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Issue no 723 12th September 2014

top story

  • The discussion about mobile operators making the transition to digital has been relatively muted. MTN said last year this would be the direction it would be going in but did not give details. This week I spoke to Raul Martinez, Commercial Director – Africa, Millicom who laid out their stall for the kind of changes it’s going to be making.

    The starting point for the transition to a becoming a digital services company is the level of revenues not attributable to traditional streams like voice and SMS. Currently Millicom in Africa gets 83% of its revenues from voice and SMS and 17% from Value Added Services (17%). Some mobile operators have a little more, others have a little less and yet others slice the definitions slightly differently.

    Millicom already runs successful cable, triple and quad play services in Latin America and I wondered how this experience influenced their view on the same opportunities in Sub-Saharan Africa:”This gives us an advantage versus others groups in the region but there are infrastructure challenges.” This obviously means that it would need a higher level of investment but it has a team looking at the options.

    The group also has possible content synergies as it has a TV company called MTG that has already opened a Free-To-Air station in Ghana and is looking at opening in more countries:”We developed our own sports channel in Latin America but in Africa, you have a big players DStv and it’s all about the (programme) rights. We have a team focused on new business that is looking at these opportunities.”

    Millicom also took the step of investing in Rocket Internet (20% equity) in August 2013 and in December 2013 was joined by MTN, giving all three parties a third equity share in the company:”It was about us wanting into the digital lifestyle and digital services. There are things we can learn from Rocket…It’s not an integrated company relationship. There are countries where we overlap and we work together.”

    So how did it feel to have another mobile operator have the same advantage?:”The market treated the deal well in terms of the stock price. We overlap with MTN in only two markets and it makes a lot of sense for Rocket.”

    Millicom also has two other legs to this strategy of engaging with digital services. It has its own in-house Millicom Digital Ventures, based in Stockholm  and this launched its first service in April 2014 in Colombia.

    It has also put money into setting up an incubator in Rwanda called Think:”The start-ups gain what we call ‘the unfair advantage’ of using our mobile networks. We can either do a full acquisition or a JV later.”

    It also has a partnership with Over-The-Top provider Facebook in Tanzania where it has launched the service as zero rated in terms of its cost to subscribers. Millicom sees this as a partnership of mutual advantage: both sides want to grow Internet subscriber numbers as a common objective. It has also integrated its services into the Facebook platform so you can do things like check your data allowance and buy ringtones.

    It doesn’t have its own music platform but in Latin America it has Tigo Music, which is a white label version of Deezer (which has a minority stake from Orange). Deezer sees this as one of its most successful implementations. In Colombia it is the biggest music distributor, bigger than iTunes and physical disc sales by record labels:”It’s important to think about local content in Africa and we’ll be bringing something to the market within 12 months.”

    Film and video VoD services are also at an early stage but Martinez makes the point that content is in its new DNA as several senior managers have come out of the TV business:”We see successful players like iROKO. But we have the advantage of a big subscriber base so we want to see what to deploy.”

    The other important card in its digital lifestyle hand is financial services: both in themselves and as a means of allowing subscribers to pay for digital services:”This is important in the markets we operate in and we’ve been especially successful, particularly in Chad where we’ve seen great growth. Rwanda and Tanzania are the most developed markets in our portfolio.”

    It has developed the first remittance product between Rwanda and Tanzania that translates the money sent into the destination currency. Also it has paid back the interest on the money in its final pool back to customers. In Rwanda, it has acquired the national switch so that it can integrate payments into the banking system:”This will enable us to grow other digital spaces.”

    “Through Tigo Cash (also known as Tigo Pesa) we have control of the wallet. That’s not a long-term advantage. It’s about building an ecosystem and we’re looking at other ways of bridging the payment gap. It’s better to be open than protective.”

    The challenges for Millicom in making this transition are considerable:”The key challenge in Africa is still connectivity. As we transition from being a telco to a digital service provider, we need to build sustainable connectivity to grow this side of the business.”

    To see a video clip interview in which Raul Martinez explores these issues, click on the link here:

    Raul Martinez, Millicom will be a speaker at AfricaCom (11-13 November 2014). For further details visit the website  and follow it on #africacom


     

    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 20 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 info@balancingact-africa.com with Digital Content Africa in the title line. Some examples of past issues below:

    Digital Content Africa Z19 – The Mobile Deal that is keeping Africans from having more music, film and TV on their mobiles
    Digital Content Africa Z17 – South African entrepreneurs create Live AndroidTv using XBox Media Centre with device costing just over US$100
    Digital Content Africa Z16  - MTN Play Côte d’Ivoire is looking for digital content that will play well on mobile phones
    Digital Content Africa Z-13 - Ghanaian online platform Reel African announces the launch of first viewer votes feature film competition with cash prize

    Videos interviews to watch:

    Babatunde Olaifa on the biggest football website in Africa, Goal.com

    Nkiru Balonwu, CEO, music platform Spinlet on how mobile operators take most of their revenues

    John Davies, Intel on ways to connect the last 4 billion people unconnected globally with examples from Kenya, South Africa, India, Bangladesh and Colombia

    Bastian Gotter of Lagos incubator Spark on providing services for Africans coming online

    Fikayo Ogundipe, co-founder ToLet.com.ng on a Nigerian lettings site like no other

    Videos interviews to watch:

    Gillian Ezra, Simfy Africa on launching a music streaming service with MTN in South Africa

    Jose Soares, Net 1 Mobile Solutions on the solar powered Wi-Fi lamp designed to change lives

    Sascha Meinrath, X-Lab on using Mesh Wi-Fi to connect the unconnected in Somaliland and Tunisia

    Andrea Bohnstedt on the challenges of SME investing and the African tech sector


    Antos Stella, CCA on the impact of digital on the music business in Africa – The company MTN bought into


    Brett Loubser on how WeChat Africa is both a radio station and a second screen

    For breaking news, follow us on Twitter: @BalancingActAfr

     

Money Transfer

  • Millicom, the international telecommunications and media company, announced today that its Tigo operation in Tanzania has launched the world’s first mobile money service which offers users the opportunity to automatically earn a return on their balance direct to their wallet without the need for a separate registration.

    The service in Tanzania is called Tigo Wekeza (“Tigo Invests”), and will allow over 3.5 million Tigo Pesa users to benefit from quarterly payments based on the balance held in their account.

    Tigo Pesa users in Tanzania will also have the option to nominate a non-profit beneficiary, in line with their personal cultural belief.

    Commenting on the new service today, Millicom’s President and CEO, Hans-Holger Albrecht said “This innovation reflects our commitment to develop mobile money into an even more attractive service and will extend financial inclusion further. It comes in a year when we have already pioneered cross-border mobile money transfers with automatic currency conversion as well as a unique interoperability arrangement with other operators in Africa.”

