA to intervene in this business because everything was done at international level ... The Zain Tanzania structure is still the same and therefore we continue to tax them like before," said Kitilya. The government of Tanzania owns 40 per cent shares of Zain Tanzania, now Airtel, while Bharti Airtel owns 60 per cent.

    The Citizen
  • Nigerian Code Multiple Division Access CDMA operator, Starcomms, is negotiating to close a deal that will enable it acquire the troubled Telkom Multi-links.

    ThisDay gathered that the deal was nearing completion but was being hampered by cost of sale considerations as both parties were negotiating to agree on a final sale that will be agreeable to both parties.

    Sometime in January 2010, the Telkom's board was said to have rejected a proposal by former CEO, Reuben September, to merge Multilinks with Starcomms. But with the exiting of Telkom from the Nigerian CDMA market, the firm is said to be in negotiations with Starcomms in its bid to acquire Multilinks. If the acquisition sails through, it would give Starcomms which had lost market share to Visafone, a chance to recover dwindling subscriber numbers.

    Since Telkom, announced that it was exiting the Nigerian market in November last year, it was said to have gotten strong offers from Etisalat Nigeria, whose CEO Steve Evans later said the company was not interested in Multi Links.

    Visafone was also said to have made a bid for Starcomms, but the bid could not be concluded because the parties concerned could not agree on the right cost. Sources however disclosed that Visafone has not given up on the deal and was still in the picture.

    The fact that Telkom wants to hold on to the company's backbone, the fibre optic cable infrastructure transmission network estimated to be over 8,200 kilometres is a major obstacle to the sealing of the deal, as Telkom is said to have refused adding the cable infrastructure to the sale.

    Ever since, the South African, Telkom acquired Multilinks for a total of $401 million in 2009, the company has not been able to make profit and this inability finally led to the South African fixed line Telkom getting fed up of constantly shoring up the company.

    The Acting CEO had late last year informed Nigerians that Telkom gave up on Nigeria because it has become financially difficult for the firm to continue doing business in that segment due to the high competitive Nigerian operating environment. He stated that the firm's subscriptions and connections revenue decreased 18.2 percent due to the termination of access fees as a result of increased competition.

    He stated that despite comprehensive turn around programmes embarked upon by Telkom, Multi-links Nigeria has continued to operate at a loss and the Telkom Group in March 2010 had to write down $1.2 billion in losses for Multi-links Nigeria, eroding confidence of shareholders in the capacity of the firm to make a headway in the Nigeria market which is highly dominated by GSM operators. He said that though Multi-links made a lot of strategic efforts to turn around the fortunes of the firm including substantially lowering its tariffs, yet was unable to break even. It was still saddled with an underutilized network of just 2.6 million subscribers, when it had a capacity for 10 million subscribers. He said a number of factors including the global economic meltdown contributed to the woes of the firm. He said that fact that GSM operators were getting more aggressive, in addition to increasing competition within the CDMA market also negatively affected Multi-links. The firm's operating revenue decreased by 1.7 percent in 2009. It also recorded a 39 percent decrease in Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization EBITDA from -3,214 million to -4,456 same year. Traffic revenue also decreased by 24.6 percent due to decrease in traffic volumes and higher churn rates.

    This Day
  • - The government of Uganda has announced it is taking control of Uganda Telecom Limited (UTL), a mobile telephone company, where Libya holds a 69% shareholding through its investment vehicle Lap Green, the Information Minister announced. Uganda move is in accordance to the UN sanctions against Libyan assets, following North African country's violent reaction to protests against the government.

Digital Content

  • Another technology incubation centre will open its doors to software developers in May, signaling desire to tap latent potential in Kenya. The Nairobi incubation Lab (NaiLab) becomes the fourth centre to be set up in Kenya in less than two years after iHub, University of Nairobi's FabLab and Strathmore's - iLab as technology firms seek talent to launch new softwares for use in smartphones and computers.

    Technology incubators are facilities which offer a nurturing environment for individuals and businesses to develop commercially viable products.

    The centres provide support services and resources to young companies or entrepreneurs with the goal of developing them into financially viable businesses equipped with the tools for long-term survival and growth.

    "Too often, young software web developers, designers, researchers and innovative thinkers labour in isolation and lack business skills, the infrastructure and the resources to upscale their innovative ideas," said Sam Gichuru, the co-founder of Nailab.

