Battle for 4G subscribers in Cote d’Ivoire set to hot up as mobile operators get ready to roll-out – Yoo Mee wants to be reference point for quality and speed
The battle for 4G subscribers in Cote d’Ivoire looks like it will hot up soon as the “big gorilla” operators enter the market. There’s currently a blockage but the Government and regulator think they have a plan to overcome it. Russell Southwood spoke to Yann Le Guen, Managing Director of Cote d’Ivoire’s only independent 4G provider YooMee.
Launched in 2011, YooMee in Cote d’Ivoire offers LTE in Abidjan and WiMAX in the country’s second city. It operates in 2300 Mhz spectrum as there is no 800 Mhz spectrum available, more of which later.
The LTE coverage in the capital city Abidjan covers roughly 80% of the population of somewhere between 5-6 million, so something like 4 million people. It is primarily a high-end consumer product but at the beginning this year it launched a B2B service offering leased line solutions on its network. This operates on its own microwave network and covers all of Abidjan.
When I ask Managing Director Yann le Guen, when it will offer LTE outside Abidjan he laughs before saying:”When we have enough money. We need more revenues in Abidjan.” It is obviously more expensive to deliver Internet outside the capital and also harder to manage things at a distance.
It offers bandwidth on a capacity basis ranging from 15GB at CFA 5,000 (US$8.37) to 100 GB at CFA60,000 (US$100.49). It used to sell USB sticks to access the service but has now gone over solely to mi-fi and a box unit. The dongle was twice as expensive as its 3G equivalent and the two other devices are somewhat closer to their 3G equivalents.
It currently has 4,000 subscribers but believes that the total market (excluding 3G subscribers) is around 160,000 customers.
Orange started by testing 4G on the route from the airport to its office and has now rolled it out in several major cities. Its difficulty is that it is not yet allowed to sell the service. MTN is also actively looking at an LTE roll-out.
Cote d’Ivoire has a very particular problem in terms of its mobile operators. It has three main players – Orange, MTN and Moov (now owned by Etisalat’s Maroc Telecom) – and three very, very small also-rans: Café Mobile (a local operator), Comium and LapGreen.
The regulator thinks that sorting 4G spectrum for all six operators would be a problem. So the Government has warned the three smallest operators that they should merge into a single operator or lose their licences. However, the ownership and investors of all three entities are so very different that this seems unlikely.
But once this issue has been solved to the satisfaction of Government and regulator, it will proceed to issue 4G licences. Orange’s roll-out seems to be a way of applying some pressure to make it happen more quickly.
So what will happen to YooMee when the “big gorillas” enter the fray?:”Orange will take 45% of the market and will keep on doing ADSL and MTN will take 45% of the market.” The rest will go to either Moov (which will be the large-scale challenger) or YooMee. There is one other ISP but it is quite small.
“The differentiation is not on technology. We are an Internet player and they are not. Our techies are only working on Internet and our customers getting the best experience from it. The other operators have 90% of all their staff focused on voice. We want to be the reference point for Internet in Cote d’Ivoire in terms of speed and quality of service.”
Earlier he had excluded 3G users from his market calculation, so I asked him how many 3G users might migrate to 4G?:”That depends on the Internet experience they get and the price. Ivorians in general have had a bad experience with the Internet. It’s been expensive and too slow so they’ve not done things like Skype and You Tube streaming. It’s been difficult for YooMee to educate the market.”
Current main uses of the Internet are traditional browsing, news and Facebook. But with 4G this starts the transition to things like streaming and video downloads. Viber and What’s App are very popular with a significant group of people:”One guy sent me a picture with What’s App. It’s more and more common.”
As elsewhere, there is already a vigorous market in pirate films circulated on USB sticks. YooMee is looking at how to do VoD, music and more general local Internet content. And again, there is the same complaint as elsewhere that with 4G your capacity runs out more quickly.
On pricing, Le Guen says there is an issue with international wholesale fibre prices which are 50% higher than in its immediate neighbour Ghana. There is a duopoly with Orange running SAT3 and MTN running WACS. The Government and regulator are supposed to be addressing the issue:”I have to pass that additional cost on to the customer.”
He also says that the cost of 4G devices is coming down rapidly as global roll-outs increase and that there will be “more and more 4G devices.”
