Issue no 581 18th November 2011

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Top story

  • While oil prices have not yet reached the peak levels witnessed in the summer of 2008, their steady growth with the OPEC basket price of an oil barrel passing the US$100 mark in February 2011, should ring an alarm bell among African mobile operators. Their dependency on diesel to fuel their base stations remains very high but very few of them have make any serious efforts to tackle these critical issues. Isabelle Gross looks at what the short and long terms options are for African mobile operators when it comes to saving on the energy bill that they are currently running.

    No later than last September, the Kenyan newspaper Business Daily reported that Bob Collymore, the CEO of Safaricom “said that the cost of running diesel-driven base stations rose by 27% since January, especially in areas with no electricity and in western Kenya where frequent power outages mean the stations must run on diesel for up to four hours a day”. He also acknowledged that the raising operating costs will need to be addressed and a way to do so will be to increase calling rates.

    Charging more customers is one approach but it has numerous pitfalls. A price increase can result in lower call volumes and therefore the overall revenue will not go up. Most African mobile subscribers don’t have deep pockets and they remain much more price sensitive than their counterparts in developed countries. Increasing prices is a sure way to drive them to look more carefully at what the competitors have on offer.

    Faced with falling voice ARPU and hypothetical additional data revenue, African mobile operators have to pay more attention on the cost side of the business that they are running. Energy expenditures should be among the top items on their list as oil prices have gone up again. When it comes to saving on the energy bills, there is not an “out of the box” solution but it can be done.

    The best approach is to first look at how to run existing base stations more efficiently. In other words, the “quick fix” which consists of tweaking various elements of the base station to realise operational savings without incurring additional capital outlay.

    The cooling system is obviously a good starting point because it represents as much as 35% of the total electricity consumption of the base station. This proportion can increase to 50% if there are fewer transmitters in use. According to a case study carried out by Axiata, a large Asian telecommunication company, the energy saving in using an inverted air conditioning versus a traditional air conditioning system is between 14% and 22%
    depending on the temperature settings (13.8% at 25°C and 21.9% at 30°C).

    In a typical setting the pay-back time is about two years. In Africa for example, mobile operators like Vodacom, Orange or MTN have started to experiment with “free cooling system” technology in conjunction (or not) with introducing higher operating temperature in the base station.

    Beside free cooling, inverted air conditioners or higher operating temperatures, smarter ways of cooling have already been developed to reduce energy consumption. One
    option is to extract the heat directly from the source rather than attempting to cool
    the whole cabin.

    Equipment manufacturer Ericsson has for example conducted trials in Indonesia that show significantly lower energy consumption can be achieved through the use of heat exchangers for the shelters and separate cooling compartments for the battery back-up. The energy used for cooling the sites can be reduced by up to 60%.

    Energy efficient base stations offer interesting savings without requiring a big capital layout but then why are there still so few in Africa when a large number of BTS are running on diesel 24/7?

    Further reduction in OPEX will require some capital investments because it implies
    purchasing more energy efficient equipment or switching to renewable energy
    power solutions. Green options range from the use of solar energy, wind
    power to hydrogen fuel cell, biomass, biofuel, etc. Solar and wind remain the most
    prominent green technologies used to power base stations in off-grid locations.

    When looking at the business case to implement renewable energy solutions to power
    base stations, three main factors need to be looked at. There is the price of oil, the BTS load and the renewable energy technology to be implemented. Let’s look at the first factor in more details.

    When oil prices are depressed, the pay-back time will be longer – a couple of years more for most renewable energy projects. When oil prices are high, the return on investment will take less time. When diesel price was at its peak in July 2008, mobile operators’ fuel costs were nearly 3 times higher than at the beginning of 2007 with the result of spiralling operating costs (OPEX) for African mobile operators. Shouldn’t the latter comparison start ringing an alarm bell in African mobile operators’ head?

    For more details on the short and long term options available to mobile operators engaging in better managing their diesel bill, please see Balancing Act’s report entitled “Energy for Cellular Base Stations in Africa: the quick fix approach and the long term perspective to saving energy” published in February 2011.


    On the Balancing Act You Tube Channel this week an AfricaCom special:

    Nadeem, Juma, CEO, Mobipay
    on m-payments and social media in Tanzania

    Scott Bain, Director of Sales, Range Networks on Open BTS and low cost BTS for Africa

    Doron Ben Sira, CEO, SkyVision on changes in the satellite market in Africa

    Arvind Rao, CEO, OnMobile on comparisons between African and Indian mobile content

    Gour Lentell, CEO, biNu on this new feature phone platform taking off in Africa

    Jonathan Osler, Managing Director – Africa, Intelsat
    on satellite market trends on the continent

    Christoph Limmer, Senior Director – Africa, SES on its strategy for the continent

    Marc Rennard EVP Orange AMEA on the pressures faced by its operations in Africa

    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

  • MAMA - Mobiles Against Malaria - is a community building effort in one of the very poor outskirts of the Malian capital Bamako, Yirimadjo. Dutch agency IICD wants to help a local association Muso Ladamunen combat the main diseases malaria and diarrhea in the neighbourhood via the integration of mobiles phones in the work of voluntary Community Health Workers, writes Francois Laureys, IICD.

    Approximately 60 women, most mothers who live in Yirimadjo, have organized themselves to pay regular visits to families in the different neighbourhoods of Yirimadjo. This allows them to take stock of the living conditions of these households, and to identify potential women and children at risk (pregnant women, young-borns etc.). They sensitize women about their rights, distribute mosquito nets to families in need, take rapid tests on malaria if they detect people who suffer from the fever, and facilitate access to the local Health Centre when necessary. In the past three years, these Health Workers have saved hundreds of lives, and the number of consultations at the Health Centre has tripled.

    Last summer, when I visited them in Bamako, they were distributing 22.000 mosquito nets to identified target families in Yirimadjo. The ‘captain’ of the Health workers, Mah Cissé, also told me that they are still struggling with the correct and timely identification of target families, and she asked me if we could help them to integrate an element of mobile phones in their work. This would allow the Health workers to send household data directly to a database and to geo-localize more exactly which areas of Yirimadjo are more at risk. Additionally, the mobile phones would also be used to send alerts and reminders about consultation visits to the Health workers in the neighbourhoods.

    We are now finalizing the project design of ‘MAMA – Mobiles Against Malaria in Mali’ , and we hope to be able to start with the mobile phones in december. If successful, this pilot could be extended to many other communities in Mali (and beyond). Both Muso Ladamunen and IICD have invested money in the project, and ‘De Parade’  (a dutch theatre festival) has raised an additional 6,083 euros, for which we are very grateful. But we still can use a little more help to get it really going.

    So have a look at the pages, where you can find a description, photos and updates of the project. You can support in different ways – just by leaving a comment or tips on the pages, by sending this link to others, by putting a link on your blog or webpage, by tweeting, or by donating a little amount via the Donate button. You can also read more about the other activities of Muso Ladamunen by clicking on this link:  or on the blog Antimoustic.

  • 8ta has empowered their subscribers by enhancing their free self-service portal with the ability to purchase airtime and data bundles online via credit card.

    According to Telkom Mobile Managing Executive, Amith Maharaj, this enhancement will facilitate online purchase of airtime and data bundles as and when subscribers need it, even when their airtime is depleted.

    This functionality will improve the user experience for Prepaid and Hybrid (Saver) subscribers. 8ta subscribers need to register online and complete the SMS verification process on 8ta’s website here:

    Logged in subscribers will not be charged to do the following:

    * Review airtime balance

    * Redeem vouchers for airtime

    * Convert airtime to data bundles

    * Review data bundles balances and expiry dates

    * Credit Card top up using 3D secure technology

    The portal is safe as 8ta has chosen 3-D secure as a key comfort factor for subscribers when disclosing their credit card details online. The 3-D secure system simply enables credit card holders to add a password over and above the usual credit card expiry and CVV three digit numbers. The platform caters for locally issued VISA and Mastercard users.

    “If your credit card is not already 3-D verified, the 8ta portal will securely verify the 3-D secure password online. The normal credit card process can then be completed, even with no airtime on the account, as the credit card application is zero rated,” says Maharaj.

    Over time the portal will be enhanced, based on subscriber feedback, market benchmarks and other developments in self-service technology.

    To date 8ta has enabled automatic redirection of all data users when their data bundle is depleted. This key network ability enables subscribers to be in control of their communication spend with 8ta.

    8ta subscribers can now further manage their airtime and data costs both on contract and prepaid products through the self-service portal.

  • Three new phones with deep Facebook integration and dedicated ‘F’ key available in Africa and Europe from Q4 2011 – offering the widest portfolio of affordable phones with deep Facebook functionality launched by an operator to date  Orange is bringing simple, affordable, social phones for under €100 to a broader range of customers in more than 15 countries*

     The new range includes the Alcatel One Touch 908F Android smartphone, one of the most affordable Android smartphones available, exclusive to Orange

    Orange will exclusively launch three new affordable phones with deep Facebook integration across Africa and Europe from Q4 2011, creating a swift, simple, cost effective social experience for more of Orange’s customers than ever before. 

    With access to the widest range of phones with Facebook built-in under €100, including the new Alcatel One Touch 908F Android smartphone, Orange customers can choose the phone best suited to their needs. Facebook’s social capabilities run through every feature of these phones, from the camera to contacts with the dedicated ‘F’ key allowing instant uploading and interaction. Orange customers can also purchase these handsets with affordable bundles and tariffs that include unlimited Facebook access without extra data charges. 

     “The rise of the smartphone and the explosion of social networks have completely changed how people keep in touch and share content. Until now many consumers across Africa and Europe have not had access to a phone that offers deep Facebook integration at an affordable price,” said Yves Maitre, Senior Vice President of Mobile Multimedia and Devices, Orange. “We feel strongly that it is Orange’s role to enable customers to enjoy a digitally rich, connected life and this and future work with Facebook and Alcatel One Touch will allow us to open up mobile social media access to even more of our customers.”

    “Orange and Facebook have a common goal of providing mobile social access to people throughout Europe and Africa,” said Henri Moissinac, Head of Mobile Business at Facebook. “These phones and our ongoing collaboration with Orange will offer an opportunity for people to easily connect and share with their friends on Facebook anytime, anywhere and, for some, experience the mobile web for the first time.”

  • Telecom Egypt (TE) has announced its plans to expand broadband and mobile-phone services after third-quarter profit dropped due to a decrease in subscribers.

    TE runs the nation’s fixed-line telephone monopoly. The company plans to begin operating a new undersea cable by the end of the year to increase capacity for data services, and is also in the process of negotiating a virtual mobile network operator license which they hope to acquire during the first quarter of 2012.

    TE is also currently negotiating with Egypt’s telecommunications regulator t acquire a license that would allow it to use the networks of other mobile-phone companies to provide services, according to TE’s Chief Financial Officer Hassan Helmy.

    The company also owns almost half of Vodafone Egypt Telecommunications Co., which is the biggest mobile-network operator in terms of users in Egypt.“In the medium and long-term, the dynamics of the local market are very attractive,” Helmy said. “We’re counting on the young population of this country.”

    The company reported a 21 percent drop in net income from last year, read a statement on TE’s website. Fixed line subscription also dropped to 8.6 million users, from 9.4 million last year.

    “The wider economic malaise is placing pressure on household incomes in Egypt,” Chairman Akil Beshir said in the statement today. “As predicated last quarter, there has been an impact on Telecom Egypt’s overall total number of active subscribers.”

internet

  • The Internet Service Providers’ Association of SA (ISPA) has created infrastructure in the form of its Cape Town and Johannesburg Internet Exchanges (CINX and JINX) to help local consumers enjoy better performance from the Internet at a more affordable cost.

    ISPA has run JINX since 1996 and the Cape Town Internet Exchange (CINX) since 2009. The organisation is currently selecting the company that will host the Durban Internet Exchange, DINX. This infrastructure has an enormous positive impact on the consumer’s Internet experience, although most South African Internet users are unaware of its existence.

    Said Marc Furman, co-chair at ISPA: “The ISPA INXs have provided massive benefit to service providers, network operators and consumers over the years. They keep Internet traffic within the country, which results in faster response times between ISPs and reduces the congestion on international links.

    “By connecting to these exchanges, network operators are also able to keep their costs down, which in turn enables them to provide their services to end-users at a lower cost. The growth we have experienced over the years across these exchange points has been staggering.”

    One principle that ISPA has embraced since 2009 is that the exchanges should be open for non-members as well as members to streamline the exchange of traffic to the benefit of the entire industry. As such, even incumbent network operators are allowed to peer using the INX infrastructure.

    The exchanges also give members a great deal of freedom in choosing who they peer with and how they do so. Although ISPA operates high speed switches at each exchange, INX users are not obliged to connect using the public switch fabric. They may run private links between their equipment at the exchange instead of using the ISPA switch.

    “We take a hands-off approach to how ISPs and operators exchange traffic at each exchange. Most participants peer freely with everyone else connected to that INX but they are not obliged to do so. Some of the participants choose to only exchange traffic with a limited number of other parties,” said Furman.

    Furman noted that the INX infrastructures in Johannesburg and Cape Town have enjoyed runaway growth in the past few years.  More than 30 ISPs now connect to JINX and exchange more than 2.5 Gbps of traffic at JINX during peak times. CINX today handles more than 500 Mbps of traffic from 16 peering ISPs during peak times. With a sharp rise in mobile data usage and rapid growth in voice-over-IP traffic, traffic volumes at the exchanges will continue to grow sharply in the months to come.

  • Labaran Maku, the Nigerian Minister of Information, has expressed concern over the increase in the number of social media in the country. Maku made the observation on Tuesday in Benin City during the meeting of members of the Nigeria Union of Journalist (NUJ) Constitutional Review Committee.

    Represented by Kingsley Osadolor, a legal practitioner, Maku said the rise of social media in the country was a phenomenon that needed to be addressed as part of the constitutional amendment or in the nearest future.

    He said the revolution that was taking place in Egypt, Syria, Libya and other Arab states was as a result of the reports dished out by the social media. Maku warned that the increase in the number social media might result in some traditional journalists losing their jobs.
    ``What business should the social media have with the NUJ? That is an important phenomenon that needs to be considered,'' he said.

    The minister noted that the constitutional review was coming at time when the Freedom of Information Act was operational. He said the FOI Act was not a substitute for ``crucial investigative journalism'', adding that its aim was to aid the journalist to get access to information.

    Maku noted that there were procedures and rules guiding the use of the FOI Act, and urged media practitioners to be acquainted with them in order not to get negative responses. ``It is useful and pertinent to know the sources of information that are available to the journalists so that they can tap into those areas,'' he said.

    `` The FOI Act is not a substitute for investigative journalism; it must not reduce us into lazy journalists because there are several journalists waiting for information to do their stories,'' he said.

    In his address, Emeka Wogu, the Minister of Labour and Productivity, expressed appreciation to the Nigerian Press for its role in promoting peace and highlighting government policies.

    Wogu, who was represented by Tommy Okon, his Special Assistant on Media, said the constitution of any organisation, group and association, ``is an indication of how healthy the body is in terms of its operations''.

    He said that as the watchdog of the society, it was expected that the NUJ constitutional amendment would address the salient issues affecting journalists and the profession.

    ``I want to use this medium to thank the media for their positive role in promoting industrial peace and harmony in the country,'' Wogu said.

computing

  • A selected aggregation of Individual Information Technology Spend Plans for Ministry, Department and Agencies (MDAs) have revealed that N4.5billion will be spent on data centres in the coming year even though the Federal Government has an IT agency that is positioned to deploy and deliver these services at a lower costs and higher standards, the Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson has said.

    Mrs. Johnson, who spoke in Abuja at the 5TH public sector ICT infrastructure forum & the public presentation of ISO/IEC 27001:2005 certification by Galaxy Backbone plc, said there are still too many instances of individual MDAs deploying ICT infrastructure that is better deployed through a more effective pooling of financial and human resources.

    She said in the light of technological developments like cloud computing and the constraints the financial and economic crisis has placed on governments, countries all over the world are promoting the concept of shared IT services because of the immense cost savings, efficiency and capabilities it has been proven to deliver. She said Nigerian MDAs have refused to key in into this.

    The minister, who said one of the mandates of the Ministry of Communication Technology is to drive transparency in governance and improve the quality of public service delivery, lamented that needless IT spending being embarked upon by most government agencies and parastatals.

    She said: "There are still too many instances of individual MDAs deploying ICT infrastructure that is better deployed through a more effective pooling of financial and human resources. A selected aggregation of individual IT Spend plans for MDAs have revealed that N4.5bn will be spent on data centres in the coming year despite the fact that we have within Government an IT organization that is positioned to deploy and deliver these services at a lower costs and to higher standards evidenced in the achievement that Galaxy Backbone is celebrating today."

  • Listed SA IT company Gijima has formed a partnership with US company MobileIron as it ups its focus on the consumerisation of IT in business. Founded in 2007 and based in California, MobileIron provides mobile device management and security to large corporations.

    Gijima says the partnership will give it the capability to provide enterprise mobile device management and security solutions to its clients. It comes just a week after the company signed a systems integrator agreement with Apple, whose products such as the iPhone and iPad are being increasingly used in corporate environments.

    MobileIron designs solutions that allow companies to integrate smartphones and tablets with company networks. It offers solutions for devices running Apple’s iOS, Research in Motion’s BlackBerry OS, Microsoft’s Windows Phone and Windows Mobile, Symbian and Google’s Android mobile operating systems.

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

  • Algeria is in talks with Vimpelcom aimed at resolving a tug of war over the Russian telecoms group's mobile phone unit Djezzy and efforts to find a resolution could now speed up, according to Algeria's finance minister, Karim Djoudi.

    Vimpelcom hoped to acquire Djezzy as part of a planned $6 billion acquisition of Wind Telecom, parent of Djezzy's owner Orascom Telecom. But Djezzy's status was left unclear after Algeria said it wanted to take the business over itself.

    Djoudi's comments were the strongest hint yet that a resolution could be close after more than a year of deadlock over Djezzy, which had been the most lucrative part of Orascom Telecom's business.

    Asked about Djezzy, Djoudi said: "Things are taking place normally. I have had a meeting with a Vimpelcom representative at his request. Unfortunately, I cannot give you details because we are in talks."

    He said a valuation of Djezzy, a crucial step in determining the unit's future, was proceeding. "It is possible that things will go fast," Djoudi said. "There is a willingness on the other side to make things go fast."

    It remains unclear what shape a deal on Djezzy could take. There has been some speculation that the Algerian government could acquire a 51 percent stake and allow Vimpelcom to hold the remaining equity and be the operator.

    Before the Vimpelcom deal, Orascom Telecom was forced to agree to talks on Djezzy's nationalisation after it was hit with millions of dollars in back-tax demands from Algeria and prevented from moving the unit's cash abroad.

    Talks about the nationalisation had been stalled because of a dispute between the Algerian government and Djezzy's owners about how the unit is to be valued, and how much access the owners would provide to Djezzy's balance sheet.

    Djoudi suggested that issue had now been resolved. "We have opened the data room which gives us access to all ... (Djezzy's) details," he said.

  • The new Tunisian government has set up a national holding company to handle its stakes in the country's two mobile networks, Tunisiana and Orange.

    The CDC (Caisse des Dépôts et Consignation) will be headed by Tunisia's Minister of Finance, Jalloul Ayed. An independent subcommittee has also been assigned to monitor corruption, approve the general policies of the funds and evaluate the investments.

    The CDC manages 25% of Tunisiana, 51% of Orange and the Zitouna bank, which were seized from the former ruling family and are now subsidiaries of the national holding.

  • Zenith Bank (Ghana) Limited in collaboration with Google Ghana has introduced a new product unto the Ghanaian market dubbed Z.com in an effort to give its customers the opportunity to position their businesses to enable them access the global market. Z.com is a business solution opportunity tailored to suit the needs of the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Ghana.

    In a statement copied to GNA on Friday, the product would afford SMEs the opportunity to globally advertise their businesses thereby increasing top of mind awareness and ultimately their turnover.

    Z.com, which is another product innovation from Zenith Bank Ghana, rides along the Bank’s quest to make available flexible business strategies to SMEs in Ghana.

    According to Daniel Asiedu Chief Executive Officer of Zenith Bank Ghana, the bank would continue to introduce innovative products and services onto the Ghanaian banking industry.

    “This is in line with its vision of being the reference point in the provision of prompt, flawless and innovation products in the Ghanaian industry”, the statement read.

    The product would be formally launched at a business fair where key stakeholders, policy makers as well as entrepreneurs in the SMEs sector would be brought together to experience at first hand the benefits of e-commerce.

    The official launch of Z.com would take place on Thursday November 24, 2011 at the Accra International Conference Center.

    In a related development, Mr. Henry Oroh, a senior management staff from the parent company Zenith Bank Plc has been appointed to complement the bank’s marketing efforts in Ghana.

  • The fact that the new card will be linked to the user's phone will significantly enhance the security features, says Fundamo CEO Hannes van Rensburg.
    Global credit card company Visa and Africa's largest cellular operator, MTN, have partnered to introduce a new Visa prepaid account mobile service as an extension of MTN Mobile Money in developing countries.

    The product is a result of Visa's recent acquisition of local mobile money platform Fundamo, which has now been integrated with Visa's global payment network, VisaNet.

    Together with MTN Mobile Money, the new service will allow consumers to get a special Visa card which will be linked to their Mobile Money account, and which essentially has the same payment functionality as a bank card.

    Visa says the service will allow users to extend their mobile money payment functionality by allowing them to send money to each other, send and receive international remittances, withdraw funds from a Visa ATM and make purchases at merchants or online.

  • This week, an estimated 180 000 EasyPay customers will receive an e-mail that offers money-back rewards on all their transactions as part of the company’s strategy to restore its credibility and regain customers’ confidence after its site was hit by credit-card fraud two months ago.

    EasyPay will also carry the full liability of any fraudulent transactions, said Serge Belamant, the CEO of Net1, the holding company of EasyPay. He said he has confidence in the site’s newly built security features.

    EasyPay has one of SA’s largest third-party payment systems. It allows consumers to use their credit cards to pay their bills, including Telkom, the municipality and traffic fines, either through its website or at pay points in shops such as Pick n Pay.

    It also allows consumers to buy airtime and prepaid electricity online and it was these purchases that were targeted in September by a crime syndicate. The criminals obtained a list of credit card numbers, which it used to buy airtime, electricity and prepaid gift cards.

    The reaction from Absa, which found that one in three transactions were fraudulent, was to prevent its cardholders from transacting on the site temporarily until EasyPay removed the high-risk products. Some banks continue to limit the number of EasyPay transactions they allow.

    Walter Volker, CEO of the Payment Association of SA, said EasyPay had nothing to do with the release of the credit card details. An investigation is underway to determine how the syndicate obtained the credit card details, which resulted in losses of millions of rands. It must still be determined which banks will carry the liability.

    Belamant said the company had been unfairly targeted by the banks because it was not responsible for the breach. He said the high volume of traffic on the site — it does 4m to 5m transactions a month — made it attractive to fraudsters.

    EasyPay processes payments worth R120m/month, according to Belamant, and the new site is growing at a rate of 10%/month.

Digital Content

  • Many local firms have failed to get their strategies right in creating brand visibility and loyalty through social media, the latest industry survey has shown.

    However, many companies have invested heavily on Internet platforms with an aim of tapping the growing online audience.

    According to the TNS Digital Life Survey, 60 per cent of Kenyans on social media are resistant to brands and brand messages in their profiles, meaning that companies may not be getting returns on the investments they have made to reach the online community through the networks.

    "The race online has seen businesses across the world develop profiles on social networks such as Facebook and YouTube to speak to customers quickly and cheaply --but this study reveals that if these efforts are not carefully targeted, they are a wasted resource," says the report.

    The survey indicates that many firms have embraced the social media platform but without a clear strategy on who their target audiences are, leading to negative results.

    "Digital waste is the accumulation of thousands of brands rushing online without thinking who they want to talk to and why," said Matthew Froggatt, Chief Development Officer at TNS.

    "Many brands have recognised the vast potential of audiences available to them on social networks but they do not understand that these spaces belong to the consumer and their presence needs to be proportionate and justified."

    Mr Froggatt says although the online world presents massive opportunities for brands, only precisely tailored marketing strategies can realise this potential.

    The findings come at a time when the Kenyan social media space is full of content from local firms reaching out to users .But not all is lost as 54 per cent of online users interviewed in the survey admitted that social networks are a good place to learn about products.

    This implies that the use of social media to gain brand visibility and market penetration is not a misguided one. It only needs more direct strategies.

    These findings back concern expressed previously by social media analysts over the unplanned and disjointed online campaigns adopted by most firms in an effort to build their brand visibility.

    "Most businesses in Kenya enter social media but continue passing the same old messages as in traditional channels. Social media is more than just a platform to send your usual advertisement ; it has its own culture which means how people converse, the tone of the conversation, tone of channel (Facebook or Twitter),." says Mr Marvin Tumbo, social media specialist and CEO of Socialight Media, a company that provides social media solutions.

    Tumbo says failure by brands to understand how social media works is what causes conflicts between consumers and business online, with the major challenge coming in crafting the messages. Most firms have not come up with a specific messages for social media sites but are channelling messages created for the traditional media and which may not be appealing to this particular audience.

    The findings further state that users in fast growth markets like Brazil, Indonesia and Kenya are far more open to brands on social networks compared to developed markets like the US where brand tolerance in social media stood at nine per cent compared to 40 per cent in Kenya.

    This means that businesses targeting users in developing countries have a wider audience base, albeit one that must be used prudently. "Social media is not a bad tool for marketing. But it is the tact and targeting that many brands are getting wrong", says Mr Francis Waithaka, a social media analyst.

    "The first thing that brands must do is to listen and understand what customers want. Brands should do pull marketing and not push marketing. A great product and a good customer service will pull customers to your business."

    Waithaka further adds that it is essential for brands to work on their products and services well before going to social media to market them. "With a bad product or terrible customer service, no matter what marketing strategies you employ, it won't work", he says.

    In addition to this, disgruntled users have been known to tweet and post bad customer experiences to their friends and followers and this can go viral and end up being a crisis or an embarrassment to a brand.

    According to the survey, 62 per cent of Kenyan social media users trust comments people make online about brands while close to 30 per cent of users share their experience with brands in social media. In addition to this, 19 per cent of users write about brands to praise the service or goods while 10 per cent write to complain.

    "Most companies in Kenya have not thought through their social media engagement. There has been no strategy to their engagement and hence the high failure rate", says Mr Tumbo. "It's about time companies started having actual strategies and not me-too activities on social media."

    His sentiments are echoed by Withaka. "No matter how good your product or service is, regardless of how brilliant the advertisements are, and regardless of the price you're charging, if your targeting is off, then your whole marketing campaign will be missing the mark. You'll waste a lot of cash, energy and time marketing to people who will never buy from you".

  • Telkom is involved in a multibillion-rand project to increase the throughput of fixed-line broadband to speeds of up to 40Mbit/s. The plans also include dramatically upping the speed of entry-level broadband services and introducing video-on-demand (VOD) products, possibly from international providers such as Hulu, Netflix and Nangu.

    In addition, the company is planning a trial using superfast fibre-optic cables from selected telephone exchanges, with the pilot project expected to kick off as early as 15 January 2012. Details about the fibre project remain sketchy, however.

    VDSL2 is theoretically capable of offering download speeds of up to 250Mbit/s over short lengths of copper (up to 500m) and up 50Mbit/s for distances of up to 1km.

    Telkom has invested millions of rand in recent years bringing fibre closer to its customers — in many areas, it has built fibre to its street-level distribution cabinets — to offer faster access speeds to consumers over its copper network.

Telecoms, Rates, Offers and Coverage

  • - Airtel Kenya will offer a 50% airtime bonus to customers topping up their prepay account via its own Airtel Money platform.

    - Chinese vendor ZTE has announced that it has installed an integrated value added platform solution (iVAS) in Kinshasa for Vodacom DRC. The iVAS system encompasses SMS services, and ZTE claims that the installation has increased Vodacom’s SMS management tenfold, improving service on the South African-owned telco’s network by reducing congestion.

    - The Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA) has imposed a fine of US$225,000.00 on the Lonestar Communications Company for noncompliance with LTA’s Order  (LTA 0005-10-04-11)  which calls for both Lonestar and Cellcom to expand their interconnection trunks and have the expansion remain in place until otherwise ordered.

    - The SA Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has given the green light to SA Airways (SAA) to allow passengers on the airline’s flights to use their smartphones and other supported devices in “flight mode”, where the devices’ radio antennae are switched off.

    - Pan-African mobile operator MTN has announced a partnership with Singapore-based TransferTo, which allows MTN's customers with access to prepaid services to receive airtime transfers from the vast TransferTo international airtime transfer network around the world. TransferTo is a global airtime remittance hub that interconnects mobile operators' prepaid systems to deliver end to end cross-border top-up services.

More

  • Ghana’s Expresso Telecom has replaced their Managing Director just months after the buyout of Kasapa Telecom Limited. Just before Kasapa was rebranded, the Managing Director Bob Palitz resigned and was replaced by Hisham Ayoub.

    Sources within Expresso have said that Ayoub has been replaced due to poor performance. The new Managing Director is Al-Ameer Ahmed Al-Ameer Yousef, who was quietly put in while his counterpart left. It is not yet confirmed in what capacity Ayoub will be serving within the company.

    Under Ayoub subscriptions fell from 400,000 to just over 200,000, despite many changes implemented by Ayoub.

    Ayoub had introduced the Clig moden, which is one of the most competitive modems on the market in terms of prices, speed and tariff. Sources say the new Managing Director is not doing much better, but they are optimistic.

    “It looks like Mr. Yousef is going to bring some positive change, but some of the old guys at Expresso have entrenched themselves into their positions through all kinds of means so I am not too sure if he will succeed,” the source said.

  • Customer Project Manager ParaCell

    Posted date: Fri, 18th Nov

    Location: Western Africa

    ParaCell is searching for a Customer Project Manager

    Requirements:

    · We are looking for recent Ericsson Experience

    • University degree within relevant area

    · Minimum 10 years working experience in Project Management

    · Strong Leadership skills at least 5/10 years in a leadership role

    • PMP certified (Or on the way to be certified within one year)

    • Adequate operations managerial experience

    • Have excellent documentation and presentation skills

    • Have excellent communication skills

    • Have good customer and sub-contractor relation skills

    Must have ability to work independently, International experience and closely with the end-Customer are other essential skills.

    Please apply with accompanying CV indicating your availability visit here:

Issue no 581 18th November 2011

node ref id: 23520

Top story

  • While oil prices have not yet reached the peak levels witnessed in the summer of 2008, their steady growth with the OPEC basket price of an oil barrel passing the US$100 mark in February 2011, should ring an alarm bell among African mobile operators. Their dependency on diesel to fuel their base stations remains very high but very few of them have make any serious efforts to tackle these critical issues. Isabelle Gross looks at what the short and long terms options are for African mobile operators when it comes to saving on the energy bill that they are currently running.

    No later than last September, the Kenyan newspaper Business Daily reported that Bob Collymore, the CEO of Safaricom “said that the cost of running diesel-driven base stations rose by 27% since January, especially in areas with no electricity and in western Kenya where frequent power outages mean the stations must run on diesel for up to four hours a day”. He also acknowledged that the raising operating costs will need to be addressed and a way to do so will be to increase calling rates.

    Charging more customers is one approach but it has numerous pitfalls. A price increase can result in lower call volumes and therefore the overall revenue will not go up. Most African mobile subscribers don’t have deep pockets and they remain much more price sensitive than their counterparts in developed countries. Increasing prices is a sure way to drive them to look more carefully at what the competitors have on offer.

    Faced with falling voice ARPU and hypothetical additional data revenue, African mobile operators have to pay more attention on the cost side of the business that they are running. Energy expenditures should be among the top items on their list as oil prices have gone up again. When it comes to saving on the energy bills, there is not an “out of the box” solution but it can be done.

    The best approach is to first look at how to run existing base stations more efficiently. In other words, the “quick fix” which consists of tweaking various elements of the base station to realise operational savings without incurring additional capital outlay.

    The cooling system is obviously a good starting point because it represents as much as 35% of the total electricity consumption of the base station. This proportion can increase to 50% if there are fewer transmitters in use. According to a case study carried out by Axiata, a large Asian telecommunication company, the energy saving in using an inverted air conditioning versus a traditional air conditioning system is between 14% and 22%
    depending on the temperature settings (13.8% at 25°C and 21.9% at 30°C).

    In a typical setting the pay-back time is about two years. In Africa for example, mobile operators like Vodacom, Orange or MTN have started to experiment with “free cooling system” technology in conjunction (or not) with introducing higher operating temperature in the base station.

    Beside free cooling, inverted air conditioners or higher operating temperatures, smarter ways of cooling have already been developed to reduce energy consumption. One
    option is to extract the heat directly from the source rather than attempting to cool
    the whole cabin.

    Equipment manufacturer Ericsson has for example conducted trials in Indonesia that show significantly lower energy consumption can be achieved through the use of heat exchangers for the shelters and separate cooling compartments for the battery back-up. The energy used for cooling the sites can be reduced by up to 60%.

    Energy efficient base stations offer interesting savings without requiring a big capital layout but then why are there still so few in Africa when a large number of BTS are running on diesel 24/7?

    Further reduction in OPEX will require some capital investments because it implies
    purchasing more energy efficient equipment or switching to renewable energy
    power solutions. Green options range from the use of solar energy, wind
    power to hydrogen fuel cell, biomass, biofuel, etc. Solar and wind remain the most
    prominent green technologies used to power base stations in off-grid locations.

    When looking at the business case to implement renewable energy solutions to power
    base stations, three main factors need to be looked at. There is the price of oil, the BTS load and the renewable energy technology to be implemented. Let’s look at the first factor in more details.

    When oil prices are depressed, the pay-back time will be longer – a couple of years more for most renewable energy projects. When oil prices are high, the return on investment will take less time. When diesel price was at its peak in July 2008, mobile operators’ fuel costs were nearly 3 times higher than at the beginning of 2007 with the result of spiralling operating costs (OPEX) for African mobile operators. Shouldn’t the latter comparison start ringing an alarm bell in African mobile operators’ head?

    For more details on the short and long term options available to mobile operators engaging in better managing their diesel bill, please see Balancing Act’s report entitled “Energy for Cellular Base Stations in Africa: the quick fix approach and the long term perspective to saving energy” published in February 2011.


    On the Balancing Act You Tube Channel this week an AfricaCom special:

    Nadeem, Juma, CEO, Mobipay
    on m-payments and social media in Tanzania

    Scott Bain, Director of Sales, Range Networks on Open BTS and low cost BTS for Africa

    Doron Ben Sira, CEO, SkyVision on changes in the satellite market in Africa

    Arvind Rao, CEO, OnMobile on comparisons between African and Indian mobile content

    Gour Lentell, CEO, biNu on this new feature phone platform taking off in Africa

    Jonathan Osler, Managing Director – Africa, Intelsat
    on satellite market trends on the continent

    Christoph Limmer, Senior Director – Africa, SES on its strategy for the continent

    Marc Rennard EVP Orange AMEA on the pressures faced by its operations in Africa

    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

  • MAMA - Mobiles Against Malaria - is a community building effort in one of the very poor outskirts of the Malian capital Bamako, Yirimadjo. Dutch agency IICD wants to help a local association Muso Ladamunen combat the main diseases malaria and diarrhea in the neighbourhood via the integration of mobiles phones in the work of voluntary Community Health Workers, writes Francois Laureys, IICD.

    Approximately 60 women, most mothers who live in Yirimadjo, have organized themselves to pay regular visits to families in the different neighbourhoods of Yirimadjo. This allows them to take stock of the living conditions of these households, and to identify potential women and children at risk (pregnant women, young-borns etc.). They sensitize women about their rights, distribute mosquito nets to families in need, take rapid tests on malaria if they detect people who suffer from the fever, and facilitate access to the local Health Centre when necessary. In the past three years, these Health Workers have saved hundreds of lives, and the number of consultations at the Health Centre has tripled.

    Last summer, when I visited them in Bamako, they were distributing 22.000 mosquito nets to identified target families in Yirimadjo. The ‘captain’ of the Health workers, Mah Cissé, also told me that they are still struggling with the correct and timely identification of target families, and she asked me if we could help them to integrate an element of mobile phones in their work. This would allow the Health workers to send household data directly to a database and to geo-localize more exactly which areas of Yirimadjo are more at risk. Additionally, the mobile phones would also be used to send alerts and reminders about consultation visits to the Health workers in the neighbourhoods.

    We are now finalizing the project design of ‘MAMA – Mobiles Against Malaria in Mali’ , and we hope to be able to start with the mobile phones in december. If successful, this pilot could be extended to many other communities in Mali (and beyond). Both Muso Ladamunen and IICD have invested money in the project, and ‘De Parade’  (a dutch theatre festival) has raised an additional 6,083 euros, for which we are very grateful. But we still can use a little more help to get it really going.

    So have a look at the pages, where you can find a description, photos and updates of the project. You can support in different ways – just by leaving a comment or tips on the pages, by sending this link to others, by putting a link on your blog or webpage, by tweeting, or by donating a little amount via the Donate button. You can also read more about the other activities of Muso Ladamunen by clicking on this link:  or on the blog Antimoustic.

  • 8ta has empowered their subscribers by enhancing their free self-service portal with the ability to purchase airtime and data bundles online via credit card.

    According to Telkom Mobile Managing Executive, Amith Maharaj, this enhancement will facilitate online purchase of airtime and data bundles as and when subscribers need it, even when their airtime is depleted.

    This functionality will improve the user experience for Prepaid and Hybrid (Saver) subscribers. 8ta subscribers need to register online and complete the SMS verification process on 8ta’s website here:

    Logged in subscribers will not be charged to do the following:

    * Review airtime balance

    * Redeem vouchers for airtime

    * Convert airtime to data bundles

    * Review data bundles balances and expiry dates

    * Credit Card top up using 3D secure technology

    The portal is safe as 8ta has chosen 3-D secure as a key comfort factor for subscribers when disclosing their credit card details online. The 3-D secure system simply enables credit card holders to add a password over and above the usual credit card expiry and CVV three digit numbers. The platform caters for locally issued VISA and Mastercard users.

    “If your credit card is not already 3-D verified, the 8ta portal will securely verify the 3-D secure password online. The normal credit card process can then be completed, even with no airtime on the account, as the credit card application is zero rated,” says Maharaj.

    Over time the portal will be enhanced, based on subscriber feedback, market benchmarks and other developments in self-service technology.

    To date 8ta has enabled automatic redirection of all data users when their data bundle is depleted. This key network ability enables subscribers to be in control of their communication spend with 8ta.

    8ta subscribers can now further manage their airtime and data costs both on contract and prepaid products through the self-service portal.