    NaiLab will be opened on a 1,972 square feet modern office space on the fourth floor of Bishop Mugua Centre in Nairobi, the same floor where iHub is located. NaiLab will provide fast Internet connections with focus on Web, mobile and social media softwares development.

    "NaiLab offers an incubation platform that will help young entrepreneurs to concentrate on building a business structure around their innovations without the burden of high initial capital for office space and service provision," said Mr Gichuru.

    The new centre is targeting 100 groups of incubates, where 10 most promising will be on site with the 90 working from their homes. It will offer the incubates laptops connected to high-speed Internet, a desk to work from and a mentoring coach.

    The facility partnered with a financing body--One per cent club-- to provide capital for start-ups to upto Sh500,000. "We shall not be taking individual developers, but a team of at least three people that can easily be transformed into a business unit with complete marketing and developing departments," said Mwangi.

    Trainees will also get basic skills in project management, business strategy, marketing, legal advice, administration, monitoring and evaluation. The iHub plays host to over 100 developers, who meet regularly to share ideas at specialised mobile workshops often hosted by international giants such as Google and Nokia.

    "Most of the young graduates have sufficient coding skills. However, they come with very little problem solving skills that are necessary in developing software applications that can beyond the tech-community to solving Kenyan problems," said Jessica Colaco, iHub manager.

    Colaco said the centre has witnessed a lot of interest since its inception. She says unless young developers can be nurtured and helped to grow their ideas into realities, then Kenya may take longer to realise the true value of the industry.

    "Unless the application can be taken up by those who need it most, then such developers will fizzle out since it becomes impossible to make money," said Ms Colaco.

    The increased interest in the Kenyan market also promises to seal the yawning gap between training institutions and industry requirements, blamed for slowing the takeoff of software development.

    "Our model is not offering space for rental purposes, but we partner with developers and share the revenues after it becomes successful. We will sit on the management teams of the start-ups and literally hold their hands every step of the way," said Mwangi.

    Income generation opportunities within an incubation centre are through the services rendered, which is primarily incubation, rent and all the business development services that go along with it.

    The University of Nairobi's Fab Lab has set up a revenue-sharing arrangement with developers in a bid to be self-reliant, and in the longer term enable it create funds for research and development. "We will earn the university money either through revenue sharing arrangements, equity stakes or even preferential shares," said Kamau Gachigi, FabLab co-ordinator.

    The Fab Lab has already supported about 15 tech-based SMEs that have come up with innovations around the use of biogas, set top box for digital to analogue conversion, smart card, wireless and feet monitoring software among others.

    The park helps students in identifying invention disclosures through intellectual property (IP) audits, IP protection, and managing the process of reaching the market. Strathmore University's iLab Africa, has a capacity of 150 students and room for 30 budding businesses. Strathmore is banking on the support of corporate bodies such as Google, Ericson, and Safaricom for technical support to develop local capacity to meet the industry's needs.

    Demand for tailor-made local software has also sent technology firms like Samsung, Nokia, and Microsoft hunting for local talent in institutions of higher learning with competitions and platforms for entrepreneurs to develop attractive applications.

    Business Daily
  • Citibank Tanzania is looking into possibility of hooking mobile-phone banking into its system to ease financial transactions to bank-less society, most in remotest areas. At the moment, the bank said, a number of NGOs in the country cannot extend their services to the rural area effectively because there are no banking facilities amid high risks.

    And, whenever rural financial infrastructure is available, the accessibilty is limited to most residents; thus increase the risk of providing services as institutions -- mostly NGOs --have to deal with hard cash.

    The Citibank, Global Transaction Services Head, Vice-President, Nassoro Hamza, said on that the bank is currently looking into possibility to lend a leaf from Kenya's M-Pesa to enable reaching the bank-less populace.

    "This is a most challenging situation NGOs are facing when trying to reach the rural people," the Vice-President said adding: "It's our intention to share the development with M-Pesa and introduce mobile (phone) banking in the market."

    A recent Finscope--Tanzania survey said less than 10 per cent of Tanzanians access banking services. The survey says more than half million Tanzanians stopped using banking services between 2006 and 2009.

    Hamza told the 'Daily News' at the sideline of the Citibank's Leadership Forum - Sharing Trends in Donor and NGO Financial Best Practice that pulled 25 NGOs' most umbrella.

