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Issue no 731 31st October 2014

top story

  • Africa’s voice subscriber data may not always be reliable but it exists. The equivalent Internet data is extremely hard to find. Lack of data is equivalent of trying to cross a busy expressway in the complete dark. Russell Southwood looks at what’s available and argues that in a data future involving more than the mobile operators, there’s a crying need for regular data.

    Fifteen years ago, the number of Africans connected to the Internet varied between hundreds in the smaller countries to thousands in the larger. Now the more developed markets in Africa have between 15-20% of the market using Internet.

    Back in the day, the only real way to get Internet data was to go round and talk individually to each ISP. Then you added up the numbers and took off what seemed like a reasonable amount for ISP exaggeration: an advanced form of guesswork.

    But this kind of market data should be available on the same regular basis as voice subscription data. Unfortunately only 10 regulators in Africa provide this kind of regular data and only 8 are reasonably well updated. The results are below:

    Country                Mobile (3G & below)        All Other

    Nigeria                    65.8 m                            N/A

    Kenya                     13.9 m                            99,342

    Ghana                    13.42 m                          N/A

    Morocco                  6.86 m                           9.21 m

    Senegal                  5.93 m                           398,706

    Zimbabwe                5.3 m                           124,277

    Tunisia                    4.22 m                          552,000

    Uganda                   4.1 m                            106,000

    Mauritania              346,373                         7,411

    South Africa                N/A                           N/A

    South Africa’s ICASA has a grandly titled ICT Indicators Portal but it only has data from 2011 and 2012 and the data is incomplete, as if somebody was testing how the data might look if entered. Zambia’s ZICTA has a similar portal but it can only be access using a user name and password, which is presumably for operators to supply data. The Tanzanian regulator TCRA published a one-off study on Internet in the country but it is now several years out of date.

    If 9 African regulators can publish this kind of data on a quarterly basis, what is preventing the rest of them from doing the same? Operators can be asked and in the final instance compelled to provide the data. If you want a market to develop (as we saw with voice), there are no issues of commercial confidentiality on this kind of data. It should be provided and published as a matter of course.

    Some of the regulators above have only provided mobile Internet data as if anything else did not matter. In our view, this is a big mistake as faster and more reliable forms of Internet may be available by other means.

    The figures above demonstrate that in many of the countries covered a significant proportion of the population has access to the Internet. Yet people still talk as if Internet access in Africa was the privilege of a very few. There are all sorts questions that can be asked about the data but it is clear Internet access is significantly more widespread since 3G data prices began to come down.

    The Internet and data markets in Africa do not just involve the interests of the mobile operators. Last week we wrote about Jumia (see video clip interview with Jeremy Doutte, CEO below) and Konga in Nigeria who between them have 2 million customers. Their businesses rely upon accurate information about who is connected to the Internet and in what way. (As an aside, you will be interested to know, for example, that there are 128 LTE subscribers in Zimbabwe).

    In addition to the data about how many people are connected to the Internet, it would be useful for regulators to publish Smartphone vs Featurephone penetration and more generally what other devices – like tablets – are connected to the Internet. Also if price has been one of the most significant drivers of Internet adoption, more regulators should publish price comparisons. Africa’s data market is at the very beginning of the journey and reliable data will be crucial to all those who make the journey.
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    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 Z26: Africa’s coming digital content generation – Market research from 3.5 countries looks at music, TV and film use

    Digital Content Africa Z24: The South African TV announcer who runs a fashion blog from Moscow which she is going to turn into a business

    Digital Content Africa Z19 – The Mobile Deal that is keeping Africans from having more music, film and TV on their mobiles

    Videos interviews to watch:
    Jeremy Doutte on Jumia Nigeria as the largest retailer in Nigeria and its top selling items

    Adedoyin Ogundoyin on WAGE 14, West Africa's first computer gaming exhibition and conference

    Eric Nienaber on social messaging app Chatly for those who value their privacy

    Bas Hoefman, Text To Change on using SMS for Tanzania's largest m-health programme

    Nicola D'Elia on Facebook as an "on-ramp" for Africa's first-time Internet users

    Raul Martinez, Millicom on digital content in Africa and how it's backing start-ups

    Mark Bennett, iSchool on using low cost tablets to change learning methods in Zambia

    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

    For breaking news, follow us on Twitter: @BalancingActAfr

Money Transfer

  • Government of Rwanda has joined the Better Than Cash Alliance, an initiative that works with governments, the development community, and the private sector to adopt the use of electronic payments in a move to accelerate its plans to transform Rwanda into a cashless economy and achieve 80 percent financial inclusion by 2017.

    The Alliance provides support to those who commit to make the transition an informal, cash-only economy to access financial services like bank accounts, save for the future, build assets, or get credit.

    “We understand the crucial role ICT plays in all sectors of the economy, including finance. This is why we have endeavored to promote a cashless economy by digitizing financial transactions,” Claver Gatete, the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning said. “Today the Government conducts its business electronically, including paying salaries. We have put in place policies that encourage payment digitization and continue to support the private sector, especially financial institutions to embrace the use of ICT to champion financial inclusion. We believe that partnering with the Better Than Cash Alliance will further our ambition to transform Rwanda into a cashless economy and ensure that every Rwandan is financially included.”

