Issue no 579 4th November 2011

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Top story

  • The growth in Africa’s Facebook numbers show that it has touched a chord with users at a near mass level. Social media played a part in the Arab Spring and they’ve been arguing about what part ever since. Here at Balancing Act we decided to engage with social media about 12 months ago and this article looks at what we’ve discovered since then.

    Balancing Act’s universe of users is about 11,000 people, around 70% of whom are interested in telecoms and Internet in English and French and 30% in broadcast and film: that’s those topics from Africa, not anywhere else. We are a specialist, niche media so bear these figures in mind when looking at the stats below.

    Readers sometimes write and talk about “in your blog” and the “the blog you write” but besides the Top Story every week in these e-letters (which are based on facts but are opinionated), the rest is a newsletter. It comes out at a particular time so people know when to expect it and it has sections so they know where to look for things that might interest them. We could do a blog separately but somehow what’s the point when you have a weekly opportunity to say something?

    So about 12 months ago we decided to get engaged with social media to see in practical terms what it meant. Since it eats time like some minor addiction, you have to decide what you’re going to do and how much of it. We chose to put time into LinkedIn because it is a site for professionals rather than Facebook that has taken advantage of corporate interest but is still fundamentally individuals.

    You can’t appear on all social platforms so we chose Twitter rather than the slightly more long-form Tumblr and we chose You Tube rather than Vimeo. In other words, we made somewhat safe choices on the basis that it’s easier to be on platforms that are well-known and established with existing audiences. So for example in African terms, You Tube is up in the Top 5 most-used sites in those African countries analysed by alexa.com whereas Vimeo and Tumblr are not.

    We have 1,816 LinkedIn contacts right across the continent from the smallest most unconnected country to the largest and it is an excellent way of meeting people at all levels in a company. However, its mail lists are amongst the dullest we sample and rare is the week when they produce interesting and surprising information: people use it to promote what they do (as we do) and that is usually less than riveting.

    Our You Tube channel attracts just under 2,000 users a month and has just under 4,000 views a month. This has happened in the space of 12 months and it is still growing. These are 5-10 minute interviews with industry leaders about what’s happening in their company or more widely in the business. A successful interview can expect to get 300-500 views. The exceptions have been film-makers: Ghana’s Shirley Frimpong Manso who made Adam’s Apples has got 10,508 views and Tunisia’s Nadia El Fani who made Ould Lenine 5,569 views. In the telecoms field, Kenya’s John Kamau has got 1,437 views talking about Fibre-To-The-Home.

    It’s not broadcast quality but rough-and-ready compressed HD video clips shot using a small camera with no external mike or additional lighting. There’s not enough time to edit, except to take out the more obvious mistakes. You soon discover that what you thought was quiet and undisturbed attracts noise and disturbance. Watch Jessica Verrili of Twitter not just because it’s on topic for this article but also because you can see the hotel staff in the background opening and closing the doors behind her head as they are shooed away off-camera:

    People are more cautious about what they say in a video clip than they are when they talk in an interview for a print article but there are still plenty of surprises. Although you can put your videos into topic categories, which run down the right hand side of the featured video clip, it feels awkward and it is not designed to create easy ways for people – professional or otherwise – creating categories they can use. Surprise, surprise, you have to use a search engine to do that….

    Currently we have only 106 subscribers to the channel and 22 friends but thus far we have promoted individual videos rather than subscribing to the channel. But if you want to know about 2-5 videos a week covering your industry, subscribe to BalancingActAfrica on You Tube.

    We currently have 889 followers on Twitter (@balancingactafr) and on the current growth pattern will go over a thousand in the next month or two. We follow 253 other people or companies and tweet about 200 times a month. Twitter eats time if you let it but it’s a good way of spotting things that you might not otherwise have come across.

    In African terms, the majority of the users seem to be from South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya with lesser showings from Ghana and Senegal. The outliers are people like Nenna (from Cote d’Ivoire) and George Mpoudi of MTN (from Cameroon). The twitterscape from where we are seems to be dominated by ICT4D (as in development) folk rather than private sector companies, which is a little surprising. The corporate tweets tend to be a little dull and uninformative or aimed at the consumers of that company’s products. The exception is Bob Collymore, CEO of Safaricom who engages in regular banter with Safaricom’s users in Kenya.

    Getting the tone right on Twitter is hard. Some people use it simply to talk about what they’re feeling or what they think. Others describe every last person they’ve met. But we meet people who don’t really want to feature in our Twitter feed and whilst we think our opinions about everything in the whole wide world are riveting, we’re not sure you would. That said, there’s no doubt Twitter users are (awful word) “thought leaders”.

    So we’ve come a long way since Balancing Act’s newsletter output used to be a simple e-mail using Outlook Express. Our target readers may not always have the bandwidth to hand for You Tube but they want to be part of it. One person asked us why we weren’t doing audio blogs rather than video clips, with the unspoken assumption that because “this is Africa”. We’ve now passed that point and whilst everything won’t work for everybody, there’s no reason to assume that something won’t work for a large number of people, including You Tube.

    In terms of devices, we have below 5% who use mobile phones to access our content because our core audience is in the content and bandwidth business. Nevertheless, the number of smartphones, feature phones and tablets is growing fast so the Internet will allow us to be on all those platforms as they achieve “critical mass”.

    The newsletters are done as an adjunct to our consultancy and research business and are supported by advertising. But what is much less clear is the business model for other parts of social media. You can see Twitter as a way of engaging with audiences but there are few ways that it converts into cash, even for the company itself.

    Likewise, despite already having just under half the users of the text e-letter, there is no quick and easy way to monetize the You Tube Channel. You make money with Google Ads if you have millions of views, not if you are a niche channel with thousands. Any daring advertiser out there, give us a ring (+44 207 582 5220): it only took one advertiser on the text e-letters for all the others to get the idea.

    If you have your own experiences with social media in Africa, send them to: editorial@balancingact-africa.com

    On the Balancing Act You Tube Channel this week a Nigeria special:

    Adebayo Oyewole, Hd Marketing & Strategy, Main One on its new IP products

    Uchechi Chuta on Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan's use of social media

    Olalekan Olude, Head of Sales, Jobberman.com on the growth of this jobs website

    Azuka Ndulewe, Chief Marketing Officer, Helios Towers Nigeria on the business case for shared towers

    Ojaye Idoko, CEO, Layer3 on the barriers to broadband expansion in Nigeria

    Want up-to-the-minute breaking news? Balancing Act's Twitter feed provides a combination of breaking news for telecoms, Internet and broadcast in Africa, direct tweets from countries visited and access to the occasional rumours circulating. You can follow us on: @BalancingActAfr

telecoms

  • France Telecom announced on 31 October 2011that it has finalized the acquisition of Congolese operator Congo Chine Telecom. The deal means France Telecom will own 51% of the company’s stake with the remaining 49% owned by the government.

    The French company said in a press statement, that the move is part of expansion efforts and reflects France Telecom-Orange’s international strategy, which aims to stimulate growth by entering high potential emerging markets.

    “The acquisition of CCT is an important step in our policy of expansion outside Europe, and contributes to our stated aim of doubling our revenues in Africa and the Middle East by 2015. Orange is already present in over 20 countries in the region and has built up considerable experience developing networks and new services that are specifically tailored to the needs of local markets,” Stephane Richard, France Telecom-Orange CEO and Chairman said in a press statement.

    France Telecom will initially pay $10 million followed by a $7 million second payment to the Chinese company for the take over. France Telecom-Orange will also deliver to CCT a capital increase of $185 million in order to finance its operations.

    Infrastructure and other services will be provided to CCT by ZTE, France Telecom-Orange has referred to the vendor as a preferred supplier. In addition, China Development Bank will provide strategic financing support.

    A statement from France Telecom-Orange promises that the French firm will contribute its marketing, commercial and technical expertise as well as the Orange brand, to leverage CCT’s solid network assets.

    The operator acknowledges CCT’s real potential for growth over the next few years, noting the DRC – the fourth most populous African country – has a small penetration rate of just 17% despite its population of 70 million.

  • MTN has increased its fibre footprint through partnerships with Metro Fibre Networx (MFN) in Gauteng and Neotel fibre and Ethekweni Metroconnect in the Western Cape and KZN.

    MTN Business announced on 1 November 2011 that it had expanded their Metro Ethernet footprint through the development of strategic last mile relationships. According to Justin Colyn, GM of Fixed Mobile Convergence at MTN Business, they will also use Telkom Wholesale to connect businesses in areas that do not have a fibre footprint.

    Colyn said that the demand for Metro Ethernet is currently very strong in Gauteng, and with Metro Fibre Networx expanding its footprint in high-concentration business areas in Gauteng, it means that their customers will benefit from this partnership.

    The company said in a press statement that their MTN Metro Ethernet product offering provides customers with a high speed, high availability and low latency broadband Ethernet service. “Through this offering, customers can choose bandwidths speeds from 2Mbps to 1Gbps in specific intervals,” said MTN Business.

    The MTN Metro Ethernet service is based on a fibre network that uses Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) technology to supply point-to-point, point-to-multi-point or virtual LAN services between customer branches within the Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban metropolitan areas.

  • According to Morocco’s telecoms regulator, the ANRT, mobile subscribers in the country reached a total of 36.15 million at the end of September 2011, up by 3.4% quarter-on-quarter and 18.5% in twelve months. In terms of market share, at that date the watchdog reported that Maroc Telecom accounted for 46.9% of subscribers, Meditel 32.8% and Wana nearly 20.3%. Also at 30 September, the ANRT said that Moroccan 3G mobile internet services had 2.33 million subscribers, up from 1.82 million the previous quarter and 1.16 million a year earlier.

    At the end of the third quarter Maroc Telecom claimed 39.9% of the 3G broadband market, giving it 929,500 subscribers, followed by Meditel with 829,000 (35.6%) and Wana with 24.5%, or 570,000 3G mobile internet accounts. The figures include combined 3G voice and data mobile package users (handsets, computers and other devices). Subscriptions to data-only 3G mobile broadband services (e.g. via USB dongle modem) at end-September amounted to 1.403 million (60.2% of the 3G internet total), up by 9.5% quarter-on-quarter, while combined voice-plus-data package users reportedly reached 926,000 (39.8% of the 3G total), a growth rate of 73.1% from the end of June 2011.

    Fixed ADSL broadband lines in Morocco (nearly all operated by Maroc Telecom) saw a quarterly increase in 3Q11 of 4.5% to reach a total of 550,500.

  • JSE-listed Altech has appointed Shahab Meshki as new CEO of its struggling East Africa business Kenya Data Networks. At the same time, the technology group is reported to be in talks to buy Kenyan IT firm Symphony in a deal that could be worth as much as US$60m.

    An unnamed source told Reuters that Altech has been in talks with Symphony “for several months and is now nearing the end of its due diligence”. According to the wire service, Altech is like to pay between $50m and $60m for the company, which also has operations in Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Ethiopia.

    According to Symphony’s website, the company delivers IT solutions focusing on consulting, training, infrastructure and maintenance. Meanwhile, Meshki’s appointed, which is effective from 1 November, comes just weeks after Altech CEO Craig Venter said he had replaced the management team in East Africa to deal with the underperformance of the operation, which dragged down the group’s interim results for the six months to the end of August.

    According to Altech, Meshki has 20 years of experience in the IT and telecommunications industries, having started his career with Siemens’ automation division where he was in charge of software and hardware development and later led marketing and sales of network analysers.

    In 1995, he joined Cisco, and in 2002 moved to Kenya to establish the US company’s presence in East Africa.

  • According to an unconfirmed report from online news journal Citi FM, a commercial court in Accra will today launch a trial concerning a lawsuit filed opposing the sale of a majority stake in national PTO Vodafone Ghana – then known as Ghana Telecom (GT) – to UK-based Vodafone Group.

    The portal writes that the courts have deliberated on the action for more than a year to determine whether or not it has jurisdiction to hear the case, filed by Professor Agyeman Badu Akosah and six others. The plaintiffs are seeking a legal cancellation of the sale of the government’s 70% stake in GT to the UK giant in 2008.

    On 3 July 2008 Vodafone agreed a deal to acquire a 70% stake in the PTO from the government for USD900 million and the sale was completed the following month. The state retains a 30% interest. The firm was rebranded Vodafone Ghana in April 2009.

  • MTN Nigeria, Globacom and Airtel Nigeria are facing possible sanctions from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) if the operators do not improve their services by the end of November 2011.

    MTN Nigeria, Glo and Airtel received notice from the Nigerian Communications Commission that the companies had not complied with the NCC quality of service requirements.

    According to the NCC, MTN Nigeria had 30 days from 1 November 2011 to meet the set targets as set out in the notice. Failure to comply will result in the NCC directive in the time frame given, will require all new sales of SIM cards to be stopped and the imposition of a financial penalty.

    If the companies do not improve their quality of service by the end of the month, the NCC said it would cancel the operators ability to issue new SIM cards.

    Mark Ogunba, a Lagos-based IT and telecom analyst, told ITNewsAfrica that the government must be careful not to alienate the companies as they push toward wider telecom and Internet penetration.

    “While it is definitely important to improve our infrastructure and quality of service, threats are unlikely to get it done and this could result in these companies deciding it is too costly,” said Ogunba.

    “We need incentives instead,” concludes Ogunba.

internet

  • Google said on 31 October 2011, that through its latest initiative, 5,000 of Nigeria ’s SMEs would move their businesses online in the next five days.

    According to BusinessDayOnline.com, statistics indicate that there are three million SMEs in Nigeria and only a paltry 17,000 are online. Analyst say a digital revolution for SMEs is in the offing, as increasing empirical evidence suggests that simply putting a website on the internet, increases the revenue, productivity and competitiveness of SMEs.

    Speaking at the Google small business web fair yesterday, Juliet Ehimuan, Google Nigeria Country Manager said small businesses are a key driver of economic growth in Nigeria .

    “We intend to remove the barriers that stop small scale businesses from getting online, such as a lack of time, anticipated expense or simply a lack of knowledge. Our tools and resources make it quick, easy and free for businesses to register an online presence and take advantage of internet opportunities”.

    Omobola Johnson, Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Communication Technology, who opened the fair, said SMEs are being used as a strategy for employment generation, economic restructuring for development and growth.

    “Some compelling statistics support this view. Globally SMEs provide 50 percent of global employment and 90 percent of registered businesses are SMEs. In Malaysia , for instance, in 2006, SMEs were 99.2 percent of all businesses and contributed 47.3 percent of GDP and 65.3 percent of employment. In Nigeria , the statistics are similar but with some important differences.”

    According to Johnson, 70% of the country’s employment is provided by SMEs, but they deliver only 10 percent of economic value added (EVA) compared to an average of 55% and 25% EVA, in other developing economies and 60 percent and 50 percent respectively, in developed economies of the world.

    These statistics, according to the minister, show that Nigeria ’s SMEs are not as productive as they can, should or need to be. She listed a number of reasons that have slowed down the growth of SMEs which include: poor infrastructure, a poor skills base, poor  access to finance, low adoption of ICT and access to markets amongst others.

    With regards to infrastructure development, she said the role of the ICT Ministry is to facilitate the building of an ICT infrastructure that is cost effective, ubiquitous and gives more Nigerians better and faster access to the internet, at affordable prices.

    “We are also committed to getting as many devices into the hands of Nigerians, to enable them transact business on the internet and create a demand for products and services offered over the internet. In other words, getting businesses online is a key part of the agenda and policy direction of this ministry.

    Google has already registered its presence on the .ng domain name and is by this initiative populating the .ng domain for the benefit of Nigeria .

    “I would strongly encourage SMEs to wholeheartedly embrace the internet and take that small first step of having a website on the .ng domain. Today Nigeria has an estimated 33 million internet users and we have targets to double this number in the next three to four years,” said Johnson.

    Getting your business online immediately, gives you access to this market, not to talk of the hundreds of millions of other internet users out there – a very strong value proposition in our opinion”, said Johnson.

  • South Africa’s broadband speeds are still lagging behind the global average South Africa’s average broadband speed of 2.84Mbps is still significantly lower than the global average of 9.18Mbps. South Africa is ranked 103rd in the world when it comes to broadband speeds.

    South Africa’s average download speed of 2.84Mbps is also slower than a few other African countries like Ghana (7.62Mbps), Kenya (4.27Mbps), Rwanda (3.74Mbps), Morocco (2.92Mbps) and Angola (2.89Mbps).

    This is according to Ookla’s Net Index which uses data from the web based speed test service Speedtest.net.

    The Ookla Net Index ranks consumer download speeds around the globe using results from the past 30 days where the average distance between the client and the test server is less than 300 miles.

    According to the Net Index statistics, Lithuania had the highest average broadband speed at 33Mbps, followed by South Korea with 30Mbps and Sweden with 26Mbps.

    The top 10 countries ranked by download speed are:

       1. Lithuania 32.61Mbps
       2. South Korea 30.15Mbps
       3. Sweden 26.09Mbps
       4. Romania 25.80 Mbps
       5. Latvia 25.23 Mbps
       6. Netherlands 24.60Mbps
       7. Macau 22.56Mbps
       8. Bulgaria 21.66Mbps
       9. Andorra 21.20Mbps
      10. Switzerland 20.89Mbps

  • International and local tourists will from January be able to search and access basic information about places of interest on their smartphones .

    Yellow Pages Kenya Limited has made this possible with a new traveller's application software running on android platform that it would make available on Samsung's Galaxy tablet computer, iPhone and iPad. The application will enable travellers to check out hotels with their preferred delicacies, taxis services in particular localities and entertainment spots, among others.

    The platform is currently undergoing fine tuning tests before its is released to consumers early next year for free download from mobile phones applications stores.

    The company provides travel guide directory on hard copy, but it says the electronic version would not only provide users with an easy option but also eliminate the need of using the Internet since the application would be downloaded and stored on the smartphones for reference.

    The Yellow Pages managing director, Rizwan Jiwani, said it took the company five years to put together the content on the visitors' guide and this was mainly motivated by the realisation that most tourists depended on maps or wildlife check lists provided at most game parks with not only very little information but also difficult to obtain.

    "There is no enough free travel information both for local and international tourists, however, with this app, travellers can now search for information by area or street," said Jiwani.

    "We haven't signed contract with any of the handsets manufacturers yet, however, this should be through by December and the application made available in their stores in January."

    Even though Yellow Pages intends to offer the content available on the application for free, it expects to generate revenue through advertisement from hospitality industry. This includes the hotels and restraurants who will have an opportunity to place their content on the platform. Other than exposure, the tourism industry would also benefit from feedback from their clients.

computing

  • It appears there was method in Gijima’s madness after all. The JSE-listed IT company that earlier this year said it would buy all its employees Apple iPads has signed the first systems integrator agreement in Southern Africa with Apple. Gijima will assist with the support for Apple hardware and software solutions that work with company-managed systems, it said on Monday.

    “Industry observers have noted that IT departments are not only faced with the challenge of integrating company-owned technology, but also personal devices that employees want to bring to work,” Gijima said. “Employees recognise that devices, such as the iPad, are excellent productivity tools and are demanding that their personal technology integrates with their organisations’ back-end systems.”

    The use of Apple technology has increased substantially in the enterprise space and there is demand for more systems support, according to RJ van Spaandonk, executive director of Core Group, which represents Apple in SA.

    As an authorised reseller and systems integrator, Gijima will sell and support iPad, MacBook Pro, Macbook Air, iMac, Mac Mini, Lion and Lion Server for business customers.

    “In June this year … we integrated 3,300 iPads into our own organisation, so we have first-hand experience with the requirements and systems needed to support companies with their Apple technology needs,” said Gijima chief financial officer Carlos Ferreira.

  • Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) has provided 110 computers to nine schools and orphanages on the Copperbelt in a bid to enhance Information Communication Technology and the quality of education.

    The donation of the 110 computers and nine printers, worth about US$100,000, was a follow-up to another donation of 300 computers to 19 Government schools in the last three years in areas where KCM operated.

    According to a KCM statement, several schools requested for the computers, prompting the company to expand its programme to provide more computers to schools and children.

    KCM corporate social responsibility (CSR) manager Sampa Chitah said the initiative to provide computers to schools and orphanages was intended to promote computer literacy in learning institutions and enable mainly underprivileged pupils compete favourably with their peers in privately-run schools. "This opportunity will foster an e-learning culture that is good to our education system," she said.

    Chitah said the government alone could not achieve the goal of providing quality education, prompting KCM to partner with the government to provide computers to schools.

    The project would impact positively on the pupils, particularly disadvantaged children in the orphanage centres as beneficiaries would keep abreast with basic computer skills. She urged school administrators and pupils to take advantage of the equipment to improve their computer literacy.

    The schools which received the computers were Matelo Basic School, Maiteneke High School, Mutende Orphanage in Chingola, Chilabombwe's Konkola and Kamenza basic schools and One-way Mission Orphanage.

    Rokana and Riverain basic schools and the SOS Children's Village in Kitwe were the other beneficiaries.

  • The Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Prof. Cleopas Angaye, has said the national software policy being developed by the Federal Government will help in making the economy knowledge-driven rather one that is based on revenue from oil alone.

    Angaye who stated this at the just-concluded national software conference and competition organised by the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), noted that the national software policy is expected to guide the deployment of local software.

    "We have tried some initiatives in enhancing the software industry in Nigeria, such as the national software development initiative, national software development taskforce and the national information technology (IT) policy. Despite these, we have not been able to adequately explore the full potentials of the industry in a way to make Software Nigeria a major player in the global industry," he said.

    Angaye reiterated that the software industry had no doubt become a thing of utmost importance to future competitiveness for economies across the globe especially with its halo effect in creating business opportunities.
     
    According to him, Nigeria had not been able to adequately explore the full potentials of the industry in a way to make her software, major player in the global market.

    The software industry, he said, was important to future competitiveness across the globe especially with its effect in creating related business opportunities, adding that the critical role of software could not be over emphasised.

    Angaye noted that IT assisted in developing globally competitive human capital as it played a key role especially in the areas of teaching aids, research, online education and with opportunity and additional skills that would allow them to secure employment and provides information available job opportunities.

    "The role of our youths and students in IT and in particular software development as a major in economic growth and development is very obvious across the globe. The positive implication of this new trend is that job opportunities abound for citizens of countries like Nigeria where unemployment rate very high.

    "Through IT, Nigerian youths can be exposed to borderless opportunities, global competitiveness and create wealth for themselves and nation as whole" he said.

    Angaye stressed that there was an urgent need for all stakeholders in the IT industry to come together and contribute meaningfully to empowering youths in becoming major players in the global IT market.

  • A new software service provider “Twenty Third Century Systems” (TTCS) will this week launch its services in Uganda.

    The Uganda launch will be the fourth destination for the company among the EAC partner states after already having subsidiary companies in Rwanda, Burundi and Kenya, reports EA Business Week.

    According to Stuart Mugabe, the company Chief Executive Officer, the launch of the Twenty Third Century Systems Uganda is a culmination of the strategic alliance forged by local ICT provider Spacecomms Consulting Ltd a company incorporated in Uganda and wholly owned by Ugandans, and a Pan African business solutions provider Twenty Third Century Systems (pvt) Ltd (TTCS) a company incorporated in Zimbabwe.

    TTCS is the largest SAP (Software Applications) resource partner in Africa outside South Africa with a Gold partner status.

    Mugabe says that the company has been in the business of deploying the world's leading ERP solution (SAP) for the last 15 years, with so many end to end SAP implementations to its name.

    "TTCS has spread its operations from Zimbabwe to open other subsidiaries across Africa i.e. Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, Malawi, Botswana, Zambia and Nigeria.

    "The opening of the Uganda Subsidiary through this strategic partnership represents our commitment to delivering world-class solutions to East Africa using Ugandan resources," said Mugabe in an interview with East African Business Week in Kampala.

    He adds that Twenty Third Century Systems has extensive experience in Africa and the Middle East, with successful projects in countries such as Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia, South Africa, Nigeria, Mauritius, Malawi, Rwanda, Botswana and Bahrain.

    "TTCS has a wealth of knowledge and experience, employing over 130 SAP consultants to date.

    "We have invested hugely in providing software as a service (cloud computing) and training Ugandans to replace imported skills, thereby creating local capacity for the delivery and support of future SAP implementations in the region using Ugandan resources," adds Mugabe.

    He notes that their strategy is to build on its relationship with SAP to deploy a large number of SAP solutions to the private sector and Government  institution, providing complete solutions which cover the full spectrum of ICT projects, i.e. hardware, software , connectivity and implementation services.

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

  • Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele has put a halt on all future tolling projects.
    The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) says the hearing into e-tolling at the Gauteng Legislature will be futile.

    After receiving several petitions against e-tolling, the Gauteng Legislature combined them into one and announced it would host a hearing on the matter on 11 November.

    It believes it is through this process that parties will begin finding a solution to the tollgates impasse in the province.

    However, Cosatu says this process will be futile if the current project is already set to move ahead. Last month, Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele put a halt on all future tolling projects, but said this does not include e-tolling, which would definitely go ahead in February. For this reason, Cosatu says the hearing will be futile.

    “There will be no solution to the impasse if objectors at the hearing are told the current tolling project is going ahead anyway, and they can only raise issues about future tolling plans, in which case, this hearing will be a futile exercise.”

    The federation says it will insist at the hearing that e-tolling has never been properly debated, and has not been accepted by the people of Gauteng.

    “The current tolling project must be scrapped. The tolls will mean a steep increase in the cost of living of all road users, especially workers who have no alternative but to drive to work, because of the lack of a proper public transport system. They already pay taxes and a fuel levy every time they buy petrol.”

    If there is no change in policy from government, the negotiations deadlock, and tolls are not scrapped, Cosatu will plan marches, demonstrations, pickets and stay-aways.

    “We are confident that thousands of other Gauteng residents will be joining us in these protests. We shall also consider court action if people are discriminated [against] on the basis of geography. We shall continue to demand, as the alternative to tolled roads, an integrated, safe, reliable and affordable public transport system.”
    Going ahead

    Fees initially gazetted for the e-toll system in February were suspended due to public pressure. Cabinet in August approved reduced tariffs for e-tolling in Gauteng, which dictate that motorcycles (Class A1) with e-tags will pay 24c/km; light vehicles (Class A2) will pay 40c/km; medium vehicles (Class B) 100c/km; and “longer” vehicles (Class C) 200c/km.

    Qualifying commuter taxis (Class A2) and commuter buses (Class B) are completely exempt from the e-toll system. The reduction for light vehicles without e-tags saw a drop from 66c/km to 58c/km, and from R3.95/km for heavy vehicles without e-tags to R2.95/km. The e-tolling project is an open road, multilane toll infrastructure that allows tolls to be charged without drivers having to stop. There are no physical booths.

    The system is set to go live in February, despite strong opposition from labour, political parties and citizens.

  • The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) says Africa is leading the trend with 51 mobile money systems in place, and as many as 37 of the deployments being in least developed countries (LDCs).

    “Mobile money deployments have taken off in the past two years. According to data from the GSM Association, some 109 such deployments had been implemented as of April 2011, spanning all developing regions. Only 11 of these are in developed countries. Africa is leading the trend with 51 mobile money systems in place, and as many as 37 of the deployments are in least developed countries (LDCs),” said the report titled “Information Economy Report 2011: ICTs as an Enabler for Private Sector Development.”

    The report released October 19, 2011 adds that “There are now more than 40 million users, according to the providers from whom subscription data are available.”

    According to the report, the rapid expansion of mobile money systems is creating new opportunities for small-micro enterprises (SMEs) – particularly in low-income countries – to access financial services.

    UNCTAD said mobile money is providing increased access to finance for SMEs, which traditionally have been poorly served by existing lending institutions.

    “Banking through mobile phones allows for real-time transfer and the receipt of small amounts of funds at low cost. They can reduce the costs of processing and administering small loans, thereby alleviating a significant disincentive for lenders to extend credit to SMEs,” it said.

    The report stressed that existing mobile money systems can become even better if adapted to meet the needs of small businesses saying “Basic money transfer or payment functions can have a major impact on the way small enterprises operate – they can enable them to better manage their cash flow and expedite the delivery of supplies and goods.”

    It called on governments to pioneer new legislation and regulations for mobile money and urged the international community to actively support the development of sound regulatory frameworks and relevant institutions, as well as facilitate the exchange of practice and expertise.

    “Governments and their central banks should explore ways to absorb small enterprises into the mainstream by means of mobile-based commercial and financial transactions,” it said.

    In Ghana, MTN, Tigo and Airtel are the telecommunication firms offering the mobile money services.

  • Roamware has announced that FETS (Funds & Electronic Transfer Solutions), a consortium focused on increasing mobile payment usage in Nigeria has chosen its Macalla service as their mobile financial services platform and has launched eMoni, a mobile payments service using the platform.

    FETS, a non-bank service provider has recently been awarded a license by the Central Bank of Nigeria to roll out mobile payment services to the banked and vast unbanked segments (~80%) of the Nigerian population.

    "About 80% of the Nigerian population is unbanked. The policy initiative of the Central Bank of Nigeria to increase mobile payment usage will accelerate Nigeria's transition to a cashless economy.", said Oluwadare Owolabi, Managing Director, FETS .

Digital Content

  • Ubuntu Linux, the free and open-source operating system, will power tablet computers, cellular phones, TVs and smart screens in cars and elsewhere, Mark Shuttleworth, the South African behind the software announced in a blog post on Monday 31st October.

    The software will support all these new devices in time for version 14.04 LTS, expected in April 2014. Shuttleworth promises the software will connect supported devices “cleanly and seamlessly to the desktop, the server and the cloud”.

    He explains that Unity, the desktop interface used in Ubuntu, was specifically designed with this in mind. “While the interface for each form factor is shaped appropriately, Unity’s core elements are arranged in exactly the way we need to create coherence across all of those devices. This was the origin of the name Unity — a single core interface framework, that scales across all screens, and supports all toolkits.”

    Shuttleworth believes desktop interfaces will merge with mobile, touch interfaces into a seamless personal computing platform in the future. “Today, we are inviting the whole Ubuntu community — both commercial and personal — to shape that possibility and design that future; a world where Ubuntu runs on mobile phones, tablets, televisions and traditional PCs, creating a world where content is instantly available on all devices, in a form that is delightful to use.”

    He says the “opportunity remains wide open but only to products that deliver excellent experiences for users across a full range of device categories”, adding that there is “no winner in place yet”.

    According to Shuttleworth, the investment that Ubuntu funder Canonical has already made in the user interface “accommodates the touch scenarios required in some form factors” and “will work equally well in mouse-, keyboard- or stylus-driven environments”.

    In addition, Ubuntu’s personal cloud and application centre services will deliver the “storage, syncing and sharing capabilities that are not just a convenience but a requirement as we move to a universe where content is increasingly shared but the devices that access them become more diverse”.

  • Two Rwandan young innovators participated in this year’s ICT Telecom World 2011 held Geneva, Switzerland.

    According to the NewTimes, Joseph Gatete who presented Quickisms in Secondary School Projects and Robert Katabarwa with his Igisekuru innovation, were among 45 of 160 entrants selected to participate in the young innovators competition.

    “Their innovative contributions will definitely help bring digital solutions to challenges that we are currently facing,” said Rwanda’s Ambassador to Switzerland, Solina Nyirahabimana.

    Nyirahabimana who was visiting the Rwandan stand at the summit, said that Rwanda is an emerging market that has great potential in ICT and the young generation are critical players.

    The competition targeted young innovators with fresh ideas that take advantage of ICT with the aim of making the world a better place.

    Prime Minister Pierre Habumurenyi also visited the Rwandan stand at the summit.

    The four -day summit that marked its 40th anniversary celebrations and was marked in tandem with the Broadband Leadership Summit which entailed highest level meetings on the implementation of broadband worldwide, exhibitions, competitions and networking sessions.

    The summit also looked at core issues shaping the future of networks and services; technical symposiums which provided debate and information exchange on cutting edge technological development, Digital Cities ’11.

    Patrick Nyirishema, the Head of RDB-ICT said the event provides an opportunity for Rwanda to showcase specific ICT projects in order to harness investment potential.

    “This year’s event has been special in that there has been a huge involvement of youth to share fresh and practical ideas and even compete globally,” said Nyirishema.

  • What is holding back digital stores, such as Apple’s iTunes, in South Africa?

    Getting the license agreements in place to sell content such as music and apps seems to be the greatest hurdle for a digital store in South Africa.

    While many have blamed organisations such as the Recording Industry of South Africa (RiSA) and the Film and Publications Board (FPB), both organisations have offered good answers to the allegations made against them when it comes to digital content.
    Video games on digital content delivery systems

    For example, the FPB is responsible for giving age restrictions to not just movies and books, but video games as well. As such, the lack of games in the Apple App Store was laid at their feet.

    However, the FPB explained that no game developer or publisher, nor Apple had approached them to express concerns with South Africa’s ratings system.

    Curious about why platforms such as Steam and the Android Market don’t seem to have any qualms about delivering content in South Africa, we asked Nicholas Hall from Michalsons Attorneys for his take on the issue. According to Hall, there is an argument for online stores like Steam to be exempt from FPB ratings requirements if they deliver their content through a network provider with an ICASA license.

    Considering that many Internet service providers have their own Steam servers and ECNS licenses, Steam could be considered exempt from needing FPB ratings for the games it sells.
    Digital music

    Another oddity in South Africa is the lack of music on a large online store such as iTunes while Nokia’s Ovi Music and DStv’s OMusic sell music from international and local artists.

    RiSA’s operations director, David du Plessis, said that they don’t enter into the picture at all when it comes to license agreements for online stores to distribute content. Negotiations between aggregators like Nokia and rights holders are not conducted on a collective basis, but individually, du Plessis explained.

    Such licensing agreements, conducted across most creative industries, are usually quite an in-depth and involved process, said Nokia service manager, Dominique Silva.

    Silva explained that to get local artists on the store we have structured agreements with a few key local digital content distributors; sometimes key labels, sometimes a company with a collection of labels and independent artists.

    “We do this so our local artists can come as direct to us as possible and so local labels and artists make as much money from the deal as possible,” said Silva. “If an artist is keen to get on the store, we usually guide them to a selection of content distributors, both local and international, so they can investigate and then select a distribution deal that suits them. This is usually this quickest and most effective way of getting them on to the store.”

    If getting content available through international digital stores is just about licensing agreements, then perhaps something else has hamstrung the process.

    Something like South Africa’s 33 year old copyright act, for instance.
    So what is holding back digital music distribution?

    Not so, according to both RiSA and Nokia.

    Du Plessis said that in his personal opinion, the digital divide in the country is more likely to make investors think twice, than any perception that may exist about South Africa’s copyright legislation, and that our copyright legislation as it currently stands, does not serve as any barrier of entry.

    Nokia’s Silva also said that getting the rights to sell music locally is not more complicated, but similar to other license agreements.

    Silva went on to list three hurdles to digital content distribution that apply to SA:

       1. Globally, music licensing is a difficult process.
       2. Education of both the artists and labels: When a new album is released, everyone in the chain needs to be much more aggressive in pushing and promoting the digital channels for music – from the retailer to the artist.
       3. Cost of data and bandwidth.

    To the first barrier, Silva said that getting the license agreements is always tricky, but that they have tried to make sure that they streamline it as much as possible and make sure as much money goes to the local label, and hopefully therefore the artist, as possible.

    Secondly, Silva said that online retailers can push as hard as they like, but the artists and labels themselves need to push their digital releases as hard as their physical releases to make sure customers buy their music legally.

    Finally, cheaper data and bandwidth would go a long way to increasing the consumptions of digital music, “As with so many other digital businesses in South Africa,” Silva said.

Telecoms, Rates, Offers and Coverage

  • - Airtel Nigeria has introduced an international call rate bundle offer worth N8.33 (about US $0.056) per minute to any of the listed destinations. The International call bundle offer is structured into three categories: N500 (about US $3.14), N200 (about US $1.25) and N100 (about US $0.62). It is applicable only to pre-paid customers on the Airtel network.

    - Blackberry users in Rwanda can now access online videos on their handsets but at a fee of Rwf 30 per megabyte.

More

  • - Absa group chief information officer Len de Villiers is stepping down at the end of the year and says he plans to take time off to “recharge his batteries” before deciding what to do next. The Absa CIO role is one of the biggest and most demanding IT management jobs in South Africa.

  • Ericsson 3G RF Optimisation for Northern Africa
    Posted date: Wed, 2nd Nov

    Location: Northern Africa
    Job Title     Ericsson 3G RF Optimisation for Northern Africa
    Start Date     ASAP

    Looking for Ericsson 3G RF Optimisation experts for our project in Northern Africa, mission is for 3 months renewable with visibility of one year.

    To apply or for more information please contact: olga.naumets@axirconsulting.com
    or visit here:

           

Issue no 579 4th November 2011

node ref id: 23394

Top story

  • The growth in Africa’s Facebook numbers show that it has touched a chord with users at a near mass level. Social media played a part in the Arab Spring and they’ve been arguing about what part ever since. Here at Balancing Act we decided to engage with social media about 12 months ago and this article looks at what we’ve discovered since then.

    Balancing Act’s universe of users is about 11,000 people, around 70% of whom are interested in telecoms and Internet in English and French and 30% in broadcast and film: that’s those topics from Africa, not anywhere else. We are a specialist, niche media so bear these figures in mind when looking at the stats below.

    Readers sometimes write and talk about “in your blog” and the “the blog you write” but besides the Top Story every week in these e-letters (which are based on facts but are opinionated), the rest is a newsletter. It comes out at a particular time so people know when to expect it and it has sections so they know where to look for things that might interest them. We could do a blog separately but somehow what’s the point when you have a weekly opportunity to say something?

    So about 12 months ago we decided to get engaged with social media to see in practical terms what it meant. Since it eats time like some minor addiction, you have to decide what you’re going to do and how much of it. We chose to put time into LinkedIn because it is a site for professionals rather than Facebook that has taken advantage of corporate interest but is still fundamentally individuals.

    You can’t appear on all social platforms so we chose Twitter rather than the slightly more long-form Tumblr and we chose You Tube rather than Vimeo. In other words, we made somewhat safe choices on the basis that it’s easier to be on platforms that are well-known and established with existing audiences. So for example in African terms, You Tube is up in the Top 5 most-used sites in those African countries analysed by alexa.com whereas Vimeo and Tumblr are not.

    We have 1,816 LinkedIn contacts right across the continent from the smallest most unconnected country to the largest and it is an excellent way of meeting people at all levels in a company. However, its mail lists are amongst the dullest we sample and rare is the week when they produce interesting and surprising information: people use it to promote what they do (as we do) and that is usually less than riveting.

    Our You Tube channel attracts just under 2,000 users a month and has just under 4,000 views a month. This has happened in the space of 12 months and it is still growing. These are 5-10 minute interviews with industry leaders about what’s happening in their company or more widely in the business. A successful interview can expect to get 300-500 views. The exceptions have been film-makers: Ghana’s Shirley Frimpong Manso who made Adam’s Apples has got 10,508 views and Tunisia’s Nadia El Fani who made Ould Lenine 5,569 views. In the telecoms field, Kenya’s John Kamau has got 1,437 views talking about Fibre-To-The-Home.

    It’s not broadcast quality but rough-and-ready compressed HD video clips shot using a small camera with no external mike or additional lighting. There’s not enough time to edit, except to take out the more obvious mistakes. You soon discover that what you thought was quiet and undisturbed attracts noise and disturbance. Watch Jessica Verrili of Twitter not just because it’s on topic for this article but also because you can see the hotel staff in the background opening and closing the doors behind her head as they are shooed away off-camera:

    People are more cautious about what they say in a video clip than they are when they talk in an interview for a print article but there are still plenty of surprises. Although you can put your videos into topic categories, which run down the right hand side of the featured video clip, it feels awkward and it is not designed to create easy ways for people – professional or otherwise – creating categories they can use. Surprise, surprise, you have to use a search engine to do that….

    Currently we have only 106 subscribers to the channel and 22 friends but thus far we have promoted individual videos rather than subscribing to the channel. But if you want to know about 2-5 videos a week covering your industry, subscribe to BalancingActAfrica on You Tube.

    We currently have 889 followers on Twitter (@balancingactafr) and on the current growth pattern will go over a thousand in the next month or two. We follow 253 other people or companies and tweet about 200 times a month. Twitter eats time if you let it but it’s a good way of spotting things that you might not otherwise have come across.

    In African terms, the majority of the users seem to be from South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya with lesser showings from Ghana and Senegal. The outliers are people like Nenna (from Cote d’Ivoire) and George Mpoudi of MTN (from Cameroon). The twitterscape from where we are seems to be dominated by ICT4D (as in development) folk rather than private sector companies, which is a little surprising. The corporate tweets tend to be a little dull and uninformative or aimed at the consumers of that company’s products. The exception is Bob Collymore, CEO of Safaricom who engages in regular banter with Safaricom’s users in Kenya.

    Getting the tone right on Twitter is hard. Some people use it simply to talk about what they’re feeling or what they think. Others describe every last person they’ve met. But we meet people who don’t really want to feature in our Twitter feed and whilst we think our opinions about everything in the whole wide world are riveting, we’re not sure you would. That said, there’s no doubt Twitter users are (awful word) “thought leaders”.

    So we’ve come a long way since Balancing Act’s newsletter output used to be a simple e-mail using Outlook Express. Our target readers may not always have the bandwidth to hand for You Tube but they want to be part of it. One person asked us why we weren’t doing audio blogs rather than video clips, with the unspoken assumption that because “this is Africa”. We’ve now passed that point and whilst everything won’t work for everybody, there’s no reason to assume that something won’t work for a large number of people, including You Tube.

    In terms of devices, we have below 5% who use mobile phones to access our content because our core audience is in the content and bandwidth business. Nevertheless, the number of smartphones, feature phones and tablets is growing fast so the Internet will allow us to be on all those platforms as they achieve “critical mass”.

    The newsletters are done as an adjunct to our consultancy and research business and are supported by advertising. But what is much less clear is the business model for other parts of social media. You can see Twitter as a way of engaging with audiences but there are few ways that it converts into cash, even for the company itself.

    Likewise, despite already having just under half the users of the text e-letter, there is no quick and easy way to monetize the You Tube Channel. You make money with Google Ads if you have millions of views, not if you are a niche channel with thousands. Any daring advertiser out there, give us a ring (+44 207 582 5220): it only took one advertiser on the text e-letters for all the others to get the idea.

    If you have your own experiences with social media in Africa, send them to: editorial@balancingact-africa.com

    On the Balancing Act You Tube Channel this week a Nigeria special:

    Adebayo Oyewole, Hd Marketing & Strategy, Main One on its new IP products

    Uchechi Chuta on Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan's use of social media

    Olalekan Olude, Head of Sales, Jobberman.com on the growth of this jobs website

    Azuka Ndulewe, Chief Marketing Officer, Helios Towers Nigeria on the business case for shared towers

    Ojaye Idoko, CEO, Layer3 on the barriers to broadband expansion in Nigeria

    Want up-to-the-minute breaking news? Balancing Act's Twitter feed provides a combination of breaking news for telecoms, Internet and broadcast in Africa, direct tweets from countries visited and access to the occasional rumours circulating. You can follow us on: @BalancingActAfr

telecoms

  • France Telecom announced on 31 October 2011that it has finalized the acquisition of Congolese operator Congo Chine Telecom. The deal means France Telecom will own 51% of the company’s stake with the remaining 49% owned by the government.

    The French company said in a press statement, that the move is part of expansion efforts and reflects France Telecom-Orange’s international strategy, which aims to stimulate growth by entering high potential emerging markets.

    “The acquisition of CCT is an important step in our policy of expansion outside Europe, and contributes to our stated aim of doubling our revenues in Africa and the Middle East by 2015. Orange is already present in over 20 countries in the region and has built up considerable experience developing networks and new services that are specifically tailored to the needs of local markets,” Stephane Richard, France Telecom-Orange CEO and Chairman said in a press statement.

    France Telecom will initially pay $10 million followed by a $7 million second payment to the Chinese company for the take over. France Telecom-Orange will also deliver to CCT a capital increase of $185 million in order to finance its operations.

    Infrastructure and other services will be provided to CCT by ZTE, France Telecom-Orange has referred to the vendor as a preferred supplier. In addition, China Development Bank will provide strategic financing support.

    A statement from France Telecom-Orange promises that the French firm will contribute its marketing, commercial and technical expertise as well as the Orange brand, to leverage CCT’s solid network assets.

    The operator acknowledges CCT’s real potential for growth over the next few years, noting the DRC – the fourth most populous African country – has a small penetration rate of just 17% despite its population of 70 million.

  • MTN has increased its fibre footprint through partnerships with Metro Fibre Networx (MFN) in Gauteng and Neotel fibre and Ethekweni Metroconnect in the Western Cape and KZN.

    MTN Business announced on 1 November 2011 that it had expanded their Metro Ethernet footprint through the development of strategic last mile relationships. According to Justin Colyn, GM of Fixed Mobile Convergence at MTN Business, they will also use Telkom Wholesale to connect businesses in areas that do not have a fibre footprint.

    Colyn said that the demand for Metro Ethernet is currently very strong in Gauteng, and with Metro Fibre Networx expanding its footprint in high-concentration business areas in Gauteng, it means that their customers will benefit from this partnership.

    The company said in a press statement that their MTN Metro Ethernet product offering provides customers with a high speed, high availability and low latency broadband Ethernet service. “Through this offering, customers can choose bandwidths speeds from 2Mbps to 1Gbps in specific intervals,” said MTN Business.

    The MTN Metro Ethernet service is based on a fibre network that uses Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) technology to supply point-to-point, point-to-multi-point or virtual LAN services between customer branches within the Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban metropolitan areas.

  • According to Morocco’s telecoms regulator, the ANRT, mobile subscribers in the country reached a total of 36.15 million at the end of September 2011, up by 3.4% quarter-on-quarter and 18.5% in twelve months. In terms of market share, at that date the watchdog reported that Maroc Telecom accounted for 46.9% of subscribers, Meditel 32.8% and Wana nearly 20.3%. Also at 30 September, the ANRT said that Moroccan 3G mobile internet services had 2.33 million subscribers, up from 1.82 million the previous quarter and 1.16 million a year earlier.

    At the end of the third quarter Maroc Telecom claimed 39.9% of the 3G broadband market, giving it 929,500 subscribers, followed by Meditel with 829,000 (35.6%) and Wana with 24.5%, or 570,000 3G mobile internet accounts. The figures include combined 3G voice and data mobile package users (handsets, computers and other devices). Subscriptions to data-only 3G mobile broadband services (e.g. via USB dongle modem) at end-September amounted to 1.403 million (60.2% of the 3G internet total), up by 9.5% quarter-on-quarter, while combined voice-plus-data package users reportedly reached 926,000 (39.8% of the 3G total), a growth rate of 73.1% from the end of June 2011.

    Fixed ADSL broadband lines in Morocco (nearly all operated by Maroc Telecom) saw a quarterly increase in 3Q11 of 4.5% to reach a total of 550,500.

  • JSE-listed Altech has appointed Shahab Meshki as new CEO of its struggling East Africa business Kenya Data Networks. At the same time, the technology group is reported to be in talks to buy Kenyan IT firm Symphony in a deal that could be worth as much as US$60m.

    An unnamed source told Reuters that Altech has been in talks with Symphony “for several months and is now nearing the end of its due diligence”. According to the wire service, Altech is like to pay between $50m and $60m for the company, which also has operations in Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Ethiopia.

    According to Symphony’s website, the company delivers IT solutions focusing on consulting, training, infrastructure and maintenance. Meanwhile, Meshki’s appointed, which is effective from 1 November, comes just weeks after Altech CEO Craig Venter said he had replaced the management team in East Africa to deal with the underperformance of the operation, which dragged down the group’s interim results for the six months to the end of August.

    According to Altech, Meshki has 20 years of experience in the IT and telecommunications industries, having started his career with Siemens’ automation division where he was in charge of software and hardware development and later led marketing and sales of network analysers.

    In 1995, he joined Cisco, and in 2002 moved to Kenya to establish the US company’s presence in East Africa.

  • According to an unconfirmed report from online news journal Citi FM, a commercial court in Accra will today launch a trial concerning a lawsuit filed opposing the sale of a majority stake in national PTO Vodafone Ghana – then known as Ghana Telecom (GT) – to UK-based Vodafone Group.

    The portal writes that the courts have deliberated on the action for more than a year to determine whether or not it has jurisdiction to hear the case, filed by Professor Agyeman Badu Akosah and six others. The plaintiffs are seeking a legal cancellation of the sale of the government’s 70% stake in GT to the UK giant in 2008.

    On 3 July 2008 Vodafone agreed a deal to acquire a 70% stake in the PTO from the government for USD900 million and the sale was completed the following month. The state retains a 30% interest. The firm was rebranded Vodafone Ghana in April 2009.

  • MTN Nigeria, Globacom and Airtel Nigeria are facing possible sanctions from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) if the operators do not improve their services by the end of November 2011.

    MTN Nigeria, Glo and Airtel received notice from the Nigerian Communications Commission that the companies had not complied with the NCC quality of service requirements.

    According to the NCC, MTN Nigeria had 30 days from 1 November 2011 to meet the set targets as set out in the notice. Failure to comply will result in the NCC directive in the time frame given, will require all new sales of SIM cards to be stopped and the imposition of a financial penalty.

    If the companies do not improve their quality of service by the end of the month, the NCC said it would cancel the operators ability to issue new SIM cards.

    Mark Ogunba, a Lagos-based IT and telecom analyst, told ITNewsAfrica that the government must be careful not to alienate the companies as they push toward wider telecom and Internet penetration.

    “While it is definitely important to improve our infrastructure and quality of service, threats are unlikely to get it done and this could result in these companies deciding it is too costly,” said Ogunba.

    “We need incentives instead,” concludes Ogunba.

internet

  • Google said on 31 October 2011, that through its latest initiative, 5,000 of Nigeria ’s SMEs would move their businesses online in the next five days.

    According to BusinessDayOnline.com, statistics indicate that there are three million SMEs in Nigeria and only a paltry 17,000 are online. Analyst say a digital revolution for SMEs is in the offing, as increasing empirical evidence suggests that simply putting a website on the internet, increases the revenue, productivity and competitiveness of SMEs.

    Speaking at the Google small business web fair yesterday, Juliet Ehimuan, Google Nigeria Country Manager said small businesses are a key driver of economic growth in Nigeria .

    “We intend to remove the barriers that stop small scale businesses from getting online, such as a lack of time, anticipated expense or simply a lack of knowledge. Our tools and resources make it quick, easy and free for businesses to register an online presence and take advantage of internet opportunities”.

    Omobola Johnson, Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Communication Technology, who opened the fair, said SMEs are being used as a strategy for employment generation, economic restructuring for development and growth.

    “Some compelling statistics support this view. Globally SMEs provide 50 percent of global employment and 90 percent of registered businesses are SMEs. In Malaysia , for instance, in 2006, SMEs were 99.2 percent of all businesses and contributed 47.3 percent of GDP and 65.3 percent of employment. In Nigeria , the statistics are similar but with some important differences.”

    According to Johnson, 70% of the country’s employment is provided by SMEs, but they deliver only 10 percent of economic value added (EVA) compared to an average of 55% and 25% EVA, in other developing economies and 60 percent and 50 percent respectively, in developed economies of the world.

    These statistics, according to the minister, show that Nigeria ’s SMEs are not as productive as they can, should or need to be. She listed a number of reasons that have slowed down the growth of SMEs which include: poor infrastructure, a poor skills base, poor  access to finance, low adoption of ICT and access to markets amongst others.

    With regards to infrastructure development, she said the role of the ICT Ministry is to facilitate the building of an ICT infrastructure that is cost effective, ubiquitous and gives more Nigerians better and faster access to the internet, at affordable prices.

    “We are also committed to getting as many devices into the hands of Nigerians, to enable them transact business on the internet and create a demand for products and services offered over the internet. In other words, getting businesses online is a key part of the agenda and policy direction of this ministry.

    Google has already registered its presence on the .ng domain name and is by this initiative populating the .ng domain for the benefit of Nigeria .

    “I would strongly encourage SMEs to wholeheartedly embrace the internet and take that small first step of having a website on the .ng domain. Today Nigeria has an estimated 33 million internet users and we have targets to double this number in the next three to four years,” said Johnson.

    Getting your business online immediately, gives you access to this market, not to talk of the hundreds of millions of other internet users out there – a very strong value proposition in our opinion”, said Johnson.

  • South Africa’s broadband speeds are still lagging behind the global average South Africa’s average broadband speed of 2.84Mbps is still significantly lower than the global average of 9.18Mbps. South Africa is ranked 103rd in the world when it comes to broadband speeds.

    South Africa’s average download speed of 2.84Mbps is also slower than a few other African countries like Ghana (7.62Mbps), Kenya (4.27Mbps), Rwanda (3.74Mbps), Morocco (2.92Mbps) and Angola (2.89Mbps).

    This is according to Ookla’s Net Index which uses data from the web based speed test service Speedtest.net.

    The Ookla Net Index ranks consumer download speeds around the globe using results from the past 30 days where the average distance between the client and the test server is less than 300 miles.

    According to the Net Index statistics, Lithuania had the highest average broadband speed at 33Mbps, followed by South Korea with 30Mbps and Sweden with 26Mbps.

    The top 10 countries ranked by download speed are:

       1. Lithuania 32.61Mbps
       2. South Korea 30.15Mbps
       3. Sweden 26.09Mbps
       4. Romania 25.80 Mbps
       5. Latvia 25.23 Mbps
       6. Netherlands 24.60Mbps
       7. Macau 22.56Mbps
       8. Bulgaria 21.66Mbps
       9. Andorra 21.20Mbps
      10. Switzerland 20.89Mbps

  • International and local tourists will from January be able to search and access basic information about places of interest on their smartphones .

    Yellow Pages Kenya Limited has made this possible with a new traveller's application software running on android platform that it would make available on Samsung's Galaxy tablet computer, iPhone and iPad. The application will enable travellers to check out hotels with their preferred delicacies, taxis services in particular localities and entertainment spots, among others.

    The platform is currently undergoing fine tuning tests before its is released to consumers early next year for free download from mobile phones applications stores.

    The company provides travel guide directory on hard copy, but it says the electronic version would not only provide users with an easy option but also eliminate the need of using the Internet since the application would be downloaded and stored on the smartphones for reference.

    The Yellow Pages managing director, Rizwan Jiwani, said it took the company five years to put together the content on the visitors' guide and this was mainly motivated by the realisation that most tourists depended on maps or wildlife check lists provided at most game parks with not only very little information but also difficult to obtain.

    "There is no enough free travel information both for local and international tourists, however, with this app, travellers can now search for information by area or street," said Jiwani.

    "We haven't signed contract with any of the handsets manufacturers yet, however, this should be through by December and the application made available in their stores in January."

    Even though Yellow Pages intends to offer the content available on the application for free, it expects to generate revenue through advertisement from hospitality industry. This includes the hotels and restraurants who will have an opportunity to place their content on the platform. Other than exposure, the tourism industry would also benefit from feedback from their clients.

computing

  • It appears there was method in Gijima’s madness after all. The JSE-listed IT company that earlier this year said it would buy all its employees Apple iPads has signed the first systems integrator agreement in Southern Africa with Apple. Gijima will assist with the support for Apple hardware and software solutions that work with company-managed systems, it said on Monday.

    “Industry observers have noted that IT departments are not only faced with the challenge of integrating company-owned technology, but also personal devices that employees want to bring to work,” Gijima said. “Employees recognise that devices, such as the iPad, are excellent productivity tools and are demanding that their personal technology integrates with their organisations’ back-end systems.”

    The use of Apple technology has increased substantially in the enterprise space and there is demand for more systems support, according to RJ van Spaandonk, executive director of Core Group, which represents Apple in SA.

    As an authorised reseller and systems integrator, Gijima will sell and support iPad, MacBook Pro, Macbook Air, iMac, Mac Mini, Lion and Lion Server for business customers.

    “In June this year … we integrated 3,300 iPads into our own organisation, so we have first-hand experience with the requirements and systems needed to support companies with their Apple technology needs,” said Gijima chief financial officer Carlos Ferreira.

  • Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) has provided 110 computers to nine schools and orphanages on the Copperbelt in a bid to enhance Information Communication Technology and the quality of education.

    The donation of the 110 computers and nine printers, worth about US$100,000, was a follow-up to another donation of 300 computers to 19 Government schools in the last three years in areas where KCM operated.

    According to a KCM statement, several schools requested for the computers, prompting the company to expand its programme to provide more computers to schools and children.

    KCM corporate social responsibility (CSR) manager Sampa Chitah said the initiative to provide computers to schools and orphanages was intended to promote computer literacy in learning institutions and enable mainly underprivileged pupils compete favourably with their peers in privately-run schools. "This opportunity will foster an e-learning culture that is good to our education system," she said.

    Chitah said the government alone could not achieve the goal of providing quality education, prompting KCM to partner with the government to provide computers to schools.

    The project would impact positively on the pupils, particularly disadvantaged children in the orphanage centres as beneficiaries would keep abreast with basic computer skills. She urged school administrators and pupils to take advantage of the equipment to improve their computer literacy.

    The schools which received the computers were Matelo Basic School, Maiteneke High School, Mutende Orphanage in Chingola, Chilabombwe's Konkola and Kamenza basic schools and One-way Mission Orphanage.

    Rokana and Riverain basic schools and the SOS Children's Village in Kitwe were the other beneficiaries.

  • The Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Prof. Cleopas Angaye, has said the national software policy being developed by the Federal Government will help in making the economy knowledge-driven rather one that is based on revenue from oil alone.

    Angaye who stated this at the just-concluded national software conference and competition organised by the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), noted that the national software policy is expected to guide the deployment of local software.

    "We have tried some initiatives in enhancing the software industry in Nigeria, such as the national software development initiative, national software development taskforce and the national information technology (IT) policy. Despite these, we have not been able to adequately explore the full potentials of the industry in a way to make Software Nigeria a major player in the global industry," he said.

    Angaye reiterated that the software industry had no doubt become a thing of utmost importance to future competitiveness for economies across the globe especially with its halo effect in creating business opportunities.
     
    According to him, Nigeria had not been able to adequately explore the full potentials of the industry in a way to make her software, major player in the global market.

    The software industry, he said, was important to future competitiveness across the globe especially with its effect in creating related business opportunities, adding that the critical role of software could not be over emphasised.

    Angaye noted that IT assisted in developing globally competitive human capital as it played a key role especially in the areas of teaching aids, research, online education and with opportunity and additional skills that would allow them to secure employment and provides information available job opportunities.

    "The role of our youths and students in IT and in particular software development as a major in economic growth and development is very obvious across the globe. The positive implication of this new trend is that job opportunities abound for citizens of countries like Nigeria where unemployment rate very high.

    "Through IT, Nigerian youths can be exposed to borderless opportunities, global competitiveness and create wealth for themselves and nation as whole" he said.

    Angaye stressed that there was an urgent need for all stakeholders in the IT industry to come together and contribute meaningfully to empowering youths in becoming major players in the global IT market.

  • A new software service provider “Twenty Third Century Systems” (TTCS) will this week launch its services in Uganda.

    The Uganda launch will be the fourth destination for the company among the EAC partner states after already having subsidiary companies in Rwanda, Burundi and Kenya, reports EA Business Week.

    According to Stuart Mugabe, the company Chief Executive Officer, the launch of the Twenty Third Century Systems Uganda is a culmination of the strategic alliance forged by local ICT provider Spacecomms Consulting Ltd a company incorporated in Uganda and wholly owned by Ugandans, and a Pan African business solutions provider Twenty Third Century Systems (pvt) Ltd (TTCS) a company incorporated in Zimbabwe.

    TTCS is the largest SAP (Software Applications) resource partner in Africa outside South Africa with a Gold partner status.

    Mugabe says that the company has been in the business of deploying the world's leading ERP solution (SAP) for the last 15 years, with so many end to end SAP implementations to its name.

    "TTCS has spread its operations from Zimbabwe to open other subsidiaries across Africa i.e. Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, Malawi, Botswana, Zambia and Nigeria.

    "The opening of the Uganda Subsidiary through this strategic partnership represents our commitment to delivering world-class solutions to East Africa using Ugandan resources," said Mugabe in an interview with East African Business Week in Kampala.

    He adds that Twenty Third Century Systems has extensive experience in Africa and the Middle East, with successful projects in countries such as Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia, South Africa, Nigeria, Mauritius, Malawi, Rwanda, Botswana and Bahrain.

    "TTCS has a wealth of knowledge and experience, employing over 130 SAP consultants to date.

    "We have invested hugely in providing software as a service (cloud computing) and training Ugandans to replace imported skills, thereby creating local capacity for the delivery and support of future SAP implementations in the region using Ugandan resources," adds Mugabe.

    He notes that their strategy is to build on its relationship with SAP to deploy a large number of SAP solutions to the private sector and Government  institution, providing complete solutions which cover the full spectrum of ICT projects, i.e. hardware, software , connectivity and implementation services.

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

  • Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele has put a halt on all future tolling projects.
    The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) says the hearing into e-tolling at the Gauteng Legislature will be futile.

    After receiving several petitions against e-tolling, the Gauteng Legislature combined them into one and announced it would host a hearing on the matter on 11 November.

    It believes it is through this process that parties will begin finding a solution to the tollgates impasse in the province.