    The Chief Regulatory Officer of the GSMA, the mobile industry’s global association, Tom Phillips added “This new service is a further example of the many pioneering ways in which the industry supports inclusive financial and social policy goals. Congratulations to Tigo. I look forward to seeing other operators offering similar services.”

    Earlier this month a one-time return to Tigo Pesa users based on their accrued balances was announced. The trustees of these funds were able to achieve an aggregate return of 9.2% for the beneficiaries. This and the new service has been authorised by the Bank of Tanzania following the announcement of new policy by the central bank earlier this year.

    Millicom has 4.7m mobile money customers in its six Tigo operations in Africa and 2.7m in five countries in Latin America.

    Source: Techmoran  10 September 2014 

  • Windhoek — Rockhard Bureau de Change says it has fast-tracked the deployment of business systems at its first outlet in Windhoek by opting for TMX-online from IMX Software, a supplier of currency trading and travel money technology. The company started operating in Namibia during 2014 with the vision of offering competitive exchange rates and money transfer services to residents and international travellers. It selected TMX-online as the point of sale software for the new Khomas Grove Mall branch in Khomasdal, because it offered an out-of-the-box solution that met its needs without extensive customisation.

    "With TMX-online, we were able to launch our business without having to worry about designing operational procedures since they are all configured and embedded in the product," said Jerome Mutumba, Executive Chairman at Rockhard Bureau de Change. Rockhard is scheduled to open a second branch in Rundu in September, with another in Katima Mulilo following later in the year. Money transfers through the MoneyGram network are also in the pipeline.

    The platform complies with Bank of Namibia regulations and provides electronic reporting for cross-border transactions using the mechanism and in the format specified by the central bank. TMX-online automates transactions involving travel-related products and services, including cash, money transfers, pre-paid cards and travellers' cheques. Because it is a browser-based solution, it offers low support and maintenance costs, and the software can be quickly and easily rolled out to any new branch with a PC and an Internet connection.

    Source: New Era 11 Sptember 2014 

Telecoms, Rates, Offers and Coverage

  • MTN has lowered the voice rates on MyMTNChoice from R1.95 to R1.20 per minute and SMS from 70 cents to 50 cents.

    MTN South Africa has expanded its My MTNChoice price plans. The price plan allows contract customers to manage their costs in real-time, with several internet price plans ranging from as little as R15pm for 20MB to R999pm for 20GB.

    Larry Annetts, Chief Marketing Officer, MTN South Africa – stated that: “One of the highlights of the My MTNChoice plans has been giving customers the ability to track their usage in real-time to better manage their budget. Today’s announcement takes that customer-centric approach to the next level by giving internet contract users not only the ability buy bundles as and when they need them, but also to set their data limits and the tools to better manage their spend to avoid any potential bill shock.”

    In addition, MTN has lowered the voice rates on MyMTNChoice from R1.95 to R1.20 per minute and SMS from 70 cents to 50 cents. Furthermore, any package bought from 500MB upwards will receive an equivalent Night Express Data. For example, if customer subscribes to the My MTNChoice 1GB, they will receive 1GB of Anytime data and 1GB of Night time value which can be used between midnight and 6am every day. Now customers can plan their data phone updates and large files uploads and downloads for midnight period and have peace of mind.

    “This is another way MTN is empowering its contract customers to build a package that best suits their needs. By being completely flexible with the My MTNChoice value proposition, MTN makes managing your cellphone account as easy as possible,” adds Annetts.

    The My MTNChoice internet price plans offers bring your own device contract options ranging from month to month, 6, 12, 18 and 24month offers. A full list of the price plans and costs are available on the MTN Web site (www.mtn.co.za).

    “The entry-level offer of R15 per month is significant as this gives customers who want to try out the MTN network without making a long-term commitment the perfect solution,” concludes Annetts.

    Price are inclusive of VAT.

    Source: ITNews Africa  2 September 2014

telecoms

  • The long-awaited Fourth Generation Long-Term Evolution (4G LTE) Internet did not kick off on September 1 as earlier envisioned due to “technical and contractual” challenges, an official at the Rwanda Utilities and Regulatory Authority (Rura) has said.

    Having previously agreed to launch the service on September 1, Internet service providers, including telecom companies, have since agreed to postpone the kickoff date to next month.

    “There are some technical issues that must be sorted out before the 4G network can be satisfactorily launched. The operators approached us and asked that the deadline be extended to October. Once we agreed on the exact date, we will communicate,” Patrick Nyirishema, the director-general of Rura, said.

    Spearheaded by Olleh Rwanda Networks (ORN), a joint venture between the government and Korea Telecom, 4G Internet is expected to usher in many advantages to Internet users, including download and upload speed, which is rated to be 10 times faster than other Internet modules.

    4G LTE is also consistent and designed to handle demanding data loads. However, anxious users must now wait until those involved in the negotiations agree and stand by a new deadline.

    “Tigo is ready to launch 4G services, but we cannot do it now because we must do it in partnership with other providers,” Pierre Kayitana, the public relations and events manager at Tigo, told The New Times.

    Some service providers such as MTN and Airtel had already placed adverts in the media indicating the cost of their 4G-compatible gadgets.

    The service

    Airtel 4G SIM card costs Rwf20,000, the modems Rwf77,000, while routers, which can connect internet to over 30 computers cost Rwf98,000.

    Officials from other telecom companies and Olleh Rwanda Networks were not available for comment by press time.

    Monthly subscriptions will cost Rwf20,000 for 5GB, Rwf38,000 for 10GB and Rwf73,000 for 20GB.

    Comparatively, MTN will charge Rwf500 for the SIM card, Rwf56,000 for the modem, Rwf60,000 for a wireless router that supports ten users and Rwf80,000 for one that supports 32 users.

    In June, last year, the government and Korea Telecom – the largest telecommunications service provider in South Korea – signed a shareholders’ agreement to establish a joint venture to deploy a high-speed 4G network to cover 95 per cent of the population in three years.

    ORN serves as wholesaler while the telecoms and internet service providers are retailers.

    ORN conducted a successful trial phase in 13 government institutions, 13 public locations and 17 private sites, including hotels and companies. The trials ended in July.

    The government aims to tick off one or more of the second Economic Development and Poverty Eradication Strategy (EDPRS II) targets by connecting all sectors of the economy to ICT services by 2018.

    Source: The New Times 9 September 2014 

  • The investment will lead to the realization of a state-of-the-art national IP microwave backbone and access network

    Zamtel and NEC Corporation, global leader in the integration of IT and network technologies, have agreed to build a new digital microwave radio transmission network to boost mobile coverage and capacity for citizens, enterprises and tourists across Zambia.