    NGOs also are facing other challenges including exchange rates, which impacted their businesses, and payment to ultimate beneficiaries who most are bank-less. Most NGOs are receiving funds from abroad in US dollar or Euro or Canadian dollar but may find themselves incurring losses because of fluctuations.

    "Citibank wants to provide with an e-system (to NGOs) that enable effecting the payment, check the status and generate report out of payments and reconcile transactions at the client's base -- free of charge," Hamza said.

    Citibank Corporate Banking Director, Gasper Njuu, said the NGOs are not allowed to hedge their funds against currencies' fluctuations-- "not to speculate". The banks said it will offer next to none competitive rates, advisory and first hand global and domestic foreign exchange market information to enable NGO make decisions swiftly. Most participants agreed that the exchange rate, risk to transport money to the remotest areas, paperwork are the main challenges that are faced and drawback to NGOs effort to serve the masses.

    The bank organised the forum to get first hand information that NGOs are facing in the country when executing their duties --from the time their received donors' moneys, disbursed to beneficiaries to reporting back.

Telecoms, Rates, Offers and Coverage

  • - Western Union has announced that consumers can now send money directly to the mobile "wallets" of Safaricom M-PESA subscribers in Kenya from 45 countries and territories - the first service of its kind in the world.

    - MTN Rwanda, the country's leading mobile operator by market share, has launched a service that will enable its subscribers to purchase cash power (electricity credit) using their mobile phones. In a related development, MTN recently partnered with Vision Finance Company to activate a customer loan repayment facilitate through MTN Mobile Money.

    - In Nigeria, Etisalat has announced a review of its currently running Easylife proposition of 25kobo per second at a minimal daily charge of N20 per day. The new Easylife 2.0 proposition now costs 20kobo per second to all networks in Nigeria and the USA and all landlines in the UK.

    - In Kenya, customers of Essar Telecoms yUCash can now make withdrawals at Equity ATMs countrywide following a partnership between the two for the card-less ATM withdrawal service. This will provide yUCash clients with a faster and convenient access to their funds without having to visit a YU outlet.

More

  • - Emmanuel Okonji has been pronounced the winner of the joint 2011 Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) and Don Etiebet Foundation award for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) reporting.

    - The former Minister for Science and Technology, Prof. Turner Isoun has been named the chairman, board of Nigerian Communications Satellite (NIGCOMSAT) Limited by the Federal Government (FG).

  • Managed Services Growth Markets 2011
    4-5 April, Movenpick Jumeirah Beach, Dubai, UAE

    Now in its 4th year and attended by over 200 attendees in 2010, Informa Telecoms and Media’s Managed Services for Growth Markets conference is the only established event in the region, proven to deliver an industry focussed agenda, the highest level speakers, superior networking opportunities, and top class delegates year on year.

    For more information visit

    Ghana ICT and Telecom Summit
    28-29 April 2011, Ghana-India Kofi Annan ICT Centre Accra, Ghana

    The summit will bring together over 200 decision-makers from Ghanaian operators and international stakeholders with an interest in the market to share experiences, knowledge and ideas with a view to overcoming the industry challenges. The 2 day summit agenda will address all aspects of Ghanaian ICT & telecoms strategies for attracting investment, broadband connectivity for all, solutions to boost operator ROI, Regulatory challenges & opportunities, infrastructure development, VAS and local content for Ghanaians, subscriber acquisition and retention strategies, mobile banking, customer loyalty, future trends and more.
    For more information visit

    eLearning Africa 2011 - Spotlight on Youth, Skills and Employability
    25-27 May 2011, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

    The 6th event in the series of pan-African conferences and exhibitions will focus on Africa's youth. Africa has the highest percentage of young people anywhere in the world. How can it unlock the vast reservoir of talent? How can technology support education and training?
    For more information visit

    MMT Africa Conference and Expo
    10 - 13 May 2011, Nairobi, Kenya

    Some of Africa’s top mobile money transfer operators, financial institutions and high-tech innovators will gather for the annual MMT Africa conference and expo in Nairobi, Kenya which is still considered THE hub for mobile money transfer initiative and success. 
    For more information visit

  • CALL FOR PAPERS

    Fifth IEEE/ACM International Conference on Information and Communication
    Technologies and Development
    Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta GA USA
    Conference dates: March 12-16, 2012
    Paper submission deadline: July 22, 2011 (11:59pm UTC) 
    Conference website: http://ictd2012.org/
    Contact us at: program@ictd2012.org 
    Twitter: @ICTD2012   Facebook: ICTD 2012 Atlanta 

    ICTD provides an international forum for scholarly researchers exploring the role of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in social, political, and economic development. The conference program and accepted papers will reflect and deepen the multidisciplinary nature of ICTD research, with anticipated representation from anthropology, computer science, communication, design, economics, electrical engineering, geography, information science, political science, public health, sociology,
    and so on. 