    However, Cosatu says this process will be futile if the current project is already set to move ahead. Last month, Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele put a halt on all future tolling projects, but said this does not include e-tolling, which would definitely go ahead in February. For this reason, Cosatu says the hearing will be futile.

    “There will be no solution to the impasse if objectors at the hearing are told the current tolling project is going ahead anyway, and they can only raise issues about future tolling plans, in which case, this hearing will be a futile exercise.”

    The federation says it will insist at the hearing that e-tolling has never been properly debated, and has not been accepted by the people of Gauteng.

    “The current tolling project must be scrapped. The tolls will mean a steep increase in the cost of living of all road users, especially workers who have no alternative but to drive to work, because of the lack of a proper public transport system. They already pay taxes and a fuel levy every time they buy petrol.”

    If there is no change in policy from government, the negotiations deadlock, and tolls are not scrapped, Cosatu will plan marches, demonstrations, pickets and stay-aways.

    “We are confident that thousands of other Gauteng residents will be joining us in these protests. We shall also consider court action if people are discriminated [against] on the basis of geography. We shall continue to demand, as the alternative to tolled roads, an integrated, safe, reliable and affordable public transport system.”
    Going ahead

    Fees initially gazetted for the e-toll system in February were suspended due to public pressure. Cabinet in August approved reduced tariffs for e-tolling in Gauteng, which dictate that motorcycles (Class A1) with e-tags will pay 24c/km; light vehicles (Class A2) will pay 40c/km; medium vehicles (Class B) 100c/km; and “longer” vehicles (Class C) 200c/km.

    Qualifying commuter taxis (Class A2) and commuter buses (Class B) are completely exempt from the e-toll system. The reduction for light vehicles without e-tags saw a drop from 66c/km to 58c/km, and from R3.95/km for heavy vehicles without e-tags to R2.95/km. The e-tolling project is an open road, multilane toll infrastructure that allows tolls to be charged without drivers having to stop. There are no physical booths.

    The system is set to go live in February, despite strong opposition from labour, political parties and citizens.

  • The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) says Africa is leading the trend with 51 mobile money systems in place, and as many as 37 of the deployments being in least developed countries (LDCs).

    “Mobile money deployments have taken off in the past two years. According to data from the GSM Association, some 109 such deployments had been implemented as of April 2011, spanning all developing regions. Only 11 of these are in developed countries. Africa is leading the trend with 51 mobile money systems in place, and as many as 37 of the deployments are in least developed countries (LDCs),” said the report titled “Information Economy Report 2011: ICTs as an Enabler for Private Sector Development.”

    The report released October 19, 2011 adds that “There are now more than 40 million users, according to the providers from whom subscription data are available.”

    According to the report, the rapid expansion of mobile money systems is creating new opportunities for small-micro enterprises (SMEs) – particularly in low-income countries – to access financial services.

    UNCTAD said mobile money is providing increased access to finance for SMEs, which traditionally have been poorly served by existing lending institutions.

    “Banking through mobile phones allows for real-time transfer and the receipt of small amounts of funds at low cost. They can reduce the costs of processing and administering small loans, thereby alleviating a significant disincentive for lenders to extend credit to SMEs,” it said.

    The report stressed that existing mobile money systems can become even better if adapted to meet the needs of small businesses saying “Basic money transfer or payment functions can have a major impact on the way small enterprises operate – they can enable them to better manage their cash flow and expedite the delivery of supplies and goods.”

    It called on governments to pioneer new legislation and regulations for mobile money and urged the international community to actively support the development of sound regulatory frameworks and relevant institutions, as well as facilitate the exchange of practice and expertise.

    “Governments and their central banks should explore ways to absorb small enterprises into the mainstream by means of mobile-based commercial and financial transactions,” it said.

    In Ghana, MTN, Tigo and Airtel are the telecommunication firms offering the mobile money services.

  • Roamware has announced that FETS (Funds & Electronic Transfer Solutions), a consortium focused on increasing mobile payment usage in Nigeria has chosen its Macalla service as their mobile financial services platform and has launched eMoni, a mobile payments service using the platform.

    FETS, a non-bank service provider has recently been awarded a license by the Central Bank of Nigeria to roll out mobile payment services to the banked and vast unbanked segments (~80%) of the Nigerian population.

    "About 80% of the Nigerian population is unbanked. The policy initiative of the Central Bank of Nigeria to increase mobile payment usage will accelerate Nigeria's transition to a cashless economy.", said Oluwadare Owolabi, Managing Director, FETS .

Digital Content

  • Ubuntu Linux, the free and open-source operating system, will power tablet computers, cellular phones, TVs and smart screens in cars and elsewhere, Mark Shuttleworth, the South African behind the software announced in a blog post on Monday 31st October.

    The software will support all these new devices in time for version 14.04 LTS, expected in April 2014. Shuttleworth promises the software will connect supported devices “cleanly and seamlessly to the desktop, the server and the cloud”.

    He explains that Unity, the desktop interface used in Ubuntu, was specifically designed with this in mind. “While the interface for each form factor is shaped appropriately, Unity’s core elements are arranged in exactly the way we need to create coherence across all of those devices. This was the origin of the name Unity — a single core interface framework, that scales across all screens, and supports all toolkits.”

    Shuttleworth believes desktop interfaces will merge with mobile, touch interfaces into a seamless personal computing platform in the future. “Today, we are inviting the whole Ubuntu community — both commercial and personal — to shape that possibility and design that future; a world where Ubuntu runs on mobile phones, tablets, televisions and traditional PCs, creating a world where content is instantly available on all devices, in a form that is delightful to use.”

    He says the “opportunity remains wide open but only to products that deliver excellent experiences for users across a full range of device categories”, adding that there is “no winner in place yet”.

    According to Shuttleworth, the investment that Ubuntu funder Canonical has already made in the user interface “accommodates the touch scenarios required in some form factors” and “will work equally well in mouse-, keyboard- or stylus-driven environments”.

    In addition, Ubuntu’s personal cloud and application centre services will deliver the “storage, syncing and sharing capabilities that are not just a convenience but a requirement as we move to a universe where content is increasingly shared but the devices that access them become more diverse”.

  • Two Rwandan young innovators participated in this year’s ICT Telecom World 2011 held Geneva, Switzerland.

    According to the NewTimes, Joseph Gatete who presented Quickisms in Secondary School Projects and Robert Katabarwa with his Igisekuru innovation, were among 45 of 160 entrants selected to participate in the young innovators competition.

    “Their innovative contributions will definitely help bring digital solutions to challenges that we are currently facing,” said Rwanda’s Ambassador to Switzerland, Solina Nyirahabimana.

    Nyirahabimana who was visiting the Rwandan stand at the summit, said that Rwanda is an emerging market that has great potential in ICT and the young generation are critical players.

    The competition targeted young innovators with fresh ideas that take advantage of ICT with the aim of making the world a better place.

    Prime Minister Pierre Habumurenyi also visited the Rwandan stand at the summit.

    The four -day summit that marked its 40th anniversary celebrations and was marked in tandem with the Broadband Leadership Summit which entailed highest level meetings on the implementation of broadband worldwide, exhibitions, competitions and networking sessions.

    The summit also looked at core issues shaping the future of networks and services; technical symposiums which provided debate and information exchange on cutting edge technological development, Digital Cities ’11.

    Patrick Nyirishema, the Head of RDB-ICT said the event provides an opportunity for Rwanda to showcase specific ICT projects in order to harness investment potential.

    “This year’s event has been special in that there has been a huge involvement of youth to share fresh and practical ideas and even compete globally,” said Nyirishema.

  • What is holding back digital stores, such as Apple’s iTunes, in South Africa?

    Getting the license agreements in place to sell content such as music and apps seems to be the greatest hurdle for a digital store in South Africa.

    While many have blamed organisations such as the Recording Industry of South Africa (RiSA) and the Film and Publications Board (FPB), both organisations have offered good answers to the allegations made against them when it comes to digital content.
    Video games on digital content delivery systems

    For example, the FPB is responsible for giving age restrictions to not just movies and books, but video games as well. As such, the lack of games in the Apple App Store was laid at their feet.

    However, the FPB explained that no game developer or publisher, nor Apple had approached them to express concerns with South Africa’s ratings system.

    Curious about why platforms such as Steam and the Android Market don’t seem to have any qualms about delivering content in South Africa, we asked Nicholas Hall from Michalsons Attorneys for his take on the issue. According to Hall, there is an argument for online stores like Steam to be exempt from FPB ratings requirements if they deliver their content through a network provider with an ICASA license.

    Considering that many Internet service providers have their own Steam servers and ECNS licenses, Steam could be considered exempt from needing FPB ratings for the games it sells.
    Digital music

    Another oddity in South Africa is the lack of music on a large online store such as iTunes while Nokia’s Ovi Music and DStv’s OMusic sell music from international and local artists.

    RiSA’s operations director, David du Plessis, said that they don’t enter into the picture at all when it comes to license agreements for online stores to distribute content. Negotiations between aggregators like Nokia and rights holders are not conducted on a collective basis, but individually, du Plessis explained.

    Such licensing agreements, conducted across most creative industries, are usually quite an in-depth and involved process, said Nokia service manager, Dominique Silva.

    Silva explained that to get local artists on the store we have structured agreements with a few key local digital content distributors; sometimes key labels, sometimes a company with a collection of labels and independent artists.

    “We do this so our local artists can come as direct to us as possible and so local labels and artists make as much money from the deal as possible,” said Silva. “If an artist is keen to get on the store, we usually guide them to a selection of content distributors, both local and international, so they can investigate and then select a distribution deal that suits them. This is usually this quickest and most effective way of getting them on to the store.”

    If getting content available through international digital stores is just about licensing agreements, then perhaps something else has hamstrung the process.

    Something like South Africa’s 33 year old copyright act, for instance.
    So what is holding back digital music distribution?

    Not so, according to both RiSA and Nokia.

    Du Plessis said that in his personal opinion, the digital divide in the country is more likely to make investors think twice, than any perception that may exist about South Africa’s copyright legislation, and that our copyright legislation as it currently stands, does not serve as any barrier of entry.

    Nokia’s Silva also said that getting the rights to sell music locally is not more complicated, but similar to other license agreements.

    Silva went on to list three hurdles to digital content distribution that apply to SA:

       1. Globally, music licensing is a difficult process.
       2. Education of both the artists and labels: When a new album is released, everyone in the chain needs to be much more aggressive in pushing and promoting the digital channels for music – from the retailer to the artist.
       3. Cost of data and bandwidth.

    To the first barrier, Silva said that getting the license agreements is always tricky, but that they have tried to make sure that they streamline it as much as possible and make sure as much money goes to the local label, and hopefully therefore the artist, as possible.

    Secondly, Silva said that online retailers can push as hard as they like, but the artists and labels themselves need to push their digital releases as hard as their physical releases to make sure customers buy their music legally.

    Finally, cheaper data and bandwidth would go a long way to increasing the consumptions of digital music, “As with so many other digital businesses in South Africa,” Silva said.

Telecoms, Rates, Offers and Coverage

  • - Airtel Nigeria has introduced an international call rate bundle offer worth N8.33 (about US $0.056) per minute to any of the listed destinations. The International call bundle offer is structured into three categories: N500 (about US $3.14), N200 (about US $1.25) and N100 (about US $0.62). It is applicable only to pre-paid customers on the Airtel network.

    - Blackberry users in Rwanda can now access online videos on their handsets but at a fee of Rwf 30 per megabyte.

More

  • - Absa group chief information officer Len de Villiers is stepping down at the end of the year and says he plans to take time off to “recharge his batteries” before deciding what to do next. The Absa CIO role is one of the biggest and most demanding IT management jobs in South Africa.

  • Ericsson 3G RF Optimisation for Northern Africa
    Posted date: Wed, 2nd Nov

    Location: Northern Africa
    Job Title     Ericsson 3G RF Optimisation for Northern Africa
    Start Date     ASAP

    Looking for Ericsson 3G RF Optimisation experts for our project in Northern Africa, mission is for 3 months renewable with visibility of one year.

    To apply or for more information please contact: olga.naumets@axirconsulting.com
    or visit here:

           

Issue no 578 28th October 2011

node ref id: 23363

Top story

  • Nigerian bandwidth is improving but ever so slowly. There is no sign of a broadband strategy to power this process forward. However, despite this unpromising soil for growth, there are a number of interesting start-ups in the online content and services space that are beginning to establish themselves. Russell Southwood tries to read the tea leaves in a country where data is hard to come by.

    At STM1 level, international bandwidth is now down to US$225-250 per meg and will continue to drop once WACS and ACE become operational. There also some signs that up-times are improving on national routes, particularly as carriers fight it out to deliver international bandwidth from Glo and Main One.

    Slow improvements on the data access front

    However one operator who buys on this route says that carriers still only achieve around 95% up-time. Nigeria has three big cities where the Internet needs to establish a critical mass – Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt – which is which is why performance on routes like these is critical. Regular use will not become a fact of life if the service is not reliable to the customer.

    The key barrier now is the high cost of delivering this bandwidth at a wholesale level. One operator told us that wholesale capacity delivered in Lagos cost US$500 against US$2,000 in due to high national backbone charges and the same story came back from a range of different people. There are five carriers on this route but magically they all seem to offer broadly similar rates.

    Among others, Glo has bought down retail customer data prices by 50% over past year. Prices will continue to go down as volumes rise. One operator reported a 60-75% jump in data use and another told us that there had been a five fold increase in data requirements for a well-known smartphone. According to Main One, the University of Nigeria had bought a 45 meg connection and is already bursting out of it. But as one interviewee told us:”Internet is still a relatively expensive experience.”

    The use of smartphones and feature phones continues to rise. One of the larger mobile operators already has 60% of its subscribers on S40/Java devices. Smartphones are no more than 10% but this is a small percentage of a huge number of subscribers.

    60% of Glo’s 17 m  active and non-active users have S40/Java devices. Smartphones are no more than 10% and many are bought in the grey market. Another large mobile operator says it 25% of its subscribers on feature phones. Banky Ojutalayo, Executive Director, Starfish Mobile pointed out that:”People continuously change phones, maybe 2-3 times in 12 months for reasons of fashion and theft.” No right-minded middle class Nigerian has less than 2-3 phones.

    Tablets? There are probably tens of thousands out there. In June of this year, I saw no tablets in a weeks interviewing in the tech community. This time I saw a much larger number. News channel Channels TV is doing an iPad app which will be launched shortly. But one person reported frustration at the bandwidth not being good enough to download Blackberry apps.

    Local access delivery continues to be a weak spot. However, one operator is planning to roll out near ubiquitous Wi-Fi coverage in key urban centres in the next 12 months. Glo is testing LTE and waiting for spectrum to be allocated and MTN is provisioning its network in readiness for LTE.

    Local access is still mainly through wireless: on 3G (which is much better than it was bit still not great) and Wi-Fi (which is again better but not really yet delivering You Tube streaming levels everywhere). You can get seamless You Tube streaming on parts of Victoria Island (VI) but not really elsewhere. And as Nigerians will be the first to tell you, VI is not Nigeria.

    Able to stream video on VI but less well elsewhere. Afam Edozie, FiCres Capital, an investor in WiMAX provider Swift said: “The bottleneck is the last mile. Rolling out infrastructure (at this level) is challenging”.

    Someone who attended a meeting with mobile operators in January this year says that with one exception, they all failed to spot the coming importance of data. There’s a mindset issue. In one of our conversations, the interviewee was at pains to point out that there were literacy problems that constrained data use. But it emerged that 70-80% of its subscribers used SMS.

    Despite a steady trickle of stories in local paper Business saying that generating capacity was going up and service delivery getting better in Lagos, I met few people who few people who found that this had happened either in their business or at home. Getting regular energy is a key issue for an economy as large as this and the potential savings are enormous. One interviewee said he paid US$200 a month to the electricity company and US$1,000 in generator costs at home and US$2,000 a month on generator costs in his home.

    Despite these difficulties, a much larger “critical mass” of Internet use is beginning to take hold and new content and services start-ups are beginning to take advantage of this new-found audience.

    Jobberman begins to change how the jobs market

    Jobs site Jobberman started in 2009 when the founders were still in College. As Ayodeji Adewunmi tells it:“It didn’t require much capital and we knew we had the technical skills to develop it. We knew the unemployment situation in Nigeria was particularly high amongst young people aged 25-45. We wanted a better user experience and to help people better their chances.”

    People use the site not only to get new jobs but those in work use it to benchmark their salaries and take the opportunity to see whether they can get jobs outside their immediate experience.

    And the business model? It makes money from the employer side as they pay a fee to post a job usually for 30 days and it is free for the job seeker. There are 1,800 jobs on the site at any one time that are live across all sectors and specialisations, both entry level and mid-career plus a couple of C level jobs. They don’t yet do blue collar jobs. Applicants can put their CVs on the site and when they apply, the company in question gets your CV. It can also do some basic filtering to cut down on unsuitable applicants.

    There are currently 50,000 unique views a day, both from inside and outside but with 95% coming from inside the country. It is currently number 18 in the Alexa.com ratings.

    And competitors? According to Adewunmi:” There are some newspapers and a couple of other job sites like Careers Nigeria who also do recruitment. We don’t do recruitment.” In our view, it will take advertising revenues from print media and the biggest of these is Tuesday’s copy of local paper, The Guardian. Its current print circulation is 50,000. Number of readers per copy? Unknown. However, 2-3 million people get news online in Nigeria so it probably has the platform to fight back.

    Jobberman also has a mobile site which gets 60-65% of the views total. The more entry level job seekers use a mobile phone more than those already with jobs who browse using a PC in the office.

    What was the attitude to online when it started:”When we started, it was hell but now a lot of employees now advertise both in a paper and Jobberman.” It is not yet breaking even but believes that it will do so in the not too distant future.

    Spinlet – an iTunes for Africa?

    Spinlet can best be described as an “i-tunes” for Africa optimized for the large base of mobile users on the continent. Nigerian investment company Verrod Capital met the Finnish developers of the technology Spinlet and bought into the company. Music distribution doesn’t really exist in Nigeria except through the pirate sellers.

    (Waiting in the departure lounge for a flight to Abuja, one of the stall-holders was putting piles of pirated VCDs in front of people, trying to encourage them to buy. A well-dressed European business man declined politely pointing out they were all pirated and that he was in the business of protecting IP. There were no shortage of Nigerian buyers.)

    In terms of handset manufacturers Spinlet has started with Nokia so it has had to get the platform to work on Windows. Also it has an office in San Francisco doing Blackberry and Android platforms. The platform can also work with basic Java phones.

    It wants to sell Nigerian music to the rest of Africa and African music from every country across their home borders. You will be able to buy per song for something like US33-35 cents and by album for which they don’t want to go above US$5. They are doing deals with labels right now and want to have a million songs to sell. Music rights are general sold for South Africa and the rest  of Sub-Saharan Africa.

    Marketing will be the key to whether it is successful and it has ambitious plans.  It is doing a concert on 19 November where it will bring out a Jamaican artist popular in Africa called Gyptian who will do a collaboration with a local Nigerian artist Ice Prince. It will be popular because there is an audience for reggae/dancehall in many African countries. It will go out on Channel O, MTV Base and Trace with product tie-ins on Spinlet. There will be 12 of these musical collaborations, with the main ones in Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and Ghana. Music tracks exclusive to Spinlet will come from these collaborations.

    According to Eric Idiahi of Verrod Capital Management:“We want to develop the music industry and create wealth for our artists. Our software has a DRM that can help curb piracy.” Their software will also allow musicians to upload their CDs on to the platform. Artists already with a strong fan base on Facebook or Twitter can push them over to Spinlet to buy their music directly.

    ‘We believe there are 8 million smartphone users (in Nigeria) using VAS services and would like to get 10% of that,” says Idiahi. It wWill break even with the hundreds of thousands. Because it will be primarily used on a mobile phone rather than an iTunes browser on PC or laptop, the service will keep you updated with new tracks to buy. Its soft launch in Nigeria is on 19 November and this will be followed by a later launch in South Africa.

    The transition from SMS to online

    As content transitions from SMS on mobile to online, the more thoughtful SMS aggregators are looking at what’s next. Starfish Mobile will launch an app-based mobile TV solution to stream content over 3G, which connects to central server over proprietary connection.  It is  building an internet content portfolio where you send an SMS to get online on its portal. Banky Ojutalayo, Executive Director, Starfish Mobile:“Payment will still be there and we’ll be fusing the SMS and Internet”. Other aggregators were more skeptical claiming that SMS would remain the platform of choice. The truth ids probably that the two will operate alongside each other as the handset devices change and habits change with them.

    Besides these developments there are a slew of sites attracting significant traffic including: Wakanow.com (a travel site offering air tickets and hotel offers like Expedia); Bella Naija (with pictures of Genevieve Nnaji and Africa’s Richest Man); directory sites like VConnect and Mocality and classified sites like Dealfish. In terms of everyday life, there is a company providing online vehicle registration in 19 states and 70-80% of vehicle registrations are now online.

    Nollywood Love/Iroko Partners has only 35,000 users in Nigeria but millions elsewhere in the world. But it has huge numbers of search enquiries from mobile users not able to access their material effectively.

    Payment services being put in place but no critical mass yet

    One of the keys to successful online service use is payment and whilst things are beginning to gear up, they have not ye reached critical mass. Mitchell Elegbe, CEO, Interswitch says that there are three times as many payments online as through POS (Point of Sale) but this is to compare two relatively little used payment methods. That said, Interswitch wants to add 40,000 POS a year. It will soon also be able to offer a payment code to the unbanked so that they can take cash out of ATMs.

    Local airline Aero Contractors apparently makes 60-70% of all its ticket sales online: anyone who has stood in a Nigerian queue waiting for service will know why.

    The Central Bank of Nigeria has a cashless society initiative, insisting that banks have record of all transactions and that they charge for cash collections from companies to reflect the real costs. There are high levels of SMS from banks where customers are getting informed of transactions made (2-4 million daily through one operator) and this will increase.

    In terms of m-payment, Nigeria has chosen to licence companies working with banks and not proprietary operator systems. One of these m-payment companies is Paga which has partnered with 6 banks. It has a range of channels including: SMS, online, agents, mobile apps, IVR and USSD. It wants to have 30,000 agents nationwide by 2015 and believes that 40% of mobile subscribers will be using m-payments by this date. It has signed an exclusive deal with DStv to take payment from its subscribers.

    All of the above might seem faintly crazy in a week in which Naspers-owned MIH closed down its Kalahari e-commerce sites in Kenya and Nigeria. But the logic of where the market is going in Nigeria is clear and it remains a case of when not if.


    On the Balancing Act You Tube Channel this week:

    Nic Rudnick, CEO, Liquid Telecom on its Southern African Fibre Network

    Future mobile content? Lippe Oosterhof, CEO, Livestation on live streaming for African news broadcasters and its mobile platform

    Henk Kleynhans, Chair of WAPA on TV White Spaces proposals in South Africa

    Steve Song, CEO, Village Telco
    on the TV White Spaces Workshop

    Richard Bell, CEO, Wananchi Group in Kenya on international fibre connectivity, local TV content for its Zuku bouquet and financing its vision:

    Riyaz Bachani, CTO, Wananchi on its Wazi hot-spots partnership with Google

    Want up-to-the-minute breaking news? Balancing Act's Twitter feed provides a combination of breaking news for telecoms, Internet and broadcast in Africa, direct tweets from countries visited and access to the occasional rumours circulating. You can follow us on:
    @BalancingActAfr


telecoms

  • Customers of Bharti Airtel in Africa will soon enjoy seamless internet connectivity and simpler, more intuitive mobile data services. The operator has selected Nokia Siemens Networks’ Serve at Once Device Management (SADM) software to be implemented across affiliates in 16 African countries.

    In addition, Nokia Siemens Networks will consolidate the operator’s existing MMSC platforms into one centrally managed virtual platform.“Nokia Siemens Networks’ robust mobile device management solution will allow our customers in Africa to enjoy the latest services by enabling seamless internet connectivity and excellent customer care support, while Airtel will benefit from reduced operational costs when introducing new devices or services,” said Manoj Kohli, CEO (International) and Joint Managing Director, Bharti Airtel.

    Rajeev Suri, chief executive officer of Nokia Siemens Networks, said: “The shift towards smart networks that understand user preferences and enable delivery of customized services is helping operators such as Bharti Airtel deliver a superior Mobile Broadband experience. Nokia Siemens Networks supports this transition by helping operators to manage user experience better and deliver improved services seamlessly.”
    Nokia Siemens Networks’ SADM will enable Bharti Airtel to remotely and automatically manage and configure user devices for new data services. The software will also enable the operator to gain valuable insights on device capabilities to make right business decisions when introducing new services.

    Under a three-year contract, Nokia Siemens Networks will provide its mobile internet browsing solution (MIBS) and multimedia messaging solution (MMSC), hosted on a virtualized and centrally managed VaaS platform. This will allow Bharti Airtel to provide these services faster and cost efficiently to all its customers across all affiliates in Africa.
    Source:Press release
    Court orders CWN chairman to stand down temporarily

    The chairman of Congo Wireless Networks (CWN), the local partner of South African telco Vodacom in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and 49% owner of Vodacom Congo, will be temporarily replaced at the behest of the DRC Court of Appeals, reports Bloomberg.

    Gambian Alieu Conteh, the current chairman and founder of CWN will be replaced for a minimum of three months by company accountant Mupepe Lebo. The suspension will allow the Congolese company to call a general assembly to discuss the proposed sale of Vodacom’s stake in Vodacom Congo. As previously reported, Vodacom is looking to sell off its operations in DRC to end a dispute with CWN over the structure and funding of Vodacom Congo that has raged since 2009. The South African MTN Group and Angola’s Unitel have both expressed an interest in purchasing Vodacom’s stake, as have at least two more as-yet-unnamed companies.

    The Kinshasa court made the ruling following CWN’s attempt earlier this week to block the sale of Vodacom’s stake until the two had resolved their dispute. In its judgement, the court said that a dispute between the shareholders of CWN risked paralysing the company, the threat of which granted it power to appoint an administrator with ‘the broadest powers’. Conteh’s lawyers are disputing the decision, claiming that the court does not have the power to appoint an administrator with such power. Conteh is currently considering taking the matter to the Supreme Court.

  • Worried by the increasing and persistent cases of poor service delivery, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has again, threatened to sanction the three major telecoms operators - MTN Nigeria, Globacom and Airtel Nigeria - if at the end of next month, the quality of service does not improve on their various networks.

    The NCC, in a statement last Tuesday, also threatened to stop the three major operators from further sale of subscriber identification module (SIM) cards by the end of November this year, if they fail to measure up to  the key performance indicators (KPI) set by the NCC to improve quality of service.

    The three operators have been issued a 30-day deadline, effective from November 1, 2011, to reverse the ugly trend. Any new SIM card sold, or additional subscriber added to the network in contravention of the directive, will attract a penalty of N1million per subscriber. The commission also said that after the expiration of the 30-day ultimatum, it would strictly enforce the impending directive, which if contravened, would attract a penalty of N5 million and additional N500, 000 per day that such contravention persists.

    The warning and deadline notices are sequel to a dismal performance by the three operators on quality of service from the result of an independent monitoring exercise carried out by the commission across the country.
    The exercise showed that all the three operators failed to measure up to four key performance indicators that are crucial for quality of service improvements as set by the commission.

    Consequently, the commission has notified the three operators of its intention to issue a directive that with effect from November 30, 2011, any of the operators that fail to meet the targets would be barred from further sale of its SIM cards or addition of any new subscriber to its network.
    According to NCC’s Head, Media and Public Relations, Mr. Reuben Muoka, failure of any of the operators to meet the quality of service targets from November 30, 2011 would attract a fine of N500, 000 for every month of failure.

    “It is not in doubt that the customer experience on your network has been far from satisfactory, especially as the commission has been inundated with complaints from various subscribers on this matter,” the commission said in the correspondence to the three respective operators.

    It expressed concerns that the operators were not doing enough to reverse the trend of unacceptable quality of service which had persisted for too long. The KPI measured by the commission included Call Set Up Success Rate, Call Completion Rate, Stand Alone Dedicated Control Channel and Handover Success Rate.

    Telecoms subscribers have over the years, suffered from poor quality of service ranging from incessant drop calls, poor voice clarity, inability to make successful calls, to inability to recharge phones, among others.

    The issue of poor quality of service cuts across the networks, and the NCC had warned the operators to improve. But the warning did not cut any ice among the operators.
    Although the telecoms operators have been blamed for poor quality of service, they have in some form, exonerated themselves from blame, shifting it to wilful destruction of their facilities by persons within and outside the sector.

  • Telkom’s mobile arm, 8ta, has built six base stations using next-generation long-term evolution (LTE) wireless broadband technology, with 50 sites under construction and plans to expand the network to Cape Town and Durban in the next few months as part of a field trial.

    The company is the third SA operator, after MTN and Wireless Business Solutions, to announce plans to build a radio access network using LTE.Telkom plans to use LTE as a substitute in areas where it doesn’t have fixed-line coverage as well as in places where it suffers from copper theft, says 8ta head Amith Maharaj says.

    “Fixed-mobile [LTE] is a good substitute for ADSL-type services,” he says. It could also potentially be used to provide video-on-demand (VOD) services. Telkom has announced plans to launch VOD products within the next year.“For ADSL-type services, [LTE is] definitely an alternative,” Maharaj says. “You can offer speeds of above 10Mbit/s.”

    However, he cautions that LTE is still “bleeding edge” technology and the pricing model must still be determined. There are also concerns around the device ecosystem that supports LTE and the “quality-of-service parameters”.In addition, installing sufficient backhaul is important to provide for the faster access speeds provided by the technology.
    “Making too bold and too earlier a move [into LTE] and you could find your fingers burnt,” Maharaj says.

  • The government of Swaziland is to hold talks with the local subsidiary of MTN regarding the transfer of the government's indirect stake in the company to the government's Ministry of Finance.

    Swazi MTN is a joint-venture between South Africa's MTN and the state-owned Swaziland Posts and Telecommunications Corp. Under the terms of the venture, SPTC is barred from offering mobile services as it is a shareholder in MTN. The government is now looking to unlock the market by taking SPTC's shares in MTN so that there is no longer a conflict of interest.

    However, MTN has some rights of first refusal if the shares are "sold" by SPTC, and is holding out for its long desired international carrier license from the government before agreeing to its request.
    Countering that request is a proposal currently being considered that would grant Sptc a five-year monopoly on landline services in the country - which could affect MTN's own backhaul plans.

  • The 11th meeting of ECOWAS Telecommunications and Information and Communication Technologies Ministers (Telecoms-ICT) ended with an adoption of a draft regulation on conditions for access to submarine cable landing stations in West Africa.

    The meeting which was held in Yamoussoukro, Cote d’Ivoire, ended October 14, 2011 with Ministers coming from the 15 Community Member States. It also informed Ministers of the progress made in regional broadband connectivity programmes and in the harmonization of the Telecommunications and ICT regulatory framework in the Community at large.

    During the meeting, ECOWAS in a statement said “The ministers also considered and adopted the draft regulation on conditions for access to submarine cable landing stations in West Africa. The text, comprising 16 articles, provides ECOWAS States with the necessary tools for addressing issues of confidence relating to landing stations and submarine cable access.”

    In that regard, the countries of the hinterland raised the issue of rights of way between Member States, the resolution of which would be necessary to facilitate access to submarine cable landing stations, among other things, it added.
    The meeting, the statement said therefore recommended a study to develop a harmonized regulation on the rights of way by learning from existing best practices, particularly that of Rwanda.

    “This activity will be included in the strategy for the implementation of priority Telecoms-ICT projects in the ECOWAS region for the next five years. As a matter of fact, the Ministers adopted a strategy paper in that regard, outlining the priority projects to be implemented in the coming years,” ECOWAS stressed.

    The statement disclosed that the Ministers recommended the creation of a Directorate of Telecoms-ICT and Post sectors by the third quarter of 2012 in order to build ECOWAS’ operational capacity and enhance the planning and monitoring of the activities of these sectors at the Community level.

    The meeting also saw representatives from the African Union, the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the Pan African Postal Union (PAPU), the West Africa Telecommunications Regulators Assembly (WATRA), the African Development Bank (AfDB), the National Union of Telecommunications Companies of Cote d’Ivoire (UNETEL), the West African Telecommunications Conference (WATC), the African Registry Consortium (ARC), the Information and Communication Technologies Sector Operators Group (GOTIC), and the Initiative for Internet Governance in Cote d’Ivoire (IGICI).

internet

  • Nigerians last week in Lagos, witnessed a renewed campaign for broadband access and penetration at the just-concluded 3rd West African Information and Communications Technology (WAFICT) Congress, as almost all papers presented were focused on new strategies for broadband.

    The theme of the congress was “An Emerging New Frontier: Opportunities and Potentials for Deployment of Broadband Services for Sustainable Growth in West Africa.”

    The Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson who was represented at the WAFICT Congress by the Director Telecoms and Post of the Ministry, Ngozi Ogunjiofor, revealed that the Federal Government was considering the development of a national ICT broadband network and another National network for Education and Research, which would require the setting up of Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) for implementation.

    Johnson expressed the hope that the on-going ICT Policy harmonisation would provide the necessary legal framework for the operation of the SPVs.She called on interested stakeholders to participate in the venture. According to her,  a number of efforts had been made by both the government and the private sector to develop the broadband industry but a lot more needed to be done to link up the un-served and the underserved areas of the Federation.

    "Government has over the years noted its responsibility to provide the basic infrastructure for our development and realised the constraint on the available resources and has provided the enabling legal framework for the private sector participation. Similarly, Government’s readiness to partner with the private sector can be seen from the provisions of the Communications Act of 2003 and the subsequent creation of the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF)", she said,  adding that the fund was basically designed to assist interested stakeholders in ICT infrastructure development, to access some funds in line with the laid down regulations of the Act.

    Presenting a paper on broadband penetration at the forum, Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, (NCC), Dr. Eugene Juwah, explained that the Commission had already indicated its commitment to the deployment of broadband through a structured and predictable approach that will give room to cross border extension of infrastructure where practicable.

    “Giving our position within the sub-region and indeed the continent, and our role as a regulator within the framework of the Economic Community of West African States, (ECOWAS) and the West African Telecommunications Regulators Assembly, (WATRA), we are desirous of partaking in initiatives or institutional frameworks that will facilitate the integration of telecommunications resources and facilities in Africa. Broadband presents one of such windows that could be exploited for the much sort after sub-regional integration.  It is therefore very interesting that broadband in the sub-region is at the hearts of ICT stakeholders,” he said.

    Juwah added: “When we put broadband in the perspective of cross border implementation, it calls for harmonisation of policies across the states or nations involved at regional or continental levels. We need to evolve a uniform inter-regional policy framework such that when broadband is fully implemented in any of our nations, the benefits can easily spread to sister nations in the continent. A careful appraisal of the growth of broadband in developed countries can be traced to a semblance of policies accentuated by uniform level of development in terms of telecommunications and ICT infrastructure.”

    According to him, “Most African countries are yet to be directly interconnected, which is the reason why it costs higher to make calls across the continent than it is to make calls to and from outside the continent. We must, therefore, collectively pursue a deliberate policy of liberalization that will attract service providers to go beyond their immediate environments and also allow interconnection within and among African countries.”

    Managing Director of Pinet Informatics, Lanre Ajayi, in a paper presentation, said the two expressions for broadband remained broadband capacity supply and broadband capacity demand, but that they were yet to be balanced. He explained that unless there is an increase in broadband capacity demand, broadband penetration would continue to move at a slow pace and remain largely unbalanced.

    He listed strategies that could stimulate broadband demand to include promotion of eGovernment processes, e-Business, Human Capacity Building and re-directing Institutional Responsibilities.

    He stressed that the Nigerian broadband equation would only be balanced when the rate of broadband consumption matches the rate at which broadband infrastructure is rolled out.“To achieve this, there is need to stimulate demand for broadband Internet in Nigeria,” Ajayi said.

    In his paper titled ‘Providing the right backbone for broadband penetration’ Head of Glo 1 Submarine Cable, Folu Aderibigbe, said “Nigeria is a key market for broadband penetration, among other African countries.” He called on telecom operators to take advantage of the landing of Glo 1 submarine cable to further push broadband penetration in the country.

  • The eNews Channel is fuming after it went off air for 47 minutes on Monday during President Jacob Zuma’s press conference at which he axed two of his ministers and announced a wide-ranging cabinet reshuffle. The channel says it is compiling a report into what happened and will demand answers from DStv, owned by MultiChoice, which it is blaming for the incident.

    The fault started at 2.08pm on Monday, shortly before Zuma began addressing the media. Hundreds of frustrated viewers took to social media services like Twitter to vent their frustration.

    eNews, which is a sister channel to free-to-air broadcaster e.tv, is blaming a “signal failure to DStv” that resulted in a “freeze frame” on air. “A second redundant line to DStv was operational, but engineers at DStv were unable to switch over immediately,” says Rob Brown, head of technical operations at eNews.

    “Usually the switchover to the second signal would take only a few seconds, or minutes at most,” says Brown. “DStv regrettably took longer than expected to switch over.”
    Group head of news Patrick Conroy says eNews is “very disappointed that the switch over took so long”.

    “We have redundancy lines in place for just this kind of problem and should never have been off air. We have received numerous complaints from viewers, which is entirely understandable.”The channel says a full report is being drawn up ahead of the matter being raised with DStv management.

  • All ministries, government departments and institutions are to be connected to the National Backbone Infrastructure and e-Government Infrastructure cable (NBI/EGI) which was launched on October 7.

    This follows completion of the first and second phase of laying the government's fibre optic cable, being managed by the National Information Technology Authority (NITA-U) at Statistics House in Kampala.

    President Yoweri Museveni has directed that for the investment in the NBI to be harnessed fully, all government data and voice services must use the infrastructure as their primary vehicle.

    This means that all government internet bandwidth will be centrally procured, distributed and managed by NITA-U, which will significantly reduce expenditure on internet bandwidth both for government and other public priority users such as schools, universities and hospitals which use them for health and education services, as well as research.

    It also means increased communication efficiency, as the NBI claims to be stronger and more reliable than the ISPs.However, the move has been met with anxiety from private Internet Service Providers (ISPs), for which government departments and public institutions have been the biggest client.

    However, NITA-U says the concern is uncalled for, as the Internet market in Uganda still has high potential for growth, having one of the lowest penetration levels in the world. The NBI so far scales almost 2,000 km of fibre optic cable, covering more than 20 districts countrywide.

    In addition, the NBI's large capacity presents opportunity for Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) service providers to grow business across the country. Government last month awarded contracts to three companies from India and Kenya - Dhanush, Raps-Spanco and TechnoBrain - to run Uganda's first BPO call centre. According to NITA-U Executive Director James Saaka, the firms will start with a start with a three-year pilot scheme in December 2011.

    Uganda is several years behind Kenya in the BPO industry, and is apparently living up to its reputation as a late adopter. Kenya's KenCall, which employs hundreds of Kenyans, pioneered BPOs in East Africa six years ago.

    Additionally, Uganda's Digital Migration Project is way behind schedule, while regional counterparts Kenya and Rwanda have already switched on.

    Even the NBI, which was funded by a controversial US$ 103 million loan from Chinese bank Exim, is two years behind schedule and is now a subject of a forensic audit to address value-for-money queries and allegations of inflated costs and poor quality cables.
    NITA-U ICT Ministry are themselves only recent creations, with lots of work to do to catch up with the region.

    According to Saaka, the NBI will function as a commercial project to generate money and repay the Chinese loan. Additional revenue will be raised by leasing excess capacity to telecoms and other institutional users.

  • MIH Internet has announced it is to close down its e-commerce Web sites, Kalahari Kenya and Kalahari Nigeria, due to their lack of profitability.
    The digital arm of South African media giant Naspers launched the sites in October 2009 and January 2010, respectively, but has now admitted defeat.

    “Performance of the service has been below expectation since launch, and reaching profitability was not a reasonable near-term prospect,” said Stefan Magdalinski, GM of E-commerce in Sub-Saharan Africa for MIH.

    "Following a strategic review of investment priorities, we will be closing down the Kalahari Kenya and Nigeria operations with immediate effect.”
    Operations in both countries ceased on 19 October, with no more orders being taken. The sites hope to complete delivery of current open orders. A notice of closure has been sent to all employees of the two sites.

    As recently as April, Kalahari appointed Joseck Luminzu Mudiri, former business development manager of M-Pesa at Safaricom, as its new country manager in Kenya. It remains unclear whether he and other high-level staff will be retained by MIH Internet.

    Kalahari was an inventory-based e-commerce site based on the successful Amazon models in the US and UK. With products listed at set prices, it is differentiated from auction and classified sites, such as Dealfish and Mocality, also owned by MIH, which have just been joined in the market by Google Trader. MIH said Dealfish and Mocality will remain open, suggesting the issues that have forced Kalahari to close do not extend to the auction sites.

    The failure of the Kalahari sites, which were branches of the mother site in South Africa, has been attributed by analysts to high operational and marketing costs. It is reported that advertising in the two markets alone cost the company around $50 000.

    Though the site boasted 14 million users and three million products, costs of pan-African delivery and advertising have clearly taken their toll. Platforms for small advertisements, such as Dealfish, can also face high costs in promotion, but have no need to carry any inventory or incur distribution costs.

    There have also been difficulties with persuading Kenyans to trust online shopping, with many preferring to use sites for products they have been unable to physically buy. Finding an efficient and trustworthy payment gateway has also been a challenge, with credit card uptake in Kenya still low and mobile-to-Web payment systems, like PesaPal, yet to gain mass adoption and trust.

computing

  • Apple has agreed to enter a joint-venture with the Zimbabwean government to deliver solar-powered iPads to rural and remote schools, reducing the digital divide between rural and urban areas in the country.

    Government Education, Sport, Arts and Culture minister David Coltart travelled to Europe to meet with Apple executives in Paris, working on a new ‘School Box’ which will use solar power and micro projectors to help bring iPad teach aids to some of Zimbabwe’s poorest schools.

  • Safaricom has entered the data storage business as it seeks to diversify its product portfolio from the voice market that has witnessed decline in revenues following a price war in the telecoms industry started last year.

    The firm on Tuesday launched the business line branded as SafaricomCloud targeting provision off data storage and backup services to companies and small businesses.

    Fast gaining currency, cloud computing involves storage of data in a similar way to how e-mail and social network data are stored only that in cloud computing this is in large scale.

    Safaricom's chief executive officer Mr Bob Collymore said the firm has invested an initial Sh2 billion in putting up the necessary infrastructure, while a further Sh1.5 billion will be deployed in the venture within the next two years.

    "Cloud computing allows a company to seek a number of IT services relevant to its operations, under a cost-efficient, money-saving, pay-for-what-you-use model. Such services may include a data centre, disaster recovery, back-up, software applications, among others," said Collymore.

    Cloud computing has been gaining traction in companies in Kenya seeking for ways to cut the rising technology costs and operators.It is estimated that firms can cut their IT expenditure by 30 per cent.

    Currently banks and telecoms with sensitive digital data use offshore servers, while many small and medium enterprises rely on disaster recovery. The post-election violence also saw businesses lose vital documents, rousing interest in secure data storage.

    Safaricom's entry is set to increase competition for the archive business with firms like Kenya Data Networks, security firm G4S and Internet Solutions firms as well as companies in Europe and US who were providing the services to local firms from offshore servers.

  • According to ITWeb, writing for DefenceWeb, the Department of Science and Technology opened its 36th dedicated centre, in the country's biggest province, in a bid to demystify science and raise interest in the discipline among South Africa's youth. The centre, a "spacious, converted house" in Mothibistad, next to Kuruman, was officially unveiled by Deputy Minister of science and technology Derek Hanekom, - who also delivered the keynote speech.

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

  • Egyptian telecommunications mobile operator, Mobinil has posted a 96% drop in third quarter net profits.

    Mobinil received only 10 million Egyptian pounds (about US $1.6 million) in profits in the previous quarter, the company stated in a press release today, 26 October 2011.
    The result is a net loss of nearly 110 million Egyptian pounds from the previous quarter. The reason is the continued economic and political turmoil facing the country after former President Hosni Mubarak was ousted in February.The company also said that it was hit hard by deferred taxes.

    “The impact of the new tax regime is limited to current period profits as the hit related to deferred taxes was registered during the second quarter of 2011,” Mobinil said in a statement, but did not give further details.

    Mobinil said in the statement that its total subscribers in the quarter increased 3.4 percent quarter-on-quarter to a total of 31.576 million subscribers. It was also hit by a large number of subscribers who left the company after former CEO Naguib Sawiris posted what many Muslims felt was a blasphemous cartoon depicting Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse as conservative Muslims.

  • Exim Bank Tanzania has now moved on to a new state-of-the-art Information Technology (IT) platform for its Core Banking applications.

    Speaking in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday, the Bank's Group-Head, Operations, Mr Eugen Massawe, said:"It has been a landmark achievement having migrated to the new state-of-the-art solution, with much ease, since October 17.

    The new solution has been sourced from M/s Polaris Software Labs Limited, one of the leading IT enabled Banking solution provider in the world. Massawe said: "Exim Bank has always been distinctive in its approach towards customer satisfaction, be it in introducing innovative products or using technology for faster and effective delivery". The new solution shall be a delight for our customers", he added.

    Mr Massawe said that it has been a meticulous and well coordinated effort from the bank and the software vendors that has resulted in achieving the success.Highlighting features of the solution, he said that customers shall now be able to benefit with value added services including Internet Banking from the comfort of their homes or offices. It will facilitate more efficient transfers of funds within the bank, outside the bank, request for issuance of Letters of Credit, Application for Credit Facilities shall have several other value added features.

    The bank has been providing down load of statement of accounts, balance enquiries.
    On cash management services -- Business houses would now be able to manage their funds effectively with the help of Bank's Cash Management solution.

    The bank shall be at a distinct advantage with 21 branches across major centres in the country, providing Corporates a One Stop Solution for all their banking needs.
    All payments to TRA would be system-enabled with relevant information available for the remitter for future references.

    Educational institutions such as schools, colleges, universities have been facing perennial problems in collection and management of fees from Students.

    The bank has launched an ideal solution that shall not only facilitate students, parents with a wide option to choose the place of deposit, but shall be a boon for the institutions as it will eliminate lot of human effort and facilitate reconciliation of fees collection electronically.

    There is instant credit of inward remittances, straight through credit of both local and foreign remittances is yet another feature which shall help the customers in getting their remittances into their account, seamlessly.

    With the new facility, customers would be able to request for instant opening of Letters of credit, Guarantees and collection Import & export bills over net itself and shall be advised with the confirmations electronically. Having pioneered in inculcating the habit of savings amongst the masses through its FAIDA, an innovate savings account, the bank is embarking to launch yet another innovative product.

    The product, enabled by the new solution, is aimed to inculcate the habit of regular savings amongst people, to plan and secure their future. An Innovative product for would be millionaires & billionaires of the economy!! After-all, little drops make an ocean !!

    Institutions and corporates can now relax and ensure payment of salaries of their employees on time and without hassle through Exim's salary account-facility. Customers can also utilise the safe locker facility of Exim for safe-keeping of their valuables, without fear of theft and live a tension-free life.

    Customers can henceforth give standing instructions for any regular payment to be made on specified dates, without the botheration of getting reminded and being penalized for delayed payments.

    Exim's Master Card and Visa Cards can be very effectively used in the ATMs and POS machines of other Banks.Exim Bank with a balance sheet size of over 800bn/- is the sixth largest bank in the country in terms of total assets, deposits and advances. The bank has 21 branches and 48 ATMs across the country. With the new solution in place, the bank has plans to expand its network aggressively.Exim holds to its credit being the 1st Tanzanian bank to establish footprints overseas. The bank has two overseas banking subsidiaries in Comoros (2 branches) and Djibouti.

Digital Content

  • The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)said the rapid increase in mobile phone deployment in Zimbabwe has created business opportunities for small and medium-scale entrepreneurs in the country.

    According to the Voice of America, the UNCTAD said such entrepreneurs are able to conduct electronic business or e-business as 59% of Zimbabweans have access to mobile phones compared with only about 5% in 2005.

    Such penetration, though still below the average of 77% in developing economies, is playing a critical role in boosting micro and small enterprises in Zimbabwe, UNCTAD said. It noted that there is a gender gap in mobile phone ownership in the developing world with 300 million fewer women than men owning mobile devices.

    Information and Communications Technology Minister Nelson Chamisa told VOA that e-business has become a key component in reviving Zimbabwe’s economy and creating business opportunities for smaller players.

    Economic commentator Rejoice Ngwenya said that while many small-scale entrepreneurs are doing business over mobile phones, mobile service quality remain an issue. “There is need for service providers to improve services in order to create more opportunities for small-scale businesses,” said Ngwenya.

    The report said that as mobile phones are the main ICT tool used by micro-enterprises and SMEs in low-income countries, these trends reinforce the likelihood that mobile networks will be their main way of accessing the Internet in the near future.

    According to the 2011 information economy report, “In Africa, where 84 million mobile handsets are already capable of using the Internet, 7 out of 10 are expected to be Internet-enabled by 2014.”

  • Democracy activists in some repressive countries are protecting themselves from harassment with technology training they received from the U.S. Department of State. The U.S. assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor offered a few insights into the programs in a speech October 24.

    Speaking at the University of Southern California's Annenberg Center in Los Angeles, Assistant Secretary Michael Posner said, "We've funded a wide range of programs and trainings aimed at keeping activists in the most repressive environments safe, including a number of Syrians who tell us they are using what they learned in the current struggle for political freedom."
    Posner said Congress has allocated $70 million to support Internet freedom through technology and training for groups overseas. One nongovernmental organization that received a State Department grant developed a mobile phone application that Posner called a "panic button," for use by democracy activists anticipating ugly encounters with government authorities.

    "If [activists] are being arrested, they can push a button that sends text messages to people to let [their associates] know they're in trouble," Posner told the California audience. "And it wipes the contacts in their phone, which we've been told has already proven useful."

    In a speech earlier this year, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke strongly about the U.S. intent to provide support for people struggling to assert their right of free expression.

    "The United States continues to help people in oppressive Internet environments get around filters, stay one step ahead of the censors, the hackers and the thugs who beat them up or imprison them for what they say online," Clinton said in a major address on Internet policy.

    Amid recent successes in the cause of human rights in North Africa, Posner said Obama administration officials remain concerned about three likely threats against Internet freedom and human rights.

    U.S. officials are watchful of some repressive governments' actions inhibiting citizens engaged in peaceful online activities. Posner said any government action of this type is a violation of international human rights law.

    Some governments are adapting the most sophisticated new information technology tools, Posner said, "to spy on their own citizens for the purpose of quashing peaceful political dissent or even information that would allow citizens to know what is happening in their communities." That too is a trend the United States is monitoring.
    A third trend, which Posner said has not received the scrutiny it deserves, is the attempt by some nations to convince the international community to adopt an international code of conduct for information security. Despite that innocuous name, Posner said, such a code, now proposed by China and Russia, would surely undermine media and individual freedoms.

    "And it would shift cyberspace away from being people-driven to a system dominated by centralized government control," Posner said. "Not a good idea."

    In her February speech on the issue, Clinton urged all nations to support an open Internet in the belief that it will lead to stronger and more prosperous countries. She expressed the view "that open societies give rise to the most lasting progress, that the rule of law is the firmest foundation for justice and peace, and that innovation thrives where ideas of all kinds are aired and explored."

  • Kenya's available international bandwidth increased 25-fold between March and June this year, leaving the country using less than 1% of it, according to new figures from the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK).

    Kenya's available bandwidth increased to 5 137 237.12Mbps in the second quarter of 2011, but is as yet barely utilised, the commission reported. This is despite the fact that Internet subscriptions rose by 10.9%, from 3.84 million to 4.25 million, over the same three months, with the total number of Internet users rising by 13.6%, to 12.53 million.

    About 31.8% of the Kenyan population are now able to access the Internet.
    The increased available bandwidth is the result of the arrival in Kenya of the 10 000km Eassy fibre-optic cable, which links SA with eight southern and eastern African countries. The cable is the third of its kind in Kenya, joining Seacom and Teams, but offers by far the greatest bandwidth capacity. Its arrival means there is now sizeable bandwidth available for overseas investors in Kenya's technological market, which is emerging as a regional hub.

Telecoms, Rates, Offers and Coverage

  • - Airtel and the Republic of Congo has taken a significant step towards building the largest 3G network across Africa by announcing the launch of a 3.75G platform in the country.
    The launch on Tuesday 25th October  followed the application and issuance of a 3G license by the Republic of Congo. The issuance of the license was a significant move by the Congolese Government and a milestone in a region that is set to embrace first world mobile platforms. This is the first 3G license issued in Central Africa and the second amongst the French-speaking African nations, after Senegal.

    - mCel, Mozambique’s largest mobile operator by subscribers, has selected Swedish equipment vendor Ericsson to upgrade and expand its existing 3G network in the country’s capital city Maputo. Under the terms of the agreement, Ericsson will deploy its core network solutions as well as its multi-standard ‘RBS 6000’ base stations, which support GSM, EDGE, W-CDMA, HSPA and Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology. The core network includes Ericsson’s Mobile Softswitch and SmartEdge-based Mobile Packet Backbone Network (MPBN) solutions.

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  • - Blaise Compaoré, President of Burkina Faso, has been appointed Chairman of the International Advisory Board (IAB) of the International Multilateral Partnership Against Cyber Threats (IMPACT), which serves at the executing arm of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in the area of cyber security.

  • Senior Huawei 3G Planning and Optimisation Team Leader
    Posted by: emiliosrize

    Posted date: Fri, 28th Oct

    Location: Zambia

    I am currently looking for a senior Huawei 3G Radio network Planning and Optimsation consutlant who has team leader experience to work on a 6 month extendable for a market leading client of mine in Zambia.

    My client are looking for a 3G expert in planning and optimisation who will also have the presence and knowledge to be able to provide mentoring, skills and knowledge transfer to the rest of the teams.

    * All applicants MUST have at least 4-5 years experience with detailed 3G design, planning and optimisation.

    It would be beneficial to have someone who has a good knowledge of the 3G/Data aspects of the Core network and can clearly map 3G access capacity with core network design.

    All applicants must be available to start within the next 2 weeks.

    Huawei UMTS planning and optimization experience are strongly preferred.

    To Apply online please click here: 

  • AITEC East Africa East Africa Summit
    2-3 November, Kenyatta International Conference Centre, Nairobi

    East Africa has become one of the fastest growing ICT investment markets and the region's ICT Summit it designed as the region's forum to bring together users and vendors of ICT technology in a stimulating educational and business networking environment. The 2011 Summit programme will focus on the following themes:
    ¥    Data Security
    ¥    Mobile Apps
    ¥    Cloud Computing
    For the conference programme, log on to the organiser's website here: To book exhibition space, email info@aitecafrica.com

    G | Angola!
    8 - 9 November, 2011
    , Hotel Victoria Garden, Luanda, Angola
    G of Angola | Angola. We will demonstrate how the
    tools for Web and mobile phone from Google is driving the development
    technological and business here in Africa and around the world.
    For further information and to register to attend this free event please visit here:

    Africa Com
    9 - 10 November, 2011, Cape Town, SA

    Join 5,000 of Africa's leading telcos in Cape Town this November for what is set to be the biggest and best AfricaCom yet.  The conference agenda has doubled to incorporate a record 150+ speakers presenting across 4 strategic keynotes, 11 in-depth focus sessions and 2 co-located events - AfricaCast and Enterprise ICT Africa.  What's more 250+ international solutions providers will be showcasing their latest products in the networking exhibition. For more information visit here:

    World Telecom Summit 2011
    9-11 November, 2011, Singapore Marriott Hotel

    World Telecom Summit 2011 is the must-attend event of the year. Bringing together top level executives and key decision makers of preeminent telecommunications companies from around the world, this is the perfect opportunity to meet the who's who of the telecommunications and mobile industry.  It is the summit that addresses the evolving needs of telecommunications and mobile community. Get up to date with the latest innovations and technological advancements in the industry and gain access to the minds of the movers and shakers of the industry.
    Take advantage of the Limited Early Bird Rates for Operator Pass!
    For more information please visit here: or contact Vivian at vivian.ho@olygen.com

    Mobile Web in Africa 2011
    22 - 25 November, 2011, Johannesburg, South Africa

    Harnessing the potential of the internet and applications on mobile devices. Back for a third year, Mobile Web in Africa is South Africa’s premier mobile conference.  Following on from unrivalled, sell-out successes in 2009 and 2010, no other event on the South African calendar compares in terms of topic, speaking faculty, agenda, interaction and business opportunities.
    Write to info@allamber.co.uk to find out about the fantastic discount
    available to Balancing Act readers.
    Confirmed Speakers:
    •    Tomi T Ahonen, Bestselling Author & Consultant
    •    Dr Marc Smith, Chief Social Scientist, Connected Action Consulting Group
    •    Toby Shapshak, Editor, Stuff Magazine
    •    Adam Holtrop, Creative Director, Vidamo
    •    Salim Amin, Chairman, Camerapix, The Mohamed Amin Foundation & A24Media
    •    Alistair Fairweather, Digital Platforms Manager, The Mail & Guardian Online
    •    David Erasmus, Founder, Cubate
    •    Isis Nyong’o, Managing Director - Africa, InMobi
    •    Ronald Bach, Mobile Product Manager, News24
    •    Mark Kaigwa, Partner, Affrinovator
    •    Jean-Patrick Ehouman, Founder, AllDenY
    •    Musa Kalenga, Managing Director, IHOP World
    •    Nevo Hadas, New Media Consultant
    •    Russell Southwood, Editor, Balancing Act
    •    Johan Nel, CEO & Founder, Umuntu Media
    •    Leslie Tita, Co-Founder, Pulse
    •    Justin Spratt, CEO, Quirk
    For further information please visit here:

    ICT Infrastructure Summit: Banking Solutions in Growth Economies
    29-30 November, 2011,

    Kingsway Hall, Great Queen Street, London WC2
    Though technology innovation for banks in growth economies is ripe for growth, development is being stalled by some major infrastructural barriers including poor connectivity, a lack of political support, incorrect regulation and a lack of capital. The ICT Innovation for Banks in Growth Economies conference will arm you with the tools to upgrade your telecommunication infrastructure and scale up your branchless banking operations in order to reach millions of unbanked households. For further information please click here:

    Digital Migration and Spectrum Policy Summit
    29 November to 01 Decemberr 2011, Nairobi, Kenya.

    For more informtion visit here:

    AfriHealth
    30 November - 1 December 2011, Kenyatta International Conference Centre, Nairobi

    The leading continental forum on e-health, m-health, health management systems and capacity development. AfriHealth 2011 will focus on current research, development and implementation of ICT technology and resources in the African Healthcare arena. A key objective of the conference, now in its fourth year, will be to share knowledge and experience from practical mobilization of ICT-based healthcare systems and projects, to showcase best practice through practical case studies and highlight potential for scaling up success stories at national and regional levels. For the conference programme log on to the organiser's website here: To book exhibition space, email info@aitecafrica.com

    AITEC Banking & Mobile Money COMESA
    7-8 March 2012, Kenyatta International Conference Centre, Nairobi

    Now in its sixth year, this has become the leading educational, networking and marketing event for Eastern and Southern Africa's financial services sector. In addition to the conference's established intensive education programme covering core banking, mobile money and microfinance topics (over 100 speakers in 2011). For the conference programme log on to the organiser's website here:  To book exhibition space, email info@aitecafrica.com

    New Media Gathering Africa!
    7 - 8 March, 2012, Lagos Nigeria

    Leading media content and communication company Red Media Group (RMG) and
    frontline ICT consulting firm, Paradigm Initiative Nigeria (PIN) have
    announced the first edition of the annual New Media Gathering Africa. The
    event will be held in Lagos  and will present to
    corporate, governments, change organisations and small businesses
    practical, outcome-oriented tools to enhance capacity and enrich bottom
    line. Information about registration for the conference will be unveiled on the website www.newmediagathering.com on January 1, 2012. For immediate
    enquiries and sponsorship consideration, please contact the Conference
    Lead on info@newmediagathering.com.

    InsureAFRICA
    7-8 March 2012, Kenyatta International Conference Centre, Nairobi

    Insurers seeking effective performance in service delivery, cost reduction and profit levels need to embrace technology, viewing it not as a support function but as a key enabler of competitive advantage at all levels of operation. InsureAFRICA is the first specialised conference for the African insurance and pensions industry to evaluate the systems and innovative channels needed to compete and thrive in a rapidly expanding industry. With the theme "Effective management strategies and systems for a new era of expansion and inclusion", the conference will be the continent's first forum to gather knowledge and experience for a rapidly growing industry. For the Call for Papers, log on to the organiser's website here: To book exhibition space, email info@aitecafrica.com

    Mobile VAS Africa 2012
    14 - 15 May 2012, Johannesburg, South Africa

    Mobile VAS Africa 2012 will bring together industry experts and representatives from leading financial institutions, mobile operators and solutions providers to provide a strategic insight into mobile VAS while exploring collaborative business models, innovative applications, technologies and straegies. For more information visit here:

    Roaming & Interconnect
    16 - 17 May 2012, Johannesburg, South Africa

    RIC Africa 2012 will uncover new strategies to boost roaming traffic and retain existing roamers. During the conference we will look at the innovative roaming solutions and pricing, supplementing roaming with alternative revenue streams, the latest EU regulations and their impact on operations in Africa, as well as the importance of hubbing and convergence.  For more information please visit here:

    AITEC Banking & Mobile Money West Africa
    6 June 2012, Accra International Conference Centre

    Now in its fifth year, the conference will cover a wide range of strategic and technology topics to empower West Africa's banking, microfinance and insurance professionals with the knowledge they need to lead their organisation effectively through the turbulent market and regulatory conditions they face. For the conference programme log on to the organiser's website here:  To book exhibition space, email info@aitecafrica.com

Issue no. 116 - 27 October 2011

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  • Something that would have seemed crazy two years ago in Africa can now quite easily be considered a part of the near future. Bandwidth and internet users are now at the point where mass live streaming services make very good sense. The number of mobile phones able to receive live streams is probably larger than you think. Plus there are interesting business models to monetize the content. Russell Southwood looks at what live streaming has to offer Africa.

