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Issue no 792 28th August 2015

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  • Who remembers HITS Telecoms? It came, it saw and it didn’t conquer. The blanched bones of failed businesses in the desert of lost opportunity can act as signposts for the road to the future. Russell Southwood looks at some of the recent retreats and tries to make sense of what they mean for the future of the industry.

    The good news or the bad news? The bad news. You’re all consenting adults and you’re probably sitting down so can take the shocks. Africa’s economic miracle is about to come unstuck. If China doesn’t buy as much of what it digs out of the ground and oil hovers at below US$50 a barrel, the economic good weather simply can’t continue. There are several key countries in Africa where the slide in the value of the currency marks out worse economic times ahead.

    The good news. When the going gets bad, it’s time to innovate and change how things are done. Not much has changed in the telecoms and Internet industry and counter-intuitively I think change is more likely to come out of straitened circumstances.

    Yesterday the only Saudi-owned mobile operator (Oger Telecom) in Africa – Cell C - announced that it had 6 potential bidders and that it had appointed Goldman Sachs to advise it on a possible sale. One of these bidders is the now much-disciplined, former bully-boy of the pack Telkom: its scheme to share network with MTN was vetoed by the regulator.

    Leaving aside Telkom’s domestic bid, there are two delusions at play here. Firstly that if you operate in Africa, you need to be in as many big markets as possible. Secondly, if you’re a rough and tough international player, you’ll be able to break into a market dominated by players higher in the pecking order.

    Airtel tried it with pricing strategy in Kenya and the dial barely moved on market share. Worse still, South Africa is a duopoly with a Government and regulator who are temperamentally averse to anything that shakes up this cosy situation. And when they try – see the interconnection changes – they get sandbagged by teams of expensive lawyers.

    The Libyan Post Telecommunications and Information Technology Company (LPTIC) issued an almost incoherent announcement which seemed to say that it would consolidate its Lap Green Africa assets into LPTIC. Obviously it’s tough running an investment holding company when your country’s at war and the oil that used to provide the capital flow is out of commission.

    The companies affected include: GreenN Cote d’Ivoire, Uganda Telecom Ltd (UTL) and South Sudan-based Gemtel. Only UTL is of any size and at some stage that will be sold off.

    Meanwhile Airtel is re-arranging its deckchairs so that it can continue playing in the hope that it will succeed. It is in discussion with Orange about selling its low cards: Burkina Faso, Chad, Congo-Brazzaville and Sierra Leone. In July it felt it had to issue a denial that it was exiting the continent but its stock hit a five-year high on the news of the disposals.

    Airtel arrived with all the cockiness of a new invader and its Indian management was convinced it had the formula to deliver “the lowest erlangs in the market”. The Indian managers are now largely gone and have been replaced by those who have worked for the other operators they need to beat.

    Bharti Airtel’s financial returns now never break out the African operations in a way that you can judge their profitability and this is usually a sure sign that there’s no bragging rights worth having. But it’s only a matter of time before reality bites….

    Its asset buyer Orange is also in a state of flux because buried in the initial Bloomburg “flying a kite” story was the news:”Orange is considering many options for its Africa and Middle East phone assets including takeovers, partnerships with other operators and an initial public offering”. Although it managed to exit Uganda it is still stuck in the quicksands of Telkom Kenya and its entire history with the company is almost a red light for any potential buyer.

    If you’re not number one or number two in a market, the mobile telecoms business is not as profitable as it once was in competitive markets for players carrying international overheads who are publicly quoted.

    The logic of that position is that either other players will have to re-invent themselves or work out ways of scaling back. In issue 790, I suggested that they look at creating data MVNOs with external partners and even go into partnership with other operators not in the first and second positions. They could also make more effort to share infrastructure, particularly in countries where there are no third party providers. Indeed they could encourage well-financed and trusted third party providers to operate their infrastructure.

    But the really radical challenger option is to completely re-invent how voice and data are delivered. One thing you can say about most mobile operators’ data networks in Africa is if you want to go there (a data future), I wouldn’t start from here. But what if you sat down and invented the next generation carrier using the latest generation of technology designed for robust data use, capable of carrying carrier quality voice. Metaphorically, you go from million dollar packages from the established equipment vendors to buying stuff online straight out of the catalogue and putting the pieces together yourself.

    Alan Knott-Craig Jr’s plan to create HeroTel, a sort of branded consortium of ISPs is a much more incremental approach to the same thing. The goal is to bring together South Africa’s small and fragmented wireless Internet providers to build a single national wireless provider by April 2016.

    Instead of building a company from scratch, Knott-Craig Jr is enticing 200 small wireless Internet service providers across South Africa to join HeroTel—his new company launched Aug. 25.  As small wireless Internet providers join, HeroTel will buy in bulk to drive down costs. HeroTel will provide cohesive branding for the individual wireless Internet service providers, according to Quartz.

     “We don’t have to buy every wireless Internet provider in the country to make this work, but we will need a critical mass,” Knott-Craig Jr told Quartz. “Wireless Internet providers will join the HeroTel Alliance, which will work like a franchise, providing them with the benefits to help them generate more revenue.”

    HeroTel ‘s investors include Michael Jordaan, former CEO of FNB, one of South Africa’s largest banks; and Mike Pfaff and Derek Prout-Jones, CEO and CIO of Rand Merchant Bank.

    “We’re competing with fixed-line operators: the old-school connect-through-a-copper-line guys… they are at a disadvantage because they charge exorbitant out-of-bundle rates to their customers,” Knott-Craig Jr said.

    Africa’s ISPs need some retail ambition because all of them seem to get stuck – with one or two exceptions – living off the healthy, premium priced corporate market. Many have raised funds on the expectation of breaking out of it but have found themselves stuck where they started.
    South African startup Tuse, an Android app that tackles connectivity issues by allowing users to create wireless mesh networks, has been selected to take part in the renowned Founders Space accelerator programme in San Francisco in October.

    Founded in July, Tuse allows people to create wireless mesh networks using their Wi-Fi-enabled mobile devices. The wireless mesh allows users to send text, transfer data and make phone calls to peers on the created network.

    The app is still in public beta with a few hundred users, but the bootstrapped startup has already won a place on the Founders Space accelerator programme in San Francisco. Founders Space accelerates the usual accelerator programme into one month, providing interactive lectures and workshops, thought leadership and mentoring sessions from industry experts, and access to online instructional materials.

    Wi-fi mesh has yet to make the breakthrough from interesting sounding technology to widely used roll-outs. But if it can survive at scale, then maybe, it’s one element in Africa’s new data tomorrow.

    So here’s the challenge to all potential new challengers? You need to lower the cost of delivering national networks. You need to run voice services primarily off Wi-Fi hot-spots but have hand-over to cellular operators. You need to offer cheaper retail data and cheaper international calling. Step this way….