Digital Content Africa: Balancing Act’s web TV channel Smart Monkey TV has launched a new e-letter called Digital Content Africa. On a fortnightly basis, it will cover online film, music, publishing and services and applications. We have already produced 32 issues and these can be viewed on this link:
Essential reading for those in mobile VAS to anyone just interested in what African and relevant international content they can now get online. If you would like to subscribe, just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with Digital Content Africa in the title line. Some examples of past issues below:
African radio changes wavelength – The rising wave of digital streaming offers new opportunities
Tanzania’s Ubongo broadcasts edutainment to 7-12 year olds using an interactive multimedia strategy with TV, mobile and internet
Videos interviews to watch:
Fernando de Sousa, Microsoft on start-up barriers in Africa and good examples of African start-ups
Uche Iwuchukwu on the launch of Udala Media's SVoD platform for African and Caribbean Users
Digital finance experts in Kenya say African users will increasingly benefit from the introduction of a money transfer service onto Facebook's instant messaging platform.
Facebook said last week that users on its social media and networking platform will now be able to send money to each other using its "more convenient and secure" money transfer service which it will offer for free.
Frederick Abot, the Cooperative Bank of Kenya's head of banking applications support, said the area of mobile money needed more players for users to enjoy more benefits.
"The more players jump into that space the better for customers. We hope to see more," said Abot.
Another Kenyan digital finance expert, Jacqueline Jumah, who is manager for strategic operations for digital finance at Microsave Kenya said "the customer benefits at the end of the day".
Other experts said the integration of mobile money and digital finance platforms with social media and instant messaging platforms was the next step in the revolution of digital finance and mobile money platforms, especially for the African region.
They said this was especially important for Africa's growing digitally connected population and highlighted that the region's low base in mobile penetration rate and smartphone usage provided scope for tapping into the area.
"People spend most of their time on instant messaging and social media platforms.
"Integrating banking and finance into that area will enhance usage and convenience which will give rise to adoption and further development," said another expert.
Facebook explained users must link their Visa or MasterCard debit cards to their Facebook accounts in order to access the money transfer service.
Source: ITWeb Africa 23 March 2015
Global payment technology company, MasterCard, has introduced electronic payment system technology to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in the country.
The company described the e-payment system as Nigeria’s first MSME-focused acceptance development programme that would extend the security and convenience of e-payments to merchants and their customers who previously depended on cash to transact.
To begin the programme, MasterCard said it was partnering First Bank of Nigeria and Guaranty Trust Bank Plc to roll out hundreds of mobile Point of Sale devices to retailers.
The retailers, according to the technology company, are fast moving consumer goods outlets, grocers and leading online stores, allowing them to process debit, prepaid and credit card transactions by using a smartphone connected to a secure card reader.
A statement by MasterCard quoted its Vice-President and Area Business Head, West Africa, Omokehinde Ojomuyide, as saying, “The MSMEs are an important sector in our economy, representing 95 per cent of registered businesses in Nigeria. However, nearly 98 per cent of all the MSME transactions are still made with cash.”
“Using innovative payment technology, this programme will help the MSMEs reduce the costs of cash, increase sales, grow their customer base and improve cash flow, while making it easier and safer for their customers to pay.”
The MPOS solution comprises a MPOS payments application and a physical card reader with a secure PIN pad for PIN entry that connects to the merchant’s smartphone using Bluetooth.
According to the statement, the MPOS application negates the need for merchants to access a fixed data or telephone line, and helps them to overcome connectivity challenges as the devices use a range of data connectivity options including EDGE, 2G, 3G, and 4G.
The MPOS technology, it stated, would also adhere to the ‘CHIP and PIN’ certifications mandated in Nigeria, meaning consumers could be assured that their transactions were safe and secure.
To further encourage the MSMEs to adopt electronic payments, MasterCard said it was working with the MPOS solution providers to introduce a range of value added services including loyalty programmes, air-time top up, person-to-person remittances, bill payments, inventory control and others.
It also said the services would enable merchants to grow their revenues and increase efficiencies.
“The rapid growth of smartphones in Nigeria provides a huge opportunity for innovation across all industries, especially in payments,” Ojomuyide said.
“This programme uses smart technology that transforms mobile devices into tools of commerce, and delivers services that will benefit all stakeholders in the payments ecosystem. It also supports the Central
Bank of Nigeria’s Cashless Nigeria policy, and will help this vital sector to connect more efficiently to the national and global economy,” she added.