    The turnkey deal, which includes the supply, delivery, installation, testing and commissioning of NEC’s microwave transmission network equipment, is expected to be completed within 12 months and will cost 18,329,326 US dollars. NEC will upgrade Zamtel’s existing backbone and access systems and commission new links to connect its macro base stations and core network wirelessly.

    This investment in Zamtel transmission infrastructure aims to upgrade and modernize the company’s digital microwave transmission backbone network in order to meet current and foreseeable future growth in mobile data demand, while supporting the company’s LTE rollout plan.

    “This partnership will see NEC design, manufacture, supply, deliver, install, test, migrate and commission a native Ethernet microwave backbone and access radios specifically tailored to Zamtel’s requirements,” said the company’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr Mupanga Mwanakatwe.

    Dr Mwanakatwe said the new digital microwave backbone and access project will include the installation of 2Gbps, 600Mbps, 300Mbps and 150Mbps backbone and access networks based on native Ethernet microwave radio network technologies, adding that on completion, the investment will lead to the realization of a state-of-the-art national IP microwave backbone and access network.

    Dr Nobuhiro Endo, President at NEC Corporation commented, “By boosting the coverage and capacity of its wireless backhaul network, Zamtel will be able to meet the ever rising demand for mobile broadband services from local citizens, enterprises and tourists across the country. NEC’s highly reliable and cost-effective solution will enable Zamtel to support continued economic growth and underpin emerging services, such as mobile money and high definition mobile TV, in both rural and urban locations.”

    Source:  APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of NEC Corporation 10 September 2014

  • Late entries by remaining East African countries of Tanzania and Burundi into talks will mean that subscribers will have to wait until June so as to realize their desire to MobilePhonesAfricapay lower calling rates across the EA countries.

     Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda had agreed to cap the maximum roaming charges in the three states at about $0.10 per minute beginning this month meaning the rates will have gone significantly lower.

    The Business Daily now reports that the Communication Authority of Kenya (CAK) has confirmed that Tanzania and Burundi have now joined the other four other countries  in the quest for a One Area Network during a meeting of regional regulatory bodies in Arusha last week.

    “When agreement is implemented the cost of making calls would come down in all member states of the East Africa Community,” said Francis Wangusi, the director general of CA.

    From the Arusha meeting, Tanzania and Burundi to carry a study on the rate they would want applicable by December 31.

    The six states will then sit afterwards and come up with a suitable agreement.

    “We expect the implementation of the agreed rates to be implemented in June 2015,” Wangusi added.

    In June 2013, Uganda introduced Ksh7 (about Rwf54.6) levy on calls while Tanzania introduced a Ksh10 (about Rwf78) levy. Rwanda charges Ksh9 (about Rwf70.2) and Burundi Kh13 (about Rwf101.4).

    This means that all these countries levy taxes unlike Kenya being the only one that does not levy taxes on cross-border calls and has been calling for a common termination tariff introduced.

    Source: Techmoran  11September 2014 

  • BICS, a global wholesale carrier for voice, mobile data and capacity services, has provided its complete product range of voice and roaming services for Unitel’s newly launched MNO in São Tome and Principe, improving international connectivity for residents and visitors to the island in the Gulf of Guinea.

    Within only two months, BICS had deployed full connectivity for international voice services, SMS messaging, signalling and GRX services, allowing residents and visitors to make international voice and roaming calls and use SMS and data roaming services. The scope of International connectivity services will be further enhanced later this year with the adoption of BICS’ Instant Roaming and OC Roaming Hub, offering a wider range of destinations to subscribers in the country.

    BICS and Unitel have a long standing agreement for roaming services within Unitel’s home market of Angola. Last year, BICS solutions facilitated the first LTE roaming relation between Africa and Europe.

    “Unitel came to us earlier this year with their project of launching a new MNO in São Tome and Principe,” said Clémentine Fournier, Regional Vice President Africa, BICS. “Located on an island, Unitel wanted to offer their very first customers not only the ability to call and send SMS abroad, but also access to roaming services.

    “We had to accomplish the launch of these services under a very ambitious Unitel timeline and are very pleased to have completed this project successfully within the timescale set out. This shows BICS’ commitment to Africa, including smaller markets within this exciting continent.”

    Ricardo Cardoso, Commercial and Marketing Manager, Unitel said: “Unitel selected BICS for this project due to its expertise in delivering a complete range of voice and roaming services from scratch within a very short timeframe. The wide product portfolio available, from basic connectivity to more sophisticated value added services, will allow us to evolve the service in line with our growing needs. By partnering with BICS, we have been able to provide truly innovative services into areas where mobile connectivity has been limited to date, providing differentiation through service quality.”

    The expansion of the BICS partnership with Unitel is the latest in a number of prestigious deployments of BICS’ services within Africa. Since the foundation of three new offices on the continent last year, BICS has signed agreements with newly launched MNOs in sub-Saharan Africa and the company is committed to further expanding its leadership in the region.

    Source: Company Press Release 10 September 2014

  • Algerian telecoms minister Zohra Derdouri has revealed that the country’s fixed telephony market could be opened up to competition ‘soon’, Agence Ecofin reports. The minister reportedly said in a press conference, co-hosted with Mehmel Azouaou, CEO of Algerie Telecom (AT): ‘We want to create real competitive conditions by installing one or more other operators for fixed [services]… as soon as this issue is ripe, we will inform the press of the details relating thereto.’

    Another issue discussed at the conference was the potential entry of new mobile operators in the wireless market, which would diversify the services currently on offer and ultimately force the country’s incumbent cellcos – Djezzy GSM, Mobilis and Ooredoo Algeria (Nedjma) – to upgrade the quality of their mobile networks.

    Source: Telegeography  11 September 2014 

  • Telecommunications companies in Niger will have it rough this season as their regulator, ARTP has fined the four of them three percent of their 2013 revenues for failing to meet their license obligations. Their obligations being those related to their tariffs as well as their control mechanisms; this is according to reports by Agence Ecofin. The total amount of the fines levied is XOF 6.74 billion, that is approximately $13.5 million), or XOF 3.4 billion for Airtel, XOF 1.6 billion for Orange, XOF 1.4 billion for SahelCom and XOF 537 million for Atlantic Telecom.

    Burkina Faso’s Regulatory Authority for Electronic Communications and Posts (ARCEP) has reported that the country ended 2013 with a total of 11.241 million mobile subscribers, up 13% from 9.976 million twelve months earlier and 7.682 million at 31 December 2011. Office Nationale des Telecommunications (Onatel) led the wireless market with a total of 4.643 million customers at end-2013 (a share of 41.3%), followed closely by Indian-owned cellco Airtel Burkina Faso with 4.456 million subscribers (39.6%), with Telecel Faso accounting for the remaining 2.142 million (19.1%). According to ARCEP, wireline telephony connections of fixed line incumbent Onatel numbered 137,421 at 31 December 2013, down from 141,358 twelve months previously, while the firm’s fixed broadband accesses stood at 12,962.

internet

  • Zain South Sudan, the leading operator in the country, and Huawei, a leading global technology solutions provider, have teamed-up with UNESCO to provide Internet access to a number of schools in South Sudan powered via Zain base stations. This is the first project of its type in South Sudan, with the first phase of the initiative resulting in over 3,000 school children gaining access to the Internet for the first time.