    Innovation in Africa is a fortnightly e-letter that covers: start-ups and investment; energy; ICT4D; 3D printing; and innovation in Africa and its cities. We have already produced 32 issues and thesecan be viewed here:

    Essential reading for those interested in new start-ups and innovation that will change Africa. If you would like to subscribe, just send an email to with Innovation in Africa in the title line.
    Some examples of past issues below:

    Changing Health in Africa through Innovation competitions, accelerators and usable software – Getting to the bottom of what works

    Angel Investing Events in Key Markets look set to fill some of the equity and mentoring gaps in Africa

    Africa’s Innovation Agenda – Getting beyond the half-truths we tell ourselves to unfolding opportunities
    Videos interviews to watch:
    Daniel Asare-Kyei on how esoko's price information gets Ghanaian farmers more money for their crops

    Uche Ariolu on his online food start-up Foodstantly for both meals and bulk purchases

    Robin Raskin, Living in Digital Times on 3 emerging personal technologies relevant to Africa
    African Entrepreneurship - Why Culture Matters with Rebecca Enonchong and Michael Ike

    Katrin Macmillan on an outdoor Internet facility in Nigeria based on Sugata Mitra's ideas
's Ryan Dingley on his online audio radio start-up and its pan-African expansion plans

    William Bird on using Commotion Wi-Fi mesh software to provide free Internet South African cties

    Andrew Rudge, Reach Trust on expanding the mobile reach of its African ed & health service

    Joel Macharia on his start-up Abacus that will allow Kenyans to trade shares online

    Albert Mucunguzi, PC Tech on the Ugandan start-up scene and its future prospects

    Andrew Rudge, Reach Trust on expanding the mobile reach of its African ed & health service

    Ryan Yoder, ActivSpaces on the challenges faced by start-ups in Cameroon

    Will Tindall on Emerging Crowd, an online platform for emerging market companies to raise equity

    Sacha Poingnonnec, Africa Internet Group on the challenges of running an online business in Africa

    For breaking news, follow us on Twitter: @BalancingActAfr

Money Transfer

  • Safaricom has moved to discourage transfer of money to third parties on its M-Pesa platform by subscribers of Equity Bank's Equitel mobile payment service through new tariffs.

    Safaricom says in correspondence seen by The EastAfrican that the increase will help in weeding out fraudulent transactions to third parties, especially those that are not registered with either M-Pesa or Equitel.

    "It is our advice that you [Equity Bank] strongly consider only facilitating bank to M-PESA transfers to a customer's own M-Pesa Account in order to discourage the occurrence of the aforementioned incidents," writes Rita Okuthe, Safaricom's general manager in-charge of enterprise business.

    "In the event that you still prefer to facilitate third party transfers as a service offering then these transfers may still be pursued but subject to revised tariff rates," Okuthe warns in the letter dated July 9 and addressed to Equity Bank.

    For transfers from the bank to a customer's M-Pesa account, however, Safaricom has introduced discounted rates of Ksh15 (15 US cents) for amounts ranging from Ksh50 ($0.47) to Ksh1,000 ($9.5) and Ksh22 ($0.22) for amounts between Ksh1,001 ($9.51) and Ksh70,000 ($665.37).

    Tariffs for third party transactions have been increased on a graduated scale from Ksh22 for small amounts falling between Ksh50 and Ksh1,000 to a high of Ksh110 ($1.1) for amounts between Ksh20,001 ($190.11) and Ksh70,000.
    Source: The East Africa 26 August 2015

  • Death, taxes, vending, the unfair cost of data, high mobile money tariffs; that’s just part of a long list of things that many people accept as part of Zimbabwean life. We can’t work around most of those issues, so for good reason, any solution for any of these challenges is usually celebrated.

    Take mobile money tariffs as an example. Sometime last year, we shared a hack that gave users of the mobile money service EcoCash, a way to pay less in transaction fees. A local developer followed this up with a mobile money tariff calculator app which calculated and compared tariffs from the 2 most popular mobile money service providers, EcoCash and TeleCash.

    While a few things might have changed in local mobile money services since then, (a new service provider entered the market and some tariffs were actually revised downwards) it’s still always worth exploring the cheaper option for sending money.

    That same Mobile Money tariff calculator app has now been tweaked to catch up with some of the changes in local mobile money services. According to a recent update of the app (it’s available on Google Play), the app now incorporates calculations and comparisons for OneWallet and Nettcash and the user interface has been dusted up a bit.

    The value proposition of the app is still pretty much the same; you get to figure out the cheapest alternative for sending money and any saving that can be accumulated from splitting a transaction.

    The inclusion of Nettcash on the app is key in all of this because the service is network agnostic, meaning that it’s always an option for sending and receiving money for anyone on any network.

    To be fair, the amounts saved from this whole tariff comparison aren’t jaw dropping, but the thousand plus users of the app will tell you that the option to pay less is always welcome. Until the regulators do act on tariff adjustment it’s one smart way to work around one of those certainties in life that we ordinarily can’t avoid.
    Source: Techzim 26 August 2015

  • Uber has announced it will make the cash payment feature permanent for Nairobi residents after a successful two-month pilot brought a five-fold growth in sign-ups and referrals.

    Nairobi is only the second city to accept cash payments after the city of Hyderabad, India, in over 300 cities where Uber has a presence in. Uber Sub Saharan General Manager, Alon Lits, says the company has adapted its technology to meet the needs of local consumers.

    “We received very positive feedback from our riders during the pilot. We have tripled our growth since then and the drivers using the Uber platform are taking more trips so taking more money home too. We have listened to this to and now we want everyone to enjoy the hassle-free convenience of ordering a safe ride at the push of a button,” said Lits.

    Uber SSA says Nairobi is now one of the fastest growing cities internationally for Uber following the launch of the cash test pilot. The number of partner-drivers has doubled over the last two months to cope with the growth in demand.

    “The interest in Uber in Nairobi has been amazing. Nairobi is one of the most innovative cities on the continent and cash payments is one of the innovations we have made for the Nairobi market. We are excited to be extending this cash payment option to all Uber riders in the city as we give more people access to one of the safest and most reliable transportation options,” adds Lits.

    Riders have access to all the current Uber features but can simply choose the cash payment option, take a ride and pay their driver directly in cash at the end of the trip.

    Nairobi and Hyderabad were the first two cities selected for this experiment because they provided Uber with the right environment to test a new payment option among a sizeable and sophisticated rider and driver community. Following the cash pilots in Nairobi and Hyderabad cash payments have been rolled out across five other cities in India.
    Source: Capital FM

  • NIC Bank Group has announced that it will be the first bank in Kenya to launch an innovative social media banking platform, dubbed “NIC KONNECT”.

    The platform will allow customers to use various social media platforms to securely access their banking services. This innovative mobile banking product will be available through Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter and Telegram.

    Customers will be able to use a secure PIN to access mini statements, balance inquiry, airtime purchase, funds transfers and make utility payments.

    More services like merchant payments, mobile money, cheque book and card ordering will be available through NIC KONNECT in the near future.  Non-customers of NIC Bank will also be able to open accounts, find NIC ATMS and locate branches using NIC KONNECT.