    Put simply, a live stream is as its name suggests simply a broadcast over the Internet or another data channel in real time. If you’re already broadcasting something live, it’s relatively easy and not so costly to make it available over the Internet to a range of devices including mobile phones, PCs, laptops and tablets.

    Because again as the name suggests, it about something that’s live, it will lend itself best either to things like breaking news or music concerts. In audience terms, with the right provider, it can handle millions of streams but at the niche end can do things like conferences, debates and talks: for example, the live stream (by Sstreamm) of Mobile Entertainment Africa in Cape Town got 700 live stream users on the basis of a Twitter campaign started on its first day.

    African broadcasters often have large diaspora audiences who want to watch their programmes (particularly breaking news) and delivering these programmes to them over satellite or cable Pay TV is an expensive business (in the hundreds of thousands of dollars) with little or no chance of a commercial return. Wealthier stations like Nigeria’s NTA and AIT/Daar tend to do it for reasons of either public purpose or status. There is almost no audience data on how many people view these niche channels or for what length of time. With video streams, you get clear numbers in terms of how many people are watching, what they viewed and for how long.

    Finally, in those countries where broadcast licences are hard to obtain (like South Africa or the more authoritarian African countries), it will become possible to create a TV station that requires no licence. Its channels of delivery would be mobile phones and laptops. The argument is not that this type of station would compete with Free To Air channels in audience scale but they would have a significantly cheaper cost base and be able to survive on an audience base of between half to one million people. Better still, the type of person that would view this kind of station would be in the top LSMs and therefore attractive to key advertisers.

    Finally, for time-based broadcasters, it allows them to offer continuous coverage of an event without that coverage needing to eat into other premium programming on the schedule. So advertisers can be assured of a double-hit in audience terms. News programmes can then dip in and out of the event, whilst pointing people off to the live stream.

    There are two providers focused on the African market that will allow broadcasters to take a step into this market: London-based Livestation which focuses on news coverage and Johannesburg-based Sstreamm which deals with live events.

    Livestation has many of the top global news brands on its platform including:CNN, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, CNBC, Bloomberg and Euronews. Currently it has 31 million video visits a month, 15 million unique visitors and each visitor views an average of 13 minutes per visit. Furthermore, these numbers increased enormously during the Arab Spring and keep on growing. Livestation wants to attract 3-5 high quality African news channels. Those stations will then be placed on an extremely well-visited site and will both attract viewers from their own diasporas and the curious from other parts of the globe.

    Livestation can deliver to all the main devices including mobile phones (with apps for smartphones), PCs and laptops, tablets (again with apps) and smart TVs. It can either do it directly on its own branded Livestation site or give broadcasters a “white label” service to run on their own sites. Mobile operators need to be interested in seeing this happen because it will drive use on higher-end data-enabled phones.

    Transdigital Media’s Sstreamm service is based in South Africa and combines the experience of Julian Van Plato from the music industry and Greg Upton from the broadcast rights side.

    It offers those wanting to do live streaming a simple and relatively inexpensive box that feeds the signal back to its servers and then out to the devices. Plato says they are primarily focused on mobiles as that will be where the market will be in the first instance. It is signing up mobile operators across the continent so this is not just for South Africa. The stream can be received by a wide range of phones, including those at the low end but obviously the lower the bandwidth, the less smooth the picture.

    It has done a music event for Vodafone in Ghana and is looking to do music events, sporting evetns (like marathons) and conferences (including corporate events). It has also put in a unit into a club in Johannesburg to have the first live stream venue.

    So what might the business models be? In the case of Livestation, it offers an advertising sales service working with “best of breed” providers. Because the audiences are in the diaspora, the potential revenues are significantly larger than they might be in Africa: Al Jazeera is already getting net revenues, after having paid for the service.

    In the African context, in the short-term, it would be a natural for mobile company sponsorship. A live music or sport event fits their targeted demographics and drives the all-important use of data on their platforms.

    For more information on either of these providers, please contact us on: info@balancingact-africa.com


    This week on Balancing Acts YouTube channel:

    Lippe Oosterhof, CEO, Livestation on live streaming for African news broadcasters

    Julian VanPlato, CEO, Trans Digital Media on a new live streaming mobile service for Africa

    Richard Bell, CEO, Wananchi Group in Kenya on international fibre connectivity, local TV content for

    Thema TV: 3 years of “Bouquet Africain” TV package, 115 000 payTV subscribers (en francais)

    Watch the interview with Senegal public broadcaster RTS’ representative discussing tomorrow’s radio (in French) here:

    In this interview, Roxana Vasile, correspondent for ‘Radio Romania’ gives her insight regarding tomorrow’s radio (in French) here:

    White Spaces and the implications for broadcasters


    Henk Kleynhans, Chair of WAPA
    on TV White Spaces proposals in South Africa

    Steve Song, CEO, Village Telco on the TV White Spaces Workshop

     

  • Out In Africa Gay and Lesbian Film Festival is running in Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa until 30 October 2011. Kevin Kriedemann caught up with festival director Nodi Murphy to chat about running a gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex film festival in a continent where being queer is illegal in the majority of countries.

    Out In Africa (http://www.oia.co.za/) is now in its 18th year, making it the same age as South Africa’s democracy. Nodi started the festival with Jack Lewis and Theresa Raizenberg after an enthusiastic response to a gay film she’d helped screen while working on The Cape Town International Film Festival. “The cinemas were heaving,” she remembers. “So I realised that there was a marketplace.”

    She was right: Out In Africa sold 18,500 tickets in 1994. “Film is the most powerful communication tool, so it was important for all of us to see ourselves affirmed on screens for the first time.  That was true for 23 million black South Africans but also for a million queers,” Nodi says. “I don’t see gay and lesbian films as a tool to help straight people understand us; I see them as a tool to assist gays and lesbians to come out, to love themselves, and to be amused and affirmed by seeing themselves on screen.”

    17 years later, does South Africa still need a gay and lesbian film festival? “Although the majority of South Africans still don’t have the internet, these days its easier to access gay and lesbian books, newspapers, websites and DVDs,” says Nodi. “It’s now more about creating a critical mass in safe public spaces. The fest is a peaceful gathering of gays and lesbians, not a protest, but it speaks volumes. We’re less likely to be abused when we come out in force in these sorts of public spaces.”

    Her concern with abuse is real: stories of corrective rape remain fair too common within South Africa. Nodi says hearing about people coming-out during the festival makes all the stress and hard work worthwhile. “I meet people who’re already in their 30s, but who’ve only just managed to come out after circling the fest for three years or so or before they get the courage to walk in the doors,” she says. “You can see the obvious peace the festival has given people – they now know they are not alone.”

    One of the highlights of August’s Out In Africa festival was Getting Out, a documentary by Alexandra Chapman, Chris Dolan and Daniel Neumann about gay Africans seeking asylum because of the persecution they’ve experienced. “We are sooo lucky to live in South Africa,” says Nodi, who adds that Out In Africa has worked across the continent. “We assisted Namibia to have a couple of film fests and we send our DVDs to Botswana, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Zambia, as well as a lot of countries where we have to quietly slip over the border and work surreptitiously because it’s legally punishable.”

    She’s happy that Out In Africa Is no longer the only gay and lesbian film festival in Africa, with Kenya’s Out Film Festival taking place for the first time this year and another queer film festival planned for Durban later in 2011. “We need a new generation of activists,” she says.

    She says that there’s more of a familiarity with gay and lesbian characters on mainstream screens, thanks to shows like Will & Grace and Brothers and Sisters, as well as films like In and Out, Brokeback Mountain, and The Kids Are Alright.

    “Everyone thought those were major breakthroughs,” says Nodi. “They showed that big Hollywood stars are not going to lose their careers if they take a gay role. But for lesser Hollywood stars that’s still a difficult thing.”

    She believes it’s easier for people to accept homosexuality on screen than in real life. “When people watch gay and lesbian characters on screen, it’s fine because it’s out there. But when it’s your family, it’s a problem. Even if your parents don’t hate you, they’re certainly going to be concerned that other people will hurt and hate you, so there’s always an anxiety around homosexuality.”

    While she says gays and especially lesbians have been flavour of the month on screen recently, she warns, “We go in and out of favour. The truth is we are at least 10% of the population anywhere in the world. I would say we are a little more than that – even 35% - because there are another 25% who are hiding away, but I might be upping it too much. So we can only reasonably expect that 25% of our stories would deal with homosexuality and that if a film or TV series has 25 main characters, one would be queer.”

    World cinema, and especially African cinema, is a long way from that 25% ratio and Nodi believes there are problems even when homosexuality is addressed. “How many of the gay and lesbian characters are interesting, or are they just relegated to being limp-wristed, listening hairdressers?”

    South Africa has submitted Oliver Hermanus’ Skoonheid for the Foreign Film Oscar, but Nodi doesn’t believe this is a sign that the country has embraced queer cinema.

    “It’s very brave of South Africa to make that choice and hats off to Oliver, but the film community is always different,” she says. “It’s interesting that so many people have remarked that the film is less about homosexuality and more about the white Afrikaner male psyche. Skoonheid is still a hard sell – happy works better than tortured - and being submitted by South Africa doesn’t mean that it’s going to be seen in Africa or even here.”

    Out In Africa regularly holds filmmaking workshops, like on Thursday, 27 October 2011, when Africa-American director Dee Rees will talk at Big Fish School of Digital Filmmaking about her debut feature, Pariah, which won Best Cinematography at Sundance this year and is screening at Out In Africa.

    But Nodi doesn’t expect a rush of African gay and lesbian films.
    “The problem is always the marketplace,” she says. “If you push it out as queer, you will only get queers and the few straights who want to see good cinema. Documentaries seem easier to fund and distribute, but features are hard. I find that the films that make people laugh at themselves and their fears generally work best.”

    This year, for the first time, Out In Africa split into three editions. “Film festivals are declining everywhere,” Nodi admits. “It’s slow and certain and incremental. The same is certainly true for gay and lesbian film festivals.”

    The other challenge is the increased accessibility of content and the shorter windows between multi-platform releases. “If we do one festival a year, by the time it ends, the next three big gay films will come out and they’ll be gone by the time the next festival arrives. Queers aren’t going to wait a year – they’ll get it through Amazon, Kalahari, or Pirate Bay. We must meet that need.”

    With the third and final edition currently underway, it seems the experiment has worked. “It’s a lot easier to choose ten films and create a ten page booklet,” Nodi says. “And if we maintain the same figures – around 3 600 per edition – we’ll be up on last year.”

    Interested filmmakers can visit www.oia.co.za for submission details. Out in Africa is made possible by Atlantic Philanthropies, The National Lottery, The National Film and Video Foundation, The Times, Cape Film Commission, The US Embassy, Rutland Lodge, Graton Guest House and 6 Spin Street.

  • The 23rd International URTI Radio Grand Prix and the 63rd General Assembly of URTI - International Radio and Television Union - took place West of Paris on 20-21, October 2011. Balancing Act's Sylvain Béletre attended part of the event.
     
    The event was the occasion for broadcasters from across the world - including several from Africa such as RTS, GBC, ORTN, RA and ENTV, TVT, ORTB, CRTV, RTG, RTC, ORTC, URTE, TM and many more - to meet up, set URTI’s new objectives, exchange ideas and seal new partnership agreements.
     
    URTI is the oldest international organization of radio and television and also the only one with an international vocation. Over the past two years, the Union recorded the subscriptionof 28  international radios/television broadcasters from 25 countries.
     
    Over the event, broadcasters reported great benefits in belonging to URTI. The union's membership provides access to a large global broadcasters' network and a radio and TV programmes' exchange; More than 3,000 programmes - and growing each year - are offered free of copyright and by / for members. This exchange platform saves important amounts of money but also meets the need to share values and content in order to enrich broadcasters' editorial topics and experiences.

    URTI also opens access to training exchanges, co-productions opportunities and industry best practices. The Union has set a special priority to radio's digital archiving. URTI recently invested in a state-of-the art Web platform to allow its members to retrieve, exchange, co-produce and transmit programmes wherever they are.

    On the current platform, it is now possible for members to download radio programs. In television, URTI is seeking funding to digitize the programs that are currently on beta tapes. The Union has adopted three official languages: English, Arabic and French.
     
    URTI's 23rd International URTI Radio Grand Prix ceremony closed "the 30 years anniversary of FM" on Thursday, October 20th, after the conference and panel discussion, and before engaging into a very convivial dinner.
     
    The panel discussion which focused on the 'future of radio' highlighted new areas of developments but reinforced the fact that radio and TV are becoming social networks, giving voice to the people. While broadcast technology changes, while media outlets have proliferated all over the world and while the internet has accelerated the news pace, broadcast content keeps the same objectives.
     
    Each year URTI also organizes the International URTI Radio Grand Prix and the International URTI Grand Prix for Author’s Documentary. These prizes of international renown allow promoting the vitality of contemporary audiovisual production.
     
    The Iranian radio program 'Street Children' won  the 2011 International URTI Radio Grand Prix. The program was produced and broadcast by the Zanjan Radio Center of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB). The chosen theme for the 23rd edition was 'poverty' and the Iranian program was selected from programs submitted by 45 countries.
     
    Each of the two juries is made up of thirteen to twenty professionals from the whole world who take opposing views and single out the most remarkable works based on quality and originality. With 81 countries participating in the event, it also confirmed its place among the first ranks of the international radio and television grand prix in terms of the number of participating countries.
     
     The general Assembly examined the current evolutions as well as the quests for financing and partnerships. After more than 60 years of existence, URTI members showed a prestigious assessment and a renewed enthusiasm during this annual meeting.
     
    This year, Alain Massé, director general of URTI was acclaimed by URTI members as the man who gave a new life to the union and someone who made it possible to take URTI and its members to the next level.
     
    URTI TV Committee that will bring together members in Tirana at the kind invitation of RTSH will take place from 17 to 22 November to select programmes for the 2012 catalogue.
     
    URTI would like broadcasters to apply as new potential members.

  • Hip hop music has been popular in Africa since the early 1980s. It became big in Senegal in 1985 due to widespread American and French influence. Some of the first Senegalese rappers were M.C. Lida, M.C. Solaar, and Positive Black Soul, who mixed rap with Mbalax, a type of West African pop music. An early South African group was Black Noise in Cape Town until they started emceeing in 1989. Hip hop spread out to several other African countries such as Tanzania, Algeria, Angola, Botswana, Cameroon, Madagascar, Nigeria, Ghana or Senegal which are home to a thriving hip hop scene before escalating all over Africa.

    There is no doubt that the sixth annual "BET Hip Hop Awards" will make waves across the African continent. The event was organised by BET Networks, a subsidiary of Viacom Inc is the US nation's leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs television programming for the African-American audience. The primary BET channel reaches more than 98 million households and can be seen in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom and sub-Saharan Africa.

    This year’s " BET Hip Hop Awards " brought the hip hop heat with the highly anticipated homecoming of Atlanta native T.I., who performed "F.A.M.E." alongside Young Jeezy and literally ignited the stage with their phenomenal performance. Hosted by comedian Mike Epps, the " BET Hip Hop Awards " was a night filled with brilliant collaborations. DMX stormed the stage with Ruff Ryders alum Swizz Beatz; G.O.O.D Music's newest stars Big Sean and Roscoe Dash did it bringing the audience to their feet with hit singles "I Do It" and "Marvin & Chardonnay." Maybach Music Group came through deep with Rick Ross, Wale, Meek Mill with special guest El Debarge supplying his legendary falsetto to "That Way."  Wiz Khalifa gave an all energy performance of "Taylor Gang" and Heavy D made his return to the stage with Tyrese, a catalogue of hits and a crew of old school hip hop dancers.

    Lil' Wayne takes home 5 Awards; Busta Rhymes Takes Home 4 Hip Hop Awards;
    Nicki Minaj takes home MVP of the Year;
    Kanye West wins top honors with the CD of the year with "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy".

    This year's BET hip hop cyphers were epic.  An outstanding seven sets of cyphers from the best in the business - Eminem, Rick Ross, Ludacris, Joe Budden, Yelawolf, Estelle, Busta Rhymes, Ace Hood, Blind Fury, Mike Epps and many more.   LL COOL J was honored as the 2011 recipient of the "I AM HIP-HOP" Icon Award, and received it with a poignant acceptance speech. Part rap, part reminiscence, it was lyrical gold and irrefutable confirmation that the right man had been selected for the distinction.

    The following are the list of winners from the 2011 BET Hip Hop Awards:

    •    Best Hip Hop Video: Chris Brown f/ Lil Wayne & Busta Rhymes – Look At Me Now
    •    Reese's Perfect Combo Award (Best Collab): Chris Brown f/ Lil Wayne & Busta Rhymes – Look At Me Now
    •    Best Live Performer: Lil Wayne
    •    Lyricist of the Year: Lil Wayne
    •    Video Director of the Year: Hype Williams
    •    Producer of the Year: Lex Luger
    •    MVP of the Year: Nicki Minaj
    •    Track of the Year: Black and Yellow – Produced by Stargate (Wiz Khalifa)
    •    CD of the Year: Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
    •    DJ of the Year: DJ Khaled
    •    Rookie of the Year: Wiz Khalifa
    •    Made-You-Look Award (Best Hip Hop Style): Nicki Minaj
    •    Best Hip Hop Online Site: World Star Hip Hop.com
    •    Best Club Banger: Waka Flocka Flame f/ Roscoe Dash & Wale – No Hands (Produced by Drumma Boy)
    •    Best Mixtape: J. Cole – Friday Night Lights
    •    Sweet 16 - Best Featured Verse: Busta Rhymes – Look At Me Now (Chris Brown f/ Lil Wayne & Busta Rhymes)
    •    Hustler of the Year: Jay-Z
    •    People's Champ Award powered by Verizon (Viewers' Choice): Chris Brown f/ Lil Wayne & Busta Rhymes – Look At Me Now

    For more awards and event information for the " BET Hip Hop Awards 2011," log onto BET.com and check out the photo flipbooks, videos and artist interviews.

    For the " BET Hip Hop Awards," BET once again teamed up with Cossette Productions, the famed producers of the GRAMMY Awards® and the record-setting BET Awards shows, to handle production of the telecast. Stephen G. Hill, BET President, Music and Programming, along with Lynne Harris Taylor, BET Vice President of Specials, are executive producers of the telecast.

    Follow BET on Twitter: @BET_PR

  • Twenty-three year-old Efua representing the Central Region is the latest to be evicted from TV3's reality show Ghana's Most Beautiful Season 5.

    She is the third contestant to be evicted from the show after Afiba and Napaa. After enjoying six weeks in the on-going competition, her journey to the top has come to an abrupt end and she says she has learnt a lot to guide her in life. The theme for this week's live eviction show is "Inter-marital Affairs".

    Still going strong in the competition, are Adwoa from the Eastern Region, Akweley representing the Greater Accra, Enam from the Volta, Asumah from the Upper East, Yeli from the Upper West, Akua representing Asnanti and Abena from Brong Ahafo.

    GMB was initiated by TV3 in 2007 as a beauty pageant with a unique cultural theme to project the beauty of the Ghanaian woman.

    It is an entertainment programme targeted at being informative and educative. The station management say the concept is not intended to weigh against western fashion, but to portray the beauty and value of African fashion in women.

    Ten beautiful women were selected to represent the ten regions of Ghana. The selected ladies are allowed to research on their regions to inform the general public weekly in a live presentation.

  • Cablevision Systems Corp. announced on 18 Oct. 2011 the addition of a new African category to iO TV’s extensive iO International channel line-up. This new package includes Noire TV Africa on channel 1100 and Afrotainment Plus on channel 1101. With this addition, iO International now offers 18 packages of in-language programming from around the world.

    Noire TV Africa is dedicated to delivering the latest in high-quality “Nollywood” movies as well as news, music, lifestyle shows and sports programming from across Africa. Also available in iO TV’s African package, Afrotainment Plus brings viewers African movies, music videos and sports, including African soccer games from the Confederation of African Football and other major African premier leagues. Additionally, Afrotainment Plus broadcasts a wide range of African TV series, including dramas, reality shows and sitcoms.

    “iO International is rapidly adding unique, high-quality programming that keeps all of our customers connected to the countries they love with news and entertainment. We now proudly offer 18 different global packages, and we are pleased to bring viewers the best movies and TV shows from Africa in the newest programming package – iO Africa,” said Bradley Feldman, Cablevision’s vice president, video product management.

    “We are excited to embark on this partnership with Cablevision, by making Noire TV Africa available to Cablevision's subscribers,” said Emeka Iwukemjika and Dokun Adewole, co-founders of Noire TV Africa.

    “As the premier in African home entertainment in North America, we are excited to bring original African programming to the Cablevision footprint. With Afrotainment Plus, Cablevision customers will now have the opportunity to watch the best African movies, music videos, soccer, realities and diverse content from various parts of Africa," said Yves Bollanga, general manager of the Afrotainment Family of Channels.

    Customers who subscribe to Broadcast Basic service and above can receive the new African iO International package for an additional $6.95 per month. Customers must have a digital cable set-top box. In some areas a CableCARD may also be used. These channels are also available in the Optimum App for the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch in all areas. Noire TV Africa and Afrotainment Plus can also be purchased on an a la carte basis for an additional $4.95 per month. Customers interested in the African Package can call 877-980-7636 to order or visit here:  for additional information.

    Cablevision’s award-winning digital cable service, iO TV, offers customers access to hundreds of channels, including more than 50 premium movie channels, 46 channels of commercial-free digital music, thousands of titles available on demand at all times, an interactive programming guide, more than 120 free high-definition programming services and uniquely valuable and relevant local content through News 12, MSG Varsity and their companion interactive television applications.

    Cablevision Systems Corporation is one of the USA’s leading media and telecommunications companies. Its cable television operations provide a full suite of advanced communications services that include iO TV digital television, Optimum Online high-speed Internet, and Optimum Voice digital voice, all over state-of-the-art cable systems that pass nearly 6 million households and businesses across the New York tri-state area and throughout four Western states.

  • A few months after launching Trace Sports HD, which has just landed on the French SFR IPTV pay platform, French TV firm Trace is launching a new music channel, Trace Africa.

    The new channel, announced in Cannes Mipcom, is in France part of the African Bouquet pay-TV offered by IPTV platforms and Numericable. African distribution is handled by CanalHorizons, a subsidiary of CanalOversas. A US satellite dish platform is due to be announced. “This channel offers the best of African music and target the African diaspora worldwide” commented Olivier Laouchez, CEO of Trace, who also launched music channels Trace Urban and Trace Tropical, now available to 20 million subs.

     

     

    Trace Africa is 90% comprised of music clips and will be delivered to 120,000 households in France and 400,000 in Africa. Launched a few months ago, the Trace Sports HD channel claims for its part 10 million subscribers worldwide and aims to reach 100 million within two years. It is available into 9 and almost 10 languages.

    “We’re becoming one of the largest producer of sport programming with 250 hours produced a year,” Laouchez added. The channel has already invested €6 million into production a year out of a €10 million budget.

  • Africa 7 Television started broadcast after three months of testing. The Senegalese media space which includes public television RTS is enriched with a sixth private channel next to 2STV, TFM, Walf TV, RDV and Canal Info News. Apart from Senegal, Africa 7, launched by the group Citizen Media Group has the ambition to be a pan-African television and even global.

    Citizen Media Group has already launched and successfully produced programmes such as ‘Citizen Match’, ‘Citizen dictée’ and ‘Citizen Tv Jobs’ broadcast on RTS 1.
    The launch of Africa 7 provides further diversity for viewers in Senegal.

    The term "Africa 7" adopted by the promoters of the new TV channel refers to its broad coverage, the five regions of Africa, the African diaspora and the world.

    The channel will be broadcast across the continent via satellite in the next two weeks, but it cannot be watched by viewers in Asia and North America right now unless negotiations end positively.

    Housed in the heart of the Plateau, at No. 21 rue Joseph Gomis X Victor Hugo, Africa 7 occupies a three-story building filled with hundreds of young employees and equipment at the height of his great bet.

    Those responsible for this new television, including the vice president of Citizen Media group, Mamadou Baal, has set the goal to develop its enterprise with and for Africa and Africans. French and English are the languages most spoken in Africa 7 programmes, before enlarging to Portuguese and Arabic.

    The channel, which runs along Africa 7 radio, also host African languages such as Swahili and Peul. In addition, it will be visible on social networks and on the Internet.

    At editorial level we find Selly Yaya Wane as Director of Programmes, Rokhaya Kébé, director of development and Sarah Cissé (former host of morning show ‘Kinkeliba’ on RTS 1) as director of editorial and magazines.

    Nearly forty programs will be proposed by the new channel which has opted for multiculturalism with more than 20 African nationalities represented among the various leaders of the programme schedule.

    Programmes target all audiences, with an emphasis on women's concerns, but also those of children and young people through their activities in modern society.

    The channel started with a dozen programmes and will gradually reach its cruising speed of about forty appointments daily, biweekly and monthly. It will cover all areas including general information, economy, culture, education, food, health, sports, fashion, visual arts, music.

  • Tunisians protested outside Nessma TV station on Oct. 8, 2011 after it screened “Persepolis”, an animated Iranian film which demonstrators deemed as blasphemous.

    The head of a private Tunisian TV channel apologized Tuesday for airing part of a film judged blasphemous by Muslims, after Islamists launched an attack on the network’s offices in protest.

    “I apologize,” Nessma TV president Nebil Karoui said on Monastir radio about Friday’s broadcast of “Persepolis”, a globally-acclaimed film on Iran’s 1979 revolution.

    The offending scene of the animated film concerns an old, bearded image of God, of whom all depictions are forbidden by Islam.“I am sorry for all the people who were disturbed by this sequence, which also shocked me,” said Karoui. “I believe that to have broadcast this sequence was a mistake. We never had the intention of attacking sacred values.”

    Tunisian police Sunday broke up a mob of angry Salafists intent on attacking Nessma offices, raising fears of unrest with historic polls only two weeks away and re-launching the sensitive debate on Tunisia’s Arab-Muslim identity.

    In the latest attack by conservative Muslims against secularism in post-revolution Tunisia, a 200-strong crowd targeted Nessma for airing “Persepolis” but was broken up before they reached the TV building.

    The French-Iranian film is based on Marjane Satrapi’s autobiographical and eponymous graphic novel, describing the last days of the US-backed shah’s regime and the subsequent revolution led by Ayatollah Khomeini.

    Salafists ─ whose Tahrir party has not been legalized ─ are one of the most conservative and radical currents in political Islam. In June, six Salafists were arrested in Tunis after they stormed a cinema and broke its glass doors in a bid to stop the screening of the film “Neither Allah nor Master” on secularism in Tunisia.

    Having apologized, Karoui nevertheless said he “never imagined that this would elicit such an outcry. This film has already been shown in its entirety in several cinemas in Tunisia and never elicited such agitation,” he said.

  • IPTV-news interviewed Eugene Nyagahene, CEO of Tele-10 Group, which has pay-TV operations in a number of countries across eastern Africa.

    Q: What developments have you witnessed in Africa's broadcasting industry in the past 12 months?

    A: We have been involved in analogue transmission since 1993 in Burundi, and since 1997 in Rwanda. We had secured analogue licenses in ten countries across Africa, but investment was stopped due to the digital migration.

    Now with a presence in the East Africa Community (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi), we witnessed more changes during 2010 and 2011 than in the last decade as a whole, mainly concerning regulation, transmission and content.

    Firstly, regulators in the East Africa Community (EAC) changed their texts to adapt them to the ITU recommendations regarding digital migration, and harmonised them. Secondly, new opportunities followed those changes and came along with DTT: signal distributors, content providers, hardware distributors etcetera.

    Thirdly, new players emerged from scratch to compete with satellite operators (DSTV and Canalsat) – Star Times from China, Zuku with fibre in Kenya, pay-TV/free-to-air operators such as Tele10 in Rwanda and Burundi etcetera. There have also been new products such as DStv mobile, in partnership with Safaricom in Kenya.

    Q: What challenges have you encountered as a result of this progress?

    A: The main challenge was to re-apply for a new licence and also make a choice from those new opportunities. In a country like Rwanda, a signal distributor can’t be a content provider.

    The second challenge concerns the business model: traditional pay-TV versus free-to-air channels. Having been a pay-TV broadcaster for more than 17 years, we are still reinventing ourselves to make sure we launch the right product for the market, taking into consideration many challenges such as technology, purchasing power, competition and content.

    Q: What role do you think online video will eventually take within the overall mix of television technologies in Africa?

    A: We believe that VOD is the future for the African TV market, since a lot of news and documentary channels are available for free. But we still need to overcome challenges such as broadband access and payment methods (credit cards are not yet popular in the EAC).

    Q: How do you believe content providers can best tap these new opportunities?

    A: Thematic channels are the next step for Africa. We currently have a lot of general channels, and the audience is demanding particular content such as sports, and mainly football.

    Q: How quickly do you think viewer behaviour will change?

    A: There is a transition period between now and 2015 when all African platforms will be digital. African viewers are busy buying new devices such as set-top boxes and HD TV sets. The viewer is now enjoying new channels in terms of quality and quantity. Before 2015, viewers will demand better content focused on their local area: such as local news, local documentaries and local movies.

    Eugene will be speaking at the AfricaCast event taking place in Cape Town, South Africa on 9th-10th November 2011.

  • MultiChoice Africa and Discovery Networks have announced that TLC, its flagship female brand and ID: Investigation Discovery, the fastest growing cable channel in the US, will launch on DStv in Africa on Friday 14 October 2011 on channels 252 (ID) and 186 (TLC) under the documentary and lifestyle genres.

    The two channels will be available on DStv Premium, DStv Compact and Compact Plus (where available). Collins Khumalo, President of MultiChoice Africa said "This will further strengthen the channel line up with more lifestyle programming on the TLC channel as well as more fact based programming on Discovery ID thus providing DStv subscribers with so much more television viewing choice."

    TLC broadcasts the best in female skewed lifestyle, reality and factual entertainment programmes from around the world; whilst ID: Investigation Discovery (ID for short) offers viewers a line-up of world-class crime-related documentaries.
    The launch of the channels takes Discovery Networks' portfolio on DStv to six channels including Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, Discovery World and Discovery HD Showcase. Both of the new channels will also have commercial airtime added in Q1 2012.

    Phillip Luff, Country Manager, Emerging Business for Discovery Networks CEEMEA, says: "We have had an outstanding relationship with DStv over the last 15 years and are confident that with the addition of TLC and ID, this will go from strength to strength.
    TLC and ID have been hugely successful in markets all over the world and their addition to the DStv bouquets forms part of our continued investment in Africa. We're sure that DStv's subscribers are going to love both channels."

    Discovery ID: Investigation Discovery and Discovery TLC will be available to DStv Premium, DStv Compact and Compact Plus subscribers across the Sub Sahara Africa.

  • The state broadcaster told parliament it plans to have 18 TV channels on air within two years after the launch of digital TV South Africa’s state broadcaster, the SABC, told parliament on 21 September 2011 that it plans to bring 17 TV channels and an “interactive video service” on air after it launches its digital terrestrial television (DTT) offering, SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago recently confirmed.

    The number includes the broadcaster’s three existing channels, SABC 1, 2, and 3. Kganyago explained that the 15 new channels will be phased in over the first two years after the launch of the DTT platform.

    “By providing these television channels, radio stations and interactive services, the SABC will be making full use of the capacity allocated to the SABC in Multiplex 1 under the terms of ICASA’s regulations from February 2010,” Kganyago said.

    The South African Department of Communications (DoC) has set the DTT switch-on date for April 2012, with the aim of switching off analogue TV broadcasts by December 2013.

    The process is referred to as SA’s “digital migration” and will result in frequency spectrum currently used by analogue TV broadcasts to become available for other applications.

    This “digital dividend” spectrum is sought after by mobile network operators who say that it is especially attractive for rural roll-outs and the deployment of new high speed technologies such as Long Term Evolution (LTE).

  • Time Equity Partners has invested €6m in French TV broadcaster Thema.
    Established in 2005, Thema specialises in the development and worldwide distribution of thematic, generalist and ethnic TV channels. The company distributes in excess of 60 TV channels worldwide.

    The Paris-based business generates a €14m turnover and has additional offices in the US, Russia and Singapore. Thema employs 15 people.

    People
    Henri de Bodinat led the deal for TIME Equity Partners. François Thiellet is chief executive of Thema.

    Advisers
    Equity – 8 Advisory, Stéphane Vanbergue (Corporate finance); Arsène Taxand, Frédéric Teper (Tax); Racine, Mélanie Coiraton Mavre (Legal, social due diligence); Jeantet, Frank Martin-Laprade (Legal).

    Key Facts

    Company: Thema
    founded - 2005
    turnover - €14m
    staff - 15
    location - Paris
    sector - Broadcasting & Entertainment
    deal objective - Expansion
    value - €6m

    The digital industry-focused GP, TIME invests from the €100m Time Investors fund, which closed in 2009. It sourced the deal directly, and was attracted by Thema's management team as well as its growth rate so far.

    The fresh equity will allow Thema to develop its thematic content distribution business, create new products targeting ethnic minorities in France, and face the challenges surrounding new digital channels of distribution.

  • South Africa's scrapped the R20m cap on its incentive, which means that the country is much more competitive on bigger budget films ($50-100m). The department of Trade and Industry (dti) of the republic of South Africa issued the following act:

    With effect from 4 October 2011 the Film and Television Incentive cap will no longer apply to the Incentive programme.

    This ruling will apply to South African, Official Co-productions and Foreign productions. The South African government offers a package of incentives to promote its film production industry. The incentives consist of the Foreign Film and Television Production Incentive to attract foreign-based film productions to shoot on location in South Africa and the South African Film and Television Production Incentive, which aims to assist local film producers in the production of local content.

    Programme guidelines’ overview on the Foreign Film and Television Production Incentive:

    1.1    The South African government recognises the potential of the film industry and has prioritised it as one of the sectors under its Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative (ASGI-SA). The growth of the film industry could have a tremendous impact on economic development in terms of employment and exports, while stimulating a host of supplier industries.

    1.2    South Africa has a growing and vibrant film sector, attested in the recent past by productions such as the award-winning Tsotsi and the internationally acclaimed Blood Diamond. Opportunities abound and producers continue to benefit from the cost competitiveness of the country’s beautiful locations.

    1.3    To support the growth of the sector, the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) is offering incentives in order to increase local content generation and improve location competitiveness for foreign film productions. In addition to incentives, the dti is working with other role players on raising the profile of the sector in general and a number of strategic co-production treaties are set to improve distribution locally and internationally.

    Dti extends an invitation to industry players to make use of this facility and to support the South African Government in realising its goals of growth, employment and equity.

    More info on the dti website.

  • The Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) has installed software that will track all songs played by broadcasters as it seeks to boost earnings of top artistes in a process that will hurt the income of upcoming musicians.

    The move to implement the electronic log was reached by MCSK board members last week and will replace the use of manual logs submitted by the broadcasters ending the payment of a flat rate to musicians.

    The move will see musicians paid royalties depending on the amount of air play they have received from the broadcasters, dealing a blow to artistes who are yet to establish themselves in a market where consumers tend to buy songs as mobile phone ringtones.

    "There have been complaints from our members of unfair distribution of the collections and that is why we have invested in the software for accuracy purposes and changed the manner of distributing collections from broadcasters," said Mr Maurice Okoth, the MCSK chief executive.

    "Only a third of our registered members get their music played on broadcasting stations.

    It will be fair to pay these people from the collections although it is going to raise a storm, but that is the way forward."

    MCSK collects royalties on behalf of 5,000 musicians who have been receiving Sh10,000 annually. But under the new regime only about 1,600 artistes will shares in the Sh20 million that the society targets from broadcasters.

    Breach of regulations

    However, top artistes earn an average of Sh100,000 monthly in royalties when other sources of collections such as fees generated from music played in matatus, entertainment spots, saloons, concert promoters, taxis, ring tones and cyber cafés is considered.

    In the year to June 2010, they raised Sh13 million from broadcasting stations, up from Sh5 million in the previous year. The society charges broadcasters Sh216,000 per year on each radio frequency and televisions stations Sh72,000.

    MCSK's total revenue stood at Sh185 million in the year to June 2010, up from Sh118 million a year earlier, while it's running expenses stood at Sh137 million -- a pointer that it paid musicians 25 per cent of its collections or Sh48 million, a figure that has invited the ire of artistes.

    The high operating expenses are in breach of government regulations that allow it to limit operating costs to 30 per cent of the total collected revenue -- a failing that saw the state law office revoke MCSK collection license.

  • IPTTV News interviewed Richard Porter, Controller of English at BBC Global News.

    Q: What developments have you witnessed in Africa's broadcasting industry in the past 12 months?

    A: There have been a number of changes taking place. From a general trend level we continue to see TV closing the gap on radio. In many cities TV attracts a bigger audience than radio and that trend is continuing to spread to smaller cities and even in some cases rural areas. TV tends to be dominant in the evening.

    Mobile phones are increasingly being used to listen to radio and to access internet. In many countries more people are accessing the internet on their phone than they are on a PC. It’s also worth noting that broadband has reached a number of countries in Africa, though the average person has not been able to benefit from this yet (that is to say there is limited streaming of audio and video as most people have slow connections).

    In terms of the industry itself, there’s been more investment in vernacular stations, which are becoming more dominant in their markets. In certain markets, DSTV is getting competition from cheaper satellite and digital operators like Smart TV and Zuku TV and on an international level, there are new players entering the market, like Al Jazeera Swahili, and an increased emphasis on local programming (like Africa Business Report on BBC World News).

    Q: What challenges have you encountered as a result of this progress?

    A: The challenge in Africa is not too different to that in other markets - increased competition leads to increased choice for consumers and this it makes it harder to maintain or grow audiences who want news content when, where, and how they want it. At the BBC we’re responding to this demand by making our content is available on as many platforms in as many formats as possible - TV, radio, online, mobile and tablet.

    Q: How do you believe new technologies can improve viewer engagement?

    A: We know, from a partner point of view, that making programming accessible has become easier thanks to new technology, and things like satellite and mobile phones are changing the way people access information. However, on phones most people are still using WAP and are not streaming content, downloading apps, etcetera.

    Social media sites like Facebook are making big waves in the market and the BBC is extremely active in this space - the BBC World News Facebook page recently passed one million fans and we now have close to one million Twitter followers on @bbcworld - however, it will take a while for iPad apps, Android apps, iPhone apps etcetera to penetrate and until PVRs and other technologies break through.

    What role do you think online video will eventually take within the overall mix of television technologies in Africa?

    There’s a large appetite for online video in the African market, however the cost and speed of downloads and streaming are the main barriers, although there is a lot of sharing of content (via Bluetooth on phones). In the future, Africa should not be that dissimilar to other markets with online video widely used, though more in short form (for example via YouTube) than viewing of whole programmes (for example via Hulu), which will take longer to become commonplace.

    Q: How do you believe content providers can best tap these new opportunities?

    A: Partnerships are key to making sure content is available. Use of social media is also important with Facebook, in particular, playing an important role in the development of markets - as we saw during the Arab Spring.

    Q: How quickly do you think viewer behaviour will change?

    A: Things will change rapidly, as they have in other parts of the world. For instance, look how quickly Twitter, launched only in 2006 and now the second largest social network in the world, has become a core source of news and information with high levels of consumer engagement and interaction. Traditional media organisations see these developments as both an opportunity and a threat – I recognise the risks but I definitely see them as an opportunity for us to reach and engage with new audiences.

    Q: Which markets do you think offer some key insights into the future direction of Africa's broadcast market?

    A: Within Sub-Saharan Africa Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa are amongst the most developed markets and are leading the way in changes to the media. There is an emerging middle class that brands are trying to reach, and lower-cost services (such as Smart TV and Zuku) are tapping into this market and rolling-out their products out to other countries. Smart TV for instance is now available in Ghana, Kenya and Uganda.

    PS: Richard will be speaking at the AfricaCast event taking place in Cape Town, South Africa on 9th-10th November 2011.

  • Naspers is an oddity. Who would have bet that a one-time newspaper company would have become an emerging-market internet giant? After all “Naspers” means “National Press”.

    Naspers is one impressive company. It owns eCommerce and social networking properties all over the world, including China, Brazil, Russia, Africa and eastern Europe. The company has stakes in two of the world’s biggest social networks, the Chinese TenCent and a small, indirect stake in Facebook.

    It’s a successful strategy that has seen Naspers make clever and timely investments in some of the world’s biggest internet properties, but critics say the company — while a strong print and satellite TV operator — is still searching for an organic internet success on a worldwide scale. The organic internet successes are largely limited to its home territory, South Africa — which now appears to be a key focus for the company in internet terms.

    To find out what makes Naspers tick and the ideas behind the strategies — we caught up with the company’s enigmatic leader, Koos Bekker. We chat to Bekker about how Naspers lost US$80-million in China, but then “failed quickly”, continued to invest aggressively and kick on to become an $18-billion emerging market internet superpower. Bekker also elaborates on emerging markets, Chinese and Brazilian internet successes, Naspers’ business philosophies, the future of online advertising and his “fail quickly” philosophy that has held the company in such good stead.

    Memeburn: What emerging market tech businesses have impressed you the most?

    Koos Bekker: I would have to say those of the Chinese, they came from nowhere in the nineties and they are now, after the US, the most vibrant internet market in the world. The big companies like Baidu, Tencent and Alibaba are really doing well. Then another one, which we [Naspers] have a small hand in, is Brazil — in certain fields like eCommerce, the Brazilians have a very lively internet market. You’d think of Brazilians as “beach guys”, but they spend more time on the internet than anyone else. Brazilians are quite social, now why people who drink a lot coffee, have lots of friends and have the beach, spend their time on the internet — I don’t know.

    MB: Naspers has been successful in acquiring a number of internet businesses. What is your philosophy for this success?

    KB: We’ve made more mistakes than anyone else. The benefit of a mistake is that you know what doesn’t work. What we typically try to do is get into something and “fail fast and cheaply”. We have also failed expensively. We created the second biggest ISP in Beijing in 1998 and we lost the battle there. We eventually lost US$80-million and had to fire people and close it down because of mistakes we made. That was an expensive failure. We’ve failed quite a lot but if you’re going to fail, get into the market quickly, fail quickly and learn from it. Since then we have learnt a few lessons.

    MB: Will Naspers ever move to China?

    KB: No. South Africa is a good place to come from, lots of people like us and Cape Town is a good city to live in.

    MB: What other regions is Naspers targeting?

    KB: We’re looking particularly in Latin America, south East Asia and Eastern Europe. I like Latin America, I like it there — nice people, nice food. We’ve looked at Argentina all the way to Mexico.

    MB: Any new companies you are looking at?

    KB: [laughs] none that I should be telling you about yet. But at any given time we look at any number or companies. It’s long process.

    MB: Do you think the web is dead? There is a debate championed by Chris Anderson that the web as we know it will change. What are your thoughts on that?

    KB: Not yet

    MB: Why?

    BK: In time the web will be replaced by something else, but whatever that “something else” is hasn’t started appearing. To conceive a world today where the web doesn’t work is almost impossible. Just think about it, you’re on Facebook, you’re probably also on Twitter and you have your emails. If you were to take those things away, your life would be completely different. The thing that could make you drop those hasn’t been invented yet.

    MB: Do you think we will still be reading print newspapers in years to come?

    KB: I think at some point some of the newspapers will fall away. But there are real benefits to a physical piece of paper. If I want to read the Financial Times and I am in New York, I will order it from the hotel front desk. However, if I can’t get that, their iPad version is very good. Have you seen it?

    MB: Yes

    KB: It’s very good, it has embedded video and I find it very satisfactory. I think what will happen with the FT and perhaps most newspapers is that the physical print edition will get further and further restricted. Initially they won’t give up the big cities like New York; they’ll probably give up Tallahassee and Columbus, Ohio. Restrict print to a few main cities and push out electronically as much as possible and then perhaps in 20 years time they will realise it no longer makes sense to have a print version… maybe, it’s possible.

    The institution of newspapers will continue. We at Naspers will eventually move everything online. We will run the tablet format alongside our print publications. Newspapers look good on tablets unlike on a PC. The newspaper experience on a PC is quite unsatisfactory.

    MB: Websites have ten times the readership of print yet only have a tenth of the advertising revenue. We are ten years on, why do you think this is still the case?

    KB: The best example is the New York Times. I was a student in the US in the 80s (remember the world wide web was only invented in 1995) and we visited the New York Times and back then they had a sort of prototype news service that gave the news online via your telephone line, which was quite good.

    I went back in the 90s and then again a few years ago and the problem they can’t solve is the following: When you read the physical paper you spend about 27 minutes or so on it. You see an ad, you can’t do anything else but page over, you register [that you’ve seen the] the ad, then page over. Now you’re on the web, you spend about two minutes on the New York Times website, the problem is what the Americans call the “ding” — the ding being what comes in on your galaxy or iPad that catches your attention. You start reading an article online and you see an ad, chances are it’s interactive and you click over to the site and the New York Times has lost you.

    Same thing happens when an email comes through and takes you away from what you’re reading. The NYT’s experience is that the reader time is two minutes on electronic products versus the 27 minutes on the physical product. Consequently the advertising income for the physical product is about ten times more than the electronic product. That’s what’s killing online advertising.

    So the NYT says: I have today a bigger audience online but people pay me one tenth of what they used to pay… something has to give. Either become global brand with 10 times the audience… this is the dilemma. The solution now is to encrypt the signal and charge a fee but that causes audience to run away. So far only the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal have such powerful brands that people are willing to pay. I won’t pay for USA Today or the Guardian.

    MB: Do you think advertising online will grow bigger than what it is now?

    KB: Yes, absolutely. It’s growing very quickly. What’s nice about online advertising is the amount of targeting. Consider what Google is doing, Google only takes you to the BMW ad only when you think about cars, because you type in “car” and Google leads you to a site and the ad in conjunction with that. If you’re reading a piece in the NYT about Iran and they show you ad about cars, you won’t care about it. So why people like Google get such good ad revenue is because they serve advertising with relevant content. This is good. People like Yahoo and general portals are still struggling because their content is so general.

    The big debate is Facebook. Facebook’s argues the following: “I know you personally”. If you bought a new Gap top, telling that to your friends is immensely valuable to Gap because they will pay. This is true; Facebook’s limitation is that they know exactly what you are talking about. If you are talking about lipstick problems, they could serve you a lipstick ad and solve that problem but they would seem to have overheard you.

    So all the experiments where they use the information you’re talking about to direct advertising has failed completely on privacy grounds. What Facebook has is your network, they know who your friends are that they can use successfully, they also know what you are talking about but they are not allowed to use it. Google is allowed to use it. The difference here is you enter the topic yourself with Google. If you say “lipstick”, and Google serves you a lipstick ad you don’t object because you asked the question and it served you an ad. But if you talk to your friend about lipstick on Facebook and a lipstick ad appears you will say: “Facebook you’re listening to my conversation, you’re like Rupert Murdoch!” [laughs]

    MB: So the online advertising business model will improve?

    KB: Yes. You read a news site; you got the News24 frontpage for example… if you’re interested in rugby and you go to the rugby story, then News24 serves you an ad pertaining to rugby such as fares to New Zealand or SA rugby shirts. What the shirt seller now sees is a qualified audience, so he will now pay more for that ad, so instead 20 cents per click he’ll pay 50 cents.

    What will happen in the future is that ads will become more intelligent, either to your locality or your search history which will make them more valuable — and this is where they will beat print ads hands down.

    MB: Should media companies own their own tablet devices?

    KB: No. It’s like cellphones, we started MTN in the 90s and we debated quite a lot about what business MTN should be in and initially there was an argument that it should be manufacturing cheap handsets. In the end it is a crushingly competitive field. You’ve seen it with the Hewlett Parkard (HP) exit in the last month. Let someone else produce the hardware and we serve the content on it. Tablets will be getting cheaper in the next 18 months or so… we might see less than R1 000-tablets.

    MB: Why are there so many few internet entrepreneurs in Africa? Where are Africa’s Zuckerbergs and Pages?

    KB: It’s partly two things. One is the schooling system. When people get to university they are not the best in the world. Some universities are okay but they are not the best. Then there is the lack of broadband. Here is a question: Why are the gaming champions in world all from Korea?

    MB: Fast internet?

    KB: Exactly, the kid grows up with fast broadband, somewhere between 10 or 100mbps so he can play these games at home. For that kind of access South Africans have to go to a special internet cafe. So the Bill Gates and the Steve Jobs had access to computers before their fellows. So in SA, because we lag in broadband, the kids get to the scene a little bit too late. You should have in your flat 10mbps so you can be downloading videos and all sorts. So we need to push for faster internet, the government doesn’t need to subsidise. We just need to open the market.

    The rest of Africa is doing better. Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria are rising. People in Nigeria are using their cellphones to connect to the internet, which is pushing connectivity further. Nigerians are such enterprising people and they are a bunch to watch.

    MB: Is it possible to replicate Silicon Valley in Africa?

    KB: That is an excellent issue. I think the concept will disperse. What keeps Hollywood together is an ecosystem of studios and lots. The physical infrastructure is there. The infrastructure of the internet is different. Microsoft sits in Seattle and Google, Yahoo and Facebook sit in San Francisco. Quite a few are in Los Angeles, and New York is starting its own hub, while Groupon is in Chicago. In the US these companies are already dispersed. Then you have the centres like Beijing in China and Petersburg in Russia. Ten years from now you might have Cape Town and Lagos as hubs of innovation where people are doing interesting things because they now have broadband and five young friends can get together in a garage and start a new ecommerce site. I think it will happen in Africa. There isn’t a technical reason like with filmmaking where you need an ecosystem around you. Usually things get clustered with the internet around a university.

  • Former Supersport presenter Imran Garda is now working for Al Jazeera English in Washington, DC. His next major documentary, “Indi’s Silent War”, premiered on Thursday, 20 October 2011, as part of the Al Jazeera Correspondent series, which is being executive produced by fellow South African Jon Blair, an Oscar, Emmy and BAFTA winning filmmaker. In India's Silent War, Imran tells the story of the Naxals, Maoist rebels who are fighting government forces in India for what, they claim, are their tribal lands. Millions have been displaced or had their lives destroyed in one of the world’s largest armed conflicts, which remains largely ignored outside India but is the country’s biggest internal security threat. Watch the promo here: 

    Since joining Al Jazeera English, Imran has been at the presenting desk during key moments in the broadcasted’s history, including the execution of Saddam Hussein, the Israeli airstrikes on Gaza, the universityriots in Beirut and Kosov’s declaration of independence. He also co-hosts The Stream and presented both Focus on Gaza and The Father of The Turks on Al Jazeera English. For more info, visit here:

  • Unlocking the Potential of African TV through Digital Transformation
    AfricaCast - 9-10th November 2011, Cape Town Convention Centre, South Africa

    Do not miss AfricaCast, one of Africa’s largest events attended by Balancing Act’s analysts and where broadcasters will meet telecoms services providers to set up multi-play and multi-screens’ solutions : IPTV, mobile TV, web TV, VoD, digital TV will be among the many opportunities.

    The market for TV services in Africa is developing at a fast pace. In 2010, Sub-Saharan Africa had 34.5 million TV households, forecast to grow to 42.1m by 2015.

    Among them, more than 6 million households (Balancing Act’s estimate) are pay TV subscribers mid-2011. Satellite TV dominates the market, but new technologies (DTT, online and Mobile TV), coupled with imminent switch to all digital, mean that the broadcasting market is due to experience changes and increased competition in the future.

    IPTV is just starting in Africa with about 150 000 subscribers (Balancing Act’s estimate).

    AfricaCast is an event organised jointly by Informa’s Com World Series and IP&TV World Series to address the challenges and opportunities in Africa’s broadcasting market. The two day summit will bring decision makers from the entire value chain, including broadcasters, satellite providers, cable companies, regulators, content providers & producers, and production facilities.

    This year, speakers include: Chris Oberholzer, Strategy and Business Development, Multichoice - Ayite Gaba, Business Development Associate, Youtube/Google - Christian de Faria, Group Chief Commercial Officer, MTN Group - Marc Rennard, EVP Africa, Middle East and Asia, Orange Group - Johan Dennelind, CEO: International, Vodacom Group - Erik Hersman, Technologist and blogger, co-founder of Ushahidi, founder of AfriGadget, founder of the iHub, Nairobi - Gelfand Kausiyo, General Manager: Broadcast Facilities, SABC - Neil Ahlsten, New Business Development , Africa, Google - Oscar Dube, CEO, Southtel, South Africa -George Twumasi, Deputy Chairman and CEO, ABN – The African Broadcast Network - Richard Porter, Controller of English, BBC Global News - Graham Wallington, CEO, WildEarth TV, South Africa - Djibril Wade, Director of Forecasts, Advisor to the CEO, Africable Télévision, Mali - Eugene Nyagahene, CEO, Tele10 Group - Nagi Abboud, CEO, Atlantique Telecom - Bayo Adebiyi, Chief Executive Officer, Proudly Africa Media Nigeria  - Saiful Alam, Chief Commercial Officer, Expresso Telecom Group - Nanda Armoogum, Director of Broadcast Content, Independent Broadcasting Authority in Mauritius - Anahi Ayala Iacucci, Media Innovation Advisor, Africa Region, Internews, - Arnauld Blondet, Director AMEA, Orange Technocentre - Sabine Devinck, Global Information and Communications Technologies, IFC - Jabulani Dhliwayo, Corning - Oscar Dube, CEO, Southtel, South Africa - Gall Le Garrec , Vice President, Sales EMEA, Envivio - Mickael Ghossein, CEO, Orange Telkom Kenya - Michael Gyang, Content Acquisitions and Marketing Director, HOMEBASE TV - Torsten Hoffmann, Managing Partner, Global Media Consult - Nick Jotischky, Principal Analyst, Informa Telecoms & Media - Gelfand Kausiyo , General Manager:Broadcast Facilities, SABC - Henk Kleynhans, Chairperson, WAPA

Issue no. 116 - 27 October 2011

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  • Something that would have seemed crazy two years ago in Africa can now quite easily be considered a part of the near future. Bandwidth and internet users are now at the point where mass live streaming services make very good sense. The number of mobile phones able to receive live streams is probably larger than you think. Plus there are interesting business models to monetize the content. Russell Southwood looks at what live streaming has to offer Africa.

    Put simply, a live stream is as its name suggests simply a broadcast over the Internet or another data channel in real time. If you’re already broadcasting something live, it’s relatively easy and not so costly to make it available over the Internet to a range of devices including mobile phones, PCs, laptops and tablets.

    Because again as the name suggests, it about something that’s live, it will lend itself best either to things like breaking news or music concerts. In audience terms, with the right provider, it can handle millions of streams but at the niche end can do things like conferences, debates and talks: for example, the live stream (by Sstreamm) of Mobile Entertainment Africa in Cape Town got 700 live stream users on the basis of a Twitter campaign started on its first day.

    African broadcasters often have large diaspora audiences who want to watch their programmes (particularly breaking news) and delivering these programmes to them over satellite or cable Pay TV is an expensive business (in the hundreds of thousands of dollars) with little or no chance of a commercial return. Wealthier stations like Nigeria’s NTA and AIT/Daar tend to do it for reasons of either public purpose or status. There is almost no audience data on how many people view these niche channels or for what length of time. With video streams, you get clear numbers in terms of how many people are watching, what they viewed and for how long.

    Finally, in those countries where broadcast licences are hard to obtain (like South Africa or the more authoritarian African countries), it will become possible to create a TV station that requires no licence. Its channels of delivery would be mobile phones and laptops. The argument is not that this type of station would compete with Free To Air channels in audience scale but they would have a significantly cheaper cost base and be able to survive on an audience base of between half to one million people. Better still, the type of person that would view this kind of station would be in the top LSMs and therefore attractive to key advertisers.

    Finally, for time-based broadcasters, it allows them to offer continuous coverage of an event without that coverage needing to eat into other premium programming on the schedule. So advertisers can be assured of a double-hit in audience terms. News programmes can then dip in and out of the event, whilst pointing people off to the live stream.

    There are two providers focused on the African market that will allow broadcasters to take a step into this market: London-based Livestation which focuses on news coverage and Johannesburg-based Sstreamm which deals with live events.

    Livestation has many of the top global news brands on its platform including:CNN, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, CNBC, Bloomberg and Euronews. Currently it has 31 million video visits a month, 15 million unique visitors and each visitor views an average of 13 minutes per visit. Furthermore, these numbers increased enormously during the Arab Spring and keep on growing. Livestation wants to attract 3-5 high quality African news channels. Those stations will then be placed on an extremely well-visited site and will both attract viewers from their own diasporas and the curious from other parts of the globe.

    Livestation can deliver to all the main devices including mobile phones (with apps for smartphones), PCs and laptops, tablets (again with apps) and smart TVs. It can either do it directly on its own branded Livestation site or give broadcasters a “white label” service to run on their own sites. Mobile operators need to be interested in seeing this happen because it will drive use on higher-end data-enabled phones.

    Transdigital Media’s Sstreamm service is based in South Africa and combines the experience of Julian Van Plato from the music industry and Greg Upton from the broadcast rights side.

    It offers those wanting to do live streaming a simple and relatively inexpensive box that feeds the signal back to its servers and then out to the devices. Plato says they are primarily focused on mobiles as that will be where the market will be in the first instance. It is signing up mobile operators across the continent so this is not just for South Africa. The stream can be received by a wide range of phones, including those at the low end but obviously the lower the bandwidth, the less smooth the picture.

    It has done a music event for Vodafone in Ghana and is looking to do music events, sporting evetns (like marathons) and conferences (including corporate events). It has also put in a unit into a club in Johannesburg to have the first live stream venue.

    So what might the business models be? In the case of Livestation, it offers an advertising sales service working with “best of breed” providers. Because the audiences are in the diaspora, the potential revenues are significantly larger than they might be in Africa: Al Jazeera is already getting net revenues, after having paid for the service.

    In the African context, in the short-term, it would be a natural for mobile company sponsorship. A live music or sport event fits their targeted demographics and drives the all-important use of data on their platforms.

    For more information on either of these providers, please contact us on: info@balancingact-africa.com


    This week on Balancing Acts YouTube channel:

    Lippe Oosterhof, CEO, Livestation on live streaming for African news broadcasters

    Julian VanPlato, CEO, Trans Digital Media on a new live streaming mobile service for Africa

    Richard Bell, CEO, Wananchi Group in Kenya on international fibre connectivity, local TV content for

    Thema TV: 3 years of “Bouquet Africain” TV package, 115 000 payTV subscribers (en francais)

    Watch the interview with Senegal public broadcaster RTS’ representative discussing tomorrow’s radio (in French) here:

    In this interview, Roxana Vasile, correspondent for ‘Radio Romania’ gives her insight regarding tomorrow’s radio (in French) here:

    White Spaces and the implications for broadcasters


    Henk Kleynhans, Chair of WAPA
    on TV White Spaces proposals in South Africa

    Steve Song, CEO, Village Telco on the TV White Spaces Workshop

     

  • Out In Africa Gay and Lesbian Film Festival is running in Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa until 30 October 2011. Kevin Kriedemann caught up with festival director Nodi Murphy to chat about running a gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex film festival in a continent where being queer is illegal in the majority of countries.

    Out In Africa (http://www.oia.co.za/) is now in its 18th year, making it the same age as South Africa’s democracy. Nodi started the festival with Jack Lewis and Theresa Raizenberg after an enthusiastic response to a gay film she’d helped screen while working on The Cape Town International Film Festival. “The cinemas were heaving,” she remembers. “So I realised that there was a marketplace.”

    She was right: Out In Africa sold 18,500 tickets in 1994. “Film is the most powerful communication tool, so it was important for all of us to see ourselves affirmed on screens for the first time.  That was true for 23 million black South Africans but also for a million queers,” Nodi says. “I don’t see gay and lesbian films as a tool to help straight people understand us; I see them as a tool to assist gays and lesbians to come out, to love themselves, and to be amused and affirmed by seeing themselves on screen.”

    17 years later, does South Africa still need a gay and lesbian film festival? “Although the majority of South Africans still don’t have the internet, these days its easier to access gay and lesbian books, newspapers, websites and DVDs,” says Nodi. “It’s now more about creating a critical mass in safe public spaces. The fest is a peaceful gathering of gays and lesbians, not a protest, but it speaks volumes. We’re less likely to be abused when we come out in force in these sorts of public spaces.”