    The official launch ceremony for the project was held at Juba Technical Secondary School under the patronage and presence of the Minister of Telecommunications, Hon. Rebecca Joshua Okwachi, along with Zain South Sudan CEO Mr Basel Manasrah, UNESCO Country Representative Mr Salah Khaled, Huawei South Sudan CEO Mr Tommy Hu Zhenyu, as well as senior representatives from Zain and Huawei.

    Zain South Sudan supplies power and connectivity for the project, allowing schools within a 100-meter radius from its base station to gain Internet access. Four schools – St. Thomas Nursery & Primary School, A.I.C. Merkolong Local Church Nursery & Primary School, Buluk B Primary School, and Juba Technical Secondary School – have been selected to participate in the first phase of the project, which will see Zain’s core network accessed to provide connectivity to the Internet with 1GB data per month per computer for each of the schools.

    Huawei is Zain’s predominate technology provider in South Sudan and Huawei’s role in this project includes the furbishing of computer laboratories, providing five computers and tables to each school, maintaining the computers, and offering school personnel basic computer training.

    UNESCO’s partnership in the initiative comes with the objective to use the opportunity Zain and Huawei have provided by linking the schools to the internet, thus enabling the integration of selected primary and secondary schools in South Sudan into the UNESCO Associated Schools Programme Network (ASPNet) in neighboring countries. The UNESCO ASPNet constitutes a global network of schools partnering in the development of Environmental Sustainability Projects and Peace Building Initiatives by their students, through innovative and technological platforms, allowing interaction and exchange of ideas among students and youths regionally and globally. UNESCO is committed to the provision of technical support for the establishment of quality key educational, cultural, and media institutions as it is one of its main priorities for its program in South Sudan for 2014-2016.

    Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services South Sudan, Hon. Rebecca Joshua Okwachi Rebecca addressed the students of Juba Technical School, “Technology is a tool for education, and this facility is here to further your education and I encourage you to not abuse it. I want you to think outside the box, and use this opportunity to see how technology is changing lives in the world”

    Zain South Sudan CEO, Basel Manasrah said, “We are extremely committed to social development in the markets in which we operate, and this project lends itself to two areas – youth and education – which are very close to our hearts. Zain is dedicated to the development of South Sudan as a country, and there is no better way to aid this than through working with the youth and equipping them with the tools necessary to grow up to become successful, contributing members of society.”

    Manasrah continued, ”This type of project is a first for Zain and a first for South Sudan, and I think it comes with a great deal of potential to expand Internet connectivity more widely and more rapidly. In a country as young as South Sudan, the impact of our corporate social responsibility efforts resonates that much further, and we shall continue to identify worthy initiatives to become involved in.”

    On his part, Tommy Hu Zhenyu , Huawei’s Country Manager for South Sudan said, “Education is a process of acquiring relevant knowledge, skills, and values for knowing, asserting and vindicating one’s rights. This implies that education is an empowerment tool, and is therefore a positive development in the lives of young people. We are honored to partner Zain and play our part in the positive transformation of this society, starting from its foundation, which is the youth of the country.”

    The UNESCO Country Representative Salah Khaled stated: “UNESCO is privileged to partner with Zain on this project, which is part of the range of environmental and peace educational programs and training material that we provide to benefit peace building initiatives and the youth in South Sudan.”

    Source: AME info.com  8 September 2014 

  • Olleh Rwanda Networks (ORN), a joint venture between the Rwandan government and KT Corp of South Korea, has selected Finnish equipment vendor Nokia Networks (formerly NSN) as the sole supplier of the country’s first open-access commercial Long Term Evolution (LTE) network. Nokia Networks will deliver its scalable Flexi Multiradio 10 Base Station and Evolved Packet Core (EPC), while also housing the radio system modules in a centralised base station hotel, with the related radio frequency (RF) units distributed into the antenna sites. Further, the company’s consolidated NetAct network management system will manage, monitor and optimise ORN’s network, with Nokia Networks also providing a full suite of managed services such as network implementation, planning and optimisation, systems integration and network operations.

    ORN’s CEO Peter Jeon commented: ‘This is a defining moment for Rwanda and its citizens. In addition to opening up a whole new world of data services, this LTE network will also be a strong proof point of our commitment to enabling and empowering the people of this country.’

    Source; Telegeography  11 Septmeber 2014 

  • Kenya currently leads other African countries in terms of connectivity with the highest bandwidth per person on the continent, the fastest speeds, and some of the lowest internet costs, according to a presentation by Ben Roberts, CEO, Liquid Telecom.

    Speaking at the 2014 East Africa Com, Roberts said: “Investment in the continent’s connectivity is creating multiple benefits that Kenya demonstrates as a clear example of a virtuous circle, where each investment accelerates the next, with an ever increasing footprint of beneficiaries.”

    Following on from the connection of the continent’s most concentrated cluster of undersea cables; the galloping development of the Kenyan Internet Exchange Point (KIXP); the creation of thousands of Points of Presence by international and national service and content providers - delivering speedier content; and the achievement of the second cheapest internet costs on the continent, Kenya has now emerged in the top position in Africa for internet access.

    “Kenya has achieved a confluence of infrastructure and provision that has positioned it with the highest growth in internet take-up compared to income per capita in Africa,” said Roberts. “It has effectively become an outlier in its internet take-up, and seen Nairobi join Johannesburg as one of Africa’s two regional internet hubs.”

    Research commissioned by the Internet Society and published in May last year further stated that East Africa offers the lowest Internet costs on the continent, with Kenya being the cheapest in the region.

    In its report titled ‘Lifting Barriers to Internet Development in Africa”, the Internet Society found that Kenya had outperformed in surmounting a series of infrastructure barriers to arrive at its now emerging Internet leadership.

    The country has more undersea cables than any other nation on the East African coast, with government support having been directed at increasing access and participation by more carriers. The landing of the East African Submarine Cable System (EASSy), The East African Marine System (TEAMS), SEACOM and LION high-capacity submarine cables brought a 20-fold increase in international bandwidth in the country to 20Gbit per second.

    Kenya also has more licensed international gateways than any other country in sub-Saharan Africa, now at 13, in total, according to the Internet Society.