    The shift to electronic payments is expected to advance financial inclusion and help people save and introduce more cost-effective, efficient, transparent, and safer means of disbursing and collecting payments for govts, private sector and NGOs.

    Currently, all government employees in Rwanda are paid electronically. The new announcement advances the commitment to transition all forms of government payments to electronic forms. The further digitization of Rwanda’s economy is expected to contribute to achieving the government’s financial inclusion goals. Additionally, Rwanda aims to expand the use of banking and retail transactions electronically, including in fuel stations, by merchants and customers across the country.

    “We welcome Rwanda as the newest member of the Better Than Cash Alliance and commend the government’s leadership and commitment to continue transitioning away from cash,” said Dr. Ruth Goodwin-Groen, Managing Director of the Better Than Cash Alliance. “We recognize that while the opportunities of digital payments abound, getting there takes work and we stand ready to support our members. Digitizing payments is achievable when a government articulates a clear vision, leads by example, and provides the right incentives for the private sector to do what they do best: innovate, develop infrastructure, and create products designed to succeed in the marketplace.”

    Better Than Cash Alliance is hosted by the United Nations Capital Development Fund and is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Citi, Ford Foundation, MasterCard, Omidyar Network, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and Visa Inc.

    Source: Techmoran  29 October 2014

  • Azimo, the online money transfer service, last week announced that customers across Europe can now send money instantly to the mobile “eWallets” of M-PESA’s 19 million subscribers in Kenya.

    Kenya boasts one of the highest global rates of mobile banking, with around 60% of all Kenyans sending or receiving money via their smartphone. Between January and February 2013 almost 100 million mobile banking transactions were recorded totalling $3.3 billion.

    According to the Central Bank, Kenyans living abroad sent US$1.38 billion back home in 2013. Azimo’s new service means these tens of thousands of hard-working Kenyan migrants can now send money home to support their loved ones at a lower cost than ever before.

    Azimo provides a fast, safe, easy and low-cost way to transfer money across borders, offering rates up to 85 per cent cheaper than high street banks and traditional money transfer providers.

    The service is available across the UK and Eurozone, including Italy, Ireland and Germany.Funds are delivered instantly, enabling M-PESA customers to withdraw money from any M-PESA agent outlet or participating ATM network in Kenya.

    Registering to use Azimo is free and takes just a few seconds from a PC or phone using your email address or Facebook profile. All you need is your recipients name exactly as it appears on their M-PESA account, their mobile number and, of course, the amount of money you want to send.

    Michael Kent, CEO of Azimo believes it is important to offer hard working migrant a convenient and good value service:"We are delighted to be working with M-PESA to expand our global money transfer network. Africa has long been at the forefront of mobile money and our new service will allow us to help our customers holdon to more oftheir hard-earned cash," said Kent.

    In addition to Azimo’s normal low-cost services, customers will get their first transfer FREE by using promotional code AZIMOMPESA.

    Source: Mobile Money Africa 31 October 2014

  • Sterling Bank Plc has unveiled new mobile banking solution known as "One Bank", to facilitate new account openings, increase mobile money acceptance, use and adoption and deepen brand awareness and customer relationship.

    The solution is also powered by a low-end customized mobile phone to be offered by the financial institution on request of the customer, while costs of the service projected to be less than N3000 will be spread over a period to enable easy acquisition.

    Meanwhile, it also launched an electronic solution on a Tablet, which contained education materials- textbooks, for students of senior secondary schools in the country.

    According to the bank, it was deliberate effort of the lender, which has cost it fortunes, to contribute in alleviating high costs of acquiring textbooks and the rising cases of failures of the students at the West Africa Examinations Council.
     
    The bank's Executive Director, Finance and Strategy, Abubakar Suleiman, said the new product, which is the first of its kind in Nigerian Banking, is designed to improve mobile money use and adoption and smoothen customer relationship, while the education Tablets known as Personal Education Tablets for Secondary Schools (PETSS) come with full teaching aids and practical video demonstrations.

    He pointed out that the One Bank application is an improvement in security of financial transactions, as it has two-level security authentication, which will be difficult for anybody to enter into if the phone is stolen or lost since the code generated by the bank for the purpose is known the owner.

    "The application is expected to come with special security features in addition to the general existing security for banking applications. This will make it difficult for the phone to be used by any other person apart from the account holder," he said.

    Suleiman reiterated that payment for the branded phones meant to drive the application, which will cost around N3,000 will be spread over a period of time to allow all varying socio-economic groups to benefit from it.