    Her concern with abuse is real: stories of corrective rape remain fair too common within South Africa. Nodi says hearing about people coming-out during the festival makes all the stress and hard work worthwhile. “I meet people who’re already in their 30s, but who’ve only just managed to come out after circling the fest for three years or so or before they get the courage to walk in the doors,” she says. “You can see the obvious peace the festival has given people – they now know they are not alone.”

    One of the highlights of August’s Out In Africa festival was Getting Out, a documentary by Alexandra Chapman, Chris Dolan and Daniel Neumann about gay Africans seeking asylum because of the persecution they’ve experienced. “We are sooo lucky to live in South Africa,” says Nodi, who adds that Out In Africa has worked across the continent. “We assisted Namibia to have a couple of film fests and we send our DVDs to Botswana, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Zambia, as well as a lot of countries where we have to quietly slip over the border and work surreptitiously because it’s legally punishable.”

    She’s happy that Out In Africa Is no longer the only gay and lesbian film festival in Africa, with Kenya’s Out Film Festival taking place for the first time this year and another queer film festival planned for Durban later in 2011. “We need a new generation of activists,” she says.

    She says that there’s more of a familiarity with gay and lesbian characters on mainstream screens, thanks to shows like Will & Grace and Brothers and Sisters, as well as films like In and Out, Brokeback Mountain, and The Kids Are Alright.

    “Everyone thought those were major breakthroughs,” says Nodi. “They showed that big Hollywood stars are not going to lose their careers if they take a gay role. But for lesser Hollywood stars that’s still a difficult thing.”

    She believes it’s easier for people to accept homosexuality on screen than in real life. “When people watch gay and lesbian characters on screen, it’s fine because it’s out there. But when it’s your family, it’s a problem. Even if your parents don’t hate you, they’re certainly going to be concerned that other people will hurt and hate you, so there’s always an anxiety around homosexuality.”

    While she says gays and especially lesbians have been flavour of the month on screen recently, she warns, “We go in and out of favour. The truth is we are at least 10% of the population anywhere in the world. I would say we are a little more than that – even 35% - because there are another 25% who are hiding away, but I might be upping it too much. So we can only reasonably expect that 25% of our stories would deal with homosexuality and that if a film or TV series has 25 main characters, one would be queer.”

    World cinema, and especially African cinema, is a long way from that 25% ratio and Nodi believes there are problems even when homosexuality is addressed. “How many of the gay and lesbian characters are interesting, or are they just relegated to being limp-wristed, listening hairdressers?”

    South Africa has submitted Oliver Hermanus’ Skoonheid for the Foreign Film Oscar, but Nodi doesn’t believe this is a sign that the country has embraced queer cinema.

    “It’s very brave of South Africa to make that choice and hats off to Oliver, but the film community is always different,” she says. “It’s interesting that so many people have remarked that the film is less about homosexuality and more about the white Afrikaner male psyche. Skoonheid is still a hard sell – happy works better than tortured - and being submitted by South Africa doesn’t mean that it’s going to be seen in Africa or even here.”

    Out In Africa regularly holds filmmaking workshops, like on Thursday, 27 October 2011, when Africa-American director Dee Rees will talk at Big Fish School of Digital Filmmaking about her debut feature, Pariah, which won Best Cinematography at Sundance this year and is screening at Out In Africa.

    But Nodi doesn’t expect a rush of African gay and lesbian films.
    “The problem is always the marketplace,” she says. “If you push it out as queer, you will only get queers and the few straights who want to see good cinema. Documentaries seem easier to fund and distribute, but features are hard. I find that the films that make people laugh at themselves and their fears generally work best.”

    This year, for the first time, Out In Africa split into three editions. “Film festivals are declining everywhere,” Nodi admits. “It’s slow and certain and incremental. The same is certainly true for gay and lesbian film festivals.”

    The other challenge is the increased accessibility of content and the shorter windows between multi-platform releases. “If we do one festival a year, by the time it ends, the next three big gay films will come out and they’ll be gone by the time the next festival arrives. Queers aren’t going to wait a year – they’ll get it through Amazon, Kalahari, or Pirate Bay. We must meet that need.”

    With the third and final edition currently underway, it seems the experiment has worked. “It’s a lot easier to choose ten films and create a ten page booklet,” Nodi says. “And if we maintain the same figures – around 3 600 per edition – we’ll be up on last year.”

    Interested filmmakers can visit www.oia.co.za for submission details. Out in Africa is made possible by Atlantic Philanthropies, The National Lottery, The National Film and Video Foundation, The Times, Cape Film Commission, The US Embassy, Rutland Lodge, Graton Guest House and 6 Spin Street.

  • The 23rd International URTI Radio Grand Prix and the 63rd General Assembly of URTI - International Radio and Television Union - took place West of Paris on 20-21, October 2011. Balancing Act's Sylvain Béletre attended part of the event.
     
    The event was the occasion for broadcasters from across the world - including several from Africa such as RTS, GBC, ORTN, RA and ENTV, TVT, ORTB, CRTV, RTG, RTC, ORTC, URTE, TM and many more - to meet up, set URTI’s new objectives, exchange ideas and seal new partnership agreements.
     
    URTI is the oldest international organization of radio and television and also the only one with an international vocation. Over the past two years, the Union recorded the subscriptionof 28  international radios/television broadcasters from 25 countries.
     
    Over the event, broadcasters reported great benefits in belonging to URTI. The union's membership provides access to a large global broadcasters' network and a radio and TV programmes' exchange; More than 3,000 programmes - and growing each year - are offered free of copyright and by / for members. This exchange platform saves important amounts of money but also meets the need to share values and content in order to enrich broadcasters' editorial topics and experiences.

    URTI also opens access to training exchanges, co-productions opportunities and industry best practices. The Union has set a special priority to radio's digital archiving. URTI recently invested in a state-of-the art Web platform to allow its members to retrieve, exchange, co-produce and transmit programmes wherever they are.

    On the current platform, it is now possible for members to download radio programs. In television, URTI is seeking funding to digitize the programs that are currently on beta tapes. The Union has adopted three official languages: English, Arabic and French.
     
    URTI's 23rd International URTI Radio Grand Prix ceremony closed "the 30 years anniversary of FM" on Thursday, October 20th, after the conference and panel discussion, and before engaging into a very convivial dinner.
     
    The panel discussion which focused on the 'future of radio' highlighted new areas of developments but reinforced the fact that radio and TV are becoming social networks, giving voice to the people. While broadcast technology changes, while media outlets have proliferated all over the world and while the internet has accelerated the news pace, broadcast content keeps the same objectives.
     
    Each year URTI also organizes the International URTI Radio Grand Prix and the International URTI Grand Prix for Author’s Documentary. These prizes of international renown allow promoting the vitality of contemporary audiovisual production.
     
    The Iranian radio program 'Street Children' won  the 2011 International URTI Radio Grand Prix. The program was produced and broadcast by the Zanjan Radio Center of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB). The chosen theme for the 23rd edition was 'poverty' and the Iranian program was selected from programs submitted by 45 countries.
     
    Each of the two juries is made up of thirteen to twenty professionals from the whole world who take opposing views and single out the most remarkable works based on quality and originality. With 81 countries participating in the event, it also confirmed its place among the first ranks of the international radio and television grand prix in terms of the number of participating countries.
     
     The general Assembly examined the current evolutions as well as the quests for financing and partnerships. After more than 60 years of existence, URTI members showed a prestigious assessment and a renewed enthusiasm during this annual meeting.
     
    This year, Alain Massé, director general of URTI was acclaimed by URTI members as the man who gave a new life to the union and someone who made it possible to take URTI and its members to the next level.
     
    URTI TV Committee that will bring together members in Tirana at the kind invitation of RTSH will take place from 17 to 22 November to select programmes for the 2012 catalogue.
     
    URTI would like broadcasters to apply as new potential members.

  • Hip hop music has been popular in Africa since the early 1980s. It became big in Senegal in 1985 due to widespread American and French influence. Some of the first Senegalese rappers were M.C. Lida, M.C. Solaar, and Positive Black Soul, who mixed rap with Mbalax, a type of West African pop music. An early South African group was Black Noise in Cape Town until they started emceeing in 1989. Hip hop spread out to several other African countries such as Tanzania, Algeria, Angola, Botswana, Cameroon, Madagascar, Nigeria, Ghana or Senegal which are home to a thriving hip hop scene before escalating all over Africa.

    There is no doubt that the sixth annual "BET Hip Hop Awards" will make waves across the African continent. The event was organised by BET Networks, a subsidiary of Viacom Inc is the US nation's leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs television programming for the African-American audience. The primary BET channel reaches more than 98 million households and can be seen in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom and sub-Saharan Africa.

    This year’s " BET Hip Hop Awards " brought the hip hop heat with the highly anticipated homecoming of Atlanta native T.I., who performed "F.A.M.E." alongside Young Jeezy and literally ignited the stage with their phenomenal performance. Hosted by comedian Mike Epps, the " BET Hip Hop Awards " was a night filled with brilliant collaborations. DMX stormed the stage with Ruff Ryders alum Swizz Beatz; G.O.O.D Music's newest stars Big Sean and Roscoe Dash did it bringing the audience to their feet with hit singles "I Do It" and "Marvin & Chardonnay." Maybach Music Group came through deep with Rick Ross, Wale, Meek Mill with special guest El Debarge supplying his legendary falsetto to "That Way."  Wiz Khalifa gave an all energy performance of "Taylor Gang" and Heavy D made his return to the stage with Tyrese, a catalogue of hits and a crew of old school hip hop dancers.

    Lil' Wayne takes home 5 Awards; Busta Rhymes Takes Home 4 Hip Hop Awards;
    Nicki Minaj takes home MVP of the Year;
    Kanye West wins top honors with the CD of the year with "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy".

    This year's BET hip hop cyphers were epic.  An outstanding seven sets of cyphers from the best in the business - Eminem, Rick Ross, Ludacris, Joe Budden, Yelawolf, Estelle, Busta Rhymes, Ace Hood, Blind Fury, Mike Epps and many more.   LL COOL J was honored as the 2011 recipient of the "I AM HIP-HOP" Icon Award, and received it with a poignant acceptance speech. Part rap, part reminiscence, it was lyrical gold and irrefutable confirmation that the right man had been selected for the distinction.

    The following are the list of winners from the 2011 BET Hip Hop Awards:

    •    Best Hip Hop Video: Chris Brown f/ Lil Wayne & Busta Rhymes – Look At Me Now
    •    Reese's Perfect Combo Award (Best Collab): Chris Brown f/ Lil Wayne & Busta Rhymes – Look At Me Now
    •    Best Live Performer: Lil Wayne
    •    Lyricist of the Year: Lil Wayne
    •    Video Director of the Year: Hype Williams
    •    Producer of the Year: Lex Luger
    •    MVP of the Year: Nicki Minaj
    •    Track of the Year: Black and Yellow – Produced by Stargate (Wiz Khalifa)
    •    CD of the Year: Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
    •    DJ of the Year: DJ Khaled
    •    Rookie of the Year: Wiz Khalifa
    •    Made-You-Look Award (Best Hip Hop Style): Nicki Minaj
    •    Best Hip Hop Online Site: World Star Hip Hop.com
    •    Best Club Banger: Waka Flocka Flame f/ Roscoe Dash & Wale – No Hands (Produced by Drumma Boy)
    •    Best Mixtape: J. Cole – Friday Night Lights
    •    Sweet 16 - Best Featured Verse: Busta Rhymes – Look At Me Now (Chris Brown f/ Lil Wayne & Busta Rhymes)
    •    Hustler of the Year: Jay-Z
    •    People's Champ Award powered by Verizon (Viewers' Choice): Chris Brown f/ Lil Wayne & Busta Rhymes – Look At Me Now

    For more awards and event information for the " BET Hip Hop Awards 2011," log onto BET.com and check out the photo flipbooks, videos and artist interviews.

    For the " BET Hip Hop Awards," BET once again teamed up with Cossette Productions, the famed producers of the GRAMMY Awards® and the record-setting BET Awards shows, to handle production of the telecast. Stephen G. Hill, BET President, Music and Programming, along with Lynne Harris Taylor, BET Vice President of Specials, are executive producers of the telecast.

    Follow BET on Twitter: @BET_PR

  • Twenty-three year-old Efua representing the Central Region is the latest to be evicted from TV3's reality show Ghana's Most Beautiful Season 5.

    She is the third contestant to be evicted from the show after Afiba and Napaa. After enjoying six weeks in the on-going competition, her journey to the top has come to an abrupt end and she says she has learnt a lot to guide her in life. The theme for this week's live eviction show is "Inter-marital Affairs".

    Still going strong in the competition, are Adwoa from the Eastern Region, Akweley representing the Greater Accra, Enam from the Volta, Asumah from the Upper East, Yeli from the Upper West, Akua representing Asnanti and Abena from Brong Ahafo.

    GMB was initiated by TV3 in 2007 as a beauty pageant with a unique cultural theme to project the beauty of the Ghanaian woman.

    It is an entertainment programme targeted at being informative and educative. The station management say the concept is not intended to weigh against western fashion, but to portray the beauty and value of African fashion in women.

    Ten beautiful women were selected to represent the ten regions of Ghana. The selected ladies are allowed to research on their regions to inform the general public weekly in a live presentation.

  • Cablevision Systems Corp. announced on 18 Oct. 2011 the addition of a new African category to iO TV’s extensive iO International channel line-up. This new package includes Noire TV Africa on channel 1100 and Afrotainment Plus on channel 1101. With this addition, iO International now offers 18 packages of in-language programming from around the world.

    Noire TV Africa is dedicated to delivering the latest in high-quality “Nollywood” movies as well as news, music, lifestyle shows and sports programming from across Africa. Also available in iO TV’s African package, Afrotainment Plus brings viewers African movies, music videos and sports, including African soccer games from the Confederation of African Football and other major African premier leagues. Additionally, Afrotainment Plus broadcasts a wide range of African TV series, including dramas, reality shows and sitcoms.

    “iO International is rapidly adding unique, high-quality programming that keeps all of our customers connected to the countries they love with news and entertainment. We now proudly offer 18 different global packages, and we are pleased to bring viewers the best movies and TV shows from Africa in the newest programming package – iO Africa,” said Bradley Feldman, Cablevision’s vice president, video product management.

    “We are excited to embark on this partnership with Cablevision, by making Noire TV Africa available to Cablevision's subscribers,” said Emeka Iwukemjika and Dokun Adewole, co-founders of Noire TV Africa.

    “As the premier in African home entertainment in North America, we are excited to bring original African programming to the Cablevision footprint. With Afrotainment Plus, Cablevision customers will now have the opportunity to watch the best African movies, music videos, soccer, realities and diverse content from various parts of Africa," said Yves Bollanga, general manager of the Afrotainment Family of Channels.

    Customers who subscribe to Broadcast Basic service and above can receive the new African iO International package for an additional $6.95 per month. Customers must have a digital cable set-top box. In some areas a CableCARD may also be used. These channels are also available in the Optimum App for the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch in all areas. Noire TV Africa and Afrotainment Plus can also be purchased on an a la carte basis for an additional $4.95 per month. Customers interested in the African Package can call 877-980-7636 to order or visit here:  for additional information.

    Cablevision’s award-winning digital cable service, iO TV, offers customers access to hundreds of channels, including more than 50 premium movie channels, 46 channels of commercial-free digital music, thousands of titles available on demand at all times, an interactive programming guide, more than 120 free high-definition programming services and uniquely valuable and relevant local content through News 12, MSG Varsity and their companion interactive television applications.

    Cablevision Systems Corporation is one of the USA’s leading media and telecommunications companies. Its cable television operations provide a full suite of advanced communications services that include iO TV digital television, Optimum Online high-speed Internet, and Optimum Voice digital voice, all over state-of-the-art cable systems that pass nearly 6 million households and businesses across the New York tri-state area and throughout four Western states.

  • A few months after launching Trace Sports HD, which has just landed on the French SFR IPTV pay platform, French TV firm Trace is launching a new music channel, Trace Africa.

    The new channel, announced in Cannes Mipcom, is in France part of the African Bouquet pay-TV offered by IPTV platforms and Numericable. African distribution is handled by CanalHorizons, a subsidiary of CanalOversas. A US satellite dish platform is due to be announced. “This channel offers the best of African music and target the African diaspora worldwide” commented Olivier Laouchez, CEO of Trace, who also launched music channels Trace Urban and Trace Tropical, now available to 20 million subs.

     

     

    Trace Africa is 90% comprised of music clips and will be delivered to 120,000 households in France and 400,000 in Africa. Launched a few months ago, the Trace Sports HD channel claims for its part 10 million subscribers worldwide and aims to reach 100 million within two years. It is available into 9 and almost 10 languages.

    “We’re becoming one of the largest producer of sport programming with 250 hours produced a year,” Laouchez added. The channel has already invested €6 million into production a year out of a €10 million budget.

  • Africa 7 Television started broadcast after three months of testing. The Senegalese media space which includes public television RTS is enriched with a sixth private channel next to 2STV, TFM, Walf TV, RDV and Canal Info News. Apart from Senegal, Africa 7, launched by the group Citizen Media Group has the ambition to be a pan-African television and even global.

    Citizen Media Group has already launched and successfully produced programmes such as ‘Citizen Match’, ‘Citizen dictée’ and ‘Citizen Tv Jobs’ broadcast on RTS 1.
    The launch of Africa 7 provides further diversity for viewers in Senegal.

    The term "Africa 7" adopted by the promoters of the new TV channel refers to its broad coverage, the five regions of Africa, the African diaspora and the world.

    The channel will be broadcast across the continent via satellite in the next two weeks, but it cannot be watched by viewers in Asia and North America right now unless negotiations end positively.

    Housed in the heart of the Plateau, at No. 21 rue Joseph Gomis X Victor Hugo, Africa 7 occupies a three-story building filled with hundreds of young employees and equipment at the height of his great bet.

    Those responsible for this new television, including the vice president of Citizen Media group, Mamadou Baal, has set the goal to develop its enterprise with and for Africa and Africans. French and English are the languages most spoken in Africa 7 programmes, before enlarging to Portuguese and Arabic.

    The channel, which runs along Africa 7 radio, also host African languages such as Swahili and Peul. In addition, it will be visible on social networks and on the Internet.

    At editorial level we find Selly Yaya Wane as Director of Programmes, Rokhaya Kébé, director of development and Sarah Cissé (former host of morning show ‘Kinkeliba’ on RTS 1) as director of editorial and magazines.

    Nearly forty programs will be proposed by the new channel which has opted for multiculturalism with more than 20 African nationalities represented among the various leaders of the programme schedule.

    Programmes target all audiences, with an emphasis on women's concerns, but also those of children and young people through their activities in modern society.

    The channel started with a dozen programmes and will gradually reach its cruising speed of about forty appointments daily, biweekly and monthly. It will cover all areas including general information, economy, culture, education, food, health, sports, fashion, visual arts, music.

  • Tunisians protested outside Nessma TV station on Oct. 8, 2011 after it screened “Persepolis”, an animated Iranian film which demonstrators deemed as blasphemous.

    The head of a private Tunisian TV channel apologized Tuesday for airing part of a film judged blasphemous by Muslims, after Islamists launched an attack on the network’s offices in protest.

    “I apologize,” Nessma TV president Nebil Karoui said on Monastir radio about Friday’s broadcast of “Persepolis”, a globally-acclaimed film on Iran’s 1979 revolution.

    The offending scene of the animated film concerns an old, bearded image of God, of whom all depictions are forbidden by Islam.“I am sorry for all the people who were disturbed by this sequence, which also shocked me,” said Karoui. “I believe that to have broadcast this sequence was a mistake. We never had the intention of attacking sacred values.”

    Tunisian police Sunday broke up a mob of angry Salafists intent on attacking Nessma offices, raising fears of unrest with historic polls only two weeks away and re-launching the sensitive debate on Tunisia’s Arab-Muslim identity.

    In the latest attack by conservative Muslims against secularism in post-revolution Tunisia, a 200-strong crowd targeted Nessma for airing “Persepolis” but was broken up before they reached the TV building.

    The French-Iranian film is based on Marjane Satrapi’s autobiographical and eponymous graphic novel, describing the last days of the US-backed shah’s regime and the subsequent revolution led by Ayatollah Khomeini.

    Salafists ─ whose Tahrir party has not been legalized ─ are one of the most conservative and radical currents in political Islam. In June, six Salafists were arrested in Tunis after they stormed a cinema and broke its glass doors in a bid to stop the screening of the film “Neither Allah nor Master” on secularism in Tunisia.

    Having apologized, Karoui nevertheless said he “never imagined that this would elicit such an outcry. This film has already been shown in its entirety in several cinemas in Tunisia and never elicited such agitation,” he said.

  • IPTV-news interviewed Eugene Nyagahene, CEO of Tele-10 Group, which has pay-TV operations in a number of countries across eastern Africa.

    Q: What developments have you witnessed in Africa's broadcasting industry in the past 12 months?

    A: We have been involved in analogue transmission since 1993 in Burundi, and since 1997 in Rwanda. We had secured analogue licenses in ten countries across Africa, but investment was stopped due to the digital migration.

    Now with a presence in the East Africa Community (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi), we witnessed more changes during 2010 and 2011 than in the last decade as a whole, mainly concerning regulation, transmission and content.

    Firstly, regulators in the East Africa Community (EAC) changed their texts to adapt them to the ITU recommendations regarding digital migration, and harmonised them. Secondly, new opportunities followed those changes and came along with DTT: signal distributors, content providers, hardware distributors etcetera.

    Thirdly, new players emerged from scratch to compete with satellite operators (DSTV and Canalsat) – Star Times from China, Zuku with fibre in Kenya, pay-TV/free-to-air operators such as Tele10 in Rwanda and Burundi etcetera. There have also been new products such as DStv mobile, in partnership with Safaricom in Kenya.

    Q: What challenges have you encountered as a result of this progress?

    A: The main challenge was to re-apply for a new licence and also make a choice from those new opportunities. In a country like Rwanda, a signal distributor can’t be a content provider.

    The second challenge concerns the business model: traditional pay-TV versus free-to-air channels. Having been a pay-TV broadcaster for more than 17 years, we are still reinventing ourselves to make sure we launch the right product for the market, taking into consideration many challenges such as technology, purchasing power, competition and content.

    Q: What role do you think online video will eventually take within the overall mix of television technologies in Africa?

    A: We believe that VOD is the future for the African TV market, since a lot of news and documentary channels are available for free. But we still need to overcome challenges such as broadband access and payment methods (credit cards are not yet popular in the EAC).

    Q: How do you believe content providers can best tap these new opportunities?

    A: Thematic channels are the next step for Africa. We currently have a lot of general channels, and the audience is demanding particular content such as sports, and mainly football.

    Q: How quickly do you think viewer behaviour will change?

    A: There is a transition period between now and 2015 when all African platforms will be digital. African viewers are busy buying new devices such as set-top boxes and HD TV sets. The viewer is now enjoying new channels in terms of quality and quantity. Before 2015, viewers will demand better content focused on their local area: such as local news, local documentaries and local movies.

    Eugene will be speaking at the AfricaCast event taking place in Cape Town, South Africa on 9th-10th November 2011.

  • MultiChoice Africa and Discovery Networks have announced that TLC, its flagship female brand and ID: Investigation Discovery, the fastest growing cable channel in the US, will launch on DStv in Africa on Friday 14 October 2011 on channels 252 (ID) and 186 (TLC) under the documentary and lifestyle genres.

    The two channels will be available on DStv Premium, DStv Compact and Compact Plus (where available). Collins Khumalo, President of MultiChoice Africa said "This will further strengthen the channel line up with more lifestyle programming on the TLC channel as well as more fact based programming on Discovery ID thus providing DStv subscribers with so much more television viewing choice."

    TLC broadcasts the best in female skewed lifestyle, reality and factual entertainment programmes from around the world; whilst ID: Investigation Discovery (ID for short) offers viewers a line-up of world-class crime-related documentaries.
    The launch of the channels takes Discovery Networks' portfolio on DStv to six channels including Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, Discovery World and Discovery HD Showcase. Both of the new channels will also have commercial airtime added in Q1 2012.

    Phillip Luff, Country Manager, Emerging Business for Discovery Networks CEEMEA, says: "We have had an outstanding relationship with DStv over the last 15 years and are confident that with the addition of TLC and ID, this will go from strength to strength.
    TLC and ID have been hugely successful in markets all over the world and their addition to the DStv bouquets forms part of our continued investment in Africa. We're sure that DStv's subscribers are going to love both channels."

    Discovery ID: Investigation Discovery and Discovery TLC will be available to DStv Premium, DStv Compact and Compact Plus subscribers across the Sub Sahara Africa.

  • The state broadcaster told parliament it plans to have 18 TV channels on air within two years after the launch of digital TV South Africa’s state broadcaster, the SABC, told parliament on 21 September 2011 that it plans to bring 17 TV channels and an “interactive video service” on air after it launches its digital terrestrial television (DTT) offering, SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago recently confirmed.

    The number includes the broadcaster’s three existing channels, SABC 1, 2, and 3. Kganyago explained that the 15 new channels will be phased in over the first two years after the launch of the DTT platform.

    “By providing these television channels, radio stations and interactive services, the SABC will be making full use of the capacity allocated to the SABC in Multiplex 1 under the terms of ICASA’s regulations from February 2010,” Kganyago said.

    The South African Department of Communications (DoC) has set the DTT switch-on date for April 2012, with the aim of switching off analogue TV broadcasts by December 2013.

    The process is referred to as SA’s “digital migration” and will result in frequency spectrum currently used by analogue TV broadcasts to become available for other applications.

    This “digital dividend” spectrum is sought after by mobile network operators who say that it is especially attractive for rural roll-outs and the deployment of new high speed technologies such as Long Term Evolution (LTE).

  • Time Equity Partners has invested €6m in French TV broadcaster Thema.
    Established in 2005, Thema specialises in the development and worldwide distribution of thematic, generalist and ethnic TV channels. The company distributes in excess of 60 TV channels worldwide.

    The Paris-based business generates a €14m turnover and has additional offices in the US, Russia and Singapore. Thema employs 15 people.

    People
    Henri de Bodinat led the deal for TIME Equity Partners. François Thiellet is chief executive of Thema.

    Advisers
    Equity – 8 Advisory, Stéphane Vanbergue (Corporate finance); Arsène Taxand, Frédéric Teper (Tax); Racine, Mélanie Coiraton Mavre (Legal, social due diligence); Jeantet, Frank Martin-Laprade (Legal).

    Key Facts

    Company: Thema
    founded - 2005
    turnover - €14m
    staff - 15
    location - Paris
    sector - Broadcasting & Entertainment
    deal objective - Expansion
    value - €6m

    The digital industry-focused GP, TIME invests from the €100m Time Investors fund, which closed in 2009. It sourced the deal directly, and was attracted by Thema's management team as well as its growth rate so far.

    The fresh equity will allow Thema to develop its thematic content distribution business, create new products targeting ethnic minorities in France, and face the challenges surrounding new digital channels of distribution.

  • South Africa's scrapped the R20m cap on its incentive, which means that the country is much more competitive on bigger budget films ($50-100m). The department of Trade and Industry (dti) of the republic of South Africa issued the following act:

    With effect from 4 October 2011 the Film and Television Incentive cap will no longer apply to the Incentive programme.

    This ruling will apply to South African, Official Co-productions and Foreign productions. The South African government offers a package of incentives to promote its film production industry. The incentives consist of the Foreign Film and Television Production Incentive to attract foreign-based film productions to shoot on location in South Africa and the South African Film and Television Production Incentive, which aims to assist local film producers in the production of local content.

    Programme guidelines’ overview on the Foreign Film and Television Production Incentive:

    1.1    The South African government recognises the potential of the film industry and has prioritised it as one of the sectors under its Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative (ASGI-SA). The growth of the film industry could have a tremendous impact on economic development in terms of employment and exports, while stimulating a host of supplier industries.

    1.2    South Africa has a growing and vibrant film sector, attested in the recent past by productions such as the award-winning Tsotsi and the internationally acclaimed Blood Diamond. Opportunities abound and producers continue to benefit from the cost competitiveness of the country’s beautiful locations.

    1.3    To support the growth of the sector, the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) is offering incentives in order to increase local content generation and improve location competitiveness for foreign film productions. In addition to incentives, the dti is working with other role players on raising the profile of the sector in general and a number of strategic co-production treaties are set to improve distribution locally and internationally.

    Dti extends an invitation to industry players to make use of this facility and to support the South African Government in realising its goals of growth, employment and equity.

    More info on the dti website.

  • The Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) has installed software that will track all songs played by broadcasters as it seeks to boost earnings of top artistes in a process that will hurt the income of upcoming musicians.

    The move to implement the electronic log was reached by MCSK board members last week and will replace the use of manual logs submitted by the broadcasters ending the payment of a flat rate to musicians.

    The move will see musicians paid royalties depending on the amount of air play they have received from the broadcasters, dealing a blow to artistes who are yet to establish themselves in a market where consumers tend to buy songs as mobile phone ringtones.

    "There have been complaints from our members of unfair distribution of the collections and that is why we have invested in the software for accuracy purposes and changed the manner of distributing collections from broadcasters," said Mr Maurice Okoth, the MCSK chief executive.

    "Only a third of our registered members get their music played on broadcasting stations.

    It will be fair to pay these people from the collections although it is going to raise a storm, but that is the way forward."

    MCSK collects royalties on behalf of 5,000 musicians who have been receiving Sh10,000 annually. But under the new regime only about 1,600 artistes will shares in the Sh20 million that the society targets from broadcasters.

    Breach of regulations

    However, top artistes earn an average of Sh100,000 monthly in royalties when other sources of collections such as fees generated from music played in matatus, entertainment spots, saloons, concert promoters, taxis, ring tones and cyber cafés is considered.

    In the year to June 2010, they raised Sh13 million from broadcasting stations, up from Sh5 million in the previous year. The society charges broadcasters Sh216,000 per year on each radio frequency and televisions stations Sh72,000.

    MCSK's total revenue stood at Sh185 million in the year to June 2010, up from Sh118 million a year earlier, while it's running expenses stood at Sh137 million -- a pointer that it paid musicians 25 per cent of its collections or Sh48 million, a figure that has invited the ire of artistes.

    The high operating expenses are in breach of government regulations that allow it to limit operating costs to 30 per cent of the total collected revenue -- a failing that saw the state law office revoke MCSK collection license.

  • IPTTV News interviewed Richard Porter, Controller of English at BBC Global News.

    Q: What developments have you witnessed in Africa's broadcasting industry in the past 12 months?

    A: There have been a number of changes taking place. From a general trend level we continue to see TV closing the gap on radio. In many cities TV attracts a bigger audience than radio and that trend is continuing to spread to smaller cities and even in some cases rural areas. TV tends to be dominant in the evening.

    Mobile phones are increasingly being used to listen to radio and to access internet. In many countries more people are accessing the internet on their phone than they are on a PC. It’s also worth noting that broadband has reached a number of countries in Africa, though the average person has not been able to benefit from this yet (that is to say there is limited streaming of audio and video as most people have slow connections).

    In terms of the industry itself, there’s been more investment in vernacular stations, which are becoming more dominant in their markets. In certain markets, DSTV is getting competition from cheaper satellite and digital operators like Smart TV and Zuku TV and on an international level, there are new players entering the market, like Al Jazeera Swahili, and an increased emphasis on local programming (like Africa Business Report on BBC World News).

    Q: What challenges have you encountered as a result of this progress?

    A: The challenge in Africa is not too different to that in other markets - increased competition leads to increased choice for consumers and this it makes it harder to maintain or grow audiences who want news content when, where, and how they want it. At the BBC we’re responding to this demand by making our content is available on as many platforms in as many formats as possible - TV, radio, online, mobile and tablet.

    Q: How do you believe new technologies can improve viewer engagement?

    A: We know, from a partner point of view, that making programming accessible has become easier thanks to new technology, and things like satellite and mobile phones are changing the way people access information. However, on phones most people are still using WAP and are not streaming content, downloading apps, etcetera.

    Social media sites like Facebook are making big waves in the market and the BBC is extremely active in this space - the BBC World News Facebook page recently passed one million fans and we now have close to one million Twitter followers on @bbcworld - however, it will take a while for iPad apps, Android apps, iPhone apps etcetera to penetrate and until PVRs and other technologies break through.

    What role do you think online video will eventually take within the overall mix of television technologies in Africa?

    There’s a large appetite for online video in the African market, however the cost and speed of downloads and streaming are the main barriers, although there is a lot of sharing of content (via Bluetooth on phones). In the future, Africa should not be that dissimilar to other markets with online video widely used, though more in short form (for example via YouTube) than viewing of whole programmes (for example via Hulu), which will take longer to become commonplace.

    Q: How do you believe content providers can best tap these new opportunities?

    A: Partnerships are key to making sure content is available. Use of social media is also important with Facebook, in particular, playing an important role in the development of markets - as we saw during the Arab Spring.

    Q: How quickly do you think viewer behaviour will change?

    A: Things will change rapidly, as they have in other parts of the world. For instance, look how quickly Twitter, launched only in 2006 and now the second largest social network in the world, has become a core source of news and information with high levels of consumer engagement and interaction. Traditional media organisations see these developments as both an opportunity and a threat – I recognise the risks but I definitely see them as an opportunity for us to reach and engage with new audiences.

    Q: Which markets do you think offer some key insights into the future direction of Africa's broadcast market?

    A: Within Sub-Saharan Africa Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa are amongst the most developed markets and are leading the way in changes to the media. There is an emerging middle class that brands are trying to reach, and lower-cost services (such as Smart TV and Zuku) are tapping into this market and rolling-out their products out to other countries. Smart TV for instance is now available in Ghana, Kenya and Uganda.

    PS: Richard will be speaking at the AfricaCast event taking place in Cape Town, South Africa on 9th-10th November 2011.

  • Naspers is an oddity. Who would have bet that a one-time newspaper company would have become an emerging-market internet giant? After all “Naspers” means “National Press”.

    Naspers is one impressive company. It owns eCommerce and social networking properties all over the world, including China, Brazil, Russia, Africa and eastern Europe. The company has stakes in two of the world’s biggest social networks, the Chinese TenCent and a small, indirect stake in Facebook.

    It’s a successful strategy that has seen Naspers make clever and timely investments in some of the world’s biggest internet properties, but critics say the company — while a strong print and satellite TV operator — is still searching for an organic internet success on a worldwide scale. The organic internet successes are largely limited to its home territory, South Africa — which now appears to be a key focus for the company in internet terms.

    To find out what makes Naspers tick and the ideas behind the strategies — we caught up with the company’s enigmatic leader, Koos Bekker. We chat to Bekker about how Naspers lost US$80-million in China, but then “failed quickly”, continued to invest aggressively and kick on to become an $18-billion emerging market internet superpower. Bekker also elaborates on emerging markets, Chinese and Brazilian internet successes, Naspers’ business philosophies, the future of online advertising and his “fail quickly” philosophy that has held the company in such good stead.

    Memeburn: What emerging market tech businesses have impressed you the most?

    Koos Bekker: I would have to say those of the Chinese, they came from nowhere in the nineties and they are now, after the US, the most vibrant internet market in the world. The big companies like Baidu, Tencent and Alibaba are really doing well. Then another one, which we [Naspers] have a small hand in, is Brazil — in certain fields like eCommerce, the Brazilians have a very lively internet market. You’d think of Brazilians as “beach guys”, but they spend more time on the internet than anyone else. Brazilians are quite social, now why people who drink a lot coffee, have lots of friends and have the beach, spend their time on the internet — I don’t know.

    MB: Naspers has been successful in acquiring a number of internet businesses. What is your philosophy for this success?

    KB: We’ve made more mistakes than anyone else. The benefit of a mistake is that you know what doesn’t work. What we typically try to do is get into something and “fail fast and cheaply”. We have also failed expensively. We created the second biggest ISP in Beijing in 1998 and we lost the battle there. We eventually lost US$80-million and had to fire people and close it down because of mistakes we made. That was an expensive failure. We’ve failed quite a lot but if you’re going to fail, get into the market quickly, fail quickly and learn from it. Since then we have learnt a few lessons.

    MB: Will Naspers ever move to China?

    KB: No. South Africa is a good place to come from, lots of people like us and Cape Town is a good city to live in.

    MB: What other regions is Naspers targeting?

    KB: We’re looking particularly in Latin America, south East Asia and Eastern Europe. I like Latin America, I like it there — nice people, nice food. We’ve looked at Argentina all the way to Mexico.

    MB: Any new companies you are looking at?

    KB: [laughs] none that I should be telling you about yet. But at any given time we look at any number or companies. It’s long process.

    MB: Do you think the web is dead? There is a debate championed by Chris Anderson that the web as we know it will change. What are your thoughts on that?

    KB: Not yet

    MB: Why?

    BK: In time the web will be replaced by something else, but whatever that “something else” is hasn’t started appearing. To conceive a world today where the web doesn’t work is almost impossible. Just think about it, you’re on Facebook, you’re probably also on Twitter and you have your emails. If you were to take those things away, your life would be completely different. The thing that could make you drop those hasn’t been invented yet.

    MB: Do you think we will still be reading print newspapers in years to come?

    KB: I think at some point some of the newspapers will fall away. But there are real benefits to a physical piece of paper. If I want to read the Financial Times and I am in New York, I will order it from the hotel front desk. However, if I can’t get that, their iPad version is very good. Have you seen it?

    MB: Yes

    KB: It’s very good, it has embedded video and I find it very satisfactory. I think what will happen with the FT and perhaps most newspapers is that the physical print edition will get further and further restricted. Initially they won’t give up the big cities like New York; they’ll probably give up Tallahassee and Columbus, Ohio. Restrict print to a few main cities and push out electronically as much as possible and then perhaps in 20 years time they will realise it no longer makes sense to have a print version… maybe, it’s possible.

    The institution of newspapers will continue. We at Naspers will eventually move everything online. We will run the tablet format alongside our print publications. Newspapers look good on tablets unlike on a PC. The newspaper experience on a PC is quite unsatisfactory.

    MB: Websites have ten times the readership of print yet only have a tenth of the advertising revenue. We are ten years on, why do you think this is still the case?

    KB: The best example is the New York Times. I was a student in the US in the 80s (remember the world wide web was only invented in 1995) and we visited the New York Times and back then they had a sort of prototype news service that gave the news online via your telephone line, which was quite good.

    I went back in the 90s and then again a few years ago and the problem they can’t solve is the following: When you read the physical paper you spend about 27 minutes or so on it. You see an ad, you can’t do anything else but page over, you register [that you’ve seen the] the ad, then page over. Now you’re on the web, you spend about two minutes on the New York Times website, the problem is what the Americans call the “ding” — the ding being what comes in on your galaxy or iPad that catches your attention. You start reading an article online and you see an ad, chances are it’s interactive and you click over to the site and the New York Times has lost you.

    Same thing happens when an email comes through and takes you away from what you’re reading. The NYT’s experience is that the reader time is two minutes on electronic products versus the 27 minutes on the physical product. Consequently the advertising income for the physical product is about ten times more than the electronic product. That’s what’s killing online advertising.

    So the NYT says: I have today a bigger audience online but people pay me one tenth of what they used to pay… something has to give. Either become global brand with 10 times the audience… this is the dilemma. The solution now is to encrypt the signal and charge a fee but that causes audience to run away. So far only the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal have such powerful brands that people are willing to pay. I won’t pay for USA Today or the Guardian.

    MB: Do you think advertising online will grow bigger than what it is now?

    KB: Yes, absolutely. It’s growing very quickly. What’s nice about online advertising is the amount of targeting. Consider what Google is doing, Google only takes you to the BMW ad only when you think about cars, because you type in “car” and Google leads you to a site and the ad in conjunction with that. If you’re reading a piece in the NYT about Iran and they show you ad about cars, you won’t care about it. So why people like Google get such good ad revenue is because they serve advertising with relevant content. This is good. People like Yahoo and general portals are still struggling because their content is so general.

    The big debate is Facebook. Facebook’s argues the following: “I know you personally”. If you bought a new Gap top, telling that to your friends is immensely valuable to Gap because they will pay. This is true; Facebook’s limitation is that they know exactly what you are talking about. If you are talking about lipstick problems, they could serve you a lipstick ad and solve that problem but they would seem to have overheard you.

    So all the experiments where they use the information you’re talking about to direct advertising has failed completely on privacy grounds. What Facebook has is your network, they know who your friends are that they can use successfully, they also know what you are talking about but they are not allowed to use it. Google is allowed to use it. The difference here is you enter the topic yourself with Google. If you say “lipstick”, and Google serves you a lipstick ad you don’t object because you asked the question and it served you an ad. But if you talk to your friend about lipstick on Facebook and a lipstick ad appears you will say: “Facebook you’re listening to my conversation, you’re like Rupert Murdoch!” [laughs]

    MB: So the online advertising business model will improve?

    KB: Yes. You read a news site; you got the News24 frontpage for example… if you’re interested in rugby and you go to the rugby story, then News24 serves you an ad pertaining to rugby such as fares to New Zealand or SA rugby shirts. What the shirt seller now sees is a qualified audience, so he will now pay more for that ad, so instead 20 cents per click he’ll pay 50 cents.

    What will happen in the future is that ads will become more intelligent, either to your locality or your search history which will make them more valuable — and this is where they will beat print ads hands down.

    MB: Should media companies own their own tablet devices?

    KB: No. It’s like cellphones, we started MTN in the 90s and we debated quite a lot about what business MTN should be in and initially there was an argument that it should be manufacturing cheap handsets. In the end it is a crushingly competitive field. You’ve seen it with the Hewlett Parkard (HP) exit in the last month. Let someone else produce the hardware and we serve the content on it. Tablets will be getting cheaper in the next 18 months or so… we might see less than R1 000-tablets.

    MB: Why are there so many few internet entrepreneurs in Africa? Where are Africa’s Zuckerbergs and Pages?

    KB: It’s partly two things. One is the schooling system. When people get to university they are not the best in the world. Some universities are okay but they are not the best. Then there is the lack of broadband. Here is a question: Why are the gaming champions in world all from Korea?

    MB: Fast internet?

    KB: Exactly, the kid grows up with fast broadband, somewhere between 10 or 100mbps so he can play these games at home. For that kind of access South Africans have to go to a special internet cafe. So the Bill Gates and the Steve Jobs had access to computers before their fellows. So in SA, because we lag in broadband, the kids get to the scene a little bit too late. You should have in your flat 10mbps so you can be downloading videos and all sorts. So we need to push for faster internet, the government doesn’t need to subsidise. We just need to open the market.

    The rest of Africa is doing better. Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria are rising. People in Nigeria are using their cellphones to connect to the internet, which is pushing connectivity further. Nigerians are such enterprising people and they are a bunch to watch.

    MB: Is it possible to replicate Silicon Valley in Africa?

    KB: That is an excellent issue. I think the concept will disperse. What keeps Hollywood together is an ecosystem of studios and lots. The physical infrastructure is there. The infrastructure of the internet is different. Microsoft sits in Seattle and Google, Yahoo and Facebook sit in San Francisco. Quite a few are in Los Angeles, and New York is starting its own hub, while Groupon is in Chicago. In the US these companies are already dispersed. Then you have the centres like Beijing in China and Petersburg in Russia. Ten years from now you might have Cape Town and Lagos as hubs of innovation where people are doing interesting things because they now have broadband and five young friends can get together in a garage and start a new ecommerce site. I think it will happen in Africa. There isn’t a technical reason like with filmmaking where you need an ecosystem around you. Usually things get clustered with the internet around a university.

  • Former Supersport presenter Imran Garda is now working for Al Jazeera English in Washington, DC. His next major documentary, “Indi’s Silent War”, premiered on Thursday, 20 October 2011, as part of the Al Jazeera Correspondent series, which is being executive produced by fellow South African Jon Blair, an Oscar, Emmy and BAFTA winning filmmaker. In India's Silent War, Imran tells the story of the Naxals, Maoist rebels who are fighting government forces in India for what, they claim, are their tribal lands. Millions have been displaced or had their lives destroyed in one of the world’s largest armed conflicts, which remains largely ignored outside India but is the country’s biggest internal security threat. Watch the promo here: 

    Since joining Al Jazeera English, Imran has been at the presenting desk during key moments in the broadcasted’s history, including the execution of Saddam Hussein, the Israeli airstrikes on Gaza, the universityriots in Beirut and Kosov’s declaration of independence. He also co-hosts The Stream and presented both Focus on Gaza and The Father of The Turks on Al Jazeera English. For more info, visit here:

  • Unlocking the Potential of African TV through Digital Transformation
    AfricaCast - 9-10th November 2011, Cape Town Convention Centre, South Africa

    Do not miss AfricaCast, one of Africa’s largest events attended by Balancing Act’s analysts and where broadcasters will meet telecoms services providers to set up multi-play and multi-screens’ solutions : IPTV, mobile TV, web TV, VoD, digital TV will be among the many opportunities.

    The market for TV services in Africa is developing at a fast pace. In 2010, Sub-Saharan Africa had 34.5 million TV households, forecast to grow to 42.1m by 2015.

    Among them, more than 6 million households (Balancing Act’s estimate) are pay TV subscribers mid-2011. Satellite TV dominates the market, but new technologies (DTT, online and Mobile TV), coupled with imminent switch to all digital, mean that the broadcasting market is due to experience changes and increased competition in the future.

    IPTV is just starting in Africa with about 150 000 subscribers (Balancing Act’s estimate).

    AfricaCast is an event organised jointly by Informa’s Com World Series and IP&TV World Series to address the challenges and opportunities in Africa’s broadcasting market. The two day summit will bring decision makers from the entire value chain, including broadcasters, satellite providers, cable companies, regulators, content providers & producers, and production facilities.

    This year, speakers include: Chris Oberholzer, Strategy and Business Development, Multichoice - Ayite Gaba, Business Development Associate, Youtube/Google - Christian de Faria, Group Chief Commercial Officer, MTN Group - Marc Rennard, EVP Africa, Middle East and Asia, Orange Group - Johan Dennelind, CEO: International, Vodacom Group - Erik Hersman, Technologist and blogger, co-founder of Ushahidi, founder of AfriGadget, founder of the iHub, Nairobi - Gelfand Kausiyo, General Manager: Broadcast Facilities, SABC - Neil Ahlsten, New Business Development , Africa, Google - Oscar Dube, CEO, Southtel, South Africa -George Twumasi, Deputy Chairman and CEO, ABN – The African Broadcast Network - Richard Porter, Controller of English, BBC Global News - Graham Wallington, CEO, WildEarth TV, South Africa - Djibril Wade, Director of Forecasts, Advisor to the CEO, Africable Télévision, Mali - Eugene Nyagahene, CEO, Tele10 Group - Nagi Abboud, CEO, Atlantique Telecom - Bayo Adebiyi, Chief Executive Officer, Proudly Africa Media Nigeria  - Saiful Alam, Chief Commercial Officer, Expresso Telecom Group - Nanda Armoogum, Director of Broadcast Content, Independent Broadcasting Authority in Mauritius - Anahi Ayala Iacucci, Media Innovation Advisor, Africa Region, Internews, - Arnauld Blondet, Director AMEA, Orange Technocentre - Sabine Devinck, Global Information and Communications Technologies, IFC - Jabulani Dhliwayo, Corning - Oscar Dube, CEO, Southtel, South Africa - Gall Le Garrec , Vice President, Sales EMEA, Envivio - Mickael Ghossein, CEO, Orange Telkom Kenya - Michael Gyang, Content Acquisitions and Marketing Director, HOMEBASE TV - Torsten Hoffmann, Managing Partner, Global Media Consult - Nick Jotischky, Principal Analyst, Informa Telecoms & Media - Gelfand Kausiyo , General Manager:Broadcast Facilities, SABC - Henk Kleynhans, Chairperson, WAPA

Issue no. 116 - 27 October 2011

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  • Something that would have seemed crazy two years ago in Africa can now quite easily be considered a part of the near future. Bandwidth and internet users are now at the point where mass live streaming services make very good sense. The number of mobile phones able to receive live streams is probably larger than you think. Plus there are interesting business models to monetize the content. Russell Southwood looks at what live streaming has to offer Africa.

    Put simply, a live stream is as its name suggests simply a broadcast over the Internet or another data channel in real time. If you’re already broadcasting something live, it’s relatively easy and not so costly to make it available over the Internet to a range of devices including mobile phones, PCs, laptops and tablets.

    Because again as the name suggests, it about something that’s live, it will lend itself best either to things like breaking news or music concerts. In audience terms, with the right provider, it can handle millions of streams but at the niche end can do things like conferences, debates and talks: for example, the live stream (by Sstreamm) of Mobile Entertainment Africa in Cape Town got 700 live stream users on the basis of a Twitter campaign started on its first day.

    African broadcasters often have large diaspora audiences who want to watch their programmes (particularly breaking news) and delivering these programmes to them over satellite or cable Pay TV is an expensive business (in the hundreds of thousands of dollars) with little or no chance of a commercial return. Wealthier stations like Nigeria’s NTA and AIT/Daar tend to do it for reasons of either public purpose or status. There is almost no audience data on how many people view these niche channels or for what length of time. With video streams, you get clear numbers in terms of how many people are watching, what they viewed and for how long.

    Finally, in those countries where broadcast licences are hard to obtain (like South Africa or the more authoritarian African countries), it will become possible to create a TV station that requires no licence. Its channels of delivery would be mobile phones and laptops. The argument is not that this type of station would compete with Free To Air channels in audience scale but they would have a significantly cheaper cost base and be able to survive on an audience base of between half to one million people. Better still, the type of person that would view this kind of station would be in the top LSMs and therefore attractive to key advertisers.

    Finally, for time-based broadcasters, it allows them to offer continuous coverage of an event without that coverage needing to eat into other premium programming on the schedule. So advertisers can be assured of a double-hit in audience terms. News programmes can then dip in and out of the event, whilst pointing people off to the live stream.

    There are two providers focused on the African market that will allow broadcasters to take a step into this market: London-based Livestation which focuses on news coverage and Johannesburg-based Sstreamm which deals with live events.

    Livestation has many of the top global news brands on its platform including:CNN, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, CNBC, Bloomberg and Euronews. Currently it has 31 million video visits a month, 15 million unique visitors and each visitor views an average of 13 minutes per visit. Furthermore, these numbers increased enormously during the Arab Spring and keep on growing. Livestation wants to attract 3-5 high quality African news channels. Those stations will then be placed on an extremely well-visited site and will both attract viewers from their own diasporas and the curious from other parts of the globe.

    Livestation can deliver to all the main devices including mobile phones (with apps for smartphones), PCs and laptops, tablets (again with apps) and smart TVs. It can either do it directly on its own branded Livestation site or give broadcasters a “white label” service to run on their own sites. Mobile operators need to be interested in seeing this happen because it will drive use on higher-end data-enabled phones.

    Transdigital Media’s Sstreamm service is based in South Africa and combines the experience of Julian Van Plato from the music industry and Greg Upton from the broadcast rights side.

    It offers those wanting to do live streaming a simple and relatively inexpensive box that feeds the signal back to its servers and then out to the devices. Plato says they are primarily focused on mobiles as that will be where the market will be in the first instance. It is signing up mobile operators across the continent so this is not just for South Africa. The stream can be received by a wide range of phones, including those at the low end but obviously the lower the bandwidth, the less smooth the picture.

    It has done a music event for Vodafone in Ghana and is looking to do music events, sporting evetns (like marathons) and conferences (including corporate events). It has also put in a unit into a club in Johannesburg to have the first live stream venue.

    So what might the business models be? In the case of Livestation, it offers an advertising sales service working with “best of breed” providers. Because the audiences are in the diaspora, the potential revenues are significantly larger than they might be in Africa: Al Jazeera is already getting net revenues, after having paid for the service.

    In the African context, in the short-term, it would be a natural for mobile company sponsorship. A live music or sport event fits their targeted demographics and drives the all-important use of data on their platforms.

    For more information on either of these providers, please contact us on: info@balancingact-africa.com


    This week on Balancing Acts YouTube channel:

    Lippe Oosterhof, CEO, Livestation on live streaming for African news broadcasters

    Julian VanPlato, CEO, Trans Digital Media on a new live streaming mobile service for Africa

    Richard Bell, CEO, Wananchi Group in Kenya on international fibre connectivity, local TV content for

    Thema TV: 3 years of “Bouquet Africain” TV package, 115 000 payTV subscribers (en francais)

    Watch the interview with Senegal public broadcaster RTS’ representative discussing tomorrow’s radio (in French) here:

    In this interview, Roxana Vasile, correspondent for ‘Radio Romania’ gives her insight regarding tomorrow’s radio (in French) here:

    White Spaces and the implications for broadcasters


    Henk Kleynhans, Chair of WAPA
    on TV White Spaces proposals in South Africa

    Steve Song, CEO, Village Telco on the TV White Spaces Workshop

     

  • Out In Africa Gay and Lesbian Film Festival is running in Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa until 30 October 2011. Kevin Kriedemann caught up with festival director Nodi Murphy to chat about running a gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex film festival in a continent where being queer is illegal in the majority of countries.

    Out In Africa (http://www.oia.co.za/) is now in its 18th year, making it the same age as South Africa’s democracy. Nodi started the festival with Jack Lewis and Theresa Raizenberg after an enthusiastic response to a gay film she’d helped screen while working on The Cape Town International Film Festival. “The cinemas were heaving,” she remembers. “So I realised that there was a marketplace.”

    She was right: Out In Africa sold 18,500 tickets in 1994. “Film is the most powerful communication tool, so it was important for all of us to see ourselves affirmed on screens for the first time.  That was true for 23 million black South Africans but also for a million queers,” Nodi says. “I don’t see gay and lesbian films as a tool to help straight people understand us; I see them as a tool to assist gays and lesbians to come out, to love themselves, and to be amused and affirmed by seeing themselves on screen.”

    17 years later, does South Africa still need a gay and lesbian film festival? “Although the majority of South Africans still don’t have the internet, these days its easier to access gay and lesbian books, newspapers, websites and DVDs,” says Nodi. “It’s now more about creating a critical mass in safe public spaces. The fest is a peaceful gathering of gays and lesbians, not a protest, but it speaks volumes. We’re less likely to be abused when we come out in force in these sorts of public spaces.”

    Her concern with abuse is real: stories of corrective rape remain fair too common within South Africa. Nodi says hearing about people coming-out during the festival makes all the stress and hard work worthwhile. “I meet people who’re already in their 30s, but who’ve only just managed to come out after circling the fest for three years or so or before they get the courage to walk in the doors,” she says. “You can see the obvious peace the festival has given people – they now know they are not alone.”

    One of the highlights of August’s Out In Africa festival was Getting Out, a documentary by Alexandra Chapman, Chris Dolan and Daniel Neumann about gay Africans seeking asylum because of the persecution they’ve experienced. “We are sooo lucky to live in South Africa,” says Nodi, who adds that Out In Africa has worked across the continent. “We assisted Namibia to have a couple of film fests and we send our DVDs to Botswana, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Zambia, as well as a lot of countries where we have to quietly slip over the border and work surreptitiously because it’s legally punishable.”

    She’s happy that Out In Africa Is no longer the only gay and lesbian film festival in Africa, with Kenya’s Out Film Festival taking place for the first time this year and another queer film festival planned for Durban later in 2011. “We need a new generation of activists,” she says.

    She says that there’s more of a familiarity with gay and lesbian characters on mainstream screens, thanks to shows like Will & Grace and Brothers and Sisters, as well as films like In and Out, Brokeback Mountain, and The Kids Are Alright.

    “Everyone thought those were major breakthroughs,” says Nodi. “They showed that big Hollywood stars are not going to lose their careers if they take a gay role. But for lesser Hollywood stars that’s still a difficult thing.”

    She believes it’s easier for people to accept homosexuality on screen than in real life. “When people watch gay and lesbian characters on screen, it’s fine because it’s out there. But when it’s your family, it’s a problem. Even if your parents don’t hate you, they’re certainly going to be concerned that other people will hurt and hate you, so there’s always an anxiety around homosexuality.”

    While she says gays and especially lesbians have been flavour of the month on screen recently, she warns, “We go in and out of favour. The truth is we are at least 10% of the population anywhere in the world. I would say we are a little more than that – even 35% - because there are another 25% who are hiding away, but I might be upping it too much. So we can only reasonably expect that 25% of our stories would deal with homosexuality and that if a film or TV series has 25 main characters, one would be queer.”

    World cinema, and especially African cinema, is a long way from that 25% ratio and Nodi believes there are problems even when homosexuality is addressed. “How many of the gay and lesbian characters are interesting, or are they just relegated to being limp-wristed, listening hairdressers?”

    South Africa has submitted Oliver Hermanus’ Skoonheid for the Foreign Film Oscar, but Nodi doesn’t believe this is a sign that the country has embraced queer cinema.

    “It’s very brave of South Africa to make that choice and hats off to Oliver, but the film community is always different,” she says. “It’s interesting that so many people have remarked that the film is less about homosexuality and more about the white Afrikaner male psyche. Skoonheid is still a hard sell – happy works better than tortured - and being submitted by South Africa doesn’t mean that it’s going to be seen in Africa or even here.”

    Out In Africa regularly holds filmmaking workshops, like on Thursday, 27 October 2011, when Africa-American director Dee Rees will talk at Big Fish School of Digital Filmmaking about her debut feature, Pariah, which won Best Cinematography at Sundance this year and is screening at Out In Africa.

    But Nodi doesn’t expect a rush of African gay and lesbian films.
    “The problem is always the marketplace,” she says. “If you push it out as queer, you will only get queers and the few straights who want to see good cinema. Documentaries seem easier to fund and distribute, but features are hard. I find that the films that make people laugh at themselves and their fears generally work best.”

    This year, for the first time, Out In Africa split into three editions. “Film festivals are declining everywhere,” Nodi admits. “It’s slow and certain and incremental. The same is certainly true for gay and lesbian film festivals.”

    The other challenge is the increased accessibility of content and the shorter windows between multi-platform releases. “If we do one festival a year, by the time it ends, the next three big gay films will come out and they’ll be gone by the time the next festival arrives. Queers aren’t going to wait a year – they’ll get it through Amazon, Kalahari, or Pirate Bay. We must meet that need.”

    With the third and final edition currently underway, it seems the experiment has worked. “It’s a lot easier to choose ten films and create a ten page booklet,” Nodi says. “And if we maintain the same figures – around 3 600 per edition – we’ll be up on last year.”

    Interested filmmakers can visit www.oia.co.za for submission details. Out in Africa is made possible by Atlantic Philanthropies, The National Lottery, The National Film and Video Foundation, The Times, Cape Film Commission, The US Embassy, Rutland Lodge, Graton Guest House and 6 Spin Street.

  • The 23rd International URTI Radio Grand Prix and the 63rd General Assembly of URTI - International Radio and Television Union - took place West of Paris on 20-21, October 2011. Balancing Act's Sylvain Béletre attended part of the event.
     
    The event was the occasion for broadcasters from across the world - including several from Africa such as RTS, GBC, ORTN, RA and ENTV, TVT, ORTB, CRTV, RTG, RTC, ORTC, URTE, TM and many more - to meet up, set URTI’s new objectives, exchange ideas and seal new partnership agreements.
     
    URTI is the oldest international organization of radio and television and also the only one with an international vocation. Over the past two years, the Union recorded the subscriptionof 28  international radios/television broadcasters from 25 countries.
     
    Over the event, broadcasters reported great benefits in belonging to URTI. The union's membership provides access to a large global broadcasters' network and a radio and TV programmes' exchange; More than 3,000 programmes - and growing each year - are offered free of copyright and by / for members. This exchange platform saves important amounts of money but also meets the need to share values and content in order to enrich broadcasters' editorial topics and experiences.

    URTI also opens access to training exchanges, co-productions opportunities and industry best practices. The Union has set a special priority to radio's digital archiving. URTI recently invested in a state-of-the art Web platform to allow its members to retrieve, exchange, co-produce and transmit programmes wherever they are.

    On the current platform, it is now possible for members to download radio programs. In television, URTI is seeking funding to digitize the programs that are currently on beta tapes. The Union has adopted three official languages: English, Arabic and French.
     
    URTI's 23rd International URTI Radio Grand Prix ceremony closed "the 30 years anniversary of FM" on Thursday, October 20th, after the conference and panel discussion, and before engaging into a very convivial dinner.
     
    The panel discussion which focused on the 'future of radio' highlighted new areas of developments but reinforced the fact that radio and TV are becoming social networks, giving voice to the people. While broadcast technology changes, while media outlets have proliferated all over the world and while the internet has accelerated the news pace, broadcast content keeps the same objectives.
     
    Each year URTI also organizes the International URTI Radio Grand Prix and the International URTI Grand Prix for Author’s Documentary. These prizes of international renown allow promoting the vitality of contemporary audiovisual production.
     
    The Iranian radio program 'Street Children' won  the 2011 International URTI Radio Grand Prix. The program was produced and broadcast by the Zanjan Radio Center of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB). The chosen theme for the 23rd edition was 'poverty' and the Iranian program was selected from programs submitted by 45 countries.
     
    Each of the two juries is made up of thirteen to twenty professionals from the whole world who take opposing views and single out the most remarkable works based on quality and originality. With 81 countries participating in the event, it also confirmed its place among the first ranks of the international radio and television grand prix in terms of the number of participating countries.
     
     The general Assembly examined the current evolutions as well as the quests for financing and partnerships. After more than 60 years of existence, URTI members showed a prestigious assessment and a renewed enthusiasm during this annual meeting.
     