    The localization of internet connections through the Kenya Internet Exchange Point (KIXP) has also been critical to Kenya’s emerging internet leadership. KIXP allows local internet users to interconnect locally, without traffic being pointed back to the US or Europe. The Kenyan exchange is now localizing more than 1Gbit/s of peak traffic, dramatically reducing latency from 200-600ms to 2-10ms on average, while allowing ISPs to save almost US $1.5 million per year on international connectivity, and to make revenue gains on increased internet usage - on faster speeds - of as much as US $6 million a year per operator.

    In 2011, Google installed a Google Global Cache (GGC) in Kenya, retaining static content, such as YouTube videos, after it has been downloaded in Kenya, which has also had a significant impact on ISP traffic levels. For example, the Internet Society reported that the educational network, KENET, experienced a roughly ten-fold increase in Google usage, from 20Megabits per second to 200Megabits per second, after the cache was established, attributing the rise to better speeds.

    Shifting content and routing to the local exchange has similarly impacted the mobile operators. According to an ‘Assessment of the Impact of Internet Exchange Points – Empirical Study of Kenya and Nigeria by the Internet Society’, one operator alone is seeing a revenue increase of just under US $6 million a year from the rise in locally routed Internet traffic.

    The country has benefited in much broader ways again from its rapid embrace of local internet infrastructure. The Kenya Revenue Authority used local routing that saw 160,524 citizens file their income taxes online in the first half of fiscal year 2011, and 5,000 users register for the customs system, representing 95 per cent of the industry. Technology, according to the taxman, has been key in assisting it meet its tax collection targets.

    The benefits of the KIXP are also beginning to extend beyond Kenya’s borders. As of January 2012, 56 per cent of the Autonomous System numbers routed through the KIXP in the previous six months were from 16 foreign countries, ranging from Botswana to Zimbabwe, and as far away as the United States.

    Cross-border terrestrial networks are also expanding rapidly in Africa. Carriers still largely use intra-African capacity to connect with submarine cable stations for onward transit to Europe, rather than to facilitate the exchange of African traffic, but this is beginning to change.

    “The investment in this key national and local infrastructure is absolutely key to further increasing African internet speeds and reducing the cost of internet use to all users,” said Mr Roberts.

    Liquid Telecom’s fibre network now stretches over 17,000kms across country borders, including the first ever regional fibre ring connecting the east African countries to each other and the rest of the world.

    Source: CIO East Africa 9 September 2014

  • Botswana’s national Internet exchange point will be transformed into the regional exchange hub, which will enable easy Internet traffic switching.

    Speaking at the ICT Pitso held in Gaborone last week, Director of Telecommunications and Postal services, Cecil Masiga said currently internet traffic destined to Botswana and surrounding countries goes via South Africa instead of going directly to the destined country.

     “This creates inefficiencies and is costly:“South Africa has its own regional exchange switch so we want to have our own. Botswana should be a regional hub where the Internet traffic will be easy to switch,” he said.

    Speaking at the Pitso, which was held under the theme “Unleashing the power of broadband”, Minister of Transport and Communications, Nonofo Molefhi said the ministry has to find ways to stimulate traffic to occupy the undersea cables, West Africa Cable System (WACS) and the East Africa Sub-marine Cable System (EASSy), as they are underutilised.

    “I am concerned about the low utilisation of the undersea cable systems that the government has heavily invested in. We need to find ways to stimulate traffic to occupy these systems capacity,” he said.

    WACS was designed to support present and future Internet, e-commerce, and data, video and voice services.  It caries data and telephony services, links Europe to 15 landing stations along the west coast of Africa, including South Africa.

    Molefhi said stakeholders have to harness what technology offers for social and economic upliftment and recognise broadband as a national priority and embrace benefits. “We cannot pay the price of making the wrong choices for broadband inclusion hence government has invested on undersea cables for international connectivity during the course of the National Development Plan 10. Internet penetration is still low and utilisation of these undersea cables has not reached full potential.

    He said   the ministry has set a goal to become a regional hub for technology-facilitated services. “We dreamt to create lasting impression on the social, cultural, financial and political spheres of our people. We aspire to leverage on technology to preserve the democracy of our country by exposing them to information to help them make informed decisions”.

    The Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services in collaboration with Botswana Fiber Network has embarked a rollout of optic fibre reticulation of the local access network to improve broadband connectivity in strategic areas of Gaborone, Francistown, Maun and Kasane.

    Source: Mmegi  9 September 2014

  • -  Yahsat , the UAE-based satellite operator, has announced the manufacturing and launch partners for the Company’s recently announced third satellite, Al Yah 3, set to be launched in Q4 2016. This third satellite, within a decade of operation by Yahsat, extends the company’s commercial Ka-band coverage to an additional 17 countries and 600 million users across Africa and Brazil.

computing

  • A major challenge the ICT sector in Kenya is facing is the IT skills gap as most Kenyan youth lack opportunities to gain technology-related skills that can enable them work across industries and borders.

    This has seen the government through the Ministry of ICT partner with tech companies to bridge this gap by building high-end skills and promoting Digital Literacy.

    However, this is changing with the introduction of Centres of Excellence where global tech firms introduce programmes to aid youths gain IT-related skills and become competitive globally.

    An example Oracle's Centre of Excellence that was launched yesterday - September 10, 2014 - at @iLabAfrica, Strathmore University which is set to become the focal point of Oracle training and resources in Kenya. The centre was officially opened by the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Information Communication and Technology (ICT), Dr Fred Matiang'i.

    Matiang'i praised the collaboration between government and private sector saying it was what would help narrow the skills gap in ICTs in the country. He invited Oracle to expand the program across other universities in Kenya so as to tap into the great talent possessed by the youth in Kenya.

    "Partnership is a key to innovation. Over the past decade public-private partnerships have become a creative and sophisticated mechanism for addressing priority challenges and for leveraging skills and resources of the private sector and academia towards the provision of services. To this end, the ministry in collaboration with the private sector, research and institutes of higher learning is committed to working together to promote "Inclusive Innovation" - that is innovation that is relevant to our citizen's needs," said Matiang'i.

    The Oracle Centre of Excellence at Strathmore University is a state-of-the-art computer lab that will be used to train teachers and students at secondary and university level across the country in oracle technologies, such as Java and Oracle 11 g databases. The lab which has a capacity of more than 30 pcs is part of the Oracle Academy program and is already running the first course in Oracle database administrator.

    The Oracle team was led by the country manager for Kenya Dr Gilbert Saggia accompanied by Njeri Maina the business manager Oracle Academy Africa, Jame Richardson the manager of for Oracle Academy EMEA and other team members from Oracle.