Source: Punch Newspaper
Sex workers in Harare are now demanding that clients pay for services through mobile platforms to avoid being duped with most now moving around with at least two mobile phones to facilitate transactions.
Mobile payment technology was introduced as Zimbabwe struggled with liquidity after ditching the local dollar for foreign currencies in 2009 with the Econet Wireless-owned EcoCash now the dominant service.
Econet's rivals Telecel and NetOne have also launched rival platforms in TeleCash and OneWallet respectively.
And, tired of losing out to "unscrupulous" clients, some sex workers in the capital are now insisting on mobile money, it has emerged. Clients have to pay through their mobile phones before "business".
Those who spoke to NewZimbabwe.com at some city night spots said mobile payments protect them from thieves and corrupt police officers who demand bribes during raids.
Most said they now carry with them at least two cell-phone lines from different service providers to enable the transactions.
"Some clients would pay you before you offer them sexual services and then after we finish they violently demand their money back," said one Shamie who operates at a popular night spot at Greencroft Shopping Centre.
"So I now request that my clients to pay via EcoCash or Telecash before I offer them services."
She added: "It is only when they (clients) don't have money in their mobile accounts that I request that they leave cash with my friends because a lot of them will use you for nothing."
Another sex worker who only wanted to be identified as Mavis said they were also losing money to police officers who demanded bribes when they arrest "us for loitering".
This reporter witnessed the new payment system in operation at City Spots bar, Holly's Tipperary Night Club at the corner of Five Avenue and Leopold Takawira Avenue and the Exhibition Park's Dandaro Beer Garden.
At Tipperary, a busy Mobile Money Transfer Agent operates throughout the night. A middle aged man who operates the service however, said he was not aware that sex workers were using the facility to get payment from their clients.
"I'm just offering mobile money transfer services to people because here lots of them do some cash in and out.
"What they do thereafter is none of my business and I do not care. But business is brisk here - that is all I can say," he said.
Source: New Zimbabwe.com 21 March 2015
Ethio Telecom is set to launch its 4G network in Ethiopia this weekend. Ethio, the state-run operator has partnered with Huawei and ZTE to expand mobile phone infrastructure throughout the country.
Ethio Telecom has been on an expansion plan culminating in the launch of the 4G service. The expansion took place in three phases with the first phase involving the replacement of the Nokia network with a Huawei network. The second phase included the swapping of 239 areas in the Capital Addis Ababa.
The Third phase involved the offering of the 4G service to over 400,000 customers through civil works, installation of antenneas and service equipment to 410 sites before expansion to the rest of Ethiopia. The expansion plan also involved an ambitious plan to double the number of subscribers to 50 Million.
Source: Apps for Africa 20 march 2015
Mobile phone service provider, Telekom Networks Malawi (TNM) has reportedly been barred from hiking its tariffs by the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) on grounds that the hike does not reflect the true costs of services the company is providing.
This comes barely after a fortnight, TNM had sent alert messages to customers that there would be new tariffs to all its customers which was initially slated to be effective from 4th March, before the company, carried down the hike.
TNM hits customers with pocket busting tariff increase to enhance profit
It is said that despite a public outcry, which also had gone viral on the social network, reports show that the regulatory body wrote TNM stopping the implementation of the said hike.
TNM’s had backings like inflation, interest rates and foreign exchange rate movement as being factors behind high inputs costs it is meeting.
In a letter dated February 24, 2015, under reference number Macra/DG/57/ dc addressed to TNM Managing Director and signed by Macra DirectorGeneral Andrew Kumbatira, MACRA maintained that TNM had not provided enough backing for the hike.
“As indicated in our letter of February 9, 2015, on the initial tariff change submission and in the meeting with yourselves held on February 17, 2015, Macra has a duty to foster investment and competition in the telecommunication industry.
“At the same time, we also have a duty to protect the interest of consumers in respect to the prices charged for telecommunication services. The prices must reflect the true costs of offering services,” reads the letter in part.
The regulatory authority has since argued that the said hike Macra further said The regulatory body however noted that there is no indication of the magnitude or level on how the three factors are influencing TNM’s cost drivers.