    “This new innovation is aimed at providing our customers with an easier point of interface with their bank.  It is perfectly aligned with our MOVE to NOW philosophy through which we aim to provide our customers with multiple channels of access to our services, thereby creating greater convenience,” said NIC Group Managing Director John Gachora.

    Gachora noted that this innovation was as a result of extensive market research which highlighted that Kenyans, especially the youth, are spending more time on social media platforms. There was thus need to interact with customers at their convenience, “where they are.”

    NIC Bank has partnered with Craft Silicon to roll this out. “We are very excited to work with NIC Bank to deliver this innovative solution to the Kenyan market,” said Craft Silicon CEO Kamal Budhabhatti.

    Meanwhile, CfC Stanbic Bank has unveiled its first fully digital branch in Nairobi at the Garden City Mall. The branch which will operate 24 hours is expected to enhance customer experience and convenience on the backdrop of growing popularity and adoption of Digital Banking.

    The new digital banking concept seeks to eliminate a big chunk of the manual operations through deployment of services to the mobile and web platforms. Among the services that will be offered digitally include; the origination of new accounts and instructions for customers, mobile and online registration and a cashless transaction capability.
    Source: CapitalFM 26 August 2015

  • MallforAfrica (MFA) is teaming up with PayPal through internet and mobile, to make online shopping from key markets outside of Kenya as easy as possible. The two companies are offering consumers a $10 USD discount on their first order when paying with PayPal on the MallforAfrica platform, with the code PayPal10* “We know how important security and trust are for our customers when deciding to shop online. By offering customers payment options that are secure, we can reassure buyers and encourage online shopping” says Efi Dahan, Regional Director for Africa and Israel at PayPal.

Telecoms, Rates, Offers and Coverage

  • Samsung South Africa has announced Samsung Galaxy Rewards, a loyalty app for Samsung Galaxy smartphone users. Samsung Galaxy Rewards gives consumers access to a variety of prizes based on the amount of interaction users have with the brand through the application. The programme allows Galaxy smartphone users to earn points, and the more they earn the bigger rewards they can claim. Prizes are divided into different tiers based on the number of points an individual user accumulates. Samsung Galaxy smartphone users can start earning points by downloading the app from the Google play store. Once points have been accumulated, users can spend them on everyday items or bank them to claim big-ticket items.


  • Professor Umar Danbatta, the new Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has raised a Task Force to recommend practical measures for improving Quality of Service (QoS) issues in the telecoms industry.

    The 9-member Task Force, chaired by Mrs. Iyabo Sholanke, Director, Special Duties in NCC has been given six months to come up with solutions to QoS by the new NCC chief, who is “worried by the general outcry about declining Quality of Service (QoS), in the telecommunications sector.”

    Mr. Tony Ojobo, Director of Public Affairs in NCC said in a statement made available to Technology Times that the creation of the new Task Force on QoS, one of the key highlights of the maiden top management meeting convened by the new boss of the telecoms regulatory agency.

    “Sholanke, who chairs the Task Force and other members of the Task Force were given the mandate: “To look at the issue of QoS in all its ramifications and suggest practical measures that will lead to the improvement of QoS, and recommend any other measure as appropriate that will project the image of the Commission in a good light.”

    Looking into telecoms quality: Mrs. Iyabo Sholanke, Director, Special Duties in NCC and Chairperson of Task Force on Quality of Service Sholanke, who chairs the Task Force and other members of the Task Force were given the mandate: “To look at the issue of QoS in all its ramifications and suggest practical measures that will lead to the improvement of QoS, and recommend any other measure as appropriate that will project the image of the Commission in a good light.”
    Other members of Task Force include Mr. Fidelis Onah, Director, Technical Standards; Mr. Efosa Idehen, Head, Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement; Mr. Ephraim Nwokenneya, Head Compliance and Monitoring as well as Mr. Bashir Idris, Deputy Director, Projects, as members.

    Others include Mrs. Yetunde Akinloye, Head, Legal and Regulatory Services; Mr. Reuben Muoka, Head, Public Relations; Mr. Philip Eretan, Assistant Director, Consumer Affairs and Mr. Edoyemi Ogoh, Assistant Director, Technical Standards, as members.

    The Task Force is expected to submit its reports to the monthly management meeting, beginning from Friday, August 21, 2015, until the expiration of its tenure in six months, according to NCC.
    Source: Technology Times 23 August 2015

    PCCI Group opens five new contacts centers after winning a 5-year outsourcing contract with MTN Group

    PCCI Group, a contact center and customer experience outsourcing provider in emerging markets, announced the opening of centers in five African countries after signing a 5-year outsourcing contract with the telecommunications giant MTN.  The new contact centers will be operational within the next six months in Cameroon, Guinea Bissau, Republic of Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire and Republic of Congo.

    For these 5 key markets , PCCI will be the exclusive contact center partner of MTN for the next 5 years and will be serving over than 30 Millions MTN customers across multiple channels.

    PCCI confirms its BPO & customer experience leadership in the West East and Central Africa market

    Created in 2001 in United Kingdom and France, PCCI Group is strengthened by its parent company Teyliom Group a conglomerate that operates in properties, hospitality, finance, telecom, industry and energy.

    After 13 years of experience in European and African market, PCCI Group has now operations in 10 emerging countries with over than 2,500 employees. The group offers consistent and branded customer engagement solution - with the integration of digital and data analytics offerings - to its clients operating across various sectors such as telecommunications, BFSI, Travel & Hospitality, Retail, Media, and Energy & Utilities.

    By signing a 5-year contract with PCCI, MTN chose to trust a multinational operator who knows how to deliver a distinct customer experience taking into account local realities & adapting it to mature international standards.

    Seeking new frontiers - new markets on the radar, expansion in Anglophone Africa & emerging markets. 2015 will be the year of PCCI’s expansion in Anglophone Africa with the opening of operational sites in Nigeria.

    The opening of the new center in Nigeria provides PCCI the opportunity to become a key player in the Nigerian market - the largest African market - and further expand its pan-African coverage. PCCI is eyeing other markets and re-shaping its global operating model to cover a widespread geographical footprint

    A new group identity will be unveiled in September 2015 to mark this new vision.
    Source: Press Release

  • Motorola Solutions and radio distributor Altech Alcom Matomo have completed an extension of the digital Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA) communications network in the city of Cape Town, South Africa. The city’s technology investment provides resilient and feature-rich communications for public safety agencies and utilities to help protect its citizens and visitors.

    In 2000, the City of Cape Town commissioned a Motorola Solutions Dimetra IP digital TETRA radio system providing coverage over the Cape Metropolitan Area (CMA). It remains one of three municipalities in South Africa that operates its own TETRA network, and it is by far the largest, serving 11,000 of the City’s public safety, security and utility services. The system also provides reliable communication to 2,500 external users from surrounding municipalities, including the emergency medical services of the provincial government.

    “Investment in the TETRA system serves as an enabler for improved service delivery to the citizens of the CMA,” says Councillor Xanthea Limberg, mayoral committee member for corporate services, City of Cape Town. “This is achieved by providing reliable and effective communications and improving interoperability and response times during special events, emergencies and disasters.”