    Source: The Guardian

Telecoms, Rates, Offers and Coverage

  • MTN South Africa has launched a new international calling promotion that will enable customers to call selected destinations from ZAR 0.79 per minute, MyBroadband reported. MTN will also introduce new international calling bundle and subscription offers which will further discount the in-bundle rates to down to ZAR 0.49 per minute to selected destinations for the promotional period. The International Calling Promotions will run until 31 January and are designed to give travellers during the peak tourism season a cost-effective way of staying in touch with friends and family, valid for 48 international calling destinations. The International Calling bundle includes ZAR 30 of inclusive value and is valid for one month from the time it is activated. Meanwhile, the subscription offer will give customers access to discounted international calling rates for an entire month at a rate of ZAR 5 per month. The new promotion, bundle, and subscription offers are available to all MTN PayAsYouGo, Top Up, MyMTNChoice, and contract customers. Countries include the US, the UK, Germany India, Botswana, Zambia and Nigeria.

telecoms

  • Mobile operator Etisalat’s African subscribers reached 71.1 million for the period ended 30 September 2014, the company announced on Wednesday. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) based telco has operations in 19 countries across the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

    According to Etisalat’s consolidated interim financial results the rise in African subscribers represents a 156% increase year-on-year.

    In the statement the telco notes that the increase of its African subscribers was mainly driven by the consolidation of Maroc Telecom and strong performance by Etisalat Nigeria.

    Earlier this year the UAE firm acquired a 53% stake in Maroc Telecom, which has operations in Burkina Faso, Gabon, Mali and Mauritania.

    In the financial report Etisalat indicated that Maroc Telecom’s subscriber base exceeded 39 million customers at the end of 30 September 2014. This represents a 10% year-over-year growth, the statement reads. In Nigeria Etisalat is the fourth largest mobile operator with more than 18 million subscribers.

    Ahmad Abdulkarim Julfar, CEO of Etisalat Group commented on the telcos’ performance, “We are increasing our foothold and profitability in the international markets.

    “We are confident that the projected growth coming from our international operations will continue to grow on track to contribute at least 50% of our overall revenues in the coming years,” he said.

    Julfar added, "Africa remains an important strategic region for our business, we see incredible opportunity for growth as markets continue to develop and flourish.”

    For the period Etisalat said overall subscribers across all operations reached 180 million, which represents a net addition of 36 million subscribers over the last 12 months.

    Source: ITWeb Africa 30 October 2014

  • Some subscribers of Telekom Networks Malawi (TNM) were last week let down by the service provider as they had airtime wiped from their lines without use.
    Airtime use comes in calling, sending messages as well using the Internet.

    However, it had gone viral of the social network platform Facebook of unceasing complaints of credit being wiped without use.

    One Facebook comment on our link threads on Thursday complained of having about MK167 credit wiped unceremoniously on a mobile phone which was off

    The comment also complained that TNM customer care line was not going through.

    Some of the threads having similar complaints as seen by Malawi24 are [ https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=815616258458389&id=100000300666913&refid=17&_ft_]

    Recently TNM refunded Blackberry users who had subscribed but had no Internet access on their smart phones.

    Effort to contact the service provider provided futile as after several attempts did not work as Limbani Nsapato, TNM's Public Relations Manager was on a poor line against the reporter's deadline demands.

    As we went to press, TNM was yet to respond to the complaints as reports made available to Malawi24, the Customer service line was not answered fro people with the complaints.

    However the question remains on whether TNM will refund all the people who had their airtime 'missing' from their gadgets.

    Source: Malawi 24 31 October 2014

  • Liquid Telecom has done a lot to extend its fibre network across Africa. The company has recently won the Infrastructure Innovation of the Year award at the Fibre to the Home (FTTH) Council 2014, another feather to add to their cap.

    This comes at the background where the company has successfully launched FTTH in Zimbabwe and is on course to complete the same in Rwanda, Kenya and Zambia.

    Liquid Telecom’s CEO, Nic Rudnick, said “It’s wonderful that our work in building Africa’s digital future has been recognised by our peers in the FTTH industry.  We have been laying fibre in Africa for more than six years now and we will not stop until everyone has access to fast broadband to help them and their company reach their personal and economic potential.”

    The company won the award after measuring up to the judges’ qualities which include a network deployed and that has a great impact for end users.

    Liquid Telecom’s FTTH networks were described as a turn-key deployment in both construction coordination and complete installation and the award recognised that the service has considerably improved connectivity in these areas.

    Liquid’s FTTH networks connect to what is now Africa’s largest single fibre backbone which runs from the north of Uganda to Cape Town. The network as a whole currently spans over 18,000km across borders, covering Africa’s fastest-growing economies.

    Source: Techmoran 31 October 2014

  • Safaricom, Kenya’s largest mobile telecommunications company plans to invest Sh30 billion ($335 million) in upgrading its infrastructure to improve its voice and data offering.

    “Over the last year we have seen a lot of growth in data and voice traffic, which necessitates us to better our infrastructure, Business Daily quoted Safaricom’s CEO, Bob Collymore, as saying in an interview.

    Collymore stressed the need for the telecoms giant to continue revitalizing its network to ensure it meets the growing demands of subscribers.

    Safaricom currently has 3,140 2G and 1,847 3G base stations, but it is the 2G network that covers 90 percent of the population while the 3G network stands at 58 percent. The company therefore intends to spend the money over the next six months on the expansion and upgrade of its transmission stations around Kenya. The 2G base stations will be converted to 3G, it was gathered.

    According to Collymore, with focus on improving capacity in congested urban areas, the remaining nine percent of the country where Safaricom does not have coverage will also be fitted with 2G network.

    The 3G networks in urban areas where data consumption is highest will be improved, forming the base on which an upgrade to 4G network can be done.