    "There are very few jobs today that don't require some sort of ICT understanding, skill or experience," said Dr. Gilbert Saggia, Country Leader, and Oracle Kenya. "In a fast-growing economy like Kenya, investing in ICT skills is imperative for business and government alike. Oracle is proud to work alongside organisations like Strathmore University to introduce a world-class training facility to support skills development in the country."

    In attendance was also was the Director of @iLabAfrica Dr. Joseph Sevilla.

    Dr. Sevilla in his remarks pointed out that @iLabAfrica has feet on the ground to impact students with skills relevant in the industry. The Oracle Centre of Excellence would play a big role in helping out @iLabAfrica in this mandate

    Oracle Academy completed its inaugural educator training event at @iLabAfrica for educators from Strathmore University, Equity Foundation, and iHub in July. The five-day Oracle Academy Java Fundamentals course prepared teachers to cascade critical skills to nearly 2000 students in the coming year as part of ongoing relationships with Oracle Academy to develop IT skills in Kenya.

    Source: CIO east Africa 11 September 2014 

  • Shortly after referring to its CCTV system as "Big Brother" and expressing support for public video surveillance, the City of Cape Town has revealed that it is in the "planning phase" of a camera drone project.

    Last week, JP Smith, the City's Mayco Member for Safety and Security, said in a meeting with the police that the City aims to test drones within the next two months.

    In an interview with GroundUp, Smith confirmed and elaborated on the City's plans. He said that different departments within the City - Metro Police, Disaster Management, Fire and Rescue and Engineering departments - have had to spend money on hiring helicopters for aerial surveillance. The acquisition of a drone (for around R600,000) could be more cost-effective.

    Drones would be used to monitor land occupations, crime, scrap yards suspected of harbouring stolen copper, shack fires and disasters. Two companies are set to demonstrate their products to the City in the near future, Smith added.

    Drones are already widely in use in South Africa -- in commercial filming, anti-poaching operations and for recreational use. In June, a Pretoria based company, Desert Wolf, made international headlines for developing a drone (marketed as a "riot control copter") that could spray tear gas and fire rubber bullets at protesters. At the time, the company revealed that an unnamed mining company had ordered 25 such units.

    However, the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) has warned that, in the absence of legal guidelines for drone use, operators are breaking the law when flying these devices.

    In response to growing confusion around the legalities for drone use, SACAA brought out an advisory in June stressing that no Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS), as drones are formally known, complies with the requirements for operating an aircraft in South African civil airspace. This absence of regulations is to be rectified by March 2015, the deadline given for interim standards for case-by- case allowances. Smith said that he is aware of the current restrictions on drone use.

    The City already has a comprehensive CCTV system, which it uses to monitor crime, including social protests. In a press statement, "Big Brother zooms in on criminals", the City claims that the system has been successful in crime fighting and it intends to expand the network.

    Jane Duncan, University of Johannesburg professor and author of Rise of the Securocrats, says that the crime prevention benefit of extensive CCTV is debatable when weighed up against threats to citizens' privacy and democratic freedoms. The sophistication and manoeuvrability of drone technology means that it has far more potential to be invasive than CCTV cameras.

    "International precedents show that a certain threshold of risk to personal privacy is crossed when surveillance drones are acquired and deployed by the state," she said.

    "The potential for near universal surveillance without detection and for a cross-over from public to private surveillance become real concerns. It presents a new and unique threat to South Africans' constitutional right to privacy."

    Duncan said that government camera drone projects should be stalled until they can be scrutinised by the independent Information Regulator, the establishment of which is prescribed in the Protection of Personal Information Act. One of the Information Regulator's functions would be to monitor compliance to the Act's protection of South Africans' personal information. Existing CCTV systems should also be screened by the Information Regulator for contraventions of the Act, Duncan said.

    Source: GroundUp 10 September 2014

  • Flexenclosure, a designer and manufacturer of prefabricated data centre buildings and intelligent power management systems for the ICT industry, has opened a new office in Johannesburg, South Africa, to serve its growing number of customers in Africa.

Digital Content

  • At a technology event in Nairobi earlier this year Ghanaian entrepreneur Robert Lamptey wowed the audience as he narrated how his chat application Saya Mobile had gained millions of users in over 30 countries in just three years. Founded in 2011, Saya is a replacement for text messaging much like WhatsApp, but built for feature phones, and has gained users globally including countries such as India, Syria, Indonesia and Bangladesh.

    At the event Lamptey explained how the company’s servers crashed several times as the application went viral with 400,000 downloads in its first two months. Saya’s was the perfect story of a small African company scaling globally.

    Last month Saya was acquired by US-headquartered Kirusa, a leader in voice messaging and social media mobile apps in emerging markets. Kirusa’s portfolio of mobile services include the InstaVoice, Celeb Connect and Sports Connect apps, which are offered in partnership with more than 35 mobile carriers in Africa, India, Latin America and Middle East. Its services are used monthly by over 80m mobile users in four continents.

    Kirusa was co-founded in 2001 by its CEO and chairman Inderpal Singh Mumick together with his former work colleagues.

    A perfect fit

    Lamptey tells How we made it in Africa the deal was inspired by a number of factors including Saya’s talent and existing infrastructure which aligned well with Kirusa’s InstaVoice application. He adds that the vision and focus of Kirusa and its “exciting products for the African market” made the US company a good partner.

    “It was a perfect fit,” he says. “Inderpal and I have known each other for quite some time and at a point we wanted to partner up and do some things in common. The discussion went back and forth and morphed into an acquisition.”

    Mumick is a renowned serial entrepreneur and a respected figure in technology. Described as a “telecom and wireless visionary”, he studied computer science and engineering in India, completed his PhD at Stanford University and worked for US telecoms giant AT&T.

    Although financial details of Saya’s acquisition were not revealed, Kirusa took over the Ghanaian firm’s technology, intellectual property and workforce. Lamptey says Saya will merge its technology into Kirusa’s InstaVoice mobile app which allows users to communicate through voice messages.

    Voice messaging is an area of key interest for Kirusa’s CEO who believes it “opens up a new communication paradigm” and will account for 15% to 25% of all SMS messages exchanged on mobile networks over the next four years.

    “Africa remains a top priority for our business,” says Mumick. “While there has been astonishing progress of the mobile industry, the biggest impact of mobile in Africa is yet to come. We believe there are advantages to building products specifically for this region and have made the strategic decision to acquire Saya in line with that thinking.”

    One rule: be the best

    Lamptey advises other entrepreneurs seeking to attract foreign investors to build a compelling product with proven traction. “Finding a partner is an art. If you are doing something well, a lot of people want you.”

    His journey building Saya wasn’t always rosy. Although Saya acquired millions of users across the globe it faced difficulties monetising the platform.

    In an earlier interview with How we made it in Africa he explained that the company raised funding in the “hundreds of thousands of dollars” to cover its operating costs and technology development. However, at the onset Saya had “no clear way to monetise” partly due to lack of a mobile payment platform.