    The city has upgraded the radio communications infrastructure to the latest version of the Motorola Solutions TETRA system -- Dimetra IP 8.2 -- to provide increased resilience.

    “With built-in redundancy for maximum reliability and uptime, Cape Town’s TETRA network is now better able to continue operating despite power outages or major incidents such as the recent floods and mountain fires,” says Vikela Rankin, managing director, Motorola Solutions South Africa. “This enhanced TETRA system will provide clear, reliable and accurate communications to the police and other users in the field for many years to come.”

    Operational efficiency, officer safety and incident response time are all improved through enhanced network management, security and new location-based capabilities.

    The system is set up so that all the public safety agencies’ communications – across a range of radio groups and interconnected with the telephone network – remain secure and private. Encryption ensures those with police radio scanners cannot listen in on conversations, while real-time Global Positioning System (GPS) location tracking and mapping enables the command centre to monitor users, such as police officers, and instantly dispatch support to their exact location.

    “This new TETRA technology provides sustained reliability and also the capacity to further expand to cater for the changing needs of Cape Town,” says Brett Nash, managing director, Altech Alcom Matomo. “The city can now confidently equip key stakeholders with TETRA radios to serve as an emergency communications group during incidents when all other means of communication might fail.”
    Source: Street Insider 27 August 2015

  • About 10.7 million telephone lines in Nigeria may be blocked following a directive from the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, to telecommunication operators in the country.

    According to NCC’s Head of Compliance and Monitoring Unit, Efosa Ideheny, the body is going tougher against operators on the de-activation of pre-registered Subscribers Identification Modules (SIM) cards on their networks.

    Following a monitoring exercise conducted by the commission across all the network of the four major GSM service providers, about 10.7 million SIMs have been barred out 38.78 million SIM cards found to be defective in terms of improper registration.

    According to him, the defects include poor finger prints, no facial information and other biometric challenges.
    Source: Nigerian Bulletin 20 August 2015


  • It’s not just a partnership with MTN that has kept Liquid Telecom, the infrastructure concern busy. Recently, the telecoms company announced the launch of Hai, a new Internet Service Provider and retail internet brand.

    Hai opened its doors in Zambia first, and there are plans to establish a presence in Rwanda and Kenya shortly. Hai offers the same suite of retail internet services (Fibre, Broadband and VSAT) for residential and small businesses that are offered by ZOL Zimbabwe, another retail internet brand that is part of the Liquid Telecom group.

    Liquid telecom has been making huge plans for the Zambian market this past year. In February, the company announced plans to introduce Fibroniks, the name for the Liquid Fibre to the Home product, to the Zambian market.

    20,000 homes have been targeted with this Fibre rollout, with CEC Liquid Telecom (the Zambian mash up of Liquid and the Zambian Power company CEC) highlighting how $15 million has been set aside for this drive. To distribute Fibroniks, Liquid Telcom was working with other internet providers contracted as authorised Liquid Telecom resellers.

    This retail internet arrangement was later followed up by Liquid’s acquisition of Realtime, another Zambian ISP that focuses on Private Network Licence holders, which effectively played out as a deal to provide enterprise internet solutions. Part of the reason behind the deal with Realtime and not other ISPs, we assumed, was the fact that CEC owns 50% of Realtime.

    The launch of Hai now means that Liquid has its own retail internet distribution channel in Zambia which dovetails with its intensive cross continent expansion drive for both wholesale and retail internet services.

    At the same time, the fact that Liquid has created a name for itself in enterprise internet services makes it easier to roll out its enterprise solutions like  VoIP and Crashplan for Africa ,which Hai has already started introducing to the Zambia market.
    Source: Techzim 25 August 2015

  • Industry professionals have heard that 4G-LTE services have been launched in some African countries, but very few people know exactly where and who are the operators who have launched.

    On the African continent, 4G-LTE has been launched in 24 countries. This is what emerges from the latest report update from Balancing Act on '4G in Africa' , updated August 27, 2015.

    To supplement this information, deployment projects of 4G-LTE in Africa were announced by 103 operators in 35 countries. This also means that other operators present in 11 countries will launch 4G services in the coming years.

    Ultimately, 4G will be deployed in about fifty countries within 5 years. As in other populated areas of the world, Africas begin to access broadband Internet and can now take advantage of cloud services, smart TV, VoD, IPTV and WebTV.

    Source: Balancing Act, 27 August 2015

  • Google has launched a new service that maps out all gazetted bus stops in Nairobi, amid efforts to streamline public transport in the city.

    The launch of Google Transit update to Google Maps makes Nairobi the third African city with the service after Lagos and Johannesburg, said country programs manager Evans Arabu.

    Speaking at the event on Wednesday, Arabu noted that this is despite Kenya's semi-formal transport sector.

    "Nairobi joins more that 2,800 other cities and towns across the globe with the service. The city as yet has no traffic information and the time schedules are tentative," he said.

    The upgrade that has taken three years to develop was done in collaboration with Google, Digital Matatus and the Rockefeller foundation.

    Country manager Charles Murito added that the launch is part of efforts to make Google Maps more comprehensive, accurate and useful for public transport users.
    Source: The Star 24 August 2015

  • Liquid Telecom, Africa's independent internet service provider, has recorded a sharp climb in the proportion of local content on its network, from 20 per cent three years ago to now 50 per cent, driven by the deepening of Africa's internet infrastructure, and saving providers and Internet users now millions of dollars a year in the costs of fetching data from outside the continent.

    Presenting to AfPIF, the African Peering and Interconnection Conference run by the Internet Society, in Mozambique today, Mathew Chigwende, Head of Data Networks at Liquid Telecom, reported that three factors - the ongoing climb in the number of Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) serving the continent; the expansion of Content Delivery Networks in Africa; and the interconnection between telcos and ISPs - were together seeing the proportion of data being uploaded to, or fetched from, outside Africa fall by 10 percentile points a year.

    "We're now confident we shall reach the Internet Society's target of 80 per cent local content on Africa's Internet infrastructure by 2020," he said.

    Liquid Telecom is present and actively peering at 15 IXPs, up from 13 last year, and 8 in 2013. As a result they are officially ranked by Renesys/Dyn to be the most peered African operator and the only African operator in the top 100 global peering rankings.

    Liquid Telecom hosts one of Africa's largest IXPs, the Kenya Internet Exchange Point, at its carrier-neutral Tier 3 East Africa Data Centre in Nairobi and has been actively involved, as the supplier of Internet infrastructure to many of the continent's telcos and ISPs, in developing interconnections between different providers and between the IXPs - in a technical process called 'peering'.

    "By keeping African data in Africa we continue to help reduce the costs of Internet access across the continent, and improve the performance of that Internet to African Internet users," said Ben Roberts, CEO of Liquid Telecom Kenya and Chief Technical Officer of the Liquid Telecom Group.