    The fresh capital is expected to help Safaricom meet quality of service standards set by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) and reviewed annually.

    Source: Ventures Africa 28 October 2014

  • Madagascar is finally to see the implementation of Law No. 2005-023 of October 2005, as reported by the Midi Madagasikara news site. Head of the Ministry of Posts, Telecoms and New Technolgies (MPTNT), Neypatraiky Rakotomamonjy, has explained the new enforcement will introduce three major changes. There will be complete liberalisation of the Madagascan telecoms market, with operators now having to pay EUR5 million (USD6.35 million) to renew their licence compared to the previous EUR615,400; and new entrants to the market will be expected to pay a minimum of EUR40 million in licence acquisition costs.

    Rules will become stricter but according to Rakotomamonjy: ‘Operators can now even offer 4G, thanks to the initiative of the State to promote new technology’. The decree will also require sharing of infrastructure – namely base transceiver stations (BTS) – in order to reduce costs and impact on the environment. The Office Malgache des Etudes et de Regulations (OMERT) will be replaced by the soon-to-be-implemented Agency for Regulation of Technology and Telecommunication (ARTEC).

    Source: Telegeography 29 October 2014

  • Vietnamese government-owned telco, Viettel, intends to invest USD1 billion in a new 3G network in Tanzania, according to Reuters. The operator’s chairman, Manh Nguyen, is said to have made the pledge when visited by Tanzania’s president, Jakaya Kikwete, on Monday, with Kikwete cited as saying Viettel will invest the USD1 billion in ‘telecoms and other services.’ The news follows the announcement earlier this month that Tanzania granted Viettel a licence to build and operate a 3G network in the country. The telco is to offer internet services to schools, hospitals and offices as well as providing low-cost smartphones, and is expected to begin network construction next month, aiming to launch its 3G services commercially in July 2015.

internet

  • Governments must enhance their National Broadband planning process to enable ICTs and broadband to catalyse socio-economic development, according to an Open Letter from the Broadband Commission for Digital Development to delegates attending the ITU’s 2014 Plenipotentiary Conference.

    Personally delivered by H.E. President Kagame, co-Chair of the Broadband Commission, on the 28th October, the Commission notes the strong links between broadband and development and urges “Member States to continue to push for inclusion of ICTs and broadband as key enabling transformative technologies in the post-2015 development agenda.”

    Although there is evidence that Broadband Plans can help to adapt systems and ensure that both industrialized and developing economies can fully benefit from the digital revolution, there are currently 43 countries without any form of National Broadband plan in place.

    For full text and more see here:

  • Tanzania joins Zambia in being among the world's first countries to have access to Facebook's Internet.org mobile application.

    In July, Zambians received access to the app which gives users free health, employment and local information data services.

    Mobile network Airtel enabled the app in Zambia while telecoms firm Tigo is switching on the Internet.org service in Tanzania.

    In a statement, Tigo Tanzania says the Internet.org app will be available on October 29.

    Free data services on offer via the app include; for example, AccuWeather, BBC News & BBC Swahili, OLX, SuperSport and Wikipedia.

    "Through our partnership with Facebook we aim to increase digital inclusion by encouraging even more Tanzanians to go online," said David Zacharia, Tigo's head of data and devices, in a statement.

    According to the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority, the East African country had 9.3 million internet users by June 2014 - equivalent to about an 18% penetration in relation to the nation's 49.25 million population.

    Tigo, through its owner Millicom, has also worked with Facebook in Tanzania to offer free access to the social network.

    The announcement regarding the Internet.org mobile app access in Tanzania comes after Facebook this week reported that its global user base has stretched to 1.35 billion people.

    Source: ITWeb Africa 29 Ocotber 2014

  • Bujumbura, Burundi, October 28th, 2014: The Government of Burundi in conjunction with Huawei and Onatel officially commission the Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) project installations for Bujumbura.

    The Bujumbura MAN project is as a result of a grant from the Government of the People’s Republic of China to the people of Burundi. The project shall be installed by Huawei Technologies Company Limited and is to run through the Bujumbura city.

    The aim of the MAN project is to implement basic infrastructure for interconnecting government institutions expecting to carry out various applications to be deployed in the future.

    This project shall implement an optical fiber network and other infrastructure; to provide broadband connectivity to Burundi ministries and government institutions such as presidencies, parliament, senate, court, hospitals to mention but a few. This ICT infrastructure shall lead to radial changes such as reducing administrative possess, increase productivity, reduce operations costs, attracting more investors and improve service delivery to citizens and business communities.

    These radial changes shall be in key areas such as; government communication systems, national data center, national ID management, public finance management system and human resource management.
    The Metropolitan Area Network infrastructure shall also be an important platform for communication needs especially in providing e-governance interaction platforms; Government to Government, Government to Business and Government to Citizens.

    ‘Huawei looks forward to grow with the Government of Burundi and its people; it’s the reason we have all gathered here to kick start a new technological revolution that will hasten Social-economic development in this country’, says Mr. Radoslaw Kedzia, the CEO of Huawei Technologies Uganda, Burundi.
    He also pledged Huawei’s Continuous support to the Government of Burundi and the Burundians as it aims at creating more value for them and to bridge the digital Divide.