  • Three new phones with deep Facebook integration and dedicated ‘F’ key available in Africa and Europe from Q4 2011 – offering the widest portfolio of affordable phones with deep Facebook functionality launched by an operator to date  Orange is bringing simple, affordable, social phones for under €100 to a broader range of customers in more than 15 countries*

     The new range includes the Alcatel One Touch 908F Android smartphone, one of the most affordable Android smartphones available, exclusive to Orange

    Orange will exclusively launch three new affordable phones with deep Facebook integration across Africa and Europe from Q4 2011, creating a swift, simple, cost effective social experience for more of Orange’s customers than ever before. 

    With access to the widest range of phones with Facebook built-in under €100, including the new Alcatel One Touch 908F Android smartphone, Orange customers can choose the phone best suited to their needs. Facebook’s social capabilities run through every feature of these phones, from the camera to contacts with the dedicated ‘F’ key allowing instant uploading and interaction. Orange customers can also purchase these handsets with affordable bundles and tariffs that include unlimited Facebook access without extra data charges. 

     “The rise of the smartphone and the explosion of social networks have completely changed how people keep in touch and share content. Until now many consumers across Africa and Europe have not had access to a phone that offers deep Facebook integration at an affordable price,” said Yves Maitre, Senior Vice President of Mobile Multimedia and Devices, Orange. “We feel strongly that it is Orange’s role to enable customers to enjoy a digitally rich, connected life and this and future work with Facebook and Alcatel One Touch will allow us to open up mobile social media access to even more of our customers.”

    “Orange and Facebook have a common goal of providing mobile social access to people throughout Europe and Africa,” said Henri Moissinac, Head of Mobile Business at Facebook. “These phones and our ongoing collaboration with Orange will offer an opportunity for people to easily connect and share with their friends on Facebook anytime, anywhere and, for some, experience the mobile web for the first time.”

  • Telecom Egypt (TE) has announced its plans to expand broadband and mobile-phone services after third-quarter profit dropped due to a decrease in subscribers.

    TE runs the nation’s fixed-line telephone monopoly. The company plans to begin operating a new undersea cable by the end of the year to increase capacity for data services, and is also in the process of negotiating a virtual mobile network operator license which they hope to acquire during the first quarter of 2012.

    TE is also currently negotiating with Egypt’s telecommunications regulator t acquire a license that would allow it to use the networks of other mobile-phone companies to provide services, according to TE’s Chief Financial Officer Hassan Helmy.

    The company also owns almost half of Vodafone Egypt Telecommunications Co., which is the biggest mobile-network operator in terms of users in Egypt.“In the medium and long-term, the dynamics of the local market are very attractive,” Helmy said. “We’re counting on the young population of this country.”

    The company reported a 21 percent drop in net income from last year, read a statement on TE’s website. Fixed line subscription also dropped to 8.6 million users, from 9.4 million last year.

    “The wider economic malaise is placing pressure on household incomes in Egypt,” Chairman Akil Beshir said in the statement today. “As predicated last quarter, there has been an impact on Telecom Egypt’s overall total number of active subscribers.”

internet

  • The Internet Service Providers’ Association of SA (ISPA) has created infrastructure in the form of its Cape Town and Johannesburg Internet Exchanges (CINX and JINX) to help local consumers enjoy better performance from the Internet at a more affordable cost.

    ISPA has run JINX since 1996 and the Cape Town Internet Exchange (CINX) since 2009. The organisation is currently selecting the company that will host the Durban Internet Exchange, DINX. This infrastructure has an enormous positive impact on the consumer’s Internet experience, although most South African Internet users are unaware of its existence.

    Said Marc Furman, co-chair at ISPA: “The ISPA INXs have provided massive benefit to service providers, network operators and consumers over the years. They keep Internet traffic within the country, which results in faster response times between ISPs and reduces the congestion on international links.

    “By connecting to these exchanges, network operators are also able to keep their costs down, which in turn enables them to provide their services to end-users at a lower cost. The growth we have experienced over the years across these exchange points has been staggering.”

    One principle that ISPA has embraced since 2009 is that the exchanges should be open for non-members as well as members to streamline the exchange of traffic to the benefit of the entire industry. As such, even incumbent network operators are allowed to peer using the INX infrastructure.

    The exchanges also give members a great deal of freedom in choosing who they peer with and how they do so. Although ISPA operates high speed switches at each exchange, INX users are not obliged to connect using the public switch fabric. They may run private links between their equipment at the exchange instead of using the ISPA switch.

    “We take a hands-off approach to how ISPs and operators exchange traffic at each exchange. Most participants peer freely with everyone else connected to that INX but they are not obliged to do so. Some of the participants choose to only exchange traffic with a limited number of other parties,” said Furman.

    Furman noted that the INX infrastructures in Johannesburg and Cape Town have enjoyed runaway growth in the past few years.  More than 30 ISPs now connect to JINX and exchange more than 2.5 Gbps of traffic at JINX during peak times. CINX today handles more than 500 Mbps of traffic from 16 peering ISPs during peak times. With a sharp rise in mobile data usage and rapid growth in voice-over-IP traffic, traffic volumes at the exchanges will continue to grow sharply in the months to come.

  • Labaran Maku, the Nigerian Minister of Information, has expressed concern over the increase in the number of social media in the country. Maku made the observation on Tuesday in Benin City during the meeting of members of the Nigeria Union of Journalist (NUJ) Constitutional Review Committee.

    Represented by Kingsley Osadolor, a legal practitioner, Maku said the rise of social media in the country was a phenomenon that needed to be addressed as part of the constitutional amendment or in the nearest future.

    He said the revolution that was taking place in Egypt, Syria, Libya and other Arab states was as a result of the reports dished out by the social media. Maku warned that the increase in the number social media might result in some traditional journalists losing their jobs.
    ``What business should the social media have with the NUJ? That is an important phenomenon that needs to be considered,'' he said.

    The minister noted that the constitutional review was coming at time when the Freedom of Information Act was operational. He said the FOI Act was not a substitute for ``crucial investigative journalism'', adding that its aim was to aid the journalist to get access to information.

    Maku noted that there were procedures and rules guiding the use of the FOI Act, and urged media practitioners to be acquainted with them in order not to get negative responses. ``It is useful and pertinent to know the sources of information that are available to the journalists so that they can tap into those areas,'' he said.

    `` The FOI Act is not a substitute for investigative journalism; it must not reduce us into lazy journalists because there are several journalists waiting for information to do their stories,'' he said.

    In his address, Emeka Wogu, the Minister of Labour and Productivity, expressed appreciation to the Nigerian Press for its role in promoting peace and highlighting government policies.

    Wogu, who was represented by Tommy Okon, his Special Assistant on Media, said the constitution of any organisation, group and association, ``is an indication of how healthy the body is in terms of its operations''.

    He said that as the watchdog of the society, it was expected that the NUJ constitutional amendment would address the salient issues affecting journalists and the profession.

    ``I want to use this medium to thank the media for their positive role in promoting industrial peace and harmony in the country,'' Wogu said.

computing

  • A selected aggregation of Individual Information Technology Spend Plans for Ministry, Department and Agencies (MDAs) have revealed that N4.5billion will be spent on data centres in the coming year even though the Federal Government has an IT agency that is positioned to deploy and deliver these services at a lower costs and higher standards, the Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson has said.

    Mrs. Johnson, who spoke in Abuja at the 5TH public sector ICT infrastructure forum & the public presentation of ISO/IEC 27001:2005 certification by Galaxy Backbone plc, said there are still too many instances of individual MDAs deploying ICT infrastructure that is better deployed through a more effective pooling of financial and human resources.

    She said in the light of technological developments like cloud computing and the constraints the financial and economic crisis has placed on governments, countries all over the world are promoting the concept of shared IT services because of the immense cost savings, efficiency and capabilities it has been proven to deliver. She said Nigerian MDAs have refused to key in into this.

    The minister, who said one of the mandates of the Ministry of Communication Technology is to drive transparency in governance and improve the quality of public service delivery, lamented that needless IT spending being embarked upon by most government agencies and parastatals.

    She said: "There are still too many instances of individual MDAs deploying ICT infrastructure that is better deployed through a more effective pooling of financial and human resources. A selected aggregation of individual IT Spend plans for MDAs have revealed that N4.5bn will be spent on data centres in the coming year despite the fact that we have within Government an IT organization that is positioned to deploy and deliver these services at a lower costs and to higher standards evidenced in the achievement that Galaxy Backbone is celebrating today."

  • Listed SA IT company Gijima has formed a partnership with US company MobileIron as it ups its focus on the consumerisation of IT in business. Founded in 2007 and based in California, MobileIron provides mobile device management and security to large corporations.

    Gijima says the partnership will give it the capability to provide enterprise mobile device management and security solutions to its clients. It comes just a week after the company signed a systems integrator agreement with Apple, whose products such as the iPhone and iPad are being increasingly used in corporate environments.

    MobileIron designs solutions that allow companies to integrate smartphones and tablets with company networks. It offers solutions for devices running Apple’s iOS, Research in Motion’s BlackBerry OS, Microsoft’s Windows Phone and Windows Mobile, Symbian and Google’s Android mobile operating systems.

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

  • Algeria is in talks with Vimpelcom aimed at resolving a tug of war over the Russian telecoms group's mobile phone unit Djezzy and efforts to find a resolution could now speed up, according to Algeria's finance minister, Karim Djoudi.

    Vimpelcom hoped to acquire Djezzy as part of a planned $6 billion acquisition of Wind Telecom, parent of Djezzy's owner Orascom Telecom. But Djezzy's status was left unclear after Algeria said it wanted to take the business over itself.

    Djoudi's comments were the strongest hint yet that a resolution could be close after more than a year of deadlock over Djezzy, which had been the most lucrative part of Orascom Telecom's business.

    Asked about Djezzy, Djoudi said: "Things are taking place normally. I have had a meeting with a Vimpelcom representative at his request. Unfortunately, I cannot give you details because we are in talks."

    He said a valuation of Djezzy, a crucial step in determining the unit's future, was proceeding. "It is possible that things will go fast," Djoudi said. "There is a willingness on the other side to make things go fast."

    It remains unclear what shape a deal on Djezzy could take. There has been some speculation that the Algerian government could acquire a 51 percent stake and allow Vimpelcom to hold the remaining equity and be the operator.

    Before the Vimpelcom deal, Orascom Telecom was forced to agree to talks on Djezzy's nationalisation after it was hit with millions of dollars in back-tax demands from Algeria and prevented from moving the unit's cash abroad.

    Talks about the nationalisation had been stalled because of a dispute between the Algerian government and Djezzy's owners about how the unit is to be valued, and how much access the owners would provide to Djezzy's balance sheet.

    Djoudi suggested that issue had now been resolved. "We have opened the data room which gives us access to all ... (Djezzy's) details," he said.

  • The new Tunisian government has set up a national holding company to handle its stakes in the country's two mobile networks, Tunisiana and Orange.

    The CDC (Caisse des Dépôts et Consignation) will be headed by Tunisia's Minister of Finance, Jalloul Ayed. An independent subcommittee has also been assigned to monitor corruption, approve the general policies of the funds and evaluate the investments.

    The CDC manages 25% of Tunisiana, 51% of Orange and the Zitouna bank, which were seized from the former ruling family and are now subsidiaries of the national holding.

  • Zenith Bank (Ghana) Limited in collaboration with Google Ghana has introduced a new product unto the Ghanaian market dubbed Z.com in an effort to give its customers the opportunity to position their businesses to enable them access the global market. Z.com is a business solution opportunity tailored to suit the needs of the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Ghana.

    In a statement copied to GNA on Friday, the product would afford SMEs the opportunity to globally advertise their businesses thereby increasing top of mind awareness and ultimately their turnover.

    Z.com, which is another product innovation from Zenith Bank Ghana, rides along the Bank’s quest to make available flexible business strategies to SMEs in Ghana.

    According to Daniel Asiedu Chief Executive Officer of Zenith Bank Ghana, the bank would continue to introduce innovative products and services onto the Ghanaian banking industry.

    “This is in line with its vision of being the reference point in the provision of prompt, flawless and innovation products in the Ghanaian industry”, the statement read.

    The product would be formally launched at a business fair where key stakeholders, policy makers as well as entrepreneurs in the SMEs sector would be brought together to experience at first hand the benefits of e-commerce.

    The official launch of Z.com would take place on Thursday November 24, 2011 at the Accra International Conference Center.

    In a related development, Mr. Henry Oroh, a senior management staff from the parent company Zenith Bank Plc has been appointed to complement the bank’s marketing efforts in Ghana.

  • The fact that the new card will be linked to the user's phone will significantly enhance the security features, says Fundamo CEO Hannes van Rensburg.
    Global credit card company Visa and Africa's largest cellular operator, MTN, have partnered to introduce a new Visa prepaid account mobile service as an extension of MTN Mobile Money in developing countries.

    The product is a result of Visa's recent acquisition of local mobile money platform Fundamo, which has now been integrated with Visa's global payment network, VisaNet.

    Together with MTN Mobile Money, the new service will allow consumers to get a special Visa card which will be linked to their Mobile Money account, and which essentially has the same payment functionality as a bank card.

    Visa says the service will allow users to extend their mobile money payment functionality by allowing them to send money to each other, send and receive international remittances, withdraw funds from a Visa ATM and make purchases at merchants or online.

  • This week, an estimated 180 000 EasyPay customers will receive an e-mail that offers money-back rewards on all their transactions as part of the company’s strategy to restore its credibility and regain customers’ confidence after its site was hit by credit-card fraud two months ago.

    EasyPay will also carry the full liability of any fraudulent transactions, said Serge Belamant, the CEO of Net1, the holding company of EasyPay. He said he has confidence in the site’s newly built security features.

    EasyPay has one of SA’s largest third-party payment systems. It allows consumers to use their credit cards to pay their bills, including Telkom, the municipality and traffic fines, either through its website or at pay points in shops such as Pick n Pay.

    It also allows consumers to buy airtime and prepaid electricity online and it was these purchases that were targeted in September by a crime syndicate. The criminals obtained a list of credit card numbers, which it used to buy airtime, electricity and prepaid gift cards.

    The reaction from Absa, which found that one in three transactions were fraudulent, was to prevent its cardholders from transacting on the site temporarily until EasyPay removed the high-risk products. Some banks continue to limit the number of EasyPay transactions they allow.

    Walter Volker, CEO of the Payment Association of SA, said EasyPay had nothing to do with the release of the credit card details. An investigation is underway to determine how the syndicate obtained the credit card details, which resulted in losses of millions of rands. It must still be determined which banks will carry the liability.

    Belamant said the company had been unfairly targeted by the banks because it was not responsible for the breach. He said the high volume of traffic on the site — it does 4m to 5m transactions a month — made it attractive to fraudsters.

    EasyPay processes payments worth R120m/month, according to Belamant, and the new site is growing at a rate of 10%/month.

Digital Content

  • Many local firms have failed to get their strategies right in creating brand visibility and loyalty through social media, the latest industry survey has shown.

    However, many companies have invested heavily on Internet platforms with an aim of tapping the growing online audience.

    According to the TNS Digital Life Survey, 60 per cent of Kenyans on social media are resistant to brands and brand messages in their profiles, meaning that companies may not be getting returns on the investments they have made to reach the online community through the networks.

    "The race online has seen businesses across the world develop profiles on social networks such as Facebook and YouTube to speak to customers quickly and cheaply --but this study reveals that if these efforts are not carefully targeted, they are a wasted resource," says the report.

    The survey indicates that many firms have embraced the social media platform but without a clear strategy on who their target audiences are, leading to negative results.

    "Digital waste is the accumulation of thousands of brands rushing online without thinking who they want to talk to and why," said Matthew Froggatt, Chief Development Officer at TNS.

    "Many brands have recognised the vast potential of audiences available to them on social networks but they do not understand that these spaces belong to the consumer and their presence needs to be proportionate and justified."

    Mr Froggatt says although the online world presents massive opportunities for brands, only precisely tailored marketing strategies can realise this potential.

    The findings come at a time when the Kenyan social media space is full of content from local firms reaching out to users .But not all is lost as 54 per cent of online users interviewed in the survey admitted that social networks are a good place to learn about products.

    This implies that the use of social media to gain brand visibility and market penetration is not a misguided one. It only needs more direct strategies.

    These findings back concern expressed previously by social media analysts over the unplanned and disjointed online campaigns adopted by most firms in an effort to build their brand visibility.

    "Most businesses in Kenya enter social media but continue passing the same old messages as in traditional channels. Social media is more than just a platform to send your usual advertisement ; it has its own culture which means how people converse, the tone of the conversation, tone of channel (Facebook or Twitter),." says Mr Marvin Tumbo, social media specialist and CEO of Socialight Media, a company that provides social media solutions.

    Tumbo says failure by brands to understand how social media works is what causes conflicts between consumers and business online, with the major challenge coming in crafting the messages. Most firms have not come up with a specific messages for social media sites but are channelling messages created for the traditional media and which may not be appealing to this particular audience.

    The findings further state that users in fast growth markets like Brazil, Indonesia and Kenya are far more open to brands on social networks compared to developed markets like the US where brand tolerance in social media stood at nine per cent compared to 40 per cent in Kenya.

    This means that businesses targeting users in developing countries have a wider audience base, albeit one that must be used prudently. "Social media is not a bad tool for marketing. But it is the tact and targeting that many brands are getting wrong", says Mr Francis Waithaka, a social media analyst.

    "The first thing that brands must do is to listen and understand what customers want. Brands should do pull marketing and not push marketing. A great product and a good customer service will pull customers to your business."

    Waithaka further adds that it is essential for brands to work on their products and services well before going to social media to market them. "With a bad product or terrible customer service, no matter what marketing strategies you employ, it won't work", he says.

    In addition to this, disgruntled users have been known to tweet and post bad customer experiences to their friends and followers and this can go viral and end up being a crisis or an embarrassment to a brand.

    According to the survey, 62 per cent of Kenyan social media users trust comments people make online about brands while close to 30 per cent of users share their experience with brands in social media. In addition to this, 19 per cent of users write about brands to praise the service or goods while 10 per cent write to complain.

    "Most companies in Kenya have not thought through their social media engagement. There has been no strategy to their engagement and hence the high failure rate", says Mr Tumbo. "It's about time companies started having actual strategies and not me-too activities on social media."

    His sentiments are echoed by Withaka. "No matter how good your product or service is, regardless of how brilliant the advertisements are, and regardless of the price you're charging, if your targeting is off, then your whole marketing campaign will be missing the mark. You'll waste a lot of cash, energy and time marketing to people who will never buy from you".

  • Telkom is involved in a multibillion-rand project to increase the throughput of fixed-line broadband to speeds of up to 40Mbit/s. The plans also include dramatically upping the speed of entry-level broadband services and introducing video-on-demand (VOD) products, possibly from international providers such as Hulu, Netflix and Nangu.

    In addition, the company is planning a trial using superfast fibre-optic cables from selected telephone exchanges, with the pilot project expected to kick off as early as 15 January 2012. Details about the fibre project remain sketchy, however.

    VDSL2 is theoretically capable of offering download speeds of up to 250Mbit/s over short lengths of copper (up to 500m) and up 50Mbit/s for distances of up to 1km.

    Telkom has invested millions of rand in recent years bringing fibre closer to its customers — in many areas, it has built fibre to its street-level distribution cabinets — to offer faster access speeds to consumers over its copper network.

Telecoms, Rates, Offers and Coverage

  • - Airtel Kenya will offer a 50% airtime bonus to customers topping up their prepay account via its own Airtel Money platform.

    - Chinese vendor ZTE has announced that it has installed an integrated value added platform solution (iVAS) in Kinshasa for Vodacom DRC. The iVAS system encompasses SMS services, and ZTE claims that the installation has increased Vodacom’s SMS management tenfold, improving service on the South African-owned telco’s network by reducing congestion.

    - The Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA) has imposed a fine of US$225,000.00 on the Lonestar Communications Company for noncompliance with LTA’s Order  (LTA 0005-10-04-11)  which calls for both Lonestar and Cellcom to expand their interconnection trunks and have the expansion remain in place until otherwise ordered.

    - The SA Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has given the green light to SA Airways (SAA) to allow passengers on the airline’s flights to use their smartphones and other supported devices in “flight mode”, where the devices’ radio antennae are switched off.

    - Pan-African mobile operator MTN has announced a partnership with Singapore-based TransferTo, which allows MTN's customers with access to prepaid services to receive airtime transfers from the vast TransferTo international airtime transfer network around the world. TransferTo is a global airtime remittance hub that interconnects mobile operators' prepaid systems to deliver end to end cross-border top-up services.

More

  • Ghana’s Expresso Telecom has replaced their Managing Director just months after the buyout of Kasapa Telecom Limited. Just before Kasapa was rebranded, the Managing Director Bob Palitz resigned and was replaced by Hisham Ayoub.

    Sources within Expresso have said that Ayoub has been replaced due to poor performance. The new Managing Director is Al-Ameer Ahmed Al-Ameer Yousef, who was quietly put in while his counterpart left. It is not yet confirmed in what capacity Ayoub will be serving within the company.

    Under Ayoub subscriptions fell from 400,000 to just over 200,000, despite many changes implemented by Ayoub.

    Ayoub had introduced the Clig moden, which is one of the most competitive modems on the market in terms of prices, speed and tariff. Sources say the new Managing Director is not doing much better, but they are optimistic.

    “It looks like Mr. Yousef is going to bring some positive change, but some of the old guys at Expresso have entrenched themselves into their positions through all kinds of means so I am not too sure if he will succeed,” the source said.

  • Customer Project Manager ParaCell

    Posted date: Fri, 18th Nov

    Location: Western Africa

    ParaCell is searching for a Customer Project Manager

    Requirements:

    · We are looking for recent Ericsson Experience

    • University degree within relevant area

    · Minimum 10 years working experience in Project Management

    · Strong Leadership skills at least 5/10 years in a leadership role

    • PMP certified (Or on the way to be certified within one year)

    • Adequate operations managerial experience

    • Have excellent documentation and presentation skills

    • Have excellent communication skills

    • Have good customer and sub-contractor relation skills

    Must have ability to work independently, International experience and closely with the end-Customer are other essential skills.

    Please apply with accompanying CV indicating your availability visit here:

Issue no 581 18th November 2011

node ref id: 23520

Top story

  • While oil prices have not yet reached the peak levels witnessed in the summer of 2008, their steady growth with the OPEC basket price of an oil barrel passing the US$100 mark in February 2011, should ring an alarm bell among African mobile operators. Their dependency on diesel to fuel their base stations remains very high but very few of them have make any serious efforts to tackle these critical issues. Isabelle Gross looks at what the short and long terms options are for African mobile operators when it comes to saving on the energy bill that they are currently running.

    No later than last September, the Kenyan newspaper Business Daily reported that Bob Collymore, the CEO of Safaricom “said that the cost of running diesel-driven base stations rose by 27% since January, especially in areas with no electricity and in western Kenya where frequent power outages mean the stations must run on diesel for up to four hours a day”. He also acknowledged that the raising operating costs will need to be addressed and a way to do so will be to increase calling rates.

    Charging more customers is one approach but it has numerous pitfalls. A price increase can result in lower call volumes and therefore the overall revenue will not go up. Most African mobile subscribers don’t have deep pockets and they remain much more price sensitive than their counterparts in developed countries. Increasing prices is a sure way to drive them to look more carefully at what the competitors have on offer.

    Faced with falling voice ARPU and hypothetical additional data revenue, African mobile operators have to pay more attention on the cost side of the business that they are running. Energy expenditures should be among the top items on their list as oil prices have gone up again. When it comes to saving on the energy bills, there is not an “out of the box” solution but it can be done.

    The best approach is to first look at how to run existing base stations more efficiently. In other words, the “quick fix” which consists of tweaking various elements of the base station to realise operational savings without incurring additional capital outlay.

    The cooling system is obviously a good starting point because it represents as much as 35% of the total electricity consumption of the base station. This proportion can increase to 50% if there are fewer transmitters in use. According to a case study carried out by Axiata, a large Asian telecommunication company, the energy saving in using an inverted air conditioning versus a traditional air conditioning system is between 14% and 22%
    depending on the temperature settings (13.8% at 25°C and 21.9% at 30°C).

    In a typical setting the pay-back time is about two years. In Africa for example, mobile operators like Vodacom, Orange or MTN have started to experiment with “free cooling system” technology in conjunction (or not) with introducing higher operating temperature in the base station.

    Beside free cooling, inverted air conditioners or higher operating temperatures, smarter ways of cooling have already been developed to reduce energy consumption. One
    option is to extract the heat directly from the source rather than attempting to cool
    the whole cabin.

    Equipment manufacturer Ericsson has for example conducted trials in Indonesia that show significantly lower energy consumption can be achieved through the use of heat exchangers for the shelters and separate cooling compartments for the battery back-up. The energy used for cooling the sites can be reduced by up to 60%.

    Energy efficient base stations offer interesting savings without requiring a big capital layout but then why are there still so few in Africa when a large number of BTS are running on diesel 24/7?

    Further reduction in OPEX will require some capital investments because it implies
    purchasing more energy efficient equipment or switching to renewable energy
    power solutions. Green options range from the use of solar energy, wind
    power to hydrogen fuel cell, biomass, biofuel, etc. Solar and wind remain the most
    prominent green technologies used to power base stations in off-grid locations.

    When looking at the business case to implement renewable energy solutions to power
    base stations, three main factors need to be looked at. There is the price of oil, the BTS load and the renewable energy technology to be implemented. Let’s look at the first factor in more details.

    When oil prices are depressed, the pay-back time will be longer – a couple of years more for most renewable energy projects. When oil prices are high, the return on investment will take less time. When diesel price was at its peak in July 2008, mobile operators’ fuel costs were nearly 3 times higher than at the beginning of 2007 with the result of spiralling operating costs (OPEX) for African mobile operators. Shouldn’t the latter comparison start ringing an alarm bell in African mobile operators’ head?

    For more details on the short and long term options available to mobile operators engaging in better managing their diesel bill, please see Balancing Act’s report entitled “Energy for Cellular Base Stations in Africa: the quick fix approach and the long term perspective to saving energy” published in February 2011.


    On the Balancing Act You Tube Channel this week an AfricaCom special:

    Nadeem, Juma, CEO, Mobipay
    on m-payments and social media in Tanzania

    Scott Bain, Director of Sales, Range Networks on Open BTS and low cost BTS for Africa

    Doron Ben Sira, CEO, SkyVision on changes in the satellite market in Africa

    Arvind Rao, CEO, OnMobile on comparisons between African and Indian mobile content

    Gour Lentell, CEO, biNu on this new feature phone platform taking off in Africa

    Jonathan Osler, Managing Director – Africa, Intelsat
    on satellite market trends on the continent

    Christoph Limmer, Senior Director – Africa, SES on its strategy for the continent

    Marc Rennard EVP Orange AMEA on the pressures faced by its operations in Africa

    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

  • MAMA - Mobiles Against Malaria - is a community building effort in one of the very poor outskirts of the Malian capital Bamako, Yirimadjo. Dutch agency IICD wants to help a local association Muso Ladamunen combat the main diseases malaria and diarrhea in the neighbourhood via the integration of mobiles phones in the work of voluntary Community Health Workers, writes Francois Laureys, IICD.

    Approximately 60 women, most mothers who live in Yirimadjo, have organized themselves to pay regular visits to families in the different neighbourhoods of Yirimadjo. This allows them to take stock of the living conditions of these households, and to identify potential women and children at risk (pregnant women, young-borns etc.). They sensitize women about their rights, distribute mosquito nets to families in need, take rapid tests on malaria if they detect people who suffer from the fever, and facilitate access to the local Health Centre when necessary. In the past three years, these Health Workers have saved hundreds of lives, and the number of consultations at the Health Centre has tripled.

    Last summer, when I visited them in Bamako, they were distributing 22.000 mosquito nets to identified target families in Yirimadjo. The ‘captain’ of the Health workers, Mah Cissé, also told me that they are still struggling with the correct and timely identification of target families, and she asked me if we could help them to integrate an element of mobile phones in their work. This would allow the Health workers to send household data directly to a database and to geo-localize more exactly which areas of Yirimadjo are more at risk. Additionally, the mobile phones would also be used to send alerts and reminders about consultation visits to the Health workers in the neighbourhoods.

    We are now finalizing the project design of ‘MAMA – Mobiles Against Malaria in Mali’ , and we hope to be able to start with the mobile phones in december. If successful, this pilot could be extended to many other communities in Mali (and beyond). Both Muso Ladamunen and IICD have invested money in the project, and ‘De Parade’  (a dutch theatre festival) has raised an additional 6,083 euros, for which we are very grateful. But we still can use a little more help to get it really going.

    So have a look at the pages, where you can find a description, photos and updates of the project. You can support in different ways – just by leaving a comment or tips on the pages, by sending this link to others, by putting a link on your blog or webpage, by tweeting, or by donating a little amount via the Donate button. You can also read more about the other activities of Muso Ladamunen by clicking on this link:  or on the blog Antimoustic.

  • 8ta has empowered their subscribers by enhancing their free self-service portal with the ability to purchase airtime and data bundles online via credit card.

    According to Telkom Mobile Managing Executive, Amith Maharaj, this enhancement will facilitate online purchase of airtime and data bundles as and when subscribers need it, even when their airtime is depleted.

    This functionality will improve the user experience for Prepaid and Hybrid (Saver) subscribers. 8ta subscribers need to register online and complete the SMS verification process on 8ta’s website here:

    Logged in subscribers will not be charged to do the following:

    * Review airtime balance

    * Redeem vouchers for airtime

    * Convert airtime to data bundles

    * Review data bundles balances and expiry dates

    * Credit Card top up using 3D secure technology

    The portal is safe as 8ta has chosen 3-D secure as a key comfort factor for subscribers when disclosing their credit card details online. The 3-D secure system simply enables credit card holders to add a password over and above the usual credit card expiry and CVV three digit numbers. The platform caters for locally issued VISA and Mastercard users.

    “If your credit card is not already 3-D verified, the 8ta portal will securely verify the 3-D secure password online. The normal credit card process can then be completed, even with no airtime on the account, as the credit card application is zero rated,” says Maharaj.

    Over time the portal will be enhanced, based on subscriber feedback, market benchmarks and other developments in self-service technology.

    To date 8ta has enabled automatic redirection of all data users when their data bundle is depleted. This key network ability enables subscribers to be in control of their communication spend with 8ta.

    8ta subscribers can now further manage their airtime and data costs both on contract and prepaid products through the self-service portal.

  • Three new phones with deep Facebook integration and dedicated ‘F’ key available in Africa and Europe from Q4 2011 – offering the widest portfolio of affordable phones with deep Facebook functionality launched by an operator to date  Orange is bringing simple, affordable, social phones for under €100 to a broader range of customers in more than 15 countries*

     The new range includes the Alcatel One Touch 908F Android smartphone, one of the most affordable Android smartphones available, exclusive to Orange

    Orange will exclusively launch three new affordable phones with deep Facebook integration across Africa and Europe from Q4 2011, creating a swift, simple, cost effective social experience for more of Orange’s customers than ever before. 

    With access to the widest range of phones with Facebook built-in under €100, including the new Alcatel One Touch 908F Android smartphone, Orange customers can choose the phone best suited to their needs. Facebook’s social capabilities run through every feature of these phones, from the camera to contacts with the dedicated ‘F’ key allowing instant uploading and interaction. Orange customers can also purchase these handsets with affordable bundles and tariffs that include unlimited Facebook access without extra data charges. 

     “The rise of the smartphone and the explosion of social networks have completely changed how people keep in touch and share content. Until now many consumers across Africa and Europe have not had access to a phone that offers deep Facebook integration at an affordable price,” said Yves Maitre, Senior Vice President of Mobile Multimedia and Devices, Orange. “We feel strongly that it is Orange’s role to enable customers to enjoy a digitally rich, connected life and this and future work with Facebook and Alcatel One Touch will allow us to open up mobile social media access to even more of our customers.”

    “Orange and Facebook have a common goal of providing mobile social access to people throughout Europe and Africa,” said Henri Moissinac, Head of Mobile Business at Facebook. “These phones and our ongoing collaboration with Orange will offer an opportunity for people to easily connect and share with their friends on Facebook anytime, anywhere and, for some, experience the mobile web for the first time.”

  • Telecom Egypt (TE) has announced its plans to expand broadband and mobile-phone services after third-quarter profit dropped due to a decrease in subscribers.

    TE runs the nation’s fixed-line telephone monopoly. The company plans to begin operating a new undersea cable by the end of the year to increase capacity for data services, and is also in the process of negotiating a virtual mobile network operator license which they hope to acquire during the first quarter of 2012.

    TE is also currently negotiating with Egypt’s telecommunications regulator t acquire a license that would allow it to use the networks of other mobile-phone companies to provide services, according to TE’s Chief Financial Officer Hassan Helmy.

    The company also owns almost half of Vodafone Egypt Telecommunications Co., which is the biggest mobile-network operator in terms of users in Egypt.“In the medium and long-term, the dynamics of the local market are very attractive,” Helmy said. “We’re counting on the young population of this country.”

    The company reported a 21 percent drop in net income from last year, read a statement on TE’s website. Fixed line subscription also dropped to 8.6 million users, from 9.4 million last year.

    “The wider economic malaise is placing pressure on household incomes in Egypt,” Chairman Akil Beshir said in the statement today. “As predicated last quarter, there has been an impact on Telecom Egypt’s overall total number of active subscribers.”

internet

  • The Internet Service Providers’ Association of SA (ISPA) has created infrastructure in the form of its Cape Town and Johannesburg Internet Exchanges (CINX and JINX) to help local consumers enjoy better performance from the Internet at a more affordable cost.

    ISPA has run JINX since 1996 and the Cape Town Internet Exchange (CINX) since 2009. The organisation is currently selecting the company that will host the Durban Internet Exchange, DINX. This infrastructure has an enormous positive impact on the consumer’s Internet experience, although most South African Internet users are unaware of its existence.

    Said Marc Furman, co-chair at ISPA: “The ISPA INXs have provided massive benefit to service providers, network operators and consumers over the years. They keep Internet traffic within the country, which results in faster response times between ISPs and reduces the congestion on international links.

    “By connecting to these exchanges, network operators are also able to keep their costs down, which in turn enables them to provide their services to end-users at a lower cost. The growth we have experienced over the years across these exchange points has been staggering.”

    One principle that ISPA has embraced since 2009 is that the exchanges should be open for non-members as well as members to streamline the exchange of traffic to the benefit of the entire industry. As such, even incumbent network operators are allowed to peer using the INX infrastructure.

    The exchanges also give members a great deal of freedom in choosing who they peer with and how they do so. Although ISPA operates high speed switches at each exchange, INX users are not obliged to connect using the public switch fabric. They may run private links between their equipment at the exchange instead of using the ISPA switch.

    “We take a hands-off approach to how ISPs and operators exchange traffic at each exchange. Most participants peer freely with everyone else connected to that INX but they are not obliged to do so. Some of the participants choose to only exchange traffic with a limited number of other parties,” said Furman.

    Furman noted that the INX infrastructures in Johannesburg and Cape Town have enjoyed runaway growth in the past few years.  More than 30 ISPs now connect to JINX and exchange more than 2.5 Gbps of traffic at JINX during peak times. CINX today handles more than 500 Mbps of traffic from 16 peering ISPs during peak times. With a sharp rise in mobile data usage and rapid growth in voice-over-IP traffic, traffic volumes at the exchanges will continue to grow sharply in the months to come.

  • Labaran Maku, the Nigerian Minister of Information, has expressed concern over the increase in the number of social media in the country. Maku made the observation on Tuesday in Benin City during the meeting of members of the Nigeria Union of Journalist (NUJ) Constitutional Review Committee.

    Represented by Kingsley Osadolor, a legal practitioner, Maku said the rise of social media in the country was a phenomenon that needed to be addressed as part of the constitutional amendment or in the nearest future.

    He said the revolution that was taking place in Egypt, Syria, Libya and other Arab states was as a result of the reports dished out by the social media. Maku warned that the increase in the number social media might result in some traditional journalists losing their jobs.
    ``What business should the social media have with the NUJ? That is an important phenomenon that needs to be considered,'' he said.

    The minister noted that the constitutional review was coming at time when the Freedom of Information Act was operational. He said the FOI Act was not a substitute for ``crucial investigative journalism'', adding that its aim was to aid the journalist to get access to information.

    Maku noted that there were procedures and rules guiding the use of the FOI Act, and urged media practitioners to be acquainted with them in order not to get negative responses. ``It is useful and pertinent to know the sources of information that are available to the journalists so that they can tap into those areas,'' he said.

    `` The FOI Act is not a substitute for investigative journalism; it must not reduce us into lazy journalists because there are several journalists waiting for information to do their stories,'' he said.

    In his address, Emeka Wogu, the Minister of Labour and Productivity, expressed appreciation to the Nigerian Press for its role in promoting peace and highlighting government policies.

    Wogu, who was represented by Tommy Okon, his Special Assistant on Media, said the constitution of any organisation, group and association, ``is an indication of how healthy the body is in terms of its operations''.

    He said that as the watchdog of the society, it was expected that the NUJ constitutional amendment would address the salient issues affecting journalists and the profession.

    ``I want to use this medium to thank the media for their positive role in promoting industrial peace and harmony in the country,'' Wogu said.

computing

  • A selected aggregation of Individual Information Technology Spend Plans for Ministry, Department and Agencies (MDAs) have revealed that N4.5billion will be spent on data centres in the coming year even though the Federal Government has an IT agency that is positioned to deploy and deliver these services at a lower costs and higher standards, the Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson has said.

    Mrs. Johnson, who spoke in Abuja at the 5TH public sector ICT infrastructure forum & the public presentation of ISO/IEC 27001:2005 certification by Galaxy Backbone plc, said there are still too many instances of individual MDAs deploying ICT infrastructure that is better deployed through a more effective pooling of financial and human resources.

    She said in the light of technological developments like cloud computing and the constraints the financial and economic crisis has placed on governments, countries all over the world are promoting the concept of shared IT services because of the immense cost savings, efficiency and capabilities it has been proven to deliver. She said Nigerian MDAs have refused to key in into this.

    The minister, who said one of the mandates of the Ministry of Communication Technology is to drive transparency in governance and improve the quality of public service delivery, lamented that needless IT spending being embarked upon by most government agencies and parastatals.

    She said: "There are still too many instances of individual MDAs deploying ICT infrastructure that is better deployed through a more effective pooling of financial and human resources. A selected aggregation of individual IT Spend plans for MDAs have revealed that N4.5bn will be spent on data centres in the coming year despite the fact that we have within Government an IT organization that is positioned to deploy and deliver these services at a lower costs and to higher standards evidenced in the achievement that Galaxy Backbone is celebrating today."

  • Listed SA IT company Gijima has formed a partnership with US company MobileIron as it ups its focus on the consumerisation of IT in business. Founded in 2007 and based in California, MobileIron provides mobile device management and security to large corporations.

    Gijima says the partnership will give it the capability to provide enterprise mobile device management and security solutions to its clients. It comes just a week after the company signed a systems integrator agreement with Apple, whose products such as the iPhone and iPad are being increasingly used in corporate environments.