    Peering though IXPs means local ISPs can connect and exchange data themselves, without paying a third party to retransmit their traffic to a local destination. By removing the need to transmit data using slower, external paths, this gives network operators greater control over both traffic flows and speeds.

    Until recently, local traffic was often exchanged internationally, leaving Africa for an international exchange onto the right pathway, and then returning to the continent again. The shift to local peering has delivered a dramatic reduction in Internet costs, from $3,375 to $200 per 64 kbit/s circuit, according to the Telecommunications Service Providers Association of Kenya (TESPOK), thus opening up multiple new options in cheaper broadband, and cheaper data bundles.

    Peering has also decreased Internet latencies, measured as the milliseconds (ms) it takes for data to travel from a desktop to servers. In Africa, these 'round trip delays' were running at 200ms to 600ms before the shift to peering, but have now dropped below 2ms to 10ms. The lower latencies have enhanced speeds for users, further driving the growth of local traffic, with many local users now moving to stream video and audio content.

    "The next bases for all of us, in this Internet Society, are encouraging the creators of content to host their websites locally, and achieving better Intellectual Property protection on local content, so that the move to streaming comes with revenue models that encourage content producers to put their content online," said Roberts.

    "It is our belief that the faster we can go in keeping African data in Africa, the greater will be the uptake and benefits from the Internet for African development," he said.
    Source: CIO East Africa 24 August 2015

  • South African startup Tuse, an Android app that tackles connectivity issues by allowing users to create wireless mesh networks, has been selected to take part in the renowned Founders Space accelerator programme in San Francisco in October.

    Founded in July, Tuse allows people to create wireless mesh networks using their Wi-Fi-enabled mobile devices. The wireless mesh allows users to send text, transfer data and make phone calls to peers on the created network.

    The app is still in public beta with a few hundred users, but the bootstrapped startup has already won a place on the Founders Space accelerator programme in San Francisco. Founders Space accelerates the usual accelerator programme into one month, providing interactive lectures and workshops, thought leadership and mentoring sessions from industry experts, and access to online instructional materials.

    Co-founder Sabelo Sibanda told Disrupt Africa the startup would be arriving in San Francisco in October, staying for the duration of the course and for at least two weeks afterwards in order to hold post-demo day meetings, but that it had already seen the benefits of being part of the programme.

    “We have been enrolled in their online programme and are already refining our product and the internal workings of our company. We are as a result operating much more efficiently than we ever have and are making more critical decisions with greater accuracy at a much greater speed,” he said.

    Sibanda said the benefit of Tuse is that it does not require traditional wireless infrastructure, making it a perfect solution in areas with little or no network coverage.

    “Through the success of our previous company, Millbug, we discovered many opportunities to solve problems in the developing world. The most urgent to us, was the lack of reliable communications infrastructure. It really irked us to have good mobile devices that couldn’t be used to network with others, and sought to correct this for ourselves and others,” he said.

    The app is distributed through the Google Play store and can also be shared via Bluetooth in cases where users have no internet access.

    “The inherent virality of Tuse allows for exponential growth as the network becomes stronger the more people are on it,” Sibanda said.
    Source: Disrupt Africa 25 August 2015

  • MTN and Liquid Telecoms have partnered to access each other’s fixed and wireless Internet networks in a number of African countries where either party does not currently have presence.

    The deal marks an effort to serve multinationals that have operations across the region.

    The partnership covers wholesale, carrier-to-carrier, high-speed broadband, enterprise and fixed data services. It will enable MTN to serve its multinational enterprise customers in Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

    Under the partnership, Liquid Telecoms will now have a presence in Benin, Cameroon, Congo Brazzaville, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Republic, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria, Sudan, South Sudan and Swaziland.

    According to Liquid, the partnership is in response to an increasing demand from businesses in West Africa for the company’s broadband service where it does not have presence.

    Together, Liquid Telecom and MTN will provide networks with complex requirements faster, providing more choice to firms of all sizes, competitively.

    “We have a well-deserved reputation in east, central and southern Africa, for providing quality broadband to businesses. We are laying 100km of new fibre every week but have decided to partner for the time being in West Africa so that we can immediately meet demand from businesses there,” said Liquid Telecom chief executive Nic Rudnick in a statement.

    Liquid’s fibre optics network spans 20,000km across Burundi, DRC, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe complemented by its satellite service for rural areas.

    While MTN has an extensive connectivity footprint with presence in 22 countries, including South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Djibouti, UK, Netherlands, Nigeria, Cameroon, Zambia, Uganda, Ghana, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Cyprus, Benin, Guinea Conakry, Congo Brazzaville, and Angola.

    “This partnership will provide great benefits to our customers. We will leverage each other’s products and services to improve our offerings to carrier and enterprise customers in Africa, the Middle East and Europe,” says Elia Tsouros, MTN enterprise business unit head of global sales.
    Source: Business Daily 27 August 2015

  • The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says Nigeria is no longer be a safe haven for cybercriminals with the coming into force of the new Nigeria Cybercrimes Act 2015, a series of new laws against Internet crimes.

    EFCC, the nation’s anti-graft agency, says it is giving full backing to the new momentum the law has triggered in enforcing and winning the war against cybercrimes and related offences in Nigeria.

    The new Nigeria Cybercrimes Act 2015, which was signed into law May 15, this year by ex-President Goodluck Jonathan will enable the law enforcement agency to bring its entire weapon at its disposal to save the nation billions of naira being lost to cybercriminals every year.

    “The biggest threats Nigerians face on the Internet are phishing, which are targeting mostly local banks and their clients; unauthorized access to systems and the information they contain by insiders, service providers or consultants; and malware distribution such as software and hardware key-loggers.”

    Mrs Chinwe Ndubueze, Assisant Director, Legal of EFCC dropped this hint Tuesday at the Information Security Society of Africa-Nigeria (ISAAN) Stakeholder Forum on Cyber Crime noting that impact of the new law will assist in sanitizing the Nigeria’s regions of cyberspace already riddled with a web of frauds and malpractices.

    Mrs Ndubueze told the forum that EFCC had been at the forefront of Nigeria’s anti-cybercrime war, ahead of the coming of the new law, which will further strengthen its resolve to make cyberspace safer for the Nigerian Internet community.

    “EFCC investigates and takes proactive measures to help prevent cybercrime”, according to the EFCC exec who says that the process includes gathering evidence, conducting painstaking investigations, arrests, seizure of assets, diligent prosecution and education of the general public.

    According to her, “EFCC has recorded a giant strides in the enforcement of these laws (cybercrime) as evidenced by the increased arrest, prosecution and conviction of Internet fraud related offences recorded monthly.”

    The Assistant Director, Legal of EFCC adds that, “we must collaborate to at least survive the onslaught and then fight back from the position of strength conferred by pooled resources, shared intelligence, joint operations and other efforts such as this.”