    Submitted papers are subject to a rigorous and selective double-blind peer review; accepted papers will appear in electronic conference proceedings and will be archived in the ACM and/or IEEE systems. A subset of the papers will also appear in a special issue of Information Technologies & International Development. 

    ICTD2012 is the fifth of an ongoing series of conferences occurring every one-and-a-half years; previous conferences have taken place in: Berkeley, CA (USA) ICTD 2006; Bangalore (India) ICTD 2007; Doha (Qatar) ICTD 2009; and London (United Kingdom) 2010. 

    For the purposes of this conference the term "ICT" comprises electronic technologies for information processing and communication, as well as platforms that are built on such technologies. "Development" means international development, including, but not restricted to, poverty alleviation, education, agriculture, healthcare, general communication, gender equality, governance, infrastructure, environment and sustainable
    livelihoods. Papers considering novel designs, new technologies, project assessments, policy analyses, impact studies, theoretical contributions, social issues around ICT and development, and so forth will be considered. Well-analyzed negative results from which generalizable conclusions can be drawn are also sought. 

    Relevant papers reporting high-quality original research are solicited. Full papers will be reviewed by a multidisciplinary panel, and evaluated according to their novel research contribution, methodological soundness, theoretical framing and reference to related work, quality of analysis, and quality of writing and presentation. Authors are encouraged (but not required) to address the diversity of approaches in ICTD research by providing context, implications, and actionable guidance to researchers and practitioners beyond the authors' primary domains. 

    Only original, unpublished, full research papers in English will be considered. Submissions not meeting a minimum bar of academic research writing will be rejected without full review. Papers should contain a maximum of 8000 words. Reviews are double blind, so papers should not include author names or other information that would identify the authors (references to previous work by the authors should be in the third person).
    Authors should follow IEEE formats and styles available from the conference website.
     Authors will be required to sign a copyright release for publication in the conference proceedings.  Additional submission details will be posted on the conference website as the information becomes available. 

    As a new opportunity for 2012, we are offering a peer mentorship program for paper submissions. Submit your paper early (by May 1st, 2011) to this program and get feedback from peer mentors ahead of the normal submission process and June deadline.

    Atlanta is a world-class city with a rich and passionate history. Spring comes early to Atlanta; March is likely to be sunny, crisp, and pleasant. The conference venue is the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center. Georgia Tech is one of the top research universities in the United States, distinguished by its commitment to improving the human condition through advanced science and technology. 

    The conference website. Follow us on Twitter@ICTD2012, or visit our Facebook page at "ICTD 2012 Atlanta". Contact us at program@ictd2012.org. 

    IMPORTANT DATES
    Peer review mentor program submission deadline: May 1, 2011
    Paper submission deadline: July 22, 2011
    Acceptance notifications: September 16, 2011
    Camera-ready papers due: January 16, 2012 
    Conference dates: March 12-16, 2012  

    Program Committee Chairs
    Jonathan Donner, Microsoft Research India
    Beki Grinter, Georgia Institute of Technology
    Gary Marsden, University of Cape Town 

    General Conference Chairs
    Michael Best, Georgia Institute of Technology
    Ellen Zegura, Georgia Institute of Technology

  • MTN and Alcatel-Lucent - Nigeria
    Alcatel-Lucent has announced that it has been selected by MTN Nigeria, a subsidiary of South African telecoms operator MTN, for the transformation of the operator’s DSL access and aggregation network. The vendor’s solution will enable MTN Nigeria to cost-effectively transform its TDM-based transport network into an all-IP powered network, helping the company to realise a simplified, lower cost, highly scalable infrastructure that will grow alongside the firm. Alcatel-Lucent’s IP/MPLS-based solution will also enable the operator to generate new revenue streams by leveraging broadband IP to deliver video-rich content and multimedia data services.

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