“Considering the current trends in these key economic fundamentals and projections by the government, these factors may not provide sufficient conditions for price increases in the country. The timing therefore of the proposed adjustment of tariffs is not justified,” reads part of the letter.
This also comes as mobile phone tariffs in Malawi are reported to be one of the highest globally.
Source: Malawi24 24 March 2015
The date of the South African launch event for the HTC One M9 has been announced
The HTC One M9 will be introduced to the South African market on 8 April 2015, according to an invitation to the local launch event that the smartphone maker sent out.
“You’re invited to the launch of the new HTC One, the number One designer smartphone in the world,” the invitation reads.
This is just two days before the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge are set to launch in the country.
The HTC One M9 was officially unveiled at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on 1 March 2015, where HTC said the device would be available from the middle of March in Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa, and North America.
In addition to a number of hardware improvements, the HTC One M9 will also feature Sense 7, an updated version of HTC’s software “skin” for Android.
Source: MyBroadband 19 March 2015
Mobile telecommunication giant Econet Wireless was last Friday forced to eat a humble pie when the Supreme Court quizzed how its lawyers filed a hopeless case as an appeal.
Econet had sought to challenge a regulatory determination as issued by the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe on October 16 2014, ordering a reduction in mobile telephone tariffs by all operators in the country.
Mobile call tariffs are about 30 percent higher than what service providers should charge according to a telecommunications cost modelling study done by Potraz. Currently pegged between 23 cents and 25 cents, the rates will be lowered to 15 cents per minute, a move which Econet has strenuously tried to fight as they said it will render them incapacitated and force many to lose jobs and dump their scholarship programmes.
The tariff will see another adjustment to 12 cents per minute in 2015 and 9 cents per minute in 2016, while interconnect rate will be further adjusted from the current seven cents to five cents by December 2014, to four cents in 2015 and ultimately three cents by 2016. At a price of between 23 and 25 cents per minute for voice calls, the operators in Zimbabwe were significantly benefiting.
There has been an outcry from mobile network subscribers over high charges but no tangible and scientifically proven steps had been taken by regulatory authorities to prove this and act on consumer complaints. The other major mobile phone operators are Net-One and Telecel, which is facing a serious corporate governance crunch.
The challenge by Econet was initially brought as an urgent application before the High Court on October 16 2014. The application was heard by Justice Mary Dube who, by judgment delivered on November 17, ruled that the matter was not urgent, and ordered Econet to pay costs on a punitive scale.
Source: The Herald 25 March 2015
Nigeria is about to witness another round of spectrum auction, the 2.6GHz spectrum band, which was initially scheduled for auctioning in December last year, but was stepped down for administrative reasons. However, the NCC, last week, released a new Information Memorandum (IM), announcing the resumption of the proposed 2.6 GHz spectrum, which is expected to deepen high-speed internet broadband across the country.
Are we moving towards the end of the internet connection costing too much in Dakar? It seems we are on the way with the “Dakar Digital City” project.
Well, the citizens can henceforth free of charge surf the Internet with their computer or Smartphone at the independence square of the Senegalese capital town.
This, thanks to the launch of the “Dakar City WIFI” project with the cooperation of the operator, Tigo.
“This project will consist in the installation of the WiFi in the big squares on the whole of the City of Dakar with the SSID: DAKAR-CITY-WIFI“, underlined a communiqué public by the government.
Source: Africa Top Success 25 March 2015
With one of the lowest Internet penetration rates in West Africa, The Republic of Niger will now have the opportunity to leverage on the huge bandwidth capacity.
Phase3 Telecom has revealed plans to begin the deployment of an aerial fiber optic infrastructure from Kano in Nigeria to Gazaoua in the Republic of Niger. According to Phase 3 Telecom, the network will run from Kano state through Katsina state before arriving at Gazaoua. Phase3 also revealed that the cable will be 228 km long. While no solid completion date of the project was given, Phase3 stated that the project is expected to be completed in months to come.
According to Phase3, the Republic of Niger is a landlocked country that borders seven countries; Algeria, Republic of Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Libya, Mali, and Nigeria. The lack of backbone infrastructure between the Republic of Niger and its neighbors leaves Niger unable to fully enjoy the broadband advantage to its fullest.