    However, she advises people to be wary of unsolicited mails, adding that opening unsolicited mails could reveal vital information to criminals.
    The EFCC exec further discloses that cybercrime was fast overtaking conventional crimes like kidnapping, armed robbery, among others, assuring that the commission was fully committed to fighting the ugly development.
    According to her, the biggest threats Nigerians face on the Internet are phishing, which are targeting mostly local banks and their clients; unauthorized access to systems and the information they contain by insiders, service providers or consultants; and malware distribution such as software and hardware key-loggers.

    “There is no doubt the growth in the use of electronic banking systems and e-commerce has brought about a parallel increase in efforts to defraud both individuals and corporate organizations, and thus cause tremendous financial loss”, the EFCC top brass told the Information Security Society of Africa-Nigeria (ISAAN) forum.

    “For sure, it is no longer business as usual for cybercriminals. From the petty criminals operating in cybercafés to the major hackers, email scammers and other computer-based fraudsters, the law stipulates heavy penalties, which the criminals should be made aware of before they embark on their ‘suicide’ mission”
    Dr David Isiavwe, President of Information Security Society of Africa-Nigeria (ISAAN)ISSAN

    ISAAN, the organiser of the event says it has flag off a campaign to embark on a massive public enlightenment on the new cyberlaw to prevent Nigerians from falling victim to cybercriminals and help discourage people from indulging in cybercrimes to avoid stiff sanctions.

    “The objective of this event is to enlighten Nigerians on its implication so that individuals corporate bodies and the public at large will be duly informed on how they can utilize the provisions to regulate their online activities while protecting themselves from cybercriminals and fraudster”, Dr. David Isiavwe ISSAN President told attendees at the stakeholder meeting at the Victoria Crown Plaza in Lagos.

    While commending ex-President Goodluck Jonathan for signing the bill on cybercrime into law, he also said that cyberspace is the future of the country, hence it needs to be protected.

    “With the law now in place, it would no longer be business as usual for criminals whose business was to defraud innocent people of their hard-earned money and resources through the Internet and other electronic means”, he adds.

    The ISSAN President expressed delight that Nigeria has joined the few countries in Africa and indeed the world at large that have a law which provides effective, unified and comprehensive legal, regulatory and institutional framework for the prohibition, detection, prosecution and punishment of cybercrime in the country.
    “It will also ensure the protection of computer systems and networks, electronic communications, data and computer programmers’, intellectual property and piracy rights,” Isiavwe says adding that, “ISSAN has, in the last few years, championed the call for an appropriate law and regulations to save Nigerians from cyber criminals who are increasing by the day in the country. It is indeed gratifying to note that this law is now in place.”

    In his presentation, he gave a brief statistics of the colossal damage the cyber crime has caused us as a nation and the world at large. In 2009 Nigeria was ranked 3rd in global Internet crime by Internet Crime Corporate Center (ICCC).
    In 2009 Central Bank of Nigeria says 70 percent of attempted and successful crime in the banking space is by electronic channel. In 2011 Nigeria was ranked 10th in cyber related offence by Internet Crime Corporate Center (ICCC)

    “For sure, it is no longer business as usual for cybercriminals. From the petty criminals operating in cybercafés to the major hackers, email scammers and other computer-based fraudsters, the law stipulates heavy penalties, which the criminals should be made aware of before they embark on their ‘suicide’ mission,” he adds.

    According to the ISSAN President, “the new law will help individuals to know their rights as well as the appropriate use of their computer systems and the need to protect themselves against the activities of fraudsters in electronic communications.”

    He adds that ISSAN will also collaborate with relevant stakeholders to create the needed awareness by all and sundry until Nigeria successfully reduces the activities of cybercriminals to the barest minimum.

    “With the cybercrime law now fully in place and with proper awareness now being created by ISSAN, Nigerians need not lose their hard-earned money and resources to criminals through the Internet and other electronic means. The promulgation of the Cybercrime Act has also provided another opportunity for us in ISSAN to further draw attention to the activities of the online criminals, which are on the increase in the country.”
    Source: Technology Times  27 August 2015


  • Ghana and Mauritius signed in Port Louis, Mauritius, a framework agreement for the development of a Technology Park in Tema.

    The first phase of the park, which will be developed and managed by a Special Purpose Vehicle, will be on a 6.1 hectare serviced land in the Tema Free Zones Enclave.

    With an initial investment of US$75million to be scaled up to US$250million, about 5000 direct jobs and thousands of indirect job opportunities will be created on completion of the park.

    The agreement signed by Minister for Communications, Dr. Edward Omane Boamah, and the Mauritius Minister for Finance and Economic Development, Hon Seetanah Lutchmeenaraidoo, lists the deliverables of the park project as a cyber tower, an innovation tower, a multi-use facility, a conference centre and a hotel.
    Read the full story here.

  • Econet Wireless says it has invested towards training of 1 000 young people as specialist computer programme coders over the last 12 months despite the problems that continue besetting the economy.

    The young school leavers who were selected for the programme are among the 40 000 orphaned children who annually receive education support from Econet Wireless and its founder Mr Strive Masiyiwa.

    The company has set up a special training facility called Muzinda Hub, which is equipped with the latest computer systems to train young people on how to design computer programmes, known as "apps".

    Those trained can also design websites for companies around the world. The young computer programme coders will be able to join other young people from across Africa competing to earn part of the $5 billion a year spent on buying services from African programmers.

    Explaining the initiative, Mr Douglas Mboweni, Econet Zimbabwe Chief Executive said: "Muzinda Hub is training coders who will earn millions for themselves and the country.

    "This is a huge industry globally and even in Africa where countries like South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, and Nigeria are earning hundreds of millions a year from this industry."
    Source: The Herald 27 August 2015

Digital Content

  • Cape Town - Facebook on Tuesday announced the launch of its Moments application for South Africa. The application allows people to create private galleries to share with selected people and the social network has engineered the app to reduce data cost.

    "Moments gives people control over when they take the actions that use the most data. For example, we download thumbnail images of photos you have received and only request the higher-res versions when you open them in the photo viewer," Moments product manager Will Ruben told Fin24.

    He said that the application which launched in June allows users to choose how to optimise their data bundle.

    "You can decide when you sync photos, and if you'd like to wait until you have a Wi-Fi connection to do that, you can choose to take that action then. Since Moments is optimised for syncing speed, it doesn't upload the full-res version, but rather a high-res version around the same size as a photo you would upload to Facebook."

    Though the Moments app will run parallel to Facebook, it sports a number of features that makes it easy to share galleries with friends.

    "Because Moments leverages the same facial recognition technology that's available on Facebook today, Moments lets you easily choose the right friends with whom to give and get photos, in a way that only Facebook can. Now you can effortlessly sync multiple photos with friends and the photos you didn't take," said Ruben.

    A Pew Centre report found that in the US, 72% of online adults use Facebook, with 70% of those classified as "highly engaged" because they log on daily.

    The social media website reported in July that its audience has grown to 1.49 billion users, dwarfing rivals Pinterest (31%) and Twitter (23%).

    Ruben said that the lessons learnt from Moments would impact in future Facebook features.