    MobileIron designs solutions that allow companies to integrate smartphones and tablets with company networks. It offers solutions for devices running Apple’s iOS, Research in Motion’s BlackBerry OS, Microsoft’s Windows Phone and Windows Mobile, Symbian and Google’s Android mobile operating systems.

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

  • Algeria is in talks with Vimpelcom aimed at resolving a tug of war over the Russian telecoms group's mobile phone unit Djezzy and efforts to find a resolution could now speed up, according to Algeria's finance minister, Karim Djoudi.

    Vimpelcom hoped to acquire Djezzy as part of a planned $6 billion acquisition of Wind Telecom, parent of Djezzy's owner Orascom Telecom. But Djezzy's status was left unclear after Algeria said it wanted to take the business over itself.

    Djoudi's comments were the strongest hint yet that a resolution could be close after more than a year of deadlock over Djezzy, which had been the most lucrative part of Orascom Telecom's business.

    Asked about Djezzy, Djoudi said: "Things are taking place normally. I have had a meeting with a Vimpelcom representative at his request. Unfortunately, I cannot give you details because we are in talks."

    He said a valuation of Djezzy, a crucial step in determining the unit's future, was proceeding. "It is possible that things will go fast," Djoudi said. "There is a willingness on the other side to make things go fast."

    It remains unclear what shape a deal on Djezzy could take. There has been some speculation that the Algerian government could acquire a 51 percent stake and allow Vimpelcom to hold the remaining equity and be the operator.

    Before the Vimpelcom deal, Orascom Telecom was forced to agree to talks on Djezzy's nationalisation after it was hit with millions of dollars in back-tax demands from Algeria and prevented from moving the unit's cash abroad.

    Talks about the nationalisation had been stalled because of a dispute between the Algerian government and Djezzy's owners about how the unit is to be valued, and how much access the owners would provide to Djezzy's balance sheet.

    Djoudi suggested that issue had now been resolved. "We have opened the data room which gives us access to all ... (Djezzy's) details," he said.

  • The new Tunisian government has set up a national holding company to handle its stakes in the country's two mobile networks, Tunisiana and Orange.

    The CDC (Caisse des Dépôts et Consignation) will be headed by Tunisia's Minister of Finance, Jalloul Ayed. An independent subcommittee has also been assigned to monitor corruption, approve the general policies of the funds and evaluate the investments.

    The CDC manages 25% of Tunisiana, 51% of Orange and the Zitouna bank, which were seized from the former ruling family and are now subsidiaries of the national holding.

  • Zenith Bank (Ghana) Limited in collaboration with Google Ghana has introduced a new product unto the Ghanaian market dubbed Z.com in an effort to give its customers the opportunity to position their businesses to enable them access the global market. Z.com is a business solution opportunity tailored to suit the needs of the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Ghana.

    In a statement copied to GNA on Friday, the product would afford SMEs the opportunity to globally advertise their businesses thereby increasing top of mind awareness and ultimately their turnover.

    Z.com, which is another product innovation from Zenith Bank Ghana, rides along the Bank’s quest to make available flexible business strategies to SMEs in Ghana.

    According to Daniel Asiedu Chief Executive Officer of Zenith Bank Ghana, the bank would continue to introduce innovative products and services onto the Ghanaian banking industry.

    “This is in line with its vision of being the reference point in the provision of prompt, flawless and innovation products in the Ghanaian industry”, the statement read.

    The product would be formally launched at a business fair where key stakeholders, policy makers as well as entrepreneurs in the SMEs sector would be brought together to experience at first hand the benefits of e-commerce.

    The official launch of Z.com would take place on Thursday November 24, 2011 at the Accra International Conference Center.

    In a related development, Mr. Henry Oroh, a senior management staff from the parent company Zenith Bank Plc has been appointed to complement the bank’s marketing efforts in Ghana.

  • The fact that the new card will be linked to the user's phone will significantly enhance the security features, says Fundamo CEO Hannes van Rensburg.
    Global credit card company Visa and Africa's largest cellular operator, MTN, have partnered to introduce a new Visa prepaid account mobile service as an extension of MTN Mobile Money in developing countries.

    The product is a result of Visa's recent acquisition of local mobile money platform Fundamo, which has now been integrated with Visa's global payment network, VisaNet.

    Together with MTN Mobile Money, the new service will allow consumers to get a special Visa card which will be linked to their Mobile Money account, and which essentially has the same payment functionality as a bank card.

    Visa says the service will allow users to extend their mobile money payment functionality by allowing them to send money to each other, send and receive international remittances, withdraw funds from a Visa ATM and make purchases at merchants or online.

  • This week, an estimated 180 000 EasyPay customers will receive an e-mail that offers money-back rewards on all their transactions as part of the company’s strategy to restore its credibility and regain customers’ confidence after its site was hit by credit-card fraud two months ago.

    EasyPay will also carry the full liability of any fraudulent transactions, said Serge Belamant, the CEO of Net1, the holding company of EasyPay. He said he has confidence in the site’s newly built security features.

    EasyPay has one of SA’s largest third-party payment systems. It allows consumers to use their credit cards to pay their bills, including Telkom, the municipality and traffic fines, either through its website or at pay points in shops such as Pick n Pay.

    It also allows consumers to buy airtime and prepaid electricity online and it was these purchases that were targeted in September by a crime syndicate. The criminals obtained a list of credit card numbers, which it used to buy airtime, electricity and prepaid gift cards.

    The reaction from Absa, which found that one in three transactions were fraudulent, was to prevent its cardholders from transacting on the site temporarily until EasyPay removed the high-risk products. Some banks continue to limit the number of EasyPay transactions they allow.

    Walter Volker, CEO of the Payment Association of SA, said EasyPay had nothing to do with the release of the credit card details. An investigation is underway to determine how the syndicate obtained the credit card details, which resulted in losses of millions of rands. It must still be determined which banks will carry the liability.

    Belamant said the company had been unfairly targeted by the banks because it was not responsible for the breach. He said the high volume of traffic on the site — it does 4m to 5m transactions a month — made it attractive to fraudsters.

    EasyPay processes payments worth R120m/month, according to Belamant, and the new site is growing at a rate of 10%/month.

Digital Content

  • Many local firms have failed to get their strategies right in creating brand visibility and loyalty through social media, the latest industry survey has shown.

    However, many companies have invested heavily on Internet platforms with an aim of tapping the growing online audience.

    According to the TNS Digital Life Survey, 60 per cent of Kenyans on social media are resistant to brands and brand messages in their profiles, meaning that companies may not be getting returns on the investments they have made to reach the online community through the networks.

    "The race online has seen businesses across the world develop profiles on social networks such as Facebook and YouTube to speak to customers quickly and cheaply --but this study reveals that if these efforts are not carefully targeted, they are a wasted resource," says the report.

    The survey indicates that many firms have embraced the social media platform but without a clear strategy on who their target audiences are, leading to negative results.

    "Digital waste is the accumulation of thousands of brands rushing online without thinking who they want to talk to and why," said Matthew Froggatt, Chief Development Officer at TNS.

    "Many brands have recognised the vast potential of audiences available to them on social networks but they do not understand that these spaces belong to the consumer and their presence needs to be proportionate and justified."

    Mr Froggatt says although the online world presents massive opportunities for brands, only precisely tailored marketing strategies can realise this potential.

    The findings come at a time when the Kenyan social media space is full of content from local firms reaching out to users .But not all is lost as 54 per cent of online users interviewed in the survey admitted that social networks are a good place to learn about products.

    This implies that the use of social media to gain brand visibility and market penetration is not a misguided one. It only needs more direct strategies.

    These findings back concern expressed previously by social media analysts over the unplanned and disjointed online campaigns adopted by most firms in an effort to build their brand visibility.

    "Most businesses in Kenya enter social media but continue passing the same old messages as in traditional channels. Social media is more than just a platform to send your usual advertisement ; it has its own culture which means how people converse, the tone of the conversation, tone of channel (Facebook or Twitter),." says Mr Marvin Tumbo, social media specialist and CEO of Socialight Media, a company that provides social media solutions.

    Tumbo says failure by brands to understand how social media works is what causes conflicts between consumers and business online, with the major challenge coming in crafting the messages. Most firms have not come up with a specific messages for social media sites but are channelling messages created for the traditional media and which may not be appealing to this particular audience.

    The findings further state that users in fast growth markets like Brazil, Indonesia and Kenya are far more open to brands on social networks compared to developed markets like the US where brand tolerance in social media stood at nine per cent compared to 40 per cent in Kenya.

    This means that businesses targeting users in developing countries have a wider audience base, albeit one that must be used prudently. "Social media is not a bad tool for marketing. But it is the tact and targeting that many brands are getting wrong", says Mr Francis Waithaka, a social media analyst.

    "The first thing that brands must do is to listen and understand what customers want. Brands should do pull marketing and not push marketing. A great product and a good customer service will pull customers to your business."

    Waithaka further adds that it is essential for brands to work on their products and services well before going to social media to market them. "With a bad product or terrible customer service, no matter what marketing strategies you employ, it won't work", he says.

    In addition to this, disgruntled users have been known to tweet and post bad customer experiences to their friends and followers and this can go viral and end up being a crisis or an embarrassment to a brand.

    According to the survey, 62 per cent of Kenyan social media users trust comments people make online about brands while close to 30 per cent of users share their experience with brands in social media. In addition to this, 19 per cent of users write about brands to praise the service or goods while 10 per cent write to complain.

    "Most companies in Kenya have not thought through their social media engagement. There has been no strategy to their engagement and hence the high failure rate", says Mr Tumbo. "It's about time companies started having actual strategies and not me-too activities on social media."

    His sentiments are echoed by Withaka. "No matter how good your product or service is, regardless of how brilliant the advertisements are, and regardless of the price you're charging, if your targeting is off, then your whole marketing campaign will be missing the mark. You'll waste a lot of cash, energy and time marketing to people who will never buy from you".

  • Telkom is involved in a multibillion-rand project to increase the throughput of fixed-line broadband to speeds of up to 40Mbit/s. The plans also include dramatically upping the speed of entry-level broadband services and introducing video-on-demand (VOD) products, possibly from international providers such as Hulu, Netflix and Nangu.

    In addition, the company is planning a trial using superfast fibre-optic cables from selected telephone exchanges, with the pilot project expected to kick off as early as 15 January 2012. Details about the fibre project remain sketchy, however.

    VDSL2 is theoretically capable of offering download speeds of up to 250Mbit/s over short lengths of copper (up to 500m) and up 50Mbit/s for distances of up to 1km.

    Telkom has invested millions of rand in recent years bringing fibre closer to its customers — in many areas, it has built fibre to its street-level distribution cabinets — to offer faster access speeds to consumers over its copper network.

Telecoms, Rates, Offers and Coverage

  • - Airtel Kenya will offer a 50% airtime bonus to customers topping up their prepay account via its own Airtel Money platform.

    - Chinese vendor ZTE has announced that it has installed an integrated value added platform solution (iVAS) in Kinshasa for Vodacom DRC. The iVAS system encompasses SMS services, and ZTE claims that the installation has increased Vodacom’s SMS management tenfold, improving service on the South African-owned telco’s network by reducing congestion.

    - The Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA) has imposed a fine of US$225,000.00 on the Lonestar Communications Company for noncompliance with LTA’s Order  (LTA 0005-10-04-11)  which calls for both Lonestar and Cellcom to expand their interconnection trunks and have the expansion remain in place until otherwise ordered.

    - The SA Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has given the green light to SA Airways (SAA) to allow passengers on the airline’s flights to use their smartphones and other supported devices in “flight mode”, where the devices’ radio antennae are switched off.

    - Pan-African mobile operator MTN has announced a partnership with Singapore-based TransferTo, which allows MTN's customers with access to prepaid services to receive airtime transfers from the vast TransferTo international airtime transfer network around the world. TransferTo is a global airtime remittance hub that interconnects mobile operators' prepaid systems to deliver end to end cross-border top-up services.

More

  • Ghana’s Expresso Telecom has replaced their Managing Director just months after the buyout of Kasapa Telecom Limited. Just before Kasapa was rebranded, the Managing Director Bob Palitz resigned and was replaced by Hisham Ayoub.

    Sources within Expresso have said that Ayoub has been replaced due to poor performance. The new Managing Director is Al-Ameer Ahmed Al-Ameer Yousef, who was quietly put in while his counterpart left. It is not yet confirmed in what capacity Ayoub will be serving within the company.

    Under Ayoub subscriptions fell from 400,000 to just over 200,000, despite many changes implemented by Ayoub.

    Ayoub had introduced the Clig moden, which is one of the most competitive modems on the market in terms of prices, speed and tariff. Sources say the new Managing Director is not doing much better, but they are optimistic.

    “It looks like Mr. Yousef is going to bring some positive change, but some of the old guys at Expresso have entrenched themselves into their positions through all kinds of means so I am not too sure if he will succeed,” the source said.

  • Customer Project Manager ParaCell

    Posted date: Fri, 18th Nov

    Location: Western Africa

    ParaCell is searching for a Customer Project Manager

    Requirements:

    · We are looking for recent Ericsson Experience

    • University degree within relevant area

    · Minimum 10 years working experience in Project Management

    · Strong Leadership skills at least 5/10 years in a leadership role

    • PMP certified (Or on the way to be certified within one year)

    • Adequate operations managerial experience

    • Have excellent documentation and presentation skills

    • Have excellent communication skills

    • Have good customer and sub-contractor relation skills

    Must have ability to work independently, International experience and closely with the end-Customer are other essential skills.

    Please apply with accompanying CV indicating your availability visit here:

Issue no 581 18th November 2011

node ref id: 23520

Top story

  • While oil prices have not yet reached the peak levels witnessed in the summer of 2008, their steady growth with the OPEC basket price of an oil barrel passing the US$100 mark in February 2011, should ring an alarm bell among African mobile operators. Their dependency on diesel to fuel their base stations remains very high but very few of them have make any serious efforts to tackle these critical issues. Isabelle Gross looks at what the short and long terms options are for African mobile operators when it comes to saving on the energy bill that they are currently running.

    No later than last September, the Kenyan newspaper Business Daily reported that Bob Collymore, the CEO of Safaricom “said that the cost of running diesel-driven base stations rose by 27% since January, especially in areas with no electricity and in western Kenya where frequent power outages mean the stations must run on diesel for up to four hours a day”. He also acknowledged that the raising operating costs will need to be addressed and a way to do so will be to increase calling rates.

    Charging more customers is one approach but it has numerous pitfalls. A price increase can result in lower call volumes and therefore the overall revenue will not go up. Most African mobile subscribers don’t have deep pockets and they remain much more price sensitive than their counterparts in developed countries. Increasing prices is a sure way to drive them to look more carefully at what the competitors have on offer.

    Faced with falling voice ARPU and hypothetical additional data revenue, African mobile operators have to pay more attention on the cost side of the business that they are running. Energy expenditures should be among the top items on their list as oil prices have gone up again. When it comes to saving on the energy bills, there is not an “out of the box” solution but it can be done.

    The best approach is to first look at how to run existing base stations more efficiently. In other words, the “quick fix” which consists of tweaking various elements of the base station to realise operational savings without incurring additional capital outlay.

    The cooling system is obviously a good starting point because it represents as much as 35% of the total electricity consumption of the base station. This proportion can increase to 50% if there are fewer transmitters in use. According to a case study carried out by Axiata, a large Asian telecommunication company, the energy saving in using an inverted air conditioning versus a traditional air conditioning system is between 14% and 22%
    depending on the temperature settings (13.8% at 25°C and 21.9% at 30°C).

    In a typical setting the pay-back time is about two years. In Africa for example, mobile operators like Vodacom, Orange or MTN have started to experiment with “free cooling system” technology in conjunction (or not) with introducing higher operating temperature in the base station.

    Beside free cooling, inverted air conditioners or higher operating temperatures, smarter ways of cooling have already been developed to reduce energy consumption. One
    option is to extract the heat directly from the source rather than attempting to cool
    the whole cabin.

    Equipment manufacturer Ericsson has for example conducted trials in Indonesia that show significantly lower energy consumption can be achieved through the use of heat exchangers for the shelters and separate cooling compartments for the battery back-up. The energy used for cooling the sites can be reduced by up to 60%.

    Energy efficient base stations offer interesting savings without requiring a big capital layout but then why are there still so few in Africa when a large number of BTS are running on diesel 24/7?

    Further reduction in OPEX will require some capital investments because it implies
    purchasing more energy efficient equipment or switching to renewable energy
    power solutions. Green options range from the use of solar energy, wind
    power to hydrogen fuel cell, biomass, biofuel, etc. Solar and wind remain the most
    prominent green technologies used to power base stations in off-grid locations.

    When looking at the business case to implement renewable energy solutions to power
    base stations, three main factors need to be looked at. There is the price of oil, the BTS load and the renewable energy technology to be implemented. Let’s look at the first factor in more details.

    When oil prices are depressed, the pay-back time will be longer – a couple of years more for most renewable energy projects. When oil prices are high, the return on investment will take less time. When diesel price was at its peak in July 2008, mobile operators’ fuel costs were nearly 3 times higher than at the beginning of 2007 with the result of spiralling operating costs (OPEX) for African mobile operators. Shouldn’t the latter comparison start ringing an alarm bell in African mobile operators’ head?

    For more details on the short and long term options available to mobile operators engaging in better managing their diesel bill, please see Balancing Act’s report entitled “Energy for Cellular Base Stations in Africa: the quick fix approach and the long term perspective to saving energy” published in February 2011.


    On the Balancing Act You Tube Channel this week an AfricaCom special:

    Nadeem, Juma, CEO, Mobipay
    on m-payments and social media in Tanzania

    Scott Bain, Director of Sales, Range Networks on Open BTS and low cost BTS for Africa

    Doron Ben Sira, CEO, SkyVision on changes in the satellite market in Africa

    Arvind Rao, CEO, OnMobile on comparisons between African and Indian mobile content

    Gour Lentell, CEO, biNu on this new feature phone platform taking off in Africa

    Jonathan Osler, Managing Director – Africa, Intelsat
    on satellite market trends on the continent

    Christoph Limmer, Senior Director – Africa, SES on its strategy for the continent

    Marc Rennard EVP Orange AMEA on the pressures faced by its operations in Africa

    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

  • MAMA - Mobiles Against Malaria - is a community building effort in one of the very poor outskirts of the Malian capital Bamako, Yirimadjo. Dutch agency IICD wants to help a local association Muso Ladamunen combat the main diseases malaria and diarrhea in the neighbourhood via the integration of mobiles phones in the work of voluntary Community Health Workers, writes Francois Laureys, IICD.

    Approximately 60 women, most mothers who live in Yirimadjo, have organized themselves to pay regular visits to families in the different neighbourhoods of Yirimadjo. This allows them to take stock of the living conditions of these households, and to identify potential women and children at risk (pregnant women, young-borns etc.). They sensitize women about their rights, distribute mosquito nets to families in need, take rapid tests on malaria if they detect people who suffer from the fever, and facilitate access to the local Health Centre when necessary. In the past three years, these Health Workers have saved hundreds of lives, and the number of consultations at the Health Centre has tripled.

    Last summer, when I visited them in Bamako, they were distributing 22.000 mosquito nets to identified target families in Yirimadjo. The ‘captain’ of the Health workers, Mah Cissé, also told me that they are still struggling with the correct and timely identification of target families, and she asked me if we could help them to integrate an element of mobile phones in their work. This would allow the Health workers to send household data directly to a database and to geo-localize more exactly which areas of Yirimadjo are more at risk. Additionally, the mobile phones would also be used to send alerts and reminders about consultation visits to the Health workers in the neighbourhoods.

    We are now finalizing the project design of ‘MAMA – Mobiles Against Malaria in Mali’ , and we hope to be able to start with the mobile phones in december. If successful, this pilot could be extended to many other communities in Mali (and beyond). Both Muso Ladamunen and IICD have invested money in the project, and ‘De Parade’  (a dutch theatre festival) has raised an additional 6,083 euros, for which we are very grateful. But we still can use a little more help to get it really going.

    So have a look at the pages, where you can find a description, photos and updates of the project. You can support in different ways – just by leaving a comment or tips on the pages, by sending this link to others, by putting a link on your blog or webpage, by tweeting, or by donating a little amount via the Donate button. You can also read more about the other activities of Muso Ladamunen by clicking on this link:  or on the blog Antimoustic.

  • 8ta has empowered their subscribers by enhancing their free self-service portal with the ability to purchase airtime and data bundles online via credit card.

    According to Telkom Mobile Managing Executive, Amith Maharaj, this enhancement will facilitate online purchase of airtime and data bundles as and when subscribers need it, even when their airtime is depleted.

    This functionality will improve the user experience for Prepaid and Hybrid (Saver) subscribers. 8ta subscribers need to register online and complete the SMS verification process on 8ta’s website here:

    Logged in subscribers will not be charged to do the following:

    * Review airtime balance

    * Redeem vouchers for airtime

    * Convert airtime to data bundles

    * Review data bundles balances and expiry dates

    * Credit Card top up using 3D secure technology

    The portal is safe as 8ta has chosen 3-D secure as a key comfort factor for subscribers when disclosing their credit card details online. The 3-D secure system simply enables credit card holders to add a password over and above the usual credit card expiry and CVV three digit numbers. The platform caters for locally issued VISA and Mastercard users.

    “If your credit card is not already 3-D verified, the 8ta portal will securely verify the 3-D secure password online. The normal credit card process can then be completed, even with no airtime on the account, as the credit card application is zero rated,” says Maharaj.

    Over time the portal will be enhanced, based on subscriber feedback, market benchmarks and other developments in self-service technology.

    To date 8ta has enabled automatic redirection of all data users when their data bundle is depleted. This key network ability enables subscribers to be in control of their communication spend with 8ta.

    8ta subscribers can now further manage their airtime and data costs both on contract and prepaid products through the self-service portal.

  • Three new phones with deep Facebook integration and dedicated ‘F’ key available in Africa and Europe from Q4 2011 – offering the widest portfolio of affordable phones with deep Facebook functionality launched by an operator to date  Orange is bringing simple, affordable, social phones for under €100 to a broader range of customers in more than 15 countries*

     The new range includes the Alcatel One Touch 908F Android smartphone, one of the most affordable Android smartphones available, exclusive to Orange

    Orange will exclusively launch three new affordable phones with deep Facebook integration across Africa and Europe from Q4 2011, creating a swift, simple, cost effective social experience for more of Orange’s customers than ever before. 

    With access to the widest range of phones with Facebook built-in under €100, including the new Alcatel One Touch 908F Android smartphone, Orange customers can choose the phone best suited to their needs. Facebook’s social capabilities run through every feature of these phones, from the camera to contacts with the dedicated ‘F’ key allowing instant uploading and interaction. Orange customers can also purchase these handsets with affordable bundles and tariffs that include unlimited Facebook access without extra data charges. 

     “The rise of the smartphone and the explosion of social networks have completely changed how people keep in touch and share content. Until now many consumers across Africa and Europe have not had access to a phone that offers deep Facebook integration at an affordable price,” said Yves Maitre, Senior Vice President of Mobile Multimedia and Devices, Orange. “We feel strongly that it is Orange’s role to enable customers to enjoy a digitally rich, connected life and this and future work with Facebook and Alcatel One Touch will allow us to open up mobile social media access to even more of our customers.”

    “Orange and Facebook have a common goal of providing mobile social access to people throughout Europe and Africa,” said Henri Moissinac, Head of Mobile Business at Facebook. “These phones and our ongoing collaboration with Orange will offer an opportunity for people to easily connect and share with their friends on Facebook anytime, anywhere and, for some, experience the mobile web for the first time.”

  • Telecom Egypt (TE) has announced its plans to expand broadband and mobile-phone services after third-quarter profit dropped due to a decrease in subscribers.

    TE runs the nation’s fixed-line telephone monopoly. The company plans to begin operating a new undersea cable by the end of the year to increase capacity for data services, and is also in the process of negotiating a virtual mobile network operator license which they hope to acquire during the first quarter of 2012.

    TE is also currently negotiating with Egypt’s telecommunications regulator t acquire a license that would allow it to use the networks of other mobile-phone companies to provide services, according to TE’s Chief Financial Officer Hassan Helmy.

    The company also owns almost half of Vodafone Egypt Telecommunications Co., which is the biggest mobile-network operator in terms of users in Egypt.“In the medium and long-term, the dynamics of the local market are very attractive,” Helmy said. “We’re counting on the young population of this country.”

    The company reported a 21 percent drop in net income from last year, read a statement on TE’s website. Fixed line subscription also dropped to 8.6 million users, from 9.4 million last year.

    “The wider economic malaise is placing pressure on household incomes in Egypt,” Chairman Akil Beshir said in the statement today. “As predicated last quarter, there has been an impact on Telecom Egypt’s overall total number of active subscribers.”

internet

  • The Internet Service Providers’ Association of SA (ISPA) has created infrastructure in the form of its Cape Town and Johannesburg Internet Exchanges (CINX and JINX) to help local consumers enjoy better performance from the Internet at a more affordable cost.

    ISPA has run JINX since 1996 and the Cape Town Internet Exchange (CINX) since 2009. The organisation is currently selecting the company that will host the Durban Internet Exchange, DINX. This infrastructure has an enormous positive impact on the consumer’s Internet experience, although most South African Internet users are unaware of its existence.

    Said Marc Furman, co-chair at ISPA: “The ISPA INXs have provided massive benefit to service providers, network operators and consumers over the years. They keep Internet traffic within the country, which results in faster response times between ISPs and reduces the congestion on international links.

    “By connecting to these exchanges, network operators are also able to keep their costs down, which in turn enables them to provide their services to end-users at a lower cost. The growth we have experienced over the years across these exchange points has been staggering.”

    One principle that ISPA has embraced since 2009 is that the exchanges should be open for non-members as well as members to streamline the exchange of traffic to the benefit of the entire industry. As such, even incumbent network operators are allowed to peer using the INX infrastructure.

    The exchanges also give members a great deal of freedom in choosing who they peer with and how they do so. Although ISPA operates high speed switches at each exchange, INX users are not obliged to connect using the public switch fabric. They may run private links between their equipment at the exchange instead of using the ISPA switch.

    “We take a hands-off approach to how ISPs and operators exchange traffic at each exchange. Most participants peer freely with everyone else connected to that INX but they are not obliged to do so. Some of the participants choose to only exchange traffic with a limited number of other parties,” said Furman.

    Furman noted that the INX infrastructures in Johannesburg and Cape Town have enjoyed runaway growth in the past few years.  More than 30 ISPs now connect to JINX and exchange more than 2.5 Gbps of traffic at JINX during peak times. CINX today handles more than 500 Mbps of traffic from 16 peering ISPs during peak times. With a sharp rise in mobile data usage and rapid growth in voice-over-IP traffic, traffic volumes at the exchanges will continue to grow sharply in the months to come.

  • Labaran Maku, the Nigerian Minister of Information, has expressed concern over the increase in the number of social media in the country. Maku made the observation on Tuesday in Benin City during the meeting of members of the Nigeria Union of Journalist (NUJ) Constitutional Review Committee.

    Represented by Kingsley Osadolor, a legal practitioner, Maku said the rise of social media in the country was a phenomenon that needed to be addressed as part of the constitutional amendment or in the nearest future.

    He said the revolution that was taking place in Egypt, Syria, Libya and other Arab states was as a result of the reports dished out by the social media. Maku warned that the increase in the number social media might result in some traditional journalists losing their jobs.
    ``What business should the social media have with the NUJ? That is an important phenomenon that needs to be considered,'' he said.

    The minister noted that the constitutional review was coming at time when the Freedom of Information Act was operational. He said the FOI Act was not a substitute for ``crucial investigative journalism'', adding that its aim was to aid the journalist to get access to information.

    Maku noted that there were procedures and rules guiding the use of the FOI Act, and urged media practitioners to be acquainted with them in order not to get negative responses. ``It is useful and pertinent to know the sources of information that are available to the journalists so that they can tap into those areas,'' he said.

    `` The FOI Act is not a substitute for investigative journalism; it must not reduce us into lazy journalists because there are several journalists waiting for information to do their stories,'' he said.

    In his address, Emeka Wogu, the Minister of Labour and Productivity, expressed appreciation to the Nigerian Press for its role in promoting peace and highlighting government policies.

    Wogu, who was represented by Tommy Okon, his Special Assistant on Media, said the constitution of any organisation, group and association, ``is an indication of how healthy the body is in terms of its operations''.

    He said that as the watchdog of the society, it was expected that the NUJ constitutional amendment would address the salient issues affecting journalists and the profession.

    ``I want to use this medium to thank the media for their positive role in promoting industrial peace and harmony in the country,'' Wogu said.

computing

  • A selected aggregation of Individual Information Technology Spend Plans for Ministry, Department and Agencies (MDAs) have revealed that N4.5billion will be spent on data centres in the coming year even though the Federal Government has an IT agency that is positioned to deploy and deliver these services at a lower costs and higher standards, the Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson has said.

    Mrs. Johnson, who spoke in Abuja at the 5TH public sector ICT infrastructure forum & the public presentation of ISO/IEC 27001:2005 certification by Galaxy Backbone plc, said there are still too many instances of individual MDAs deploying ICT infrastructure that is better deployed through a more effective pooling of financial and human resources.

    She said in the light of technological developments like cloud computing and the constraints the financial and economic crisis has placed on governments, countries all over the world are promoting the concept of shared IT services because of the immense cost savings, efficiency and capabilities it has been proven to deliver. She said Nigerian MDAs have refused to key in into this.

    The minister, who said one of the mandates of the Ministry of Communication Technology is to drive transparency in governance and improve the quality of public service delivery, lamented that needless IT spending being embarked upon by most government agencies and parastatals.

    She said: "There are still too many instances of individual MDAs deploying ICT infrastructure that is better deployed through a more effective pooling of financial and human resources. A selected aggregation of individual IT Spend plans for MDAs have revealed that N4.5bn will be spent on data centres in the coming year despite the fact that we have within Government an IT organization that is positioned to deploy and deliver these services at a lower costs and to higher standards evidenced in the achievement that Galaxy Backbone is celebrating today."

  • Listed SA IT company Gijima has formed a partnership with US company MobileIron as it ups its focus on the consumerisation of IT in business. Founded in 2007 and based in California, MobileIron provides mobile device management and security to large corporations.

    Gijima says the partnership will give it the capability to provide enterprise mobile device management and security solutions to its clients. It comes just a week after the company signed a systems integrator agreement with Apple, whose products such as the iPhone and iPad are being increasingly used in corporate environments.

    MobileIron designs solutions that allow companies to integrate smartphones and tablets with company networks. It offers solutions for devices running Apple’s iOS, Research in Motion’s BlackBerry OS, Microsoft’s Windows Phone and Windows Mobile, Symbian and Google’s Android mobile operating systems.

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

  • Algeria is in talks with Vimpelcom aimed at resolving a tug of war over the Russian telecoms group's mobile phone unit Djezzy and efforts to find a resolution could now speed up, according to Algeria's finance minister, Karim Djoudi.

    Vimpelcom hoped to acquire Djezzy as part of a planned $6 billion acquisition of Wind Telecom, parent of Djezzy's owner Orascom Telecom. But Djezzy's status was left unclear after Algeria said it wanted to take the business over itself.

    Djoudi's comments were the strongest hint yet that a resolution could be close after more than a year of deadlock over Djezzy, which had been the most lucrative part of Orascom Telecom's business.

    Asked about Djezzy, Djoudi said: "Things are taking place normally. I have had a meeting with a Vimpelcom representative at his request. Unfortunately, I cannot give you details because we are in talks."

    He said a valuation of Djezzy, a crucial step in determining the unit's future, was proceeding. "It is possible that things will go fast," Djoudi said. "There is a willingness on the other side to make things go fast."

    It remains unclear what shape a deal on Djezzy could take. There has been some speculation that the Algerian government could acquire a 51 percent stake and allow Vimpelcom to hold the remaining equity and be the operator.

    Before the Vimpelcom deal, Orascom Telecom was forced to agree to talks on Djezzy's nationalisation after it was hit with millions of dollars in back-tax demands from Algeria and prevented from moving the unit's cash abroad.

    Talks about the nationalisation had been stalled because of a dispute between the Algerian government and Djezzy's owners about how the unit is to be valued, and how much access the owners would provide to Djezzy's balance sheet.

    Djoudi suggested that issue had now been resolved. "We have opened the data room which gives us access to all ... (Djezzy's) details," he said.

  • The new Tunisian government has set up a national holding company to handle its stakes in the country's two mobile networks, Tunisiana and Orange.

    The CDC (Caisse des Dépôts et Consignation) will be headed by Tunisia's Minister of Finance, Jalloul Ayed. An independent subcommittee has also been assigned to monitor corruption, approve the general policies of the funds and evaluate the investments.

    The CDC manages 25% of Tunisiana, 51% of Orange and the Zitouna bank, which were seized from the former ruling family and are now subsidiaries of the national holding.

  • Zenith Bank (Ghana) Limited in collaboration with Google Ghana has introduced a new product unto the Ghanaian market dubbed Z.com in an effort to give its customers the opportunity to position their businesses to enable them access the global market. Z.com is a business solution opportunity tailored to suit the needs of the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Ghana.

    In a statement copied to GNA on Friday, the product would afford SMEs the opportunity to globally advertise their businesses thereby increasing top of mind awareness and ultimately their turnover.

    Z.com, which is another product innovation from Zenith Bank Ghana, rides along the Bank’s quest to make available flexible business strategies to SMEs in Ghana.

    According to Daniel Asiedu Chief Executive Officer of Zenith Bank Ghana, the bank would continue to introduce innovative products and services onto the Ghanaian banking industry.

    “This is in line with its vision of being the reference point in the provision of prompt, flawless and innovation products in the Ghanaian industry”, the statement read.

    The product would be formally launched at a business fair where key stakeholders, policy makers as well as entrepreneurs in the SMEs sector would be brought together to experience at first hand the benefits of e-commerce.

    The official launch of Z.com would take place on Thursday November 24, 2011 at the Accra International Conference Center.

    In a related development, Mr. Henry Oroh, a senior management staff from the parent company Zenith Bank Plc has been appointed to complement the bank’s marketing efforts in Ghana.

  • The fact that the new card will be linked to the user's phone will significantly enhance the security features, says Fundamo CEO Hannes van Rensburg.
    Global credit card company Visa and Africa's largest cellular operator, MTN, have partnered to introduce a new Visa prepaid account mobile service as an extension of MTN Mobile Money in developing countries.

    The product is a result of Visa's recent acquisition of local mobile money platform Fundamo, which has now been integrated with Visa's global payment network, VisaNet.

    Together with MTN Mobile Money, the new service will allow consumers to get a special Visa card which will be linked to their Mobile Money account, and which essentially has the same payment functionality as a bank card.

    Visa says the service will allow users to extend their mobile money payment functionality by allowing them to send money to each other, send and receive international remittances, withdraw funds from a Visa ATM and make purchases at merchants or online.

  • This week, an estimated 180 000 EasyPay customers will receive an e-mail that offers money-back rewards on all their transactions as part of the company’s strategy to restore its credibility and regain customers’ confidence after its site was hit by credit-card fraud two months ago.

    EasyPay will also carry the full liability of any fraudulent transactions, said Serge Belamant, the CEO of Net1, the holding company of EasyPay. He said he has confidence in the site’s newly built security features.

    EasyPay has one of SA’s largest third-party payment systems. It allows consumers to use their credit cards to pay their bills, including Telkom, the municipality and traffic fines, either through its website or at pay points in shops such as Pick n Pay.

    It also allows consumers to buy airtime and prepaid electricity online and it was these purchases that were targeted in September by a crime syndicate. The criminals obtained a list of credit card numbers, which it used to buy airtime, electricity and prepaid gift cards.

    The reaction from Absa, which found that one in three transactions were fraudulent, was to prevent its cardholders from transacting on the site temporarily until EasyPay removed the high-risk products. Some banks continue to limit the number of EasyPay transactions they allow.

    Walter Volker, CEO of the Payment Association of SA, said EasyPay had nothing to do with the release of the credit card details. An investigation is underway to determine how the syndicate obtained the credit card details, which resulted in losses of millions of rands. It must still be determined which banks will carry the liability.

    Belamant said the company had been unfairly targeted by the banks because it was not responsible for the breach. He said the high volume of traffic on the site — it does 4m to 5m transactions a month — made it attractive to fraudsters.

    EasyPay processes payments worth R120m/month, according to Belamant, and the new site is growing at a rate of 10%/month.

Digital Content

  • Many local firms have failed to get their strategies right in creating brand visibility and loyalty through social media, the latest industry survey has shown.

    However, many companies have invested heavily on Internet platforms with an aim of tapping the growing online audience.

    According to the TNS Digital Life Survey, 60 per cent of Kenyans on social media are resistant to brands and brand messages in their profiles, meaning that companies may not be getting returns on the investments they have made to reach the online community through the networks.

    "The race online has seen businesses across the world develop profiles on social networks such as Facebook and YouTube to speak to customers quickly and cheaply --but this study reveals that if these efforts are not carefully targeted, they are a wasted resource," says the report.

    The survey indicates that many firms have embraced the social media platform but without a clear strategy on who their target audiences are, leading to negative results.

    "Digital waste is the accumulation of thousands of brands rushing online without thinking who they want to talk to and why," said Matthew Froggatt, Chief Development Officer at TNS.

    "Many brands have recognised the vast potential of audiences available to them on social networks but they do not understand that these spaces belong to the consumer and their presence needs to be proportionate and justified."

    Mr Froggatt says although the online world presents massive opportunities for brands, only precisely tailored marketing strategies can realise this potential.

    The findings come at a time when the Kenyan social media space is full of content from local firms reaching out to users .But not all is lost as 54 per cent of online users interviewed in the survey admitted that social networks are a good place to learn about products.

    This implies that the use of social media to gain brand visibility and market penetration is not a misguided one. It only needs more direct strategies.

    These findings back concern expressed previously by social media analysts over the unplanned and disjointed online campaigns adopted by most firms in an effort to build their brand visibility.

    "Most businesses in Kenya enter social media but continue passing the same old messages as in traditional channels. Social media is more than just a platform to send your usual advertisement ; it has its own culture which means how people converse, the tone of the conversation, tone of channel (Facebook or Twitter),." says Mr Marvin Tumbo, social media specialist and CEO of Socialight Media, a company that provides social media solutions.

    Tumbo says failure by brands to understand how social media works is what causes conflicts between consumers and business online, with the major challenge coming in crafting the messages. Most firms have not come up with a specific messages for social media sites but are channelling messages created for the traditional media and which may not be appealing to this particular audience.

    The findings further state that users in fast growth markets like Brazil, Indonesia and Kenya are far more open to brands on social networks compared to developed markets like the US where brand tolerance in social media stood at nine per cent compared to 40 per cent in Kenya.

    This means that businesses targeting users in developing countries have a wider audience base, albeit one that must be used prudently. "Social media is not a bad tool for marketing. But it is the tact and targeting that many brands are getting wrong", says Mr Francis Waithaka, a social media analyst.