Phase3 also stated that: “With one of the lowest Internet penetration rates in West Africa, the Republic of Niger will now have the opportunity to leverage on the huge bandwidth capacity, which is available at the Nigerian coast in Lagos through the Phase3 telecom aerial fiber network. This development will also widen the market for under-sea cable owners in Nigeria while enhancing broadband development in the Republic of Niger.”
This project is expected to enhance and solidify the objectives behind the Nigeria – Niger Joint Commission (NNJC) and the partnership/relationship between the two countries.
According to The Guardian, Chief Executive Officer, Phase3 Telecom, Stanley Jegede said the opportunities that the Internet delivers are critical to the acceleration of sustainable socio-economic inclusion and growth for the Republic of Niger.
Source: Press Release
I arrived in Moroni, the capital of Comoros, after a long trip which started in a Bostonian snowstorm, then a stop over in Paris to drop my winter clothes and take my scuba diving equipment, another stop over in Amsterdam, Nairobi, Dzaoudzi and finally the airport of Moroni. Right after the landing in Moroni, I went straight to my hotel for a fifteen minute rest then I went to meet my colleague Kas Kalba who was also there for a couple of days to work with me on the improvement of the international Internet connectivity in Comoros. I was glad to be in Comoros even if I was exhausted by this long journey. It was my first assignment under a World Bank grant and I am sharing the responsibility, with my local and international colleagues, to reduce the digital divide in Comoros.
Indeed, the core roles of this project are to subsidize international connectivity and stimulate the local demand. There are still few Internet users in Comoros. Of a total of 735,000 inhabitants, only 46,000 Internet connections are available. Moreover, a dedicated Internet line is very expensive — an 8 Mb connection cost more than 1,000 € per month.
We had long and interesting discussions with officials, academics, associations and the private sector about the use of ICT and expectations in Comoros. Participants agreed that set ISPs and IXPs up could be useful for the development of the islands. Local content creation, eLearning and ICT capacity building could be also beneficial areas to focus on in order to improve Comorian digital visibility and knowledge. Lastly, improving networks and mutualizing equipment was also noted as necessary to providing better connectivity in the whole country.
One of the major issues that came back in most of our discussions was the restriction on the use of VoIP. Indeed, it is not possible to use applications such as Skype or Viber while Comores Telecom locks VoIP use unless users are buying a public IPv4 from them. Comoros is not the only country where VoIP is restricted. Operators are afraid to loose telephone customers if they are opening VoIP even if they can gain Internet users.
Since 2008, the international connectivity has been boosted in Comoros. The country is linked to the EASSy underwater cable and the FLY/LION project should secure connection with others countries.
Solutions to improve international connectivity and stimulate the local demand need to consider the limited size of the country, the repartition of GDP among the population, the role of ICT in the economy, the support of the diaspora, and of course the national grid. Power is a big challenge in Comoros where the grid can be cut off for several weeks in secondary cities. Technical capacity building has to be done properly in order to empower the local economy and reach the last mile.
Thus, Comoros expects to develop its economy through ICT and Comorians are currently building the base with large-scale projects. We are just starting our consultancy and our goal is to provide proper recommendations to the Government of Comoros to improve their inhabitants’ life and cultivate strong ties with the Comoros diaspora using ICT tools.
Internet Service Providers, Afcom Sierra Leone has been fined US$220,000 (Two Hundred and Twenty Thousand United States Dollars) for illegally terminating international calls, thus, bypassing the International Gateway. The fine is to be paid on Monday or Afcom’s operations in Sierra Leone will be shut down, according to a senior NATCOM (National Telecommunications Commission) official.
A special investigating panel had discovered that Afcom SL. was actively involved in Sim Box Fraud. Police personnel had arrested three senior officials of the company and detained them for five days. They were later released without charge.
The Sudanese owner and CEO (Chief Executive Officer) of Afcom SL, Adel Sulaiman was out of the country when Police investigators raided the company’s secret depot at the Bamoi Hotel in Aberdeen and seized equipment believed to be used by the company to illegally terminate international calls.
A spokesman for NATCOM said last night that, in the coming weeks, other companies and private individuals involved in Sim Box Fraud will be named and shamed by the commission.
The no-nonsense Chairman/Commissioner of NATCOM, Mr. Momoh Konte said recently that he was determined to sanitize the telecoms industry. “We have to end this culture of impunity… Those defrauding the State of much-needed revenue are nothing but enemies of the State… They must be prosecuted for undermining the country’s fragile economy”, Chairman Momoh Konte told the Global Times in an interview last week.