    This year, Alain Massé, director general of URTI was acclaimed by URTI members as the man who gave a new life to the union and someone who made it possible to take URTI and its members to the next level.
     
    URTI TV Committee that will bring together members in Tirana at the kind invitation of RTSH will take place from 17 to 22 November to select programmes for the 2012 catalogue.
     
    URTI would like broadcasters to apply as new potential members.

  • Hip hop music has been popular in Africa since the early 1980s. It became big in Senegal in 1985 due to widespread American and French influence. Some of the first Senegalese rappers were M.C. Lida, M.C. Solaar, and Positive Black Soul, who mixed rap with Mbalax, a type of West African pop music. An early South African group was Black Noise in Cape Town until they started emceeing in 1989. Hip hop spread out to several other African countries such as Tanzania, Algeria, Angola, Botswana, Cameroon, Madagascar, Nigeria, Ghana or Senegal which are home to a thriving hip hop scene before escalating all over Africa.

    There is no doubt that the sixth annual "BET Hip Hop Awards" will make waves across the African continent. The event was organised by BET Networks, a subsidiary of Viacom Inc is the US nation's leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs television programming for the African-American audience. The primary BET channel reaches more than 98 million households and can be seen in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom and sub-Saharan Africa.

    This year’s " BET Hip Hop Awards " brought the hip hop heat with the highly anticipated homecoming of Atlanta native T.I., who performed "F.A.M.E." alongside Young Jeezy and literally ignited the stage with their phenomenal performance. Hosted by comedian Mike Epps, the " BET Hip Hop Awards " was a night filled with brilliant collaborations. DMX stormed the stage with Ruff Ryders alum Swizz Beatz; G.O.O.D Music's newest stars Big Sean and Roscoe Dash did it bringing the audience to their feet with hit singles "I Do It" and "Marvin & Chardonnay." Maybach Music Group came through deep with Rick Ross, Wale, Meek Mill with special guest El Debarge supplying his legendary falsetto to "That Way."  Wiz Khalifa gave an all energy performance of "Taylor Gang" and Heavy D made his return to the stage with Tyrese, a catalogue of hits and a crew of old school hip hop dancers.

    Lil' Wayne takes home 5 Awards; Busta Rhymes Takes Home 4 Hip Hop Awards;
    Nicki Minaj takes home MVP of the Year;
    Kanye West wins top honors with the CD of the year with "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy".

    This year's BET hip hop cyphers were epic.  An outstanding seven sets of cyphers from the best in the business - Eminem, Rick Ross, Ludacris, Joe Budden, Yelawolf, Estelle, Busta Rhymes, Ace Hood, Blind Fury, Mike Epps and many more.   LL COOL J was honored as the 2011 recipient of the "I AM HIP-HOP" Icon Award, and received it with a poignant acceptance speech. Part rap, part reminiscence, it was lyrical gold and irrefutable confirmation that the right man had been selected for the distinction.

    The following are the list of winners from the 2011 BET Hip Hop Awards:

    •    Best Hip Hop Video: Chris Brown f/ Lil Wayne & Busta Rhymes – Look At Me Now
    •    Reese's Perfect Combo Award (Best Collab): Chris Brown f/ Lil Wayne & Busta Rhymes – Look At Me Now
    •    Best Live Performer: Lil Wayne
    •    Lyricist of the Year: Lil Wayne
    •    Video Director of the Year: Hype Williams
    •    Producer of the Year: Lex Luger
    •    MVP of the Year: Nicki Minaj
    •    Track of the Year: Black and Yellow – Produced by Stargate (Wiz Khalifa)
    •    CD of the Year: Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
    •    DJ of the Year: DJ Khaled
    •    Rookie of the Year: Wiz Khalifa
    •    Made-You-Look Award (Best Hip Hop Style): Nicki Minaj
    •    Best Hip Hop Online Site: World Star Hip Hop.com
    •    Best Club Banger: Waka Flocka Flame f/ Roscoe Dash & Wale – No Hands (Produced by Drumma Boy)
    •    Best Mixtape: J. Cole – Friday Night Lights
    •    Sweet 16 - Best Featured Verse: Busta Rhymes – Look At Me Now (Chris Brown f/ Lil Wayne & Busta Rhymes)
    •    Hustler of the Year: Jay-Z
    •    People's Champ Award powered by Verizon (Viewers' Choice): Chris Brown f/ Lil Wayne & Busta Rhymes – Look At Me Now

    For more awards and event information for the " BET Hip Hop Awards 2011," log onto BET.com and check out the photo flipbooks, videos and artist interviews.

    For the " BET Hip Hop Awards," BET once again teamed up with Cossette Productions, the famed producers of the GRAMMY Awards® and the record-setting BET Awards shows, to handle production of the telecast. Stephen G. Hill, BET President, Music and Programming, along with Lynne Harris Taylor, BET Vice President of Specials, are executive producers of the telecast.

    Follow BET on Twitter: @BET_PR

  • Twenty-three year-old Efua representing the Central Region is the latest to be evicted from TV3's reality show Ghana's Most Beautiful Season 5.

    She is the third contestant to be evicted from the show after Afiba and Napaa. After enjoying six weeks in the on-going competition, her journey to the top has come to an abrupt end and she says she has learnt a lot to guide her in life. The theme for this week's live eviction show is "Inter-marital Affairs".

    Still going strong in the competition, are Adwoa from the Eastern Region, Akweley representing the Greater Accra, Enam from the Volta, Asumah from the Upper East, Yeli from the Upper West, Akua representing Asnanti and Abena from Brong Ahafo.

    GMB was initiated by TV3 in 2007 as a beauty pageant with a unique cultural theme to project the beauty of the Ghanaian woman.

    It is an entertainment programme targeted at being informative and educative. The station management say the concept is not intended to weigh against western fashion, but to portray the beauty and value of African fashion in women.

    Ten beautiful women were selected to represent the ten regions of Ghana. The selected ladies are allowed to research on their regions to inform the general public weekly in a live presentation.

  • Cablevision Systems Corp. announced on 18 Oct. 2011 the addition of a new African category to iO TV’s extensive iO International channel line-up. This new package includes Noire TV Africa on channel 1100 and Afrotainment Plus on channel 1101. With this addition, iO International now offers 18 packages of in-language programming from around the world.

    Noire TV Africa is dedicated to delivering the latest in high-quality “Nollywood” movies as well as news, music, lifestyle shows and sports programming from across Africa. Also available in iO TV’s African package, Afrotainment Plus brings viewers African movies, music videos and sports, including African soccer games from the Confederation of African Football and other major African premier leagues. Additionally, Afrotainment Plus broadcasts a wide range of African TV series, including dramas, reality shows and sitcoms.

    “iO International is rapidly adding unique, high-quality programming that keeps all of our customers connected to the countries they love with news and entertainment. We now proudly offer 18 different global packages, and we are pleased to bring viewers the best movies and TV shows from Africa in the newest programming package – iO Africa,” said Bradley Feldman, Cablevision’s vice president, video product management.

    “We are excited to embark on this partnership with Cablevision, by making Noire TV Africa available to Cablevision's subscribers,” said Emeka Iwukemjika and Dokun Adewole, co-founders of Noire TV Africa.

    “As the premier in African home entertainment in North America, we are excited to bring original African programming to the Cablevision footprint. With Afrotainment Plus, Cablevision customers will now have the opportunity to watch the best African movies, music videos, soccer, realities and diverse content from various parts of Africa," said Yves Bollanga, general manager of the Afrotainment Family of Channels.

    Customers who subscribe to Broadcast Basic service and above can receive the new African iO International package for an additional $6.95 per month. Customers must have a digital cable set-top box. In some areas a CableCARD may also be used. These channels are also available in the Optimum App for the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch in all areas. Noire TV Africa and Afrotainment Plus can also be purchased on an a la carte basis for an additional $4.95 per month. Customers interested in the African Package can call 877-980-7636 to order or visit here:  for additional information.

    Cablevision’s award-winning digital cable service, iO TV, offers customers access to hundreds of channels, including more than 50 premium movie channels, 46 channels of commercial-free digital music, thousands of titles available on demand at all times, an interactive programming guide, more than 120 free high-definition programming services and uniquely valuable and relevant local content through News 12, MSG Varsity and their companion interactive television applications.

    Cablevision Systems Corporation is one of the USA’s leading media and telecommunications companies. Its cable television operations provide a full suite of advanced communications services that include iO TV digital television, Optimum Online high-speed Internet, and Optimum Voice digital voice, all over state-of-the-art cable systems that pass nearly 6 million households and businesses across the New York tri-state area and throughout four Western states.

  • A few months after launching Trace Sports HD, which has just landed on the French SFR IPTV pay platform, French TV firm Trace is launching a new music channel, Trace Africa.

    The new channel, announced in Cannes Mipcom, is in France part of the African Bouquet pay-TV offered by IPTV platforms and Numericable. African distribution is handled by CanalHorizons, a subsidiary of CanalOversas. A US satellite dish platform is due to be announced. “This channel offers the best of African music and target the African diaspora worldwide” commented Olivier Laouchez, CEO of Trace, who also launched music channels Trace Urban and Trace Tropical, now available to 20 million subs.

     

     

    Trace Africa is 90% comprised of music clips and will be delivered to 120,000 households in France and 400,000 in Africa. Launched a few months ago, the Trace Sports HD channel claims for its part 10 million subscribers worldwide and aims to reach 100 million within two years. It is available into 9 and almost 10 languages.

    “We’re becoming one of the largest producer of sport programming with 250 hours produced a year,” Laouchez added. The channel has already invested €6 million into production a year out of a €10 million budget.

  • Africa 7 Television started broadcast after three months of testing. The Senegalese media space which includes public television RTS is enriched with a sixth private channel next to 2STV, TFM, Walf TV, RDV and Canal Info News. Apart from Senegal, Africa 7, launched by the group Citizen Media Group has the ambition to be a pan-African television and even global.

    Citizen Media Group has already launched and successfully produced programmes such as ‘Citizen Match’, ‘Citizen dictée’ and ‘Citizen Tv Jobs’ broadcast on RTS 1.
    The launch of Africa 7 provides further diversity for viewers in Senegal.

    The term "Africa 7" adopted by the promoters of the new TV channel refers to its broad coverage, the five regions of Africa, the African diaspora and the world.

    The channel will be broadcast across the continent via satellite in the next two weeks, but it cannot be watched by viewers in Asia and North America right now unless negotiations end positively.

    Housed in the heart of the Plateau, at No. 21 rue Joseph Gomis X Victor Hugo, Africa 7 occupies a three-story building filled with hundreds of young employees and equipment at the height of his great bet.

    Those responsible for this new television, including the vice president of Citizen Media group, Mamadou Baal, has set the goal to develop its enterprise with and for Africa and Africans. French and English are the languages most spoken in Africa 7 programmes, before enlarging to Portuguese and Arabic.

    The channel, which runs along Africa 7 radio, also host African languages such as Swahili and Peul. In addition, it will be visible on social networks and on the Internet.

    At editorial level we find Selly Yaya Wane as Director of Programmes, Rokhaya Kébé, director of development and Sarah Cissé (former host of morning show ‘Kinkeliba’ on RTS 1) as director of editorial and magazines.

    Nearly forty programs will be proposed by the new channel which has opted for multiculturalism with more than 20 African nationalities represented among the various leaders of the programme schedule.

    Programmes target all audiences, with an emphasis on women's concerns, but also those of children and young people through their activities in modern society.

    The channel started with a dozen programmes and will gradually reach its cruising speed of about forty appointments daily, biweekly and monthly. It will cover all areas including general information, economy, culture, education, food, health, sports, fashion, visual arts, music.

  • Tunisians protested outside Nessma TV station on Oct. 8, 2011 after it screened “Persepolis”, an animated Iranian film which demonstrators deemed as blasphemous.

    The head of a private Tunisian TV channel apologized Tuesday for airing part of a film judged blasphemous by Muslims, after Islamists launched an attack on the network’s offices in protest.

    “I apologize,” Nessma TV president Nebil Karoui said on Monastir radio about Friday’s broadcast of “Persepolis”, a globally-acclaimed film on Iran’s 1979 revolution.

    The offending scene of the animated film concerns an old, bearded image of God, of whom all depictions are forbidden by Islam.“I am sorry for all the people who were disturbed by this sequence, which also shocked me,” said Karoui. “I believe that to have broadcast this sequence was a mistake. We never had the intention of attacking sacred values.”

    Tunisian police Sunday broke up a mob of angry Salafists intent on attacking Nessma offices, raising fears of unrest with historic polls only two weeks away and re-launching the sensitive debate on Tunisia’s Arab-Muslim identity.

    In the latest attack by conservative Muslims against secularism in post-revolution Tunisia, a 200-strong crowd targeted Nessma for airing “Persepolis” but was broken up before they reached the TV building.

    The French-Iranian film is based on Marjane Satrapi’s autobiographical and eponymous graphic novel, describing the last days of the US-backed shah’s regime and the subsequent revolution led by Ayatollah Khomeini.

    Salafists ─ whose Tahrir party has not been legalized ─ are one of the most conservative and radical currents in political Islam. In June, six Salafists were arrested in Tunis after they stormed a cinema and broke its glass doors in a bid to stop the screening of the film “Neither Allah nor Master” on secularism in Tunisia.

    Having apologized, Karoui nevertheless said he “never imagined that this would elicit such an outcry. This film has already been shown in its entirety in several cinemas in Tunisia and never elicited such agitation,” he said.

  • IPTV-news interviewed Eugene Nyagahene, CEO of Tele-10 Group, which has pay-TV operations in a number of countries across eastern Africa.

    Q: What developments have you witnessed in Africa's broadcasting industry in the past 12 months?

    A: We have been involved in analogue transmission since 1993 in Burundi, and since 1997 in Rwanda. We had secured analogue licenses in ten countries across Africa, but investment was stopped due to the digital migration.

    Now with a presence in the East Africa Community (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi), we witnessed more changes during 2010 and 2011 than in the last decade as a whole, mainly concerning regulation, transmission and content.

    Firstly, regulators in the East Africa Community (EAC) changed their texts to adapt them to the ITU recommendations regarding digital migration, and harmonised them. Secondly, new opportunities followed those changes and came along with DTT: signal distributors, content providers, hardware distributors etcetera.

    Thirdly, new players emerged from scratch to compete with satellite operators (DSTV and Canalsat) – Star Times from China, Zuku with fibre in Kenya, pay-TV/free-to-air operators such as Tele10 in Rwanda and Burundi etcetera. There have also been new products such as DStv mobile, in partnership with Safaricom in Kenya.

    Q: What challenges have you encountered as a result of this progress?

    A: The main challenge was to re-apply for a new licence and also make a choice from those new opportunities. In a country like Rwanda, a signal distributor can’t be a content provider.

    The second challenge concerns the business model: traditional pay-TV versus free-to-air channels. Having been a pay-TV broadcaster for more than 17 years, we are still reinventing ourselves to make sure we launch the right product for the market, taking into consideration many challenges such as technology, purchasing power, competition and content.

    Q: What role do you think online video will eventually take within the overall mix of television technologies in Africa?

    A: We believe that VOD is the future for the African TV market, since a lot of news and documentary channels are available for free. But we still need to overcome challenges such as broadband access and payment methods (credit cards are not yet popular in the EAC).

    Q: How do you believe content providers can best tap these new opportunities?

    A: Thematic channels are the next step for Africa. We currently have a lot of general channels, and the audience is demanding particular content such as sports, and mainly football.

    Q: How quickly do you think viewer behaviour will change?

    A: There is a transition period between now and 2015 when all African platforms will be digital. African viewers are busy buying new devices such as set-top boxes and HD TV sets. The viewer is now enjoying new channels in terms of quality and quantity. Before 2015, viewers will demand better content focused on their local area: such as local news, local documentaries and local movies.

    Eugene will be speaking at the AfricaCast event taking place in Cape Town, South Africa on 9th-10th November 2011.

  • MultiChoice Africa and Discovery Networks have announced that TLC, its flagship female brand and ID: Investigation Discovery, the fastest growing cable channel in the US, will launch on DStv in Africa on Friday 14 October 2011 on channels 252 (ID) and 186 (TLC) under the documentary and lifestyle genres.

    The two channels will be available on DStv Premium, DStv Compact and Compact Plus (where available). Collins Khumalo, President of MultiChoice Africa said "This will further strengthen the channel line up with more lifestyle programming on the TLC channel as well as more fact based programming on Discovery ID thus providing DStv subscribers with so much more television viewing choice."

    TLC broadcasts the best in female skewed lifestyle, reality and factual entertainment programmes from around the world; whilst ID: Investigation Discovery (ID for short) offers viewers a line-up of world-class crime-related documentaries.
    The launch of the channels takes Discovery Networks' portfolio on DStv to six channels including Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, Discovery World and Discovery HD Showcase. Both of the new channels will also have commercial airtime added in Q1 2012.

    Phillip Luff, Country Manager, Emerging Business for Discovery Networks CEEMEA, says: "We have had an outstanding relationship with DStv over the last 15 years and are confident that with the addition of TLC and ID, this will go from strength to strength.
    TLC and ID have been hugely successful in markets all over the world and their addition to the DStv bouquets forms part of our continued investment in Africa. We're sure that DStv's subscribers are going to love both channels."

    Discovery ID: Investigation Discovery and Discovery TLC will be available to DStv Premium, DStv Compact and Compact Plus subscribers across the Sub Sahara Africa.

  • The state broadcaster told parliament it plans to have 18 TV channels on air within two years after the launch of digital TV South Africa’s state broadcaster, the SABC, told parliament on 21 September 2011 that it plans to bring 17 TV channels and an “interactive video service” on air after it launches its digital terrestrial television (DTT) offering, SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago recently confirmed.

    The number includes the broadcaster’s three existing channels, SABC 1, 2, and 3. Kganyago explained that the 15 new channels will be phased in over the first two years after the launch of the DTT platform.

    “By providing these television channels, radio stations and interactive services, the SABC will be making full use of the capacity allocated to the SABC in Multiplex 1 under the terms of ICASA’s regulations from February 2010,” Kganyago said.

    The South African Department of Communications (DoC) has set the DTT switch-on date for April 2012, with the aim of switching off analogue TV broadcasts by December 2013.

    The process is referred to as SA’s “digital migration” and will result in frequency spectrum currently used by analogue TV broadcasts to become available for other applications.

    This “digital dividend” spectrum is sought after by mobile network operators who say that it is especially attractive for rural roll-outs and the deployment of new high speed technologies such as Long Term Evolution (LTE).

  • Time Equity Partners has invested €6m in French TV broadcaster Thema.
    Established in 2005, Thema specialises in the development and worldwide distribution of thematic, generalist and ethnic TV channels. The company distributes in excess of 60 TV channels worldwide.

    The Paris-based business generates a €14m turnover and has additional offices in the US, Russia and Singapore. Thema employs 15 people.

    People
    Henri de Bodinat led the deal for TIME Equity Partners. François Thiellet is chief executive of Thema.

    Advisers
    Equity – 8 Advisory, Stéphane Vanbergue (Corporate finance); Arsène Taxand, Frédéric Teper (Tax); Racine, Mélanie Coiraton Mavre (Legal, social due diligence); Jeantet, Frank Martin-Laprade (Legal).

    Key Facts

    Company: Thema
    founded - 2005
    turnover - €14m
    staff - 15
    location - Paris
    sector - Broadcasting & Entertainment
    deal objective - Expansion
    value - €6m

    The digital industry-focused GP, TIME invests from the €100m Time Investors fund, which closed in 2009. It sourced the deal directly, and was attracted by Thema's management team as well as its growth rate so far.

    The fresh equity will allow Thema to develop its thematic content distribution business, create new products targeting ethnic minorities in France, and face the challenges surrounding new digital channels of distribution.

  • South Africa's scrapped the R20m cap on its incentive, which means that the country is much more competitive on bigger budget films ($50-100m). The department of Trade and Industry (dti) of the republic of South Africa issued the following act:

    With effect from 4 October 2011 the Film and Television Incentive cap will no longer apply to the Incentive programme.

    This ruling will apply to South African, Official Co-productions and Foreign productions. The South African government offers a package of incentives to promote its film production industry. The incentives consist of the Foreign Film and Television Production Incentive to attract foreign-based film productions to shoot on location in South Africa and the South African Film and Television Production Incentive, which aims to assist local film producers in the production of local content.

    Programme guidelines’ overview on the Foreign Film and Television Production Incentive:

    1.1    The South African government recognises the potential of the film industry and has prioritised it as one of the sectors under its Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative (ASGI-SA). The growth of the film industry could have a tremendous impact on economic development in terms of employment and exports, while stimulating a host of supplier industries.

    1.2    South Africa has a growing and vibrant film sector, attested in the recent past by productions such as the award-winning Tsotsi and the internationally acclaimed Blood Diamond. Opportunities abound and producers continue to benefit from the cost competitiveness of the country’s beautiful locations.

    1.3    To support the growth of the sector, the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) is offering incentives in order to increase local content generation and improve location competitiveness for foreign film productions. In addition to incentives, the dti is working with other role players on raising the profile of the sector in general and a number of strategic co-production treaties are set to improve distribution locally and internationally.

    Dti extends an invitation to industry players to make use of this facility and to support the South African Government in realising its goals of growth, employment and equity.

    More info on the dti website.

  • The Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) has installed software that will track all songs played by broadcasters as it seeks to boost earnings of top artistes in a process that will hurt the income of upcoming musicians.

    The move to implement the electronic log was reached by MCSK board members last week and will replace the use of manual logs submitted by the broadcasters ending the payment of a flat rate to musicians.

    The move will see musicians paid royalties depending on the amount of air play they have received from the broadcasters, dealing a blow to artistes who are yet to establish themselves in a market where consumers tend to buy songs as mobile phone ringtones.

    "There have been complaints from our members of unfair distribution of the collections and that is why we have invested in the software for accuracy purposes and changed the manner of distributing collections from broadcasters," said Mr Maurice Okoth, the MCSK chief executive.

    "Only a third of our registered members get their music played on broadcasting stations.

    It will be fair to pay these people from the collections although it is going to raise a storm, but that is the way forward."

    MCSK collects royalties on behalf of 5,000 musicians who have been receiving Sh10,000 annually. But under the new regime only about 1,600 artistes will shares in the Sh20 million that the society targets from broadcasters.

    Breach of regulations

    However, top artistes earn an average of Sh100,000 monthly in royalties when other sources of collections such as fees generated from music played in matatus, entertainment spots, saloons, concert promoters, taxis, ring tones and cyber cafés is considered.

    In the year to June 2010, they raised Sh13 million from broadcasting stations, up from Sh5 million in the previous year. The society charges broadcasters Sh216,000 per year on each radio frequency and televisions stations Sh72,000.

    MCSK's total revenue stood at Sh185 million in the year to June 2010, up from Sh118 million a year earlier, while it's running expenses stood at Sh137 million -- a pointer that it paid musicians 25 per cent of its collections or Sh48 million, a figure that has invited the ire of artistes.

    The high operating expenses are in breach of government regulations that allow it to limit operating costs to 30 per cent of the total collected revenue -- a failing that saw the state law office revoke MCSK collection license.

  • IPTTV News interviewed Richard Porter, Controller of English at BBC Global News.

    Q: What developments have you witnessed in Africa's broadcasting industry in the past 12 months?

    A: There have been a number of changes taking place. From a general trend level we continue to see TV closing the gap on radio. In many cities TV attracts a bigger audience than radio and that trend is continuing to spread to smaller cities and even in some cases rural areas. TV tends to be dominant in the evening.

    Mobile phones are increasingly being used to listen to radio and to access internet. In many countries more people are accessing the internet on their phone than they are on a PC. It’s also worth noting that broadband has reached a number of countries in Africa, though the average person has not been able to benefit from this yet (that is to say there is limited streaming of audio and video as most people have slow connections).

    In terms of the industry itself, there’s been more investment in vernacular stations, which are becoming more dominant in their markets. In certain markets, DSTV is getting competition from cheaper satellite and digital operators like Smart TV and Zuku TV and on an international level, there are new players entering the market, like Al Jazeera Swahili, and an increased emphasis on local programming (like Africa Business Report on BBC World News).

    Q: What challenges have you encountered as a result of this progress?

    A: The challenge in Africa is not too different to that in other markets - increased competition leads to increased choice for consumers and this it makes it harder to maintain or grow audiences who want news content when, where, and how they want it. At the BBC we’re responding to this demand by making our content is available on as many platforms in as many formats as possible - TV, radio, online, mobile and tablet.

    Q: How do you believe new technologies can improve viewer engagement?

    A: We know, from a partner point of view, that making programming accessible has become easier thanks to new technology, and things like satellite and mobile phones are changing the way people access information. However, on phones most people are still using WAP and are not streaming content, downloading apps, etcetera.

    Social media sites like Facebook are making big waves in the market and the BBC is extremely active in this space - the BBC World News Facebook page recently passed one million fans and we now have close to one million Twitter followers on @bbcworld - however, it will take a while for iPad apps, Android apps, iPhone apps etcetera to penetrate and until PVRs and other technologies break through.

    What role do you think online video will eventually take within the overall mix of television technologies in Africa?

    There’s a large appetite for online video in the African market, however the cost and speed of downloads and streaming are the main barriers, although there is a lot of sharing of content (via Bluetooth on phones). In the future, Africa should not be that dissimilar to other markets with online video widely used, though more in short form (for example via YouTube) than viewing of whole programmes (for example via Hulu), which will take longer to become commonplace.

    Q: How do you believe content providers can best tap these new opportunities?

    A: Partnerships are key to making sure content is available. Use of social media is also important with Facebook, in particular, playing an important role in the development of markets - as we saw during the Arab Spring.

    Q: How quickly do you think viewer behaviour will change?

    A: Things will change rapidly, as they have in other parts of the world. For instance, look how quickly Twitter, launched only in 2006 and now the second largest social network in the world, has become a core source of news and information with high levels of consumer engagement and interaction. Traditional media organisations see these developments as both an opportunity and a threat – I recognise the risks but I definitely see them as an opportunity for us to reach and engage with new audiences.

    Q: Which markets do you think offer some key insights into the future direction of Africa's broadcast market?

    A: Within Sub-Saharan Africa Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa are amongst the most developed markets and are leading the way in changes to the media. There is an emerging middle class that brands are trying to reach, and lower-cost services (such as Smart TV and Zuku) are tapping into this market and rolling-out their products out to other countries. Smart TV for instance is now available in Ghana, Kenya and Uganda.

    PS: Richard will be speaking at the AfricaCast event taking place in Cape Town, South Africa on 9th-10th November 2011.

  • Naspers is an oddity. Who would have bet that a one-time newspaper company would have become an emerging-market internet giant? After all “Naspers” means “National Press”.

    Naspers is one impressive company. It owns eCommerce and social networking properties all over the world, including China, Brazil, Russia, Africa and eastern Europe. The company has stakes in two of the world’s biggest social networks, the Chinese TenCent and a small, indirect stake in Facebook.

    It’s a successful strategy that has seen Naspers make clever and timely investments in some of the world’s biggest internet properties, but critics say the company — while a strong print and satellite TV operator — is still searching for an organic internet success on a worldwide scale. The organic internet successes are largely limited to its home territory, South Africa — which now appears to be a key focus for the company in internet terms.

    To find out what makes Naspers tick and the ideas behind the strategies — we caught up with the company’s enigmatic leader, Koos Bekker. We chat to Bekker about how Naspers lost US$80-million in China, but then “failed quickly”, continued to invest aggressively and kick on to become an $18-billion emerging market internet superpower. Bekker also elaborates on emerging markets, Chinese and Brazilian internet successes, Naspers’ business philosophies, the future of online advertising and his “fail quickly” philosophy that has held the company in such good stead.

    Memeburn: What emerging market tech businesses have impressed you the most?

    Koos Bekker: I would have to say those of the Chinese, they came from nowhere in the nineties and they are now, after the US, the most vibrant internet market in the world. The big companies like Baidu, Tencent and Alibaba are really doing well. Then another one, which we [Naspers] have a small hand in, is Brazil — in certain fields like eCommerce, the Brazilians have a very lively internet market. You’d think of Brazilians as “beach guys”, but they spend more time on the internet than anyone else. Brazilians are quite social, now why people who drink a lot coffee, have lots of friends and have the beach, spend their time on the internet — I don’t know.

    MB: Naspers has been successful in acquiring a number of internet businesses. What is your philosophy for this success?

    KB: We’ve made more mistakes than anyone else. The benefit of a mistake is that you know what doesn’t work. What we typically try to do is get into something and “fail fast and cheaply”. We have also failed expensively. We created the second biggest ISP in Beijing in 1998 and we lost the battle there. We eventually lost US$80-million and had to fire people and close it down because of mistakes we made. That was an expensive failure. We’ve failed quite a lot but if you’re going to fail, get into the market quickly, fail quickly and learn from it. Since then we have learnt a few lessons.

    MB: Will Naspers ever move to China?

    KB: No. South Africa is a good place to come from, lots of people like us and Cape Town is a good city to live in.

    MB: What other regions is Naspers targeting?

    KB: We’re looking particularly in Latin America, south East Asia and Eastern Europe. I like Latin America, I like it there — nice people, nice food. We’ve looked at Argentina all the way to Mexico.

    MB: Any new companies you are looking at?

    KB: [laughs] none that I should be telling you about yet. But at any given time we look at any number or companies. It’s long process.

    MB: Do you think the web is dead? There is a debate championed by Chris Anderson that the web as we know it will change. What are your thoughts on that?

    KB: Not yet

    MB: Why?

    BK: In time the web will be replaced by something else, but whatever that “something else” is hasn’t started appearing. To conceive a world today where the web doesn’t work is almost impossible. Just think about it, you’re on Facebook, you’re probably also on Twitter and you have your emails. If you were to take those things away, your life would be completely different. The thing that could make you drop those hasn’t been invented yet.

    MB: Do you think we will still be reading print newspapers in years to come?

    KB: I think at some point some of the newspapers will fall away. But there are real benefits to a physical piece of paper. If I want to read the Financial Times and I am in New York, I will order it from the hotel front desk. However, if I can’t get that, their iPad version is very good. Have you seen it?

    MB: Yes

    KB: It’s very good, it has embedded video and I find it very satisfactory. I think what will happen with the FT and perhaps most newspapers is that the physical print edition will get further and further restricted. Initially they won’t give up the big cities like New York; they’ll probably give up Tallahassee and Columbus, Ohio. Restrict print to a few main cities and push out electronically as much as possible and then perhaps in 20 years time they will realise it no longer makes sense to have a print version… maybe, it’s possible.

    The institution of newspapers will continue. We at Naspers will eventually move everything online. We will run the tablet format alongside our print publications. Newspapers look good on tablets unlike on a PC. The newspaper experience on a PC is quite unsatisfactory.

    MB: Websites have ten times the readership of print yet only have a tenth of the advertising revenue. We are ten years on, why do you think this is still the case?

    KB: The best example is the New York Times. I was a student in the US in the 80s (remember the world wide web was only invented in 1995) and we visited the New York Times and back then they had a sort of prototype news service that gave the news online via your telephone line, which was quite good.

    I went back in the 90s and then again a few years ago and the problem they can’t solve is the following: When you read the physical paper you spend about 27 minutes or so on it. You see an ad, you can’t do anything else but page over, you register [that you’ve seen the] the ad, then page over. Now you’re on the web, you spend about two minutes on the New York Times website, the problem is what the Americans call the “ding” — the ding being what comes in on your galaxy or iPad that catches your attention. You start reading an article online and you see an ad, chances are it’s interactive and you click over to the site and the New York Times has lost you.

    Same thing happens when an email comes through and takes you away from what you’re reading. The NYT’s experience is that the reader time is two minutes on electronic products versus the 27 minutes on the physical product. Consequently the advertising income for the physical product is about ten times more than the electronic product. That’s what’s killing online advertising.

    So the NYT says: I have today a bigger audience online but people pay me one tenth of what they used to pay… something has to give. Either become global brand with 10 times the audience… this is the dilemma. The solution now is to encrypt the signal and charge a fee but that causes audience to run away. So far only the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal have such powerful brands that people are willing to pay. I won’t pay for USA Today or the Guardian.

    MB: Do you think advertising online will grow bigger than what it is now?

    KB: Yes, absolutely. It’s growing very quickly. What’s nice about online advertising is the amount of targeting. Consider what Google is doing, Google only takes you to the BMW ad only when you think about cars, because you type in “car” and Google leads you to a site and the ad in conjunction with that. If you’re reading a piece in the NYT about Iran and they show you ad about cars, you won’t care about it. So why people like Google get such good ad revenue is because they serve advertising with relevant content. This is good. People like Yahoo and general portals are still struggling because their content is so general.

    The big debate is Facebook. Facebook’s argues the following: “I know you personally”. If you bought a new Gap top, telling that to your friends is immensely valuable to Gap because they will pay. This is true; Facebook’s limitation is that they know exactly what you are talking about. If you are talking about lipstick problems, they could serve you a lipstick ad and solve that problem but they would seem to have overheard you.

    So all the experiments where they use the information you’re talking about to direct advertising has failed completely on privacy grounds. What Facebook has is your network, they know who your friends are that they can use successfully, they also know what you are talking about but they are not allowed to use it. Google is allowed to use it. The difference here is you enter the topic yourself with Google. If you say “lipstick”, and Google serves you a lipstick ad you don’t object because you asked the question and it served you an ad. But if you talk to your friend about lipstick on Facebook and a lipstick ad appears you will say: “Facebook you’re listening to my conversation, you’re like Rupert Murdoch!” [laughs]

    MB: So the online advertising business model will improve?

    KB: Yes. You read a news site; you got the News24 frontpage for example… if you’re interested in rugby and you go to the rugby story, then News24 serves you an ad pertaining to rugby such as fares to New Zealand or SA rugby shirts. What the shirt seller now sees is a qualified audience, so he will now pay more for that ad, so instead 20 cents per click he’ll pay 50 cents.

    What will happen in the future is that ads will become more intelligent, either to your locality or your search history which will make them more valuable — and this is where they will beat print ads hands down.

    MB: Should media companies own their own tablet devices?

    KB: No. It’s like cellphones, we started MTN in the 90s and we debated quite a lot about what business MTN should be in and initially there was an argument that it should be manufacturing cheap handsets. In the end it is a crushingly competitive field. You’ve seen it with the Hewlett Parkard (HP) exit in the last month. Let someone else produce the hardware and we serve the content on it. Tablets will be getting cheaper in the next 18 months or so… we might see less than R1 000-tablets.

    MB: Why are there so many few internet entrepreneurs in Africa? Where are Africa’s Zuckerbergs and Pages?

    KB: It’s partly two things. One is the schooling system. When people get to university they are not the best in the world. Some universities are okay but they are not the best. Then there is the lack of broadband. Here is a question: Why are the gaming champions in world all from Korea?

    MB: Fast internet?

    KB: Exactly, the kid grows up with fast broadband, somewhere between 10 or 100mbps so he can play these games at home. For that kind of access South Africans have to go to a special internet cafe. So the Bill Gates and the Steve Jobs had access to computers before their fellows. So in SA, because we lag in broadband, the kids get to the scene a little bit too late. You should have in your flat 10mbps so you can be downloading videos and all sorts. So we need to push for faster internet, the government doesn’t need to subsidise. We just need to open the market.

    The rest of Africa is doing better. Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria are rising. People in Nigeria are using their cellphones to connect to the internet, which is pushing connectivity further. Nigerians are such enterprising people and they are a bunch to watch.

    MB: Is it possible to replicate Silicon Valley in Africa?

    KB: That is an excellent issue. I think the concept will disperse. What keeps Hollywood together is an ecosystem of studios and lots. The physical infrastructure is there. The infrastructure of the internet is different. Microsoft sits in Seattle and Google, Yahoo and Facebook sit in San Francisco. Quite a few are in Los Angeles, and New York is starting its own hub, while Groupon is in Chicago. In the US these companies are already dispersed. Then you have the centres like Beijing in China and Petersburg in Russia. Ten years from now you might have Cape Town and Lagos as hubs of innovation where people are doing interesting things because they now have broadband and five young friends can get together in a garage and start a new ecommerce site. I think it will happen in Africa. There isn’t a technical reason like with filmmaking where you need an ecosystem around you. Usually things get clustered with the internet around a university.

  • Former Supersport presenter Imran Garda is now working for Al Jazeera English in Washington, DC. His next major documentary, “Indi’s Silent War”, premiered on Thursday, 20 October 2011, as part of the Al Jazeera Correspondent series, which is being executive produced by fellow South African Jon Blair, an Oscar, Emmy and BAFTA winning filmmaker. In India's Silent War, Imran tells the story of the Naxals, Maoist rebels who are fighting government forces in India for what, they claim, are their tribal lands. Millions have been displaced or had their lives destroyed in one of the world’s largest armed conflicts, which remains largely ignored outside India but is the country’s biggest internal security threat. Watch the promo here: 

    Since joining Al Jazeera English, Imran has been at the presenting desk during key moments in the broadcasted’s history, including the execution of Saddam Hussein, the Israeli airstrikes on Gaza, the universityriots in Beirut and Kosov’s declaration of independence. He also co-hosts The Stream and presented both Focus on Gaza and The Father of The Turks on Al Jazeera English. For more info, visit here:

  • Unlocking the Potential of African TV through Digital Transformation
    AfricaCast - 9-10th November 2011, Cape Town Convention Centre, South Africa

    Do not miss AfricaCast, one of Africa’s largest events attended by Balancing Act’s analysts and where broadcasters will meet telecoms services providers to set up multi-play and multi-screens’ solutions : IPTV, mobile TV, web TV, VoD, digital TV will be among the many opportunities.

    The market for TV services in Africa is developing at a fast pace. In 2010, Sub-Saharan Africa had 34.5 million TV households, forecast to grow to 42.1m by 2015.

    Among them, more than 6 million households (Balancing Act’s estimate) are pay TV subscribers mid-2011. Satellite TV dominates the market, but new technologies (DTT, online and Mobile TV), coupled with imminent switch to all digital, mean that the broadcasting market is due to experience changes and increased competition in the future.

    IPTV is just starting in Africa with about 150 000 subscribers (Balancing Act’s estimate).

    AfricaCast is an event organised jointly by Informa’s Com World Series and IP&TV World Series to address the challenges and opportunities in Africa’s broadcasting market. The two day summit will bring decision makers from the entire value chain, including broadcasters, satellite providers, cable companies, regulators, content providers & producers, and production facilities.

    This year, speakers include: Chris Oberholzer, Strategy and Business Development, Multichoice - Ayite Gaba, Business Development Associate, Youtube/Google - Christian de Faria, Group Chief Commercial Officer, MTN Group - Marc Rennard, EVP Africa, Middle East and Asia, Orange Group - Johan Dennelind, CEO: International, Vodacom Group - Erik Hersman, Technologist and blogger, co-founder of Ushahidi, founder of AfriGadget, founder of the iHub, Nairobi - Gelfand Kausiyo, General Manager: Broadcast Facilities, SABC - Neil Ahlsten, New Business Development , Africa, Google - Oscar Dube, CEO, Southtel, South Africa -George Twumasi, Deputy Chairman and CEO, ABN – The African Broadcast Network - Richard Porter, Controller of English, BBC Global News - Graham Wallington, CEO, WildEarth TV, South Africa - Djibril Wade, Director of Forecasts, Advisor to the CEO, Africable Télévision, Mali - Eugene Nyagahene, CEO, Tele10 Group - Nagi Abboud, CEO, Atlantique Telecom - Bayo Adebiyi, Chief Executive Officer, Proudly Africa Media Nigeria  - Saiful Alam, Chief Commercial Officer, Expresso Telecom Group - Nanda Armoogum, Director of Broadcast Content, Independent Broadcasting Authority in Mauritius - Anahi Ayala Iacucci, Media Innovation Advisor, Africa Region, Internews, - Arnauld Blondet, Director AMEA, Orange Technocentre - Sabine Devinck, Global Information and Communications Technologies, IFC - Jabulani Dhliwayo, Corning - Oscar Dube, CEO, Southtel, South Africa - Gall Le Garrec , Vice President, Sales EMEA, Envivio - Mickael Ghossein, CEO, Orange Telkom Kenya - Michael Gyang, Content Acquisitions and Marketing Director, HOMEBASE TV - Torsten Hoffmann, Managing Partner, Global Media Consult - Nick Jotischky, Principal Analyst, Informa Telecoms & Media - Gelfand Kausiyo , General Manager:Broadcast Facilities, SABC - Henk Kleynhans, Chairperson, WAPA

Issue no 577 21st October 2011

node ref id: 23304

Top story

  • Liquid Telecom has been quietly building out its Southern Africa fibre network that will eventually be 8,500 kms long and cost US$170 million. Its network is now meeting the fibre networks of East Africa and it wants to go into DRC from Zambia. However, the continent’s other carriers’ carriers are not in bullish expansion mode and the example of Kenya’s KDN shows what can go wrong. Russell Southwood spoke to Liquid Telecom’s CEO this week.

    Liquid Telecom has now got a fibre route from Johannesburg up to the Zambian border. Alongside this network it has two metro rings in Zimbabwe and several in Zambia. Its network in Zambia is through a joint venture with Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC) and includes the assets of Realtime Technologies, who used to manage the network on behalf of CEC. The CEC network reaches up to the Zambian border with DRC and there may yet be a cross-border link to Lubumbashi. Rudnick says:”We’re working on an arrangement to extend the network in DRC and will make an announcement shortly.”

    In the not yet completed part of phase two and phase three it will: build out customer access in Zimbabwe; and build links into Botswana (Gaberone and Francistown). It is also connected to Namibia via Neotel. In South Africa, it has its own network north of Johannesburg but uses other people’s network for the onward journey south.

    The customers of the network are the mobile operators and corporate customers operating across Southern Africa:”In terms of corporate customers, we have a significant and growing number of corporates with regional branches, particularly banks.”

    As an existing satellite operator across the continent, Liquid Telecom is in a position to see the difference the new fibre network has made to bandwidth volumes bought. Satellite is now less than 10% of its total capacity: it continues to fall as an overall percentage but grow in bandwidth terms:”Data is 8 times greater than it was 12 months ago when everything was going by satellite.” On its network, prices have come down 50% on satellite and early fibre prices:”Now there is sufficient bandwidth but congestion is still occurring”.

    “Costs will continue to come down but volumes will go up. The wholesale reductions have not yet been passed on to the consumer as operators are still investing in local access networks. But retail prices will come down by more than a third and could even come down more. The networks are still trying to understand consumer behaviour.”

    Its competitors are mainly alternative fibre providers, the state-owned electricity utilities like Powertel:”They used to charge as much as they could now it’s swung the other way and they’ll charge as little as they can to keep the business. They don’t have a commercial model.”

    The continent currently has four carriers’s carriers of any scale that offer services to all operators: Liquid Telecom, KDN, Suburban and Phase3 Telecom. The latter only has a domestic fibre network.

    Of these, KDN provides an interesting case study in what can go wrong. Originally launched by the Sameer Group (which also owned the mobile company Celtel bought and is now Airtel), it was bought into by South African family business Altech. The latter had previously bought into a Uganda ISP and set up another in Rwanda. However, towards the end of the period of its previous CEO Kai Wulff, the timetable for investment seemed to slow down.

    The South African co-owners bought in a new CEO, Rykus Matthyser, who had formerly been with Telkom and latterly Telkom Media (before it became Super5 Media). He has recently left the company.

    As Jane Austen might have said if she was in the telecoms business, it is truth widely acknowledged that South Africans and Kenyans do not always get along. On occasions, South Africans can exhibit the tendency to give the impression that they know it all. At KDN key staff left, feeling that they had been treated as if they didn’t know the business and the local market. All of which might have become bar-room gossip if success had followed.

    But as one insider told us:”They thought they could hold the East African market hostage.” According to several sources they put up the prices they were charging the dominant player Safaricom (by some accounts by as much as 10 times) and lost this account which represented 30% of the company’s turnover. Worse still, by seeking to put up prices charged in a highly competitive market where rates were falling, they encouraged operators and other companies to build their own networks and now there is something of a capacity glut in Kenya.

    To add to its troubles, the company has been squeezed from two sides in cash flow terms. Contractor Soliton Telemec went to Court in July 2011 with a winding up petition over payment for the redundant Wajir-Mombasa link it built. KDN claims they have been over-paid. On the other side of the balance sheet, Essar (owners of Yu) agreed in September 2011 to make monthly payments on their debt that settled an outstanding dispute.

    The business case for pan-continental carriers’ carriers is simple and remains valid. For the operator, it means that the investment they might make in terrestrial fibre can be put into other parts of the network and new customer services. This leaves the risk with the carriers’ carriers who have to ride the down cycle of prices and still make money.

    The biggest customers for carriers’ carriers are the mobile operators and as with their attitude to content, they are conflicted about where to place themselves strategically: in or out? It’s very much case of the two conflicting Ts: trust and testosterone.

    Local opco managers will argue to themselves and their investment committees that on certain routes they need to build their own fibre but the approach appears piecemeal. In the main, opco managers are engineers by background and like to control their own networks. On the other side, the carriers’ carriers have to build trust both in how they deliver their service and the way they behave.

    With Liquid Telecom’s  fibre network now joining parts of the east African fibre networks, this is a business case that it is in everyone’s interest to get right.


    This week on Balancing Act’s You Tube Channel

    Nic Rudnick, CEO, Liquid Telecom on its Southern African Fibre Network

    Future mobile content?
    Lippe Oosterhof, CEO, Livestation on live streaming for African news broadcasters and its mobile platform

    Henk Kleynhans, Chair of WAPA
    on TV White Spaces proposals in South Africa

    Steve Song, CEO, Village Telco
    on the TV White Spaces Workshop

    Richard Bell, CEO, Wananchi Group in Kenya on international fibre connectivity, local TV content for its Zuku bouquet and financing its vision:

    Riyaz Bachani, CTO, Wananchi on its Wazi hot-spots partnership with Google

    Want up-to-the-minute breaking news? Balancing Act's Twitter feed provides a combination of breaking news for telecoms, Internet and broadcast in Africa, direct tweets from countries visited and access to the occasional rumours circulating. You can follow us on:
    @BalancingActAfr

More

  • CDN World Summit 2011
    26 - 28 October 2011, Hilton Hotel Paddington, London.

    The 3rd annual CDN World Summit promises to be the largest and most
    comprehensive CDN event ever.The full value chain is represented including content providers,broadcast operators, traditional and telco CDNs, represented by industry leaders such as; FilmFlex Movies, BT Wholesale and AT&T.
    For more information visit here:

    Digital Migration and Spectrum Policy Summit
    29 October to 01 November 2011, Nairobi, Kenya.

    For more informtion visit here:

    Africa Com
    9 - 10 November, 2011, Cape Town, SA

    Join 5,000 of Africa's leading telcos in Cape Town this November for what is set to be the biggest and best AfricaCom yet.  The conference agenda has doubled to incorporate a record 150+ speakers presenting across 4 strategic keynotes, 11 in-depth focus sessions and 2 co-located events - AfricaCast and Enterprise ICT Africa.  What's more 250+ international solutions providers will be showcasing their latest products in the networking exhibition. For more information visit here:

    World Telecom Summit 2011
    9-11 November, 2011, Singapore Marriott Hotel

    World Telecom Summit 2011 is the must-attend event of the year. Bringing together top level executives and key decision makers of preeminent telecommunications companies from around the world, this is the perfect opportunity to meet the who's who of the telecommunications and mobile industry.  It is the summit that addresses the evolving needs of telecommunications and mobile community. Get up to date with the latest innovations and technological advancements in the industry and gain access to the minds of the movers and shakers of the industry.
    Take advantage of the Limited Early Bird Rates for Operator Pass!
    For more information please visit here:  or contact Vivian at vivian.ho@olygen.com

    AITEC East Africa East Africa Summit
    2-3 November, Kenyatta International Conference Centre, Nairobi

    East Africa has become one of the fastest growing ICT investment markets and the region's ICT Summit it designed as the region's forum to bring together users and vendors of ICT technology in a stimulating educational and business networking environment. The 2011 Summit programme will focus on the following themes:
    ¥    Data Security
    ¥    Mobile Apps
    ¥    Cloud Computing
    For the conference programme, log on to the organiser's website here: To book exhibition space, email info@aitecafrica.com

    Mobile Web in Africa 2011
    22 - 25 November, 2011, Johannesburg, South Africa

    Harnessing the potential of the internet and applications on mobile devices. Back for a third year, Mobile Web in Africa is South Africa’s premier mobile conference.  Following on from unrivalled, sell-out successes in 2009 and 2010, no other event on the South African calendar compares in terms of topic, speaking faculty, agenda, interaction and business opportunities.
    Write to info@allamber.co.uk to find out about the fantastic discount
    available to Balancing Act readers.
    Confirmed Speakers:
    •    Tomi T Ahonen, Bestselling Author & Consultant
    •    Dr Marc Smith, Chief Social Scientist, Connected Action Consulting Group
    •    Toby Shapshak, Editor, Stuff Magazine
    •    Adam Holtrop, Creative Director, Vidamo
    •    Salim Amin, Chairman, Camerapix, The Mohamed Amin Foundation & A24Media
    •    Alistair Fairweather, Digital Platforms Manager, The Mail & Guardian Online
    •    David Erasmus, Founder, Cubate
    •    Isis Nyong’o, Managing Director - Africa, InMobi
    •    Ronald Bach, Mobile Product Manager, News24
    •    Mark Kaigwa, Partner, Affrinovator
    •    Jean-Patrick Ehouman, Founder, AllDenY
    •    Musa Kalenga, Managing Director, IHOP World
    •    Nevo Hadas, New Media Consultant
    •    Russell Southwood, Editor, Balancing Act
    •    Johan Nel, CEO & Founder, Umuntu Media
    •    Leslie Tita, Co-Founder, Pulse
    •    Justin Spratt, CEO, Quirk
    For further information please visit here:

    G | Angola!
    8 - 9 November, 2011
    Hotel Victoria Garden, Luanda, Angola

    G of Angola | Angola. We will demonstrate how the
    tools for Web and mobile phone from Google is driving the development
    technological and business here in Africa and around the world.
    For further information and to register to attend this free event please visit here:

    ICT Infrastructure Summit: Banking Solutions in Growth Economies
    29-30 November, 2011,
    Kingsway Hall, Great Queen Street, London WC2

    Though technology innovation for banks in growth economies is ripe for growth, development is being stalled by some major infrastructural barriers including poor connectivity, a lack of political support, incorrect regulation and a lack of capital. The ICT Innovation for Banks in Growth Economies conference will arm you with the tools to upgrade your telecommunication infrastructure and scale up your branchless banking operations in order to reach millions of unbanked households. For further information please click here:

    AfriHealth
    30 November - 1 December 2011, Kenyatta International Conference Centre, Nairobi

    The leading continental forum on e-health, m-health, health management systems and capacity development. AfriHealth 2011 will focus on current research, development and implementation of ICT technology and resources in the African Healthcare arena. A key objective of the conference, now in its fourth year, will be to share knowledge and experience from practical mobilization of ICT-based healthcare systems and projects, to showcase best practice through practical case studies and highlight potential for scaling up success stories at national and regional levels. For the conference programme log on to the organiser's website here: To book exhibition space, email info@aitecafrica.com

    AITEC Banking & Mobile Money COMESA
    7-8 March 2012, Kenyatta International Conference Centre, Nairobi

    Now in its sixth year, this has become the leading educational, networking and marketing event for Eastern and Southern Africa's financial services sector. In addition to the conference's established intensive education programme covering core banking, mobile money and microfinance topics (over 100 speakers in 2011). For the conference programme log on to the organiser's website here: To book exhibition space, email info@aitecafrica.com

    New Media Gathering Africa!
    7 - 8 March, 2012, Lagos Nigeria

    Leading media content and communication company Red Media Group (RMG) and
    frontline ICT consulting firm, Paradigm Initiative Nigeria (PIN) have
    announced the first edition of the annual New Media Gathering Africa. The
    event will be held in Lagos  and will present to
    corporate, governments, change organisations and small businesses
    practical, outcome-oriented tools to enhance capacity and enrich bottom
    line. Information about registration for the conference will be unveiled on the website www.newmediagathering.com on January 1, 2012. For immediate
    enquiries and sponsorship consideration, please contact the Conference
    Lead on info@newmediagathering.com.

    InsureAFRICA
    7-8 March 2012, Kenyatta International Conference Centre, Nairobi

    Insurers seeking effective performance in service delivery, cost reduction and profit levels need to embrace technology, viewing it not as a support function but as a key enabler of competitive advantage at all levels of operation. InsureAFRICA is the first specialised conference for the African insurance and pensions industry to evaluate the systems and innovative channels needed to compete and thrive in a rapidly expanding industry. With the theme "Effective management strategies and systems for a new era of expansion and inclusion", the conference will be the continent's first forum to gather knowledge and experience for a rapidly growing industry. For the Call for Papers, log on to the organiser's website here: To book exhibition space, email info@aitecafrica.com

    Mobile VAS Africa 2012
    14 - 15 May 2012, Johannesburg, South Africa

    Mobile VAS Africa 2012 will bring together industry experts and representatives from leading financial institutions, mobile operators and solutions providers to provide a strategic insight into mobile VAS while exploring collaborative business models, innovative applications, technologies and straegies. For more information visit here:

    Roaming & Interconnect
    16 - 17 May 2012, Johannesburg, South Africa

    RIC Africa 2012 will uncover new strategies to boost roaming traffic and retain existing roamers. During the conference we will look at the innovative roaming solutions and pricing, supplementing roaming with alternative revenue streams, the latest EU regulations and their impact on operations in Africa, as well as the importance of hubbing and convergence.  For more information please visit here:

    AITEC Banking & Mobile Money West Africa
    6 June 2012, Accra International Conference Centre

    Now in its fifth year, the conference will cover a wide range of strategic and technology topics to empower West Africa's banking, microfinance and insurance professionals with the knowledge they need to lead their organisation effectively through the turbulent market and regulatory conditions they face. For the conference programme log on to the organiser's website here: To book exhibition space, email info@aitecafrica.com

  • - Telkom’s group executive for communications and brand, Brenda Kali, has resigned. She had been with the group for the past three years.

    -  MTN Group has announced the appointment of new CEOs for its Zambian and Cameroonian operations. Abdul Ismail will take over as new MTN Zambia CEO and Karl Toriola will become CEO of MTN Cameroon on November 1 2011.

  • Opening for Site Acquisition(Only from Zimbabwe)

    Posted date: Fri, 21st Oct

    Location: Zimbabwe

    Currently we have opening for Site Acquisition .Client needs someone from Zimbabwe

    It is a 3-6 months extendable contract position.

    It’s a site acquisition requirement, we will need a local if possible, someone with fibre experience and right of way would be preferable.

    If you are interested then please send me your updated resume at here: richa.gupta@netc-intl.com mentioning the position for which you are applying or In case you are currently occupied with some contracts or projects please pass on this information to your friends or colleagues who might be available and interested for this position.

    Thanks & Regards

    Richa Gupta

    Tel: - +91 9760022914

    Email: - richa.gupta@netc-intl.com

    Skype Id:- richa.gupta97

telecoms

  • MTN Group, Africa’s largest mobile-phone company, is seeking to buy Vodafone Group Plc (VOD)’s wireless venture in the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to a Bloomberg report

    MTN is part of a bidding process for Vodacom Congo SPRL, the company 51 percent owned by Vodacom Group Ltd. (VOD), which in turn is controlled by Vodafone, the Bloomberg sources said, declining to be identified because the matter is confidential. Johannesburg- based MTN made a presentation to Vodacom last week, one of the sources said.

    Vodacom has been in a dispute with the venture’s local partner Congolese Wireless Network SPRL over funding and operational structure since at least early 2010, following a $484 million capital injection into the business by Vodacom. Vodacom may sell its stake to end the dispute, Chief Executive Officer Pieter Uys said on May. 16. Vodacom Congo had 4.2 million subscribers at the end of March.

    Vodacom, also based in Johannesburg, is busy with a process being run by London’s NM Rothschild & Sons Ltd. to “explore options” for its Congo unit, spokesman Richard Boorman said in an e-mailed response to questions today. MTN “continues to search for value-enhancing opportunities everywhere,” spokesman Rich Mkhondo said in a text message.

    “Vodacom is apparently convinced it must get out of the DRC, therefore the only thing that would need to be sorted out is the price,” Gilmour said by telephone.

  • According to Business Daily Africa, the Kenyan government is set to unveil a new set of shareholder rules that will ensure international firms are allowed to bid for a share of its planned ‘open access’ Long Term Evolution (LTE) network, overruling strong opposition from local operators. Last month, a total of 17 telecoms firms registered their interest in the open access 4G initiative.

    Of the companies involved, eight were known to be international equipment vendors, although are all were believed to have partnered with as-yet unnamed local companies in order to secure their participation in the project. Global vendors included: Alcatel-Lucent (France), Huawei and ZTE (both China), Lollakfi (UK), Ericsson (Sweden), and three US firms – IBM, Epesi Technologies and Cisco Networks.

    Under revised shareholding rules, international firms will now be able to participate without the involvement of a local partner, as long as they register local affiliates in Kenya before 1 February 2012. However, Business Daily Africa reports that all international firms must cede a 20% stake to Kenyan shareholders after a three-year period.

  • Following reports of alleged service providers tapping on consumers' wires to monitor their conversations, the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA) has denied such claims which appeared in a local daily, linking the Lone Star Communication Corporation.

    In a statement issued Thursday, the LTA noted that it was not aware of any such act, adding that any service providers caught tapping on private communication lines will be dealt with under the laws of Liberia.

    The LTA said a communications company could only be authorized by a court of law to monitor the conversation of individuals in connection with high profile state offenses, among others. But recent reports have alleged that journalists and others' communication lines have been tapped by the Lone Star Cell Communication which has since been denied.

    LTA at the same time has warned against any such practice, as it is against the Liberian Communication Act of 2007. However, the LTA did not include whether it has launched a prior investigation into the allegation and what were the findings.

  • Airtel Nigeria announced today that it will offer its BlackBerry customers a service waiver following last week’s global outage attributed to the service provider, Research in Motion (RIM).

    Research in Motion has now fully restored data services to its BlackBerry devices. The BlackBerry outage was caused by a hardware error which halted messaging and Web browsing across many parts of the world, disrupting services for 3 days. The disruptions began in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and India early in the week and later spread to North America.

    Rajan Swaroop, the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Airtel Nigeria stated: “We remain concerned about the inconvenience this has caused to all our BlackBerry users earlier this week and we would like to compensate both our pre paid and post paid customers for the inconvenience as best we can.

    “For our pre paid customers, we will extend the subscription of the services for the month of October by three days. We are communicating this to the affected customers through sms,”said Swaroop.

    “For our Post Paid customers, who are customers paying their bills at the end of every month, we will waive three days off the BlackBerry monthly rental for the month of October. The three day waiver will be reflected in the monthly bill sent to all our post paid BlackBerry users for the month of October,” added Swaroop.

    Airtel clarified that although the root cause emanated from the global provider of the services, the telco service provider was willing to offer the extension as a token compensation for its customers.

  • Postel Housing Co-operative Society has joined a court case involving the sale of 79 acres of prime land to an investor by Telkom Kenya for Sh1.5 billion. The society is claiming legal ownership of the property in Karen, Nairobi.

    It has been enjoined in the court dispute as an interested party saying it purchased 60 acres from the defunct Kenya Posts and Telecommunications Corporation (KP&TC) in 1993 for Sh21 million and entered into an agreement with an agent, Exclusive Estate Ltd, to build 514 houses.

    The latest twist comes in the wake of a dispute between Telkom and Aftraco Limited after the latter moved to court over alleged breach of an agreement involving the sale of the property.

  • South Africa’s telecoms infrastructure is slowly turning hosted or cloud-based PBXs (private branch interchange) into a viable option for small to medium sized companies. That’s according to Ryan Miles, Itec Chief Operating Officer (COO).

    Miles says that the absence of affordable uncapped or high-cap ADSL services for smaller businesses and bottlenecks in the country’s telecom infrastructure have held back the adoption of cloud-based PBXs up until now.

    However, with bandwidth prices falling at a rapid rate and the prospect of local loop unbundling and faster yet cheaper mobile broadband on the horizon, cloud-based PBXs will become attractive for smaller businesses over the next two to three years, says Miles.

    “Telkom’s control over the last kilometre is one final major obstacle to cloud-based PBX solutions,” he adds. “Once that starts to fall away, the cloud model for PBXs becomes more attractive since companies will be able to source their line, PBX and data services from a single supplier and will probably no longer need to pay for the rental of an analogue voice line.”

    In the longer term, hosted or cloud-based PBX solutions will offer a range of benefits to smaller businesses that will prove hard to ignore, says Miles. The first of these is that they no longer need to rent dedicated PBX hardware since the intelligence of the PBX will run on a service provider’s infrastructure.

    This removes a significant capital expense from their businesses, since they’ll simply need to buy IP phones or computer headsets to connect their staff to telephony services, Miles says. The benefits will multiply for companies that have branches around the country.

    Another benefit lies in the rich functionality SMEs can access through hosted PBX services. They may be able to enjoy all the features of an enterprise-class PBX without needing to invest in an expensive piece of equipment. Functionality such as caller ID, voicemail, find-me and call routing is all affordable on a cloud service.