    "The first thing that brands must do is to listen and understand what customers want. Brands should do pull marketing and not push marketing. A great product and a good customer service will pull customers to your business."

    Waithaka further adds that it is essential for brands to work on their products and services well before going to social media to market them. "With a bad product or terrible customer service, no matter what marketing strategies you employ, it won't work", he says.

    In addition to this, disgruntled users have been known to tweet and post bad customer experiences to their friends and followers and this can go viral and end up being a crisis or an embarrassment to a brand.

    According to the survey, 62 per cent of Kenyan social media users trust comments people make online about brands while close to 30 per cent of users share their experience with brands in social media. In addition to this, 19 per cent of users write about brands to praise the service or goods while 10 per cent write to complain.

    "Most companies in Kenya have not thought through their social media engagement. There has been no strategy to their engagement and hence the high failure rate", says Mr Tumbo. "It's about time companies started having actual strategies and not me-too activities on social media."

    His sentiments are echoed by Withaka. "No matter how good your product or service is, regardless of how brilliant the advertisements are, and regardless of the price you're charging, if your targeting is off, then your whole marketing campaign will be missing the mark. You'll waste a lot of cash, energy and time marketing to people who will never buy from you".

  • Telkom is involved in a multibillion-rand project to increase the throughput of fixed-line broadband to speeds of up to 40Mbit/s. The plans also include dramatically upping the speed of entry-level broadband services and introducing video-on-demand (VOD) products, possibly from international providers such as Hulu, Netflix and Nangu.

    In addition, the company is planning a trial using superfast fibre-optic cables from selected telephone exchanges, with the pilot project expected to kick off as early as 15 January 2012. Details about the fibre project remain sketchy, however.

    VDSL2 is theoretically capable of offering download speeds of up to 250Mbit/s over short lengths of copper (up to 500m) and up 50Mbit/s for distances of up to 1km.

    Telkom has invested millions of rand in recent years bringing fibre closer to its customers — in many areas, it has built fibre to its street-level distribution cabinets — to offer faster access speeds to consumers over its copper network.

Telecoms, Rates, Offers and Coverage

  • - Airtel Kenya will offer a 50% airtime bonus to customers topping up their prepay account via its own Airtel Money platform.

    - Chinese vendor ZTE has announced that it has installed an integrated value added platform solution (iVAS) in Kinshasa for Vodacom DRC. The iVAS system encompasses SMS services, and ZTE claims that the installation has increased Vodacom’s SMS management tenfold, improving service on the South African-owned telco’s network by reducing congestion.

    - The Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA) has imposed a fine of US$225,000.00 on the Lonestar Communications Company for noncompliance with LTA’s Order  (LTA 0005-10-04-11)  which calls for both Lonestar and Cellcom to expand their interconnection trunks and have the expansion remain in place until otherwise ordered.

    - The SA Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has given the green light to SA Airways (SAA) to allow passengers on the airline’s flights to use their smartphones and other supported devices in “flight mode”, where the devices’ radio antennae are switched off.

    - Pan-African mobile operator MTN has announced a partnership with Singapore-based TransferTo, which allows MTN's customers with access to prepaid services to receive airtime transfers from the vast TransferTo international airtime transfer network around the world. TransferTo is a global airtime remittance hub that interconnects mobile operators' prepaid systems to deliver end to end cross-border top-up services.

More

  • Ghana’s Expresso Telecom has replaced their Managing Director just months after the buyout of Kasapa Telecom Limited. Just before Kasapa was rebranded, the Managing Director Bob Palitz resigned and was replaced by Hisham Ayoub.

    Sources within Expresso have said that Ayoub has been replaced due to poor performance. The new Managing Director is Al-Ameer Ahmed Al-Ameer Yousef, who was quietly put in while his counterpart left. It is not yet confirmed in what capacity Ayoub will be serving within the company.

    Under Ayoub subscriptions fell from 400,000 to just over 200,000, despite many changes implemented by Ayoub.

    Ayoub had introduced the Clig moden, which is one of the most competitive modems on the market in terms of prices, speed and tariff. Sources say the new Managing Director is not doing much better, but they are optimistic.

    “It looks like Mr. Yousef is going to bring some positive change, but some of the old guys at Expresso have entrenched themselves into their positions through all kinds of means so I am not too sure if he will succeed,” the source said.

  • Customer Project Manager ParaCell

    Posted date: Fri, 18th Nov

    Location: Western Africa

    ParaCell is searching for a Customer Project Manager

    Requirements:

    · We are looking for recent Ericsson Experience

    • University degree within relevant area

    · Minimum 10 years working experience in Project Management

    · Strong Leadership skills at least 5/10 years in a leadership role

    • PMP certified (Or on the way to be certified within one year)

    • Adequate operations managerial experience

    • Have excellent documentation and presentation skills

    • Have excellent communication skills

    • Have good customer and sub-contractor relation skills

    Must have ability to work independently, International experience and closely with the end-Customer are other essential skills.

    Please apply with accompanying CV indicating your availability visit here:

Issue no 581 18th November 2011

node ref id: 23520

Top story

  • While oil prices have not yet reached the peak levels witnessed in the summer of 2008, their steady growth with the OPEC basket price of an oil barrel passing the US$100 mark in February 2011, should ring an alarm bell among African mobile operators. Their dependency on diesel to fuel their base stations remains very high but very few of them have make any serious efforts to tackle these critical issues. Isabelle Gross looks at what the short and long terms options are for African mobile operators when it comes to saving on the energy bill that they are currently running.

    No later than last September, the Kenyan newspaper Business Daily reported that Bob Collymore, the CEO of Safaricom “said that the cost of running diesel-driven base stations rose by 27% since January, especially in areas with no electricity and in western Kenya where frequent power outages mean the stations must run on diesel for up to four hours a day”. He also acknowledged that the raising operating costs will need to be addressed and a way to do so will be to increase calling rates.

    Charging more customers is one approach but it has numerous pitfalls. A price increase can result in lower call volumes and therefore the overall revenue will not go up. Most African mobile subscribers don’t have deep pockets and they remain much more price sensitive than their counterparts in developed countries. Increasing prices is a sure way to drive them to look more carefully at what the competitors have on offer.

    Faced with falling voice ARPU and hypothetical additional data revenue, African mobile operators have to pay more attention on the cost side of the business that they are running. Energy expenditures should be among the top items on their list as oil prices have gone up again. When it comes to saving on the energy bills, there is not an “out of the box” solution but it can be done.

    The best approach is to first look at how to run existing base stations more efficiently. In other words, the “quick fix” which consists of tweaking various elements of the base station to realise operational savings without incurring additional capital outlay.

    The cooling system is obviously a good starting point because it represents as much as 35% of the total electricity consumption of the base station. This proportion can increase to 50% if there are fewer transmitters in use. According to a case study carried out by Axiata, a large Asian telecommunication company, the energy saving in using an inverted air conditioning versus a traditional air conditioning system is between 14% and 22%
    depending on the temperature settings (13.8% at 25°C and 21.9% at 30°C).

    In a typical setting the pay-back time is about two years. In Africa for example, mobile operators like Vodacom, Orange or MTN have started to experiment with “free cooling system” technology in conjunction (or not) with introducing higher operating temperature in the base station.

    Beside free cooling, inverted air conditioners or higher operating temperatures, smarter ways of cooling have already been developed to reduce energy consumption. One
    option is to extract the heat directly from the source rather than attempting to cool
    the whole cabin.

    Equipment manufacturer Ericsson has for example conducted trials in Indonesia that show significantly lower energy consumption can be achieved through the use of heat exchangers for the shelters and separate cooling compartments for the battery back-up. The energy used for cooling the sites can be reduced by up to 60%.

    Energy efficient base stations offer interesting savings without requiring a big capital layout but then why are there still so few in Africa when a large number of BTS are running on diesel 24/7?

    Further reduction in OPEX will require some capital investments because it implies
    purchasing more energy efficient equipment or switching to renewable energy
    power solutions. Green options range from the use of solar energy, wind
    power to hydrogen fuel cell, biomass, biofuel, etc. Solar and wind remain the most
    prominent green technologies used to power base stations in off-grid locations.

    When looking at the business case to implement renewable energy solutions to power
    base stations, three main factors need to be looked at. There is the price of oil, the BTS load and the renewable energy technology to be implemented. Let’s look at the first factor in more details.

    When oil prices are depressed, the pay-back time will be longer – a couple of years more for most renewable energy projects. When oil prices are high, the return on investment will take less time. When diesel price was at its peak in July 2008, mobile operators’ fuel costs were nearly 3 times higher than at the beginning of 2007 with the result of spiralling operating costs (OPEX) for African mobile operators. Shouldn’t the latter comparison start ringing an alarm bell in African mobile operators’ head?

    For more details on the short and long term options available to mobile operators engaging in better managing their diesel bill, please see Balancing Act’s report entitled “Energy for Cellular Base Stations in Africa: the quick fix approach and the long term perspective to saving energy” published in February 2011.


    On the Balancing Act You Tube Channel this week an AfricaCom special:

    Nadeem, Juma, CEO, Mobipay
    on m-payments and social media in Tanzania

    Scott Bain, Director of Sales, Range Networks on Open BTS and low cost BTS for Africa

    Doron Ben Sira, CEO, SkyVision on changes in the satellite market in Africa

    Arvind Rao, CEO, OnMobile on comparisons between African and Indian mobile content

    Gour Lentell, CEO, biNu on this new feature phone platform taking off in Africa

    Jonathan Osler, Managing Director – Africa, Intelsat
    on satellite market trends on the continent

    Christoph Limmer, Senior Director – Africa, SES on its strategy for the continent

    Marc Rennard EVP Orange AMEA on the pressures faced by its operations in Africa

    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

  • MAMA - Mobiles Against Malaria - is a community building effort in one of the very poor outskirts of the Malian capital Bamako, Yirimadjo. Dutch agency IICD wants to help a local association Muso Ladamunen combat the main diseases malaria and diarrhea in the neighbourhood via the integration of mobiles phones in the work of voluntary Community Health Workers, writes Francois Laureys, IICD.

    Approximately 60 women, most mothers who live in Yirimadjo, have organized themselves to pay regular visits to families in the different neighbourhoods of Yirimadjo. This allows them to take stock of the living conditions of these households, and to identify potential women and children at risk (pregnant women, young-borns etc.). They sensitize women about their rights, distribute mosquito nets to families in need, take rapid tests on malaria if they detect people who suffer from the fever, and facilitate access to the local Health Centre when necessary. In the past three years, these Health Workers have saved hundreds of lives, and the number of consultations at the Health Centre has tripled.

    Last summer, when I visited them in Bamako, they were distributing 22.000 mosquito nets to identified target families in Yirimadjo. The ‘captain’ of the Health workers, Mah Cissé, also told me that they are still struggling with the correct and timely identification of target families, and she asked me if we could help them to integrate an element of mobile phones in their work. This would allow the Health workers to send household data directly to a database and to geo-localize more exactly which areas of Yirimadjo are more at risk. Additionally, the mobile phones would also be used to send alerts and reminders about consultation visits to the Health workers in the neighbourhoods.

    We are now finalizing the project design of ‘MAMA – Mobiles Against Malaria in Mali’ , and we hope to be able to start with the mobile phones in december. If successful, this pilot could be extended to many other communities in Mali (and beyond). Both Muso Ladamunen and IICD have invested money in the project, and ‘De Parade’  (a dutch theatre festival) has raised an additional 6,083 euros, for which we are very grateful. But we still can use a little more help to get it really going.

    So have a look at the pages, where you can find a description, photos and updates of the project. You can support in different ways – just by leaving a comment or tips on the pages, by sending this link to others, by putting a link on your blog or webpage, by tweeting, or by donating a little amount via the Donate button. You can also read more about the other activities of Muso Ladamunen by clicking on this link:  or on the blog Antimoustic.

  • 8ta has empowered their subscribers by enhancing their free self-service portal with the ability to purchase airtime and data bundles online via credit card.

    According to Telkom Mobile Managing Executive, Amith Maharaj, this enhancement will facilitate online purchase of airtime and data bundles as and when subscribers need it, even when their airtime is depleted.

    This functionality will improve the user experience for Prepaid and Hybrid (Saver) subscribers. 8ta subscribers need to register online and complete the SMS verification process on 8ta’s website here:

    Logged in subscribers will not be charged to do the following:

    * Review airtime balance

    * Redeem vouchers for airtime

    * Convert airtime to data bundles

    * Review data bundles balances and expiry dates

    * Credit Card top up using 3D secure technology

    The portal is safe as 8ta has chosen 3-D secure as a key comfort factor for subscribers when disclosing their credit card details online. The 3-D secure system simply enables credit card holders to add a password over and above the usual credit card expiry and CVV three digit numbers. The platform caters for locally issued VISA and Mastercard users.

    “If your credit card is not already 3-D verified, the 8ta portal will securely verify the 3-D secure password online. The normal credit card process can then be completed, even with no airtime on the account, as the credit card application is zero rated,” says Maharaj.

    Over time the portal will be enhanced, based on subscriber feedback, market benchmarks and other developments in self-service technology.

    To date 8ta has enabled automatic redirection of all data users when their data bundle is depleted. This key network ability enables subscribers to be in control of their communication spend with 8ta.

    8ta subscribers can now further manage their airtime and data costs both on contract and prepaid products through the self-service portal.

  • Three new phones with deep Facebook integration and dedicated ‘F’ key available in Africa and Europe from Q4 2011 – offering the widest portfolio of affordable phones with deep Facebook functionality launched by an operator to date  Orange is bringing simple, affordable, social phones for under €100 to a broader range of customers in more than 15 countries*

     The new range includes the Alcatel One Touch 908F Android smartphone, one of the most affordable Android smartphones available, exclusive to Orange

    Orange will exclusively launch three new affordable phones with deep Facebook integration across Africa and Europe from Q4 2011, creating a swift, simple, cost effective social experience for more of Orange’s customers than ever before. 

    With access to the widest range of phones with Facebook built-in under €100, including the new Alcatel One Touch 908F Android smartphone, Orange customers can choose the phone best suited to their needs. Facebook’s social capabilities run through every feature of these phones, from the camera to contacts with the dedicated ‘F’ key allowing instant uploading and interaction. Orange customers can also purchase these handsets with affordable bundles and tariffs that include unlimited Facebook access without extra data charges. 

     “The rise of the smartphone and the explosion of social networks have completely changed how people keep in touch and share content. Until now many consumers across Africa and Europe have not had access to a phone that offers deep Facebook integration at an affordable price,” said Yves Maitre, Senior Vice President of Mobile Multimedia and Devices, Orange. “We feel strongly that it is Orange’s role to enable customers to enjoy a digitally rich, connected life and this and future work with Facebook and Alcatel One Touch will allow us to open up mobile social media access to even more of our customers.”

    “Orange and Facebook have a common goal of providing mobile social access to people throughout Europe and Africa,” said Henri Moissinac, Head of Mobile Business at Facebook. “These phones and our ongoing collaboration with Orange will offer an opportunity for people to easily connect and share with their friends on Facebook anytime, anywhere and, for some, experience the mobile web for the first time.”

  • Telecom Egypt (TE) has announced its plans to expand broadband and mobile-phone services after third-quarter profit dropped due to a decrease in subscribers.

    TE runs the nation’s fixed-line telephone monopoly. The company plans to begin operating a new undersea cable by the end of the year to increase capacity for data services, and is also in the process of negotiating a virtual mobile network operator license which they hope to acquire during the first quarter of 2012.

    TE is also currently negotiating with Egypt’s telecommunications regulator t acquire a license that would allow it to use the networks of other mobile-phone companies to provide services, according to TE’s Chief Financial Officer Hassan Helmy.

    The company also owns almost half of Vodafone Egypt Telecommunications Co., which is the biggest mobile-network operator in terms of users in Egypt.“In the medium and long-term, the dynamics of the local market are very attractive,” Helmy said. “We’re counting on the young population of this country.”

    The company reported a 21 percent drop in net income from last year, read a statement on TE’s website. Fixed line subscription also dropped to 8.6 million users, from 9.4 million last year.

    “The wider economic malaise is placing pressure on household incomes in Egypt,” Chairman Akil Beshir said in the statement today. “As predicated last quarter, there has been an impact on Telecom Egypt’s overall total number of active subscribers.”

internet

  • The Internet Service Providers’ Association of SA (ISPA) has created infrastructure in the form of its Cape Town and Johannesburg Internet Exchanges (CINX and JINX) to help local consumers enjoy better performance from the Internet at a more affordable cost.

    ISPA has run JINX since 1996 and the Cape Town Internet Exchange (CINX) since 2009. The organisation is currently selecting the company that will host the Durban Internet Exchange, DINX. This infrastructure has an enormous positive impact on the consumer’s Internet experience, although most South African Internet users are unaware of its existence.

    Said Marc Furman, co-chair at ISPA: “The ISPA INXs have provided massive benefit to service providers, network operators and consumers over the years. They keep Internet traffic within the country, which results in faster response times between ISPs and reduces the congestion on international links.

    “By connecting to these exchanges, network operators are also able to keep their costs down, which in turn enables them to provide their services to end-users at a lower cost. The growth we have experienced over the years across these exchange points has been staggering.”

    One principle that ISPA has embraced since 2009 is that the exchanges should be open for non-members as well as members to streamline the exchange of traffic to the benefit of the entire industry. As such, even incumbent network operators are allowed to peer using the INX infrastructure.

    The exchanges also give members a great deal of freedom in choosing who they peer with and how they do so. Although ISPA operates high speed switches at each exchange, INX users are not obliged to connect using the public switch fabric. They may run private links between their equipment at the exchange instead of using the ISPA switch.

    “We take a hands-off approach to how ISPs and operators exchange traffic at each exchange. Most participants peer freely with everyone else connected to that INX but they are not obliged to do so. Some of the participants choose to only exchange traffic with a limited number of other parties,” said Furman.

    Furman noted that the INX infrastructures in Johannesburg and Cape Town have enjoyed runaway growth in the past few years.  More than 30 ISPs now connect to JINX and exchange more than 2.5 Gbps of traffic at JINX during peak times. CINX today handles more than 500 Mbps of traffic from 16 peering ISPs during peak times. With a sharp rise in mobile data usage and rapid growth in voice-over-IP traffic, traffic volumes at the exchanges will continue to grow sharply in the months to come.

  • Labaran Maku, the Nigerian Minister of Information, has expressed concern over the increase in the number of social media in the country. Maku made the observation on Tuesday in Benin City during the meeting of members of the Nigeria Union of Journalist (NUJ) Constitutional Review Committee.

    Represented by Kingsley Osadolor, a legal practitioner, Maku said the rise of social media in the country was a phenomenon that needed to be addressed as part of the constitutional amendment or in the nearest future.

    He said the revolution that was taking place in Egypt, Syria, Libya and other Arab states was as a result of the reports dished out by the social media. Maku warned that the increase in the number social media might result in some traditional journalists losing their jobs.
    ``What business should the social media have with the NUJ? That is an important phenomenon that needs to be considered,'' he said.

    The minister noted that the constitutional review was coming at time when the Freedom of Information Act was operational. He said the FOI Act was not a substitute for ``crucial investigative journalism'', adding that its aim was to aid the journalist to get access to information.

    Maku noted that there were procedures and rules guiding the use of the FOI Act, and urged media practitioners to be acquainted with them in order not to get negative responses. ``It is useful and pertinent to know the sources of information that are available to the journalists so that they can tap into those areas,'' he said.

    `` The FOI Act is not a substitute for investigative journalism; it must not reduce us into lazy journalists because there are several journalists waiting for information to do their stories,'' he said.

    In his address, Emeka Wogu, the Minister of Labour and Productivity, expressed appreciation to the Nigerian Press for its role in promoting peace and highlighting government policies.

    Wogu, who was represented by Tommy Okon, his Special Assistant on Media, said the constitution of any organisation, group and association, ``is an indication of how healthy the body is in terms of its operations''.

    He said that as the watchdog of the society, it was expected that the NUJ constitutional amendment would address the salient issues affecting journalists and the profession.

    ``I want to use this medium to thank the media for their positive role in promoting industrial peace and harmony in the country,'' Wogu said.

computing

  • A selected aggregation of Individual Information Technology Spend Plans for Ministry, Department and Agencies (MDAs) have revealed that N4.5billion will be spent on data centres in the coming year even though the Federal Government has an IT agency that is positioned to deploy and deliver these services at a lower costs and higher standards, the Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson has said.

    Mrs. Johnson, who spoke in Abuja at the 5TH public sector ICT infrastructure forum & the public presentation of ISO/IEC 27001:2005 certification by Galaxy Backbone plc, said there are still too many instances of individual MDAs deploying ICT infrastructure that is better deployed through a more effective pooling of financial and human resources.

    She said in the light of technological developments like cloud computing and the constraints the financial and economic crisis has placed on governments, countries all over the world are promoting the concept of shared IT services because of the immense cost savings, efficiency and capabilities it has been proven to deliver. She said Nigerian MDAs have refused to key in into this.

    The minister, who said one of the mandates of the Ministry of Communication Technology is to drive transparency in governance and improve the quality of public service delivery, lamented that needless IT spending being embarked upon by most government agencies and parastatals.

    She said: "There are still too many instances of individual MDAs deploying ICT infrastructure that is better deployed through a more effective pooling of financial and human resources. A selected aggregation of individual IT Spend plans for MDAs have revealed that N4.5bn will be spent on data centres in the coming year despite the fact that we have within Government an IT organization that is positioned to deploy and deliver these services at a lower costs and to higher standards evidenced in the achievement that Galaxy Backbone is celebrating today."

  • Listed SA IT company Gijima has formed a partnership with US company MobileIron as it ups its focus on the consumerisation of IT in business. Founded in 2007 and based in California, MobileIron provides mobile device management and security to large corporations.

    Gijima says the partnership will give it the capability to provide enterprise mobile device management and security solutions to its clients. It comes just a week after the company signed a systems integrator agreement with Apple, whose products such as the iPhone and iPad are being increasingly used in corporate environments.

    MobileIron designs solutions that allow companies to integrate smartphones and tablets with company networks. It offers solutions for devices running Apple’s iOS, Research in Motion’s BlackBerry OS, Microsoft’s Windows Phone and Windows Mobile, Symbian and Google’s Android mobile operating systems.

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

  • Algeria is in talks with Vimpelcom aimed at resolving a tug of war over the Russian telecoms group's mobile phone unit Djezzy and efforts to find a resolution could now speed up, according to Algeria's finance minister, Karim Djoudi.

    Vimpelcom hoped to acquire Djezzy as part of a planned $6 billion acquisition of Wind Telecom, parent of Djezzy's owner Orascom Telecom. But Djezzy's status was left unclear after Algeria said it wanted to take the business over itself.

    Djoudi's comments were the strongest hint yet that a resolution could be close after more than a year of deadlock over Djezzy, which had been the most lucrative part of Orascom Telecom's business.

    Asked about Djezzy, Djoudi said: "Things are taking place normally. I have had a meeting with a Vimpelcom representative at his request. Unfortunately, I cannot give you details because we are in talks."

    He said a valuation of Djezzy, a crucial step in determining the unit's future, was proceeding. "It is possible that things will go fast," Djoudi said. "There is a willingness on the other side to make things go fast."

    It remains unclear what shape a deal on Djezzy could take. There has been some speculation that the Algerian government could acquire a 51 percent stake and allow Vimpelcom to hold the remaining equity and be the operator.

    Before the Vimpelcom deal, Orascom Telecom was forced to agree to talks on Djezzy's nationalisation after it was hit with millions of dollars in back-tax demands from Algeria and prevented from moving the unit's cash abroad.

    Talks about the nationalisation had been stalled because of a dispute between the Algerian government and Djezzy's owners about how the unit is to be valued, and how much access the owners would provide to Djezzy's balance sheet.

    Djoudi suggested that issue had now been resolved. "We have opened the data room which gives us access to all ... (Djezzy's) details," he said.

  • The new Tunisian government has set up a national holding company to handle its stakes in the country's two mobile networks, Tunisiana and Orange.

    The CDC (Caisse des Dépôts et Consignation) will be headed by Tunisia's Minister of Finance, Jalloul Ayed. An independent subcommittee has also been assigned to monitor corruption, approve the general policies of the funds and evaluate the investments.

    The CDC manages 25% of Tunisiana, 51% of Orange and the Zitouna bank, which were seized from the former ruling family and are now subsidiaries of the national holding.

  • Zenith Bank (Ghana) Limited in collaboration with Google Ghana has introduced a new product unto the Ghanaian market dubbed Z.com in an effort to give its customers the opportunity to position their businesses to enable them access the global market. Z.com is a business solution opportunity tailored to suit the needs of the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Ghana.

    In a statement copied to GNA on Friday, the product would afford SMEs the opportunity to globally advertise their businesses thereby increasing top of mind awareness and ultimately their turnover.

    Z.com, which is another product innovation from Zenith Bank Ghana, rides along the Bank’s quest to make available flexible business strategies to SMEs in Ghana.

    According to Daniel Asiedu Chief Executive Officer of Zenith Bank Ghana, the bank would continue to introduce innovative products and services onto the Ghanaian banking industry.

    “This is in line with its vision of being the reference point in the provision of prompt, flawless and innovation products in the Ghanaian industry”, the statement read.

    The product would be formally launched at a business fair where key stakeholders, policy makers as well as entrepreneurs in the SMEs sector would be brought together to experience at first hand the benefits of e-commerce.

    The official launch of Z.com would take place on Thursday November 24, 2011 at the Accra International Conference Center.

    In a related development, Mr. Henry Oroh, a senior management staff from the parent company Zenith Bank Plc has been appointed to complement the bank’s marketing efforts in Ghana.

  • The fact that the new card will be linked to the user's phone will significantly enhance the security features, says Fundamo CEO Hannes van Rensburg.
    Global credit card company Visa and Africa's largest cellular operator, MTN, have partnered to introduce a new Visa prepaid account mobile service as an extension of MTN Mobile Money in developing countries.

    The product is a result of Visa's recent acquisition of local mobile money platform Fundamo, which has now been integrated with Visa's global payment network, VisaNet.

    Together with MTN Mobile Money, the new service will allow consumers to get a special Visa card which will be linked to their Mobile Money account, and which essentially has the same payment functionality as a bank card.

    Visa says the service will allow users to extend their mobile money payment functionality by allowing them to send money to each other, send and receive international remittances, withdraw funds from a Visa ATM and make purchases at merchants or online.

  • This week, an estimated 180 000 EasyPay customers will receive an e-mail that offers money-back rewards on all their transactions as part of the company’s strategy to restore its credibility and regain customers’ confidence after its site was hit by credit-card fraud two months ago.

    EasyPay will also carry the full liability of any fraudulent transactions, said Serge Belamant, the CEO of Net1, the holding company of EasyPay. He said he has confidence in the site’s newly built security features.

    EasyPay has one of SA’s largest third-party payment systems. It allows consumers to use their credit cards to pay their bills, including Telkom, the municipality and traffic fines, either through its website or at pay points in shops such as Pick n Pay.

    It also allows consumers to buy airtime and prepaid electricity online and it was these purchases that were targeted in September by a crime syndicate. The criminals obtained a list of credit card numbers, which it used to buy airtime, electricity and prepaid gift cards.

    The reaction from Absa, which found that one in three transactions were fraudulent, was to prevent its cardholders from transacting on the site temporarily until EasyPay removed the high-risk products. Some banks continue to limit the number of EasyPay transactions they allow.

    Walter Volker, CEO of the Payment Association of SA, said EasyPay had nothing to do with the release of the credit card details. An investigation is underway to determine how the syndicate obtained the credit card details, which resulted in losses of millions of rands. It must still be determined which banks will carry the liability.

    Belamant said the company had been unfairly targeted by the banks because it was not responsible for the breach. He said the high volume of traffic on the site — it does 4m to 5m transactions a month — made it attractive to fraudsters.

    EasyPay processes payments worth R120m/month, according to Belamant, and the new site is growing at a rate of 10%/month.

Digital Content

  • Many local firms have failed to get their strategies right in creating brand visibility and loyalty through social media, the latest industry survey has shown.

    However, many companies have invested heavily on Internet platforms with an aim of tapping the growing online audience.

    According to the TNS Digital Life Survey, 60 per cent of Kenyans on social media are resistant to brands and brand messages in their profiles, meaning that companies may not be getting returns on the investments they have made to reach the online community through the networks.

    "The race online has seen businesses across the world develop profiles on social networks such as Facebook and YouTube to speak to customers quickly and cheaply --but this study reveals that if these efforts are not carefully targeted, they are a wasted resource," says the report.

    The survey indicates that many firms have embraced the social media platform but without a clear strategy on who their target audiences are, leading to negative results.

    "Digital waste is the accumulation of thousands of brands rushing online without thinking who they want to talk to and why," said Matthew Froggatt, Chief Development Officer at TNS.

    "Many brands have recognised the vast potential of audiences available to them on social networks but they do not understand that these spaces belong to the consumer and their presence needs to be proportionate and justified."

    Mr Froggatt says although the online world presents massive opportunities for brands, only precisely tailored marketing strategies can realise this potential.

    The findings come at a time when the Kenyan social media space is full of content from local firms reaching out to users .But not all is lost as 54 per cent of online users interviewed in the survey admitted that social networks are a good place to learn about products.

    This implies that the use of social media to gain brand visibility and market penetration is not a misguided one. It only needs more direct strategies.

    These findings back concern expressed previously by social media analysts over the unplanned and disjointed online campaigns adopted by most firms in an effort to build their brand visibility.

    "Most businesses in Kenya enter social media but continue passing the same old messages as in traditional channels. Social media is more than just a platform to send your usual advertisement ; it has its own culture which means how people converse, the tone of the conversation, tone of channel (Facebook or Twitter),." says Mr Marvin Tumbo, social media specialist and CEO of Socialight Media, a company that provides social media solutions.

    Tumbo says failure by brands to understand how social media works is what causes conflicts between consumers and business online, with the major challenge coming in crafting the messages. Most firms have not come up with a specific messages for social media sites but are channelling messages created for the traditional media and which may not be appealing to this particular audience.

    The findings further state that users in fast growth markets like Brazil, Indonesia and Kenya are far more open to brands on social networks compared to developed markets like the US where brand tolerance in social media stood at nine per cent compared to 40 per cent in Kenya.

    This means that businesses targeting users in developing countries have a wider audience base, albeit one that must be used prudently. "Social media is not a bad tool for marketing. But it is the tact and targeting that many brands are getting wrong", says Mr Francis Waithaka, a social media analyst.

    "The first thing that brands must do is to listen and understand what customers want. Brands should do pull marketing and not push marketing. A great product and a good customer service will pull customers to your business."

    Waithaka further adds that it is essential for brands to work on their products and services well before going to social media to market them. "With a bad product or terrible customer service, no matter what marketing strategies you employ, it won't work", he says.

    In addition to this, disgruntled users have been known to tweet and post bad customer experiences to their friends and followers and this can go viral and end up being a crisis or an embarrassment to a brand.

    According to the survey, 62 per cent of Kenyan social media users trust comments people make online about brands while close to 30 per cent of users share their experience with brands in social media. In addition to this, 19 per cent of users write about brands to praise the service or goods while 10 per cent write to complain.

    "Most companies in Kenya have not thought through their social media engagement. There has been no strategy to their engagement and hence the high failure rate", says Mr Tumbo. "It's about time companies started having actual strategies and not me-too activities on social media."

    His sentiments are echoed by Withaka. "No matter how good your product or service is, regardless of how brilliant the advertisements are, and regardless of the price you're charging, if your targeting is off, then your whole marketing campaign will be missing the mark. You'll waste a lot of cash, energy and time marketing to people who will never buy from you".

  • Telkom is involved in a multibillion-rand project to increase the throughput of fixed-line broadband to speeds of up to 40Mbit/s. The plans also include dramatically upping the speed of entry-level broadband services and introducing video-on-demand (VOD) products, possibly from international providers such as Hulu, Netflix and Nangu.

    In addition, the company is planning a trial using superfast fibre-optic cables from selected telephone exchanges, with the pilot project expected to kick off as early as 15 January 2012. Details about the fibre project remain sketchy, however.

    VDSL2 is theoretically capable of offering download speeds of up to 250Mbit/s over short lengths of copper (up to 500m) and up 50Mbit/s for distances of up to 1km.

    Telkom has invested millions of rand in recent years bringing fibre closer to its customers — in many areas, it has built fibre to its street-level distribution cabinets — to offer faster access speeds to consumers over its copper network.

Telecoms, Rates, Offers and Coverage

  • - Airtel Kenya will offer a 50% airtime bonus to customers topping up their prepay account via its own Airtel Money platform.

    - Chinese vendor ZTE has announced that it has installed an integrated value added platform solution (iVAS) in Kinshasa for Vodacom DRC. The iVAS system encompasses SMS services, and ZTE claims that the installation has increased Vodacom’s SMS management tenfold, improving service on the South African-owned telco’s network by reducing congestion.

    - The Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA) has imposed a fine of US$225,000.00 on the Lonestar Communications Company for noncompliance with LTA’s Order  (LTA 0005-10-04-11)  which calls for both Lonestar and Cellcom to expand their interconnection trunks and have the expansion remain in place until otherwise ordered.

    - The SA Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has given the green light to SA Airways (SAA) to allow passengers on the airline’s flights to use their smartphones and other supported devices in “flight mode”, where the devices’ radio antennae are switched off.

    - Pan-African mobile operator MTN has announced a partnership with Singapore-based TransferTo, which allows MTN's customers with access to prepaid services to receive airtime transfers from the vast TransferTo international airtime transfer network around the world. TransferTo is a global airtime remittance hub that interconnects mobile operators' prepaid systems to deliver end to end cross-border top-up services.

More

  • Ghana’s Expresso Telecom has replaced their Managing Director just months after the buyout of Kasapa Telecom Limited. Just before Kasapa was rebranded, the Managing Director Bob Palitz resigned and was replaced by Hisham Ayoub.

    Sources within Expresso have said that Ayoub has been replaced due to poor performance. The new Managing Director is Al-Ameer Ahmed Al-Ameer Yousef, who was quietly put in while his counterpart left. It is not yet confirmed in what capacity Ayoub will be serving within the company.

    Under Ayoub subscriptions fell from 400,000 to just over 200,000, despite many changes implemented by Ayoub.

    Ayoub had introduced the Clig moden, which is one of the most competitive modems on the market in terms of prices, speed and tariff. Sources say the new Managing Director is not doing much better, but they are optimistic.

    “It looks like Mr. Yousef is going to bring some positive change, but some of the old guys at Expresso have entrenched themselves into their positions through all kinds of means so I am not too sure if he will succeed,” the source said.

  • Customer Project Manager ParaCell

    Posted date: Fri, 18th Nov

    Location: Western Africa

    ParaCell is searching for a Customer Project Manager

    Requirements:

    · We are looking for recent Ericsson Experience

    • University degree within relevant area

    · Minimum 10 years working experience in Project Management

    · Strong Leadership skills at least 5/10 years in a leadership role

    • PMP certified (Or on the way to be certified within one year)

    • Adequate operations managerial experience

    • Have excellent documentation and presentation skills

    • Have excellent communication skills

    • Have good customer and sub-contractor relation skills

    Must have ability to work independently, International experience and closely with the end-Customer are other essential skills.

    Please apply with accompanying CV indicating your availability visit here:

Issue no 581 18th November 2011

node ref id: 23520

Top story

  • While oil prices have not yet reached the peak levels witnessed in the summer of 2008, their steady growth with the OPEC basket price of an oil barrel passing the US$100 mark in February 2011, should ring an alarm bell among African mobile operators. Their dependency on diesel to fuel their base stations remains very high but very few of them have make any serious efforts to tackle these critical issues. Isabelle Gross looks at what the short and long terms options are for African mobile operators when it comes to saving on the energy bill that they are currently running.

    No later than last September, the Kenyan newspaper Business Daily reported that Bob Collymore, the CEO of Safaricom “said that the cost of running diesel-driven base stations rose by 27% since January, especially in areas with no electricity and in western Kenya where frequent power outages mean the stations must run on diesel for up to four hours a day”. He also acknowledged that the raising operating costs will need to be addressed and a way to do so will be to increase calling rates.

    Charging more customers is one approach but it has numerous pitfalls. A price increase can result in lower call volumes and therefore the overall revenue will not go up. Most African mobile subscribers don’t have deep pockets and they remain much more price sensitive than their counterparts in developed countries. Increasing prices is a sure way to drive them to look more carefully at what the competitors have on offer.

    Faced with falling voice ARPU and hypothetical additional data revenue, African mobile operators have to pay more attention on the cost side of the business that they are running. Energy expenditures should be among the top items on their list as oil prices have gone up again. When it comes to saving on the energy bills, there is not an “out of the box” solution but it can be done.

    The best approach is to first look at how to run existing base stations more efficiently. In other words, the “quick fix” which consists of tweaking various elements of the base station to realise operational savings without incurring additional capital outlay.

    The cooling system is obviously a good starting point because it represents as much as 35% of the total electricity consumption of the base station. This proportion can increase to 50% if there are fewer transmitters in use. According to a case study carried out by Axiata, a large Asian telecommunication company, the energy saving in using an inverted air conditioning versus a traditional air conditioning system is between 14% and 22%
    depending on the temperature settings (13.8% at 25°C and 21.9% at 30°C).

    In a typical setting the pay-back time is about two years. In Africa for example, mobile operators like Vodacom, Orange or MTN have started to experiment with “free cooling system” technology in conjunction (or not) with introducing higher operating temperature in the base station.

    Beside free cooling, inverted air conditioners or higher operating temperatures, smarter ways of cooling have already been developed to reduce energy consumption. One
    option is to extract the heat directly from the source rather than attempting to cool
    the whole cabin.

    Equipment manufacturer Ericsson has for example conducted trials in Indonesia that show significantly lower energy consumption can be achieved through the use of heat exchangers for the shelters and separate cooling compartments for the battery back-up. The energy used for cooling the sites can be reduced by up to 60%.

    Energy efficient base stations offer interesting savings without requiring a big capital layout but then why are there still so few in Africa when a large number of BTS are running on diesel 24/7?

    Further reduction in OPEX will require some capital investments because it implies
    purchasing more energy efficient equipment or switching to renewable energy
    power solutions. Green options range from the use of solar energy, wind
    power to hydrogen fuel cell, biomass, biofuel, etc. Solar and wind remain the most
    prominent green technologies used to power base stations in off-grid locations.

    When looking at the business case to implement renewable energy solutions to power
    base stations, three main factors need to be looked at. There is the price of oil, the BTS load and the renewable energy technology to be implemented. Let’s look at the first factor in more details.

    When oil prices are depressed, the pay-back time will be longer – a couple of years more for most renewable energy projects. When oil prices are high, the return on investment will take less time. When diesel price was at its peak in July 2008, mobile operators’ fuel costs were nearly 3 times higher than at the beginning of 2007 with the result of spiralling operating costs (OPEX) for African mobile operators. Shouldn’t the latter comparison start ringing an alarm bell in African mobile operators’ head?