Many people have praised Chairman Momoh Konte for his unrelenting stance against crooked business interests in the telecoms industry. He has been described as “a hard nut to crack”.
Source: Global Times 21 March 2015
Pan-African service provider, Gondwana International Networks (GIN), parent company to Africa Online, has announced that it will be expanding its VSAT services in Tanzania as well as launching a managed infrastructure and services solution called iManage. Africa Online was acquired by GIN in December 2013 and remains one of the leading African ISPs.
Winston Smith, General Manager, Terrestrial Services for GIN and Africa Online, says that the Group sees tremendous potential in the East African territories and together with its subsidiaries in Kenya and Uganda, which views Tanzania being as a key growth sector: “We have a licensed terrestrial wireless and VSAT networks in Dar es Salaam and have significant plans to grow and expand it.” The Tanzania business will leverage on Group capabilities and synergies in Technology, Networks and Skills to drive its Tanzanian expansion plan.
“Africa Online is very excited about the VSAT expansion in Tanzanian in both the consumer and enterprise markets. VSAT offers easy to deploy connectivity solutions, which compete very favourably with other terrestrial offerings like DSL and fibre. The extensive reach and coverage of multiple satellites operated by GIN provides connectivity in both metropolitan and rural markets across the extent of Tanzania. The Company has rolled out a 'free equipment' promotion to aid customers service uptake by bringing the service within the reach of many users.
Smith says GIN has also successfully launched its iManage hosted solution in six other African countries and will be rolling this service out in Tanzania: “There is significant demand for level three managed services support as cloud simply cannot deliver on its own.”
Africa Online is well placed to offer these additional services. With almost two decades of experience in this market and a solid reputation as one of Africa’s top ISPs, Smith says he is excited about growing this well-established business and introducing more services.
Source: Press Release
The Innovation Hub yesterday opened its Climate Innovation Centre (CIC), in partnership with the World Bank's InfoDev programme for supporting entrepreneurs.
The CIC is a strategic green economy initiative founded through collaboration between the Gauteng Department of Economic Development, The Innovation Hub and InfoDev.
The centre will facilitate the development of technologies to reduce the environmental impact of the South African economy, said McLean Sibanda, CEO of The Innovation Hub.
It will provide environment-focused entrepreneurs with the resources they need, such as financing, technical and business advisory and information services, and facilities such as office space and connections with laboratories, Sibanda explained.
The CIC will form part of a network of locally-owned climate innovation centres in seven countries, including Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco and Vietnam.
In linking the CICs together, their benefit increases "many folds", as countries can exchange information and link their markets, said Jonathan Cooney, programme director of InfoDev's Climate Technology Programme.
While climate change is a tremendous threat to countries around the world, it also represents tremendous opportunities for the development of new markets and technologies, said Cooney.
The Climate Technology Programme is designed to help developing and middle-income countries proactively pursue new technologies and the market opportunities they present, rather than wait for technologies to be transferred to them from more developed economies, Cooney explained.
Source: ITWeb 25 March 2015
Computing solutions company Intel announced the launch of its Software and Services Group (SSG) in South Africa, which will see Intel’s Developer Zone made available locally. The Intel Developer Zone is a global programme that enables developers to engage with their peers to develop, market and sell their software.
Full story here:
MTN has launched a music streaming service called MTN Music+, which it says will feature music from all over Africa, including South African favourites.
Available as an Android and web application, Music+ subscriptions will cost between R10 and R49 per month, with the first month free.
The MTN Music+ (ZA) app can be downloaded through the Google Play store, and subscribers who sign up for their free month also receive 500MB of data.
Those without an Android device can use the musicplus.mtn.co.za web portal to access the service.
After the free month expires, the normal subscriptions will also include an amount of free data which can be used to stream music from the service.
Without a subscription, registered users can still browse and play 30 second previews of tracks.
The various subscription and purchasing options for MTN Music+ are as follows:
Daily subscription: R10.00 inclusive of 50MB free data
Weekly subscription: R25.00 inclusive of 150MB free data
Monthly subscription: R49.00 inclusive of 500MB free data
Price to buy and download track: R1.00 to R10.00 per track
Price to gift a track: R1.00 to R10.00 per track.