    Lamptey also talked about the “ugly side of being an entrepreneur” describing the realities of running a start-up such as having to pay staff out of his own pocket because of “money issues”.

    He described being CEO as “the most difficult job in the world”.

    “As the CEO you are the captain of the ship [and] you are the last person to jump out when the ship sinks. Even when you see a storm coming, you just tell your team all is well.”

    Lamptey co-founded Saya straight out of Accra-based Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST). He attributes the success of the company to his upbringing in a household where striving to be the best was encouraged.

    “I was one of the few kids in the neighbourhood who had a chemistry lab and who dismantled TVs. I was a science student. I used to win all the literature awards in school. My father always taught me to be the best in everything I did. Even if I wanted to be a footballer, there was one rule: be the best.”

    Source: How We Made in Africa  9 September 2014
     

  • Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has asked his supporters to stop using an adapted version of the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag to campaign for his re-election.

    In one sense you can understand what the president's supporters were thinking. The #BringBackOurGirls hashtag, calling for 200 school girls abducted by Boko Haram militants in April, became one of the world's biggest ever social media campaigns. So why not borrow the slogan for the president's re-election campaign?

    The hashtag #BringBackGoodluck2015 seems to have first been used on Twitter by a group campaigning on behalf of the president. On 30th August, they tweeted: "There is no vacancy in Aso rock [the president's residence] we want Goodluck Jonathan again #NigeriansDemand #BringBackJonathan2015."

    It was never an officially endorsed slogan, despite appearing on signs and banners around the capital city of Abuja, but now the president has reacted to try and quash it. A press release issued by the president's office this morning says the campaign is "offensive and repugnant", and that signs and banners carrying the slogan should be removed immediately.

    The slogan was widely criticised because it seemed to dramatically misread the public mood in the country. The abducted school girls are still held captive, despite repeated promises by the government - and President Jonathan himself - to secure their release. So far, the government has not taken military steps to rescue the girls, arguing that if force is used, they may end up being killed by the militants.

    A major backlash against the hashtag soon emerged, as people took to Twitter to label it as insensitive. It has appeared more than 2,800 times in the last 24 hours, and the vast majority been used to criticise the slogan.

    "That hashtag is not only inappropriate but it is insultingly silly. And it is bereft of any political tact," said one. Another said the slogan's inventor "has the combined IQ of 500 frogs. Why not coin another hashtag?". "I didn't realize Boko Haram had kidnapped the President!" said a third.

    Japheth Omojuwa, a columnist at Nigerian newspaper Punch, told BBC Trending that he felt the decision to use the slogan was "absurd".

    "They are using variation of our hashtag #BringBackOurGirls to campaign for the president," he said. "These are people that failed to secure the release of these girls over 150 days since their kidnap."

    Terrorist attacks carried out by Boko Haram are still rife in the country. Research by Amnesty International suggests at least 2,000 people have been killed as a result of the conflict this year.

    Source: #BBC Trending Reporting by Nasidi Yahaya and Sam Judah 10 September 2014 

  • Facebook now has 100 million users across Africa, the company announced on Monday.

    This figure is half of all the Internet users in Africa, which sits at 200 million people. More than 80% of Facebook users are accessing the site from a mobile phone, showing high-growth countries are more connected than ever before.

    Facebook engineers started tweaking the company's Android app earlier this year after a trip to Africa revealed that the app was loading very slow, and the lack of memory on the devices resulted in constant crashes. The team members also burned their monthly data plans in 40 minutes. The team reduced the app's download size by 65%, and decreased start times by more than 50% in the six months following the trip.

    It looks like their work paid off. The huge numbers of people accessing the Internet on mobile devices in high-growth areas comes as many use their mobile phones not just to communicate, but as a lifeline for banking, employment and other necessary services. Keeping this in mind, Facebook and advertising agencies are customizing features and campaigns based on local insights, data speeds and available devices.

    Rob Norman, chief digital officer of media buying firm Global Group M, said in a blog post on Monday that services, such as Facebook, need to deliver maximum use for the smallest amount of data.

    "In Africa, we are seeing explosive growth and incredible momentum across the region. At the same time, when you look at the staggering cost of connectivity in many countries, mobile services need to deliver maximum utility on the biggest range of devices and consume the smallest amount of data, which is exactly what Facebook provides," he wrote.

    In June this year, Facebook was behind a major initiative to bring Internet to Zambia in Southern Africa. Internet.org gave locals access to basic apps such as health and employment services, Wikipedia, Facebook, Google Search, a women's rights and a weather app.

    “Everything Facebook has done has been about giving all people around the world the power to connect,” Zuckerberg said in a statement at the time of the launch of internet.org in 2013. “There are huge barriers in developing countries to connecting and joining the knowledge economy. Internet.org brings together a global partnership that will work to overcome these challenges, including making internet access available to those who cannot currently afford it.”

    These newly announced figures seem to prove Zuckerberg's global access mission is getting closer to success.

    Source: Mashable  9 September 2014

  • Samsung has launched a blogger challenge that will go a long way into ensuring locally relevant content by supporting upcoming and accomplished bloggers given that Kenya’s digital community growth leads to an increase in generation of online content through blogs

    Since August the global electronics manufacturer has been running the Samsung Blogger Challenge and plans to do so until December 2014, with each month having a unique challenge for a particular product category.

    Speaking during the Food Blogger Challenge Robert Ngeru, Samsung’s Vice President and COO for East and Central Africa, said the initiative was Samsung’s appreciation of the work by the blogging community as more corporates begin to engage them in the co-creation of content that will appeal to Kenyans.

    “Bloggers who participate in the monthly challenge and complete all the weekly missions will stand a chance to be the Blogger of the Month and will win two Samsung Electronics Products, one for their stellar efforts and another for their online community. The ultimate blogger shall be selected from the Bloggers of the Month,” he added.

    Chandni Solanki emerged the winner of the Food Blogger Challenge, the first in the series of five challenges. The challenge tested the participant’s skills in preparation of meals exclusively using a microwave oven. The four participants included Naomi Mutua(akenyangirl.com), Wendy Wahito (wendywahito.com), Chandni Solanki (pikachakula.com) and Jessica Irauka (leotunapika.com).

    Each week, the bloggers were given a themed mission to come up with two recipes. For instance, the Tasty Sunrise Mission required the bloggers to creatively prepare breakfast recipes. Other missions included Return of the Lunch Box, Devilish Delights and Honey, What’s for Dinner.

    From the recipes prepared by the contestants, Samsung will compile an online 15-recipe microwave cookbook. “This will be a first in the country since most of the microwave cookbooks available to consumers are published in the West,” Mr. Ngeru said.