    For more details on the short and long term options available to mobile operators engaging in better managing their diesel bill, please see Balancing Act’s report entitled “Energy for Cellular Base Stations in Africa: the quick fix approach and the long term perspective to saving energy” published in February 2011.


    On the Balancing Act You Tube Channel this week an AfricaCom special:

    Nadeem, Juma, CEO, Mobipay
    on m-payments and social media in Tanzania

    Scott Bain, Director of Sales, Range Networks on Open BTS and low cost BTS for Africa

    Doron Ben Sira, CEO, SkyVision on changes in the satellite market in Africa

    Arvind Rao, CEO, OnMobile on comparisons between African and Indian mobile content

    Gour Lentell, CEO, biNu on this new feature phone platform taking off in Africa

    Jonathan Osler, Managing Director – Africa, Intelsat
    on satellite market trends on the continent

    Christoph Limmer, Senior Director – Africa, SES on its strategy for the continent

    Marc Rennard EVP Orange AMEA on the pressures faced by its operations in Africa

    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

  • MAMA - Mobiles Against Malaria - is a community building effort in one of the very poor outskirts of the Malian capital Bamako, Yirimadjo. Dutch agency IICD wants to help a local association Muso Ladamunen combat the main diseases malaria and diarrhea in the neighbourhood via the integration of mobiles phones in the work of voluntary Community Health Workers, writes Francois Laureys, IICD.

    Approximately 60 women, most mothers who live in Yirimadjo, have organized themselves to pay regular visits to families in the different neighbourhoods of Yirimadjo. This allows them to take stock of the living conditions of these households, and to identify potential women and children at risk (pregnant women, young-borns etc.). They sensitize women about their rights, distribute mosquito nets to families in need, take rapid tests on malaria if they detect people who suffer from the fever, and facilitate access to the local Health Centre when necessary. In the past three years, these Health Workers have saved hundreds of lives, and the number of consultations at the Health Centre has tripled.

    Last summer, when I visited them in Bamako, they were distributing 22.000 mosquito nets to identified target families in Yirimadjo. The ‘captain’ of the Health workers, Mah Cissé, also told me that they are still struggling with the correct and timely identification of target families, and she asked me if we could help them to integrate an element of mobile phones in their work. This would allow the Health workers to send household data directly to a database and to geo-localize more exactly which areas of Yirimadjo are more at risk. Additionally, the mobile phones would also be used to send alerts and reminders about consultation visits to the Health workers in the neighbourhoods.

    We are now finalizing the project design of ‘MAMA – Mobiles Against Malaria in Mali’ , and we hope to be able to start with the mobile phones in december. If successful, this pilot could be extended to many other communities in Mali (and beyond). Both Muso Ladamunen and IICD have invested money in the project, and ‘De Parade’  (a dutch theatre festival) has raised an additional 6,083 euros, for which we are very grateful. But we still can use a little more help to get it really going.

    So have a look at the pages, where you can find a description, photos and updates of the project. You can support in different ways – just by leaving a comment or tips on the pages, by sending this link to others, by putting a link on your blog or webpage, by tweeting, or by donating a little amount via the Donate button. You can also read more about the other activities of Muso Ladamunen by clicking on this link:  or on the blog Antimoustic.

  • 8ta has empowered their subscribers by enhancing their free self-service portal with the ability to purchase airtime and data bundles online via credit card.

    According to Telkom Mobile Managing Executive, Amith Maharaj, this enhancement will facilitate online purchase of airtime and data bundles as and when subscribers need it, even when their airtime is depleted.

    This functionality will improve the user experience for Prepaid and Hybrid (Saver) subscribers. 8ta subscribers need to register online and complete the SMS verification process on 8ta’s website here:

    Logged in subscribers will not be charged to do the following:

    * Review airtime balance

    * Redeem vouchers for airtime

    * Convert airtime to data bundles

    * Review data bundles balances and expiry dates

    * Credit Card top up using 3D secure technology

    The portal is safe as 8ta has chosen 3-D secure as a key comfort factor for subscribers when disclosing their credit card details online. The 3-D secure system simply enables credit card holders to add a password over and above the usual credit card expiry and CVV three digit numbers. The platform caters for locally issued VISA and Mastercard users.

    “If your credit card is not already 3-D verified, the 8ta portal will securely verify the 3-D secure password online. The normal credit card process can then be completed, even with no airtime on the account, as the credit card application is zero rated,” says Maharaj.

    Over time the portal will be enhanced, based on subscriber feedback, market benchmarks and other developments in self-service technology.

    To date 8ta has enabled automatic redirection of all data users when their data bundle is depleted. This key network ability enables subscribers to be in control of their communication spend with 8ta.

    8ta subscribers can now further manage their airtime and data costs both on contract and prepaid products through the self-service portal.

  • Three new phones with deep Facebook integration and dedicated ‘F’ key available in Africa and Europe from Q4 2011 – offering the widest portfolio of affordable phones with deep Facebook functionality launched by an operator to date  Orange is bringing simple, affordable, social phones for under €100 to a broader range of customers in more than 15 countries*

     The new range includes the Alcatel One Touch 908F Android smartphone, one of the most affordable Android smartphones available, exclusive to Orange

    Orange will exclusively launch three new affordable phones with deep Facebook integration across Africa and Europe from Q4 2011, creating a swift, simple, cost effective social experience for more of Orange’s customers than ever before. 

    With access to the widest range of phones with Facebook built-in under €100, including the new Alcatel One Touch 908F Android smartphone, Orange customers can choose the phone best suited to their needs. Facebook’s social capabilities run through every feature of these phones, from the camera to contacts with the dedicated ‘F’ key allowing instant uploading and interaction. Orange customers can also purchase these handsets with affordable bundles and tariffs that include unlimited Facebook access without extra data charges. 

     “The rise of the smartphone and the explosion of social networks have completely changed how people keep in touch and share content. Until now many consumers across Africa and Europe have not had access to a phone that offers deep Facebook integration at an affordable price,” said Yves Maitre, Senior Vice President of Mobile Multimedia and Devices, Orange. “We feel strongly that it is Orange’s role to enable customers to enjoy a digitally rich, connected life and this and future work with Facebook and Alcatel One Touch will allow us to open up mobile social media access to even more of our customers.”

    “Orange and Facebook have a common goal of providing mobile social access to people throughout Europe and Africa,” said Henri Moissinac, Head of Mobile Business at Facebook. “These phones and our ongoing collaboration with Orange will offer an opportunity for people to easily connect and share with their friends on Facebook anytime, anywhere and, for some, experience the mobile web for the first time.”

  • Telecom Egypt (TE) has announced its plans to expand broadband and mobile-phone services after third-quarter profit dropped due to a decrease in subscribers.

    TE runs the nation’s fixed-line telephone monopoly. The company plans to begin operating a new undersea cable by the end of the year to increase capacity for data services, and is also in the process of negotiating a virtual mobile network operator license which they hope to acquire during the first quarter of 2012.

    TE is also currently negotiating with Egypt’s telecommunications regulator t acquire a license that would allow it to use the networks of other mobile-phone companies to provide services, according to TE’s Chief Financial Officer Hassan Helmy.

    The company also owns almost half of Vodafone Egypt Telecommunications Co., which is the biggest mobile-network operator in terms of users in Egypt.“In the medium and long-term, the dynamics of the local market are very attractive,” Helmy said. “We’re counting on the young population of this country.”

    The company reported a 21 percent drop in net income from last year, read a statement on TE’s website. Fixed line subscription also dropped to 8.6 million users, from 9.4 million last year.

    “The wider economic malaise is placing pressure on household incomes in Egypt,” Chairman Akil Beshir said in the statement today. “As predicated last quarter, there has been an impact on Telecom Egypt’s overall total number of active subscribers.”

internet

  • The Internet Service Providers’ Association of SA (ISPA) has created infrastructure in the form of its Cape Town and Johannesburg Internet Exchanges (CINX and JINX) to help local consumers enjoy better performance from the Internet at a more affordable cost.

    ISPA has run JINX since 1996 and the Cape Town Internet Exchange (CINX) since 2009. The organisation is currently selecting the company that will host the Durban Internet Exchange, DINX. This infrastructure has an enormous positive impact on the consumer’s Internet experience, although most South African Internet users are unaware of its existence.

    Said Marc Furman, co-chair at ISPA: “The ISPA INXs have provided massive benefit to service providers, network operators and consumers over the years. They keep Internet traffic within the country, which results in faster response times between ISPs and reduces the congestion on international links.

    “By connecting to these exchanges, network operators are also able to keep their costs down, which in turn enables them to provide their services to end-users at a lower cost. The growth we have experienced over the years across these exchange points has been staggering.”

    One principle that ISPA has embraced since 2009 is that the exchanges should be open for non-members as well as members to streamline the exchange of traffic to the benefit of the entire industry. As such, even incumbent network operators are allowed to peer using the INX infrastructure.

    The exchanges also give members a great deal of freedom in choosing who they peer with and how they do so. Although ISPA operates high speed switches at each exchange, INX users are not obliged to connect using the public switch fabric. They may run private links between their equipment at the exchange instead of using the ISPA switch.

    “We take a hands-off approach to how ISPs and operators exchange traffic at each exchange. Most participants peer freely with everyone else connected to that INX but they are not obliged to do so. Some of the participants choose to only exchange traffic with a limited number of other parties,” said Furman.

    Furman noted that the INX infrastructures in Johannesburg and Cape Town have enjoyed runaway growth in the past few years.  More than 30 ISPs now connect to JINX and exchange more than 2.5 Gbps of traffic at JINX during peak times. CINX today handles more than 500 Mbps of traffic from 16 peering ISPs during peak times. With a sharp rise in mobile data usage and rapid growth in voice-over-IP traffic, traffic volumes at the exchanges will continue to grow sharply in the months to come.

  • Labaran Maku, the Nigerian Minister of Information, has expressed concern over the increase in the number of social media in the country. Maku made the observation on Tuesday in Benin City during the meeting of members of the Nigeria Union of Journalist (NUJ) Constitutional Review Committee.

    Represented by Kingsley Osadolor, a legal practitioner, Maku said the rise of social media in the country was a phenomenon that needed to be addressed as part of the constitutional amendment or in the nearest future.

    He said the revolution that was taking place in Egypt, Syria, Libya and other Arab states was as a result of the reports dished out by the social media. Maku warned that the increase in the number social media might result in some traditional journalists losing their jobs.
    ``What business should the social media have with the NUJ? That is an important phenomenon that needs to be considered,'' he said.

    The minister noted that the constitutional review was coming at time when the Freedom of Information Act was operational. He said the FOI Act was not a substitute for ``crucial investigative journalism'', adding that its aim was to aid the journalist to get access to information.

    Maku noted that there were procedures and rules guiding the use of the FOI Act, and urged media practitioners to be acquainted with them in order not to get negative responses. ``It is useful and pertinent to know the sources of information that are available to the journalists so that they can tap into those areas,'' he said.

    `` The FOI Act is not a substitute for investigative journalism; it must not reduce us into lazy journalists because there are several journalists waiting for information to do their stories,'' he said.

    In his address, Emeka Wogu, the Minister of Labour and Productivity, expressed appreciation to the Nigerian Press for its role in promoting peace and highlighting government policies.

    Wogu, who was represented by Tommy Okon, his Special Assistant on Media, said the constitution of any organisation, group and association, ``is an indication of how healthy the body is in terms of its operations''.

    He said that as the watchdog of the society, it was expected that the NUJ constitutional amendment would address the salient issues affecting journalists and the profession.

    ``I want to use this medium to thank the media for their positive role in promoting industrial peace and harmony in the country,'' Wogu said.

computing

  • A selected aggregation of Individual Information Technology Spend Plans for Ministry, Department and Agencies (MDAs) have revealed that N4.5billion will be spent on data centres in the coming year even though the Federal Government has an IT agency that is positioned to deploy and deliver these services at a lower costs and higher standards, the Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson has said.

    Mrs. Johnson, who spoke in Abuja at the 5TH public sector ICT infrastructure forum & the public presentation of ISO/IEC 27001:2005 certification by Galaxy Backbone plc, said there are still too many instances of individual MDAs deploying ICT infrastructure that is better deployed through a more effective pooling of financial and human resources.

    She said in the light of technological developments like cloud computing and the constraints the financial and economic crisis has placed on governments, countries all over the world are promoting the concept of shared IT services because of the immense cost savings, efficiency and capabilities it has been proven to deliver. She said Nigerian MDAs have refused to key in into this.

    The minister, who said one of the mandates of the Ministry of Communication Technology is to drive transparency in governance and improve the quality of public service delivery, lamented that needless IT spending being embarked upon by most government agencies and parastatals.

    She said: "There are still too many instances of individual MDAs deploying ICT infrastructure that is better deployed through a more effective pooling of financial and human resources. A selected aggregation of individual IT Spend plans for MDAs have revealed that N4.5bn will be spent on data centres in the coming year despite the fact that we have within Government an IT organization that is positioned to deploy and deliver these services at a lower costs and to higher standards evidenced in the achievement that Galaxy Backbone is celebrating today."

  • Listed SA IT company Gijima has formed a partnership with US company MobileIron as it ups its focus on the consumerisation of IT in business. Founded in 2007 and based in California, MobileIron provides mobile device management and security to large corporations.

    Gijima says the partnership will give it the capability to provide enterprise mobile device management and security solutions to its clients. It comes just a week after the company signed a systems integrator agreement with Apple, whose products such as the iPhone and iPad are being increasingly used in corporate environments.

    MobileIron designs solutions that allow companies to integrate smartphones and tablets with company networks. It offers solutions for devices running Apple’s iOS, Research in Motion’s BlackBerry OS, Microsoft’s Windows Phone and Windows Mobile, Symbian and Google’s Android mobile operating systems.

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

  • Algeria is in talks with Vimpelcom aimed at resolving a tug of war over the Russian telecoms group's mobile phone unit Djezzy and efforts to find a resolution could now speed up, according to Algeria's finance minister, Karim Djoudi.

    Vimpelcom hoped to acquire Djezzy as part of a planned $6 billion acquisition of Wind Telecom, parent of Djezzy's owner Orascom Telecom. But Djezzy's status was left unclear after Algeria said it wanted to take the business over itself.

    Djoudi's comments were the strongest hint yet that a resolution could be close after more than a year of deadlock over Djezzy, which had been the most lucrative part of Orascom Telecom's business.

    Asked about Djezzy, Djoudi said: "Things are taking place normally. I have had a meeting with a Vimpelcom representative at his request. Unfortunately, I cannot give you details because we are in talks."

    He said a valuation of Djezzy, a crucial step in determining the unit's future, was proceeding. "It is possible that things will go fast," Djoudi said. "There is a willingness on the other side to make things go fast."

    It remains unclear what shape a deal on Djezzy could take. There has been some speculation that the Algerian government could acquire a 51 percent stake and allow Vimpelcom to hold the remaining equity and be the operator.

    Before the Vimpelcom deal, Orascom Telecom was forced to agree to talks on Djezzy's nationalisation after it was hit with millions of dollars in back-tax demands from Algeria and prevented from moving the unit's cash abroad.

    Talks about the nationalisation had been stalled because of a dispute between the Algerian government and Djezzy's owners about how the unit is to be valued, and how much access the owners would provide to Djezzy's balance sheet.

    Djoudi suggested that issue had now been resolved. "We have opened the data room which gives us access to all ... (Djezzy's) details," he said.

  • The new Tunisian government has set up a national holding company to handle its stakes in the country's two mobile networks, Tunisiana and Orange.

    The CDC (Caisse des Dépôts et Consignation) will be headed by Tunisia's Minister of Finance, Jalloul Ayed. An independent subcommittee has also been assigned to monitor corruption, approve the general policies of the funds and evaluate the investments.

    The CDC manages 25% of Tunisiana, 51% of Orange and the Zitouna bank, which were seized from the former ruling family and are now subsidiaries of the national holding.

  • Zenith Bank (Ghana) Limited in collaboration with Google Ghana has introduced a new product unto the Ghanaian market dubbed Z.com in an effort to give its customers the opportunity to position their businesses to enable them access the global market. Z.com is a business solution opportunity tailored to suit the needs of the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Ghana.

    In a statement copied to GNA on Friday, the product would afford SMEs the opportunity to globally advertise their businesses thereby increasing top of mind awareness and ultimately their turnover.

    Z.com, which is another product innovation from Zenith Bank Ghana, rides along the Bank’s quest to make available flexible business strategies to SMEs in Ghana.

    According to Daniel Asiedu Chief Executive Officer of Zenith Bank Ghana, the bank would continue to introduce innovative products and services onto the Ghanaian banking industry.

    “This is in line with its vision of being the reference point in the provision of prompt, flawless and innovation products in the Ghanaian industry”, the statement read.

    The product would be formally launched at a business fair where key stakeholders, policy makers as well as entrepreneurs in the SMEs sector would be brought together to experience at first hand the benefits of e-commerce.

    The official launch of Z.com would take place on Thursday November 24, 2011 at the Accra International Conference Center.

    In a related development, Mr. Henry Oroh, a senior management staff from the parent company Zenith Bank Plc has been appointed to complement the bank’s marketing efforts in Ghana.

  • The fact that the new card will be linked to the user's phone will significantly enhance the security features, says Fundamo CEO Hannes van Rensburg.
    Global credit card company Visa and Africa's largest cellular operator, MTN, have partnered to introduce a new Visa prepaid account mobile service as an extension of MTN Mobile Money in developing countries.

    The product is a result of Visa's recent acquisition of local mobile money platform Fundamo, which has now been integrated with Visa's global payment network, VisaNet.

    Together with MTN Mobile Money, the new service will allow consumers to get a special Visa card which will be linked to their Mobile Money account, and which essentially has the same payment functionality as a bank card.

    Visa says the service will allow users to extend their mobile money payment functionality by allowing them to send money to each other, send and receive international remittances, withdraw funds from a Visa ATM and make purchases at merchants or online.

  • This week, an estimated 180 000 EasyPay customers will receive an e-mail that offers money-back rewards on all their transactions as part of the company’s strategy to restore its credibility and regain customers’ confidence after its site was hit by credit-card fraud two months ago.

    EasyPay will also carry the full liability of any fraudulent transactions, said Serge Belamant, the CEO of Net1, the holding company of EasyPay. He said he has confidence in the site’s newly built security features.

    EasyPay has one of SA’s largest third-party payment systems. It allows consumers to use their credit cards to pay their bills, including Telkom, the municipality and traffic fines, either through its website or at pay points in shops such as Pick n Pay.

    It also allows consumers to buy airtime and prepaid electricity online and it was these purchases that were targeted in September by a crime syndicate. The criminals obtained a list of credit card numbers, which it used to buy airtime, electricity and prepaid gift cards.

    The reaction from Absa, which found that one in three transactions were fraudulent, was to prevent its cardholders from transacting on the site temporarily until EasyPay removed the high-risk products. Some banks continue to limit the number of EasyPay transactions they allow.

    Walter Volker, CEO of the Payment Association of SA, said EasyPay had nothing to do with the release of the credit card details. An investigation is underway to determine how the syndicate obtained the credit card details, which resulted in losses of millions of rands. It must still be determined which banks will carry the liability.

    Belamant said the company had been unfairly targeted by the banks because it was not responsible for the breach. He said the high volume of traffic on the site — it does 4m to 5m transactions a month — made it attractive to fraudsters.

    EasyPay processes payments worth R120m/month, according to Belamant, and the new site is growing at a rate of 10%/month.

Digital Content

  • Many local firms have failed to get their strategies right in creating brand visibility and loyalty through social media, the latest industry survey has shown.

    However, many companies have invested heavily on Internet platforms with an aim of tapping the growing online audience.

    According to the TNS Digital Life Survey, 60 per cent of Kenyans on social media are resistant to brands and brand messages in their profiles, meaning that companies may not be getting returns on the investments they have made to reach the online community through the networks.

    "The race online has seen businesses across the world develop profiles on social networks such as Facebook and YouTube to speak to customers quickly and cheaply --but this study reveals that if these efforts are not carefully targeted, they are a wasted resource," says the report.

    The survey indicates that many firms have embraced the social media platform but without a clear strategy on who their target audiences are, leading to negative results.

    "Digital waste is the accumulation of thousands of brands rushing online without thinking who they want to talk to and why," said Matthew Froggatt, Chief Development Officer at TNS.

    "Many brands have recognised the vast potential of audiences available to them on social networks but they do not understand that these spaces belong to the consumer and their presence needs to be proportionate and justified."

    Mr Froggatt says although the online world presents massive opportunities for brands, only precisely tailored marketing strategies can realise this potential.

    The findings come at a time when the Kenyan social media space is full of content from local firms reaching out to users .But not all is lost as 54 per cent of online users interviewed in the survey admitted that social networks are a good place to learn about products.

    This implies that the use of social media to gain brand visibility and market penetration is not a misguided one. It only needs more direct strategies.

    These findings back concern expressed previously by social media analysts over the unplanned and disjointed online campaigns adopted by most firms in an effort to build their brand visibility.

    "Most businesses in Kenya enter social media but continue passing the same old messages as in traditional channels. Social media is more than just a platform to send your usual advertisement ; it has its own culture which means how people converse, the tone of the conversation, tone of channel (Facebook or Twitter),." says Mr Marvin Tumbo, social media specialist and CEO of Socialight Media, a company that provides social media solutions.

    Tumbo says failure by brands to understand how social media works is what causes conflicts between consumers and business online, with the major challenge coming in crafting the messages. Most firms have not come up with a specific messages for social media sites but are channelling messages created for the traditional media and which may not be appealing to this particular audience.

    The findings further state that users in fast growth markets like Brazil, Indonesia and Kenya are far more open to brands on social networks compared to developed markets like the US where brand tolerance in social media stood at nine per cent compared to 40 per cent in Kenya.

    This means that businesses targeting users in developing countries have a wider audience base, albeit one that must be used prudently. "Social media is not a bad tool for marketing. But it is the tact and targeting that many brands are getting wrong", says Mr Francis Waithaka, a social media analyst.

    "The first thing that brands must do is to listen and understand what customers want. Brands should do pull marketing and not push marketing. A great product and a good customer service will pull customers to your business."

    Waithaka further adds that it is essential for brands to work on their products and services well before going to social media to market them. "With a bad product or terrible customer service, no matter what marketing strategies you employ, it won't work", he says.

    In addition to this, disgruntled users have been known to tweet and post bad customer experiences to their friends and followers and this can go viral and end up being a crisis or an embarrassment to a brand.

    According to the survey, 62 per cent of Kenyan social media users trust comments people make online about brands while close to 30 per cent of users share their experience with brands in social media. In addition to this, 19 per cent of users write about brands to praise the service or goods while 10 per cent write to complain.

    "Most companies in Kenya have not thought through their social media engagement. There has been no strategy to their engagement and hence the high failure rate", says Mr Tumbo. "It's about time companies started having actual strategies and not me-too activities on social media."

    His sentiments are echoed by Withaka. "No matter how good your product or service is, regardless of how brilliant the advertisements are, and regardless of the price you're charging, if your targeting is off, then your whole marketing campaign will be missing the mark. You'll waste a lot of cash, energy and time marketing to people who will never buy from you".

  • Telkom is involved in a multibillion-rand project to increase the throughput of fixed-line broadband to speeds of up to 40Mbit/s. The plans also include dramatically upping the speed of entry-level broadband services and introducing video-on-demand (VOD) products, possibly from international providers such as Hulu, Netflix and Nangu.

    In addition, the company is planning a trial using superfast fibre-optic cables from selected telephone exchanges, with the pilot project expected to kick off as early as 15 January 2012. Details about the fibre project remain sketchy, however.

    VDSL2 is theoretically capable of offering download speeds of up to 250Mbit/s over short lengths of copper (up to 500m) and up 50Mbit/s for distances of up to 1km.

    Telkom has invested millions of rand in recent years bringing fibre closer to its customers — in many areas, it has built fibre to its street-level distribution cabinets — to offer faster access speeds to consumers over its copper network.

Telecoms, Rates, Offers and Coverage

  • - Airtel Kenya will offer a 50% airtime bonus to customers topping up their prepay account via its own Airtel Money platform.

    - Chinese vendor ZTE has announced that it has installed an integrated value added platform solution (iVAS) in Kinshasa for Vodacom DRC. The iVAS system encompasses SMS services, and ZTE claims that the installation has increased Vodacom’s SMS management tenfold, improving service on the South African-owned telco’s network by reducing congestion.

    - The Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA) has imposed a fine of US$225,000.00 on the Lonestar Communications Company for noncompliance with LTA’s Order  (LTA 0005-10-04-11)  which calls for both Lonestar and Cellcom to expand their interconnection trunks and have the expansion remain in place until otherwise ordered.

    - The SA Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has given the green light to SA Airways (SAA) to allow passengers on the airline’s flights to use their smartphones and other supported devices in “flight mode”, where the devices’ radio antennae are switched off.

    - Pan-African mobile operator MTN has announced a partnership with Singapore-based TransferTo, which allows MTN's customers with access to prepaid services to receive airtime transfers from the vast TransferTo international airtime transfer network around the world. TransferTo is a global airtime remittance hub that interconnects mobile operators' prepaid systems to deliver end to end cross-border top-up services.

More

  • Ghana’s Expresso Telecom has replaced their Managing Director just months after the buyout of Kasapa Telecom Limited. Just before Kasapa was rebranded, the Managing Director Bob Palitz resigned and was replaced by Hisham Ayoub.

    Sources within Expresso have said that Ayoub has been replaced due to poor performance. The new Managing Director is Al-Ameer Ahmed Al-Ameer Yousef, who was quietly put in while his counterpart left. It is not yet confirmed in what capacity Ayoub will be serving within the company.

    Under Ayoub subscriptions fell from 400,000 to just over 200,000, despite many changes implemented by Ayoub.

    Ayoub had introduced the Clig moden, which is one of the most competitive modems on the market in terms of prices, speed and tariff. Sources say the new Managing Director is not doing much better, but they are optimistic.

    “It looks like Mr. Yousef is going to bring some positive change, but some of the old guys at Expresso have entrenched themselves into their positions through all kinds of means so I am not too sure if he will succeed,” the source said.

  • Customer Project Manager ParaCell

    Posted date: Fri, 18th Nov

    Location: Western Africa

    ParaCell is searching for a Customer Project Manager

    Requirements:

    · We are looking for recent Ericsson Experience

    • University degree within relevant area

    · Minimum 10 years working experience in Project Management

    · Strong Leadership skills at least 5/10 years in a leadership role

    • PMP certified (Or on the way to be certified within one year)

    • Adequate operations managerial experience

    • Have excellent documentation and presentation skills

    • Have excellent communication skills

    • Have good customer and sub-contractor relation skills

    Must have ability to work independently, International experience and closely with the end-Customer are other essential skills.

    Please apply with accompanying CV indicating your availability visit here:

Issue no 580 11th November 2011

node ref id: 23486

Top story

  • Africa’s annual gabba-gabba fest AfricaCom took place this week with the organisers claiming that visitor numbers were up yet again. Vendors from almost every corner of the globe were there with heavy representation from both India and China. Russell Southwood tries to separate the signal from the noise.

    AfricaCom has become exhausting but necessary meeting place for many of the different parts of the telecoms industry, having expanded from its original GSM Africa footprint. This year it went off in search of even more territory with the addition of Enterprise ICT and Africast streams, the latter for broadcasters. The whole process has steady momentum which means that if you gather the equivalent of a small town together, your chances of meeting people will increase.

    No account of an event of this size will ever capture everything that happens and many of the stories below in the news sections are drawn from announcements at the events, including the winners of the awards event. (note to Orange: You have much to shout about so don’t enter every category multiple times.)

    Some of the key threads that we saw emerging at the event were as follows:

    * International bandwidth growing again: After a period when people were going, we’ve got all this bandwidth what are we going to do with, international fibre sales are on the move again. According to Chris Wood, CEO, WIOCC it has almost completely sold its initial 30 GB allocation and will upgrade to 160 GB which he thinks will sell through in 2 years. The drivers for all this growth? Mobile Internet and WiMAX coverage.

    ACE had a stand for the first time but whilst the project makes steady progress, it has not yet funded its South Africa leg. This is perhaps not surprising given the fact that WACS has all major telcos signed up. WIOCC has also signed an agreement with WACS to give it a west coast redundancy route.

    * The steady growth of national and cross-border terrestrial but price and access still issues: You still meet people who tell you that it might be true that Africa has all this international bandwidth but there’s still no routes from the landing station. Clearly there’s a perception lag operating. Chris Wood, WIOCC told us that its consortium members now have 50,000 kms of cross-border fibre with lower cost transit prices.

    Liquid Telecom’s network stretches north. There are gaps everywhere between these clusters of networks and some blank spaces (as Eric Osiakwan of Ghana Connect pointed out in his presentation) but the task of addressing this is far less daunting. Those endless maps with coloured lines that were “meat and drink” of conferences like this for several years are now a reality. Pricing remains an issue at both national, cross-border and local levels. Holding back the development of things like data centres and cloud computing, the latter being something of a buzz word at the event. Two telcos this week – Vodacom SA and Orange Kenya – have plans to get it beyond the “blah-blah” phase. One operator was saying that international bandwidth was now 20-40% of total delivery cost with national bandwidth making up 60-80%.

    * Satellite operators seem to have weathered the fibre storm: Satellite operators and resellers were remarkably chipper this year compared to last year. SkyVision’s new CEO Doron Ben Sira said revenues were holding steady and that it had moved from drawing most of its revenues from 4-5 countries and was equivalent amounts of revenues across 20 countries. Operators have seen their IP trunking business disappear and the number of remote base stations is falling rather than growing but they have got out and found new customers. “All the world and its aunt” are getting into the broadcast business where prices remain rock solid: how about some competitive offers?

    SkyVision is offering fibre in West Africa but sees it as “niche play” where it can use fibre to create a package of connectivity with good overall margins. C-band capacity availability is low, not helped by the antenna of the New Dawn satellite not opening. Jonathan Osler of Intelsat says he dreams that one morning he will wake up and it’s happened but he says it’s unlikely.

    On the near horizon, Kevin Viret of Yahsat says it will launch its new products early next year and says both pricing and sales channel approach “will shake the market up.” Further into the future 03B is still looking at a 2013 launch date with prices (depending on volume) between US$500-750 per meg. It has changed its business model slightly to offer slightly sub 100 MB offers asymmetrically. However, the idea that it will be good for redundancy purposes looks less and less compelling as the volume of fibre being shifted keeps ramping up.

    * Mobile content gets more and more interesting: Google’s Think Mobile event on Monday was pitching the growth of smartphones in the South African market, which is probably right. But the “ground-moving” moment seems to be happening with the much more numerous feature-phone part of the handset pyramid.

    We met Australia’s biNU mobile who have a feature phone content platform that has over 2 million users globally. It’s a low bandwidth optimized cloud-based service and it offers an extremely interesting content offer including books from the Guttenberg Project. It is getting user numbers in the hundreds of thousands and these are undoubtedly the early birds on the horizon.

    Comparing notes on mobile content in India and Africa with Arvind Rao, CEO of OnMobile was fascinating. He is part of what seems like a wave of Indian vendors who have followed Airtel into the market. He says that his sales in Africa are ahead of where he expected at this point. He told us that one big trend in India was independent musicians using mobile as a means of distribution. He also said that Indian music labels three years ago had something like 5% of their revenues from online but now they had 40-50% and of that proportion 80% was coming from mobile. Furthermore with the rise of independent music distribution and increased digital sales, the negotiating power of the labels had decreased, allowing sensible royalty deals to be done.

    At the higher end there’s a steady trickle of people offering VOD content. One of these companies Logiways offers a satellite-based, smart set top box service (costing US$200) that can serve movies. The box is controlled by the operator and can download a whole set of new movies on a monthly basis and stream them to consumers. Kenyan Fibre-To-The-Home operator Jamii Telecom told us that amongst its first small number of subscribers, 65% use their new bandwidth for downloads.

    On the content front, the Nation Media Group has had 84 million views on its You Tube channel over 3 years. Given that serious income from online advertising on platforms like these starts at around 1 million views, the content moment is finally coming into view. Or another example, Young Africa Live on the Vodacom platform in South Africa has 586,000 unique views. Mobile is well and truly media but current media owners have yet to wake up to this new dawning reality.

    * Mobile payment – when will the interconnect moment arrive? When mobile operators first started, operators didn’t connect to each other because they believed that people would prefer their service and in this fashion it would attract greater numbers. And then someone agreed to interconnect and the networking effect kicked in and the rest is history. M-money is going through a similar cycle but below the radar there are a number of operators that are not completely happy with their proprietary, on-net solution.

    The Nigerians have set the pace by saying platforms must operate with the banks which has meant a slightly more open process of platforms getting to market. Platforms like Paga in Nigeria and Mobipay in Tanzania (still just 100,000 subscribers) may currently be small in user numbers but may suddenly they may become flavor of the month. The issue for operators is that M-Money is not a highly profitable business but as with everything mobile, they do it because some else started doing it.

    Larger players are taking an interest. POS operator Verifone has bought into New Zealand’s Mobilis and is offering an m-wallet platform that has Near Field Communications on its “road map”. The current barrier to retail shopping in places like Nakumatt with say M-Pesa in Kenya is that the check-out staff and customers can’t be bothered to go through the slower process of paying this way. Cash is still faster but imagine a swipe and pay system. It’s a ways off but it’s coming…


    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

  • The AfricaCom Awards winners were announced this week (9 November), with MTN, SEACOM, Main One, Orange, Helios Towers, Ericsson, Huawei, Gateway Communications, SkyVision and SafariCom winning awards. MTN South Africa scooped two awards – best network improvement for their LTE trial network and the best marketing campaign for its MTN Zone re-launch. It’s a shame that network improvement does not yet seem to have hit Ghana (see story on NCA fines below).

    SEACOM and Main One were awarded “Best Pan African Initiative”. Main One and SEACOM announced in May 2011 that they had interconnected their west and east African cable systems to launch capacity services from PoP to PoP, from a STM-1 level and above.

    This partnership extends the Main One and SEACOM networks to create a system that offers connection between any SEACOM and Main One PoPs all around Africa.

    The 2011 AfricaCom Awards winners are:

        * MTN South Africa – Best Network Improvement (for their LTE pilot test) and Best Marketing Campaign (MTN Zone)
        * Orange – Best New Service
        * Helios Towers Africa – Best Cost Efficiency Initiative
        * Ericsson – Rural Telecoms Award
        * Huawei Technologies – Best Backhaul Solution
        * Gateway Communications – Customer Service Excellence
        * SkyVision – Satellite Service Provider of the Year
        * SafariCom – Best ICT Solution Provider for Enterprise Markets, Changing Lives Award
        * Seacom/Main One – Best Pan-African Initiative

  • Following a quality of service report released by the Kenyan Communication Commission, Telkom Kenya has criticized the scope and methodology used within the report. The CCK 2010/2011 Quality of Service (QoS) report, released last week, revealed that Telkom Kenya failed to meet half of the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). The report ranked them as the poorest network in the country in regards to the terms of service. They may be right but it’s a hard position to take where you end up arguing with the referee.

    According to Telkom Kenya, a different audit benchmarked on international standards and carried out by France Telecom Group rated the company as having one of the best GSM networks among its African subsidiaries.

    Telkom Kenya’s CEO, Mickael Ghossein, released a statement saying “[Telkom Kenya] have queried the scope and methodology on which the report is based, with a view to correlating it to our own independent evaluation of our networks based on the same parameters.”

    The company has also said that an assessment they had carried out in June showed its Call Completion Rate was 96.8 percent, against the 90 percent minimum set by the CCK. Their Call Success Rate also scored at 98 percent against the 90 percent minimum. The QoS report however, rated Telkom Kenya’s Call Completion rate at 38.50 percent, and its Call Completion Rate at 41.36 percent. The company has also said that its investments on the network were not appreciated by the regulator.

    “The results come as a surprise to us considering 2011 marked the successful upgrade and improvement of the Orange mobile network in preparation of our 3G rollout,” Ghossein added.

    The CCK has previously been criticized by Safaricom, which strongly opposed last year’s report. Safaricom raised questions on the credibility of the audit process. Since then however, their score has improved and the company has accepted this year’s findings.

  • Ghana’s telecoms regulator the National Communications Authority (NCA) has imposed fines totaling GHC1.2 million (USD751,990) on five domestic mobile network operators – MTN, Vodafone, Airtel, Expresso and Tigo – for delivering poor services to end users.

    The penalties, which cover the third quarter of this year, are part of measures introduced by the NCA to improve overall quality of services and ensure end users have value for money. Airtel was fined the most – GHC350,000 – after it experienced high levels of network congestion (particularly in Tamale, Sekondi-Takoradi and the Upper East and West, and Greater Accra regions), while MTN and Expresso were each fined GHC300,000. Vodafone was fined GHC150,000 and Tigo received the lowest fine of GHC100,000, the NCA said.

  • The department of communications is moving to wrest control over management of SA’s scarce radio frequency spectrum from industry regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa), a reading of the Electronic Communications Amendment Bill, published last week, shows.

    The bill gives power to the minister of communications, rather than Icasa, to determine how spectrum — some of which is in high demand from telecommunications operators — will be divided up.

    Operators are unhappy at the slow pace at which Icasa is licensing access to new spectrum, especially in the 2,6GHz and 3,5GHz bands that can be used for next-generation mobile broadband networks, and this may have prompted government to attempt to usurp some of the authority’s powers in this regard.

    In terms of the new bill, which must still be approved by parliament, the minister of communications — currently Dina Pule — will be responsible for coordination and approval of any radio frequency spectrum plans applicable to SA.

    Furthermore, the bill proposes the creation of a national radio frequency management committee to advise the minister on spectrum issues. The bill says this committee should consist of representatives from “relevant government departments identified by the minister and one or more representatives of the authority”.

    Mike Silber, Head of Legal and Commercial Affairs at fibre operator Liquid Telecom and a former regulatory adviser at the Internet Service Providers’ Association, says Icasa has “inefficiencies around spectrum allocation and management” and this is a “major concern and one that’s worth raising”. However, he warns that assuming the ministry or government department will somehow do better is “laughable”.

    Approached for comment, the big telecoms operators say only that they are still studying the bill and will comment later. But one industry source, speaking on condition of anonymity because he has to work with government and Icasa, says the bill amounts to the “same old story” of a “power struggle” between the department of communications and Icasa.

    The source says the proposed amendments “don’t sound like a particularly good thing” because, when it comes to issues surrounding spectrum, “you need independence” and “introducing political considerations slows the process”.

    Tracy Cohen, Chief Corporate Services Officer at Neotel, says government is responsible for the development of national policy on electronic communications matters and the law requires that Icasa “is independent in the implementation of government policy”.

    The law does not require that the Icasa is “vested with policy making”, though when it comes to actual implementation the divide is often blurred, Cohen says. She says Neotel will consider the amendment bill and will make detailed comments through the public consultation process, adding that the company supports any initiative to ensure that “critical competition-enhancing processes are effectively implemented”.