    In addition, the service provider will take responsibility for upgrading and maintaining the system, says Miles. That frees SMEs of the headaches of installing software, firmware and security updates to the system or needing to upgrade hardware when the number of users grows.

    Cloud services are also inherently scalable, says Miles, allowing for new users to be added with minimal inconvenience. They can also be accessed from anywhere, meaning that users can access the same switchboard services wherever they are in the world.

    However, Miles still advocates caution for SMEs that want to migrate towards cloud-based services. They should ensure that their Internet connections are stable enough and offer enough bandwidth to cater both for their data needs and the voice needs of all their users. They should also ensure that call quality will be acceptable for their requirements.

    “Voice telephony is one of those business services that an SME simply cannot afford to do without, which means that they need to plan carefully and stress test any new system they put in place,” says Miles.

    “They must also do the maths to ensure that a cloud-based PBX will in fact be cheaper than their old systems once telephone line and bandwidth costs are taken into account,”concludes Miles.

  • A pilot project to use mobile phones to enable health professionals to collect data, have it analyzed and give feedback is to be launched next week at a projected cost of around 370,000 dollars.

    The project spearheaded by Technology for Change International, a non-governmental organization, aims to use 1,000 mobile handsets distributed to health professionals in four regions -Amhara, Tigray, Oromia and Southern - to collect data on pregnant women.

    The data will be collected and sent to a central server, whose algorithm will analyze and send an alert to the data collector regarding any complications, according to Naoll Addisu, executive director of the organization.

internet

  • Internet search giant Google has launched its classified ads service, Google Trader, in Kenya, the Forbes Magazine reports October 17, 2011. Kenya becomes the third African country to have the service after Ghana and Uganda.

    Google Trader is a free classifieds service that lets internet users trade products and services and search for jobs, real estate listings or just about anything else.

    As Google enters into the classifieds business in Kenya, it has to compete with the country’s largest classified service, Dealfish Kenya, owned by MIH Internet, a South African Internet services firm which in turn is owned by Naspers, Africa’s largest media company.

    Dealfish also allows Kenyan web users to search for jobs, and buy goods and services. Google Trader will be available on mobile phones, hand-held devices and personal computers, the magazine said.

  • Middle East mobile telecommunications operators, Alcatel-Lucent and Etisalat, have today signed an agreement to jointly develop a sustainable means to deliver mobile broadband to customers using a lightRadio cube.

    The agreement was signed by Nasser bin Obood, Acting CEO Etisalat and Nicolas Bouverot, Alcatel-Lucent Vice President for Middle East.

    Through its collaboration around lightRadio, Etisalat will help define the commercial introduction of this new product family in the Middle East and in other markets, meeting its own subscribers’ demands for innovative new mobile services while providing operators with a flexible path for business growth into the next decade.

    Nasser bin Obood, Acting CEO- Etisalat said “Etisalat is a pioneer in delivering innovative services and applications to our customers to meet their needs in both their social and work lives.  This agreement will allow us to shape the future of mobile networks and define how lightRadio can be best implemented to satisfy our customers growing demands. Etisalat is proud to be the only operator in the Middle East and Africa to join this pioneering program.”

    As global demand for Internet on-the-move services grows dramatically, together with the adoption of the latest smartphones and tablet devices, the need for operators to extend their wireless network coverage and capacity is also growing exponentially to cope with this demand.

    The lightRadio product family addresses both of these needs, enabling superfast speeds and high-quality delivery of applications to a variety of mobile devices, while reducing the size, complexity, cost and power consumption of mobile networks, making it a greener and more cost-effective solution for operators.

  • High Court president, Johnstone Busingye, trains lawyers in using EFS
    Members of the Kigali Bar Association (KBA) were, last week, trained in filing cases online using Electronic Filing System (EFS).

    KBA is a legal fraternity of lawyers and judges dedicated to improving the administration of justice. The president of the High Court, Johnstone Busingye, who trained the lawyers, said that EFS responds to the needs of the legal community as well as the general public.

    "The implementation of the newly introduced system is an effective case flow management method designed to ensure the function of the court is accomplished and enhance service delivery," he said.

    Busingye urged the lawyers to embrace the new system as it provides fair treatment of all litigants by the court, ensures that the time established for disposition is consistent with the nature of the case as well as enhancing the quality of the litigation process. "It instils public confidence in the court," he added.

    The High Court president pointed out that the EFS will be at the heart of all judicial systems and would manage a case from initial filing to final disposition. The EFS enables litigants to file cases online, as well as follow up their cases as they are allocated hearing dates and times and lined up on the court calendar.

    Speaking to The Sunday Times after sensitising the lawyers, Busingye said that filing cases online started last month in the Supreme Court, High courts, Commercial courts and the intermediate courts.

    "We are moving on smoothly to ensure that all 22 courts are covered and the initial phase will digitize files from 2004," he said.

    Busingye observed that, with the new system it's no longer necessary for litigants to come to the Supreme Court, and other courts using the system to file cases, they are now able to file their cases from anywhere as long as there is internet connection and this saves their time and transport.

    "The only reason we think the litigants should come to courts is to hear their cases and perhaps other matters which cannot be delivered electronically, if there are any," the High Court president emphasised.

    According to Athanase Rutabingwa, president of the Bar Association, the new system will streamline the judicial processes of work.

    "This is a very important initiative that optimises processes to reduce associated time and costs and I call upon my colleagues to implement it as we professionalise our work," he noted.

  • It may have taken seven years and numerous legal challenges, but the Competition Commission’s case against Telkom finally made it to the Competition Tribunal on Monday.

    SA’s fixed-line operator stands accused of abusing its dominance by charging excessive prices; refusing access to an essential facility; and engaging in price discrimination thereby making its downstream rivals less competitive in the telecommunications market.

    This alleged behaviour dates back to before 2002, when the initial complaint was lodged, but the commission’s case has since been subject to numerous legal challenges that delayed the case.

    Telkom has denied these allegations and is seeking to defend itself in the tribunal hearing.

    If Telkom is found guilty in the hearing, it could face a penalty of as much as 10% of its 2003 turnover, which could be as much as R3,5bn.

    The complaint was lodged with the commission by 21 entities, which included the SA Vans (value-added network services) Association, the Internet Service Providers’ Association and 19 other value added network service providers.

    By February 2004, the commission had completed its investigation and referred its case against Telkom to the tribunal.

    However, Telkom decided to challenge the commission’s jurisdiction in the supreme court of appeal, a legal move that resulted in a five-year delay to the tribunal hearing, but ultimately was lost by Telkom.

    Some subsequent legal challenges, based on the commission’s decisions to amends its papers, have since been resolved and the case has finally reached the tribunal.

    The commission’s case was laid out on the opening day of the hearing by Adv Martin Brassey, while Telkom’s case was laid out by Adv Willem van der Linde.

    The first witness was Mike Brierley, the former CEO of MTN Network Solutions and now a telecoms consultant.

    The Mail & Guardian understands that Brierley’s testimony will be key to the commission’s case but his testimony on Monday was heavily focused on telecoms technology and the definitions of the various links that create a network.

    Telkom spokesperson Pynee Chetty, when asked for comment on the tribunal hearing said: “We don’t litigate in the media, we won’t comment before the hearing.”

    The hearing has been set down to be heard between 17 October and 28 October and will then resume between the 1 and 9 December. 

computing

  • The centre will provide an academic and research programme based on the Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) curriculum which is expected to start early next year. Carnegie Mellon University is a leading ICT university based in the United States.

    Speaking during a ceremony to mark the tripartite partnership between the Bank, the Government and CMU, Dr. Agnes Soucat, AfDB's Director of Human Development said that the bank is proud to be part of the project.

    "The Bank will continue to partner with the country in ensuring that the Centre is a success. The academic and research opportunities to be offered will be linked to lower levels of the education and training systems, and will provide high quality skills," she said

    Early this year, AfDB signed a $13 million loan agreement with the government for the construction and equipping of the Centre of Excellence.

    Dr Soucat said that the establishment of the centre is in line with the bank's human development priorities which is part of its Medium Term Strategy for 2008-2012, and its higher education, science and technology strategy.

    "We hope that this unique tripartite partnership will inspire others in Africa and become an example for the continent. The Bank is ready to play a catalytic role in the development of science and technology in Rwanda," she said.

    During the event, Bruce Krogh, Director of CMU in Rwanda, presented an overview of the project and highlighted its areas of focus.

    Dr. Mathias Harebamungu, minister of State-in-Charge of Primary and Secondary Education said that the Centre is expected to alleviate the need for students from the region to study abroad in pursuit of high quality graduate ICT education.

    "Students at the CMU Rwanda campus will benefit from the opportunity to obtain a globally competitive, research-based graduate education in Africa," he noted.

  • Microsoft East and Southern Africa has unveiled an online learning platform, a fully cloud-based learning experience to assist students acquire technologies that would enhance their employability.

    Dubbed Microsoft Virtual Academy the platform leverages on Microsoft Cloud Technologies. Speaking during a press conference to announce the 2011’s Microsoft Open Door activities, Dele Akinsade, Developer Platform Evangelist, Microsoft West East and Central Africa said the company has stepped up its partnership with local universities to empower the students with the best technology tools to enhance their learning experience.

    “We are striving to develop a culture conducive to innovation. As we recognize that the potential to innovate must be nurtured early-on, Microsoft will continue to provide appropriate and superior learning tools to encourage innovation,” said Akinsade.

    Open Door is a major technology event where Microsoft showcases its latest generation of technologies to Kenyan professionals and enthusiasts.

    Targeting the student community as well as IT professionals, the Microsoft Virtual Academy is geared towards encouraging and promoting local innovation and improving employability.

    Students have access to a variety of free online training content and are able to learn at their own pace, enabling them to build the necessary Information Technology skills critical to most careers.

    The Microsoft Virtual Academy complements the recently launched Microsoft Student Partner (MSP) programme, an educational and promotional program for undergraduate and postgraduate students majoring in technology related disciplines such as computer science, computer information systems, and information technology.

    Vincent Mugambi, Developer platform manager Microsoft East and Southern Africa said the MSP program aims to enhance students' employability and increase students' awareness of Microsoft technologies.

    “Student Partners are offered training especially in product-specific skills not typically taught in academia,” said Mugambi.

    Following completion of the program, Student Partners are expected to share their knowledge among the academic community through arranging courses, giving presentations and initiating projects.

    The tenure for the Microsoft Student Program is one academic year and can be renewed on acceptable performance.

    “It is a thrilling experience to study Microsoft technologies and advance my career,” said George Mbuthia, a student at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology. “By earning points for downloading and studying materials and passing the self-assessment tests the program also keeps me motivated and encouraged, as I can constantly see my progress.”

    Microsoft has already identified 15 student partners in Kenya drawing membership from Strathmore University, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agricultural Technology-JKUAT, Methodist University, University of Nairobi and Kabarak University.

  • MTN Business announced the launch of Desktop as a Service (DaaS) this week.
    According to Gartner’s latest research, worldwide hosted virtual desktop market will increase through 2013, reaching 49 million units.

    “Through this offering, MTN Business is addressing the biggest concerns that businesses have today, that of safe, cost effective ICT solutions.

    MTN DaaS offers customers a complete service that not only makes commercial sense, as it requires little reconfiguration, should there be changes to the organisation in the desktop environment, but delivers full security and limited IT maintenance – as the solution is hosted in the cloud,” says Justin Colyn, MTN Business GM for Fixed Mobile Convergence.

    According to a study undertaken by Gartner, on average, companies spend up to $7,000 per PC per year on operating costs, where 77% of this is on service and support alone.

    “These figures strongly suggest that traditional desktop PCs are an expensive capital outlay for a business, even if they are a necessary one. Furthermore, what elevates concerns for organisations is not merely the rising cost, but the heightened security risks that this digital environment brings with it, as often critical company information is lost when a computer crashes or is misplaced or stolen – and we know that managing the complexity of this information can be very overwhelming to companies,” says Colyn.

    “Through using MTN DaaS these costs and concerns can be significantly reduced. In fact, through our own research, we have discovered that MTN DaaS can assist businesses in saving between R60 000 – R70 000 per employee over a three year period. What’s more, MTN DaaS can also assist a business in promoting a greener framework, as currently each PC user consumes between 360 to 500 watts per hour. By implementing MTN DaaS into a business model, this can be condensed down to 4 to 12 watts of power per user/hour – a massive power saving.”

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

  • Dimension Data’s Internet Solutions (IS) subsidiary has increased its shareholding in its Kenyan unit from 51% to 80%, as part of a long-term strategy to increase its presence across East Africa. IS initially acquired a 51% stake in Kenyan service provider iConnect in 2005, which was duly rebranded IS Kenya following the transaction.

    The latest deal gives IS the option to acquire the remaining 20% of the company that it does not already own at an unspecified point in the future. Incoming managing director Loren Bosch commented: ‘East Africa is experiencing a boom, with [the] telecommunications sector playing a vital role in fuelling rapid growth across multiple vertical markets.

     This is largely due to the increased international bandwidth capacity supplied via the numerous undersea cable systems’. IS Kenya also serves parts of Tanzania and Uganda, and Bosch said that the ISP plans to expand its scope to cover Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan in the ‘near future’.

  • Safaricom is mulling acquiring a majority stake in another local IT service firm Seven Seas Technologies (SST) as it races to reduce its reliance on the voice market that is faced with increased competition and shrinking margins.

    The mobile telephony firm is to sign two-year partnership deal with the firm on Tuesday where both firms will contribute Sh1.5 billion in the joint venture and Safaricom has been given option of buying a controlling stake in SST at the end of 2013.

    The two firms had agreed to a buyout plan that was scuttled by the board of the mobile telephony firm which raised concerns over the viability of the business, paving way for the two-year partnership.

    “We have been tasked to demonstrate that’ there is a market for managed services in the next 24 months,” said Silvia Mulinge, Safaricom’s general manager enterprise business.

    “The board felt that we should take a moderate approach and that’s why we are entering into a partnership before we can pursue an acquisition of a majority stake in the firm,” she said.

    The SST has been in operations since 1999 and is a lead player on software developments, network integration, data security and storage as well as cloud computing—the delivery of technology services and software through the Internet to avoid buying hardware or infrastructure.

    Under the two-year partnership, Safaricom will provide its infrastructure (fibre optic network and wireless Internet connection), cash and widen customer base to SST, which will provide its expertise and talent on IT services.

    The companies said they will share revenue in a ratio that they did not divulge citing a non-disclosure agreement.

  • It has a licence to operate, what is it doing with it? First National Bank says it will not be using its ECNS (Electronic Communications Network Service) licence to become the country’s next cellphone operator, but rather to increase value added services for its clients.

    The licence is a fundamental requirement for companies wanting to become cellphone network operators. The bank acknowledges that it has the capability to venture into this market, but says it will use the licence to provide financial services on smartphones. It is currently offering products, such as FNB Banking, Quicksell and Connect Apps.

    The apps allow clients to purchase prepaid airtime, apply for products and services or search for properties.

    App users can now purchase prepaid airtime for – FNB Connect; Vodacom; MTN; Cell C; 8ta; and Virgin Mobile. The bank has also catered for data users by providing the purchase of SMS bundles, ADSL bundles and prepaid 3G.

    Initially the app enabled clients to make free calls to other registered app users and to FNB Contact centres. It also allows app users to make calls to other mobile operators for 79c per minute, and offers cheaper roaming costs – potentially posing a threat to other operators.

    In a written statement from the bank, head of products and markets at FNB Connect, Farren Roper says it is important to offer such products as its customers expect it.

    “But more than that, our prepaid solution offer all the benefits of traditional prepaid and also have some added advantages. For example, when calling from the app, not only can you control your spend, but you can make the cheapest mobile calls in South Africa from 79c. You can also make international calls to the top 20 destinations including the US, UK, Australia, Zimbabwe and the like at only 25c, without having to activate international roaming.”

    FNB bank which is spearheading innovation in the financial services sector received its ECNS licence in 2008, following a legal battle between Icasa and Altech Autopage.

    The legal dispute resulted in all VANS (Value Add Network Service) licensees – including FNB at the time, being permitted to convert their licences to an ECNS.

Telecoms, Rates, Offers and Coverage

Edition Française, 21 octobre 2011, No 169

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Editorial

  •  En Afrique, les opérateurs mobiles se retrouvent dans une situation ou le trafic données est supérieur au trafic voix mais le chiffre d’affaire du trafic données est bien plus petit. En plus avec les données, la congestion du réseau est plus rapide qu’avec la voix. Beaucoup de gens assument que la technologie LTE va résoudre ce problème de congestion due à la demande données mais la bande passante c’est comme une drogue: plus vous en avez et plus vous en utilisez. Russell Southwood analyse la montée de la bonne vieille technologie Wi-fi  qui s’impose de plus en plus par elle-même et pose certains challenges aux opérateurs mobiles africains.

    Le rêve des fournisseurs alternatifs aux opérateurs mobiles était que ceux qui offraient des accès Wi-fi accaparerait le trafic voix statique du client et laisserait le trafic voix mobile aux opérateurs mobiles. L’accès mobile non soumis à licence (unlicensed mobile access (UMA)) a été une tentative de la technologie Wi-fi d’offrir une alternative au trafic voix. Malheureusement cela n’a jamais marché. Lorsque la technologie Wi-MAX était à son apogée, la data mobile est devenue une promesse qui ne s’est jamais vraiment matérialisée. Avec l’arrivée de la technologie LTE, le Wi-MAX est considéré comme une technologie de transition. En d’autres termes, « bye bye  Wi-MAX et bonjour LTE ».

    Avec l’augmentation du nombre de smartphones et l’arrivée des tablets sur le marché africain, la consommation de données est en augmentation malgré les limites que les prix de ces gadgets imposent. Des estimations affirment que 20-40% du trafic données dans les marchés des pays développés transitent sur des réseaux Wi-fi. Les principales raisons sont que les opérateurs mobiles ne peuvent suivre en terme de réseau avec la demande grandissante en données. L’Afrique ne différa de ce modèle que par un certain niveau.

    Voila le dilemme pour les opérateurs mobiles. Il y a un petit nombre de clients de valeur qui génèrent un important  pourcentage des profits sur leur chiffre d’affaires. Ces clients se « promènent de plus en plus avec des appareils divers: smartphones, tablets et ordinateur portable qui leur permettent de choisir pour les données (en termes de prix et de qualité) quel réseau ils vont utiliser.

    La menace pourrait venir de ceux qui offriront des meilleurs prix et un réseau moins congestionné. Google a signé un partenariat avec Wananchi au Kenya pour offrir des points d’accès Wi-fi sous le label « Wazi ». Bien qu’il s’agisse d’un projet pilote dans un centre commercial de Nairobi, le point d’accès compte plus de 500 clients habituels.

    Cela marcherait entre les FAIs et les opérateurs mobiles de proposer une offre de service de roaming unifié (comme Boingo au Kenya) disposant d’un système d’échange pour traiter les questions de vente au détail et de facturation en gros. Un tel service comblera le vide dans les circonstances ou il n’y a pas de partenaires pour la vente en gros et son déploiement est prévu au Kenya et à travers l’Afrique de l’Est. Les dix premières minutes sont gratuites et ensuite il en coûtera 47 cents US pour une heure et 4.73 dollars US pour un mois.

    En Afrique du Sud, la société Internet Solutions (IS) a confirmé que son projet de construction de plusieurs réseaux Wi-fi  métropolitains était dans une phase avancée. Ces réseaux seront à même d’offrir des services dans des zones urbaines avec une forte densité de population.

    Les opérateurs mobiles dans la région ont bien vu la menace et certains essayent de proposer la même chose tout en ce penchant sur le modèle commercial. Un opérateur a déployé 1,500 points d’accès Wi-fi dans un pays mais le projet a créé d’importants problèmes pour eux et cela affectera tout autre opérateur souhaitant se lancer dans le même créneau.

    Le réseau de transmission a besoin d’être amélioré pour gérer le trafic supplémentaire. Comme pour les stations de base, les points d’accès ont besoin d’électricité 24 heures 24 et parfois il y a des problèmes avec les autorités locales pour l’obtention de permis pour ériger les pylônes.

    Le but est de couvrir des zones géographiques relativement étendues sur lesquelles seront répartis des points d’accès sur des pylônes d’une hauteur de 20-50 mètres. D’autres projets explorent les réseaux Wi-fi mesh mais ce type de réseau peut revenir cher lorsqu’il faut installer des unités pour assurer la redondance. Quelque soit les limitations, un réseau Wi-fi mesh peut assurer une couverture de l’ordre de 50kms. Si les deux types de services opèrent dans des bandes de fréquences non soumises à licence, il est possible de réduire les coûts mais cela peut occasionnellement affecter la qualité de service.

    Durant une interview avec Fierce Wireless, Hans Beijner, le responsable marketing produit à Ericsson a expliqué que la technologie Wi-fi est significativement différente de l’infrastructure mobile existante. La qualité de service offerte par le Wi-fi est dépendante du type de déploiement et des méthodes de transmissions. « Il est possible d’avoir une très bonne performance pour les services données avec la technologie Wi-fi mais cela n’est toujours pas assez bon pour la voix » dit-il. « La technologie Wi-fi n’a pas la même capacité à gérer la demande que les réseaux cellulaires et cela se traduit par une congestion totale ». Sachant que la congestion des services données et voix est un trait commun entre la plupart des zones urbaines en Afrique, le problème de capacité des points d’accès Wi-fi se posera aussi.

    La peur des opérateurs mobiles est de voir leur clientèle de valeur choisir d’autres fournisseurs pour leurs services données parce qu’ils ont une meilleure qualité/prix et de ne les utiliser que pour des appels peu chers. Peut-être même, cette clientèle utilisera la version mobile de Skype dans les points d’accès Wi-fi pour réduire sa facture de téléphone. Le prix actuel des appels et des données en roaming en fait une grande tentation pour les visiteurs internationaux. Pour les clients qui dépensent peu mais qui sont des grands consommateurs de SMS, l’attraction du mail va finalement devenir apparente si cela ne l’est déjà pas.

    Mais avec la technologie LTE, ne s’agit-il pas d’une autre période de transition comme la technologie WiMAX ? Peut-être, mais… Le mais vient de Mark Rayner, le DG de DStv Mobile, qui observe que la demande en bande passante impliquant l’accès à du contenu « riche » va continuer à augmenter. « La technologie LTE facilitera la vie des gens qui produisent du contenu. La nouvelle bande passante suscitera plus de demande comme la haute-défnition. Par conséquent la bataille pour la bande passante continue ainsi que la bataille pour un prix juste ».

    La technologie LTE offre des vitesses théoriques de téléchargement étonnantes en utilisant beaucoup de fréquences et celles-ci ne sont pas gratuites. Un opérateur mobile majeur en Afrique nous a dit qu’il allait installer des stations de base LTE avec 2-8 paires de fibre. Certains opérateurs mobiles sont prêts et dispose d’un important réseau fibre mais pour d’autres les couts seront prohibitifs. La vitesse de la technologie LTE ne sera alors équivalente qu’au lien le moins rapide sur le réseau.

    Par conséquent la vieille technologie Wi-fi a encore des beaux jours devant elle. Mais ce qui ferait vraiment une différence c’est si un régulateur offrait une série de licences pilotes à de opérateurs nouveaux ou existants pour offrir des servies voix et données par Wi-fi utilisant des fréquences non soumises à licence dans des zones mal desservies.

  • Les tensions entre le ministre des Technologies de l'Information et de Communication (TIC) et le CEO de Mauritius Telecom semblent loin de devoir s'apaiser. Cela alors Tassarajen Chedumbrum Pillay déclare qu'il n'a rien contre France Telecom.

    Une rencontre a eu lieu entre Edouard Courtial, secrétaire d'Etat français chargé des Français de l'étranger, et le Premier ministre Navin Ramgoolam. Les deux hommes se sont félicités du partenariat entre France Telecom et Mauritius Telecom. Cette rencontre a permis d'aplanir les problèmes entre le ministère des TIC et France Telecom.

    « Le ministre sait très bien que France Telecom n'a pas grand-chose à voir avec le traitement des employés », confie un proche collaborateur du ministre des TIC. « Il sait très bien que si les employés se retrouvent actuellement dans une situation difficile, c'est à cause de Sarat Lallah, et le ministre veut mettre un terme à cette tyrannie », poursuit-il.

    Le non-renouvellement de contrats de 17 technical assistants de MT constitue un sujet de mécontentement pour le ministre. Ces derniers sont, en effet, employés sur une base contractuelle depuis 2006. « Une personne ne peut rester contractuelle éternellement, et du coup subir les caprices de la direction », avait fulminé le ministre.

    Ainsi, en ce qui concerne ses relations avec la direction de France Telecom, le ministre a apparemment décidé de changer de ton et a même multiplié des rencontres avec certains cadres de la compagnie.

    Même le Premier ministre, Navin Ramgoolam, aurait décidé de faire l'impasse sur les sorties successives de son ministre à l'égard de France Telecom. En effet lors de sa rencontre avec Edouard Courtial, la semaine dernière, Navin Ramgoolam n'a pas manqué de mettre en avant le partenariat qu'il a jugé fructueux avec France Telecom.

    L’Express
  • Plus question pour le gouvernement de dépendre des opérateurs privés des télécoms dans les communications officielles. Avec l'appui financier de l'Exim Bank of China, le gouvernement s'apprête à se doter d'un réseau autonome de communication. Fournisseur d'équipements, le chinois Huawei.

    Le partenariat entre la Chine et la RDC se porte bien. Il est d'autant plus fructueux que la Chine agissant par sa banque de développement, Exim Bank of China, vient d'accorder au gouvernement des facilités financières nécessaires, soit plus de 40 millions Usd, pour la constriction du réseau des télécommunications autonomes du gouvernement.

    C'est le vendredi 14 octobre 2011 à Kinshasa que cet accord de financement a été scellé entre le ministre des Finances, Matata Ponyo Mapon, représentant la RDC, et Wang Fade, directeur général adjoint d'Exim Bank of China.

    Peu bavard à l'occasion, le ministre des Finances a juste émis le voeu de voir cet accord supplémentaire servir à «consolider le partenariat entre les deux parties», formulant l'espoir de voir la signature d'autres accords dans divers secteurs de la vie national. Par ailleurs, il a rassuré de la ferme volonté et de la nette détermination du gouvernement de « travailler avec Exim Bank of China pour l'intérêt de deux parties ».

    Pour sa part, le directeur général d'Exim Bank of China a réitéré que tout l'intérêt que la Chine porte sur la RDC. «Le Congo est un pays important pour nous », a-t-il dit, soulignant que, la banque étatique et d'orientation de la politique chinoise, Exim Bank, est « prête » à aider la RDC dans divers domaines.

    Ainsi, Exim Bank, note-t-il, a déjà bouclé huit projets en faveur de la RDC, financés à des taux préférentiels pour un total de huit milliards de yuan. En séjour à Kinshasa, il a jugé «très fructueux» ses contacts avec les autorités congolaises.

    Revenant sur le projet de construction d'un réseau des télécommunications pour le gouvernement, il a fait savoir que «sa bonne exécution va bénéficier au développement des télécommunications et à la sécurité dans les communications gouvernementales», rappelant, par ailleurs, que «notre banque est disposée à renforcer son soutien aux autorités de la RDC avec des prêts préférentiels dans les domaines de l'énergie, des télécommunications et des infrastructures».

    Le Potentiel
  • L'écoute des appels téléphoniques ainsi que le piratage téléphonique ont été abordés en long et en large ce mardi 18 octobre à l'heure des questions adressées au Premier ministre. L'occasion pour Navin Ramgoolam d'apporter des éclaircissements concernant ces pratiques.

    Aucune recommandation visant à autoriser l"interception des communications téléphoniques n'a été faite par l'Information and Communication Technologies Authority (ICTA) au ministre des TIC à ce jour. Ni n'a-t-elle reçu de demande d'un quelconque opérateur en ce sens, ni n'a-t-elle donné de directives à quelque fournisseur de service de communication sous l'article 25 de la Prevention of Terrorism Act (PoTA).

    C'est la précision apportée par le Premier ministre, Navin Ramgoolam, en réponse à une question du député de l'opposition Adil Ameer Meea concernant l'interception des appels téléphoniques. Ce dernier voulait savoir si des instructions ont été données aux opérateurs suivant les récentes allégations visant à déstabiliser le pays.

    Catégorique, Navin Ramgoolam a rappelé que l'écoute des appels téléphoniques est seulement autorisée sous certaines conditions spécifiques et que nos lois en font provision sous des paramètres bien établis dans l'intérêt de la souveraineté de l'Etat, de la sécurité nationale et de l'ordre public.

    Lorsque la police veut avoir recours à des écoutes téléphoniques dans le cadre des procédures pénales, ils doivent réclamer un ordre à un juge en Chambre. Ceci afin d'autoriser un opérateur ou un de ses employés d'intercepter, de retenir ou de divulguer à la police un message ou une communication téléphonique. L'ordre du juge demeure valide pour une période de 60 jours.

    Une fois l'ordre obtenu, la police le transmet à l'opérateur téléphonique le nom et l'adresse de la personne à êtres mise sous écoute. L'opérateur ne fournit qu'une facture détaillée contenant les indications des appels entrants et sortants du téléphone mobile, téléphone fixe, ou autres services de télécommunications. Aucun contenu des communications n'est révélé à la police.

    L'ICT Act de 2001 et le Prevention of Terrorism Act de 2002 prévoient qu'il peut y avoir des interférences avec un message de télécommunications dans certaines circonstances particulières.

    A une question supplémentaire du député Ameer Meea de savoir où en est-on avec le projet de loi l'Interception Telecommunication Bill, qui avait été annoncé en 2006 au Parlement, Navin Ramgoolam a répliqué qu'une telle proposition avait été faite sous certaines circonstances. Il a alors mentionné l'affaire Caterino, ex-steward d'Air France qui avait été a arrêté par les autorités mauriciennes pour trafic de Subutex.

    Par ailleurs, le piratage des appels téléphoniques (telephone hacking) a été évoqué par le leader de l'opposition. Paul Bérenger a interrogé le Premier ministre sur ce problème très répandu, selon lui, dans les medias et autres. Il voulait savoir si le chef du gouvernement envisageait de présenter un texte de loi visant à protéger les citoyens contre de telles pratiques.

    Une occasion pour Navin Ramgoolam de revenir sur la Media Law en préparation par Jeffrey Robertson : « Après les événements au Royaume-Uni, Jeffrey Robertson se montre encore plus prudent avec la Media Law. Nous étudions également la possibilité d'une Privacy Law afin de parer à tout piratage téléphonique », a-t-il souligné.

    L’Express
  • La Sonatel refuse « catégoriquement » de payer la facture de 5 milliards de F Cfa que lui réclame l'Artp au titre de la surtaxe appliquée sur les appels internationaux entrants. Pour mieux muscler sa position, la société de téléphonie envisage même une grève à partir du 3 novembre prochain ainsi qu'un « plan B ».

    La Sonatel n'est pas prête à céder dans la guerre acharnée qui l'oppose à l'Etat à travers l'Artp(Agence de régulation des télécommunications et des postes) sur le terrain de la surtaxe sur les appels internationaux entrants. Elle vient de servir une fin de non recevoir à son désormais « ennemi » qui lui réclame la bagatelle de 5 milliards de FCfa au titre de la surtaxe qui frappe les appels internationaux entrants au Sénégal, depuis août dernier, date de la signature du Décret instituant ladite surtaxe.

    Interrogée par nos confrères de Sud Fm, hier, jeudi 13 octobre, le secrétaire général des travailleurs de la Sonatel, section télécommunication, Mme Ndiaye Founé Niang, a fait savoir que « le dossier de la surtaxe sur les appels entrants avance négativement pour les travailleurs de la Sonatel et pour la population en général parce qu'aujourd'hui nous vivons une situation très compliquée ».

    Aujourd'hui, souligne-t-elle, « nous ne comptons pas payer du tout simplement par ce que, lorsque le décret est sorti, il était bien marqué que nous devions appliquer la surtaxe à partir du 1er septembre mais puisse que dans le même décret, il est disposé que le ministre de tutelle est chargé de l'exécution du décret, nous avons saisi ce dernier, en l'occurrence M. Guirassy, pour lui faire comprendre que techniquement nous ne pouvons pas appliquer la surtaxe à partir de cette date ».

    Ndaye Founé Niang a fait croire que M. Guirassy leur avait donné son accord verbal quant à leur requête. « Nous avons exigé son accord par écrit mais malheureusement, il ne l'a pas fait et pourtant, il était ampliataire de toutes les lettres que nous avons adressées à nos partenaires pour informer de notre intention de n'appliquer la mesure qu'à partir du 1er octobre ». Mme Founé Niang de confier que « depuis le 1er octobre 2001, la surtaxe est appliquée et depuis, huit pays dont le Burkina Faso, le Togo, le Mali, le Bénin, la Guinée Bissau, le Cameroun, la Côte d'Ivoire et le Niger nous ont révélé que eux aussi en feraient de même. Donc la Sonatel, à partir de la semaine prochaine, va revoir ses tarifs envers ces pays parce que s'ils appliquent la réciprocité, nous sommes obligés d'agir ».

    A la question de savoir si les Sénégalais devraient donc s'attendre à une hausse de ce côté, Ndaye Founé Niang de lancer : « Inévitablement ! Les Sénégalais doivent s'attendre à une hausse. Partout où nous sommes passés, on leur a expliqué cela pour leur faire comprendre que la réciprocité va nous être appliqué. Ce que ces pays sus cités ont fait en adressant des correspondances à la Sonatel pour lui dire qu'ils vont augmenter d'un pourcentage et que dès la semaine prochaine, la Sonatel va publier les nouveaux tarifs pour entrer dans ces pays-là ». Sur ce point, elle avise qu'une réunion est convoquée en début de semaine pour fixer les nouveaux tarifs des appels sortants vers ces pays.

    Par rapport aux 5 milliards de FCfa, le secrétaire général des travailleurs de la Sonatel, section télécommunication a tenu à préciser : « les autorités n'ont pas encore perçu l'argent mais à la Sonatel la mesure est appliquée depuis le 1er octobre. Je ne sais pas pour les autres opérateurs mais chez nous, c'est effectif depuis cette date. L'Artp nous a envoyé une correspondance pour demander qu'on lui envoie les CDR (Call data record) dans un premier temps afin qu'ils puissent faire la facture. Nous avons refusé parce que nous n'avions pas appliqué donc, nous ne devions pas payer. C'est par la suite qu'ils ont fait une facture estimée et pour eux, en se basant sur les dernières informations, nous leur devions 5 milliards de F Cfa ».

    Devant la persistance des autorités, les travailleurs de la Sonatel ont déposé un préavis de grève depuis le 24 août dernier. Ndaye Founé Niang a confié que les différents collectifs ont signé avec le directeur du travail leur préavis qui est en cours. « Donc à partir du 3 novembre, nous pouvons légalement aller en grève. Nous avions pourtant la possibilité de l'entamer depuis le 1er octobre dernier mais puisse que c'était un jour férié, nous avons retenu la deuxième date ». D'ici là, renseigne Mme Founé Niang, les travailleurs de la Sonatel vont poursuivre leur lobbying pour sensibiliser et nouer des alliances avec d'autres secteurs qui sont en lutte.

    « Aujourd'hui, nous sommes en train d'analyser la situation pour essayer de mettre sur pied un plan d'action B. Nous y sommes et la plénière s'est réunie hier (mercredi 12 octobre 2011, ndlr) et nous comptons nous réunir encore en début de semaine pour pouvoir très rapidement commencer à mettre sur pied ce plan B dont vous aurez le contenu ».

    Sud Quotidien
  • Le directeur de cabinet du ministre de la Communication, des télécommunications et des Tics, Mamadou Yandé Touré à présidé, jeudi, une réunion du comité national chargé d'organiser l'Icann 42 au Sénégal. Une manière d'amorcer la dernière ligne droite, pour ce qui est des préparatifs, avant la tenue de cette grande réunion sur la gouvernance de l'Internet.

    Dakar s'apprête à accueillir la 42e réunion de l'Icann ((gouvernance mondiale de l'Internet). La rencontre est prévue du 23 au 28 octobre. Elle sera précédée, à partir du 19 octobre, de la réunion des ministres africains en charge des Tics.

    Pour parfaire l'organisation, le comité national a tenu une réunion, jeudi, au ministère de la Communication, pour amorcer la dernière ligne droite pour ce qui est des préparatifs. 1200 participants sont attendus à cette grande assemblée qui se tient pour la première fois en Afrique francophone.

    « Il s'agira d'avoir le même point de vue sur Internet, a affirmé le directeur de cabinet du ministre de la Communication, Mamadou Yandé Touré. L'objectif est de défendre la position de l'Afrique. »

    Dans la perspective de réussir l'organisation de l'Icann 42 à Dakar, le comité national d'organisation a passé en revue les points suivants : hôtellerie, accueil à l'aéroport, Sonatel, Senelec, transport, santé. Pour ce qui est du volet sécurité, il fera prochainement l'objet d'une réunion ad hoc, a informé le directeur de cabinet.

    A la suite de Mamadou Yandé Touré, les représentants des différents services ont exposé l'état des préparatifs. Pour accueillir les hôtes du Sénégal, le Méridien Président sera le site principal d'hébergement à côté des autres réceptifs. Sur ce point, l'essentiel du travail a été fait. Autre secteur qui a retenu l'attention du comité national, c'est celui de l'électricité.

    « Pas d'inquiétudes pour la zone des Alamadies. Elle sera mise hors délestage. Le directeur général de la Senelec a été instruit dans ce sens », a assuré le représentant de la société d'électricité du Sénégal.

    Pour une bonne communication durant cette grande rencontre, la Sonatel rassure que le réseau sera prêt et la connectivité avec l'hôtel Méridien sera couverte en wifi. De plus, l'opérateur de télécommunication activera les systèmes « roaming » pour les pays participants aux fins de leur permettre de garder leurs puces téléphoniques actifs.

    Avant de fouler le sol sénégalais, les participants de certains pays sont tenus de présenter un visa d'entrée. Seulement, déplore le commissaire Diédhiou, chargé de la délivrance des visas, les choses avancent lentement. « On a pas encore atteint 100 visas » a-t-il déploré.

    Pour contourner l'obstacle, le représentant du ministère des affaires étrangères, M. Bèye, a suggéré de reproduire le même schéma que celui utilisé lors du 3e Festival mondial des arts nègres. Une fois à l'aéroport de Dakar, les participants doivent être bien accueillis avec leurs bagages.

    Soucieux de réussir ce point, le représentant du secrétaire général de la Haute autorité de l'aéroport Léopold Sédar Senghor, Bouna Sémou Koumé a émis l'idée d'impliquer le commissaire spécial de l'aéroport, la douane, la gendarmerie, l'Agence des aéroports du Sénégal. Une fois à Dakar, les participants seront convoyés par Sénécartour qui a été retenu comme prestataire.

    Le volet sanitaire est bien pris en compte par le comité national. A cet effet, il est retenu de mettre en éveil le dispositif médical de la région de Dakar. L'objectif est de parer à toute éventualité.

    Le Soleil
  • Ce pourrait être un rude concurrent pour les onéreux cours particuliers qui échappent désormais à tout contrôle. Le site www.ecole numerique.tn, lancé par le ministère de l'Education à l'occasion de cette rentrée scolaire 2011-2012, est un espace numérique qui propose aux élèves de tous les niveaux de l'enseignement primaire et secondaire, aux enseignants et aux parents, une version en ligne de la totalité des manuels scolaires, avec des cours conçus par des enseignants et même des séries d'exercices relatifs à différentes disciplines. Une large gamme de ressources numériques pédagogiques, conformes aux programmes officiels, qui ne manque actuellement qu'aux élèves de 1ère et 2e années du secondaire : lacune qui devrait cependant être comblée dans les prochains jours.

    L'initiative tombe à pic en ce début d'année scolaire, marquée par une certaine flambée des prix: pas seulement ceux des produits alimentaires, également et en particulier ceux des para-scolaires, comme les livres d'applications pratiques des cours, édités par des privés, et dont les prix ont grimpé rapidement ces dernières années.

    Le site web offre à l'élève l'opportunité de télécharger le contenu des documents et de travailler les exercices des différentes disciplines qui, normalement, figurent dans les CD accompagnant les livres scolaires. Les visiteurs intéressés peuvent également avoir accès aux vidéos de plus de 200 cours différents, qui ont été enregistrés les années passées par la chaîne nationale, dans le cadre du programme de la télévision scolaire, au profit des élèves candidats aux concours et examens nationaux de fin de cycle.

    L'approche basée sur l'animation est utilisée pour certaines matières, comme les mathématiques. Ce qui permet une meilleure assimilation. Une banque de sujets d'examens et de devoirs accompagnés de leurs corrections, fournis par des enseignants qualifiés, sont également disponibles sur le site. Les enseignants sont, en effet, invités à participer, de manière régulière, à l'enrichissement des contenus du site en publiant leurs propres productions, ainsi qu'à faire part de leurs commentaires et recommandations. Une manière de favoriser également les échanges et la communication entre les enseignants, et d'aider les plus jeunes en début de carrière.

    Cette initiative est louable à plus d'un titre. Destinée à renforcer les capacités d'apprentissage des cours dispensés en classe, elle évite également aux parents des dépenses supplémentaires en cas de perte de livres par exemple, et permet aux élèves d'avoir accès à une large gamme de cours et de travaux pratiques sans avoir à acheter toute la panoplie de para-scolaires disponibles sur le marché et/ou multiplier le nombre d'heures de cours particuliers.

    La Presse
  • Directeur général de l'Agence de l'informatique de l'Etat (Adie), Tamsir Amadou Salif Bâ décline les avantages de cette agence qui permet à l'administration de se passer des entreprises de téléphonie mobile et fixe. Grâce à cette indépendance, l'Etat économise, selon les premières estimations, quelque 4 milliards de francs Cfa par an. Le directeur de l'Adie dévoile aussi les projets de cette agence.

    Quelle est la mission de la structure que vous dirigez ?

    L'Agence de l'informatique de l'Etat (Adie) a pour mission de mutualiser, de rationaliser et d'harmoniser l'informatique de l'Etat. Donc, elle est chargée de mettre en oeuvre la politique informatique définie par le chef de l'Etat.

    Ce, en outillant l'administration, en la dotant du matériel informatique et des accessoires informatiques pour l'aider à travailler en parfaite adéquation avec ce qui se fait ailleurs dans le monde. En somme, c'est pour permettre à l'Etat du Sénégal d'avoir une administration efficace et sécurisée capable de satisfaire les citoyens.

    Entre autres outils, vous avez développé l'intranet gouvernemental. Pouvez-vous en parler pour les non-initiés ?

    C'est un ensemble. Il y a d'abord les infrastructures. Aujourd'hui, tous les bâtiments de l'administration sont interconnectés. Les gens peuvent partager des applications.

    Ceux qui travaillent sur le budget au ministère des Finances peuvent le faire à distance. Il y a aussi la messagerie gouvernementale (.gouv) utilisé par tous les ministères. Et il y a beaucoup d'exemples qu'on peut citer.

    Pour dire que l'intranet est un partage de l'information en temps réel et en toute sécurité. L'intranet gouvernemental est synonyme de sécurité, de fiabilité et de gain de temps pour l'administration.

    Et cela se répercute inévitablement sur les administrés. Il faut dire que, avant, l'administration était caractérisée par sa lourdeur, avec beaucoup de papiers et surtout par une perte de temps pour les administrés.

    Vous travaillez donc seulement pour l'Etat ?

    Et pour les populations aussi. Nous travaillons pour les deux. Nous travaillons pour l'Etat, mais au bénéfice de la population. Par exemple, nous avons mis en place une infrastructure, une fibre optique, qui couvre pratiquement sept régions et onze capitales départementales. Elle aide les zones enclavées à accéder à l'internet et aux applications utilisées par l'administration.

    Si je prends par exemple les sites des démarches administratives, un citoyen qui se trouve à Kédougou et qui a besoin d'un document peut consulter le site pour avoir les informations et connaître les démarches à suivre pour obtenir un document administratif. Pour l'administration, l'Etat payait des coûts de connexion très élevés à la Société nationale de télécommunications (Sonatel).

    Actuellement, toute l'administration est couverte en connexion internet, grâce à l'Adie. Même les gens qui sont hors de Dakar, dans les régions les plus reculées ont la connexion.

    Maintenant, à la place des clés Usb et autres supports pour transporter des informations jusqu'à Dakar, les fonctionnaires utilisent des connexions internet. Imaginez le temps gagné par l'administration pour traiter des informations.

    Cependant, des gens qui vivent à Dakar, mais nés dans les régions, continuent de se déplacer dans leur lieu de naissance pour obtenir un document administratif.

    Nous sommes en train de travailler avec les collectivités locales par rapport aux extraits de naissance et autres documents administratifs. Je disais que nous avons déjà fait l'infrastructure et là nous sommes en train de travailler sur le contenu. Je prends un exemple sur le Tva. Les grandes entreprises gagnent beaucoup de temps et donc d'argent en faisant leurs déclarations en ligne.

    C'est la télé-déclaration. Donc ce sera pareil pour le citoyen. D'ici peu de temps, pour avoir son extrait de naissance, on n'aura plus besoin de se déplacer jusqu'à son lieu de naissance. La personne pourra se connecter, introduire ses données et peut-être qu'on va lui envoyer son document par internet.

    Vous dites dans peu de temps. Pouvons-nous avoir une idée précise de la durée ?

    Notre domaine, ce sont les infrastructures, la connectivité, etc. Il y a d'autres ministères comme celui des Collectivités locales qui s'occupent d'autres programmes. Et cela est du ressort de ses ministères. Mais, je pense qu'ils sont en train d'y travailler avec des Coréens.

    Nous avons travaillé avec eux sur les termes de référence et tout est presque acquis. Le financement ne va pas tarder. Ils sont en négociation et, à court terme, tout cela sera solutionné.

    Combien avez-vous permis à l'Etat d'économiser ?

    Nos tableaux de simulation ont donné 4 milliards de francs Cfa par an. Et on peut aller au-delà de ce chiffre, parce que nous n'avons pris en compte que 6 mille terminaux mobiles et 6 mille terminaux fixes. Si nous avons quinze mille, imaginez combien l'Etat pourra économiser. Avant, l'Etat dépensait, en téléphonie mobile comme fixe, environ 17 milliards de francs Cfa.

    Mais le gain n'est pas seulement pour l'Etat. Ces infrastructures sont aussi bénéfiques pour les citoyens. Je prends un exemple sur la téléphonie que nous avons mise en place. Dans les régions, les ambulanciers et tous les agents de santé ont des téléphones mobiles. De ce fait, on peut évacuer un malade en un temps record.

    Autrefois, parfois dans certaines zones, l'ambulancier ou le médecin n'était pas accessible ; vous pouvez maintenant appeler le ministère de la Santé qui vous donnera toutes les informations nécessaires.

    Est-ce que votre travail peut induire une réduction du coût du téléphone pour le citoyen ?

    Peut-être en partie. Le citoyen qui habite, par exemple, Matam qui utilisait son téléphone pour avoir l'ambulancier, l'infirmier, le médecin etc, peut maintenant simplement contacter l'ambulancier.

    Et ce dernier va utiliser le téléphone de l'Etat pour contacter par exemple le médecin ou la direction de l'hôpital. Le malade n'a plus besoin d'appeler quatre agents de santé pour régler son problème.

    Il lui suffit juste d'appeler une seule personne dans le circuit et celle-ci pourra donner l'information à toute la chaîne. Là, on fait économiser aux citoyens un coût de téléphone impossible à mesurer.

    Est-ce que votre action n'est pas limitée si l'on sait qu'une grande partie de la population n'a pas accès aux outils informatiques ?

    Le président de la République l'a compris et c'est pourquoi, il fait tout pour donner à chaque Sénégalais un ordinateur. Il a compris que seule la révolution numérique peut aider au développement d'un pays comme le nôtre qui n'a pas de ressources naturelles.

    C'est aussi le cas des pays comme le Japon et la Corée. Si nous arrivons à mailler l'ensemble du pays et à outiller tous les Sénégalais du matériel pour leur permettre d'accéder à l'information, nous pourrons révolutionner notre Sénégal, surtout dans le domaine de l'éducation.

    Votre travail ne va-t-il pas léser les opérateurs de téléphonie ?

    Je ne pense pas. Ce sont nos partenaires, nous travaillons ensemble. Nous ne sommes pas là pour les concurrencer. Si l'Etat du Sénégal en arrive là, c'est grâce à l'appui de ces entreprises, en particulier la Sonatel.

    Elles ont aussi leur part de contribution pour le développement du pays. La Sonatel doit aider l'Etat à mieux servir les citoyens. Et l'Etat a aussi pour mission d'aider ces opérateurs de téléphonie pour l'émergence du pays dans le domaine de la révolution numérique.

    Quels sont vos projets ?

    C'est, d'abord, doter le maximum d'agents de l'administration de téléphone mobile pour la rendre accessible et couvrir l'ensemble du pays avec la fibre optique. Sur ce point, nous travaillons sur le programme coréen qui est en phase terminale.

    A terme, tous les bâtiments de l'administration seront arrosés par le réseau Wimax avec l'intégration des Pabx. Ainsi, l'agent qui est à Tambacounda pourra appeler à tout moment dans les autres villes sans payer et sans passer par un opérateur de téléphonie.

    Si on arrive à doter toute l'administration de téléphone mobile et d'ordinateur, cela pourra aider le citoyen à avoir l'information dont il a besoin. A long terme, nous allons travailler sur les applications.

    L'Adie qui a constaté que les Sénégalais sont intelligents - car nous encadrons beaucoup de stagiaires - s'est dit : pourquoi ne pas essayer de vendre les applications à l'international comme le système Gaïnde qui est connu dans le monde. Nous avons des projets qu'on aimerait faire connaître à l'étranger pour faire connaître l'expertise sénégalaise et favoriser des rentrées d'argent.

    Tout cela suppose des moyens. Avez-vous les moyens de votre politique ?

    Effectivement, l'argent est le nerf de la guerre. Notre budget tourne seulement autour de 1,1 à 1,2 milliard de francs Cfa. Ce qui est insuffisant si l'on sait que le fonctionnement absorbe beaucoup d'argent à cause de la taille du réseau.

    On fait le tour des régions pour faire la maintenance de nos infrastructures avec seulement vingt-quatre ingénieurs, alors qu'au même moment Sonatel, Expresso emploient beaucoup d'ingénieurs. Vous imaginez aisément que nos ingénieurs et nos techniciens souffrent pour maintenir ce réseau.

    Néanmoins, nous essayons de faire avec le peu que nous avons. Nous avons beaucoup investi, en terme, de réseaux. Nous avons investi entre le projet chinois et coréen environ 50 millions de dollars pour mettre en place toute cette infrastructure. Et si nous n'avons les moyens de l'entretenir, cela peut porter préjudice à l'Etat.

    Si on ne nous aide pas à maintenir et à entretenir ce que nous avons investi, cela va poser des problèmes. J'ai même fait des correspondances dans ce sens pour que l'administration ait conscience de pérenniser nos investissements. Nous avons vraiment besoin de maintenir notre investissement de taille, parce que nous avons commencé à voir les résultats.

    Les lignes fixes qui coûtaient à l'Etat 500 millions de francs Cfa par an sont maintenant supprimées. Avec ce réseau, l'Etat a fait des économies d'échelle. C'est pourquoi, ce réseau mérite d'être maintenu.

    Vous êtes au Technopôle, dans la banlieue. J'imagine que vous êtes sollicité par les populations ?

    Je suis en train d'installer des 'points-jeunesse', des sortes de cyber-café à Guédiawaye où les jeunes du quartier pourront accéder gratuitement à l'internet et donc à l'information.

    Chaque 'point-jeunesse' comprend une dizaine d'ordinateurs avec une connexion internet. Les jeunes qui préparent, par exemple, leur mémoire de licence ou de maîtrise y seront encadrés.

    En plus, pendant les vacances ces 'points-jeunesse' servent de lieu de formation aux étudiants qui ont une certaine assise intellectuelle dans des applications comme photoshop, dreamwever, etc. Ces 'points-jeunesse' sont bien organisés, car on y accède par des cartes. Chaque maison dispose d'une carte.

    En même temps, on met à la disposition des gens les contacts des hommes importants du quartier comme l'imam, le plombier, le menuisier, etc qui seront accessibles à tous.

    Pour le moment, nous avons installé deux points fonctionnels : un à Notaire et un autre à Sahm. D'ici le mois de février, nous comptons installer une dizaine de 'points-jeunesse' dans cette partie de la banlieue dakaroise, si toutefois, mes moyens me le permettent.

    Vous vous investissez dans une ville, Guédiawaye, dirigée par des hommes de l'opposition.

    Cheikh Sarr et Malick Gakou sont des amis, je les apprécie. Toutefois, je ne dis pas qu'ils font bien leur travail. Je ne peux pas donner une appréciation par rapport à leurs réalisations, parce qu'ils ne sont là que depuis deux ans. Par contre, je vois le travail important abattu par le président de la République pour la ville de Guédiawaye.

    Je suis né et j'ai grandi à Guédiawaye et j'ai vu les nombreuses réalisations faites par le président Wade. Il a fait des actions concrètes, il a une vision particulière par rapport à notre ville.

    Même si le lycée Limamou Laye connaît des difficultés qui sont en passe d'être réglées, on constate néanmoins des écoles, des postes de santé, des routes, qui n'existaient pas auparavant.

    'Le président Wade garde toujours ses capacités pour continuer à diriger ce pays. En plus, je préfère de loin un président âgé qui réfléchit à un homme jeune qui conduit le pays dans le mauvais chemin.'

    Pourtant, on constate le chômage et les inondations à Guédiawaye

    Le chômage, c'est à l'échelle internationale. Et je vous assure que le chômage est plus important dans les grandes villes comme New York, Paris, Londres, etc. Nous qui avons l'habitude de voyager, nous avons vu pire dans les pays développés. Cela veut dire que la crise est internationale.

    Le président fait des efforts, même s'il n'est pas évident d'avoir des résultats en un temps record. Chez nous, à Guédiawaye, il faut former les jeunes, les aider à prendre conscience de leur capacité et avoir un métier. C'est pourquoi j'ai créé les 'points-jeunesse'.

    Cette année, il y a eu moins d'inondations, parce que des dispositions ont été prises. D'autre part, il faut sensibiliser les gens qui vivent dans les zones inondables afin qu'ils quittent. C'est la seule solution.

    Nous sommes à cinq mois des élections et Me Sèye demande à Wade d'aller se reposer.

    Je préfère quelqu'un qui travaille à quelqu'un qui parle, quel que soit l'âge. Le travail d'un président de la République demande un effort physique certes, mais l'essentiel de ce travail est intellectuel. Et le président Wade garde toujours ses capacités pour continuer à diriger ce pays.

    En plus, je préfère de loin un président âgé qui réfléchit à un homme jeune qui conduit le pays dans le mauvais chemin. Les dires de Me Sèye ne tiennent pas. Ce sont les résultats qui sont importants.

    Une fois de plus, il faut arrêter de parler d'âge. Je n'ai pas de leçons à donner à Sèye, mais il ne faut pas attendre quatre mois du scrutin pour demander à quelqu'un d'aller se reposer. Contrairement à Me Sèye, je dis que le président Wade peut faire plus que ce qu'il a fait.

    Wal Fadjri
  • Les TIC produisent-elles une nouvelle croissance ou contribuent-elles uniquement à accélérer la croissance?

    Le secteur le plus dynamique de l'économie mondiale est sans nul doute celui de l'économie numérique (télécommunications, audiovisuel, logiciel, services informatiques, services en ligne), dont le taux de croissance représentera d'ici 2015 environ 30% de la croissance mondiale. C'est pourquoi les Etats-Unis d'Amérique y ont investi, jusqu'ici, deux fois plus que la France et une fois et demie plus que le Japon. Quant aux PAF, ils investissent, depuis 5 ans, de plus en plus dans ce secteur, mais sans discernement et épisodiquement. Si cette démarche ne se rationalisait pas, ils risqueraient de se retrouver en déficit grave en matière de TIC et de leurs usages. En vue d'éviter cette situation, ils gagneraient à procéder à l'élaboration de plans de développement de l'économie numérique articulés autour de certains axes prioritaires. Il s'agit surtout de la baisse des tarifs d'accès aux réseaux.

    Les prix d'accès à l'Internet en Afrique francophone, exclusion faite des pays d'Afrique du Nord, sont les plus élevés du monde. Deux causes majeures à cette situation:

    La première est la faiblesse du réseau de la concurrence qui affiche dans les pays les mieux dotés en infrastructure de télécommunications (Tunisie et Maroc) trois compétiteurs. Or, dans le domaine des télécommunications, une concurrence, à trois où même à dix, signifie la création automatique d'un cartel se partageant le marché plutôt que l'influençant, à la baisse, pour mieux vendre. Comme le marché des télécommunications des PAF, dans sa structure actuelle et selon la manière dont il est segmenté (nouvelle licence à chaque nouvelle activité), ne favorise pas la concurrence, on peut s'attendre à ce que le cartel perdure, consacrant ainsi le niveau élevé des tarifs. Certes, le poids démographique des PAF et la croissance qu'ils affichent peuvent entraîner les fournisseurs d'accès à baisser leurs tarifs, mais c'est une hypothèse improbable car, d'une part, les PAF n'ont pas de stratégie unifiée vis-à-vis des équipementiers et des fournisseurs d'accès et d'autre part ces derniers, champions du capitalisme, n'ont pas pour habitude de baisser la variable prix. Dans cette situation,â-‚que faire? Cinq démarches factuelles pourraient aboutir à baisser les tarifs:

    La première consisterait pour chacun des PAF à réduire les taxes sur les abonnements d'accès.

    La seconde consisterait à unir leurs forces dans une espèce de «centrale de concertation sur les prix d'accès à Internet», érigée en vis-à-vis unique puissant des fournisseurs en vue de les persuader d'infléchir les prix à la baisse.

    La troisième serait de créer, dans chaque pays, des «IXP» pour points d'échanges Internet, c'est-à-dire des carrefours où peuvent se rencontrer les fournisseurs d'accès, permettant d'éviter le recours à des passerelles internationales très onéreuses.

    La quatrième consisterait à prendre le soin d'engager de sérieuses négociations avec les opérateurs et les équipementiers en matière de tarifs d'accès, chaque fois qu'il s'agit de passer des marchés en matière d'infrastructures de télécommunications. A titre d'exemple, parce que les pays de l'Afrique de l'Ouest ont négligé d'incorporer les tarifs d'accès dans le cahier des charges relatif à l'exploitation du câble sous-marin Sat3, ils ont été acculés par l'opérateur à acquitter des droits exorbitants.

    La cinquième serait, pour les PAF à faible densité de réseaux téléphoniques fixes, d'avoir recours aux réseaux sans fil. Mais, cela n'ira pas de soi, car les firmes de l'industrie mobile, faute de pouvoir accéder aux portions de spectre dans les basses fréquences, sont dans l'incapacité de délivrer leurs services dans les zones enclavées et rurales. En outre, l'environnement législatif dans la plupart des PAF est peu favorable, pour l'instant, à la connexion sans fil. Mais l'enjeu numérique vaut la peine de faire l'effort de contourner ces difficultés et d'imiter en cela l'Inde dont les abonnés connectés à Internet via des réseaux sans fil sont 5 fois plus nombreux que les abonnés aux lignes fixes. Ces cinq démarches pourraient être conduites simultanément dans le cadre de la centrale de concertation sur les prix d'accès à l'Internet.

    En tout cas, pour l'instant, la baisse des tarifs d'accès à Internet, quel que soit le type de connexion, paraît un objectif improbable. En effet, le manque de moyens des PAF pour se doter d'infrastructures ramifiées et à la pointe de la technologie, l'absence de coordination de leurs stratégies et politiques en matière d'accès à Internet face au pouvoir des équipementiers, l'insuffisance de leurs ressources financières pour subventionner les tarifs d'accès, la persistance de la crise mondiale ainsi que la concentration de la technologie entre les mains d'une douzaine d'opérateurs érigés en cartel relèguent à l'infini la perspective d'une révision des prix à la baisse. Somme toute, l'expression «Aujourd'hui avec Internet c'est uniquement le demandeur qui paie et quand il est moins en position de force eh bien il paie plus cher» s'applique parfaitement aux PAF, surtout qu'ils avancent en rangs dispersés, ce qui a pour effet de les placer en position de faiblesse, donc de mettre leurs internautes en position de payer plus cher. Or, pour payer plus cher, il faut avoir le revenu correspondant, ce qui exclut tous ceux qui ne l'ont pas, c'est-à-dire, de loin, les plus nombreux.