    Source: Press Release

  • Barely seven months it launched in Lagos, Smile Communications Nigeria Limited has taken bold step towards enhancing education in Nigeria through information communication technology (ICT) by connecting 50 public schools, 25 each in Lagos State and Ibadan (Oyo State) to the internet.

    With 4G LTE, Smile said that it delivers affordable, high-quality and easy-to-use broadband internet access and communications services to its customers.

    While presenting to the media Mrs. Alero Ladipo as the new chief marketing officer, the Company also said that it gives free 30gigbyte of internet bundles to each of the public schools; will replicate same gesture in Port Harcourt and increase the subscription as the needs arise.

    According to Mr. Kenneth Esenwah, general manager, Sales and Distribution at Smile, the corporate social responsibility was driven by Irene Charnley, Smile group CEO urge to give back to the society in a measure that will address challenges associated with e-learning.

    He hinted that the process reflects the key agenda of Dr. (Mrs) Omobola Johnson’s led Ministry of Communication to connect schools, government institutions, businesses, homes and individuals tagged, “connected Nigeria”.

    “We are out to pursue the course for e-learning in Nigeria and internet penetration. We have other plans in the offing which we will inform the public at the due date. For now, we shall continue to partner with the States to ensure the schools already connected are not starved of internet subscription. Our CEO has demonstrated her passion for this project too,” he said.

    The Company has already launched services in Lagos, Ibadan, Abuja and Port Harcourt and hopes to establish its presence in 13 cities before the end of 2014, while targeting 60 cities in 2015.

    On the processes of selecting the benefiting schools, Mr. Gbolahan Thomas, senior manager, legal and regulatory at the Company, said they approached the State Governments for schools already equipped with basic infrastructure like laboratories.

    Similarly, Mrs. Alero Ladipo, new chief marketing officer at Smile Communications Nigeria Limited, expressed delight for being part of the teams that possesses enough spectrums to turn around customer experience as regards internet usage in the country.

    According to her, she was attracted to the sourced for the best technology available in order to create the innovative solutions required to provide world-class, yet cost-effective, communications services across Africa, after it was found in 2007.

    She said, “I am delighted that Smile’s vision is encapsulated by its value statement: ‘Everything is possible when done with Humanity, Humility, Integrity and Inspiration’”.

    Ladipo added that the statement puts in a nutshell the Company’s approach to every aspect of the services, “every service and product we offer and how we deal with our customers, partners and our staff”.

    The new CMO also hinted that “Smile On” conversation continues, although the Company will review the process to accommodate more SMEs.

    Ladipo promises to bring her experiences to bear in driving Smile’s marketing and communication strategies and ensure that customer experience rates high.

    She pleaded with Smile’s customers not to hastate in contacting customer care officer via 08004444444 for prompt response to their complaints.

    Before her appointment, Ladipo had worked as head, marketing and communications strategy at Union Bank of Nigeria Plc; Marketing & Communications Manager at Stanbic IBTC Bank; Group Communications Manager at The Standard Bank; Marketing Associate at Vic Lawrence & Associates; Research Asst at Nigerian Institute on International Affairs and Research Asst at WIPO.

    She holds Bachelor of Laws (LLB), Law, University of Northumbira, Newcastle; Master of Laws (LLM) International Trade; University of Essex, Colchester and Bachelor of Law from the Nigerian Law School.

    As technology improved, Smile evolved to focus on mobile broadband internet using 4G LTE technology, and it was with great pride that we launched Africa’s first 4G LTE broadband internet service in Tanzania, in March 2012.

    Smile’s Tanzanian customers experience 4G LTE broadband internet service in Dar es Salaam and Arusha, with Dodoma and Mwanza receiving coverage in early 2014.

    Nigerians living in Ibadan and Lagos already enjoy the country’s fastest and most reliable 4G LTE broadband internet service, brought to them by Smile.

    Source: Nigeria Communications Week  30 October 2014

  • Nigeria has received an award from the International Telecommunications Union ITU and UN Women for initiating policies and programs empowering women and girls via ICT.

    According to the organisers of the award the aim is to recognize and honour outstanding performers and role models in gender equality and mainstreaming in the area of ICTs.

    Secretary General of the ITU, Dr Hamadoun Toure commended Nigeria and the Minister of Communication Technology for initiating positive policies and programmes that are changing the lives of women and girls through ICT.

    Receiving the award, Omobola Johnson, Nigeria’s Minister of Communication Technology described the award as an important recognition and validation of the efforts of the Nigerian government on gender inclusion and empowerment facilitated by information and communication technologies.

    “We are committed to getting more women and girls into ICTs . We want to ensure that Nigerian women and girls are encouraged and empowered to embrace ICTs. It is critical to get our girls to adopt ICTs so that they are not left behind in the digital revolution changing communities and nations across the globe,” she said.

    Source: Humanipo 29 October 2014

  • Kampala. What was initially an in-house war in State House’s Presidential Press Unit (PPU) has become public, sucking in the President, who finds himself at the centre of a conflict over his Facebook account and Twitter handle.
    The explosion of the intrigue pits Ms Sarah Kagingo, the special presidential assistant for communication, against Ms Linda Nabusayi, the deputy presidential press secretary. Ms Kagingo has been running Mr Museveni’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.