    Already, some industry players have expressed concern that the bill will result in further delays in allocating new spectrum. However, Cohen says given that the change is only likely to come to pass in six or 12 months’ time, it does not follow that a change will necessarily slow the process in which Icasa is already engaged.

    “Neotel is of the view that if the department and Icasa were to enable a spectrum secondary trading market, which was previously considered but not implemented in regulation, this would greatly assist in addressing many of the bottlenecks in spectrum efficiency,” she says.

  • The Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) will be laying charges against the Democratic Alliance (DA) for “trying to kill copper thieves”. The federation says it will report deputy Cape Town mayor Alderman Ian Neilson's plans to electrocute copper cable thieves to the Public Service Commission and the Human Rights Commission.

    “Cosatu will also lay charges at the police station about the DA's intention to do grievous bodily harm, through the policy of the City of Cape Town.”

    Nielsen, during a radio interview, confirmed that the city leaves on electricity for streetlights during the day, in some areas, to deter thieves from stealing the copper.

    “This clearly is with the intent to electrocute the thieves. There has, however, been no notice sent out telling people that the electricity will be live with current. During the day, people generally expect the electricity to be off, and so people, including kids, try to steel copper to get money,” says Cosatu.

    It explains that this is not an attempt to justify theft, but to caution against the intention to try and kill copper thieves by leaving the current on.

  • The GSMA today announced that Africa is now the world's second largest mobile market by connections after Asia, and the fastest growing mobile market in the world. According to the new GSMA Africa Mobile Observatory 2011 report, Africa achieved this milestone as mobile penetration reached 649 million connections in Q4 2011 (having first exceeded 50 per cent mobile penetration in 2010). Over the past five years, the number of subscribers across Africa has grown by almost 20 per cent each year and will reach more than 735 million by the end of 2012.

    Ninety-six per cent of subscriptions are pre-paid with voice services currently dominating, although uptake of data services is increasing steadily. There are currently six live HSPA+ networks across Africa, with a seventh deployment planned in the near future. By 2015, next-generation LTE networks are predicted to reach 500,000 connections in Kenya, 1.1 million connections in Nigeria and 2.5 million connections in South Africa.

    The mobile ecosystem in Africa currently generates approximately US$56 billion or 3.5 per cent of total GDP, with mobile operators alone contributing US$49 billion. In recent studies by the World Bank and others, it was shown that there is a direct relationship between mobile penetration and GDP. In developing countries, for every 10 per cent increase in mobile penetration there is a 0.81 per cent point increase in a country's GDP. The mobile industry contributes US$15 billion in government revenues and is a significant contributor to employment in Africa. In 2010 alone, approximately 5.4 million people were employed directly and indirectly in the mobile ecosystem.

    However, the Observatory reveals that huge untapped potential remains. 36 per cent of Africans within the 25 largest African mobile markets currently have no access to mobile services. Projections indicate that reaching 100 per cent mobile penetration could add over $35 billion in aggregate GDP - an increase of 2 per cent - but only if governments and operators work together to bring mobile communication to the entire African population.

    "The mobile industry in Africa is booming and a catalyst for immense growth, but there is scope for far greater development," said Peter Lyons, Director of Spectrum Policy, Africa and Middle East, GSMA. "To take full advantage of its potential, African countries need to both allocate more spectrum for the provision of Mobile Broadband services, as well as introduce tax cuts for the industry. By doing so, they will increase consumption of mobile services, thereby boosting their economic and social development."

    African countries have currently allocated considerably less spectrum to mobile services than Europe, the Americas and Asia, which is inhibiting connectivity to large swathes of rural Africa. Sufficient spectrum should be provided for Mobile Broadband services through 3G HSPA and LTE technologies, to enable the mobile industry to 'connect the unconnected' and continue to act as a catalyst for growth.

  • Ugandan Telecom companies have recently addressed several key issues they face in penetrating the rural mobile market and providing reliable and affordable services. Among the issues are two major problems; vandalism and high operating costs.

    Uganda’s population is 87 percent rural, and so spread out that the per-unit cost f delivering communication services relatively high. The high illiteracy rate and the people’s inability to create an economic benefit through mass communication means that there are few businesses willing to invest in Uganda. As a result of this and inadequate infrastructure, almost all booster stations and masts must be run on diesel generators, further bolstering the cost.

    Themba Khumab, the MTN Uganda CEO said that while a large portion of their customers were rural based, vandalism of equipment remained a big challenge to the company. Khumab called for the government to put in place stringent vandalism laws against telecom equipment and materials. “Kenya did this a long time ago and the problem was solved. Why not here?” Khumalo asked.

    The UCC Executive Director Godfrey Mutabazi agreed, saying that the poor network is caused by several reasons, including the breakdown of infrastructure due to deliberate vandalism. “Any disruption at a single point triggers a series of failures over a wider area becacause of interconnection,” Mutabazi explained.

    According to the Warid Chief Commercial Officer, Shailendra Naidu, the operating costs are another barrier thwarting progress.“Each site costs the company $300,000 (about Shs 840m) or more and the costs keep on increasing,” Naidu said, adding that it will take time for telecoms to link all areas in the country to the network.

    “Our aim is to maintain quality to our customers and we can’t do that when we are operating beyond the input costs. That is why we increased our tariffs recently,” Naidu said, adding, “We are a young company but already we have many sites across the country and will continue expanding them until every part of Uganda is covered.”

  • Mobile carriers worldwide are steadily upgrading to Long-Term Evolution (LTE) networks that support high-speed wireless services as an increasing number of consumers use tablet computers and Smartphones to access the internet. Due to Africa’s growing mobile phone market, an Ericsson executive believes the African market will have its first LTE (better known as 4G) network as early as 2012.

    Initially, the network would be unveiled in the larger urban centers where the demand for high speed internet access is constantly growing.

    “You will see the first networks going in 2012 already to a certain small degree,” said Lars Linden, head of Ericsson in sub-saharan Africa to Reuters. “It will surprise me if the big dragons such as MTN, Vodacom, (Bharti) Airtel and all these big brands, it will surprise me if they do not do anything,” Linden told Reuters.

    Africa’s poverty levels mean that many users remain lower end text and call users. There is however an increasingly tech-savvy market growing among the younger people in Africa, increasing the demand for data availability in the continent.

    African telecom giants MTN and Vodacom are already running trials in South Africa and Kenya’s Safaricom is also testing the technology.
    Furthermore, taxes imposed on the mobile industry in many African states should be reduced to drive an increase in mobile penetration, as well as, in many cases, ultimately increase the total tax intake for governments. The Kenyan government's abolition of the 16 per cent general sales tax on mobile handsets in 2009 has resulted in handset purchases increasing by more than 200 per cent. With mobile operators contributing a third more in taxes in 2011 than in 2009, mobile generated around 8 per cent of Kenya's GDP.

    Other regional success stories include Nigeria, which has the highest number of mobile subscriptions in Africa - over 93 million subscriptions, representing 16 per cent of the continent's total mobile subscriptions.

    South Africa, with its more developed infrastructure, leads the way in terms of broadband penetration: it has 6 per cent mobile broadband penetration, followed by Morocco as the next biggest market, with 2.8 per cent.

    Meanwhile Kenya is at the forefront of Mobile Money Transfers and m-banking, with 8.5 million users. For example, Safaricom in partnership with The Equity Bank in Kenya provides customers with an M-KESHO account allowing them to save money, buy insurance and arrange micro-finance loans.

    Lyons continued, "By working in partnership, mobile operators and African governments can continue the remarkable growth story of the African mobile industry. The benefits that mobile services have already brought to hundreds of millions of Africans can be extended to those who have yet to access communication technology. By so doing, the African continent can continue to bring not only communication services, but also banking, health and education to its people and drive an increase in the economic wealth and development of the region."

  • The telecommunication sector is by far the fastest growing and most lucrative market in the Africa region. In countries like Sudan, where 50 percent of the population uses mobile phones, the importance of the industry to the economy is undeniable. 59% of Zimbabweans have access to mobile phones compared with only about 5% in 2005

    Mobile phones today encompass many different useful tools, such as an alarm, watch, calculator, computer, camera, radio, and even the traditional landline phone. As Adrian Hon, founder and chief of the online gaming company ‘six to start,’ noted in his travels through Sudan; “You are never out of sight of a mobile tower.”

    The widespread use of mobile phones is indicative of their usefulness and the critical role communication plays in Sudan. With so much of the population living in remote areas and under the poverty line, the question arises as to whether so much time and money should be spent by Sudan in increasing their mobile telecom capabilities.

    With the poverty backdrop, it is hard to judge whether or not the government should focus on other issues such as education or healthcare. The reality is that the growing telecom market is growing at an astounding rate, providing many jobs and an increasing flow of wealth in to the country, creating more and more possibilities for Sudan to improve the quality of life for the people in the country.

    “Needless to say, mobile internet is cheaper in Sudan than in the UK at around 1 SDG (20p) per day, but it’s still a fair outlay for locals,” Hon wrote in the telegraph. “If you want proper mobile broadband for a laptop, then it rises to 5 SDG (£1) per day – comparable with the UK but presumably worth it if you really must be online, especially if you share the connection.”

    The ever increasing rate of technological advancement is clearly demonstrated in third world countries like Sudan, where a decade ago such a thing as mobile phones and wireless roaming were virtually non-existent.

    Today, a wireless connection can be bought for almost any mobile device such as a laptop or Smartphone and provides virtually global connections. Children today are seen interacting with a plethora of different mass communication methods, such as Facebook, Twitter, cell phones and the like, while their parents had most likely never seen a phone in their youth.

  • ANC Youth League (ANCYL) president Julius Malema is yet again at the centre of a social media explosion, as South Africans respond to the verdict of his disciplinary hearing.

    The ANC found Malema guilty of provoking divisions within the ruling party and of bringing the organisation into disrepute. The controversial leader has been suspended from the ANC for five years, and has been asked to step down as ANCYL president.

    The hashtags #Malema, #ANCYL and #ANC were all trending as soon as the announcement got under way.

    Here are some of the reactions from Twitter:

    @Jonathan_Witt: The Malema Verdict explained: Julius has a suspended sentence and now has been suspended but that suspension is suspended too.

    @GarethCliff: Now that Julius Malema has been suspended, who will frightened white people obsess about?

    @KoosKombuis: Rumour has it Malema might consider job as teaboy for the DA.

internet

  • Zimbabwean wireless broadband provider, uMAX has selected Alvarion's 4Motion solution to the roll-out a WiMAX network in its capital Harare, in the 2.5 GHz frequency.

    uMAX will be the first service provider to enable consumers and businesses access to such services in Zimbabwe.

    "uMAX is a fast-growing wireless broadband provider in an extremely dynamic market and our 4Motion solution will enable them to move forward and expand their customer base at an opportune time," said Eran Gorev, president and CEO of Alvarion.

  • Mobile telecom provider Nokia Siemens Network has launched a new Facebook application in Nigeria that enables users to manage their fixed and mobile services in the country, which is aimed at improving customer service in the country, company officials said on Monday.

    Nokia said the new app gives customers the ability to check their balance, browse and purchase special offers from mobile companies. It also will give users the ability to subscribe to new services.

    The company said in a press release that users will also be given the opportunity to share their experiences across social networks, in an effort to increase transparency. They will also “get rewards for recommending services to friends.”

    “The beauty of the Facebook app is that it engages with people on their preferred social-networking site,” said Rick Centeno, the head of Business Support Systems at Nokia Siemens.

    “People spend more time on social networks than individual websites. With this Facebook app, Nokia Siemens Networks helps operators to connect with people in a familiar setting where they already spend their online time. It takes self-care to a new level,” he added.

  • IS International's MD understands how tough Africa is, says IS MD Derek Wilcocks.
    Dimension Data subsidiary Internet Solutions (IS) aims to speed up its growth beyond SA's borders and has created IS International to facilitate the expansion.

    The new unit will provide additional support and investment to the group's existing operations in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and Mozambique, it says in a statement.

    IS aims to establish further sales and operational presences in the “largely untapped markets” of Angola, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi as it aims to grow across the continent.

    The company will “augment its existing London office by opening new sales offices in North America and Australia, with offices to be opened in other selected countries over time,” it says.

    IS says these outlets will “work with wholesale and multinational clients that are eager to expand into Africa and need a globally experienced and reliable ICT partner on the ground”.

    The company says IS International will be created to take care of these initiatives. It will be led by Tony Walt, who will become MD of IS International from January 2012. He will report to IS MD Derek Wilcocks.

    Wilcocks says Walt has 15 years' of experience in helping the firm's clients in SA with communications needs. “Tony [Walt] understands that Africa is a tough market and needs sound, resilient IT solutions,” Wilcocks says.

    Walt's current responsibilities in SA will be divided between Costa Koutakis and Tony Koutakis, both of who have been with IS for more than 10 years. They will take up the positions of chief client officer and chief sales officer, respectively.

    The country managers of the group's existing operations in the UK, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and Mozambique will report directly to Walt in his new role as MD of IS International.

  • “The explosion of broadband data usage in South Africa and internationally is creating an ever-growing set of coverage and capacity challenges that cannot be addressed effectively by any single technology,” Winston Smith, head of Alvarion in South Africa, is quoted in a press statement issued this week.

    Smith added that the same is true for all types of wireless broadband networks from tier 1 mobile carriers to wireless internet service providers, enterprises, governments and municipalities, and private network operators.

    “The subscriber numbers and uptake of broadband for wireless users is much higher than in cabled options in South Africa, and this trend is set to continue into 2012,” said Smith.

    “The solution to under-capacity is to employ multiple complementary technologies which can be optimised for various types of networks and applications.”

    Alvarion highlighted that, in line with this “multi-technology approach,” it recently signed a definitive agreement to acquire Wavion, a carrier-grade Wi-Fi provider.

    According to Alvarion, interference is one of the biggest challenges in deploying Wi-Fi, which is where Wavion comes in.

    Alvarion said that Wavion provides better coverage, higher capacity and interference immunity using smart antenna, beamforming and SDMA technologies.

    “Alvarion is fast-shifting from a focus on WiMAX-based RAN solutions to a multi-technology wireless broadband provider, and with the inclusion of Wavion in our offering, we will have Wi-Fi as the final component of a complete solution for our customers,” Smith said.

computing

  • On Tuesday, Orange Kenya announced plans to increase its funding by mid next year in order to boost its data and cloud computing services in the country. The move comes as voice competition continues to rock the country and drop prices.

    The company said in a press release late on Tuesday that it would request additional funding from France Telecom, which owns a majority 51 percent share in the company, and the Kenyan government.

    Orange’s CEO Mickael Ghossein said that the company was also looking into local and international markets and financial institutions, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for possible funding alternatives.

    He did not give an exact figure, but did confirm that it would include a $40 million investment for its 2012 budget, the same as this year. That is half of what it invested in the previous two years.

    Ghossein also said Orange Kenya will review its international calling rates by mid-November “to cushion against the weak shilling and increased calling rates in other countries,” which has raised termination rates. Ghossein said the rates in India and Uganda “had risen, meaning termination rates for international calls had also increased. The UK, India, Tanzania and Uganda are among other destinations for which Orange Kenya will revise its rates.”

  • The Minister of Telecommunications and Information Technologies, José Carvalho da Rocha, visited on Wednesday in Luanda the first Data Centre of the country, based in CTT ward.

    Funded by South Korea, the construction of the centre is estimated at USD 30 million and implanted in an area of 5000 square metres.

    The centre is aimed for processing and storage of data of the government.

    The minister said that its functioning will be assured in a first phase by 50 employees, among engineers and high school technicians.

    The official said that with this centre, the country will have greater benefits in terms of human and financial resources.

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

  • South Africa-based Vodacom Group has reported consolidated revenues of ZAR31.75 billion (USD3.99 billion) for the six months ended 30 September 2011, up 7.6% on the corresponding year-earlier period. Vodacom’s domestic unit, Vodacom South Africa, accounted for ZAR23.50 billion in sales (up 4.7% year-on-year), with the firm’s international operations accounting for ZAR4.39 billion (up 13.3% year-on-year). Group EBITDA for the period grew 7.6% to ZAR10.54 billion, whilst net profit climbed 2.8% to ZAR4.39 billion. Meanwhile, CAPEX for the six-month period increased 67.7%, to ZAR3.46 billion.

    In operational terms, Vodacom South Africa remains the firm’s largest unit by subscribers, with 28.91 million customers reported at the end of September, of which figure 23.47 million are pre-paid users. Elsewhere, Vodacom units in Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique and Lesotho all increased their subscriber bases in the three months ended 30 September. Tanzania grew its base to 10.27 million users, whilst Mozambique weighed in with 2.99 million customers and Democratic Republic of Congo contributed 4.78 million subscribers. Finally, Lesotho grew its mobile base to 944,000.

    Vodacom CEO Pieter Uys commented: ‘I am really pleased with what we’ve achieved in the first six months of trading as the new ‘red’ Vodacom. [This year saw Vodacom re-branded in line with the red and white colour scheme used by parent company Vodafone, which secured a controlling stake in Vodacom in May 2009.] In South Africa, increased promotional activity and reduced data prices were well received, driving significant gains in both usage and customer numbers. Our average effective price per minute fell 24% and we also implemented a 22% reduction in average data prices. We’ve invested just under ZAR3.5 billion on our networks, making tangible improvements to both coverage and stability. In the second half of the year we aim to capitalise on all the steps taken to improve the customer experience, and prove to our customers that the change in colour really is just the beginning’.

  • JSE-listed IT services company Business Connexion (BCX) has turned in a poor set of financial results in its 2011 financial year to end-August. CEO Benjamin Mophatlane says the company has had a “tough year” and the results “haven’t met expectations”.

    Its technology and innovation divisions posted the most disappointing results. Mophatlane says the company’s recent acquisitions — of selected assets from IT company UCS and of the Canoa Group — have turned in “pleasing results”. UCS and Canoa Group contributed 11.4% of BCX’s revenue in the financial year.

    BCX’s “problem child”, according to Mophatlane, is its technology division. He says the main reason for the disappointing results are the global economic downturn and the fact that some vendors have begun “going straight to clients, particularly because of belt tightening” rather than through partners like BCX.

    He promises the company is taking “aggressive and corrective action to turn the [technology] division around”. BCX has replaced the division’s management and reassessed its business model. It is also exploring the option of reducing product brands to avoid “unnecessary and conflicting technologies”.

    For the year, BCX’s headline earnings per share collapsed from 47,6c in 2010 to 17,3c. The dividend also fell, from 23c/share to 14c, though the company did pay a special dividend of 40c during the period.

  • South Africa’s Allied Technologies said Wednesday it is no longer in talks to acquire unlisted Kenyan IT firm Symphony, a deal that Reuters previously reported could be worth up to $60 million (Sh6 billion).

    Altech, a $742 million telecoms and IT firm, had been in talks to acquire Symphony and was nearing the end of its due diligence, Reuters reported last week, citing a person familiar with the matter.

    “Altech was in discussions with the Da Gama Rose Group, the 100 per cent shareholders in Symphony, an unlisted Kenyan IT firm. Altech has informed the Da Gama Rose Group that it will not progress with further discussions,” Altech said in a statement.

    The Da Gama Rose Group is led by prominent Kenyan businessman and lawyer Horatius da Gama Rose who enjoyed close links with the administration of the former President Moi.
    The firm did not give a reason why the talks had been dropped, but Altech was hoping the deal would augment its existing business — Kenya Data Networks — in a region where it has struggled.

    Altech is a diverse business whose operations include telecoms, electronics, and IT services while Symphony provides IT consulting and services including hardware, software and networking.

Digital Content

  • The Wise Touch tablets are manufactured in China, but are locally branded and customised, with applications and content specifically for the local market. South African company, Wise Tablets, is soon to release a low-cost tablet developed and customised for the local market.

    The “Wise Touch 1” will be available in 7-inch and 9-inch formats, with capacitive multi-touch, running Android 2.3.

    The 9-inch tablet will retail for less than R3 500, while the 7-inch 3G tablet will cost less than R2 500, and the entry-level 7-inch WiFi tablet will go for less than R1 500.

    MD of Wise Tablets, Gian Shipton, says: “The problem with tablets available today is that all of them offer exactly the same thing; software markets”.

    “We found that most of the average South African consumers have a problem with the current high prices of the brand-named tablets, but apart from the pricing issue, it also relates to the fact that none of the tablets in the market, including the Apple iPad, present any form of local content.”

    Shipton says the content on the new tablets will be what sets them apart. “What makes the Wise Touch SA's first South African tablet is what's on the inside.”

    Apart from the regular Android apps, the tablets come preloaded with South African applications, developed specifically for the Wise Touch on behalf of local brands. The local content is categorised under the Wise Shopping Mall, Wise Business Park and Wise Education Centre.

    According to Wise, there are already over 115 “tenants” on board for the Mall and Business Park. While Wise doesn't yet want to release the names of the tenants, the company says they include major local retailers, banks, broadcasters, media houses, food outlets and airlines.

    “Within the Wise Shopping Mall you have a variety of shopping options available, just as you would have in a physical mall. Read a magazine or today's newspaper in the Magazine Store, order a take-away from your favourite restaurant in the Food Court, or do all of your shopping through the various Retail Stores,” says Shipton.

    Wise has its own team of full-time developers, as well as contract developers, who have been working on the project since the beginning of the year.

    “We have not only created apps, but a full back-end with billing and updates – similar to Apple and Android.”

    Speaking of the Wise Education Centre, the company says: “We have been inundated with many parties that have access to various pieces of education – from the public school syllabus to university departments and private schools.

    “We then get the education content provider to develop their content and provide it in a certain format, which our tablets use.” The company says it already has access to most of the public school syllabus and some university content.

    “This education content will be supplied almost free of charge to students, but is limited to being used on our tablets due to encryption and DRM (digital right management) issues with the content owners.

    “We are aiming to have most households of LSM7+ to have our tablets for education in their houses soon,” says Wise, adding that the main focus is a sponsorship programme with media partners that will sponsor devices with educational content for free for students.

    Wise Tablets says the size of the screen is of little influence to them. “We decided (although not finally) to have a 9-inch rather than 10-inch to avoid attracting negative patent wars from the larger players.

    “There is currently a fine line between design look and feel, and we want to steer clear of following them with design. Apart from that, we will actually also offer an 8-inch tablet next year,” says Wise.

    “Our Wise Touch 2 has already been placed on our roadmap and will actually include more hardware than even found in Apple and Samsung. At that stage, we might be seen as a serious competitor. We believe our content still is what makes us different, not the hardware.”

    The Wise Touch tablets are being manufactured in China. The company says that they are not a standard Chinese-boxed product, but made specifically to its specs and branding.

    “Our hardware partners own their own manufacturing chain, and thus we have development control over them,” says Wise.

    The company is expecting the first batch of tablets to arrive in December, but the official launch is planned for early next year.

  • ZTE says that it has deployed a value-added platform solution (iVAS) in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, with Vodacom DRC.

    The iVAS system provides SMS services and aims to launch USSD services before the end of 2012. It has improved the Congo's short message service center capacity (SMSC) tenfold, relieving congestion and significantly improving service to approximately 5 million mobile users.

    The first phase of the project was completed in less than 90 days and included Smsc integration.

    "As a leading iVAS solutions provider, Zte has a deep understanding of the telecoms market in the Democratic Republic of Congo," said ZTE Senior Vice President Zhang Renjun. "Because of this, we were able to launch timely, low-cost, value-added technologies here."

  • Mobile advertising agency, InMobi says that mobile impressions grew by 26% over the past quarter across the African continent.

    This means that Inmobi now serves 15.4 billion quarterly impressions, up from 12.2 billion in the previous quarter.

    Isis Nyong'o, Vice President and Managing Director InMobi Africa confirms that "This latest data shows a steady growth in the African mobile media space. As more people on the continent start to use web-enabled phones, these numbers are sure to increase".

    Key highlights of the Africa data include:

        * The Nigerian market remains the fastest growing market on the African continent, followed closely by South Africa.
        * Nokia still holds the majority of the share impressions despite 0.5% decrease in impression. The phone manufacturing giant now holds 61.1% impression share.
        * Nokia and Samsung combined make up 80% of the impressions in Africa.

  • Search giant Google revealed South African smartphone statistics from survey results that were recently published online. Google recently unveiled the results of a new global survey on smartphone usage and mobile marketing, available freely online at a website called Our Mobile Planet.

    The survey, entitled “Global Mobile Research: The Smartphone User & The Mobile Marketer,” was conducted earlier this year.

    Google highlighted the following findings of the South African portion of the survey.

    The Typical Smartphone User: 18-34 Years Old, Well Educated and Working Full-Time

    The majority of smartphone users are between 18-34 years old, are well educated with full-time employment and earn an annual net income of more than R40,000. Many users are new to smartphones, with 64% saying it was their first smartphone device. Almost half of these new users had bought their device within the past 12 months.

    BlackBerry (44%) had the highest market share, followed by Nokia (27%).

    Consumers use their smartphones primarily at home, followed by work and then on-the-go. As important as a purse or a set of keys, 83% don’t leave the house without their smartphones. Users are driven by having information from the Internet at hand and having their smartphones to ‘kill time’ while out and about.

    Internet usage – especially browsing (56% of users) and e-mailing (57%) – is very important for smartphone users. Only every tenth user did not have cross-media usage habits: the majority of users indicated that they did something else while using their smartphones, like listening to music (62%), using the internet on another device (49%) or watching TV (49%).

    Internet Usage: High Frequency and Number of Daily Sessions

    The typical smartphone user accesses the web almost every day (63% mobile, 62% fixed) with several sessions on a given day – shorter sessions on mobile and longer ones on PC. Almost half expect to spend more time on mobile web via smartphones in the future. Users expect their web usage on PC to remain the same.

    Search: High Frequency and Google the Most Utilised Search Engine
    Search engines are a significant part of browsing activity (61% mobile, 80% fixed). Only 12% never use local search and almost 92% mention further actions after looking up specific information, with 36% making a purchase. For the majority of users, Google is the number one search engine.

    Videos: Low Frequency, with YouTube Coming Out Tops

    Every second smartphone is used to watch videos, at least on a monthly base. YouTube (64% mobile, 83% fixed) is in first place, followed by Facebook (62% mobile, 57% fixed).

    Social Networking: High Frequency, with Facebook the Most Visited Site

    63% of smartphone users access social networks via their smartphones every day – 35% post personal updates daily. The most visited social network is Facebook (95% mobile & fixed).

    Mobile Advertising: Accepted on High Level with High Awareness

    15% of users have used a mobile coupon in a store. Almost 84% of users have noticed mobile advertising – mostly on search engines. Almost 70% have taken action after seeing a mobile ad.

    Mobile Commerce: Growing Shopping Channels Hindered by Security and Convenience

    28% of consumers use their smartphones for price comparisons or product information when shopping – the same amount have changed their minds about a purchase, as a result of retrieving information via a smartphone.

    A fourth of consumers use their smartphones when shopping physically and also shop directly via the device – 47% of them within the past month. Preference of a fixed PC and fears that a purchase might not be secure are the main barriers to mobile commerce. 30% anticipate a higher purchase rate via their smartphones within the next 12 months.

Telecoms, Rates, Offers and Coverage

  • - Bharti Airtel has awarded a contract to Ericsson to upgrade an initial batch of 250 diesel powered base stations in Nigeria with E-site, a new "green" energy solution from Flexenclosure.

    - Rwanda: The Kigali Wireless Broadband (Wibro) technology is currently in the trial phase before it is fully operational, according to an official.

More

  • * Orange announces winners of the African Social Venture Prize

    Last June, Orange launched the African Social Venture Prize to support entrepreneurs and start-ups who use information and communication technologies (ICT) to meet the needs of African people.

    More than 600 candidates responded to the call for projects, which ran from June to September 2011, a sign of true entrepreneurial vitality on the African continent. Proposed projects spanned a variety of fields, including health, agriculture, education, financial services and e-commerce illustrating the potential of telecommunications in African development.

    The panel of judges, consisting of Orange specialists, the media and institutions that promote development, chose three prizewinners from among ten projects nominated, presented on the Orange African portal, StarAfrica.com.

    The awards ceremony was held yesterday in Cape Town, South Africa, during the AfricaCom Awards, an annual event that recognizes the most memorable innovations and performance of the telecommunications industry on the African continent.

    The winning projects were the following:

       1. The first prize went to the Nigerien project Horticultural Remote Irrigation system, which puts mobile technology in the hands of horticulturists, farmers and cooperatives for remote crop irrigation, allowing them to improve productivity while preserving water resources.
       2. AgaSha Business Network, which won the second prize, is a Ugandan start-up that uses the Internet to help small and medium African companies grow. Through its online business community, it facilitates interaction among economic players to boost market opportunities for small and medium businesses in Africa and abroad.
       3. Third place went to Kachile, a start-up in Côte d’Ivoire. With its e-commerce platform, it offers a way to “professionalize” cottage industries, which are well developed in Africa but lack visibility and market access.

    In addition to funding of up to 25,000 euros, Orange will provide support to the three projects for six months from its local subsidiaries and the strategic expertise of its venture capital subsidiary, Innovacom.

    The African Social Venture Prize demonstrates the Group’s willingness to contribute to the social and economic development of the countries in which it operates. In addition to supplying infrastructure and basic services, Orange is investing in deploying added-value services in key fields such as health, education, agriculture or financial services, and acts to promote entrepreneurship and innovation on the African continent.

  • * EAA 2012 Competition: African Developers Given a Global Stage

    Ericsson and Sony Ericsson partner to run competition for application developers in sub-Saharan Africa

    Ericsson LogoEricsson  in partnership with Sony Ericsson has announced plans to run a regional competition for application developers on the Android platform. The competition titled ‘Apps for Africa’ is to run under the aegis of the 2012 Ericsson Application Awards (EAA 2012) - an ongoing annual competition for application developers worldwide organized by Ericsson Research.

    The EAA 2012 awards themed ‘Apps for the Networked Society’, will run till May 2012, the competition provides a unique opportunity for developers to gain exposure within the telecommunications world and a chance to reach out to customers via Ericsson's distribution channels in addition to the opportunity to win the latest top of the range Sony Ericsson phones and €15,000 in prize money.

    Members of the winning teams in each region will each receive a Sony Ericsson Xperia phone, while teams in second place will receive Business Experience Packs (incl. Sony Ericsson MW600, office pro, McAfee, and a micro USB cable).

    Colin Williamson, Marketing Manager for Sony Ericsson said, “Our objective for Sony Ericsson is to be the preferred choice for Android devices and we’re thrilled that to help reach this objective we’re able to get under the skin of the very platform our handsets perform on by way of an Android Application competition.”

    The competition is open to students and to small and medium sized enterprises based in the region; it has been split into four sub competitions based on location as follows:

    ›        Southern Africa  for countries - Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Saint Helena, Swaziland, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe

    ›        Eastern Africa for countries - Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Comoros, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mayotte, Réunion, Rwanda, Seychelles, United Republic of Tanzania and Uganda

    ›        Central Africa; Central Africa - Burkina Faso, Benin, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of the Congo, Côte D’ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Togo

    ›        Western Africa - Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone

    Interested developers in Southern Africa are required to register teams of two to four people online before February 01, 2012 and submit either a video of idea or an Android based application that addresses the theme and makes use of at least one Ericsson Labs API (e.g. Mobile Location or Text To Speech) before February 28th, 2012.

    The competition will be rolled-out across Sub Saharan Africa in November.  All application submissions will be automatically entered into the global competition - EAA 2012 - ‘Apps for the Networked Society’, for the chance to win the cash prize.
    To apply please visit here:

Issue no 580 11th November 2011

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Top story

  • Africa’s annual gabba-gabba fest AfricaCom took place this week with the organisers claiming that visitor numbers were up yet again. Vendors from almost every corner of the globe were there with heavy representation from both India and China. Russell Southwood tries to separate the signal from the noise.

    AfricaCom has become exhausting but necessary meeting place for many of the different parts of the telecoms industry, having expanded from its original GSM Africa footprint. This year it went off in search of even more territory with the addition of Enterprise ICT and Africast streams, the latter for broadcasters. The whole process has steady momentum which means that if you gather the equivalent of a small town together, your chances of meeting people will increase.

    No account of an event of this size will ever capture everything that happens and many of the stories below in the news sections are drawn from announcements at the events, including the winners of the awards event. (note to Orange: You have much to shout about so don’t enter every category multiple times.)

    Some of the key threads that we saw emerging at the event were as follows:

    * International bandwidth growing again: After a period when people were going, we’ve got all this bandwidth what are we going to do with, international fibre sales are on the move again. According to Chris Wood, CEO, WIOCC it has almost completely sold its initial 30 GB allocation and will upgrade to 160 GB which he thinks will sell through in 2 years. The drivers for all this growth? Mobile Internet and WiMAX coverage.

    ACE had a stand for the first time but whilst the project makes steady progress, it has not yet funded its South Africa leg. This is perhaps not surprising given the fact that WACS has all major telcos signed up. WIOCC has also signed an agreement with WACS to give it a west coast redundancy route.

    * The steady growth of national and cross-border terrestrial but price and access still issues: You still meet people who tell you that it might be true that Africa has all this international bandwidth but there’s still no routes from the landing station. Clearly there’s a perception lag operating. Chris Wood, WIOCC told us that its consortium members now have 50,000 kms of cross-border fibre with lower cost transit prices.

    Liquid Telecom’s network stretches north. There are gaps everywhere between these clusters of networks and some blank spaces (as Eric Osiakwan of Ghana Connect pointed out in his presentation) but the task of addressing this is far less daunting. Those endless maps with coloured lines that were “meat and drink” of conferences like this for several years are now a reality. Pricing remains an issue at both national, cross-border and local levels. Holding back the development of things like data centres and cloud computing, the latter being something of a buzz word at the event. Two telcos this week – Vodacom SA and Orange Kenya – have plans to get it beyond the “blah-blah” phase. One operator was saying that international bandwidth was now 20-40% of total delivery cost with national bandwidth making up 60-80%.

    * Satellite operators seem to have weathered the fibre storm: Satellite operators and resellers were remarkably chipper this year compared to last year. SkyVision’s new CEO Doron Ben Sira said revenues were holding steady and that it had moved from drawing most of its revenues from 4-5 countries and was equivalent amounts of revenues across 20 countries. Operators have seen their IP trunking business disappear and the number of remote base stations is falling rather than growing but they have got out and found new customers. “All the world and its aunt” are getting into the broadcast business where prices remain rock solid: how about some competitive offers?

    SkyVision is offering fibre in West Africa but sees it as “niche play” where it can use fibre to create a package of connectivity with good overall margins. C-band capacity availability is low, not helped by the antenna of the New Dawn satellite not opening. Jonathan Osler of Intelsat says he dreams that one morning he will wake up and it’s happened but he says it’s unlikely.

    On the near horizon, Kevin Viret of Yahsat says it will launch its new products early next year and says both pricing and sales channel approach “will shake the market up.” Further into the future 03B is still looking at a 2013 launch date with prices (depending on volume) between US$500-750 per meg. It has changed its business model slightly to offer slightly sub 100 MB offers asymmetrically. However, the idea that it will be good for redundancy purposes looks less and less compelling as the volume of fibre being shifted keeps ramping up.

    * Mobile content gets more and more interesting: Google’s Think Mobile event on Monday was pitching the growth of smartphones in the South African market, which is probably right. But the “ground-moving” moment seems to be happening with the much more numerous feature-phone part of the handset pyramid.

    We met Australia’s biNU mobile who have a feature phone content platform that has over 2 million users globally. It’s a low bandwidth optimized cloud-based service and it offers an extremely interesting content offer including books from the Guttenberg Project. It is getting user numbers in the hundreds of thousands and these are undoubtedly the early birds on the horizon.

    Comparing notes on mobile content in India and Africa with Arvind Rao, CEO of OnMobile was fascinating. He is part of what seems like a wave of Indian vendors who have followed Airtel into the market. He says that his sales in Africa are ahead of where he expected at this point. He told us that one big trend in India was independent musicians using mobile as a means of distribution. He also said that Indian music labels three years ago had something like 5% of their revenues from online but now they had 40-50% and of that proportion 80% was coming from mobile. Furthermore with the rise of independent music distribution and increased digital sales, the negotiating power of the labels had decreased, allowing sensible royalty deals to be done.

    At the higher end there’s a steady trickle of people offering VOD content. One of these companies Logiways offers a satellite-based, smart set top box service (costing US$200) that can serve movies. The box is controlled by the operator and can download a whole set of new movies on a monthly basis and stream them to consumers. Kenyan Fibre-To-The-Home operator Jamii Telecom told us that amongst its first small number of subscribers, 65% use their new bandwidth for downloads.

    On the content front, the Nation Media Group has had 84 million views on its You Tube channel over 3 years. Given that serious income from online advertising on platforms like these starts at around 1 million views, the content moment is finally coming into view. Or another example, Young Africa Live on the Vodacom platform in South Africa has 586,000 unique views. Mobile is well and truly media but current media owners have yet to wake up to this new dawning reality.

    * Mobile payment – when will the interconnect moment arrive? When mobile operators first started, operators didn’t connect to each other because they believed that people would prefer their service and in this fashion it would attract greater numbers. And then someone agreed to interconnect and the networking effect kicked in and the rest is history. M-money is going through a similar cycle but below the radar there are a number of operators that are not completely happy with their proprietary, on-net solution.

    The Nigerians have set the pace by saying platforms must operate with the banks which has meant a slightly more open process of platforms getting to market. Platforms like Paga in Nigeria and Mobipay in Tanzania (still just 100,000 subscribers) may currently be small in user numbers but may suddenly they may become flavor of the month. The issue for operators is that M-Money is not a highly profitable business but as with everything mobile, they do it because some else started doing it.

    Larger players are taking an interest. POS operator Verifone has bought into New Zealand’s Mobilis and is offering an m-wallet platform that has Near Field Communications on its “road map”. The current barrier to retail shopping in places like Nakumatt with say M-Pesa in Kenya is that the check-out staff and customers can’t be bothered to go through the slower process of paying this way. Cash is still faster but imagine a swipe and pay system. It’s a ways off but it’s coming…


    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

  • The AfricaCom Awards winners were announced this week (9 November), with MTN, SEACOM, Main One, Orange, Helios Towers, Ericsson, Huawei, Gateway Communications, SkyVision and SafariCom winning awards. MTN South Africa scooped two awards – best network improvement for their LTE trial network and the best marketing campaign for its MTN Zone re-launch. It’s a shame that network improvement does not yet seem to have hit Ghana (see story on NCA fines below).

    SEACOM and Main One were awarded “Best Pan African Initiative”. Main One and SEACOM announced in May 2011 that they had interconnected their west and east African cable systems to launch capacity services from PoP to PoP, from a STM-1 level and above.

    This partnership extends the Main One and SEACOM networks to create a system that offers connection between any SEACOM and Main One PoPs all around Africa.