    A la fin de cette première décennie du XXIe siècle, le profit est devenu, sous tous les cieux, un droit sacré de l'être humain, parce que, selon les gourous du libéralisme, c'est grâce à lui que l'homme acquiert sa liberté. C'est vrai, mais cette liberté est-elle égale pour tous? Certainement pas, car au vu de ce qui se passe sur la scène mondiale, les Etats, les organismes et les individus qui fabriquent le plus de profit sont ceux qui ont le plus de liberté: liberté de conquête pour les Etats; liberté de monopole du marché et de manipulation de la variable prix pour les organismesâ-'; liberté de s'octroyer des pouvoirs presque illimités pour les individus. Etats, organismes et êtres humains sont donc libres mais aux degrés de liberté que leur confèrent les niveaux de leurs revenus. Par exemple, y a-t-il une limite, à part celle qui est autorisée par la loi, à la liberté d'une personne dont les revenus sont supérieurs à ceux d'un Etat? A contrario, peut-on parler de liberté pour le milliard de travailleurs dont le salaire est inférieur à 150 dollars par mois? Et que dire alors de l'autre milliard de personnes qui vivent au-dessous du seuil de pauvreté!â-‚Peut-on parler de liberté pour toutes ces franges de la société? Evidemment non. Si c'est non, n'est-il pas juste d'affirmer que la liberté presque totale que donne le profit maximal à un individu revient à restreindre celle d'un autre? N'est-il pas juste d'affirmer, également, que les 8 ou 10 Messieurs X, africains, dont la fortune s'élève à plus de 150 milliards de dollars, privent 500.000.000 de leurs concitoyens de la liberté d'acquérir un PC, d'accéder à Internet, de contribuer au développement des arts, des lettres et de la scienceâ-‚du continent?

    La vérité est que la discrimination économique et culturelle est un état de la société qui perdure depuis la création de l'espèce humaine et dont aucune réforme n'est arrivée à bout. Faut-il conclure qu'il faut faire avec? Evidemment non, puisque le degré d'intensité de cette discrimination a baissé, de siècle en siècle, sous l'effet de l'instruction, de la science, des réformes humanitaires et des actions de solidarité. Il est, par conséquent, impératif de continuer dans cette voie, de manière à acculer la discrimination dans ses derniers retranchements, notamment par une meilleure répartition des richesses. La création, par Bill Gates, archimilliardaire, d'un consortium d'aide au développement est, d'ailleurs, révélatrice du trouble du monde de l'argent face à la montée des périls sécrétés par la persistance des discriminations économiques, sociales et culturelles. C'est, assurément, un signe fort, en matière de lutte contre les fractures qui meurtrissent la société, dont la fracture numérique. Mais combien de richissimes africains ont-ils adhéré à sa démarcheâ-‚ou l'ont imité?

    La Presse
  • Le patron du groupe Teylium, a finalisé la cession de l'opérateur Intercel Guinée à Sudatel. Une grosse transaction négociée en catimini et qui agace à Conakry.

    Dans son édition électronique du 8 septembre 2010, Les Afriques annonçait en exclusivité les négociations entre la compagnie Sudatel, qui opère via la marque Expresso au Sénégal et Chinguitel en Mauritanie et l'opérateur de téléphonie, Intercel Guinée. Les informations en notre possession autour des tractations engagées depuis mars 2010 étaient mises sous embargo jusqu'à la fin du processus des négociations.

    Début avril 2011, à bord d'un avion sur la ligne Bamako-Niamey, un Vip du secteur des télécoms, s'est empressé de nous balancer une confidence : « Ah ! Monsieur des Afriques ! Petit Yérim a vendu sa licence aux Soudanais ». Pour en avoir le coeur net, nous nous rapprochons de la direction d'Expresso Sénégal du Groupe Sudatel. A l'absence du Dg, Amir, c'est M. Atta, son assistant qui nous reçoit. «

    » Notre interlocuteur dit ignorer cette transaction et nous exige derédiger un questionnaire qu'il transmettra à la maison-mère sise à Dubaï. Avant de le quitter, il nous confirme de nous répondre dans un délai d'une semaine. Les mois passent et sans succès. Les tractations sont allées très vite. Après la tentative infructueuse de rachat de la licence Intercel Guinée -dont le ticket d'entrée sur le marché guinéen était facturé à près de 5 millions de dollars en 2006- par lacompagnie américaine Cellcom, le magnat sénégalais du business, Yérim Sow, a dû se tourner du côté de Sudatel. A l'époque, Cellcom, cherchait à renforcer sa plateforme téléphonique.

    En vérité, reconnait une source autorisée, qui a confirmé la vented'Intercel Guinée à Sudatel, « rien ne devait filtrer des négociationsjusqu'à la finalisation de l'opération » A priori, le deal consistait à ne pas attirer l'attention des autorités guinéenne. L'effervescence électorale entre les deux tours s'y prêtait bien. L'opération de vente semble être planifiée et concoctée sous le nez et la barbe des travailleurs d'Intercel Guinée.

    C'est la consigne donnée par le propriétaire de la compagnie de téléphonie, Yérim Sow , lequel ne voulait pas que l'affaire atterrisse sur la table du président d'alors, le général Sékouba Konaté. Selon des sources bien informées, qui ont suivi de très près le dossier,Yérim Sow avait mandaté son proche collaborateur, Djibril Tobe, Directeur général d'Intercel Guinée, pour mener les négociations. Ce dernier, en mission commandée avait multiplié les allers-retours Conakry- Dakar pour finaliser l'opération. « La vente est effective et a été notariée » précise une source.

    A Conakry, l'affaire agace les rares officiels proches de l'entourage du président Alpha Condé mis au parfum. Car, la donne a changé. A grande vitesse. Jusqu'ici l'information est gérée avec beaucoup de

    prudence et retenue par le palais qui est sur un pied de guerre. Au fur et à mesure que nos investigations avancent, on s'aperçoit que l'opération s'est effectuée en catimini sans y associer l'Etat.

    A la question de savoir si Yérim Sow se serait entouré de toutes les garanties nécessaires dans la vente de la licence d'Intercel Guinée, un habitué du milieu estime que dans ce genre d'opération, le jeune opérateur est très futé pour éviter des ennuis.

    Contacté par Les Afriques, un officiel est formel : «La Guinée n'estpas un souk. Pour tout opérateur, il y a une législation. Nous examinerons la véracité de l'opération et prendrons les mesures qui s'imposent » Pour l'instant, la grande inconnue reste le montant mis sur la table par Sudatel. Au Sénégal, elle a dû casquer 200 millions de dollars (soit 90 milliards Fcfa) pour s'adjuger une licence.

    Aminata
  • Le contentieux qui oppose l'Etat algérien au propriétaire de l'opérateur de téléphonie mobile Djezzy est de nouveau d'actualité. Sous une nouvelle forme, il faut le souligner, puisque le milliardaire égyptien Naguib Sawiris a revendu 51% d'Orascom Telecom Holding, dont Djezzy est la filiale en Algérie, au géant russe Vimpelcom. Actionnaire majoritaire, le P-DG du groupe russe Vimpelcom, Aleksandr V. Izosimov, devait être reçu hier à Alger par le ministre des Finances, M. Karim Djoudi, pour discuter du dossier du rachat de Djezzy.

    «Je vais certainement rencontrer le P-DG de Vimpelcom et la rencontre est programmée pour aujourd'hui dimanche», a déclaré à l'APS M. Djoudi, en marge de l'installation du Conseil national de la comptabilité. Les entretiens «vont porter sûrement sur le dossier d'Orascom Télécom Algérie (OTA)», a précisé le ministre, ajoutant que la partie russe a transmis à l'Algérie son souhait d'ouvrir des discussions sur le dossier Djezzy. Interrogé sur un éventuel règlement à l'amiable de ce contentieux qui permettrait à l'Algérie de prendre une participation de 51% dans le capital de Djezzy, M. Djoudi n'a pas souhaité donner plus de précisions et s'est suffi de dire : «Nous allons rencontrer le P-DG de Vimpelcom, puis après nous allons discuter». Certains affirment que l'opérateur russe désire abandonner l'option de l'arbitrage international, en proposant une solution à l'amiable qui va permettre à l'Algérie de prendre une participation majoritaire de 51% dans le capital de Djezzy. Il faut rappeler que le patron du géant russo-norvégien Vimpelcom avait offert de céder Djezzy à «un prix équitable» d'environ 8 milliards de dollars. «Nous sommes tout à fait ouverts à une vente si l'acquisition se fait à un prix normal, si cela se fait pour un prix équitable», avait-il déclaré en marge du forum russo-algérien organisé à l'occasion de la dernière visite du président russe, Dmitri Medvedev, à Alger.

    La réponse du gouvernement algérien a été claire. Le Premier ministre, Ahmed Ouyahia, a été très précis à ce sujet : «Je confirme que le gouvernement algérien va acheter définitivement l'opérateur mobile Djezzy. Nous n'avons qu'un seul vis-à-vis dans cette opération, à savoir Orascom Telecom Holding (OTH), avec qui nous avons signé un contrat». Très précis sur la procédure de cette opération, il avait expliqué : «Il y a eu beaucoup de spéculation sur la valeur de cet opérateur téléphonique, cela ne nous intéresse pas. Il y a des procédés et des experts internationaux à désigner par les deux parties pour effectuer cette évaluation. En cas de mésentente, là on peut recourir à une troisième partie pour trancher». Cette position n'a pas changé d'un iota. Karim Djoudi l'a encore affirmé hier en déclarant : «La position algérienne a été exprimée à plusieurs reprises et celle d'OTA a été aussi exprimée à plusieurs reprises.

    Les deux parties ont désigné des banques d'affaires pour faire l'évaluation financière de Djezzy, il y avait une obligation (portant) sur la production d'un protocole de confidentialité qui a un peu gêné la mise en oeuvre de l'évaluation.»Il est à rappeler que Djezzy, qui représente 40% du chiffre d'affaires du groupe de Sawiris, est au coeur d'une polémique depuis 2009. Naguib Sawariss a tenté de céder une première fois son groupe à l'opérateur sud-africain MTN, mais l'Etat algérien a refusé invoquant son droit de préemption. Il est à préciser aussi que Djezzy doit épurer sa situation vis-à-vis des organismes de l'Etat dans le respect des lois en vigueur. «Les propriétaires d'OTH doivent apurer leur situation fiscale. Ils doivent s'acquitter de 17 milliards de dinars encore et des pénalités engendrées en cas de retard.

    Ils doivent assainir leurs dettes envers l'ARPT (autorité de régulation de la poste et des télécommunications) et celles engendrées par la dissolution de leur opérateur du fixe Lacom (des salaires de travailleurs n'ont pas été versés). Les propriétaires d'OTH doivent répondre à l'accusation de la Banque d'Algérie de fraude dans les transferts de 190 millions de dollars. En dernier point, et comme le prévoit la loi algérienne, OTH devra verser 20% de la plus value au gouvernement algérien à la vente», avait expliqué le Premier ministre, Ahmed Ouyahia. Djezzy est interdit depuis deux ans de transfert de change en raison de sa situation litigieuse avec le fisc. Vimpelcom, en reprenant les actions d'OTH, a repris son passif qui sera évidemment mis en avant lors des négociations.

    La Tribune
  • Le programme de migration analogique pour le digital des services de transmission de données, de voix et d'images dans le pays sera exécuté à partir du premier trimestre 2012 par la commission multisectorielle créée par l'Exécutif angolais à cet effet, a révelé le vice-ministre des Télécommunications et Technologies, Aristides Safeca.

    Dans une déclaration à l'Angop sur le projet de l'Angola visant à accomplir les règles internationales de migration digitale jusque 2015, le gouvernant a éclairci que le processus pourrait débuter à cette année au cas où la proposition d'investiments présentée par la commission à l'Exécutif soient approuvés.

    "Nous croyons que l'objectif de 2015, de iveau international, nous allons l'accomplir, mais l'objectif de 2013 de la SADC ne sera pas réalisé dans tout le pays à peine dans les chefs-lieux", a-t-il souligné.

    Parlant des investissements, le dirigeant a expliqué que la valeur à appliquer au projet depend de l'approbation par l'Exécutif du scénario alors le budget général de l'Etat a plusieurs priorités et il revient à l'Exécutif de déterminer l'argent pour le programme.

    Concernant la participation du secteur privé, Aristides Safeca a indiqué qu'avec le début les hommes d'affaires participeraient avec la multiplicité d'offres de service.

    La migration digitale permettra également la convergence entre les services de communications électroniques et de diffusion. Elle facilitera surgissement des producteurs de contenus scientifiques, culturels, technologiques et poitiques.

    ANGOP
  • Med-IT 2011
    15, 16 & 17 novembre 2011, Casablanca, Maroc

    Organisé depuis 2009, MED-IT est un Salon Professionnel sur les Technologies de l'information réservé aux décideurs IT. L'événement qui se tient à l'Office des Changes, accueille chaque année plus de 4000 visiteurs professionnels et 170 exposants parmi lesquels les leaders mondiaux du secteur.
    Pour plus d’infos visitez le site:

  • Georges Andah vient d’être nommé au poste de directeur général de  Glo mobile au Ghana.

  • * Responsable Informatique – Burkina Faso
    Qualifications requises et expériences professionnelles
    •avoir un diplôme BAC+5: administrateur réseau, systèmes informatiques, ou toutes autres disciplines apparentées ou équivalent;
    •avoir une expérience professionnelle pratique prouvée cumulée de 10 ans dans une fonction
    d’Informaticien, administrateur réseau, ou toute fonction similaire dans une société ou institution publique ou privée;
    •avoir une expérience solide de dix (10) années en informatique ;
    •avoir au moins trois (03) ans d’expérience en administration réseau ;
    •avoir une excellente maitrise du système d’exploitation Windows et des applications MS Office ;
    •avoir une parfaite maîtrise des systèmes d’exploitation des réseaux (Windows NT, Windows 2000 Serveur, Windows 2003 Serveur, Unix, etc.) ;
    •avoir une bonne connaissance sur la sécurité dans TCP/IP: HTTPS, SSL, SSH, SOCKS, IPSec ;
    •avoir une bonne connaissance dans l’interconnexion de réseaux ;
    •avoir une bonne connaissance sur la lutte contre les menaces informatiques (spam, virus, vers, spywares, etc.) ;
    •avoir une bonne connaissance des routeurs CISCO
    •avoir une bonne connaissance sur la détection d'intrusion et les logiciels de détection et/ou prévention d'intrusion ;
    •avoir une bonne connaissance en bases de données (MySql, SQL Server) ;
    •avoir une Bonne expérience dans la création et de gestion des portails internet ;
    • avoir une Bonne connaissance du fonctionnement des messageries électroniques en général et
    d’Outlook en particulier ;
    • avoir une expérience dans la gestion de serveurs, de réseaux intranet et de communication ;
    • avoir de bonnes aptitudes de formateur et maîtriser les outils et méthodes d’animation de travaux de groupe ;
    • avoir une intégrité professionnelle, flexible, apte à travailler en équipe et sous pression ;
    • Faire preuve de rigueur et justifier de bonnes qualités morales.
    • Maîtrise de la langue française, bonne communication verbale et écrite ;
    • Maîtrise de l’anglais souhaité ;
    • Expérience pratique prouvée d’au moins cinq ans, dans une fonction similaire à celle définie dans les présents termes de référence serait un atout déterminant pour l’attribution définitive du poste ;
    • avoir au maximum 50 ans au 31 décembre 2012 ;
    • Etre disponible immédiatement.
    Pour plus d’informations ou pour poser votre candidature cliquez ici

    * Trophées MED-IT 2011 : du 15 au 17 novembre 2011
    Concours des meilleures Applications Mobiles Marocaines » en parallèle de la 3ème édition du Salon MED-IT qui se tiendra les 15, 16 et 17 novembre 2011 à l’Office des Changes de Casablanca.
    Au niveau mondial, le marché des applications mobiles est en pleine explosion et c’est un marché qui devrait encore tripler en 2012. Alors qu’un peu plus de 7 milliards d’applications ont été téléchargées en 2009, il devrait y avoir 50 milliards de téléchargements en 2012. En effet, avec 180 millions de smartphones vendus dans le monde, la demande ne fait qu’accroître. Côté marocain, la production d’applications mobiles n’en est encore qu’à ses débuts, mais afin d’encourager ce secteur très prometteur, le Salon Med-IT a décidé d’en faire le thème majeur des Trophées de cette année, avec l’organisation d’un concours des meilleures applications mobiles marocaines.
    Sponsorisé par Samsung (Sponsor Gold), Air Télécom (Sponsor Silver)et en partenariat avec le Réseau Mobile Monday, ce concours a pour objectif de promouvoir le développement d’Applications mobiles au Maroc à travers une compétition qui permettra d’identifier les meilleures applications. Ce concours sera un accélérateur pour susciter de nouvelles vocations, découvrir et valoriser de jeunes talents.
    Le thème du concours : simplifiez le quotidien grâce au mobile.
    Le mobile est aujourd’hui omniprésent dans la vie quotidienne mais pourrait rendre encore de bien nombreux services à ses millions d’utilisateurs. Ce sont donc ces applications mobiles simples, utiles et pratiques qui sont particulièrement attendues.
    Priorité aux applications androïd et Bada
    Les applications devront être développées sur au moins une plateforme (Androïd et Bada) et devront être accessibles via des app-stores. Elles devront présenter une réelle innovation tant sur le plan produit que sur le packaging, l’utilisation ou la technique. Les applications développées spécialement pour le concours seront particulièrement encouragées par le jury.
    Les 3 meilleures applications seront présentées lors d’une Cérémonie officielle qui se tiendra à l’Office des Changes le mercredi 17 novembre 2011 à 16h00. Les 3 lauréats recevront un Trophée et des cadeaux offerts par SAMSUNG, sponsor gold de l’événement. SAMSUNG remettra également un cadeau exceptionnel à la meilleure application développée sous plateforme BADA.
    La participation au concours est gratuite et ouverte à tout développeur indépendant, étudiant, ou jeune entreprise installée sur le territoire marocain.
    Inscription en ligne du 15 mai au 18 octobre 2011 :
    www.med-it.com (Rubrique Trophées)
    Contact :
    Jamila Mannani – jmannani@xcom.ma
    0522 87 51 21

"Dernières Nouvelles"-Edition Française, 21 octobre 2011, No 169

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Editorial

  •  En Afrique, les opérateurs mobiles se retrouvent dans une situation ou le trafic données est supérieur au trafic voix mais le chiffre d’affaire du trafic données est bien plus petit. En plus avec les données, la congestion du réseau est plus rapide qu’avec la voix. Beaucoup de gens assument que la technologie LTE va résoudre ce problème de congestion due à la demande données mais la bande passante c’est comme une drogue: plus vous en avez et plus vous en utilisez. Russell Southwood analyse la montée de la bonne vieille technologie Wi-fi  qui s’impose de plus en plus par elle-même et pose certains challenges aux opérateurs mobiles africains.

    Le rêve des fournisseurs alternatifs aux opérateurs mobiles était que ceux qui offraient des accès Wi-fi accaparerait le trafic voix statique du client et laisserait le trafic voix mobile aux opérateurs mobiles. L’accès mobile non soumis à licence (unlicensed mobile access (UMA)) a été une tentative de la technologie Wi-fi d’offrir une alternative au trafic voix. Malheureusement cela n’a jamais marché. Lorsque la technologie Wi-MAX était à son apogée, la data mobile est devenue une promesse qui ne s’est jamais vraiment matérialisée. Avec l’arrivée de la technologie LTE, le Wi-MAX est considéré comme une technologie de transition. En d’autres termes, « bye bye  Wi-MAX et bonjour LTE ».

    Avec l’augmentation du nombre de smartphones et l’arrivée des tablets sur le marché africain, la consommation de données est en augmentation malgré les limites que les prix de ces gadgets imposent. Des estimations affirment que 20-40% du trafic données dans les marchés des pays développés transitent sur des réseaux Wi-fi. Les principales raisons sont que les opérateurs mobiles ne peuvent suivre en terme de réseau avec la demande grandissante en données. L’Afrique ne différa de ce modèle que par un certain niveau.

    Voila le dilemme pour les opérateurs mobiles. Il y a un petit nombre de clients de valeur qui génèrent un important  pourcentage des profits sur leur chiffre d’affaires. Ces clients se « promènent de plus en plus avec des appareils divers: smartphones, tablets et ordinateur portable qui leur permettent de choisir pour les données (en termes de prix et de qualité) quel réseau ils vont utiliser.

    La menace pourrait venir de ceux qui offriront des meilleurs prix et un réseau moins congestionné. Google a signé un partenariat avec Wananchi au Kenya pour offrir des points d’accès Wi-fi sous le label « Wazi ». Bien qu’il s’agisse d’un projet pilote dans un centre commercial de Nairobi, le point d’accès compte plus de 500 clients habituels.

    Cela marcherait entre les FAIs et les opérateurs mobiles de proposer une offre de service de roaming unifié (comme Boingo au Kenya) disposant d’un système d’échange pour traiter les questions de vente au détail et de facturation en gros. Un tel service comblera le vide dans les circonstances ou il n’y a pas de partenaires pour la vente en gros et son déploiement est prévu au Kenya et à travers l’Afrique de l’Est. Les dix premières minutes sont gratuites et ensuite il en coûtera 47 cents US pour une heure et 4.73 dollars US pour un mois.

    En Afrique du Sud, la société Internet Solutions (IS) a confirmé que son projet de construction de plusieurs réseaux Wi-fi  métropolitains était dans une phase avancée. Ces réseaux seront à même d’offrir des services dans des zones urbaines avec une forte densité de population.

    Les opérateurs mobiles dans la région ont bien vu la menace et certains essayent de proposer la même chose tout en ce penchant sur le modèle commercial. Un opérateur a déployé 1,500 points d’accès Wi-fi dans un pays mais le projet a créé d’importants problèmes pour eux et cela affectera tout autre opérateur souhaitant se lancer dans le même créneau.

    Le réseau de transmission a besoin d’être amélioré pour gérer le trafic supplémentaire. Comme pour les stations de base, les points d’accès ont besoin d’électricité 24 heures 24 et parfois il y a des problèmes avec les autorités locales pour l’obtention de permis pour ériger les pylônes.

    Le but est de couvrir des zones géographiques relativement étendues sur lesquelles seront répartis des points d’accès sur des pylônes d’une hauteur de 20-50 mètres. D’autres projets explorent les réseaux Wi-fi mesh mais ce type de réseau peut revenir cher lorsqu’il faut installer des unités pour assurer la redondance. Quelque soit les limitations, un réseau Wi-fi mesh peut assurer une couverture de l’ordre de 50kms. Si les deux types de services opèrent dans des bandes de fréquences non soumises à licence, il est possible de réduire les coûts mais cela peut occasionnellement affecter la qualité de service.

    Durant une interview avec Fierce Wireless, Hans Beijner, le responsable marketing produit à Ericsson a expliqué que la technologie Wi-fi est significativement différente de l’infrastructure mobile existante. La qualité de service offerte par le Wi-fi est dépendante du type de déploiement et des méthodes de transmissions. « Il est possible d’avoir une très bonne performance pour les services données avec la technologie Wi-fi mais cela n’est toujours pas assez bon pour la voix » dit-il. « La technologie Wi-fi n’a pas la même capacité à gérer la demande que les réseaux cellulaires et cela se traduit par une congestion totale ». Sachant que la congestion des services données et voix est un trait commun entre la plupart des zones urbaines en Afrique, le problème de capacité des points d’accès Wi-fi se posera aussi.

    La peur des opérateurs mobiles est de voir leur clientèle de valeur choisir d’autres fournisseurs pour leurs services données parce qu’ils ont une meilleure qualité/prix et de ne les utiliser que pour des appels peu chers. Peut-être même, cette clientèle utilisera la version mobile de Skype dans les points d’accès Wi-fi pour réduire sa facture de téléphone. Le prix actuel des appels et des données en roaming en fait une grande tentation pour les visiteurs internationaux. Pour les clients qui dépensent peu mais qui sont des grands consommateurs de SMS, l’attraction du mail va finalement devenir apparente si cela ne l’est déjà pas.

    Mais avec la technologie LTE, ne s’agit-il pas d’une autre période de transition comme la technologie WiMAX ? Peut-être, mais… Le mais vient de Mark Rayner, le DG de DStv Mobile, qui observe que la demande en bande passante impliquant l’accès à du contenu « riche » va continuer à augmenter. « La technologie LTE facilitera la vie des gens qui produisent du contenu. La nouvelle bande passante suscitera plus de demande comme la haute-défnition. Par conséquent la bataille pour la bande passante continue ainsi que la bataille pour un prix juste ».

    La technologie LTE offre des vitesses théoriques de téléchargement étonnantes en utilisant beaucoup de fréquences et celles-ci ne sont pas gratuites. Un opérateur mobile majeur en Afrique nous a dit qu’il allait installer des stations de base LTE avec 2-8 paires de fibre. Certains opérateurs mobiles sont prêts et dispose d’un important réseau fibre mais pour d’autres les couts seront prohibitifs. La vitesse de la technologie LTE ne sera alors équivalente qu’au lien le moins rapide sur le réseau.

    Par conséquent la vieille technologie Wi-fi a encore des beaux jours devant elle. Mais ce qui ferait vraiment une différence c’est si un régulateur offrait une série de licences pilotes à de opérateurs nouveaux ou existants pour offrir des servies voix et données par Wi-fi utilisant des fréquences non soumises à licence dans des zones mal desservies.

  • Les tensions entre le ministre des Technologies de l'Information et de Communication (TIC) et le CEO de Mauritius Telecom semblent loin de devoir s'apaiser. Cela alors Tassarajen Chedumbrum Pillay déclare qu'il n'a rien contre France Telecom.

    Une rencontre a eu lieu entre Edouard Courtial, secrétaire d'Etat français chargé des Français de l'étranger, et le Premier ministre Navin Ramgoolam. Les deux hommes se sont félicités du partenariat entre France Telecom et Mauritius Telecom. Cette rencontre a permis d'aplanir les problèmes entre le ministère des TIC et France Telecom.

    « Le ministre sait très bien que France Telecom n'a pas grand-chose à voir avec le traitement des employés », confie un proche collaborateur du ministre des TIC. « Il sait très bien que si les employés se retrouvent actuellement dans une situation difficile, c'est à cause de Sarat Lallah, et le ministre veut mettre un terme à cette tyrannie », poursuit-il.

    Le non-renouvellement de contrats de 17 technical assistants de MT constitue un sujet de mécontentement pour le ministre. Ces derniers sont, en effet, employés sur une base contractuelle depuis 2006. « Une personne ne peut rester contractuelle éternellement, et du coup subir les caprices de la direction », avait fulminé le ministre.

    Ainsi, en ce qui concerne ses relations avec la direction de France Telecom, le ministre a apparemment décidé de changer de ton et a même multiplié des rencontres avec certains cadres de la compagnie.

    Même le Premier ministre, Navin Ramgoolam, aurait décidé de faire l'impasse sur les sorties successives de son ministre à l'égard de France Telecom. En effet lors de sa rencontre avec Edouard Courtial, la semaine dernière, Navin Ramgoolam n'a pas manqué de mettre en avant le partenariat qu'il a jugé fructueux avec France Telecom.

    L’Express
  • Plus question pour le gouvernement de dépendre des opérateurs privés des télécoms dans les communications officielles. Avec l'appui financier de l'Exim Bank of China, le gouvernement s'apprête à se doter d'un réseau autonome de communication. Fournisseur d'équipements, le chinois Huawei.

    Le partenariat entre la Chine et la RDC se porte bien. Il est d'autant plus fructueux que la Chine agissant par sa banque de développement, Exim Bank of China, vient d'accorder au gouvernement des facilités financières nécessaires, soit plus de 40 millions Usd, pour la constriction du réseau des télécommunications autonomes du gouvernement.

    C'est le vendredi 14 octobre 2011 à Kinshasa que cet accord de financement a été scellé entre le ministre des Finances, Matata Ponyo Mapon, représentant la RDC, et Wang Fade, directeur général adjoint d'Exim Bank of China.

    Peu bavard à l'occasion, le ministre des Finances a juste émis le voeu de voir cet accord supplémentaire servir à «consolider le partenariat entre les deux parties», formulant l'espoir de voir la signature d'autres accords dans divers secteurs de la vie national. Par ailleurs, il a rassuré de la ferme volonté et de la nette détermination du gouvernement de « travailler avec Exim Bank of China pour l'intérêt de deux parties ».

    Pour sa part, le directeur général d'Exim Bank of China a réitéré que tout l'intérêt que la Chine porte sur la RDC. «Le Congo est un pays important pour nous », a-t-il dit, soulignant que, la banque étatique et d'orientation de la politique chinoise, Exim Bank, est « prête » à aider la RDC dans divers domaines.

    Ainsi, Exim Bank, note-t-il, a déjà bouclé huit projets en faveur de la RDC, financés à des taux préférentiels pour un total de huit milliards de yuan. En séjour à Kinshasa, il a jugé «très fructueux» ses contacts avec les autorités congolaises.

    Revenant sur le projet de construction d'un réseau des télécommunications pour le gouvernement, il a fait savoir que «sa bonne exécution va bénéficier au développement des télécommunications et à la sécurité dans les communications gouvernementales», rappelant, par ailleurs, que «notre banque est disposée à renforcer son soutien aux autorités de la RDC avec des prêts préférentiels dans les domaines de l'énergie, des télécommunications et des infrastructures».

    Le Potentiel
  • L'écoute des appels téléphoniques ainsi que le piratage téléphonique ont été abordés en long et en large ce mardi 18 octobre à l'heure des questions adressées au Premier ministre. L'occasion pour Navin Ramgoolam d'apporter des éclaircissements concernant ces pratiques.

    Aucune recommandation visant à autoriser l"interception des communications téléphoniques n'a été faite par l'Information and Communication Technologies Authority (ICTA) au ministre des TIC à ce jour. Ni n'a-t-elle reçu de demande d'un quelconque opérateur en ce sens, ni n'a-t-elle donné de directives à quelque fournisseur de service de communication sous l'article 25 de la Prevention of Terrorism Act (PoTA).

    C'est la précision apportée par le Premier ministre, Navin Ramgoolam, en réponse à une question du député de l'opposition Adil Ameer Meea concernant l'interception des appels téléphoniques. Ce dernier voulait savoir si des instructions ont été données aux opérateurs suivant les récentes allégations visant à déstabiliser le pays.

    Catégorique, Navin Ramgoolam a rappelé que l'écoute des appels téléphoniques est seulement autorisée sous certaines conditions spécifiques et que nos lois en font provision sous des paramètres bien établis dans l'intérêt de la souveraineté de l'Etat, de la sécurité nationale et de l'ordre public.

    Lorsque la police veut avoir recours à des écoutes téléphoniques dans le cadre des procédures pénales, ils doivent réclamer un ordre à un juge en Chambre. Ceci afin d'autoriser un opérateur ou un de ses employés d'intercepter, de retenir ou de divulguer à la police un message ou une communication téléphonique. L'ordre du juge demeure valide pour une période de 60 jours.

    Une fois l'ordre obtenu, la police le transmet à l'opérateur téléphonique le nom et l'adresse de la personne à êtres mise sous écoute. L'opérateur ne fournit qu'une facture détaillée contenant les indications des appels entrants et sortants du téléphone mobile, téléphone fixe, ou autres services de télécommunications. Aucun contenu des communications n'est révélé à la police.

    L'ICT Act de 2001 et le Prevention of Terrorism Act de 2002 prévoient qu'il peut y avoir des interférences avec un message de télécommunications dans certaines circonstances particulières.

    A une question supplémentaire du député Ameer Meea de savoir où en est-on avec le projet de loi l'Interception Telecommunication Bill, qui avait été annoncé en 2006 au Parlement, Navin Ramgoolam a répliqué qu'une telle proposition avait été faite sous certaines circonstances. Il a alors mentionné l'affaire Caterino, ex-steward d'Air France qui avait été a arrêté par les autorités mauriciennes pour trafic de Subutex.

    Par ailleurs, le piratage des appels téléphoniques (telephone hacking) a été évoqué par le leader de l'opposition. Paul Bérenger a interrogé le Premier ministre sur ce problème très répandu, selon lui, dans les medias et autres. Il voulait savoir si le chef du gouvernement envisageait de présenter un texte de loi visant à protéger les citoyens contre de telles pratiques.

    Une occasion pour Navin Ramgoolam de revenir sur la Media Law en préparation par Jeffrey Robertson : « Après les événements au Royaume-Uni, Jeffrey Robertson se montre encore plus prudent avec la Media Law. Nous étudions également la possibilité d'une Privacy Law afin de parer à tout piratage téléphonique », a-t-il souligné.

    L’Express
  • La Sonatel refuse « catégoriquement » de payer la facture de 5 milliards de F Cfa que lui réclame l'Artp au titre de la surtaxe appliquée sur les appels internationaux entrants. Pour mieux muscler sa position, la société de téléphonie envisage même une grève à partir du 3 novembre prochain ainsi qu'un « plan B ».

    La Sonatel n'est pas prête à céder dans la guerre acharnée qui l'oppose à l'Etat à travers l'Artp(Agence de régulation des télécommunications et des postes) sur le terrain de la surtaxe sur les appels internationaux entrants. Elle vient de servir une fin de non recevoir à son désormais « ennemi » qui lui réclame la bagatelle de 5 milliards de FCfa au titre de la surtaxe qui frappe les appels internationaux entrants au Sénégal, depuis août dernier, date de la signature du Décret instituant ladite surtaxe.

    Interrogée par nos confrères de Sud Fm, hier, jeudi 13 octobre, le secrétaire général des travailleurs de la Sonatel, section télécommunication, Mme Ndiaye Founé Niang, a fait savoir que « le dossier de la surtaxe sur les appels entrants avance négativement pour les travailleurs de la Sonatel et pour la population en général parce qu'aujourd'hui nous vivons une situation très compliquée ».

    Aujourd'hui, souligne-t-elle, « nous ne comptons pas payer du tout simplement par ce que, lorsque le décret est sorti, il était bien marqué que nous devions appliquer la surtaxe à partir du 1er septembre mais puisse que dans le même décret, il est disposé que le ministre de tutelle est chargé de l'exécution du décret, nous avons saisi ce dernier, en l'occurrence M. Guirassy, pour lui faire comprendre que techniquement nous ne pouvons pas appliquer la surtaxe à partir de cette date ».

    Ndaye Founé Niang a fait croire que M. Guirassy leur avait donné son accord verbal quant à leur requête. « Nous avons exigé son accord par écrit mais malheureusement, il ne l'a pas fait et pourtant, il était ampliataire de toutes les lettres que nous avons adressées à nos partenaires pour informer de notre intention de n'appliquer la mesure qu'à partir du 1er octobre ». Mme Founé Niang de confier que « depuis le 1er octobre 2001, la surtaxe est appliquée et depuis, huit pays dont le Burkina Faso, le Togo, le Mali, le Bénin, la Guinée Bissau, le Cameroun, la Côte d'Ivoire et le Niger nous ont révélé que eux aussi en feraient de même. Donc la Sonatel, à partir de la semaine prochaine, va revoir ses tarifs envers ces pays parce que s'ils appliquent la réciprocité, nous sommes obligés d'agir ».

    A la question de savoir si les Sénégalais devraient donc s'attendre à une hausse de ce côté, Ndaye Founé Niang de lancer : « Inévitablement ! Les Sénégalais doivent s'attendre à une hausse. Partout où nous sommes passés, on leur a expliqué cela pour leur faire comprendre que la réciprocité va nous être appliqué. Ce que ces pays sus cités ont fait en adressant des correspondances à la Sonatel pour lui dire qu'ils vont augmenter d'un pourcentage et que dès la semaine prochaine, la Sonatel va publier les nouveaux tarifs pour entrer dans ces pays-là ». Sur ce point, elle avise qu'une réunion est convoquée en début de semaine pour fixer les nouveaux tarifs des appels sortants vers ces pays.

    Par rapport aux 5 milliards de FCfa, le secrétaire général des travailleurs de la Sonatel, section télécommunication a tenu à préciser : « les autorités n'ont pas encore perçu l'argent mais à la Sonatel la mesure est appliquée depuis le 1er octobre. Je ne sais pas pour les autres opérateurs mais chez nous, c'est effectif depuis cette date. L'Artp nous a envoyé une correspondance pour demander qu'on lui envoie les CDR (Call data record) dans un premier temps afin qu'ils puissent faire la facture. Nous avons refusé parce que nous n'avions pas appliqué donc, nous ne devions pas payer. C'est par la suite qu'ils ont fait une facture estimée et pour eux, en se basant sur les dernières informations, nous leur devions 5 milliards de F Cfa ».

    Devant la persistance des autorités, les travailleurs de la Sonatel ont déposé un préavis de grève depuis le 24 août dernier. Ndaye Founé Niang a confié que les différents collectifs ont signé avec le directeur du travail leur préavis qui est en cours. « Donc à partir du 3 novembre, nous pouvons légalement aller en grève. Nous avions pourtant la possibilité de l'entamer depuis le 1er octobre dernier mais puisse que c'était un jour férié, nous avons retenu la deuxième date ». D'ici là, renseigne Mme Founé Niang, les travailleurs de la Sonatel vont poursuivre leur lobbying pour sensibiliser et nouer des alliances avec d'autres secteurs qui sont en lutte.

    « Aujourd'hui, nous sommes en train d'analyser la situation pour essayer de mettre sur pied un plan d'action B. Nous y sommes et la plénière s'est réunie hier (mercredi 12 octobre 2011, ndlr) et nous comptons nous réunir encore en début de semaine pour pouvoir très rapidement commencer à mettre sur pied ce plan B dont vous aurez le contenu ».

    Sud Quotidien
  • Le directeur de cabinet du ministre de la Communication, des télécommunications et des Tics, Mamadou Yandé Touré à présidé, jeudi, une réunion du comité national chargé d'organiser l'Icann 42 au Sénégal. Une manière d'amorcer la dernière ligne droite, pour ce qui est des préparatifs, avant la tenue de cette grande réunion sur la gouvernance de l'Internet.

    Dakar s'apprête à accueillir la 42e réunion de l'Icann ((gouvernance mondiale de l'Internet). La rencontre est prévue du 23 au 28 octobre. Elle sera précédée, à partir du 19 octobre, de la réunion des ministres africains en charge des Tics.

    Pour parfaire l'organisation, le comité national a tenu une réunion, jeudi, au ministère de la Communication, pour amorcer la dernière ligne droite pour ce qui est des préparatifs. 1200 participants sont attendus à cette grande assemblée qui se tient pour la première fois en Afrique francophone.

    « Il s'agira d'avoir le même point de vue sur Internet, a affirmé le directeur de cabinet du ministre de la Communication, Mamadou Yandé Touré. L'objectif est de défendre la position de l'Afrique. »

    Dans la perspective de réussir l'organisation de l'Icann 42 à Dakar, le comité national d'organisation a passé en revue les points suivants : hôtellerie, accueil à l'aéroport, Sonatel, Senelec, transport, santé. Pour ce qui est du volet sécurité, il fera prochainement l'objet d'une réunion ad hoc, a informé le directeur de cabinet.

    A la suite de Mamadou Yandé Touré, les représentants des différents services ont exposé l'état des préparatifs. Pour accueillir les hôtes du Sénégal, le Méridien Président sera le site principal d'hébergement à côté des autres réceptifs. Sur ce point, l'essentiel du travail a été fait. Autre secteur qui a retenu l'attention du comité national, c'est celui de l'électricité.

    « Pas d'inquiétudes pour la zone des Alamadies. Elle sera mise hors délestage. Le directeur général de la Senelec a été instruit dans ce sens », a assuré le représentant de la société d'électricité du Sénégal.

    Pour une bonne communication durant cette grande rencontre, la Sonatel rassure que le réseau sera prêt et la connectivité avec l'hôtel Méridien sera couverte en wifi. De plus, l'opérateur de télécommunication activera les systèmes « roaming » pour les pays participants aux fins de leur permettre de garder leurs puces téléphoniques actifs.

    Avant de fouler le sol sénégalais, les participants de certains pays sont tenus de présenter un visa d'entrée. Seulement, déplore le commissaire Diédhiou, chargé de la délivrance des visas, les choses avancent lentement. « On a pas encore atteint 100 visas » a-t-il déploré.

    Pour contourner l'obstacle, le représentant du ministère des affaires étrangères, M. Bèye, a suggéré de reproduire le même schéma que celui utilisé lors du 3e Festival mondial des arts nègres. Une fois à l'aéroport de Dakar, les participants doivent être bien accueillis avec leurs bagages.

    Soucieux de réussir ce point, le représentant du secrétaire général de la Haute autorité de l'aéroport Léopold Sédar Senghor, Bouna Sémou Koumé a émis l'idée d'impliquer le commissaire spécial de l'aéroport, la douane, la gendarmerie, l'Agence des aéroports du Sénégal. Une fois à Dakar, les participants seront convoyés par Sénécartour qui a été retenu comme prestataire.

    Le volet sanitaire est bien pris en compte par le comité national. A cet effet, il est retenu de mettre en éveil le dispositif médical de la région de Dakar. L'objectif est de parer à toute éventualité.

    Le Soleil
  • Ce pourrait être un rude concurrent pour les onéreux cours particuliers qui échappent désormais à tout contrôle. Le site www.ecole numerique.tn, lancé par le ministère de l'Education à l'occasion de cette rentrée scolaire 2011-2012, est un espace numérique qui propose aux élèves de tous les niveaux de l'enseignement primaire et secondaire, aux enseignants et aux parents, une version en ligne de la totalité des manuels scolaires, avec des cours conçus par des enseignants et même des séries d'exercices relatifs à différentes disciplines. Une large gamme de ressources numériques pédagogiques, conformes aux programmes officiels, qui ne manque actuellement qu'aux élèves de 1ère et 2e années du secondaire : lacune qui devrait cependant être comblée dans les prochains jours.

    L'initiative tombe à pic en ce début d'année scolaire, marquée par une certaine flambée des prix: pas seulement ceux des produits alimentaires, également et en particulier ceux des para-scolaires, comme les livres d'applications pratiques des cours, édités par des privés, et dont les prix ont grimpé rapidement ces dernières années.

    Le site web offre à l'élève l'opportunité de télécharger le contenu des documents et de travailler les exercices des différentes disciplines qui, normalement, figurent dans les CD accompagnant les livres scolaires. Les visiteurs intéressés peuvent également avoir accès aux vidéos de plus de 200 cours différents, qui ont été enregistrés les années passées par la chaîne nationale, dans le cadre du programme de la télévision scolaire, au profit des élèves candidats aux concours et examens nationaux de fin de cycle.

    L'approche basée sur l'animation est utilisée pour certaines matières, comme les mathématiques. Ce qui permet une meilleure assimilation. Une banque de sujets d'examens et de devoirs accompagnés de leurs corrections, fournis par des enseignants qualifiés, sont également disponibles sur le site. Les enseignants sont, en effet, invités à participer, de manière régulière, à l'enrichissement des contenus du site en publiant leurs propres productions, ainsi qu'à faire part de leurs commentaires et recommandations. Une manière de favoriser également les échanges et la communication entre les enseignants, et d'aider les plus jeunes en début de carrière.

    Cette initiative est louable à plus d'un titre. Destinée à renforcer les capacités d'apprentissage des cours dispensés en classe, elle évite également aux parents des dépenses supplémentaires en cas de perte de livres par exemple, et permet aux élèves d'avoir accès à une large gamme de cours et de travaux pratiques sans avoir à acheter toute la panoplie de para-scolaires disponibles sur le marché et/ou multiplier le nombre d'heures de cours particuliers.

    La Presse
  • Directeur général de l'Agence de l'informatique de l'Etat (Adie), Tamsir Amadou Salif Bâ décline les avantages de cette agence qui permet à l'administration de se passer des entreprises de téléphonie mobile et fixe. Grâce à cette indépendance, l'Etat économise, selon les premières estimations, quelque 4 milliards de francs Cfa par an. Le directeur de l'Adie dévoile aussi les projets de cette agence.

    Quelle est la mission de la structure que vous dirigez ?

    L'Agence de l'informatique de l'Etat (Adie) a pour mission de mutualiser, de rationaliser et d'harmoniser l'informatique de l'Etat. Donc, elle est chargée de mettre en oeuvre la politique informatique définie par le chef de l'Etat.

    Ce, en outillant l'administration, en la dotant du matériel informatique et des accessoires informatiques pour l'aider à travailler en parfaite adéquation avec ce qui se fait ailleurs dans le monde. En somme, c'est pour permettre à l'Etat du Sénégal d'avoir une administration efficace et sécurisée capable de satisfaire les citoyens.

    Entre autres outils, vous avez développé l'intranet gouvernemental. Pouvez-vous en parler pour les non-initiés ?

    C'est un ensemble. Il y a d'abord les infrastructures. Aujourd'hui, tous les bâtiments de l'administration sont interconnectés. Les gens peuvent partager des applications.

    Ceux qui travaillent sur le budget au ministère des Finances peuvent le faire à distance. Il y a aussi la messagerie gouvernementale (.gouv) utilisé par tous les ministères. Et il y a beaucoup d'exemples qu'on peut citer.

    Pour dire que l'intranet est un partage de l'information en temps réel et en toute sécurité. L'intranet gouvernemental est synonyme de sécurité, de fiabilité et de gain de temps pour l'administration.

    Et cela se répercute inévitablement sur les administrés. Il faut dire que, avant, l'administration était caractérisée par sa lourdeur, avec beaucoup de papiers et surtout par une perte de temps pour les administrés.

    Vous travaillez donc seulement pour l'Etat ?

    Et pour les populations aussi. Nous travaillons pour les deux. Nous travaillons pour l'Etat, mais au bénéfice de la population. Par exemple, nous avons mis en place une infrastructure, une fibre optique, qui couvre pratiquement sept régions et onze capitales départementales. Elle aide les zones enclavées à accéder à l'internet et aux applications utilisées par l'administration.

    Si je prends par exemple les sites des démarches administratives, un citoyen qui se trouve à Kédougou et qui a besoin d'un document peut consulter le site pour avoir les informations et connaître les démarches à suivre pour obtenir un document administratif. Pour l'administration, l'Etat payait des coûts de connexion très élevés à la Société nationale de télécommunications (Sonatel).

    Actuellement, toute l'administration est couverte en connexion internet, grâce à l'Adie. Même les gens qui sont hors de Dakar, dans les régions les plus reculées ont la connexion.

    Maintenant, à la place des clés Usb et autres supports pour transporter des informations jusqu'à Dakar, les fonctionnaires utilisent des connexions internet. Imaginez le temps gagné par l'administration pour traiter des informations.

    Cependant, des gens qui vivent à Dakar, mais nés dans les régions, continuent de se déplacer dans leur lieu de naissance pour obtenir un document administratif.

    Nous sommes en train de travailler avec les collectivités locales par rapport aux extraits de naissance et autres documents administratifs. Je disais que nous avons déjà fait l'infrastructure et là nous sommes en train de travailler sur le contenu. Je prends un exemple sur le Tva. Les grandes entreprises gagnent beaucoup de temps et donc d'argent en faisant leurs déclarations en ligne.

    C'est la télé-déclaration. Donc ce sera pareil pour le citoyen. D'ici peu de temps, pour avoir son extrait de naissance, on n'aura plus besoin de se déplacer jusqu'à son lieu de naissance. La personne pourra se connecter, introduire ses données et peut-être qu'on va lui envoyer son document par internet.

    Vous dites dans peu de temps. Pouvons-nous avoir une idée précise de la durée ?

    Notre domaine, ce sont les infrastructures, la connectivité, etc. Il y a d'autres ministères comme celui des Collectivités locales qui s'occupent d'autres programmes. Et cela est du ressort de ses ministères. Mais, je pense qu'ils sont en train d'y travailler avec des Coréens.

    Nous avons travaillé avec eux sur les termes de référence et tout est presque acquis. Le financement ne va pas tarder. Ils sont en négociation et, à court terme, tout cela sera solutionné.

    Combien avez-vous permis à l'Etat d'économiser ?

    Nos tableaux de simulation ont donné 4 milliards de francs Cfa par an. Et on peut aller au-delà de ce chiffre, parce que nous n'avons pris en compte que 6 mille terminaux mobiles et 6 mille terminaux fixes. Si nous avons quinze mille, imaginez combien l'Etat pourra économiser. Avant, l'Etat dépensait, en téléphonie mobile comme fixe, environ 17 milliards de francs Cfa.

    Mais le gain n'est pas seulement pour l'Etat. Ces infrastructures sont aussi bénéfiques pour les citoyens. Je prends un exemple sur la téléphonie que nous avons mise en place. Dans les régions, les ambulanciers et tous les agents de santé ont des téléphones mobiles. De ce fait, on peut évacuer un malade en un temps record.

    Autrefois, parfois dans certaines zones, l'ambulancier ou le médecin n'était pas accessible ; vous pouvez maintenant appeler le ministère de la Santé qui vous donnera toutes les informations nécessaires.

    Est-ce que votre travail peut induire une réduction du coût du téléphone pour le citoyen ?

    Peut-être en partie. Le citoyen qui habite, par exemple, Matam qui utilisait son téléphone pour avoir l'ambulancier, l'infirmier, le médecin etc, peut maintenant simplement contacter l'ambulancier.

    Et ce dernier va utiliser le téléphone de l'Etat pour contacter par exemple le médecin ou la direction de l'hôpital. Le malade n'a plus besoin d'appeler quatre agents de santé pour régler son problème.

    Il lui suffit juste d'appeler une seule personne dans le circuit et celle-ci pourra donner l'information à toute la chaîne. Là, on fait économiser aux citoyens un coût de téléphone impossible à mesurer.

    Est-ce que votre action n'est pas limitée si l'on sait qu'une grande partie de la population n'a pas accès aux outils informatiques ?

    Le président de la République l'a compris et c'est pourquoi, il fait tout pour donner à chaque Sénégalais un ordinateur. Il a compris que seule la révolution numérique peut aider au développement d'un pays comme le nôtre qui n'a pas de ressources naturelles.

    C'est aussi le cas des pays comme le Japon et la Corée. Si nous arrivons à mailler l'ensemble du pays et à outiller tous les Sénégalais du matériel pour leur permettre d'accéder à l'information, nous pourrons révolutionner notre Sénégal, surtout dans le domaine de l'éducation.

    Votre travail ne va-t-il pas léser les opérateurs de téléphonie ?

    Je ne pense pas. Ce sont nos partenaires, nous travaillons ensemble. Nous ne sommes pas là pour les concurrencer. Si l'Etat du Sénégal en arrive là, c'est grâce à l'appui de ces entreprises, en particulier la Sonatel.

    Elles ont aussi leur part de contribution pour le développement du pays. La Sonatel doit aider l'Etat à mieux servir les citoyens. Et l'Etat a aussi pour mission d'aider ces opérateurs de téléphonie pour l'émergence du pays dans le domaine de la révolution numérique.

    Quels sont vos projets ?

    C'est, d'abord, doter le maximum d'agents de l'administration de téléphone mobile pour la rendre accessible et couvrir l'ensemble du pays avec la fibre optique. Sur ce point, nous travaillons sur le programme coréen qui est en phase terminale.

    A terme, tous les bâtiments de l'administration seront arrosés par le réseau Wimax avec l'intégration des Pabx. Ainsi, l'agent qui est à Tambacounda pourra appeler à tout moment dans les autres villes sans payer et sans passer par un opérateur de téléphonie.

    Si on arrive à doter toute l'administration de téléphone mobile et d'ordinateur, cela pourra aider le citoyen à avoir l'information dont il a besoin. A long terme, nous allons travailler sur les applications.

    L'Adie qui a constaté que les Sénégalais sont intelligents - car nous encadrons beaucoup de stagiaires - s'est dit : pourquoi ne pas essayer de vendre les applications à l'international comme le système Gaïnde qui est connu dans le monde. Nous avons des projets qu'on aimerait faire connaître à l'étranger pour faire connaître l'expertise sénégalaise et favoriser des rentrées d'argent.

    Tout cela suppose des moyens. Avez-vous les moyens de votre politique ?

    Effectivement, l'argent est le nerf de la guerre. Notre budget tourne seulement autour de 1,1 à 1,2 milliard de francs Cfa. Ce qui est insuffisant si l'on sait que le fonctionnement absorbe beaucoup d'argent à cause de la taille du réseau.

    On fait le tour des régions pour faire la maintenance de nos infrastructures avec seulement vingt-quatre ingénieurs, alors qu'au même moment Sonatel, Expresso emploient beaucoup d'ingénieurs. Vous imaginez aisément que nos ingénieurs et nos techniciens souffrent pour maintenir ce réseau.

    Néanmoins, nous essayons de faire avec le peu que nous avons. Nous avons beaucoup investi, en terme, de réseaux. Nous avons investi entre le projet chinois et coréen environ 50 millions de dollars pour mettre en place toute cette infrastructure. Et si nous n'avons les moyens de l'entretenir, cela peut porter préjudice à l'Etat.

    Si on ne nous aide pas à maintenir et à entretenir ce que nous avons investi, cela va poser des problèmes. J'ai même fait des correspondances dans ce sens pour que l'administration ait conscience de pérenniser nos investissements. Nous avons vraiment besoin de maintenir notre investissement de taille, parce que nous avons commencé à voir les résultats.

    Les lignes fixes qui coûtaient à l'Etat 500 millions de francs Cfa par an sont maintenant supprimées. Avec ce réseau, l'Etat a fait des économies d'échelle. C'est pourquoi, ce réseau mérite d'être maintenu.

    Vous êtes au Technopôle, dans la banlieue. J'imagine que vous êtes sollicité par les populations ?

    Je suis en train d'installer des 'points-jeunesse', des sortes de cyber-café à Guédiawaye où les jeunes du quartier pourront accéder gratuitement à l'internet et donc à l'information.

    Chaque 'point-jeunesse' comprend une dizaine d'ordinateurs avec une connexion internet. Les jeunes qui préparent, par exemple, leur mémoire de licence ou de maîtrise y seront encadrés.

    En plus, pendant les vacances ces 'points-jeunesse' servent de lieu de formation aux étudiants qui ont une certaine assise intellectuelle dans des applications comme photoshop, dreamwever, etc. Ces 'points-jeunesse' sont bien organisés, car on y accède par des cartes. Chaque maison dispose d'une carte.

    En même temps, on met à la disposition des gens les contacts des hommes importants du quartier comme l'imam, le plombier, le menuisier, etc qui seront accessibles à tous.

    Pour le moment, nous avons installé deux points fonctionnels : un à Notaire et un autre à Sahm. D'ici le mois de février, nous comptons installer une dizaine de 'points-jeunesse' dans cette partie de la banlieue dakaroise, si toutefois, mes moyens me le permettent.

    Vous vous investissez dans une ville, Guédiawaye, dirigée par des hommes de l'opposition.

    Cheikh Sarr et Malick Gakou sont des amis, je les apprécie. Toutefois, je ne dis pas qu'ils font bien leur travail. Je ne peux pas donner une appréciation par rapport à leurs réalisations, parce qu'ils ne sont là que depuis deux ans. Par contre, je vois le travail important abattu par le président de la République pour la ville de Guédiawaye.

    Je suis né et j'ai grandi à Guédiawaye et j'ai vu les nombreuses réalisations faites par le président Wade. Il a fait des actions concrètes, il a une vision particulière par rapport à notre ville.

    Même si le lycée Limamou Laye connaît des difficultés qui sont en passe d'être réglées, on constate néanmoins des écoles, des postes de santé, des routes, qui n'existaient pas auparavant.

    'Le président Wade garde toujours ses capacités pour continuer à diriger ce pays. En plus, je préfère de loin un président âgé qui réfléchit à un homme jeune qui conduit le pays dans le mauvais chemin.'

    Pourtant, on constate le chômage et les inondations à Guédiawaye

    Le chômage, c'est à l'échelle internationale. Et je vous assure que le chômage est plus important dans les grandes villes comme New York, Paris, Londres, etc. Nous qui avons l'habitude de voyager, nous avons vu pire dans les pays développés. Cela veut dire que la crise est internationale.

    Le président fait des efforts, même s'il n'est pas évident d'avoir des résultats en un temps record. Chez nous, à Guédiawaye, il faut former les jeunes, les aider à prendre conscience de leur capacité et avoir un métier. C'est pourquoi j'ai créé les 'points-jeunesse'.

    Cette année, il y a eu moins d'inondations, parce que des dispositions ont été prises. D'autre part, il faut sensibiliser les gens qui vivent dans les zones inondables afin qu'ils quittent. C'est la seule solution.

    Nous sommes à cinq mois des élections et Me Sèye demande à Wade d'aller se reposer.

    Je préfère quelqu'un qui travaille à quelqu'un qui parle, quel que soit l'âge. Le travail d'un président de la République demande un effort physique certes, mais l'essentiel de ce travail est intellectuel. Et le président Wade garde toujours ses capacités pour continuer à diriger ce pays.

    En plus, je préfère de loin un président âgé qui réfléchit à un homme jeune qui conduit le pays dans le mauvais chemin. Les dires de Me Sèye ne tiennent pas. Ce sont les résultats qui sont importants.

    Une fois de plus, il faut arrêter de parler d'âge. Je n'ai pas de leçons à donner à Sèye, mais il ne faut pas attendre quatre mois du scrutin pour demander à quelqu'un d'aller se reposer. Contrairement à Me Sèye, je dis que le président Wade peut faire plus que ce qu'il a fait.

    Wal Fadjri
  • Les TIC produisent-elles une nouvelle croissance ou contribuent-elles uniquement à accélérer la croissance?

    Le secteur le plus dynamique de l'économie mondiale est sans nul doute celui de l'économie numérique (télécommunications, audiovisuel, logiciel, services informatiques, services en ligne), dont le taux de croissance représentera d'ici 2015 environ 30% de la croissance mondiale. C'est pourquoi les Etats-Unis d'Amérique y ont investi, jusqu'ici, deux fois plus que la France et une fois et demie plus que le Japon. Quant aux PAF, ils investissent, depuis 5 ans, de plus en plus dans ce secteur, mais sans discernement et épisodiquement. Si cette démarche ne se rationalisait pas, ils risqueraient de se retrouver en déficit grave en matière de TIC et de leurs usages. En vue d'éviter cette situation, ils gagneraient à procéder à l'élaboration de plans de développement de l'économie numérique articulés autour de certains axes prioritaires. Il s'agit surtout de la baisse des tarifs d'accès aux réseaux.

    Les prix d'accès à l'Internet en Afrique francophone, exclusion faite des pays d'Afrique du Nord, sont les plus élevés du monde. Deux causes majeures à cette situation:

    La première est la faiblesse du réseau de la concurrence qui affiche dans les pays les mieux dotés en infrastructure de télécommunications (Tunisie et Maroc) trois compétiteurs. Or, dans le domaine des télécommunications, une concurrence, à trois où même à dix, signifie la création automatique d'un cartel se partageant le marché plutôt que l'influençant, à la baisse, pour mieux vendre. Comme le marché des télécommunications des PAF, dans sa structure actuelle et selon la manière dont il est segmenté (nouvelle licence à chaque nouvelle activité), ne favorise pas la concurrence, on peut s'attendre à ce que le cartel perdure, consacrant ainsi le niveau élevé des tarifs. Certes, le poids démographique des PAF et la croissance qu'ils affichent peuvent entraîner les fournisseurs d'accès à baisser leurs tarifs, mais c'est une hypothèse improbable car, d'une part, les PAF n'ont pas de stratégie unifiée vis-à-vis des équipementiers et des fournisseurs d'accès et d'autre part ces derniers, champions du capitalisme, n'ont pas pour habitude de baisser la variable prix. Dans cette situation,â-‚que faire? Cinq démarches factuelles pourraient aboutir à baisser les tarifs:

    La première consisterait pour chacun des PAF à réduire les taxes sur les abonnements d'accès.

    La seconde consisterait à unir leurs forces dans une espèce de «centrale de concertation sur les prix d'accès à Internet», érigée en vis-à-vis unique puissant des fournisseurs en vue de les persuader d'infléchir les prix à la baisse.

    La troisième serait de créer, dans chaque pays, des «IXP» pour points d'échanges Internet, c'est-à-dire des carrefours où peuvent se rencontrer les fournisseurs d'accès, permettant d'éviter le recours à des passerelles internationales très onéreuses.

    La quatrième consisterait à prendre le soin d'engager de sérieuses négociations avec les opérateurs et les équipementiers en matière de tarifs d'accès, chaque fois qu'il s'agit de passer des marchés en matière d'infrastructures de télécommunications. A titre d'exemple, parce que les pays de l'Afrique de l'Ouest ont négligé d'incorporer les tarifs d'accès dans le cahier des charges relatif à l'exploitation du câble sous-marin Sat3, ils ont été acculés par l'opérateur à acquitter des droits exorbitants.

    La cinquième serait, pour les PAF à faible densité de réseaux téléphoniques fixes, d'avoir recours aux réseaux sans fil. Mais, cela n'ira pas de soi, car les firmes de l'industrie mobile, faute de pouvoir accéder aux portions de spectre dans les basses fréquences, sont dans l'incapacité de délivrer leurs services dans les zones enclavées et rurales. En outre, l'environnement législatif dans la plupart des PAF est peu favorable, pour l'instant, à la connexion sans fil. Mais l'enjeu numérique vaut la peine de faire l'effort de contourner ces difficultés et d'imiter en cela l'Inde dont les abonnés connectés à Internet via des réseaux sans fil sont 5 fois plus nombreux que les abonnés aux lignes fixes. Ces cinq démarches pourraient être conduites simultanément dans le cadre de la centrale de concertation sur les prix d'accès à l'Internet.