MTN will still offer access to Simfy Africa, a music streaming service which launched in South Africa during 2012.
Until 15 April, MTN has a promotion running that includes 500MB of data with a Simfy subscription for R69 per month.
Source: MyBroadband 25 March 2015
The conflict with Boko Haram in southwest Niger currently monopolizes the country's news. On March 3, Boko Haram killed 19 civilians in an attack on two villages, Kiu Keleha and Toubu Buka, situated on the Nigerien banks of Lake Chad. In response, Nigerien armed forces have joined neighboring military groups to collaborate a counterattack on Boko Haram.
Despite these efforts, however, Niger's southwest remains isolated and vulnerable. A new initiative by Nigerien bloggers, Mapping for Niger, is helping to increase national awareness by mapping the country’s towns, revealing a side of Niger that many living there didn't know existed.
Just like the Tree of Ténéré (which was for a long time the most isolated tree in the world, until it was destroyed by a negligent driver), east Niger is partially isolated from the rest of the country. This isolation makes it more difficult to coordinate efforts to combat Boko Haram, exposing it to assaults by the rebels.
The history of the region, and more specifically the Tree of Ténéré, however, is quite unique.
The legendary Tree of Ténéré was an acacia, isolated in the middle of the desert, the only tree for 400 kilometers (250 miles) around. It was the only tree in the world to be so isolated, serving as a landmark for the caravan routes crossing the Sahel.
On Google Maps and Google Earth, the location of the Tree of Ténéré is marked by a stunning photo of the tree overlaid with a phrase from “The Little Prince”
“The Little Prince is Back: What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.”
The Project— Mapping for Niger
The Mapping for Niger project, helped by a grant from Rising Voices, aims to enrich the country’s maps with information that will enable the identification of various establishments and main roads throughout the country. This project is being run collectively by the geography department of the Abdou Moumouni University in Niamey, its students, Open Street Map, and Rising Voices. The project trains students and the rest of the team in the skills they need to participate in a collaborative open-source mapping project.
Armed with these news skills in mapping and citizen journalism, participants have been going out into the surrounding rural villages to map key sites, such as schools, roads, and hospitals. They have also used their skills to link the maps created directly with the needs of the local communities. On International Women’s Day, for example, the contribution of female participants was recognised and celebrated at a training workshop with the organisations ITECH CENTER, Fada Tech, and Femmes & Tic Niger (an association created by Fatima Alher, a member of the Mapping for Niger project):
'atelier sur la Cartographie OpenStreetMap avec Femmes & TIC Niger via Mapping for Niger sur Facebook
OpenStreetMap Mapping workshop with Femmes & TIC Niger (created by Fatima Alher), via Mapping for Niger on Facebook.
So far, the project has helped improve and enrich maps of Madaoua, Niamey, Dosso, Zinder, Kolmane, and Guidan Toudo. The project will also expand gradually to other regions of Niger. Other organisations, such as Search for Common Ground, will collaborate with these initiatives to strengthen the communities in vulnerable areas. Although this is still an informal collaboration, Search for Common Ground is involved in several other important projects, including efforts to strengthen social cohesion and advance the peace process, particularly among young people of Zinder:
We succeeded in training 172 youth, including more than 40 young women. Participants came from various socioeconomic backgrounds, ranging from university students to illiterate gang members, and were of different ethnicities, ages, and institutional affiliations. Another 806 young people, 10% of them women, shared their thoughts on new concepts and discovered how to apply them in their own context. After our training, a reformed gang leader requested an extra restitution session for the students of a vocational school in Zinder.
After MTN subscribers, Etisalat Nigeria subscribers are the latest to be able to rent movies and pay with airtime among other services Dobox is now on the Etisalat network and could be seen on their website. “Get access thousands on music videos, trailers, and TV shows on www.dobox.tv, straight onto your phone or tablet. Etisalat is partnering with dobox.tv to give you access to a vast library of music videos, TV shows and short films. What’s more, the videos are downloadable; yours to keep and enjoy over and over again,” read the Dobox message on the Etisalat website.
While the subscribers will attaract airtime charge, no data charges will be required thus enabling them to download music videos, movie trailers, short Films and documentaries, TV series as well. Last year, Etisalat intimated that a strategic partnerships with Do Media was in the offing but no details were given.