    "Moments is a Facebook Creative Labs app that we developed to solve a particular problem: making it easier to give and get photos from friends. What we learn from Moments can inform future iterations of the app as well as complement the work that goes into other Facebook products to solve related problems."
    Source: fin24 24 August 2015

  • The Nigerian 'rebel radio', known as Radio Biafra has resumed transmission despite claims by the government that its signals have been jammed. The controversial pirate channel began broadcasting pro-Biafra Programme this weekend after it was taken off air by the National Broadcasting Commission's (NBC) radio jamming signal.

    In a broadcast heard during the past week, Radio Biafra said the NBC had lied and that the station has not been silenced in what it called Biafral and where its signals are still reaching.

    TheCable, a Nigerian online news portal, said it had investigated the claims and confirmed that Radio Biafra was still broadcasting contrary to reports by the NBC that it has been jammed and taken off the air.

    It said the radio which came on air several months ago, was heard broadcasting on Tuesday, touching on mainly divisive issues among them the creation of a sovereign Biafra Republic.
    Source: This Day 24 August 2015

  • Mobile commerce is the future of product discovery and purchasing in South Africa and PriceCheck, together with SnapScan and Pargo, are leading the way. By combining these services, PriceCheck now provides the ability to find, buy and deliver products from offline product catalogues, right from your mobile phone.

    Brick and mortar stores need no longer spend any resources on building websites, choosing payment gateways and delivery partners, instead, PriceCheck brings together all of these logistics in-house at a fraction of the cost. The biggest benefit of the new offering is its mobile-centric approach, as it puts the power in the hands of the people who matter, customers.

    Shoppers will be able to browse for products from bricks and mortar retailers on PriceCheck’s mobile optimised catalogues before paying for their chosen products with SnapScan. While completing the SnapScan checkout process, instead of choosing a delivery address, shoppers will be prompted to select a Pargo collection point that is most convenient to them. From discovery to delivery, all with just a few taps on a phone.

    With this PriceCheck has evolved to more than a price comparison site, but to a mobile market leader that functions as a truly useful and complete mobile shopping destination. South African shoppers still prefer to do their research online before purchasing products offline, however they can now fully step into the mobile arena to find what they need, pay and even decide on the most convenient delivery method. PriceCheck has positioned itself perfectly to marry offline stores and mobile shoppers, and in so doing leads the way in putting choice back in the hands of the consumer.

    What is SnapScan?

    SnapScan is a mobile payment system that connects with users’ debit or credit card and enables payments without the need for carrying cash. All that is needed is to install the app, submit the required details, and to choose a PIN. Users can then open the app, scan the barcode and follow the on screen prompts to complete the transaction. SnapScan makes use of the required 3D secure systems, and because users will be completing transactions on their smart devices, it’s also extremely safe and simple.

    What is Pargo?

    Online shoppers are all too aware of the logistical challenges when it comes to getting goods delivered on time and in one piece. Pargo specialises in negating such issues, by providing an ingenious solution that brings online purchases to selected pick up points near shoppers. It’s as easy as browsing for products online, buying said products, and selecting a Pargo pick-up point on checkout. Once completed, shoppers can sit back and wait for a confirmation that the parcel is ready for collection; this will take between 1 to 3 days.
    Source: Press Release

  • Yuzah won the one million naira prize money in the Airtel catapult-a-startup competition held earlier in the year.

    Leading telecommunications operator, Airtel Nigeria, has launched a mobile app aimed at improving delivery of diesel in Nigeria.

    The app was created in partnership with app, Yuzah; the mobile app, also known as ‘Yuzah’ allows users to request instant delivery of diesel to their homes or offices, with their mobile phones.

    Yuzah won the one million naira prize money in the Airtel catapult-a-startup competition held earlier in the year.

    Chief commercial officer, Airtel Nigeria, Mr. Maurice Newa described Yuzah as part of efforts by the Telco to deliver convenient products and services to its customers.
    Source: PulseFM 26 August 2015

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

  • Oger Telecom has received offers from six companies interested in buying its controlling 75 percent stake in the South African operator Cell C, Oger Telecom's chief legal officer and deputy CEO Mazen Abou Chakra told Business Day. These include both domestic and international players. Chakra said that Oger had made no decision yet about whether to sell its interest in the operator, but said it was happy with Cell C's performance over the past 12-18 months and remained "fully committed" to the business.

    Oger chairman Mohammed Hariri said in March that the company would sell its stake if the right offer is forthcoming. Hariri told Reuters that Oger had hired Goldman Sachs to advise it on a possible sale. South African incumbent Telkom has since then expressed interest in a possible bid for Cell C. It's interest may have increased since competition regulators vetoed Telkom's planned mobile network sharing with MTN.
    Source: Telecompaper 27 August 2015

  • Tritech Media, a South African digital media company, has announced its acquisition of 25% stake in mobile rewards platform, TuYu.

    The fund from the acquisition will enable Tuyu scale its operations within South Africa and beyond. Tritech Media has the option of raising its stakes to 50.1%.

    “This investment further entrenches our position as the leading provider of all-encompassing loyalty solutions in South Africa,” said William Kirsh, Tritech Media’s CEO. “TuYu is core to our strategic positioning in using its proprietary technology to deliver customised content over digital media. TuYu is highly complementary to our offerings targeting the loyalty industry,” he added.

    The cost of the acquisition is undisclosed.

    Founded in 2013, Tuyu is a mobile rewards platform that allows users to receive and redeem rewards by using their mobile phones, since the user’s mobile number is all that’s required.
    Source: Techcabal 27 August 2015

  • Telkom has filed an objection at communications regulator Icasa to Multisource’s planned acquisition of iBurst and Broadlink parent Wireless Business Solutions (WBS), TechCentral has learnt.

    Telkom submitted a written comment to Icasa earlier this month in which it said it is “premature” for the regulator to consider the WBS sale given that there is a public consultation process underway to finalise regulations that will govern the control of “individual” network and service licences.

    “Icasa should defer further consideration of this transaction until after the requisite regulatory framework is in place,” Telkom said in response to a questions from TechCentral.

    The operator’s objections come after Icasa in July asked for written submissions over the proposed sale of WBS.

    Telkom has also raised objections on the transfer of control of WBS’s spectrum licences to Multisource, a company that enjoys the backing of former top bankers Michael Jordaan and Paul Harris.

    In terms of the application, Multisource has previously undertaken that WBS will remain the holder of all licences issued to it by Icasa.

    The Electronic Communications Act prevents the sale or transfer of an “individual licence” without prior written permission from regulator.

    Telkom said the applicants had used the wrong forms in submitting their request for the transfer of WBS’s spectrum assets. They had also supplied incomplete information, thus preventing Icasa from properly assessing the application, Telkom said.

    “The applicants did not follow the prescribed procedure according to the radio spectrum frequency regulations, as revised in 2015.”

    Telkom said the application involves the transfer of control of high-demand spectrum in the 1,8GHz band and that this “must follow rigorous scrutiny by the authority in terms of the prescribed regulations”.