    The Samsung Microwave has a low energy efficient use capability combined with large capacity to meet the consumer’s needs. It has a ceramic enamel interior that is easy to clean and keeps the level of sanitary cooking that consumers want and deserve.

    “In the preparation of quick meals, microwave ovens are quite energy efficient as compared to conventional ovens,” added Mr. Ngeru.

    With a rising number of Kenyans acquiring smartphones and tablets, there is an increasing demand for local online content. According to the latest quarterly report by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CAK), mobile data contributed 99 per cent of the 13.3 million data subscriptions in the country.

    Source: Humanipo  11 September 2014 

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

  • Independent telecoms tower company, Eaton Towers, will be acquiring more than 3500 towers from Airtel in six countries across Africa.

    For Eaton Towers, the acquisition is reportedly a major step towards the scale needed to provide shared telecoms infrastructure solutions, with its customers benefiting from lower operating costs, expanded network coverage and capacity and improved quality of service.

    Alan Harper, CEO of Eaton Towers, said: "This is a transformational deal which gives Eaton Towers the most diversified tower portfolio across Africa. We are proud to be chosen by Airtel as its key partner in these six countries."

    Eaton Towers currently owns and operates towers in Ghana, Uganda and South Africa; this expands coverage in Africa to seven countries with over 5000 towers.

    The agreements will allow Airtel to focus on its core business and customers, enable it to deleverage through debt reduction, and will significantly reduce its on-going capital expenditure on passive infrastructure.

    The agreements are subject to statutory and regulatory approvals in the respective countries.

    Source: BizCommunity  11 September 2014 

  • South Africa’s third mobile operator, Cell C, will oppose the proposed mobile network sharing deal between Telkom and MTN.

    “Cell C has been asked to comment on the proposed transaction by the Competition Commission,” says CEO Jose Dos Santos in a statement e-mailed to TechCentral.

    “On the face of it, and as Cell C understands the proposed transaction, we do not agree with it.”

    Dos Santos says his company has not been provided with much detail by the Competition Commission, but once this is furnished, he will be in a better position to comment.

    It is understood reliably that Vodacom has decided not to oppose the proposed Telkom and MTN deal at the Competition Commission, though a spokesman declines to comment on the matter.

    A report on Bloomberg, a wires news agency, quoted MTN and Telkom as both saying that the commission’s actions are part of normal practice.

    In March, Telkom confirmed that it was in talks with MTN about a deal that would result in the latter managing the former’s radio access network. It’s also expected that each company will be able to roam on the other’s network.

    Until now, the two operators have had an agreement in terms of which Telkom paid MTN to roam on the latter’s 2G and 3G voice and data networks.

    “The conclusion of an agreement will allow us to expand our mobile coverage and reduce our operating costs and capital expenditure significantly,” Telkom CEO Sipho Maseko said earlier this year.

    Telkom has said it needs to reduce the costs associated with building South Africa’s fourth mobile network operator significantly to offset losses.

    Maseko told TechCentral in June, after the company’s annual results presentation, that consolidation or collaboration in the sector was necessary.

    In terms of the proposed deal, MTN will not get access to Telkom’s valuable chunk of 4G/LTE radio frequency spectrum in the 2,3GHz band. The negotiations between the two companies specifically excludes this LTE band.

    Telkom has access to 60MHz of prime spectrum at 2,3GHz, which can be used to deploy next-generation mobile broadband infrastructure.

    Source: TechCentral 10 September 2014

More

  • The 7th edition of DCD Converged Johannesburg 
    Monday, 13th October 2014
    Join us for this engaging learning opportunity and the chance to network with over 250 data center professionals.
    - IT & Networking
    - Design & Construction
    - Power & Cooling
    - Cloud & Outsourcing
    Hear the very latest thinking on these key topics as well as in-depth analysis of the new trends and technologies impacting the region through practical case studies, interactive debates and thought-leading keynote presentations from those at the forefront of the industry.
    Please click here  for full details

    CFP “IT Sourcing and Development” international workshop
    20-21 October 2014
    The University of Manchester’s Centre for Development Informatics
    The workshop seeks to reflect on the changing context for IT sourcing and socio-economic development: analysing the new forces driving and shaping IT sourcing; characterising the new models of IT sourcing these forces have created; and reassessing the impacts of IT sourcing in light of the new criteria based on inclusive and sustainable development models and on corporate social responsibility.
    Prospective presenters are asked to submit an abstract of 200-400 words outlining their proposed paper to sourcing4dev@manchester.ac.uk by 11 July 2014.
    Full details here:

    TMT World Congress
    18 November 2014
    London

    TMT World Congress 2014 & Awards will gather the leading industry, finance and advisory executives in London on November 18 to assess the most exceptional investment strategies globally. For more information on the inaugural World Congress 2014 & Awards, visit here:

  • Green Pioneer Accelerator Program launches in Kenya, South Africa

    A new startup accelerator program was today launched in Nairobi, Kenya, and will target green entrepreneurs with ambitious ideas in Africa.

    Dubbed the Green Pioneer Accelerator Program, the venture is primarily developed for early-stage companies with desires to scale, focusing specifically on green or earth-friendly initiatives and products.

    Impact Amplifier, Nairobi-based accelerator Growth Africa, VC4Africa and Hivos have joined forces to “offer a comprehensive program that will take businesses from ‘market proof’ to ‘ready for investment’.”

    The program will aim to nurture startups by “getting their financials and pitch deck in shape, and preparing them for fundraising conversations with investors,” and involves a “a rigorous curriculum with practical experience shared by successful entrepreneurs, mentors and investors.”

    Johnni Kjelsgaard, Founder and director of Growth Africa, comments on the effectiveness and the holistic approach to the curriculum adopts:

        The curriculum we have put together looks at a company in a holistic way, and we take a non linear approach to the entrepreneurial process. What does this mean? We recognize that each company is unique in its formation. Our program looks at the strengths and weaknesses of each participant and then adapts the program to fit their needs.

    Those looking to enroll should “either have a working prototype with clear market demand and/or already be generating revenue”, notes the presser.

    Applications close on 1 December, while the selection process will take place two weeks later on the 15th. To apply, follow the links for either Kenyan  or South African .

    Source: Venturburn 9 September 2014 

    Reach for Change and Tigo

    We are proud to have Tigo (Millicom) as the Regional Senior Partner for Reach for Change in Africa. Together with Tigo, we identify and support social entrepreneurs with innovative ideas to transform the lives of children in the region.

    As the Regional partner, Tigo contributes not only funding, but also helps implement the program and supports the social entrepreneurs with technology and expertise. Do you have an innovative idea that could be developed into a sustainable venture to better the lives of children?

    Read more and apply for support from Reach for Change and Tigo here. 

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