According to Tech Cabal there was a soft launch in January with an Etisalat representatives saying: “We began the Etisalat Dobox collaboration with a soft launch in January. Communication was principally to existing customers on the network. The partnership is non-exclusive, and we hope to have a long term relationship with Do Media as a provider of content.” According to a Dobox representative, “Our license to MTN Dobox has not elapsed. We have successfully integrated with MTN, Etisalat and Airtel (non exclusively).”
Source: Techmoran 26 March 2015
Telecoms giant Vodafone has so far not held talks with South Africa over the London-listed firm buying Pretoria’s stake in its local subsidiary Vodacom, chief executive Vittorio Colao said on Wednesday.
However, Colao told a news conference in Johannesburg he was open to talks with the South African government, which has stated an intention to sell state-held shareholdings to fund cash-strapped energy utility Eskom’s building of power plants.
“I personally haven’t got any discussion on that topic. We are happy where we are. We are happy with the current situation,” Colao said. “Having said that we would be open to discussions.”
The South African government holds a 13.91 percent stake in Vodacom, valued at 27.6 billion rand ($2.3 billion), that could be on the block to raise financing for Eskom.
Vodafone holds another 65 percent in Vodacom.
Colao said that while Vodafone was interested in widening its emerging markets coverage, the opportunities in Africa were few and expensive.
“The good assets in Africa, often the owners have a disproportionate idea of their value and therefore they don’t sell in the end. Or there are assets for sale but they are not good companies,” he said.
Vodafone has a presence in Egypt, Ghana, Kenya and Uganda, while its subsidiary Vodacom extends that reach into South Africa, Tanzania, Mozambique, Lesotho and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Source: BizNews.com 26 March 2015
PT Ventures, a company controlled by Brazilian telco Oi, was reportedly ousted from the management of fixed and mobile operator Cabo Verde Telecom (CVT) via a local decision issued on 24 March 2015 in the Republic of Cape Verde. PT Ventures, which holds a 40% equity interest in the partly state-controlled CVT, said it will appeal the decision in court, reports Jornaldenegocios.pt.
TeleGeography notes that Oi owns an effective 30% stake in CVT (and wholly owned mobile division CV Movel) via its 75% stake in Africatel Holdings, which holds a 40% CVT stake via PT Ventures; Oi inherited the Africatel stake from the Portugal Telecom Group in May 2014 as part of a wider transaction in which Oi took control of the PT Portugal division. Oi is committed to selling its 75% Africatel stake, ideally in cooperation with Africatel’s 25% shareholder Samba Luxco, but no concrete progress in relation to the sale has yet been reported.
According to sources cited by the Portuguese news agency Lusa, the decision to ‘expel’ the foreign shareholder from CVT’s controlling board was implemented after a meeting in which a modified board member line-up was approved, having been submitted by the Cape Verde state-appointed shareholder. Positions including chairman, president and other board members were confirmed, while a reformed Executive Committee was set to be elected ‘soon’. In December 2014 Cape Verde’s government indicated that it was ending its partnership with PT Ventures (in place for over 20 years) as the previously-Portuguese company had ‘violated’ agreements by agreeing to sell shares held in CVT (to Oi) without the prior permission of the Cape Verde authorities.
This stance reportedly formed the basis of the decision implemented at the recent shareholder meeting – with the re-election of the governing bodies and change of control in CVT management ‘justified’ by the Portuguese group’s transfer of shares to the Brazilian company. Other shareholders of CVT include the state-backed National Social Security Institute (37.9%), Cape Verde Post Office (5%), Angolan-backed Sonangol Cape Verde (5%), the State of Cape Verde (3.4%) and others.
Source: Telegeography 26 March 2015
WeChat Africa appoints new head of content
WeChat Africa has appointed Makhosazana Zwane-Siguqa its first head of content, ITWeb reported. In her new position, Zwane-Siguqa said she will create and implement WeChat Africa's content and messaging strategy within and outside the platform. Her immediate plan is to build a cohesive communication and content strategy that will engage, inform and entertain WeChat's audience. Zwane-Siguqa joins WeChat from Drum magazine, where she was the brand's youngest editor. She worked as editor of Move! Magazine and was founding editor of Move! Best Parent. She was named one of Mail & Guardian's top 200 young people to take to lunch, and serves as a council committee member for the South African National Editors' Forum.
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