    It said, too, that the applicants have supplied “insufficient information” to assess the change in black economic empowerment status.

    TechCentral reported in February that WBS had undergone a successful due diligence by Multisource. The deal still requires the approval of both Icasa and South Africa’s competition authorities.

    WBS has access to valuable radio frequency spectrum that could be used to build a national wireless broadband network. In particular, it has access to spectrum in the 1,8GHz band that is ideally suited to building next-generation wireless broadband networks using 4G/LTE technology.

    TechCentral broke the news in October 2014 that Multisource, a company which was once listed on the JSE, had made an offer to buy the company.

    At the time, chairman and shareholder Phumlani Moholi confirmed that Multisource had made an offer to buy WBS, but cautioned that it was subject to a financial and technical due diligence. Moholi is a former chief technology officer at MTN and chief IT officer for the 2010 Fifa World Cup local organising committee.

    The value of the proposed acquisition has not been disclosed.

    WBS shareholders include Blue Label Telecoms co-CEOs Brett and Mark Levy, the Development Bank of Southern Africa, Investec, the Public Investment Corp and former WBS CEO Thami Mtshali, who stepped down last August.

    InstituteX, an investment company founded by Harris, Moholi and technology entrepreneur Brandon Leigh, acquired a 66% stake in Multisource back in 2010. Leigh, who serves as Multisource’s CEO, is the former head of Leaf Wireless, the company that distributed HTC products in South Africa until 2012
    Source: Techcentral 20 August 2015

  • The Libyan Post Telecommunications and Information Technology Company (LPTIC) has announced the strategic consolidation of a number of Libyan-owned telecoms companies currently operating in sub-Saharan Africa. The businesses in question were previously managed as part of the wider investment portfolio of the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA), and managed by LAP Green Network. The consolidation of the company’s sub-Saharan telecoms portfolio, which took effect following a directive issued by the interim Government of Libya, has been supported by the LIA’s board of trustees, the LPTIC noted in a statement.

    Companies affected by the corporate reshuffle include: GreenN Cote d’Ivoire, Uganda Telecom Ltd (UTL) and South Sudan-based Gemtel. Meanwhile, domestic companies currently under the LPTIC’s control include: mobile operators Libyana and Almadar Aljaded, internet service provider (ISP) Libya Telecom & Technology (LTT) and fixed line telco Hatif.

    Hassan Bouhadi, chairman of the LIA, commented: ‘The LIA has a responsibility to the Libyan people to ensure that it has the best means to deliver value and revenue. This consolidation of key telecommunication assets under one management team creates synergies and new opportunities for investment which the LIA believes are right for the Libyan people and the African holdings. As these assets have developed, they have now reached a point in their life cycle that will require a more focused telecommunications and information technology company to oversee the next stage of development and unlock their full potential’.
    Source: Telegeography 25 August 2015


  • USIU & Tech Republic Launch Innovation Boot Camp to Equip Teens with Coding Skills

    Africa Tech Republic Africa Innovation BootcampNairobi-based United States International University-Africa and Tech Republic have launched an innovation bootcamp to offer upper primary and secondary pupils aged 12 – 19 with a platform through which they can learn and expand their coding prowess.

    Launched today, the five-day long innovation camp is open to all pupils and no previous coding experience is necessary for the participants; however, students who have intermediate tech skills will be challenged with additional exercises.

    USIU-Africa’s Head of Marketing and Communications, Ms. Jane Muriithi-Thomas said,“USIU-Africa has been a long-time provider of highly-trained talent to our local and regional computer technology companies. Providing coding classes to our future “techies” falls right in line with the diverse educational programs we offer in the computer sciences.”

    The innovation camp facilitation fee is only Kenya Shillings 7,100 that will cater for daily meals and training materials. USIU-Africa and Tech Republic have made efforts to subsidize the participation fee to ensure that cost is not a barrier and the camp is accessible to as many students as possible.

    The kids are being taught web design, app development, computer programming, digital marketing, blogging and social media and is being hosted by top instructors from Tech Republic.

    “Our approach is centered on creativity, collaboration, critical thinking and communication. We are teaching our students to create and grow their own apps and online presence whilst maintaining a strong academic and practical focus,” said Amanda Gicharu-Kemoli, Co-founder of Tech Republic.

  • Millicom Appoints Cynthia Gordon as EVP, CEO Africa Division

    Millicom has  announced the appointment of Cynthia Gordon as its Executive Vice President, CEO Africa Division. She takes up the role on 21 September.

        “This is a transformative time for the digital and telecommunications space in Africa. I am really looking forward to joining Millicom, which is bringing a digital lifestyle, mobile access, mobile financial services, business services, and more to millions of people who increasingly see the internet as one of the most important enablers for their development.”

    Cynthia will be Millicom’s Executive Vice President responsible for leading the company’s six operations in Africa: Tanzania, Ghana, DRC, Senegal, Rwanda and Chad.

    Cynthia will focus on delivering and executing a strong and profitable organic growth plan for Africa. Cynthia will report directly to Millicom's CEO and will lead a newly created Africa Executive Committee, tasked with overseeing and driving Millicom's African operations.

  • Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation Forum
    14-16 September 2015
    Safari Park Hotel, Nairobi, Kenya

    The Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation Forum is an annual three-day conference and exhibition which brings together government ministers and senior officials, private sector executives and civil society leaders from Commonwealth countries and beyond, as well as leaders of UN agencies and other multilateral organisations to discuss common concerns and opportunities for ICTs.
     This year’s event, which is expected to be the largest ever according to organisers Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO), will be held on 14 - 16 September in Nairobi, Kenya on the theme “Towards a Connected Commonwealth”.
     Organisations supporting this year’s event include Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. Dedicated sessions will feature a wide range of ICT entrepreneurs and digital start-ups such as Ushahidi, Angani and the Mediae Company.
    Download the full  conference programme here
    To register, sponsor or exhibit at the event, or for any other enquiry, please contact the CTO directly at

    Fibre to Home Conference 2015
    20-21 October 2015

    Kigali Rwanda
    "Despite the abundance of sub-sea cables linking Africa to the rest of the world, most African countries still struggle with a lack of basic broadband services" says Juanita Clark, FTTH Council Africa CEO. "We need to collaborate, as a continent, to ensure regulatory challenges are addressed – minimising barriers to entry for high-speed fibre networks."
    Topic and White Paper submissions close on Friday, 31 July. Submit yours by emailing
    Broadband is a significant technological development, providing users with fast, always-on access to new services, applications and content. Over the past decade broadband connectivity in Africa has significantly increased due to demand. Today governments across Africa recognise that broadband is more than just an infrastructure. It is a mission critical technology that can fundamentally restructure an economy. The topic of broadband deserves intensive focus and extensive dialogue’.
    Register online at here
    For more information visit here:

    Broadband World Forum 2015
    20-22 October 2015
    Excel Centre, London
    Broadband World Forum is one of the world’s largest telecoms, media & technology events with over 7,800 senior executives from across the globe.
    For more information click here:

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