    En tout cas, pour l'instant, la baisse des tarifs d'accès à Internet, quel que soit le type de connexion, paraît un objectif improbable. En effet, le manque de moyens des PAF pour se doter d'infrastructures ramifiées et à la pointe de la technologie, l'absence de coordination de leurs stratégies et politiques en matière d'accès à Internet face au pouvoir des équipementiers, l'insuffisance de leurs ressources financières pour subventionner les tarifs d'accès, la persistance de la crise mondiale ainsi que la concentration de la technologie entre les mains d'une douzaine d'opérateurs érigés en cartel relèguent à l'infini la perspective d'une révision des prix à la baisse. Somme toute, l'expression «Aujourd'hui avec Internet c'est uniquement le demandeur qui paie et quand il est moins en position de force eh bien il paie plus cher» s'applique parfaitement aux PAF, surtout qu'ils avancent en rangs dispersés, ce qui a pour effet de les placer en position de faiblesse, donc de mettre leurs internautes en position de payer plus cher. Or, pour payer plus cher, il faut avoir le revenu correspondant, ce qui exclut tous ceux qui ne l'ont pas, c'est-à-dire, de loin, les plus nombreux.

    A la fin de cette première décennie du XXIe siècle, le profit est devenu, sous tous les cieux, un droit sacré de l'être humain, parce que, selon les gourous du libéralisme, c'est grâce à lui que l'homme acquiert sa liberté. C'est vrai, mais cette liberté est-elle égale pour tous? Certainement pas, car au vu de ce qui se passe sur la scène mondiale, les Etats, les organismes et les individus qui fabriquent le plus de profit sont ceux qui ont le plus de liberté: liberté de conquête pour les Etats; liberté de monopole du marché et de manipulation de la variable prix pour les organismesâ-'; liberté de s'octroyer des pouvoirs presque illimités pour les individus. Etats, organismes et êtres humains sont donc libres mais aux degrés de liberté que leur confèrent les niveaux de leurs revenus. Par exemple, y a-t-il une limite, à part celle qui est autorisée par la loi, à la liberté d'une personne dont les revenus sont supérieurs à ceux d'un Etat? A contrario, peut-on parler de liberté pour le milliard de travailleurs dont le salaire est inférieur à 150 dollars par mois? Et que dire alors de l'autre milliard de personnes qui vivent au-dessous du seuil de pauvreté!â-‚Peut-on parler de liberté pour toutes ces franges de la société? Evidemment non. Si c'est non, n'est-il pas juste d'affirmer que la liberté presque totale que donne le profit maximal à un individu revient à restreindre celle d'un autre? N'est-il pas juste d'affirmer, également, que les 8 ou 10 Messieurs X, africains, dont la fortune s'élève à plus de 150 milliards de dollars, privent 500.000.000 de leurs concitoyens de la liberté d'acquérir un PC, d'accéder à Internet, de contribuer au développement des arts, des lettres et de la scienceâ-‚du continent?

    La vérité est que la discrimination économique et culturelle est un état de la société qui perdure depuis la création de l'espèce humaine et dont aucune réforme n'est arrivée à bout. Faut-il conclure qu'il faut faire avec? Evidemment non, puisque le degré d'intensité de cette discrimination a baissé, de siècle en siècle, sous l'effet de l'instruction, de la science, des réformes humanitaires et des actions de solidarité. Il est, par conséquent, impératif de continuer dans cette voie, de manière à acculer la discrimination dans ses derniers retranchements, notamment par une meilleure répartition des richesses. La création, par Bill Gates, archimilliardaire, d'un consortium d'aide au développement est, d'ailleurs, révélatrice du trouble du monde de l'argent face à la montée des périls sécrétés par la persistance des discriminations économiques, sociales et culturelles. C'est, assurément, un signe fort, en matière de lutte contre les fractures qui meurtrissent la société, dont la fracture numérique. Mais combien de richissimes africains ont-ils adhéré à sa démarcheâ-‚ou l'ont imité?

    La Presse
  • Le patron du groupe Teylium, a finalisé la cession de l'opérateur Intercel Guinée à Sudatel. Une grosse transaction négociée en catimini et qui agace à Conakry.

    Dans son édition électronique du 8 septembre 2010, Les Afriques annonçait en exclusivité les négociations entre la compagnie Sudatel, qui opère via la marque Expresso au Sénégal et Chinguitel en Mauritanie et l'opérateur de téléphonie, Intercel Guinée. Les informations en notre possession autour des tractations engagées depuis mars 2010 étaient mises sous embargo jusqu'à la fin du processus des négociations.

    Début avril 2011, à bord d'un avion sur la ligne Bamako-Niamey, un Vip du secteur des télécoms, s'est empressé de nous balancer une confidence : « Ah ! Monsieur des Afriques ! Petit Yérim a vendu sa licence aux Soudanais ». Pour en avoir le coeur net, nous nous rapprochons de la direction d'Expresso Sénégal du Groupe Sudatel. A l'absence du Dg, Amir, c'est M. Atta, son assistant qui nous reçoit. «

    » Notre interlocuteur dit ignorer cette transaction et nous exige derédiger un questionnaire qu'il transmettra à la maison-mère sise à Dubaï. Avant de le quitter, il nous confirme de nous répondre dans un délai d'une semaine. Les mois passent et sans succès. Les tractations sont allées très vite. Après la tentative infructueuse de rachat de la licence Intercel Guinée -dont le ticket d'entrée sur le marché guinéen était facturé à près de 5 millions de dollars en 2006- par lacompagnie américaine Cellcom, le magnat sénégalais du business, Yérim Sow, a dû se tourner du côté de Sudatel. A l'époque, Cellcom, cherchait à renforcer sa plateforme téléphonique.

    En vérité, reconnait une source autorisée, qui a confirmé la vented'Intercel Guinée à Sudatel, « rien ne devait filtrer des négociationsjusqu'à la finalisation de l'opération » A priori, le deal consistait à ne pas attirer l'attention des autorités guinéenne. L'effervescence électorale entre les deux tours s'y prêtait bien. L'opération de vente semble être planifiée et concoctée sous le nez et la barbe des travailleurs d'Intercel Guinée.

    C'est la consigne donnée par le propriétaire de la compagnie de téléphonie, Yérim Sow , lequel ne voulait pas que l'affaire atterrisse sur la table du président d'alors, le général Sékouba Konaté. Selon des sources bien informées, qui ont suivi de très près le dossier,Yérim Sow avait mandaté son proche collaborateur, Djibril Tobe, Directeur général d'Intercel Guinée, pour mener les négociations. Ce dernier, en mission commandée avait multiplié les allers-retours Conakry- Dakar pour finaliser l'opération. « La vente est effective et a été notariée » précise une source.

    A Conakry, l'affaire agace les rares officiels proches de l'entourage du président Alpha Condé mis au parfum. Car, la donne a changé. A grande vitesse. Jusqu'ici l'information est gérée avec beaucoup de

    prudence et retenue par le palais qui est sur un pied de guerre. Au fur et à mesure que nos investigations avancent, on s'aperçoit que l'opération s'est effectuée en catimini sans y associer l'Etat.

    A la question de savoir si Yérim Sow se serait entouré de toutes les garanties nécessaires dans la vente de la licence d'Intercel Guinée, un habitué du milieu estime que dans ce genre d'opération, le jeune opérateur est très futé pour éviter des ennuis.

    Contacté par Les Afriques, un officiel est formel : «La Guinée n'estpas un souk. Pour tout opérateur, il y a une législation. Nous examinerons la véracité de l'opération et prendrons les mesures qui s'imposent » Pour l'instant, la grande inconnue reste le montant mis sur la table par Sudatel. Au Sénégal, elle a dû casquer 200 millions de dollars (soit 90 milliards Fcfa) pour s'adjuger une licence.

    Aminata
  • Le contentieux qui oppose l'Etat algérien au propriétaire de l'opérateur de téléphonie mobile Djezzy est de nouveau d'actualité. Sous une nouvelle forme, il faut le souligner, puisque le milliardaire égyptien Naguib Sawiris a revendu 51% d'Orascom Telecom Holding, dont Djezzy est la filiale en Algérie, au géant russe Vimpelcom. Actionnaire majoritaire, le P-DG du groupe russe Vimpelcom, Aleksandr V. Izosimov, devait être reçu hier à Alger par le ministre des Finances, M. Karim Djoudi, pour discuter du dossier du rachat de Djezzy.

    «Je vais certainement rencontrer le P-DG de Vimpelcom et la rencontre est programmée pour aujourd'hui dimanche», a déclaré à l'APS M. Djoudi, en marge de l'installation du Conseil national de la comptabilité. Les entretiens «vont porter sûrement sur le dossier d'Orascom Télécom Algérie (OTA)», a précisé le ministre, ajoutant que la partie russe a transmis à l'Algérie son souhait d'ouvrir des discussions sur le dossier Djezzy. Interrogé sur un éventuel règlement à l'amiable de ce contentieux qui permettrait à l'Algérie de prendre une participation de 51% dans le capital de Djezzy, M. Djoudi n'a pas souhaité donner plus de précisions et s'est suffi de dire : «Nous allons rencontrer le P-DG de Vimpelcom, puis après nous allons discuter». Certains affirment que l'opérateur russe désire abandonner l'option de l'arbitrage international, en proposant une solution à l'amiable qui va permettre à l'Algérie de prendre une participation majoritaire de 51% dans le capital de Djezzy. Il faut rappeler que le patron du géant russo-norvégien Vimpelcom avait offert de céder Djezzy à «un prix équitable» d'environ 8 milliards de dollars. «Nous sommes tout à fait ouverts à une vente si l'acquisition se fait à un prix normal, si cela se fait pour un prix équitable», avait-il déclaré en marge du forum russo-algérien organisé à l'occasion de la dernière visite du président russe, Dmitri Medvedev, à Alger.

    La réponse du gouvernement algérien a été claire. Le Premier ministre, Ahmed Ouyahia, a été très précis à ce sujet : «Je confirme que le gouvernement algérien va acheter définitivement l'opérateur mobile Djezzy. Nous n'avons qu'un seul vis-à-vis dans cette opération, à savoir Orascom Telecom Holding (OTH), avec qui nous avons signé un contrat». Très précis sur la procédure de cette opération, il avait expliqué : «Il y a eu beaucoup de spéculation sur la valeur de cet opérateur téléphonique, cela ne nous intéresse pas. Il y a des procédés et des experts internationaux à désigner par les deux parties pour effectuer cette évaluation. En cas de mésentente, là on peut recourir à une troisième partie pour trancher». Cette position n'a pas changé d'un iota. Karim Djoudi l'a encore affirmé hier en déclarant : «La position algérienne a été exprimée à plusieurs reprises et celle d'OTA a été aussi exprimée à plusieurs reprises.

    Les deux parties ont désigné des banques d'affaires pour faire l'évaluation financière de Djezzy, il y avait une obligation (portant) sur la production d'un protocole de confidentialité qui a un peu gêné la mise en oeuvre de l'évaluation.»Il est à rappeler que Djezzy, qui représente 40% du chiffre d'affaires du groupe de Sawiris, est au coeur d'une polémique depuis 2009. Naguib Sawariss a tenté de céder une première fois son groupe à l'opérateur sud-africain MTN, mais l'Etat algérien a refusé invoquant son droit de préemption. Il est à préciser aussi que Djezzy doit épurer sa situation vis-à-vis des organismes de l'Etat dans le respect des lois en vigueur. «Les propriétaires d'OTH doivent apurer leur situation fiscale. Ils doivent s'acquitter de 17 milliards de dinars encore et des pénalités engendrées en cas de retard.

    Ils doivent assainir leurs dettes envers l'ARPT (autorité de régulation de la poste et des télécommunications) et celles engendrées par la dissolution de leur opérateur du fixe Lacom (des salaires de travailleurs n'ont pas été versés). Les propriétaires d'OTH doivent répondre à l'accusation de la Banque d'Algérie de fraude dans les transferts de 190 millions de dollars. En dernier point, et comme le prévoit la loi algérienne, OTH devra verser 20% de la plus value au gouvernement algérien à la vente», avait expliqué le Premier ministre, Ahmed Ouyahia. Djezzy est interdit depuis deux ans de transfert de change en raison de sa situation litigieuse avec le fisc. Vimpelcom, en reprenant les actions d'OTH, a repris son passif qui sera évidemment mis en avant lors des négociations.

    La Tribune
  • Le programme de migration analogique pour le digital des services de transmission de données, de voix et d'images dans le pays sera exécuté à partir du premier trimestre 2012 par la commission multisectorielle créée par l'Exécutif angolais à cet effet, a révelé le vice-ministre des Télécommunications et Technologies, Aristides Safeca.

    Dans une déclaration à l'Angop sur le projet de l'Angola visant à accomplir les règles internationales de migration digitale jusque 2015, le gouvernant a éclairci que le processus pourrait débuter à cette année au cas où la proposition d'investiments présentée par la commission à l'Exécutif soient approuvés.

    "Nous croyons que l'objectif de 2015, de iveau international, nous allons l'accomplir, mais l'objectif de 2013 de la SADC ne sera pas réalisé dans tout le pays à peine dans les chefs-lieux", a-t-il souligné.

    Parlant des investissements, le dirigeant a expliqué que la valeur à appliquer au projet depend de l'approbation par l'Exécutif du scénario alors le budget général de l'Etat a plusieurs priorités et il revient à l'Exécutif de déterminer l'argent pour le programme.

    Concernant la participation du secteur privé, Aristides Safeca a indiqué qu'avec le début les hommes d'affaires participeraient avec la multiplicité d'offres de service.

    La migration digitale permettra également la convergence entre les services de communications électroniques et de diffusion. Elle facilitera surgissement des producteurs de contenus scientifiques, culturels, technologiques et poitiques.

    ANGOP
  • Med-IT 2011
    15, 16 & 17 novembre 2011, Casablanca, Maroc

    Organisé depuis 2009, MED-IT est un Salon Professionnel sur les Technologies de l'information réservé aux décideurs IT. L'événement qui se tient à l'Office des Changes, accueille chaque année plus de 4000 visiteurs professionnels et 170 exposants parmi lesquels les leaders mondiaux du secteur.
    Pour plus d’infos visitez le site:

  • Georges Andah vient d’être nommé au poste de directeur général de  Glo mobile au Ghana.

  • * Responsable Informatique – Burkina Faso
    Qualifications requises et expériences professionnelles
    •avoir un diplôme BAC+5: administrateur réseau, systèmes informatiques, ou toutes autres disciplines apparentées ou équivalent;
    •avoir une expérience professionnelle pratique prouvée cumulée de 10 ans dans une fonction
    d’Informaticien, administrateur réseau, ou toute fonction similaire dans une société ou institution publique ou privée;
    •avoir une expérience solide de dix (10) années en informatique ;
    •avoir au moins trois (03) ans d’expérience en administration réseau ;
    •avoir une excellente maitrise du système d’exploitation Windows et des applications MS Office ;
    •avoir une parfaite maîtrise des systèmes d’exploitation des réseaux (Windows NT, Windows 2000 Serveur, Windows 2003 Serveur, Unix, etc.) ;
    •avoir une bonne connaissance sur la sécurité dans TCP/IP: HTTPS, SSL, SSH, SOCKS, IPSec ;
    •avoir une bonne connaissance dans l’interconnexion de réseaux ;
    •avoir une bonne connaissance sur la lutte contre les menaces informatiques (spam, virus, vers, spywares, etc.) ;
    •avoir une bonne connaissance des routeurs CISCO
    •avoir une bonne connaissance sur la détection d'intrusion et les logiciels de détection et/ou prévention d'intrusion ;
    •avoir une bonne connaissance en bases de données (MySql, SQL Server) ;
    •avoir une Bonne expérience dans la création et de gestion des portails internet ;
    • avoir une Bonne connaissance du fonctionnement des messageries électroniques en général et
    d’Outlook en particulier ;
    • avoir une expérience dans la gestion de serveurs, de réseaux intranet et de communication ;
    • avoir de bonnes aptitudes de formateur et maîtriser les outils et méthodes d’animation de travaux de groupe ;
    • avoir une intégrité professionnelle, flexible, apte à travailler en équipe et sous pression ;
    • Faire preuve de rigueur et justifier de bonnes qualités morales.
    • Maîtrise de la langue française, bonne communication verbale et écrite ;
    • Maîtrise de l’anglais souhaité ;
    • Expérience pratique prouvée d’au moins cinq ans, dans une fonction similaire à celle définie dans les présents termes de référence serait un atout déterminant pour l’attribution définitive du poste ;
    • avoir au maximum 50 ans au 31 décembre 2012 ;
    • Etre disponible immédiatement.
    Pour plus d’informations ou pour poser votre candidature cliquez ici

    * Trophées MED-IT 2011 : du 15 au 17 novembre 2011
    Concours des meilleures Applications Mobiles Marocaines » en parallèle de la 3ème édition du Salon MED-IT qui se tiendra les 15, 16 et 17 novembre 2011 à l’Office des Changes de Casablanca.
    Au niveau mondial, le marché des applications mobiles est en pleine explosion et c’est un marché qui devrait encore tripler en 2012. Alors qu’un peu plus de 7 milliards d’applications ont été téléchargées en 2009, il devrait y avoir 50 milliards de téléchargements en 2012. En effet, avec 180 millions de smartphones vendus dans le monde, la demande ne fait qu’accroître. Côté marocain, la production d’applications mobiles n’en est encore qu’à ses débuts, mais afin d’encourager ce secteur très prometteur, le Salon Med-IT a décidé d’en faire le thème majeur des Trophées de cette année, avec l’organisation d’un concours des meilleures applications mobiles marocaines.
    Sponsorisé par Samsung (Sponsor Gold), Air Télécom (Sponsor Silver)et en partenariat avec le Réseau Mobile Monday, ce concours a pour objectif de promouvoir le développement d’Applications mobiles au Maroc à travers une compétition qui permettra d’identifier les meilleures applications. Ce concours sera un accélérateur pour susciter de nouvelles vocations, découvrir et valoriser de jeunes talents.
    Le thème du concours : simplifiez le quotidien grâce au mobile.
    Le mobile est aujourd’hui omniprésent dans la vie quotidienne mais pourrait rendre encore de bien nombreux services à ses millions d’utilisateurs. Ce sont donc ces applications mobiles simples, utiles et pratiques qui sont particulièrement attendues.
    Priorité aux applications androïd et Bada
    Les applications devront être développées sur au moins une plateforme (Androïd et Bada) et devront être accessibles via des app-stores. Elles devront présenter une réelle innovation tant sur le plan produit que sur le packaging, l’utilisation ou la technique. Les applications développées spécialement pour le concours seront particulièrement encouragées par le jury.
    Les 3 meilleures applications seront présentées lors d’une Cérémonie officielle qui se tiendra à l’Office des Changes le mercredi 17 novembre 2011 à 16h00. Les 3 lauréats recevront un Trophée et des cadeaux offerts par SAMSUNG, sponsor gold de l’événement. SAMSUNG remettra également un cadeau exceptionnel à la meilleure application développée sous plateforme BADA.
    La participation au concours est gratuite et ouverte à tout développeur indépendant, étudiant, ou jeune entreprise installée sur le territoire marocain.
    Inscription en ligne du 15 mai au 18 octobre 2011 :
    www.med-it.com (Rubrique Trophées)
    Contact :
    Jamila Mannani – jmannani@xcom.ma
    0522 87 51 21

Issue no 576 14th October 2011

node ref id: 23246

Top story

  • In Africa, mobile operators are finding themselves in a situation where their data traffic exceeds their voice traffic but the income from data is much smaller. The crunch is that data also congests the network far more quickly than voice. Many assume that LTE will deal with this surge of data use but bandwidth is like a recreational drug: the more you have access to, the more you use. Russell Southwood looks at how good, old-fashioned Wi-Fi has suddenly come into its own and how it poses a number of challenges for Africa’s mobile operators.

    The dream of the insurgent challengers to the mobile operators was that those providing hot-spots would take the static part of a customer’s voice use, leaving the mobile operator with “the road”. Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA) was an attempt to integrate Wi-Fi voice offload but it never worked. When Wi-MAX was at its high point, mobile voice was a promise that seemed always round the corner but never quite with us. Now LTE has arrived and Wi-MAX is a “transitional technology”: in other words, it will soon be, so long it’s been good to know you.

    With the rise of smartphones and the steady arrival of tablets in Africa, data use is increasing within the constraints of what is still largely premium pricing. Estimates vary but somewhere between 20-40% of data traffic in developed markets is going over Wi-Fi networks, The main reason for this “Wi-Fi offloading” is that the mobile operators can’t keep up in network terms with the rapid growth in data. Africa’s pattern will differ only by degree.

    So here’s the dilemma for the mobile operators. There are a small number of premium customers who generate the largest percentage of your high-margin income. Increasingly they are wandering round with different devices – smartphones, tablets and laptops – that allow them to pick and choose for data (by price and quality) which network they want to be on.

    So the threat comes from those who might provide better pricing and less congested access. Google has partnered with Kenya’s Wananchi to provide (through a new business unit) Wazi hot-spots. It has piloted one at The Junction shopping mall in Nairobi and has 500+ regular customers.

    It will work with ISPs and mobile operators to offer a unified roaming scheme (like Boingo) and has a back-end exchange that deals with retail and wholesale billing. It will fill in gaps where it doesn’t have wholesale partners and will roll out in Kenya and across East Africa. You get the first ten minutes free and then it costs you KS50 (US47 cents) an hour or KS500 (US$4.73) a month.

    In another part of the continent, In September South Africa’s IS confirmed that it was at an advanced stage of planning for a project that could see it build out a series of metropolitan Wi-Fi networks to serve business campuses and city streets in densely populated urban areas.

    The region’s mobile operators have not been slow to see the threat and some are moving pre-emptively into the space and exploring the business model. One operator has rolled out 1,500 hot-spots in one country but the experience has raised significant issues for them that will affect any hot-spot operator at scale.

    The backhaul network needs to be upgraded to handle additional traffic and from a new source. As with base stations, the hot-spots need to have 24 hour guaranteed power and there are sometimes licensing issues for masts with city hall or local government. Note to Governments: rein in greedy local authorities who are increasing the costs of closing the digital divide.

    The aim is to provide relatively large geographic areas that are covered by 20-50 metre Wi-Fi hot-spots. Others are looking at Wi-Fi mesh networks but these can be expensive if they are provisioned with back-up units. However, whatever its limitations, a Wi-Fi mesh network can provide up to 50 kms coverage. If both operate in unlicensed spectrum, this reduces the cost of delivery, although on occasions it reduces the quality of delivery.

    But Wi-Fi is a significantly different technology to existing mobile infrastructure as Hans Beijner, Ericsson's head of product marketing management told Fierce Wireless. The QoS provided by Wi-Fi is very dependent on how it is deployed and what backhaul techniques are used. "It's possible to get close to ‘carrier-grade' performance with Wi-Fi for data services, but not good enough for voice," he said. "Also, the technology doesn't have the same admission controls that you have with cellular, which can result in complete congestion." Since voice and data congestion is a fairly constant feature of most urban African networks, the issue is surely hot-spot capacity.

    The fear of the mobile operators is that their high-margin, premium customers will choose to “sleep with” other data providers who are more cost effective and only come home to them for cheap voice. Or, heaven forbid, they might start using mobile Skype clients with these less fussy hot-spot providers to reduce their outgoings. The cost of both current voice and data roaming charges makes this a great temptation for the international visitor. For lower-end customers who are heavy SMS users, the attractions of e-mail will soon become apparent if they are not already.

    But with LTE, isn’t this really another of those transitional moments, like the coming and going of WiMAX? Maybe but…The but is as Mark Rayner, CEO, DStv Mobile observed that the upward suck of bandwidth required to use “rich” content will continue to grow:”LTE will come and make the lives of content owners vastly different. But the new bandwidth will bring more demands like HD. So we will still need to be fighting for bandwidth and fighting for it at the right price.”

    Also, LTE provides those impressive theoretical download and upload speeds by using a lot of spectrum and all of that will have to be paid for. In addition, one of Africa’s key mobile operators told us that they would be provisioning each LTE base station with 2-8 fibre cores. Some mobile operators are ready for this moment and have extensive fibre backbones but the cost for others will be punishing. All that speedy new LTE data will only go as fast as the slowest link in the network.

    So good, old-fashioned Wi-Fi still has legs to run for some time to come. But what would really make a difference would be if a regulator was to offer a series of 2 year pilot licences to new and existing operators to offer data and voice using Wi-Fi in the unlicensed spectrum in un-serviced areas.

     


    This week on the BalancingActAfrica You Tube channel:

    Henk Kleynhans, Chair of WAPA on TV White Spaces proposals in South Africa

    Steve Song, CEO, Village Telco on the TV White Spaces Workshop

    Richard Bell, CEO, Wananchi Group in Kenya on international fibre connectivity, local TV content for its Zuku bouquet and financing its vision:

    Kamal Budhabbatti, Craft Silicon on its banking products and m-money payment product ELMA

    Riyaz Bachani, CTO, Wananchi on its Wazi hot-spots partnership with Google

    Want up-to-the-minute breaking news? Balancing Act's Twitter feed provides a combination of breaking news for telecoms, Internet and broadcast in Africa, direct tweets from countries visited and access to the occasional rumours circulating. You can follow us on:
    @BalancingActAfr

     

More

  • CDN World Summit 2011
    26 - 28 October 2011, Hilton Hotel Paddington, London.

    The 3rd annual CDN World Summit promises to be the largest and most
    comprehensive CDN event ever.The full value chain is represented including content providers,broadcast operators, traditional and telco CDNs, represented by industry leaders such as; FilmFlex Movies, BT Wholesale and AT&T.
    For more information visit here:

    Digital Migration and Spectrum Policy Summit
    29 October to 01 November 2011, Nairobi, Kenya.

    For more informtion visit here:

    Africa Com
    9 - 10 November, 2011, Cape Town, SA

    Join 5,000 of Africa's leading telcos in Cape Town this November for what is set to be the biggest and best AfricaCom yet.  The conference agenda has doubled to incorporate a record 150+ speakers presenting across 4 strategic keynotes, 11 in-depth focus sessions and 2 co-located events - AfricaCast and Enterprise ICT Africa.  What's more 250+ international solutions providers will be showcasing their latest products in the networking exhibition. For more information visit here:

    World Telecom Summit 2011
    9-11 November, 2011, Singapore Marriott Hotel

    World Telecom Summit 2011 is the must-attend event of the year. Bringing together top level executives and key decision makers of preeminent telecommunications companies from around the world, this is the perfect opportunity to meet the who's who of the telecommunications and mobile industry.  It is the summit that addresses the evolving needs of telecommunications and mobile community. Get up to date with the latest innovations and technological advancements in the industry and gain access to the minds of the movers and shakers of the industry.
    Take advantage of the Limited Early Bird Rates for Operator Pass!
    For more information please visit here:  or contact Vivian at vivian.ho@olygen.com

    AITEC East Africa East Africa Summit
    2-3 November, Kenyatta International Conference Centre, Nairobi

    East Africa has become one of the fastest growing ICT investment markets and the region's ICT Summit it designed as the region's forum to bring together users and vendors of ICT technology in a stimulating educational and business networking environment. The 2011 Summit programme will focus on the following themes:
    ¥    Data Security
    ¥    Mobile Apps
    ¥    Cloud Computing
    For the conference programme, log on to the organiser's website here: To book exhibition space, email info@aitecafrica.com

    Mobile Web in Africa 2011
    22 - 25 November, 2011, Johannesburg, South Africa

    Harnessing the potential of the internet and applications on mobile devices. Back for a third year, Mobile Web in Africa is South Africa’s premier mobile conference.  Following on from unrivalled, sell-out successes in 2009 and 2010, no other event on the South African calendar compares in terms of topic, speaking faculty, agenda, interaction and business opportunities.
    Write to info@allamber.co.uk to find out about the fantastic discount
    available to Balancing Act readers.

    Confirmed Speakers:
    •    Tomi T Ahonen, Bestselling Author & Consultant
    •    Dr Marc Smith, Chief Social Scientist, Connected Action Consulting Group
    •    Toby Shapshak, Editor, Stuff Magazine
    •    Adam Holtrop, Creative Director, Vidamo
    •    Salim Amin, Chairman, Camerapix, The Mohamed Amin Foundation & A24Media
    •    Alistair Fairweather, Digital Platforms Manager, The Mail & Guardian Online
    •    David Erasmus, Founder, Cubate
    •    Isis Nyong’o, Managing Director - Africa, InMobi
    •    Ronald Bach, Mobile Product Manager, News24
    •    Mark Kaigwa, Partner, Affrinovator
    •    Jean-Patrick Ehouman, Founder, AllDenY
    •    Musa Kalenga, Managing Director, IHOP World
    •    Nevo Hadas, New Media Consultant
    •    Russell Southwood, Editor, Balancing Act
    •    Johan Nel, CEO & Founder, Umuntu Media
    •    Leslie Tita, Co-Founder, Pulse
    •    Justin Spratt, CEO, Quirk
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    ICT Infrastructure Summit: Banking Solutions in Growth Economies
    29-30 November, 2011,

    Kingsway Hall, Great Queen Street, London WC2
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    InsureAFRICA
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    Insurers seeking effective performance in service delivery, cost reduction and profit levels need to embrace technology, viewing it not as a support function but as a key enabler of competitive advantage at all levels of operation. InsureAFRICA is the first specialised conference for the African insurance and pensions industry to evaluate the systems and innovative channels needed to compete and thrive in a rapidly expanding industry. With the theme "Effective management strategies and systems for a new era of expansion and inclusion", the conference will be the continent's first forum to gather knowledge and experience for a rapidly growing industry. For the Call for Papers, log on to the organiser's website here:  To book exhibition space, email info@aitecafrica.com

    Mobile VAS Africa 2012
    14 - 15 May 2012, Johannesburg, South Africa

    Mobile VAS Africa 2012 will bring together industry experts and representatives from leading financial institutions, mobile operators and solutions providers to provide a strategic insight into mobile VAS while exploring collaborative business models, innovative applications, technologies and straegies. For more information visit here:

    Roaming & Interconnect
    16 - 17 May 2012, Johannesburg, South Africa

    RIC Africa 2012 will uncover new strategies to boost roaming traffic and retain existing roamers. During the conference we will look at the innovative roaming solutions and pricing, supplementing roaming with alternative revenue streams, the latest EU regulations and their impact on operations in Africa, as well as the importance of hubbing and convergence.  For more information please visit here:

    AITEC Banking & Mobile Money West Africa
    6 June 2012, Accra International Conference Centre

    Now in its fifth year, the conference will cover a wide range of strategic and technology topics to empower West Africa's banking, microfinance and insurance professionals with the knowledge they need to lead their organisation effectively through the turbulent market and regulatory conditions they face. For the conference programme log on to the organiser's website here:  To book exhibition space, email info@aitecafrica.com

  • - Glo introduces George Andah as new Chief Operating Officer for Ghana operations
    Mr Andah, who recently joined Glo from Bharti Airtel, said the Ghanaian market hold good prospects which the company would explore and tap into, adding that Glo is in the position to make significant strides. Mr Andah previously worked with Guinness Ghana Breweries Limited, MTN Ghana and was in 2009 awarded the Marketing Man of the Year.

  • Supervisor, Network Operation Center - Sierra Leone
    Posted date: Fri, 14th Oct
    Location: Sierra Leone

    The job - holder will have sufficient technical expertise to run the Network Operations Center, liase with network operators and interface with field operations to provide back-office support. The duties include but are not limited to:

        * Overseeing 24hr operations of a maintenance activities coordination centre which is the link between the clients’ network monitoring centre and our field service teams.
        * Ensure timely communcation with field operations to meet the standards of the SLA
        * Developing the monthly preventive maintenance route plans for the field operation teams and coordinating the same with the field teams.
        * Developing daily, weekly and monthly reports as required by the management

    The desired candidate will be a graduate of telecommunications engineering. He/she will have 2-3 years experience in NOC operations. Experience in field operations will be an added advantange. The candidate should also possess a good understanding of the region of operation.

    To apply online please click here:

telecoms

  • Zimbabwean technology journal Techzim reports that state-run GSM network operator NetOne has notified 3G test users that they will soon have to pay for mobile broadband access. An SMS message told test participants that ‘unlimited’ internet access will be charged at USD40 per month.

    Techzim notes that local cellular market leader Econet Wireless currently charges users of its commercial 3G/2.5G mobile internet service an average of USD0.10 per 1MB depending on the data bundle, while NetOne’s other rival Telecel Zimbabwe has set its mobile internet rate at USD0.11 per 1MB; neither cellco plans to offer unlimited data packages.

    However, Techzim also points out that NetOne’s uncapped internet usage ‘offer’ may simply be a result of it lacking the facilities to bill customers for their high speed data usage, in which case it is likely to switch to volume-based data charging once the necessary billing system is in place.

  • The government says it has initiated policies that will see the operations of the National Communications Authority (NCA) decentralised.

    The Minister of Communications, Haruna Iddrissu told reporters that the decentralisation is to make the NCA show presence in all the regions.

    “As I speak the Authority is in the process of establishing regional offices in Kumasi, Sekondi-Takoradi and Tamale to enhance close monitoring activities and also help address customer concerns in a decentralized manner,” says the Minister in speech during a press briefing October 3, 2011 in Accra.

    He adds “Temporal offices in these three areas would be ready for commissioning and operation by the close of November 2011. Three additional regional offices in Volta, Brong-Ahafo and Upper East Regions would be established next year.”

  • Starcomms Plc, last week introduced Huawei IDEOS C8150 Android phones into the Nigerian market. It also launched another value added service called S-Credit.

    Huawei C8150 is a smart mobile phone that allows a customer to apply voice and data services on its network such as calls, web access, application download, e-books and information search on the web for exciting places at the touch of the button. The phone features Google Android 2.2 and is supported on EVDO Rev A network with pre-loaded Google applications.

    Unveiling the product, the Chief Executive Officer, Starcomms Plc, Logan Pather, said: “Android has continued to maintain its position as the’ most innovative smart phone operating system in the telecoms world. Starcomms has a culture of applying cutting edge technology for the benefit of our customers. That is why we will continue to give them value for their I money.

    The C8150 Android phone is a mobile phone with full touch screen and Android 2.2 OS that supports push mail on its platform. It is targeted at mobile entrepreneurs and business executives who need to stay connected with clients, business partners and also have access to vital information on the go.

    According to Logan, the novel product has unique portable Wi-Fi feature which allows customers to connect with other suitable portable devices and access available wireless internet connection.

    “It is a true mobile device that is comfortable to carry around and use on the move or at leisure while enjoying the G-sensor feature that I allows the phone to be rotated for a landscape view for a better view of the screen contents,” said the Starcomms CEO.

    He said that the company will continue to listen to its customers and· put their satisfaction on the front burner of its innovations and service delivery. Meanwhile, the company , has launched another value added service called S-Credit. The service is designed to ease subscribers of the problems associated with recharge card purchase and distribution, especially where there is need for emergency calls and where access to recharge cards is difficult or impossible.

    The 5­Credit service, otherwise known as bridging credit, allows pre-paid subscribers a post-paid lifestyle where airtime can be accessed at critical times and will be paid back the next time a customer recharges.

  • Nigerian telephone subscribers will be able to move from one network to another without losing their numbers as number portability starts from the first quarter of 2012, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said.

    Number portability allows subscribers to move to alternate networks when they no longer enjoy quality of services from their current operators, or when they are no longer happy with the tariffs offered by them and still retain their original numbers irrespective of the new network they moved to.

    NCC said in a statement by its Head of Media and Publicity Reuben Muoka that a consortium of Interconnect/Saab Grintek/Telecordia would be providing the number portability service for Nigerians phone users six months from now.

    NCC said the company will be responsible for the set up and implementation of number portability clearing house in Nigeria, and provide mobile number portability solution administration in Nigeria within six months of receiving the license with a testing period of two months.

  • Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) has gazetted the amendments of telecoms operators licence to allow four of them to provide both fixed and mobile phone services.

    This is contained in the Malawi government gazette published in Zomba on September 23, this year.

    Macra’s Director General Charles Nsaliwa indicates in the gazette that the regulator had made amendments of licences awarded to ACL Limited, Airtel Limited, Malawi Telecommunications Limited (MTL) and TNM Limited.

    “The amendments are being made to comply with the new converged licensing framework that the authority has embarked on.

    “Under such a converged regime, the authority will ensure a technology neutral network licensing framework thereby enabling the current telecommunications operators to provide any public telecommunication services,” said Nsaliwa.

    In an interview on Friday, Macra’s Communications Manager Zadziko Mankhambo said it is now up to the operators to offer the public wider quality services.

    “The development means the mentioned players in the telecommunications sector can now offer both fixed and mobile phone services which we as a regulator feel it is fair to them but the operators must ensure that apart from offering the public choice of service the output must be of high quality,” Mankhambo said.

    Other players in telecoms sector include G-Mobile which has not yet rolled out its services and newly licensed Celcom.

  • Glomile Ghana will launch its 023 mobile services in Ghana before the close of this year, and it would do so on an 'aggressive' note.

    Group Chief Operations Manager, Mohammed Jameel told journalists “we know Ghanaians have been waiting for us, we have crossed a number of mile stones and we are ready to launch before the close of 2011.

    “We will be aggressive – we will be unique – we will be very competitive in pricing – we will be superior in terms of products and service and be present in all the key cities of Ghana at our launch,” he said.

    Jameel made the announcement at a press conference to officially introduce Mr. George Kwadwo Andah as the new Chief Operating Officer (COO) for Glomobile Ghana.

    Jameel said Glo had installed enough equipment and brought the most modern mobile and internet technology to Ghana to ensure that Ghanaians would be proud of Glo and say “it was worth the long wait for Glo”.

    He said from Ghana, Glo would expand to other African countries providing services in gateway, submarine cable and mobile, adding that Glo had the technology and expertise to ensure its products and services were second to none.

    Adom News is reliably informed that one of the reasons Glo had delayed was because they had wanted to install enough equipment and infrastructure to start from almost 100% coverage. New COO, Mr. George Andah confirmed this by saying “we want to ensure that from the day we launch every Ghanaian can stand anywhere in Ghana and be able to make a call on the Glo network.”

    "We will do test runs this month and do a full commercial launch later this year," he said.

    Glo mobile missed an August 2011 deadline to have covered at least 50% of Ghana as per its licensing requirement. Government then gave Glo up to September 15, 2011, but that was also missed.

    The company is not revealing any dates, but unconfirmed information say the launch is slated for November 3, 2011.

    Meanwhile Glo has already launched Africa's first fully privately-owned 9,800km long submarine fibre optic cable with landing stations in Ghana, and other countries in West Africa.

    It has already started commercial service on Glo One for a number of corporate clients in Ghana. Glo Mobile would launch on 023 prefix as the 6th mobile operator, and 5th GSM operator in Ghana.

  • Swaziland is now the only country in the southern African region that has not yet liberalised its telecommunications market.Swazi MTN CEO Ambrose Dlamini said because of this, the company was ‘forced’ to use another company’s infrastructure and as such, this hindered development of the industry as well as improvement of service delivery.

    He said Swazi MTN wants to have its own infrastructure because reliance on the Swaziland Post and Telecommunications Corporation (SPTC)’s transmission network was a challenge for the mobile network company.
    “In terms of the law, SPTC has exclusive privilege to provide backbone infrastructure in the country. For us this is a challenge because we’d prefer to have our own so we can have control over our transmission and how we use the infrastructure,” said Dlamini yesterday during a media breakfast meeting at Gigi’s Restaurant at Ezulwini.

    “MTN has no control over the performance of SPTC’s transmission network. This is a problem for us, especially when the infrastructure we’re using belongs to the competition. We would like to be able to put up our own infrastructure. As it is, we’re the only company in the region that’s still being forced to use another company’s backbone infrastructure and this is making Swaziland uncompetitive.”

    Swazi MTN says the continued reliance on the Swaziland Post and Telecommunications Corporation (SPTC)’s international gateway increased costs which had a spillover effect on service rates for consumers.
    CEO Ambrose Dlamini said this reliance also increased the time it takes to resolve faults. Adding, he said Swaziland was now the only country in the region that had not liberalised the market. “MTN is the leading telecommunications company therefore we need a reliable gateway so that Swaziland can enjoy significant macro-economic benefits. All the countries in the region have liberalised the market; Mozambique, Botswana and Lesotho have all done it so there’s no reason for Swaziland to be lagging behind,” he said.

    “I think we can do much more, especially if we were to be given our own international gateway which would result in reduced costs and by extension, benefits for consumers as well. There’s really no reason why we should be lagging behind even Mozambique when we’ve never been at war. Government is trying to address this but the process requires that the laws must be changed.”

    Swazi MTN is currently paying E627,000 per month for transmission of calls within a 30-kilometre radius, like for instance, between Mbabane and Manzini.
    If the company were to connect via undersea cables, it could be paying about E53,000 per month for a distance between Swaziland and any point of presence in London, Amsterdam or New York, said Chief Marketing Officer Phillip Besiimire.
    CEO Ambrose Dlamini said a survey conducted by KPMG found that Swazi MTN pays almost the highest in the world for leased lines.

    “For transmission of a call between Mbabane and Manzini we use a leased line from SPTC (Swaziland Post and Telecommunications Corporation), which is very costly,” he said yesterday during a media breakfast meeting at Gigi’s Restaurant in Ezulwini.
    Benefit

    “If we were able to provide our own, we would be able to reduce costs and pass on the benefit to consumers. For example, in South Africa if a mobile operator leases a line from Telkom, it pays about E500 but for us we would pay around E16 000.” Dlamini said if MTN were to link to EASSy’s undersea fibre-optic cable this would improve the company’s bandwidth and boost its broadband capacity. EASSy is a fully integrated high -capacity, multi-technology network that links southern, eastern and northern African countries to the rest of the world through various interconnection points to the existing global submarine cable network. MTN Group has direct ownership in EASSy.

    “MTN Swaziland is an owner of EASSy cables through the MTN Group which allows all its operations to benefit. What we want is to be allowed to be connected to these cables through our own international gateway, which would reduce costs as right now we’re using SPTC’s broadband in terms of international connection.
    Forced

    “We’re forced to use whatever SPTC has in terms of international connectivity. We don’t want to be forced to use someone else’s infrastructure, we want to use our own undersea cables where MTN has invested,” said Dlamini.

    He said the introduction of competition into the international gateway market could reduce call rates by up to 90% and double call volumes as shown by several studies. Adding, he said in Nigeria the cost of international calls was reduced by more than 90% since liberalisation while in Zambia it was by up to 80% and Kenya cut its international call rates by 70%.

    “This in turn delivers significant macro-economic benefits by lowering the cost of business facilities, increasing trade and improving connections to the global economy; factors that are particularly important to developing countries,” he added.

  • South Africa based Wireless Business Solutions (WBS), the holding company that owns the WiMAX network, iBurst and Broadlink, has announced plans to roll out a LTE network by mid-2012.

    The company said that the development will enable it to reduce congestion the 3G demands of areas in Gauteng such as Sandton, Randburg and Westcliff.

    WBS also said that it would not ruling out possibilities of spectrum sharing and partnering in the deployment of LTE.

    WBS has already signed up agreements with reputable international partners for equipment supply and equipment funding.

    They envisage commencing the LTE deployment this month, and will continue until the first phase where 2,500 base stations are to be built, is completed. WBS expects to launch commercial LTE services in the first half of 2012.

internet

  • Sierra Leone is set to receive its first international fibre-optic connection following the landing of the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) submarine cable in the country’s capital Freetown, Reuters reports. Gilbert Cooper, director of administration of the state-owned Sierra Leone Cable Company, said the cable is expected to become operational during the second half of 2012.

    When complete, the 17,000km fibre-optic system will run along West Africa with connections to France and South Africa, connecting 23 countries. ‘We are transforming because, as we are speaking, the only available communication outside Sierra Leone is through the satellite, and it is expensive, the quality is limited and the capacity also has some limitations,’ President Ernest Bai Koroma said at an event to mark the landing of the cable by Lumley Beach in western Freetown.

    The World Bank is providing USD30 million to fund Sierra Leone’s connection to ACE; in return the government said it would liberalise the international gateway for voice calls.

  • The cost of providing services through Telkom's network is maddening, says MWeb CEO, Rudi Jansen. Internet service providers (ISPs) MWeb and Internet Solutions argue that Telkom's current prices for connecting into its network to provide services to end-users are untenable.

    The ISPs were addressing an Independent of Communications Authority of SA (ICASA) committee during hearings into local loop unbundling (LLU). They argued that the cost of connecting into Telkom's network on the current IP Connect (IPC) model is hampering competition.

    Khetan Gajjar, head of new business development at IS, said there is “a lot” of bandwidth arriving on SA's shores, but this needs to get to the end-user. He argued that the current cost of connecting into Telkom's network is prohibitive.

    IP Connect (IPC), which connects ISPs into Telkom's infrastructure so they can deliver a service, is charged at an “exorbitant and unreasonable” level, said Gajjar. He added that ISPs cannot innovate, because they are limited to offering the products that Telkom will allow.

    ISPs are charged three times to deliver a service through IPC, said Gajjar. He noted that this is the only way of connecting into the last mile. “Telkom is stifling the market.”

    IPC is a broken model and needs to be changed into “something that works”, said Gajjar. “IPC is fundamentally broken, but it's what we have at the moment.”

    Ryan Hawthorne, senior manager of economic regulation at Neotel, said during the hearings that IPC accounts for 80% of Internet bandwidth costs, a price that the second operator can bring down substantially if it has access to the last mile.

    IS regulatory director Siyabonga Madyibi said local loop unbundling is the start of the introduction of a wholesale pricing regime. He says the process is a “stepping stone” towards effective regulation.

    There have been a number of interventions by the regulator, but these have not been effective, said Madyibi. He added that the playing field is tilted in Telkom's favour and there is very little new operators can do to stimulate competition and push down pricing.

    Although the effects of lower interconnect prices have been seen at wholesale level, other regulations have not changed the wholesale pricing model, argued Madyibi. He said geographic number portability has failed, because numbers are charged on a single basis, and blocks become too costly to port.

    In addition, said Madyibi, carrier pre-select is also not a success, because the incumbents have moved to protect their market share by increasing the cost of the origination fee. This means the regulation is only good on paper.

    As a result, argued Madyibi, ICASA has to get LLU right. If it does not have a regulatory impact; the sector will end up back at “square one”, he said. There is a need to intervene in the wholesale cost of data, he added.

    Madyibi said IS has tried to go around the last mile issue to connect to its clients, without any real success.

    MWeb CEO Rudi Jansen said the cost of IPC is “driving everybody mad”. He said it is about nine times the expense of moving data between Cape Town and Europe. “That is just absolutely absurd.”

    Jansen said it is difficult for ISPs to compete effectively with such high prices, and IPC causes congestion on the network, a situation that is out of ISPs' hands. The cost of an ADSL line rental is a big bugbear, said Jansen. He added that Telkom charges both the customer and the ISP for access to the last mile.

  • The government of Ghana led by the Ministry of Communications is facilitating moves to establish a public Internet Registry that will improve the governance and security of the internet in the country.

    An Internet registry is an organization that manages the allocation and registration of Internet number resources within a particular region of the world. Internet number resources include Internet Protocol (IP) addresses and autonomous system (AS) numbers, according to Wikipedia.

    “This registry will improve the governance and security in Internet.   As part of the arrangement the Ministry is  facilitating the establishment of a Network Computer Incidence Reporting Team (CIRT) with a Network Operation Centre (NOC)  to address issues of computer glitches and possible incidence on a 24/7 basis,” said Communications Minister Mr Haruna Iddrissu at a press conference in Accra early October this year.

    According to the Iddrissu, the CIRT will also provide remedial actions as well as facilitate the addressing of computer malfunction, cyber crime and virus attacks among others. He however did not give a timeline for the project.

    The world has five Regional Internet Registries (RIRs). They are the African Network Information Centre (AfriNIC) for Africa; American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) for the United States, Canada, several parts of the Caribbean region, and Antarctica; Asia-Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC) for Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and neighboring countries; Latin America and Caribbean Network Information Centre (LACNIC) for Latin America and parts of the Caribbean region and the Réseaux IP Européens Network Coordination Centre (RIPE) for Europe, the Middle East, and Central Asia.

  • Determined to change internet users’ experience in the country, Spectranet Limited, a national broadband wireless access (BWA) provider has began operation in the country with the commercial inauguration of its WiMAX wireless broadband services, which provides cutting edge services at affordable price points.
     
    The company which was one of the four telecommunications companies that participated in the 2009 2.5 GHz spectrum licencing, is using the most advanced 16E Wimax technology, which facilitates fast, reliable internet access service.  Speaking at the launch in Lagos, Spectranet’s Chief Operating Officer, Rajiv Rao, said compared to some other technologies which are fixed access, the Spectranet wireless broadband service would provide a certain level of portability. “This is being delivered on the retail-friendly frequency, which facilitates better signal penetration and therefore, more stable services indoor”, he said.
     
    Initially available in Lagos, Spectranet said it would soon cover other cities across Nigeria in the nearest future. Chief Ezekiel Fatoye, a director in the company, noted, “today, reliable internet is no more a luxury, it is a necessity. We see tremendous potential in delivering high quality reliable broadband services as consumers in Nigeria increasingly demand high quality internet connectivity but at an affordable price.
     
    He said besides, the advantage of cost, convenience and reliability, Spectranet broadband services comes with easy deployment and wide choice of tariff and plans, which will be of great value to the customers.  Also speaking at the event, chairman of the company, the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, said, the company is committed to growing the business and making sure that every Nigerian benefits from the venture.

computing

  • Indian businessmen and women have been asked to seize the abundant opportunities in Tanzania by investing in key areas such as Information and Communication Technology (ICT) development.

    The challenge was thrown here by the Minister for Communications, Science and Technology, Prof Makame Mbarawa, during the plenary session of the India-Africa Business Partnership summit which opened here on Thursday.

    He said the government wants investors particularly in developing local multi-media content software that would address issues that are relevant to the national development.

    "Instead of relying on software that has been designed for the entire world, we need investors who would develop a customized IT content for our country," he said.

    He told the two-day forum that has brought together ministers from different African countries, businessmen and women, diplomats and representatives from multinational companies mainly based in India that Tanzania's fiscal and political stability offer a credible offer for investments.

    "With its strategic geographical position, Tanzania places itself as the most ideal place in the entire East and Central African region where investors not only from India but world over could come and explore various untapped business opportunities," he said.

    He mentioned other areas which are yet to be tapped fully as IT parks and small ICT villages where the youth could assemble and design software that is ideal for the local markets.

    He gave an example of business processing outsourcing (BPO) system which could create more jobs for Tanzanians by creating calling centres in the country.

    The minister said Indian investors should also capitalize on the fast growing East African Community (EAC) market, covering over 140 million people.

    He said that with the improved communication and infrastructure such as road and railway network, the EAC market offers a quick return on investment (ROI).

    "The fibre optic project has made communication easier for Tanzania and the landlocked countries such as Zambia, Malawi, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Rwanda," he said.

    The first phase of Tanzania's 10,674-kilometre national fibre-optic backbone was completed in May last year, connecting to the SEACOM, and EASSy submarine cables.

    It runs from Mombasa (Kenya) through Nairobi (Kenya), Kampala (Uganda), Kigali (Rwanda), and Bujumbura (Burundi) to Dar es Salaam.

  • Eight local technology start-ups have been offered a unique opportunity to pitch their business ideas to delegates, potential investors and media at this year’s Tech4Africa conference, taking place at The Forum in Bryanston, Johannesburg on 27 and 28 October.

    This platform has been created by virtue of Samsung Ignite, an initiative that aims to showcase and foster local technology development, and which has been made possible by Samsung Apps store, in association with Tech4Africa.

    “We are extremely excited about such a platform from which local technology innovators can showcase their ideas to a broad audience, potential investors and technology entrepreneurs who have walked this path before,” says Gareth Knight, Tech4Africa Founder and Managing Director. “Tech4Africa’s primary aim is to promote and inspire local mobile and web innovators, entrepreneurs and developers by inviting global leaders in the sector to share their knowledge and insight with an audience from across the continent.

    “The Samsung Ignite programme is an integral part of the overall vision that it is hoped will provide the spark that the eight start-ups need to take the next step in their development.”

    The 8 selected startups include:

    10Layer: the most feature-complete, competent and customisable open source content management system for serious publishers and media houses.

    Feedback Rocket: which offers an innovative online solution to obtain useful, insightful and honest feedback.

    iSign.pro: that allows users to get legally-binding contracts signed in minutes - legally, cheaper, greener and stored forever, with automatic reminders before renewal/expiry.

    Lessfuss: is an affordable South African personal assistant service that helps you save time and get things done for as little as R30/task.

    Mobiflock: is a product range that consists of a parental control service, a personal smartphone tracker, and a corporate smartphone manager.

    Plot my Ride: is a social networking service for the cycling community that offers an easy and real-time means of capturing, displaying, saving and sharing a cyclist’s riding activity.

    Real Time Wine: captures the supermarket wine-buying audience and empowers them to discover, review, engage with and buy wine using smartphone apps, game mechanics & barcode scanning.

    SnapBill: is an automated billing system that allows users to easily sell their services online.

    “We are very passionate about the African market and encouraged by the innovations emerging from the continent, so it’s a natural fit for us to partner with Tech4Africa to present this stage for innovators to showcase their products,” says Brett Loubser, B2C Apps Development Lead at Samsung. “We intend using this partnership to help create a wider network of local developers, reward African innovation in the mobile tech and app space and promote the Samsung Apps Store as an alternative channel for smartphone developers.

    “A key outcome of our participation as the Ignite partner is to engage South African developers and therefore we have made available a number of discounted tickets to facilitate their involvement at this year’s conference.”

    The Samsung Ignite participants will each be afforded five minutes to showcase their products in the main auditorium at the end of the first day of the conference. A panel of judges has been gathered to adjudicate and the winning startup will be announced on the second day of the event, and be given the opportunity to present their start-up to the entire Tech4Africa audience. The winner will also receive the latest Samsung mobile devices and valuable exposure and profiling through the Tech4Africa website.

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

  • Egyptian mobile network operator and broadband provider Etisalat Misr has reportedly delayed a listing on the country’s stock exchange until market conditions improve, Reuters reports citing local daily al-Mal.

    Etisalat Misr’s CEO Saleh al-Abdouli was quoted by the Egyptian newspaper as saying: ‘The significant impact (of the uprising) on the capital markets reduces the feasibility of the share listing, especially in light of the reduced liquidity circulating in the market.’ Prior to the political turmoil and popular uprising in the country

    Etisalat Misr is understood to have approached a number of Egyptian and regional investment banks with a view to procuring financial and legal advisory services for a listing, with between a 15% and 25% stake in the operator expected to be made available. Abdouli has reportedly said that his company is continuing to examine the prospects for listing and is now looking for the right time to launch the process.

  • The World bank has said that all players in African Global System for Mobile Communications networks, GSM, Nigeria inclusive would need about $15.5bn to enhance GSM coverage across the continent.

    In a recent report released by the bank, the African GSM market is capable of expanding beyond its present status, if the needed funding is injected into the industry.

    The World Bank report by Mark Williams, Rebecca Mayer and Michael Minges, posited that Africa will require a total expenditure of $15.5bn between 2007 and 2015, for Africa to expand its coverage of the GSM network across the continent.

    The report rated Nigeria as one of the countries that attracted the highest investment between the periods of 1998 to 2008, with an estimate figure of $12.7bn behind South Africa, that had $18bn.

    Other African countries rated in the report include: Kenya ($2.9bn); Sudan ($1.8bn)); Uganda ($1.6bn); Senegal ($1.5bn); Tanzania ($1.4bn); Democratic Republic of the Congo ($1.2bn); Ghana ($1.1bn); Angola ($1bn).

    Of this, $6.9bn is for areas that are potentially commercially viable, with the total cost of expanding networks to cover the eight percent of the population that lies outside these areas amounting to $8.7bn, or about $1bn per year.

    Access to finance, according to the World Bank, is often seen as a constraint on economic development in Africa, but the telecommunications sector appears to have overcome this constraint by accessing a wide range of financing sources to fund the rapid expansion of networks.

    Besides, the report, the latest of the World Bank, noted that operators and governments in Sub-Saharan Africa are investing heavily in the region’s ICT sector, stressing that, about $5bn a year or one percent of Gross Domestic Product is been invested.

    The report informed that, private sources accounted for the majority of capital investment in the sector, but that, a significant amount of money is invested by operators that remain under state ownership.

    According to the World Bank, Official Development Assistance from outside the region is still marginal, overall.

    The World Bank, which said it was cheapest to call the United States from Ghana at $0.31 per minute, compared to $0.88 a minute in 2008 from other parts of Africa, noted that Ghana, for instance, still has a long way to go in order to provide the best network in the continent.

    “Kenya and Ghana, for example, are of similar size, but Kenya’s networks are growing much more faster – with 6,445 km versus Ghana’s 919 km of backbone network currently under construction”, it stated.

    The World Bank adduced to the fact that, African capital markets, corporate bond markets, and commercial bank loans all have played key roles in financing investment in the telecommunications sector in the Continent, but stressed that, securities exchanges in Sub-Saharan Africa are generally underdeveloped, reason why telecommunications businesses were relatively well represented in them and have successfully used exchanges to raise investment finance.

    It further added that despite the wave of privatization and liberalization of the telecommunications market in Africa, the public sector—both domestic and foreign, continues to play a significant role in financing ICT development.

    The World Bank informed that, private sector has invested heavily in ICTs since the end of the 1990s, when the expansion of telecommunications networks in Africa began, adding that, this investment has fluctuated from year to year, however, and the amount of investment received by each country has varied enormously.

    The report explained that bank loans were used to finance investment in all types of infrastructure in Africa, and telecommunications infrastructure was no exception. According to it, at the end of 2006, outstanding commercial bank loans used to finance infrastructure in Sub-Saharan Africa totaled $11.8 billion. It however, stressed that, though it is difficult to determine the exact allocation of these loans among sectors, but that, at least $8.3 billion went to projects in the transport and communication sectors.

    The report further revealed that other development institutions are also involved in providing financing for telecommunications infrastructure in Africa.

    “The World Bank, for example, provided $338m in financing for investment in the ICT sector in Africa between 1998 and 2008. Not all of this, however, was invested in physical infrastructure: It covered a wide range of activities, from policy and regulatory reform to e-government and information technology ndustry development.”

Telecoms, Rates, Offers and Coverage

  • - Tanzania: BR Solutions, a local information and communication technology firm, has launched a product dubbed "Huduma Fasta" that will enable Tanzanians to access business information through their cell phones. The technology which is currently available in Dar es Salaam is already connected to three mobile phone operators -- Vodacom, Airtel and Tigo and plans are underway to expand it to other regions.

    - South African BlackBerry users affected by the recent outage should seek recourse from the National Consumer Commission, Business Day reported on Thursday, 13 October 2011. South African National Consumer Commissioner Mamodupi Mohlala said consumers would find protection under sections 55, 56 and 61 of the Consumer Protection Act, which provided rights on the quality of goods, and liability for damage caused by goods. Everyone who was involved in the value chain could be held liable in terms of section 61 of the act. Some commentators said this might be difficult because the system failure occurred outside South Africa.

Digital Content

  • At the first ever Mobile Application Showcase competition in Ghana, two Mest start-ups, Saya Mobile and Nandimobile picked up the 1st and 2nd prizes respectfully. Kwamena Appiah-Kubi came 3rd with his innovative SMS Tweetbox.

    The event was organised by the Mobile Consortium team and sponsored by industry big wigs such as Indigo Trust, InMobi, and Busy Internet. The event attracted a significant number of individuals with interest in technology and mobile applications. It sought to throw more light on pressing topics such as Monetizing mobile applications, etc. The event also offered tech companies the opportunity to exhibit their services. On the day exhibiting organisations included, Letigames, Sproxil, Nandimobile, Esoko, MoTech. Dozens of participants engaged the exhibitors with questions with the aim of understanding the mobile technologies and the value they provided.

    At the latter part of the event, the Appcircus Mobile Apps Competition was put together as the various mobile apps were presented to an attentive audience. In the end the judges voted Saya Mobile winner of the first ever Appcircus Mobile Competition in Ghana. The Mest start-up picked up the top prize of an i-Pad 2 and cash prize of Ghc 2,000. Saya Mobile is a mobile chatting application targeted towards feature phones. With this, the winning company gets to be nominated to represent Ghana at the Mobile Congress in Barcelona in 2012.

  • SAP has released new mobile applications onto the Nigerian market aimed at improving efficiency in communication.

    Speaking at the SAP World Tour of Nigeria in Lagos last week, SAP president in charge of Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), Franck Cohen, said the introduction of new applications would, among others, boost the status of the booming smartphone business.

    Cohen revealed that a whopping one billion smartphones and tablets were expected to be released onto the market by 2015, a development that demands the expertise of SAP in the solution and software application business to add value to the communication and information technology sector.

    “Our solutions are meant to develop businesses and we don’t only innovate, we co-innovate,” said Cohen.

    Cohen said the coming in of both new smartphones and tablets would change the way companies, governments, non-governmental organisations and individuals conduct their businesses through Sap’s various solutions and applications.

    Speaking at the same event, SAP Managing Director for West Africa, Richard Edet, said his company’s growth was expected to increase on the African continent through the adoption of new technology and SAP solutions in the area of mobility and cloud computing.

    Tried and tested for 40 years in the provision of solutions and applications, SAP aims to add value as well as improve productivity in corporate organisations on a global scale.

    SAP’s solutions and applications are widely credited with bringing value to the Nigeria community and that of the entire West African region.

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