    However, presidential press secretary Tamale Mirundi said yesterday: “Recently, changes were made at State House and everybody was informed of the changes.”
    The responsibility of updating the President’s social media platforms, he added, “is no longer under Sarah Kagingo. Linda Nabusayi took over.”
    But Ms Kagingo insists she still runs the show. “Well, I await official communication, a termination letter,” she said.

    When contacted, State House comptroller Lucy Nakyobe declined to answer all questions put to her by this reporter, consistently replying, “I have no comment.” In an interview with The Observer newspaper last week, Ms Nakyobe said: “Kagingo was overwhelmed and she needed someone (Nabusayi) to help her.”
    The standoff hit its climax on Monday when Ms Kagingo announced on her private Facebook page that the President’s Twitter and Facebook accounts had been hacked by saboteurs and all tweets and updates were invalid.
    Minutes later a tweet from @YoweriMuseveni read: “I am still in charge of my Facebook and Twitter accounts. Forgive@SarahKagingo.”

    A parallel Twitter account @YoweriKMuseveni has since been opened with Ms Kagingo claiming she has been locked out and denied access as the administrator of the original account @YoweriMuseveni which boasts of more than 68,000 followers.

    The last two weeks have seen public anger increase on the new Twitter account, with followers openly decrying the standard of English in particular, and the presidential language in general.

    Ms Kagingo said: “I sought to immortalise the President’s ideas through online platforms but this seems to have made some people unhappy. He is a self-selling brand but if I have been sabotaged, it is okay, public offices are not person to holder.”

    Efforts to contact Ms Nabusayi for a comment were futile as she did not answer nor return repeated phone calls and reply messages but Mr Mirundi insisted: “Whether she does what or what (sic), Kagingo is no longer in charge, it is now Nabusayi.”

    The spillover of the intrigue in the press unit, inside sources who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal, revealed, “is the culmination of a protracted fight over money and power among State House cliques.”
    Ms Nabusayi, sources reveal, has the blessing of President Museveni’s private secretary, Maj Edith Nakalema and Ms Nakyobe.

    “When Nabusayi came, Mirundi lost control of the administrative and financial roles in the unit. He now has no choice but side with the Nakalema-Nakyobe-Nabusayi clique which runs the show in State House,” our source revealed.
    On the other hand, Ms Kagingo is seen as close and loyal to principal private secretary Mary Amajo, “who is seen as hostile to the Nakalema clique and hated for being overly principled.”

    Recently, PPU photographers reportedly received express orders from Maj Nakalema and Ms Nakyobe, “to strictly send photographs to only Nabusayi or be fired”.

    In one of the meetings early this year, Mr Museveni asked the PPU top leadership how much it would cost them to run his online communication. After long silence, a member suggested Shs400m but as the President wrote it down, Ms Kagingo said: “Your excellency, about Shs4m is enough. There aren’t many costs.”
    Neither Ms Nakyobe nor Mr Mirundi accepted to comment on these particular issues.

    Some PPU members, our sources say, insisted State House should hire a private public relations firm to manage Mr Museveni’s social media platforms, a move Ms Kagingo is seen as a stumbling block to.

    Source: Daily Monitor 29 October 2014

  • According to KT Press, he is a tweep, and a tech addict! Rwanda's President Paul Kagame is described by the International Telecommunications Union as the "Digital President." Social media analysts say Kagame is Africa's most conversational president. Kagame has the biggest following on Twitter than any other African leader.

computing

  • A business processing outsourcing framework which will be used by different public service delivery agencies including in digitising documents is in the pipeline.

    Minister for Communication, Science and Technology, Professor Makame Mbarawa said that the process of developing the framework which started last year has been delayed because it needs private sector input.

    "I hope that stakeholders from the private sector will be part of the process so that they advise us on the best possible framework," Prof Mbarawa said.

    He said that business processing outsourcing sector has been earmarked as a pillar of economic development. "We are leaving no stone unturned to make Tanzania a hotbed for outsourcing," he stressed.

    According to him, BPO will also be used in trade clearances, connectivity, building infrastructure and cyber-security. "We're doing everything we can to fulfill our aspirations," he said.

    Prof Mbarawa noted that mature BPO markets such as India and Philippines are reaching saturation, which is an opportunity for the country to exploit the vacuum.

    The minister said that in the past, the biggest concern for outsourcers was minimising costs but currently the growing emphasis is on service quality and long-term viability which clearly Techno Brain's BPO is delivering.

    Outsourcing companies such as Techno Brain will play an important part in generating employment, and alleviating poverty across Africa. This is well documented from other developing nations across the world.

    Techno Brain's Chairman, Mahesh Patel said it is an African information technology company that provides innovative solutions to advance the way organisations do business.

    "The opportunity that BPO industry can create in terms of employment creation is immense and has a lot of potential for companies to achieve better results in their business sectors and avoid the risk of wasting potential offered by their youth," Mr Patel said.