    The 2011 AfricaCom Awards winners are:

        * MTN South Africa – Best Network Improvement (for their LTE pilot test) and Best Marketing Campaign (MTN Zone)
        * Orange – Best New Service
        * Helios Towers Africa – Best Cost Efficiency Initiative
        * Ericsson – Rural Telecoms Award
        * Huawei Technologies – Best Backhaul Solution
        * Gateway Communications – Customer Service Excellence
        * SkyVision – Satellite Service Provider of the Year
        * SafariCom – Best ICT Solution Provider for Enterprise Markets, Changing Lives Award
        * Seacom/Main One – Best Pan-African Initiative

  • Following a quality of service report released by the Kenyan Communication Commission, Telkom Kenya has criticized the scope and methodology used within the report. The CCK 2010/2011 Quality of Service (QoS) report, released last week, revealed that Telkom Kenya failed to meet half of the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). The report ranked them as the poorest network in the country in regards to the terms of service. They may be right but it’s a hard position to take where you end up arguing with the referee.

    According to Telkom Kenya, a different audit benchmarked on international standards and carried out by France Telecom Group rated the company as having one of the best GSM networks among its African subsidiaries.

    Telkom Kenya’s CEO, Mickael Ghossein, released a statement saying “[Telkom Kenya] have queried the scope and methodology on which the report is based, with a view to correlating it to our own independent evaluation of our networks based on the same parameters.”

    The company has also said that an assessment they had carried out in June showed its Call Completion Rate was 96.8 percent, against the 90 percent minimum set by the CCK. Their Call Success Rate also scored at 98 percent against the 90 percent minimum. The QoS report however, rated Telkom Kenya’s Call Completion rate at 38.50 percent, and its Call Completion Rate at 41.36 percent. The company has also said that its investments on the network were not appreciated by the regulator.

    “The results come as a surprise to us considering 2011 marked the successful upgrade and improvement of the Orange mobile network in preparation of our 3G rollout,” Ghossein added.

    The CCK has previously been criticized by Safaricom, which strongly opposed last year’s report. Safaricom raised questions on the credibility of the audit process. Since then however, their score has improved and the company has accepted this year’s findings.

  • Ghana’s telecoms regulator the National Communications Authority (NCA) has imposed fines totaling GHC1.2 million (USD751,990) on five domestic mobile network operators – MTN, Vodafone, Airtel, Expresso and Tigo – for delivering poor services to end users.

    The penalties, which cover the third quarter of this year, are part of measures introduced by the NCA to improve overall quality of services and ensure end users have value for money. Airtel was fined the most – GHC350,000 – after it experienced high levels of network congestion (particularly in Tamale, Sekondi-Takoradi and the Upper East and West, and Greater Accra regions), while MTN and Expresso were each fined GHC300,000. Vodafone was fined GHC150,000 and Tigo received the lowest fine of GHC100,000, the NCA said.

  • The department of communications is moving to wrest control over management of SA’s scarce radio frequency spectrum from industry regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa), a reading of the Electronic Communications Amendment Bill, published last week, shows.

    The bill gives power to the minister of communications, rather than Icasa, to determine how spectrum — some of which is in high demand from telecommunications operators — will be divided up.

    Operators are unhappy at the slow pace at which Icasa is licensing access to new spectrum, especially in the 2,6GHz and 3,5GHz bands that can be used for next-generation mobile broadband networks, and this may have prompted government to attempt to usurp some of the authority’s powers in this regard.

    In terms of the new bill, which must still be approved by parliament, the minister of communications — currently Dina Pule — will be responsible for coordination and approval of any radio frequency spectrum plans applicable to SA.

    Furthermore, the bill proposes the creation of a national radio frequency management committee to advise the minister on spectrum issues. The bill says this committee should consist of representatives from “relevant government departments identified by the minister and one or more representatives of the authority”.

    Mike Silber, Head of Legal and Commercial Affairs at fibre operator Liquid Telecom and a former regulatory adviser at the Internet Service Providers’ Association, says Icasa has “inefficiencies around spectrum allocation and management” and this is a “major concern and one that’s worth raising”. However, he warns that assuming the ministry or government department will somehow do better is “laughable”.

    Approached for comment, the big telecoms operators say only that they are still studying the bill and will comment later. But one industry source, speaking on condition of anonymity because he has to work with government and Icasa, says the bill amounts to the “same old story” of a “power struggle” between the department of communications and Icasa.

    The source says the proposed amendments “don’t sound like a particularly good thing” because, when it comes to issues surrounding spectrum, “you need independence” and “introducing political considerations slows the process”.

    Tracy Cohen, Chief Corporate Services Officer at Neotel, says government is responsible for the development of national policy on electronic communications matters and the law requires that Icasa “is independent in the implementation of government policy”.

    The law does not require that the Icasa is “vested with policy making”, though when it comes to actual implementation the divide is often blurred, Cohen says. She says Neotel will consider the amendment bill and will make detailed comments through the public consultation process, adding that the company supports any initiative to ensure that “critical competition-enhancing processes are effectively implemented”.

    Already, some industry players have expressed concern that the bill will result in further delays in allocating new spectrum. However, Cohen says given that the change is only likely to come to pass in six or 12 months’ time, it does not follow that a change will necessarily slow the process in which Icasa is already engaged.

    “Neotel is of the view that if the department and Icasa were to enable a spectrum secondary trading market, which was previously considered but not implemented in regulation, this would greatly assist in addressing many of the bottlenecks in spectrum efficiency,” she says.

  • The Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) will be laying charges against the Democratic Alliance (DA) for “trying to kill copper thieves”. The federation says it will report deputy Cape Town mayor Alderman Ian Neilson's plans to electrocute copper cable thieves to the Public Service Commission and the Human Rights Commission.

    “Cosatu will also lay charges at the police station about the DA's intention to do grievous bodily harm, through the policy of the City of Cape Town.”

    Nielsen, during a radio interview, confirmed that the city leaves on electricity for streetlights during the day, in some areas, to deter thieves from stealing the copper.

    “This clearly is with the intent to electrocute the thieves. There has, however, been no notice sent out telling people that the electricity will be live with current. During the day, people generally expect the electricity to be off, and so people, including kids, try to steel copper to get money,” says Cosatu.

    It explains that this is not an attempt to justify theft, but to caution against the intention to try and kill copper thieves by leaving the current on.

  • The GSMA today announced that Africa is now the world's second largest mobile market by connections after Asia, and the fastest growing mobile market in the world. According to the new GSMA Africa Mobile Observatory 2011 report, Africa achieved this milestone as mobile penetration reached 649 million connections in Q4 2011 (having first exceeded 50 per cent mobile penetration in 2010). Over the past five years, the number of subscribers across Africa has grown by almost 20 per cent each year and will reach more than 735 million by the end of 2012.

    Ninety-six per cent of subscriptions are pre-paid with voice services currently dominating, although uptake of data services is increasing steadily. There are currently six live HSPA+ networks across Africa, with a seventh deployment planned in the near future. By 2015, next-generation LTE networks are predicted to reach 500,000 connections in Kenya, 1.1 million connections in Nigeria and 2.5 million connections in South Africa.

    The mobile ecosystem in Africa currently generates approximately US$56 billion or 3.5 per cent of total GDP, with mobile operators alone contributing US$49 billion. In recent studies by the World Bank and others, it was shown that there is a direct relationship between mobile penetration and GDP. In developing countries, for every 10 per cent increase in mobile penetration there is a 0.81 per cent point increase in a country's GDP. The mobile industry contributes US$15 billion in government revenues and is a significant contributor to employment in Africa. In 2010 alone, approximately 5.4 million people were employed directly and indirectly in the mobile ecosystem.

    However, the Observatory reveals that huge untapped potential remains. 36 per cent of Africans within the 25 largest African mobile markets currently have no access to mobile services. Projections indicate that reaching 100 per cent mobile penetration could add over $35 billion in aggregate GDP - an increase of 2 per cent - but only if governments and operators work together to bring mobile communication to the entire African population.

    "The mobile industry in Africa is booming and a catalyst for immense growth, but there is scope for far greater development," said Peter Lyons, Director of Spectrum Policy, Africa and Middle East, GSMA. "To take full advantage of its potential, African countries need to both allocate more spectrum for the provision of Mobile Broadband services, as well as introduce tax cuts for the industry. By doing so, they will increase consumption of mobile services, thereby boosting their economic and social development."

    African countries have currently allocated considerably less spectrum to mobile services than Europe, the Americas and Asia, which is inhibiting connectivity to large swathes of rural Africa. Sufficient spectrum should be provided for Mobile Broadband services through 3G HSPA and LTE technologies, to enable the mobile industry to 'connect the unconnected' and continue to act as a catalyst for growth.

  • Ugandan Telecom companies have recently addressed several key issues they face in penetrating the rural mobile market and providing reliable and affordable services. Among the issues are two major problems; vandalism and high operating costs.

    Uganda’s population is 87 percent rural, and so spread out that the per-unit cost f delivering communication services relatively high. The high illiteracy rate and the people’s inability to create an economic benefit through mass communication means that there are few businesses willing to invest in Uganda. As a result of this and inadequate infrastructure, almost all booster stations and masts must be run on diesel generators, further bolstering the cost.

    Themba Khumab, the MTN Uganda CEO said that while a large portion of their customers were rural based, vandalism of equipment remained a big challenge to the company. Khumab called for the government to put in place stringent vandalism laws against telecom equipment and materials. “Kenya did this a long time ago and the problem was solved. Why not here?” Khumalo asked.

    The UCC Executive Director Godfrey Mutabazi agreed, saying that the poor network is caused by several reasons, including the breakdown of infrastructure due to deliberate vandalism. “Any disruption at a single point triggers a series of failures over a wider area becacause of interconnection,” Mutabazi explained.

    According to the Warid Chief Commercial Officer, Shailendra Naidu, the operating costs are another barrier thwarting progress.“Each site costs the company $300,000 (about Shs 840m) or more and the costs keep on increasing,” Naidu said, adding that it will take time for telecoms to link all areas in the country to the network.

    “Our aim is to maintain quality to our customers and we can’t do that when we are operating beyond the input costs. That is why we increased our tariffs recently,” Naidu said, adding, “We are a young company but already we have many sites across the country and will continue expanding them until every part of Uganda is covered.”

  • Mobile carriers worldwide are steadily upgrading to Long-Term Evolution (LTE) networks that support high-speed wireless services as an increasing number of consumers use tablet computers and Smartphones to access the internet. Due to Africa’s growing mobile phone market, an Ericsson executive believes the African market will have its first LTE (better known as 4G) network as early as 2012.

    Initially, the network would be unveiled in the larger urban centers where the demand for high speed internet access is constantly growing.

    “You will see the first networks going in 2012 already to a certain small degree,” said Lars Linden, head of Ericsson in sub-saharan Africa to Reuters. “It will surprise me if the big dragons such as MTN, Vodacom, (Bharti) Airtel and all these big brands, it will surprise me if they do not do anything,” Linden told Reuters.

    Africa’s poverty levels mean that many users remain lower end text and call users. There is however an increasingly tech-savvy market growing among the younger people in Africa, increasing the demand for data availability in the continent.

    African telecom giants MTN and Vodacom are already running trials in South Africa and Kenya’s Safaricom is also testing the technology.
    Furthermore, taxes imposed on the mobile industry in many African states should be reduced to drive an increase in mobile penetration, as well as, in many cases, ultimately increase the total tax intake for governments. The Kenyan government's abolition of the 16 per cent general sales tax on mobile handsets in 2009 has resulted in handset purchases increasing by more than 200 per cent. With mobile operators contributing a third more in taxes in 2011 than in 2009, mobile generated around 8 per cent of Kenya's GDP.

    Other regional success stories include Nigeria, which has the highest number of mobile subscriptions in Africa - over 93 million subscriptions, representing 16 per cent of the continent's total mobile subscriptions.

    South Africa, with its more developed infrastructure, leads the way in terms of broadband penetration: it has 6 per cent mobile broadband penetration, followed by Morocco as the next biggest market, with 2.8 per cent.

    Meanwhile Kenya is at the forefront of Mobile Money Transfers and m-banking, with 8.5 million users. For example, Safaricom in partnership with The Equity Bank in Kenya provides customers with an M-KESHO account allowing them to save money, buy insurance and arrange micro-finance loans.

    Lyons continued, "By working in partnership, mobile operators and African governments can continue the remarkable growth story of the African mobile industry. The benefits that mobile services have already brought to hundreds of millions of Africans can be extended to those who have yet to access communication technology. By so doing, the African continent can continue to bring not only communication services, but also banking, health and education to its people and drive an increase in the economic wealth and development of the region."

  • The telecommunication sector is by far the fastest growing and most lucrative market in the Africa region. In countries like Sudan, where 50 percent of the population uses mobile phones, the importance of the industry to the economy is undeniable. 59% of Zimbabweans have access to mobile phones compared with only about 5% in 2005

    Mobile phones today encompass many different useful tools, such as an alarm, watch, calculator, computer, camera, radio, and even the traditional landline phone. As Adrian Hon, founder and chief of the online gaming company ‘six to start,’ noted in his travels through Sudan; “You are never out of sight of a mobile tower.”

    The widespread use of mobile phones is indicative of their usefulness and the critical role communication plays in Sudan. With so much of the population living in remote areas and under the poverty line, the question arises as to whether so much time and money should be spent by Sudan in increasing their mobile telecom capabilities.

    With the poverty backdrop, it is hard to judge whether or not the government should focus on other issues such as education or healthcare. The reality is that the growing telecom market is growing at an astounding rate, providing many jobs and an increasing flow of wealth in to the country, creating more and more possibilities for Sudan to improve the quality of life for the people in the country.

    “Needless to say, mobile internet is cheaper in Sudan than in the UK at around 1 SDG (20p) per day, but it’s still a fair outlay for locals,” Hon wrote in the telegraph. “If you want proper mobile broadband for a laptop, then it rises to 5 SDG (£1) per day – comparable with the UK but presumably worth it if you really must be online, especially if you share the connection.”

    The ever increasing rate of technological advancement is clearly demonstrated in third world countries like Sudan, where a decade ago such a thing as mobile phones and wireless roaming were virtually non-existent.

    Today, a wireless connection can be bought for almost any mobile device such as a laptop or Smartphone and provides virtually global connections. Children today are seen interacting with a plethora of different mass communication methods, such as Facebook, Twitter, cell phones and the like, while their parents had most likely never seen a phone in their youth.

  • ANC Youth League (ANCYL) president Julius Malema is yet again at the centre of a social media explosion, as South Africans respond to the verdict of his disciplinary hearing.

    The ANC found Malema guilty of provoking divisions within the ruling party and of bringing the organisation into disrepute. The controversial leader has been suspended from the ANC for five years, and has been asked to step down as ANCYL president.

    The hashtags #Malema, #ANCYL and #ANC were all trending as soon as the announcement got under way.

    Here are some of the reactions from Twitter:

    @Jonathan_Witt: The Malema Verdict explained: Julius has a suspended sentence and now has been suspended but that suspension is suspended too.

    @GarethCliff: Now that Julius Malema has been suspended, who will frightened white people obsess about?

    @KoosKombuis: Rumour has it Malema might consider job as teaboy for the DA.

internet

  • Zimbabwean wireless broadband provider, uMAX has selected Alvarion's 4Motion solution to the roll-out a WiMAX network in its capital Harare, in the 2.5 GHz frequency.

    uMAX will be the first service provider to enable consumers and businesses access to such services in Zimbabwe.

    "uMAX is a fast-growing wireless broadband provider in an extremely dynamic market and our 4Motion solution will enable them to move forward and expand their customer base at an opportune time," said Eran Gorev, president and CEO of Alvarion.

  • Mobile telecom provider Nokia Siemens Network has launched a new Facebook application in Nigeria that enables users to manage their fixed and mobile services in the country, which is aimed at improving customer service in the country, company officials said on Monday.

    Nokia said the new app gives customers the ability to check their balance, browse and purchase special offers from mobile companies. It also will give users the ability to subscribe to new services.

    The company said in a press release that users will also be given the opportunity to share their experiences across social networks, in an effort to increase transparency. They will also “get rewards for recommending services to friends.”

    “The beauty of the Facebook app is that it engages with people on their preferred social-networking site,” said Rick Centeno, the head of Business Support Systems at Nokia Siemens.

    “People spend more time on social networks than individual websites. With this Facebook app, Nokia Siemens Networks helps operators to connect with people in a familiar setting where they already spend their online time. It takes self-care to a new level,” he added.

  • IS International's MD understands how tough Africa is, says IS MD Derek Wilcocks.
    Dimension Data subsidiary Internet Solutions (IS) aims to speed up its growth beyond SA's borders and has created IS International to facilitate the expansion.

    The new unit will provide additional support and investment to the group's existing operations in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and Mozambique, it says in a statement.

    IS aims to establish further sales and operational presences in the “largely untapped markets” of Angola, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi as it aims to grow across the continent.

    The company will “augment its existing London office by opening new sales offices in North America and Australia, with offices to be opened in other selected countries over time,” it says.

    IS says these outlets will “work with wholesale and multinational clients that are eager to expand into Africa and need a globally experienced and reliable ICT partner on the ground”.

    The company says IS International will be created to take care of these initiatives. It will be led by Tony Walt, who will become MD of IS International from January 2012. He will report to IS MD Derek Wilcocks.

    Wilcocks says Walt has 15 years' of experience in helping the firm's clients in SA with communications needs. “Tony [Walt] understands that Africa is a tough market and needs sound, resilient IT solutions,” Wilcocks says.

    Walt's current responsibilities in SA will be divided between Costa Koutakis and Tony Koutakis, both of who have been with IS for more than 10 years. They will take up the positions of chief client officer and chief sales officer, respectively.

    The country managers of the group's existing operations in the UK, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and Mozambique will report directly to Walt in his new role as MD of IS International.

  • “The explosion of broadband data usage in South Africa and internationally is creating an ever-growing set of coverage and capacity challenges that cannot be addressed effectively by any single technology,” Winston Smith, head of Alvarion in South Africa, is quoted in a press statement issued this week.

    Smith added that the same is true for all types of wireless broadband networks from tier 1 mobile carriers to wireless internet service providers, enterprises, governments and municipalities, and private network operators.

    “The subscriber numbers and uptake of broadband for wireless users is much higher than in cabled options in South Africa, and this trend is set to continue into 2012,” said Smith.

    “The solution to under-capacity is to employ multiple complementary technologies which can be optimised for various types of networks and applications.”

    Alvarion highlighted that, in line with this “multi-technology approach,” it recently signed a definitive agreement to acquire Wavion, a carrier-grade Wi-Fi provider.

    According to Alvarion, interference is one of the biggest challenges in deploying Wi-Fi, which is where Wavion comes in.

    Alvarion said that Wavion provides better coverage, higher capacity and interference immunity using smart antenna, beamforming and SDMA technologies.

    “Alvarion is fast-shifting from a focus on WiMAX-based RAN solutions to a multi-technology wireless broadband provider, and with the inclusion of Wavion in our offering, we will have Wi-Fi as the final component of a complete solution for our customers,” Smith said.

computing

  • On Tuesday, Orange Kenya announced plans to increase its funding by mid next year in order to boost its data and cloud computing services in the country. The move comes as voice competition continues to rock the country and drop prices.

    The company said in a press release late on Tuesday that it would request additional funding from France Telecom, which owns a majority 51 percent share in the company, and the Kenyan government.

    Orange’s CEO Mickael Ghossein said that the company was also looking into local and international markets and financial institutions, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for possible funding alternatives.

    He did not give an exact figure, but did confirm that it would include a $40 million investment for its 2012 budget, the same as this year. That is half of what it invested in the previous two years.

    Ghossein also said Orange Kenya will review its international calling rates by mid-November “to cushion against the weak shilling and increased calling rates in other countries,” which has raised termination rates. Ghossein said the rates in India and Uganda “had risen, meaning termination rates for international calls had also increased. The UK, India, Tanzania and Uganda are among other destinations for which Orange Kenya will revise its rates.”

  • The Minister of Telecommunications and Information Technologies, José Carvalho da Rocha, visited on Wednesday in Luanda the first Data Centre of the country, based in CTT ward.

    Funded by South Korea, the construction of the centre is estimated at USD 30 million and implanted in an area of 5000 square metres.

    The centre is aimed for processing and storage of data of the government.

    The minister said that its functioning will be assured in a first phase by 50 employees, among engineers and high school technicians.

    The official said that with this centre, the country will have greater benefits in terms of human and financial resources.

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

  • South Africa-based Vodacom Group has reported consolidated revenues of ZAR31.75 billion (USD3.99 billion) for the six months ended 30 September 2011, up 7.6% on the corresponding year-earlier period. Vodacom’s domestic unit, Vodacom South Africa, accounted for ZAR23.50 billion in sales (up 4.7% year-on-year), with the firm’s international operations accounting for ZAR4.39 billion (up 13.3% year-on-year). Group EBITDA for the period grew 7.6% to ZAR10.54 billion, whilst net profit climbed 2.8% to ZAR4.39 billion. Meanwhile, CAPEX for the six-month period increased 67.7%, to ZAR3.46 billion.

    In operational terms, Vodacom South Africa remains the firm’s largest unit by subscribers, with 28.91 million customers reported at the end of September, of which figure 23.47 million are pre-paid users. Elsewhere, Vodacom units in Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique and Lesotho all increased their subscriber bases in the three months ended 30 September. Tanzania grew its base to 10.27 million users, whilst Mozambique weighed in with 2.99 million customers and Democratic Republic of Congo contributed 4.78 million subscribers. Finally, Lesotho grew its mobile base to 944,000.

    Vodacom CEO Pieter Uys commented: ‘I am really pleased with what we’ve achieved in the first six months of trading as the new ‘red’ Vodacom. [This year saw Vodacom re-branded in line with the red and white colour scheme used by parent company Vodafone, which secured a controlling stake in Vodacom in May 2009.] In South Africa, increased promotional activity and reduced data prices were well received, driving significant gains in both usage and customer numbers. Our average effective price per minute fell 24% and we also implemented a 22% reduction in average data prices. We’ve invested just under ZAR3.5 billion on our networks, making tangible improvements to both coverage and stability. In the second half of the year we aim to capitalise on all the steps taken to improve the customer experience, and prove to our customers that the change in colour really is just the beginning’.

  • JSE-listed IT services company Business Connexion (BCX) has turned in a poor set of financial results in its 2011 financial year to end-August. CEO Benjamin Mophatlane says the company has had a “tough year” and the results “haven’t met expectations”.

    Its technology and innovation divisions posted the most disappointing results. Mophatlane says the company’s recent acquisitions — of selected assets from IT company UCS and of the Canoa Group — have turned in “pleasing results”. UCS and Canoa Group contributed 11.4% of BCX’s revenue in the financial year.

    BCX’s “problem child”, according to Mophatlane, is its technology division. He says the main reason for the disappointing results are the global economic downturn and the fact that some vendors have begun “going straight to clients, particularly because of belt tightening” rather than through partners like BCX.

    He promises the company is taking “aggressive and corrective action to turn the [technology] division around”. BCX has replaced the division’s management and reassessed its business model. It is also exploring the option of reducing product brands to avoid “unnecessary and conflicting technologies”.

    For the year, BCX’s headline earnings per share collapsed from 47,6c in 2010 to 17,3c. The dividend also fell, from 23c/share to 14c, though the company did pay a special dividend of 40c during the period.

  • South Africa’s Allied Technologies said Wednesday it is no longer in talks to acquire unlisted Kenyan IT firm Symphony, a deal that Reuters previously reported could be worth up to $60 million (Sh6 billion).

    Altech, a $742 million telecoms and IT firm, had been in talks to acquire Symphony and was nearing the end of its due diligence, Reuters reported last week, citing a person familiar with the matter.

    “Altech was in discussions with the Da Gama Rose Group, the 100 per cent shareholders in Symphony, an unlisted Kenyan IT firm. Altech has informed the Da Gama Rose Group that it will not progress with further discussions,” Altech said in a statement.

    The Da Gama Rose Group is led by prominent Kenyan businessman and lawyer Horatius da Gama Rose who enjoyed close links with the administration of the former President Moi.
    The firm did not give a reason why the talks had been dropped, but Altech was hoping the deal would augment its existing business — Kenya Data Networks — in a region where it has struggled.

    Altech is a diverse business whose operations include telecoms, electronics, and IT services while Symphony provides IT consulting and services including hardware, software and networking.

Digital Content

  • The Wise Touch tablets are manufactured in China, but are locally branded and customised, with applications and content specifically for the local market. South African company, Wise Tablets, is soon to release a low-cost tablet developed and customised for the local market.

    The “Wise Touch 1” will be available in 7-inch and 9-inch formats, with capacitive multi-touch, running Android 2.3.

    The 9-inch tablet will retail for less than R3 500, while the 7-inch 3G tablet will cost less than R2 500, and the entry-level 7-inch WiFi tablet will go for less than R1 500.

    MD of Wise Tablets, Gian Shipton, says: “The problem with tablets available today is that all of them offer exactly the same thing; software markets”.

    “We found that most of the average South African consumers have a problem with the current high prices of the brand-named tablets, but apart from the pricing issue, it also relates to the fact that none of the tablets in the market, including the Apple iPad, present any form of local content.”

    Shipton says the content on the new tablets will be what sets them apart. “What makes the Wise Touch SA's first South African tablet is what's on the inside.”

    Apart from the regular Android apps, the tablets come preloaded with South African applications, developed specifically for the Wise Touch on behalf of local brands. The local content is categorised under the Wise Shopping Mall, Wise Business Park and Wise Education Centre.

    According to Wise, there are already over 115 “tenants” on board for the Mall and Business Park. While Wise doesn't yet want to release the names of the tenants, the company says they include major local retailers, banks, broadcasters, media houses, food outlets and airlines.

    “Within the Wise Shopping Mall you have a variety of shopping options available, just as you would have in a physical mall. Read a magazine or today's newspaper in the Magazine Store, order a take-away from your favourite restaurant in the Food Court, or do all of your shopping through the various Retail Stores,” says Shipton.

    Wise has its own team of full-time developers, as well as contract developers, who have been working on the project since the beginning of the year.

    “We have not only created apps, but a full back-end with billing and updates – similar to Apple and Android.”

    Speaking of the Wise Education Centre, the company says: “We have been inundated with many parties that have access to various pieces of education – from the public school syllabus to university departments and private schools.

    “We then get the education content provider to develop their content and provide it in a certain format, which our tablets use.” The company says it already has access to most of the public school syllabus and some university content.

    “This education content will be supplied almost free of charge to students, but is limited to being used on our tablets due to encryption and DRM (digital right management) issues with the content owners.

    “We are aiming to have most households of LSM7+ to have our tablets for education in their houses soon,” says Wise, adding that the main focus is a sponsorship programme with media partners that will sponsor devices with educational content for free for students.

    Wise Tablets says the size of the screen is of little influence to them. “We decided (although not finally) to have a 9-inch rather than 10-inch to avoid attracting negative patent wars from the larger players.

    “There is currently a fine line between design look and feel, and we want to steer clear of following them with design. Apart from that, we will actually also offer an 8-inch tablet next year,” says Wise.

    “Our Wise Touch 2 has already been placed on our roadmap and will actually include more hardware than even found in Apple and Samsung. At that stage, we might be seen as a serious competitor. We believe our content still is what makes us different, not the hardware.”

    The Wise Touch tablets are being manufactured in China. The company says that they are not a standard Chinese-boxed product, but made specifically to its specs and branding.

    “Our hardware partners own their own manufacturing chain, and thus we have development control over them,” says Wise.

    The company is expecting the first batch of tablets to arrive in December, but the official launch is planned for early next year.

  • ZTE says that it has deployed a value-added platform solution (iVAS) in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, with Vodacom DRC.

    The iVAS system provides SMS services and aims to launch USSD services before the end of 2012. It has improved the Congo's short message service center capacity (SMSC) tenfold, relieving congestion and significantly improving service to approximately 5 million mobile users.

    The first phase of the project was completed in less than 90 days and included Smsc integration.

    "As a leading iVAS solutions provider, Zte has a deep understanding of the telecoms market in the Democratic Republic of Congo," said ZTE Senior Vice President Zhang Renjun. "Because of this, we were able to launch timely, low-cost, value-added technologies here."

  • Mobile advertising agency, InMobi says that mobile impressions grew by 26% over the past quarter across the African continent.

    This means that Inmobi now serves 15.4 billion quarterly impressions, up from 12.2 billion in the previous quarter.

    Isis Nyong'o, Vice President and Managing Director InMobi Africa confirms that "This latest data shows a steady growth in the African mobile media space. As more people on the continent start to use web-enabled phones, these numbers are sure to increase".

    Key highlights of the Africa data include:

        * The Nigerian market remains the fastest growing market on the African continent, followed closely by South Africa.
        * Nokia still holds the majority of the share impressions despite 0.5% decrease in impression. The phone manufacturing giant now holds 61.1% impression share.
        * Nokia and Samsung combined make up 80% of the impressions in Africa.

  • Search giant Google revealed South African smartphone statistics from survey results that were recently published online. Google recently unveiled the results of a new global survey on smartphone usage and mobile marketing, available freely online at a website called Our Mobile Planet.

    The survey, entitled “Global Mobile Research: The Smartphone User & The Mobile Marketer,” was conducted earlier this year.

    Google highlighted the following findings of the South African portion of the survey.

    The Typical Smartphone User: 18-34 Years Old, Well Educated and Working Full-Time

    The majority of smartphone users are between 18-34 years old, are well educated with full-time employment and earn an annual net income of more than R40,000. Many users are new to smartphones, with 64% saying it was their first smartphone device. Almost half of these new users had bought their device within the past 12 months.

    BlackBerry (44%) had the highest market share, followed by Nokia (27%).

    Consumers use their smartphones primarily at home, followed by work and then on-the-go. As important as a purse or a set of keys, 83% don’t leave the house without their smartphones. Users are driven by having information from the Internet at hand and having their smartphones to ‘kill time’ while out and about.

    Internet usage – especially browsing (56% of users) and e-mailing (57%) – is very important for smartphone users. Only every tenth user did not have cross-media usage habits: the majority of users indicated that they did something else while using their smartphones, like listening to music (62%), using the internet on another device (49%) or watching TV (49%).

    Internet Usage: High Frequency and Number of Daily Sessions

    The typical smartphone user accesses the web almost every day (63% mobile, 62% fixed) with several sessions on a given day – shorter sessions on mobile and longer ones on PC. Almost half expect to spend more time on mobile web via smartphones in the future. Users expect their web usage on PC to remain the same.

    Search: High Frequency and Google the Most Utilised Search Engine
    Search engines are a significant part of browsing activity (61% mobile, 80% fixed). Only 12% never use local search and almost 92% mention further actions after looking up specific information, with 36% making a purchase. For the majority of users, Google is the number one search engine.

    Videos: Low Frequency, with YouTube Coming Out Tops

    Every second smartphone is used to watch videos, at least on a monthly base. YouTube (64% mobile, 83% fixed) is in first place, followed by Facebook (62% mobile, 57% fixed).

    Social Networking: High Frequency, with Facebook the Most Visited Site

    63% of smartphone users access social networks via their smartphones every day – 35% post personal updates daily. The most visited social network is Facebook (95% mobile & fixed).

    Mobile Advertising: Accepted on High Level with High Awareness

    15% of users have used a mobile coupon in a store. Almost 84% of users have noticed mobile advertising – mostly on search engines. Almost 70% have taken action after seeing a mobile ad.

    Mobile Commerce: Growing Shopping Channels Hindered by Security and Convenience

    28% of consumers use their smartphones for price comparisons or product information when shopping – the same amount have changed their minds about a purchase, as a result of retrieving information via a smartphone.

    A fourth of consumers use their smartphones when shopping physically and also shop directly via the device – 47% of them within the past month. Preference of a fixed PC and fears that a purchase might not be secure are the main barriers to mobile commerce. 30% anticipate a higher purchase rate via their smartphones within the next 12 months.

Telecoms, Rates, Offers and Coverage

  • - Bharti Airtel has awarded a contract to Ericsson to upgrade an initial batch of 250 diesel powered base stations in Nigeria with E-site, a new "green" energy solution from Flexenclosure.

    - Rwanda: The Kigali Wireless Broadband (Wibro) technology is currently in the trial phase before it is fully operational, according to an official.

More

  • * Orange announces winners of the African Social Venture Prize

    Last June, Orange launched the African Social Venture Prize to support entrepreneurs and start-ups who use information and communication technologies (ICT) to meet the needs of African people.

    More than 600 candidates responded to the call for projects, which ran from June to September 2011, a sign of true entrepreneurial vitality on the African continent. Proposed projects spanned a variety of fields, including health, agriculture, education, financial services and e-commerce illustrating the potential of telecommunications in African development.

    The panel of judges, consisting of Orange specialists, the media and institutions that promote development, chose three prizewinners from among ten projects nominated, presented on the Orange African portal, StarAfrica.com.

    The awards ceremony was held yesterday in Cape Town, South Africa, during the AfricaCom Awards, an annual event that recognizes the most memorable innovations and performance of the telecommunications industry on the African continent.

    The winning projects were the following:

       1. The first prize went to the Nigerien project Horticultural Remote Irrigation system, which puts mobile technology in the hands of horticulturists, farmers and cooperatives for remote crop irrigation, allowing them to improve productivity while preserving water resources.
       2. AgaSha Business Network, which won the second prize, is a Ugandan start-up that uses the Internet to help small and medium African companies grow. Through its online business community, it facilitates interaction among economic players to boost market opportunities for small and medium businesses in Africa and abroad.
       3. Third place went to Kachile, a start-up in Côte d’Ivoire. With its e-commerce platform, it offers a way to “professionalize” cottage industries, which are well developed in Africa but lack visibility and market access.

    In addition to funding of up to 25,000 euros, Orange will provide support to the three projects for six months from its local subsidiaries and the strategic expertise of its venture capital subsidiary, Innovacom.

    The African Social Venture Prize demonstrates the Group’s willingness to contribute to the social and economic development of the countries in which it operates. In addition to supplying infrastructure and basic services, Orange is investing in deploying added-value services in key fields such as health, education, agriculture or financial services, and acts to promote entrepreneurship and innovation on the African continent.

  • * EAA 2012 Competition: African Developers Given a Global Stage

    Ericsson and Sony Ericsson partner to run competition for application developers in sub-Saharan Africa

    Ericsson LogoEricsson  in partnership with Sony Ericsson has announced plans to run a regional competition for application developers on the Android platform. The competition titled ‘Apps for Africa’ is to run under the aegis of the 2012 Ericsson Application Awards (EAA 2012) - an ongoing annual competition for application developers worldwide organized by Ericsson Research.

    The EAA 2012 awards themed ‘Apps for the Networked Society’, will run till May 2012, the competition provides a unique opportunity for developers to gain exposure within the telecommunications world and a chance to reach out to customers via Ericsson's distribution channels in addition to the opportunity to win the latest top of the range Sony Ericsson phones and €15,000 in prize money.

    Members of the winning teams in each region will each receive a Sony Ericsson Xperia phone, while teams in second place will receive Business Experience Packs (incl. Sony Ericsson MW600, office pro, McAfee, and a micro USB cable).

    Colin Williamson, Marketing Manager for Sony Ericsson said, “Our objective for Sony Ericsson is to be the preferred choice for Android devices and we’re thrilled that to help reach this objective we’re able to get under the skin of the very platform our handsets perform on by way of an Android Application competition.”

    The competition is open to students and to small and medium sized enterprises based in the region; it has been split into four sub competitions based on location as follows:

    ›        Southern Africa  for countries - Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Saint Helena, Swaziland, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe

    ›        Eastern Africa for countries - Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Comoros, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mayotte, Réunion, Rwanda, Seychelles, United Republic of Tanzania and Uganda

    ›        Central Africa; Central Africa - Burkina Faso, Benin, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of the Congo, Côte D’ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Togo

    ›        Western Africa - Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone

    Interested developers in Southern Africa are required to register teams of two to four people online before February 01, 2012 and submit either a video of idea or an Android based application that addresses the theme and makes use of at least one Ericsson Labs API (e.g. Mobile Location or Text To Speech) before February 28th, 2012.

    The competition will be rolled-out across Sub Saharan Africa in November.  All application submissions will be automatically entered into the global competition - EAA 2012 - ‘Apps for the Networked Society’, for the chance to win the cash prize.
    To apply please visit here:

Edition Française, 10 novembre 2011, No 170

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Editorial

  • Au mois d’octobre dernier, l’Agence Nationale de Régulation des Télécommunications (ARNT) du Maroc a publié les derniers chiffres concernant les performances du segment Internet. Au Maroc, le consommateur a le choix entre différents services Internet qui se déclinent comme suit: l’Internet Dial Up classique, les offres forfaits, l’Internet haut débit via ADSL, l’Internet via des liaisons louées et l’Internet 3G.

    Le parc global des abonnés Internet continue avec une tendance positive en
    enregistrant un taux de croissance de 22,86% au cours du troisième trimestre 2011 et
    de 74,99% sur une année. Entre juin 2011 et septembre 20111, le nombre d’abonnés Internet est passé de 2,345,725 à 2,881,973. Sur un an (septembre 2010 à septembre 2011), le nombre d’abonnés Internet s’est accru de 1,646,967 à 2,881,973.

    La répartition des abonnés par mode d’accès donne un avantage incontestable à l’accès Internet 3G qui représente 80.83% du parc global Internet suivi de l’ADSL avec 19.10% (voir graphe ci-dessous). En termes de part de marché, Maroc Telecom détient 51.39% du parc Internet suivi de Medi Telecom avec 28.79% et de Wana Corporate avec 19.82%. Ces derniers chiffres couvrant les parts de marché méritent un plus d’explications. Le segment Internet a été longtemps un quasi monopole de Maroc Telecom dans le mesure ou l’opérateur était présent en même temps sur le segment en gros et au détail des services Internet tuant à petit feu tous les FAIs de la place (une situation similaire peut être observée au Sénégal avec la Sonatel). L’introduction de l’Internet 3G a certes permis à Médi Telecom de se lancer dans le segment data mais à surtout permis à Wana Corporate de se tailler une part de marché non-négligeable dans un secteur télécoms qui était un duopolie entre Maroc Telecom et Medi Telecom.
     

    A un niveau plus granulaire, le parc des abonndés bas débit est en régression passant de 1,659 abonnés à fin septembre 2010 à 878 abonnés à fin septembre 2011. Le parc des abonnés Internet ADSL a réalisé un taux de croissance de 4.46% au cours du troisième trimestre de l’année 2011 en passant de 527,016 à 550,508 abonnés. Sur un an le parc Internet ADSL a augmenté de 14.11%, une modeste addition de 68,060 abonnés. L’accès Internet ADSL à 2 Mbits/s représente la plus grande part avec 48,41% des abonnements ADSL en Septembre 2011 suivi du 8 Mbits/s avec 25% et du 4 Mbits/s avec 24,56%.