    Source: Tanzania Daily News

  • ABOUT a quarter of the Nigeria's population has cited the lack of security as the biggest challenge impeding on the adoption of e-Commerce. This is according to Sumesh Rahavendra, head of marketing for DHL Express Sub Saharan Africa (SSA), who says the recently-released 'Shop the World' nonetheless revealed emerging markets offers the highest growth potential for the eCommerce industry.

Digital Content

  • In a bid to provide first hand information to African music lovers and enthusiasts, All Africa Music Awards (AFRIMA) on Friday, October 24, launched its mobile application tagged 'AFRIMA APP' for mobile device users for easy and fast access to developing news and information about AFRIMA.

    The app is awesome and user-friendly. Regardless of where in the world a mobile phone user is located at any specific time, with the free app downloaded, the mobile user can access all information about AFRIMA which one requires at the touch of a few buttons. The major feature on the app is Voting which is the current trend in the app. Voting can be done in all the categories of the awards including regional and continental categories. To access the AFRIMA App, Smartphone and Android phone users can download it at www.play.google.com by searching for 'AFRIMA' in the search engine then click on 'install'. Just like the AFRIMA website, the app is free and well-designed; it has all the features of the AFRIMA website and it has the official AFRIMA language options (English and French). AFRIMA Head of Creative and Information Technology (IT), Shina Kelani, said: "The AFRIMA App is a huge step for the awards. Being an app, it makes it easy for the public to vote for the nominees of their choice and also to keep abreast of updates on the AFRIMA project."

    Music fans all over the world can download the app and continue voting in the 32 categories of the award. Voting closes on November 4, 2014. The main award ceremony holds on Sunday, November 9 in Lagos, Nigeria. It will be preceded by the AFRIMA Music Village between November 4 and 7, a four-day festival of non-stop music and exhibition from African countries and performances by African artistes, which will be followed by African Music Summit on November 6-7, with the theme "Reviving the Business of Music in Africa".

    The two-day conference will be a platform for the music industry stakeholders to engage and deliberate on how the industry can be nurtured and be a major contributor to national and continental economies. AFRIMA is in partnership with the African Union, ONE, Africa 2.0, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment in Nigeria.

    Source: The Leadership 29 October 2014

  • Two South African brothers have launched the Ebola Care app to aid the fight against Ebola. The app has already been deployed in Liberia by More Than Me, a not-for-profit organisation.

    The developers Malan Joubert (28) and Philip Joubert (26) from Journey Apps, a South African tech startup developed the app that allows for efficient Ebola response.

    “The Ebola outbreak is the kind of thing you assume ‘other’ people are worrying about… until you realise that perhaps you are ‘other’ people, and it’s time to start doing something,“ said Phillip.

    “In order to be effective during any crisis, accessing real-time data is paramount as time is of the essence,” Sam said.

    Sam Herring, More Than Me’s data manager said, “the Ebola Care App allows us to respond in an efficient manner. Efficiency stops the spread, and stopping the spread saves lives.”

    The app uses GPS cordinates to track individuals infected with the virus including their families; it also assists ambulance teams transporting patients to capture vital information.

    “Many of the most affected areas do not use street names and run on paper medical records, making the app’s capacity to identify affected ‘cluster’ areas and digitally monitor health workers movements a pioneering step in the fight against Ebola. The app further helps NGO’s in the care of children abandoned or orphaned due to the outbreak, and monitors children under the 21-day quarantine period. “I hope every NGO responding to the Ebola crisis can get access to this app,” Sam said.

    Source: Humanipo 31 October 2014

  • C-Com Satellite Systems announced that its antennas are being used in The Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park located in Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe to monitor and prevent the poaching of rhinos. The combined size of these three parks covers 35,000 square kilometers. The park contains 40 percent of the world's rhino population and it has recently become the frontline of the rhino poaching wars especially on the borders of Mozambique and South Africa. A rhino is killed every 8 hours as its horns have become more valuable pound for pound than gold and this relentless slaughter threatens it survival.

    Saab Grintek, a C-Com iNetVu integrator based in South Africa is sponsoring a foundation that is working closely with the three governments where the park is situated. The foundation has been testing Unmanned Arial Vehicles (UAVs), also known as drones. The drones, which are equipped with regular, as well as infrared cameras and thermal sensors for sensing body heat as well as heat from vehicles during the night, are flown and controlled from a specially equipped vehicle. Using the C-Com iNetVu vehicle mounted antenna, the unit stays in contact with the operational center, and any disturbance or potential breach in the conservation's life is immediately responded to. This setup provides the park rangers with the ability to monitor activities in the park in real-time, day and night and intervene as required, as well as record the action for eventual prosecution of the poachers.

    Source: Telecompaper 29 October 2014

  • Victoria — Music produced by Seychellois musicians will be available to a much wider market soon following the launch of a new website called 'Kreol Wave', where Seychellois artists will be able to sell their work.

    Created and sponsored by one of Seychelles main telecommunication companies, Cable & Wireless (Seychelles) 'Kreol Wave', will sell the original music of Seychellois artists online with copyright protection.

    The initiative was launched on Tuesday in the Seychelles capital of Victoria by the Seychelles Musicians Association (SEYMAS) and comes at an appropriate time as the Indian Ocean archipelago celebrates its Creole heritage of traditional music, dance, cuisine as well as other shared values and practices.

    The Chairman of SEYMAS, Ralf Amesbury, a well known Seychellois musician said 'Kreol Wave' provides an international opening for Seychellois musicians and artists and eventually, could also be used to promote Seychelles national events such as the annual Carnaval Internationale de Victoria, Festival Creole and other cultural events organized by the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) and the Ministry of Tourism and Culture.

    Songs by Seychellois artists on the online store are expected to sell at $1 per song while a full album will cost almost $9, all of which can be purchased and downloaded at the click of the button using a credit card.

    SEYMAS hopes that within two months' time a mobile version of the website will also be made available.

    Amesbury explained that SEYMAS has worked closely with the Seychelles Authors and Composers Society (SACS) to realize this project with emphasis placed on combating piracy and duplication of music produced by local artists.

    "This should be seen as a major step in the protection of musical copyrights for our local artists,"said Amesbury, adding that only musicians and artists registered with SACS will be considered for the website.

    In a world where compact discs are becoming obsolete, the chairman of SACS, David Andre told SNA in a phone interview that "this is a commendable initiative" which will help to promote Seychellois artists and culture all around the world.

    However, Andre says SACS, which is the guardian of the copyright and royalties of Seychellois music "will see how the project progress and intervene if necessary to protect the rights of artists of Seychelles."

    The initiative has also been welcomed by individual artists as well.

    "I am quite in favor of innovative ideas that can allow artists to receive the fruits of their labour and it is even better if our copyrights are protected," Joe Samy, a Seychellois artist much appreciated for his creole songs, told SNA.

    Speaking at the launching of the new website on Tuesday, the Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture, Alain St Ange, congratulated SEYMAS and SACS for having taken such an initiative to deliver the online project adding that 'Kreol Wave' will go a long way towards helping to fight against piracy of Seychellois music.

    "Musical piracy has always been a great concern for Seychellois musicians, whereby their works have been dubbed and sold at cheaper prices, with no revenue going to the original artist," said St Ange who also called on local artists to support this initiative by registering their works and thus benefit from the opportunity to sell their music worldwide.

    Source: Seychelles News Agency 30 October 2014

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

  • South Africa’s Competition Commission (CompCom) has recommended to the country’s Competition Tribunal the unconditional approval of MTN South Africa’s proposed acquisition of internet service provider (ISP) Afrihost, TechCentral reports.

    The authority disclosed that no conditions should be imposed on the deal as ‘MTN and Afrihost do not appear to be direct competitor. In both the ADSL and mobile data markets, it is unlikely the merger will give rise to foreclosure effects which are harmful to [small businesses] and residential customers, given the ability of these customers to easily switch mobile data service providers’.

    Source: Telegeography 30 October 2014

  • Maroc Telecom, the country’s leading telco in terms of subscribers, has published its financial results for the nine months ended 30 September 2014, reporting a 1.9% annual increase in revenues, from MAD21.467billion (USD2.46 billion) to MAD21.865 billion. The improvement was chiefly attributed to 11.5% annual growth among the company’s international operations, which partly offset a 1.1% sales decrease in its domestic market during the same period.

    Meanwhile, Maroc Telecom’s EBITDA decreased by 3.0% in the period under review, to MAD12.009 billion; the slump was attributed to a 5.9% decline in the Moroccan unit’s EBITDA, although this was partly compensated by a 6.2% increase in EBITDA from the company’s international operations. Maroc Telecom’s consolidated earnings from operations in the period under review reached MAD8.110 billion, a 6.3% decrease year-on-year.

    In operational terms, Maroc Telecom reported annualised growth of 10% for its consolidated customer base, with the total number of customers passing the 39.5 million-mark at end-September 2014. In Morocco, wireless subscribers marginally increased by 0.4% y-o-y to reach 18.381 million, up from 18.311 million in 9M 2013; the telco’s wireline user base grew by 7.9% to 1.454 million users, while broadband customers increased by 19.6% y-o-y to 944,000.

    In Mauritania, wireless numbers decreased by 2.8% to 1.826 million users, due to intense competition in the market, while broadband subscriptions increased by 6.7% to roughly 8,000. In Burkina Faso, the Office Nationale des Telecommunications (Onatel, incl. Telmob) saw its mobile subscribers increase by 34.6% y-o-y to reach 5.681 million by 30 September, although its broadband customer base declined by 32.3% to around 17,000. Further, Gabon Telecom reported a 11.4% increase in the number of its mobile users, to 1.086 million, while Mali-based operator Societe des Telecommunications du Mali (SOTELMA) increased its mobile subscriber numbers 21.7% to 9.715 million in 9M14, with more than one and a half million net additions in the period under review.

    Abdeslam Ahizoune, chairman of Maroc Telecom’s management board, stated: ‘The return to revenues’ growth in Morocco is the prominent feature of the results of the third quarter. This reversal of trend is due to our firm policy of innovation and abundance of offerings and a continuous effort to improve the quality of our services. This performance coupled with the rapid growth in our subsidiaries has led to acceleration in the group’s growth rate. Maroc Telecom Group is thus reaping the rewards of its major investment programs, at a time when data use is sharply increasing in all of our markets.’

    Source: Telegeography 27 Ocotber 2014

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