    C’est bien sur l’Internet 3G qui est la locomotive qui pousse à l’adoption de l’Internet. Le parc Internet 3G a atteint 2,329,561 abonnés à fin septembre 2011 en réalisant un taux de croissance de 28,2% au troisième trimestre 2011 et de 100.5% sur une année. A fin septembre 2011, les abonnés au service Internet 3G « data only » s’élèvent à 1,403,378 (60.24%) alors que les abonnements combinants « voix+data » atteignent 926,183 (39.76%). Le graphe ci-dessous qui récapitule ces chiffres est aussi intéressant dans la mesure ou il montre que les abonnements 3G « data only » ont enrégistré une croisssance moindre (+12.4%) que les abonnements 3G « voix+data » (+127.5%) entre mars 2011 et septembre 2011. En d’autres termes la 3G pousse à l’adoption de l’Internet mais son attrait est plus grand auprès du consommateur marocain sous la forme d’un package « voix+data ».


     
    Selon le report de l’ANRT, la tendance baissière des prix mesurés par la facture moyenne mensuelle par client Internet se confirme. En effet, elle est passée de 93 DHHT/mois/client (8.3 Euros) à fin septembre 2010 à 60 DHHT/mois/client (5.4 Euros) à fin septembre 2011marquant ainsi une baisse de 35%. Pour l’Internet 3G, cette facture est passée de 68 DHHT/mois/client (6.1 Euros) au 30/09/2010 à 41 DHHT/mois/client (3.7 Euros) au 30/09/20111 marquant une baisse de 40%. Pour l’ADSL, la facture est passée de 140 DHHT/mois/client (12.5 Euros) à fin septembre 2010 à 124 DHHT/mois/client (11.1 Euros) à fin septembre 2011 marquant ainsi une baisse de 11%.
    Le rapport complet de l’ANRT est téléchargable au lien suivant

  • La 11e réunion des ministres de la Cedeao en charge des Nouvelles technologies de l’information et de la communication (Ntic) a pris fin le 14 octobre dernier à la fondation Félix Houphouët Boigny de Yamoussoukro. Les travaux, selon, M. Koné Bruno Nabagné, ministre ivoirien de la Poste et des Technologies de l’information et de la communication( Ptic) ont été sanctionnés de grandes décisions et l’on a adopté la stratégie globale dans le secteur au niveau de l’espace communautaire pour les cinq prochaines années. Celles-ci tracent les contours du futur marché commun ouest africain des Ntic. Ce après des discussions très franches. «En ce qui concerne le document relatif à la suspension de la taxe de terminaison sur le trafic entrant entre les Etats membres de la Cedeao, la réunion a décidé, en tenant compte des positions et de la spécificité de chaque Etat, qu’une recommandation soit adressée à la commission de la Cedeao, en vue de la réalisation d’une étude sur l’impact de cette taxe à l’intérieur de la Communauté. Les conclusions de cette étude doivent être soumises à la prochaine réunion des ministres en charge des Télécommunications / Tic en vue de permettre une prise de décision motivée» a précisé le ministre Koné au cours d’une conférence de presse. Il est bon de préciser que la taxe de terminaison sur le trafic entrant qui est une charge supportée par l’entreprise de télécommunication et les clients qui reçoivent en bout de chaine l’appel et à verser à un Etat donné, est déjà en vigueur dans certains Etats de la Cedeao. Citons en autres, le Sénégal, le Bénin et le Ghana. Ne faudrait t-il pas craindre une réciprocité dans ces conditions et donc voir cette taxe entrer en vigueur en Côte d’Ivoire et partant des les Etats qui ne l’appliquent pas encore ? Le ministre Koné a dit clairement : «Nous n’avons reporté aucune décision qui puisse impacter la bourse de nos populations». Par ailleurs, en ce qui concerne le projet de règlement portant conditions d’accès aux câbles sous-marins en Afrique de l’Ouest, après analyse profonde, il a été recommandé également une étude pour l’élaboration d’une règlementation harmonisée des droits de passage en s’inspirant des meilleures pratiques existantes, notamment au Rwanda. Cette activité doit être inscrite dans la stratégie de mise en œuvre des projets prioritaires Télécommunications/Tic dans l’espace communautaire pour les cinq prochaines années. Ce après que les pays sans façade maritime aient souligné que la résolution de la question de droit de passage entre les pays membres est nécessaire pour faciliter, entre autres, l’accès aux stations d’atterrissement des câbles sous-marins. A noter que pour l’année 2012 et conformément à la «Vision 2020» de la Cedeao, l’objectif est de mettre en service deux nouveaux câbles de grande capacité en plus des trois qui sont déjà en activité avec une vingtaine de connexions au niveau des pays membres. Ce qui indubitablement, va faire baisser les coûts d’accès à ces infrastructures et partant offrir les meilleurs prix d’accès aux bandes passantes.

    Le Temps
  • Extrait du communiqué du Conseil des ministres du 20 octobre 2011
    dimanche 23 octobre 2011

    Le Chef de l’Etat a noté que la licence d’exploitation d’un réseau de télécommunications, concédée à un moment donné de l’évolution de notre pays, entraine d’énormes bénéfices en faveur de l’exploitant. Pourtant, l’Etat, qui perçoit au départ le prix de cette licence, ne voit pas sa part des revenus générés évoluer, malgré la croissance économique générale et l’augmentation rapide du nombre d’abonnés au téléphone. C’est pourquoi le Président de la République a fait part au Conseil de sa décision de soumettre au Parlement un projet de loi fixant la part incompressible de l’Etat, d’au moins 35%, dans le capital de toutes les sociétés de télécommunications au Sénégal. Ce projet de loi, a-t-il indiqué, ne remet pas en cause le principe du recours au secteur privé pour lui confier l’exploitation des différents réseaux de téléphone. Il s’agit tout simplement de faire bénéficier l’Etat d’une partie des bénéfices générés, autant que dure l’activité d’exploitation au lieu de la fixer une fois pour toutes au départ.

    A ce propos, le Chef de l’Etat a informé le Conseil de la création d’une société Anonyme dénommée TELECOM - SEN - SA, ayant pour objet la gestion de toutes les parts détenues par l’Etat, sans exception, dans les sociétés d’exploitation d’un réseau téléphonique au Sénégal. Cette gestion, a précisé le Président de la République, signifie la représentation de l’Etat et l’accomplissement de toutes les actions de bonne gouvernance, à l’exception de la perception des redevances et produits de licences d’exploitation de réseaux téléphoniques qui doivent être versés directement au Trésor public.

  • Airtel est le premier opérateur en téléphonie mobile à couvrir tous les grands axes routiers. La Route nationale 7, assurément la plus utilisée, ne déroge pas à cette règle. Airtel a été l'initiateur de la couverture des axes routiers. Une initiative couronnée de succès dans la mesure où cela a permis d'accroître la sécurité pour les voyageurs sur ces tronçons. « Aujourd'hui, Airtel investit dans l'amélioration de son réseau sur les routes nationales et dans les villes riveraines. Antsirabe et Fianarantsoa figurent actuellement dans la liste des villes cibles », déclare un responsable d'Airtel.

    Les unes après les autres, les villes de cet axe se voient pourvues des nouveaux matériels de télécommunication d'Airtel Madagascar. Des matériels de la dernière technologie qui apportent une plus grande capacité et assurent une meilleure couverture à ces localités. Antsirabe, la deuxième ville la plus peuplée de Madagascar, et Fianarantsoa, capitale du royaume Betsileo, ont bénéficié de ces nouvelles infrastructures. La population peut désormais avoir accès à des services plus performants et à toutes les offres avec des applications modernes, en phase avec les besoins de chacun.

    Les travaux et les investissements de l'opérateur s'intensifient dans tout le pays et sur les axes routiers. Le but étant de donner aux clients un service de qualité mais à un coût accessible. Airtel Madagascar se donne comme objectif d'être l'opérateur le plus aimé des Malgaches dans les années à venir. Un objectif qui passe obligatoirement par des investissements et des améliorations de longue haleine.

  • Le processus d’octroi des licences d’exploitation de la 3e génération de la téléphonie mobile vient d’être ajourné encore une fois, à la demande des opérateurs ayant procédé au retrait de l’appel à la concurrence.

    A l’issue de la première étape de lancement de l’appel à la concurrence marquant le premier pas vers la concrétisation enfin de la 3G, les opérateurs ayant procédé au retrait de cet appel ont, en effet, émis le souhait de disposer de davantage de temps afin de mieux préparer leurs dossiers de candidature.

    Le ministère de la Poste et des Technologies de l’information et de la communication qui s’est montré attentif à cette doléance a ainsi décidé de procéder à un report des échéances des différentes étapes du processus en question.

    Dans un communiqué rendu public à l’effet d’annoncer le report de l’appel d’offres, le département de M. Benhamadi rappelle, cependant, que le déploiement de la 3G et de la 3G plus demeure une priorité dans le programme du gouvernement en matière de généralisation de l’accès et de l’usage des TIC par la disponibilité du haut débit et du très haut débit que permet essentiellement la technologie 3G et 3G plus.

    Donc, il ne s’agit cette fois que d’un ajournement du processus afin de permettre aux trois opérateurs de mieux se préparer pour cette nouvelle bataille que tous reconnaissent comme étant rude et nécessitant beaucoup d’investissements.

    Alors que les trois opérateurs mobiles étaient unanimes à déclarer dans un premier temps leur disposition à adopter cette nouvelle technologie, tous ont reconnu par la suite que l’opération exige des investissements conséquents.

    Techniquement, les trois opérateurs disposent de réseaux expérimentaux mais le déploiement de la technologie à travers le vaste territoire algérien n’est pas pour autant une mince affaire.

    A ce titre, le ministre de la Poste et des Technologie de l’information et de la communication, M. Moussa Benhamadi, a affirmé récemment dans un entretien accordé à un quotidien national que la couverture du territoire national en 3G se fera d’une manière graduelle dans la cadre d’un échéancier qui sera établi par l’ARPT dans le cahier des charges prévu à cet effet.

    Ce cahier des charges qui devrait être publié incessamment déterminera également les modalités d’attribution des licences d’exploitation.

    En attendant de connaître la procédure finale telle qu’arrêtée, l’on parle de deux options adoptées par le ministère de la Poste et des TIC, dont la première envisage une cession à un prix fixe déterminé par le gouvernement alors que la deuxième option propose aux trois opérateurs du marché algérien concernés par l’offre de bénéficier d’un tarif d’accès beaucoup plus bas qui leur permettra de se lancer aisément et sans gros investissements dans ce nouveau service. En contrepartie, ils verseraient à l’Etat un certain pourcentage de leur chiffre d’affaires.

    Il reste que la décision finale sur les conditions de cession des licences 3G ne sera connue qu’avec la publication du cahier des charges dans les tout prochains jours.

    Les trois opérateurs mobiles algériens qui ont demandé à l’unisson un délai supplémentaire pour la préparation de leurs dossiers de candidature s’accordent également à affirmer que les tarifs finaux d’accès aux services 3G qui seront proposés aux utilisateurs dépendront en premier lieu du prix d’acquisition de la licence d’exploitation. Cette affirmation a été apportée par les trois (Mobilis, Djezzy et Nedjma) au lendemain même de l’annonce faite par M. Benhamadi le 15 août qui faisait part du lancement des services de la troisième génération du mobile sur le marché algérien en janvier 2012.Le premier responsable du département des TIC ne cesse lui de souligner que l’accès des citoyens utilisateurs de la téléphonie mobile aux services de la 3G se fera à des prix abordables avec, en plus, « une qualité de service exemplaire».

    Quant au choix de la norme 3G par rapport à la 4G, il est lié, avait expliqué encore le ministre, à des raisons économiques. «On ne veut pas alourdir les charges des trois opérateurs qui ont déjà déployé des réseaux expérimentaux de la 3G», avait-il déclaré.

    Algérie360
  • D’ici la prochaine réunion prévue en mars 2012, au Costa Rica, l’instance mondiale de la Gouvernance de l’Internet se penchera, entre autres, sur les recommandations de l’agenda africain, la mise en route des nouveaux noms de domaine (gTld), de l’Ipv6, etc.

    Vendredi à Dakar, dernier jour de la 42ème réunion de l’Icann, de nouveaux membres ont fait leur entrée au sein du Board tandis que deux autres ont quitté. C’est le cas du Gambien Katim Serigne Touray, l’un des trois Africains à siéger dans le Conseil d’administration de l’Icann. Hier, la session du Board de l’Icann a été le lieu d’échanges sur la campagne de communication à tenir sur les nouveaux noms de domaine (gTLD) qui entrent en vigueur en janvier 2012 dans les différentes zones géographiques de l’Icann. Les membres du Board ont suggéré une campagne de communication ouverte, transparente et compréhensible. Pour mettre en route l’Ipv6, une collaboration avec l’Union internationale des Télécommunications a été également préconisée. Ils ont également pris acte des recommandations de la table ronde ministérielle africaine, tenue du 19 au 21 octobre dernier, en prélude à la réunion de l’Icann à Dakar. La réponse à ces suggestions du continent, se fera sans doute avant décembre, nous a confié la Nigérienne Anne-Rachel Inné, directrice de l’Icann chargée des relations avec l’Afrique.

    L’autre moment fort de cette session du Conseil d’administration, était l’arrivée de nouveaux membres en son sein et le départ de deux autres, dont le Gambien Katim Serigne Touray. Dans son boubou caftan, la tête rasée, il ne passait pas inaperçu le long des couloirs du Méridien-Président et parmi les membres du Board de l’Icann.

    Présent dans le Conseil d’administration de l’Icann depuis novembre 2008, Katim Serigne Touray, a fini son mandat de trois ans, hier, 28 octobre à Dakar. La 42e réunion de l’instance de la Gouvernance de l’Internet en terre africaine, ne pouvait être meilleur symbole pour l’agronome gambien, de dire au revoir aux autres membres du Conseil d’administration. Ces derniers lui ont d’ailleurs décerné une bonne minute d’applaudissements, comme du reste le public présent sous la grande tente dressée sur le green de l’hôtel du Méridien-Président. « Permettez-moi, de remercier mes parents gambiens et sénégalais en langue wolof. Que cette réunion de Dakar rapproche davantage la Gambie et le Sénégal... » a lancé au micro l’ex-membre du Board de l’Icann quand son président Steve Crocker lui a donné la parole. De son petit village natal de Balangadé, aux instances de la Gouvernance mondiale de l’Internet, en passant par les écoles américaines, Katim Serigne Touray, n’a pas oublié ses racines. Au cours d’une courte présente diapo, K. Touray est revenu sur ses origines en partant de son village jusqu’à visiter de nombreux pays, rencontrer et travailler avec beaucoup de personnes de talent. Tout cela, dans le cadre de sa mission à l’Icann. C’est dans cette dynamique qu’il insistera sur le fait que les pays en voie développement, notamment africains, ont des choses à dire et à apporter à la gouvernance d’internet. « Le monde sera un endroit meilleur si tout un chacun jouit des progrès actuels des nouvelles technologies », a défendu K. Touray.

    « C’est un homme enthousiaste. On va le regretter. Nous allons regretter votre travail. Mais, vous ne nous quittez pas définitivement, restez intéressé par ce que fait l’Icann... » a dit Steve Crocker, le Pca de l’instance mondiale de la Gouvernance de l’Internet, à l’endroit de l’ingénieur agronome gambien. Ce dernier se dit convaincu qu’Internet reste un réseau de peuples et il a souhaité le meilleur pour ses ex-collègues du Board de l’Icann.

    Le Soleil
  • Appels vidéos, téléchargement de musique, télévision sur mobile, pour les 3,7 millions de Congolais (dont plus d’un million sont abonnés à l’opérateur Airtel Congo, filiale du groupe indien Barthi Airtel), la révolution du mobile est en marche, et il ne s’agit pas là que d’un simple positionnement marketing.

    La 3G a été officiellement lancée le 25 octobre dernier à Brazzaville, la capitale du pays. Les tarifs ne sont pas encore connus, mais le directeur général d’Airtel Congo, Betson Tsintsélé se montre déjà particulièrement enthousiaste : « La 3G va libérer le potentiel de la jeunesse en favorisant un accès rapide à Internet pour l’apprentissage, le partage, les réseaux sociaux, la création et l’accès à des contenus comme la musique », a-t-il déclaré, cité par l’Agence Ecofin.

    Au Gabon, le passage à la 3G est également sur la bonne voie. Airtel Gabon a signé le 4 ocotobre dernier une convention avec l’Artel (Agence de régulation des télécoms, l’Arcep gabonaise) autorisant son accès à la 3G. Dans les six prochain mois, l’ensemble du Gabon devrait bénéficier de cette technologie dont vont aussi profiter, outre les internautes, les banques et la médecine.

    L’Artel est aussi en train de discuter avec les quatre autres opérateurs de téléphonie mobile présents au Gabon pour les services de troisième génération.

    Newzilla
  • Le vice-ministre des Télécommunications aux Technologies de l'Information, Pedro Teta, a déclaré à Luanda, que le ministère de l'Enseignement supérieur et de la Science et Technologie compte promouvoir les langues nationales sur Internet, à travers une coopération avec la société de logiciels, Google.

    Le vice-ministre a lancé cette information après sa visite à l'Agence Angola Press, ajoutant que la  société multinationales de service online et software a l’intention de venir en Angola en novembre prochain pour un atelier de formation des cadres angolais.

    "Nous voulons que Google s'établisse en Angola afin que nous puissions promouvoir nos langues dans ses services", a-t-il précisé. Pedro Teta espère qu'avec l'établissement de google en Angola, le ministère de l'Enseignement supérieur, science et la technologie puisse réaliser ses objectifs établis pour la promotion des langues nationales, qui ont montré un déficit en matière de divulgation.

    ANGOP
  • Le logiciel dénommé IP Panorama axé sur la gestion de la propriété intellectuelle, vient d'être présenté aux pays membres de l'Organisation africaine de la propriété intellectuelle (OAPI) dans le but d'édifier les sociétés grâce au partage de stratégies d'affaires en matière de propriété intellectuelle. Ce logiciel qui est un outil multimédia et didactique de formation explique clairement l'importance de la propriété intellectuelle pour les entreprises tout en leur proposant le développement en ligne des produits éducatifs sur la propriété intellectuelle.

    Véritable aubaine pour les pays africains qui doivent nécessairement maîtriser cet outil de promotion parce que possédant un avantage concurrentiel dans plusieurs domaines

    Notons que le logiciel IP Panorama est disponible dans les langues officielles de l'ONU, en ce sens qu'il est un programme utilisé comme outil pour renforcer la sensibilisation à la propriété intellectuelle.

    Gabon News
  • Le Conseil africain et malgache pour l'enseignement supérieur (CAMES) a procédé au lancement officiel des activités de son Centre d'information et de documentation (CID) et de sa « plateforme cyberthèse », le mercredi 26 octobre 2011 à Ouagadougou.

    Inauguré le 25 mars 2011, le Centre d'information et de documentation du Conseil africain et malgache pour l'enseignement supérieur (CID-CAMES) dénommé « Centre Joseph Ki-Zerbo » a été conçu pour contribuer au renforcement des capacités et à la modernisation de l'institution, par la mise en oeuvre d'une infrastructure informatique.

    On s'attend à ce que, par cette mémoire, le fonds documentaire sur les systèmes d'enseignement supérieur et de recherche de l'espace CAMES soit mieux structuré et valorisé en vue d'une meilleure communication institutionnelle.

    Aussi, elle assurera au mieux, la diffusion des thèses et mémoires des enseignants-chercheurs d'universités ou de centres de recherche des pays membres. C'est pour atteindre un tel objectif que le CAMES a lancé officiellement les activités de ce centre, le mercredi 26 octobre 2011 à son siège à Ouagadougou.

    Etabli dans l'enceinte de l'institution, ce joyau aura pour entre autres prestations de service, l'accès à une bibliothèque spécialisée, la consultation des archives scientifiques, la formation aux Technologies de l'information et de la communication (TIC) et aux thématiques spécifiques de l'institution, en matière d'enseignement supérieur, de recherche et d'innovation, la connexion à l'Internet haut débit, avec une vingtaine d'ordinateurs etc.

    « Ces facilités permettront aux enseignants-chercheurs, aux chercheurs et aux doctorants de se former et d'être plus compétitifs », a indiqué Pr Bertrand Mbatchi, Secrétaire général (SG) du CAMES.

    La cérémonie de lancement des activités du centre a également été l'occasion de la présentation de la « plateforme cyberthèse » du CID, une base de données qui a pour vocation de devenir un portail d'accès aux différentes ressources documentaires et scientifiques des universités, des institutions d'enseignement supérieur et de centres de recherches publics et privés.

    Selon le SG, les futures évolutions de la « plateforme cyberthèse » prévoient de dynamiser le processus de production des thèses et des publications scientifiques par les outils du Web, dans le but de favoriser le libre accès aux savoirs produits par les scientifiques africains.

    « Le CAMES se retrouve devant un tournant historique qu'il doit opérer avec lucidité et audace pour continuer à jouer pleinement sa partition dans le concert des organismes se préoccupant des paradigmes liés à l'éducation, la formation, la recherche scientifique et l'innovation technologique », a-t-il dit. Le CID est ouvert au public les jours ouvrables et les différentes prestations de service sont payantes.

    Sidwaya
  • La Commission nationale de la connectivité (CNC) propose une nouvelle démarche afin de rendre l'accès aux Tics dans le secteur de l'éducation plus efficient.

    La CNC s'est réunie récemment pour sa première séance plénière statutaire en présence de son président, Alassane Dialy Ndiaye, ministre d'Etat auprès du chef de l'Etat.

    "Constatant le caractère désordonné dans l'informatisation du secteur de l'éducation, il a été demandé à la CNC de proposer une nouvelle démarche afin de rendre cet accès aux Tics plus efficient, même dans le secteur privé", selon un communiqué reçu à l'APS.

    La réunion a abordé l'éventualité de chevauchements dans la gestion du Fonds de développement du service universel des télécommunications (FDSUT) et l'orientation des interventions du FDSUT vers la réalisation de projets pour les plus démunis sur le plan numérique, selon la même source.

    Les membres de la commission ont souligné, entre autres, l'urgence de définir et de rédiger une stratégie nationale en matière de Télécommunications et de Tics.

    La CNC a aussi proposé à son secrétariat exécutif de "se rapprocher" du groupe en charge de la rédaction des décrets d'application du Code des Télécommunications "en vue d'une harmonisation avec le décret de la CNC", lit-on dans le texte.

    L'objectif, explique t-on, est d'éviter "des chevauchements dans les prérogatives des différents ministères en charge des Télécommunications, des Tics et de la téléphonie rurale".

    Mise en place par décret en 2011, la Commission nationale de la connectivité a pour missions de veiller sur les questions relatives à la réglementation ou la régulation des Télécommunications et des Tics, l'octroi de licences de Télécommunications et/ou des Technologies de l'Information et de la Communication et de Téléphonie rurale.

    Elle veille également sur les litiges entre opérateurs sur la connectivité, les catastrophes naturelles ayant entraîné des dommages importants sur les infrastructures de Télécommunications, l'interconnexion des réseaux administratifs au niveau national, l'interconnexion des réseaux africains et mondiaux.

    A cet effet, le président de la Commission et ses collaborateurs peuvent participer aux réunions et séminaires tant nationaux qu'internationaux relatifs aux télécommunications et aux Tics "afin de procéder à une analyse et d'adresser au Président de la République, un avis lui permettant de prendre les décisions idoines", indique le communiqué.

    APS
  • Le 3ème Sommet mondial de l'innovation dans l'éducation (WISE, de sigle anglais) a primé, mercredi à Doha, six projets innovateurs en matière d'éducation et capables d'offrir une scolarisation à davantage d'enfants dans le monde.

    Ces projets sont portés par des acteurs engagés dans l'éducation venus du Bangladesh, des Etats-Unis, des Pays- Bas, de la Turquie, du Maroc et du Brésil. Ils explorent de nouvelles manières de transmettre le savoir.

    Pour le Bangladesh, le projet s'intitule "BBC Janala". Initié à Dhaka en 2009 par la Fondation BBC, il vise l'apprentissage de l'anglais au plus grand nombre d'enfants, à travers les médias et le portable qu'ils utilisent tous les jours.

    "L'anglais est un marqueur social traditionnellement réservé à une élite et le projet a permis de briser les préjugés en permettant aujourd'hui à des milliers de personnes d'avoir des leçons accessibles et simples", a expliqué le chef du projet, Mouhamed Ashrafuzzman, récompensé par un Award remis par la présidente de la Fondation Qatar, Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser, lors d'une soirée de gala.

    De façon inattendue, ces leçons dispensées par le biais du portable, à travers des émissions interactives où encore des CD vendus à des prix très bas, ont permis au projet de réussir le pari de cet enseignement.

    Le 3ème WISE a aussi primé le projet dénommé "Connexions", créé en 1999. Il s'agit d'une plateforme "open source" de partage de connaissances où chacun peut consulter des cours envoyés par des contributeurs bénévoles.

    "Connexions" est ainsi un manuel scolaire qui évolue au fil des apports de ses membres pour répondre aux besoins de connaissance des apprenants. La plateforme attire près de 2 millions de visiteurs par mois et compte 10.000 membres inscrits.

    Récompensé lors de la soirée, Teacher Education in Sub Saharan Africa (TESSA) est un projet du Royaume-Uni dont le sujet principal est la partie sub-saharienne du continent africain. Son activité consiste à améliorer la formation des enseignants.

    Un projet marocain illustrant l'implication du secteur privé dans l'éducation, notamment au travers des technologies de l'information et de la communication (TIC), a aussi reçu un Award.

    APS
  • La Telecommunications Workers Union (TWU) s'apprête à commémorer dans la contestation le onzième anniversaire de la vente de 40 % d'actions de Mauritius Telecom à l'opérateur français. Un partenariat qualifié de faillite totale et « d'escroquerie politique ».

    Les dirigeants de la TWU ont, lors d'une conférence de presse ce lundi 7 novembre, présenté un bilan complètement négatif du partenariat entre Mauritius Telecom et France Télécom. Ils estiment que le partenaire stratégique choisi en novembre 2000 n'a pas été à la hauteur des promesses faites à la population à l'époque.

    Tout au contraire, estime les dirigeants syndicaux, les onze années de présence de FT au sein de l'actionnariat et de la direction de Mauritius Telecom ont été « des plus sombres ». Ils réclament la reprise du contrôle total de l'opérateur national de téléphonie par l'Etat. Une manifestation sera organisée le vendredi 11 novembre prochain à cet effet.

    « Ce partenariat avec France Télécom s'est avéré être une grande arnaque et une escroquerie politique au détriment du pays, des employés ainsi que de la compagnie nationale de télécommunications », estime Vishnu Jugdhurry, négociateur de la TWU. « Reprendre le contrôle de Mauritius Telecom n'est plus une option ou un rêve gauchiste, mais un impératif », ajoute-t-il.

    Le négociateur de la TWU soutient que le temps a prouvé que les appréhensions et les mises en garde exprimées par les employés au moment des négociations se sont confirmées alors que les promesses faites par les politiques ne se sont jamais matérialisées.
    Ainsi, la TWU estime que le partenariat de Mauritius Telecom et France Telecom est une « faillite totale » qui n'a rien apporté de plus, ni à la société mauricienne ni au développement de l'entreprise.

    « Il n'y a eu, au cours de ces onze années de présence française, aucun développement technologique que Mauritius Telecom n'aurait pas pu mettre en oeuvre sans l'apport de France Télécom », explique Vishnu Jugdhurry.

    Pour les syndicalistes, le grand gagnant de l'accord signé en 2000 est France Télécom qui « continue à vampiriser les ressources de la compagnie », entre autres en se positionnant comme l'unique fournisseur d'équipement auprès de Mauritius Telecom. « Même les modems fabriqués en Chine sont fournis par France Télécom et payés en euros », ajoute Vishnu Jugdhurry.

    Il fait également ressortir que depuis 2000, l'effectif de Mauritius Telecom a connu une baisse considérable avec le départ de 500 employés qui n'ont pas été remplacés. Il dénonce également la baisse de la qualité des services offerts par la compagnie due au manque de moyens avec la réduction permanente des dépenses.

    La manifestation de vendredi prochain regroupera toutes les confédérations syndicales du pays ainsi que d'autres mouvements politiques et citoyens, selon, les organisateurs, Ces derniers invitent la population dans son ensemble, et plus particulièrement les employés des corps para-étatiques qui sont menacés de privatisation, à venir les rejoindre devant les locaux de Mauritius Telecom.

    L’Express
  • Depuis quelques temps, le gouvernement algérien multiplie les contacts avec les firmes étrangères en vue de mettre en place de nouveaux partenariats. Le but : Acquérir un nouveau savoir-faire et un transfert de technologies, créer de l’emploi et relancer l’industrialisation du pays paralysée par plus de 10 ans de terrorisme et de crise économique.

    Les pouvoirs publics entendent également revoir leur coopération avec des partenaires traditionnels. Pas loin qu’hier, le ministre de la Poste et des Technologies de l’information et de la communication, Moussa Benhamadi, a invité Ericsson, groupe suédois spécialisé en télécommunications, à œuvrer dans le cadre de leur partenariat, vieux de plusieurs décennies, à un transfert de savoir-faire et d’expertise en faveur de l’Algérie ainsi qu’à une redynamisation de la société mixte algéro-suédoise SITEL.

    M. Benhamadi a exprimé ces attentes du secteur national des télécommunications vis-à-vis de ce partenaire ” historique ” de l’Algérie lors d’un entretien à Genève avec le PDG de la multinationale suédoise, en marge du sommet mondial des télécommunications (ITU World 2011) qui se tient dans la ville suisse du 24 et qui prendra fin ce soir.

    En attendant la réponse d’Ericsson, l’Algérie a signé dans le courant de la semaine, par le biais du ministère de la Poste et des Technologies de l’information et de la communication, deux conventions avec les firmes Nokia Siemens Network et Huawei pour la création en Algérie de centres de formation et d’innovation. Au titre des activités de son secteur, M. Benhamadi a annoncé qu’une ” commission nationale pour la large bande (haut débit, très haut débit) sera bientôt créée “.

    Algérie360.
  • Un nouveau jeu pour téléphone mobile apprend aux utilisateurs africains à mieux survivre dans un bidonville. Les défis de la vie quotidienne sont minutieusement reproduits dans le but d'éduquer tout en divertissant.

    « J'ai grandi dans le bidonville de Nairobi, mais il n'y avait personne qui prenait d'initiatives pour changer les choses d'une façon amusante », se souvient Tobias Ouma, un des créateurs du jeu GetH2O.

    Et puis, un concept est né, celui d'un jeu qu'on peut télécharger sur son téléphone portable. « L'idée du jeu GetH2O est de gagner des points lorsqu'on construit des maisons, des écoles et des hôpitaux, tout ce qui apporte du poids dans la vie sociale. Mais tu risques aussi de perdre des points lorsque tu participes à des affaires criminelles. »

    GetH2O a été inventé simultanément par Nairobits, une équipe de jeunes designers kényans et leurs mentors de l'ONG néerlandaise Butterfly Works.

    Apres avoir réalisé une étude approfondie sur les problématiques au niveau des bidonvilles, ils ont traduit les conditions de vie dans ce jeu pour mobile. Comme, par exemple, la carence d'eau potable et la pollution de la rivière qui traverse la ville. Il y a deux dangers auxquels il faut faire face: les gangs et les promoteurs immobiliers.

    Le nom anglophone GetH2O est à double sens : traduit littéralement, cela veux dire organiser de l'eau. Mais phonétiquement, ça se lit « ghetto ». Ce jeu de mots caractérise l'ambiguïté qui règne dans les bidonvilles du Kenya. GetH2O rapproche les jeunes par la sensibilisation et permet de créer des forums de discussion et d'échanges sur ces thématiques.

    "En général", dit Tobias Ouma, "les gens voient ce qui se passe autour d'eux, mais ils se taisent. Ils n'aiment pas parler de leurs émotions et sentiments. C'était le cas lors des irrégularités après les élections présidentielles en 2007.

    Par contre, le jeu GetH2O apporte un changement parmi les jeunes participants du jeu: ils sont plus conscients de leur situation quotidienne. Grâce à ce jeu, nous organisons des séances en groupe pour ouvrir le dialogue parmi les jeunes habitants du bidonville."

    GetH2O cible surtout les adolescents entre 11 et 20 ans qui possèdent déjà un téléphone portable avec un accès à l'Internet. Le téléchargement de l'application est relativement rapide. Avec sa taille de 60 kilobits (kb), la transmission du logiciel ne prend pas plus de temps que celle d'un courrier électronique.

    "Le jeu en soi est gratuit. Le coût de la communication revient à moins d'un dollar par semaine", explique Tobias Ouma. "Un des désavantages de ce jeu est qu'il faut lire le manuel pour connaître les règles du jeu."

    L'autre obstacle : GetH2O est seulement accessible avec d'anciens modèles de téléphones mobiles. "En ce moment, Butterfly Works développe une application du jeu pour smartphones", rassure Tobias Ouma.

    Mais le succès de GetH2O va déjà maintenant au-delà des frontières du Kenya : dans 20 pays, le jeu à été téléchargé plus de 40.000 fois.

    RNW
  • 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: 

  • - Blaise Compaoré, Président du Burkina Faso, a été nommé Président du Conseil consultatif international du Partenariat multilatéral international contre les cybermenaces (IMPACT), qui est l’agent d’exécution de l’UIT dans le domaine de la cybersécurité.

    - Hamadou Saliah-Hassane, professeur à l'unité d'enseignement et de recherche Science et technologie, a reçu la plus haute distinction honorifique de l’Ordre des Palmes académiques du Niger, celle de commandeur.

  • Un(e) Ingénieur développement java senior H/F – Sénégal

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    H/F Vous êtes issu(e) d\'une formation supérieur en informatique (BAC+4/5), vous justifiez d\'une expérience de 5 ans minimum en tant que développeur JAVA. Vous maîtrisez : - Le développement JAVA, J2ME, Android, PHP, WebService, CSS, Html5; - Modélisation : UML, Merise; - Environnement LINUX; - Un niveau d'anglais courant est un plus.

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    Dossier de candidature :
    Envoyer Votre CV et lettre de motivation.
    Date d'expiration : 15-11-2011

    Pour plus d’infos ou pour poser votre candidature cliquez sur le lien suivant

Edition Française, 10 novembre 2011, No 170

node ref id: 23460

Editorial

  • Au mois d’octobre dernier, l’Agence Nationale de Régulation des Télécommunications (ARNT) du Maroc a publié les derniers chiffres concernant les performances du segment Internet. Au Maroc, le consommateur a le choix entre différents services Internet qui se déclinent comme suit: l’Internet Dial Up classique, les offres forfaits, l’Internet haut débit via ADSL, l’Internet via des liaisons louées et l’Internet 3G.

    Le parc global des abonnés Internet continue avec une tendance positive en
    enregistrant un taux de croissance de 22,86% au cours du troisième trimestre 2011 et
    de 74,99% sur une année. Entre juin 2011 et septembre 20111, le nombre d’abonnés Internet est passé de 2,345,725 à 2,881,973. Sur un an (septembre 2010 à septembre 2011), le nombre d’abonnés Internet s’est accru de 1,646,967 à 2,881,973.

    La répartition des abonnés par mode d’accès donne un avantage incontestable à l’accès Internet 3G qui représente 80.83% du parc global Internet suivi de l’ADSL avec 19.10% (voir graphe ci-dessous). En termes de part de marché, Maroc Telecom détient 51.39% du parc Internet suivi de Medi Telecom avec 28.79% et de Wana Corporate avec 19.82%. Ces derniers chiffres couvrant les parts de marché méritent un plus d’explications. Le segment Internet a été longtemps un quasi monopole de Maroc Telecom dans le mesure ou l’opérateur était présent en même temps sur le segment en gros et au détail des services Internet tuant à petit feu tous les FAIs de la place (une situation similaire peut être observée au Sénégal avec la Sonatel). L’introduction de l’Internet 3G a certes permis à Médi Telecom de se lancer dans le segment data mais à surtout permis à Wana Corporate de se tailler une part de marché non-négligeable dans un secteur télécoms qui était un duopolie entre Maroc Telecom et Medi Telecom.
     

    A un niveau plus granulaire, le parc des abonndés bas débit est en régression passant de 1,659 abonnés à fin septembre 2010 à 878 abonnés à fin septembre 2011. Le parc des abonnés Internet ADSL a réalisé un taux de croissance de 4.46% au cours du troisième trimestre de l’année 2011 en passant de 527,016 à 550,508 abonnés. Sur un an le parc Internet ADSL a augmenté de 14.11%, une modeste addition de 68,060 abonnés. L’accès Internet ADSL à 2 Mbits/s représente la plus grande part avec 48,41% des abonnements ADSL en Septembre 2011 suivi du 8 Mbits/s avec 25% et du 4 Mbits/s avec 24,56%.

    C’est bien sur l’Internet 3G qui est la locomotive qui pousse à l’adoption de l’Internet. Le parc Internet 3G a atteint 2,329,561 abonnés à fin septembre 2011 en réalisant un taux de croissance de 28,2% au troisième trimestre 2011 et de 100.5% sur une année. A fin septembre 2011, les abonnés au service Internet 3G « data only » s’élèvent à 1,403,378 (60.24%) alors que les abonnements combinants « voix+data » atteignent 926,183 (39.76%). Le graphe ci-dessous qui récapitule ces chiffres est aussi intéressant dans la mesure ou il montre que les abonnements 3G « data only » ont enrégistré une croisssance moindre (+12.4%) que les abonnements 3G « voix+data » (+127.5%) entre mars 2011 et septembre 2011. En d’autres termes la 3G pousse à l’adoption de l’Internet mais son attrait est plus grand auprès du consommateur marocain sous la forme d’un package « voix+data ».


     
    Selon le report de l’ANRT, la tendance baissière des prix mesurés par la facture moyenne mensuelle par client Internet se confirme. En effet, elle est passée de 93 DHHT/mois/client (8.3 Euros) à fin septembre 2010 à 60 DHHT/mois/client (5.4 Euros) à fin septembre 2011marquant ainsi une baisse de 35%. Pour l’Internet 3G, cette facture est passée de 68 DHHT/mois/client (6.1 Euros) au 30/09/2010 à 41 DHHT/mois/client (3.7 Euros) au 30/09/20111 marquant une baisse de 40%. Pour l’ADSL, la facture est passée de 140 DHHT/mois/client (12.5 Euros) à fin septembre 2010 à 124 DHHT/mois/client (11.1 Euros) à fin septembre 2011 marquant ainsi une baisse de 11%.
    Le rapport complet de l’ANRT est téléchargable au lien suivant

  • La 11e réunion des ministres de la Cedeao en charge des Nouvelles technologies de l’information et de la communication (Ntic) a pris fin le 14 octobre dernier à la fondation Félix Houphouët Boigny de Yamoussoukro. Les travaux, selon, M. Koné Bruno Nabagné, ministre ivoirien de la Poste et des Technologies de l’information et de la communication( Ptic) ont été sanctionnés de grandes décisions et l’on a adopté la stratégie globale dans le secteur au niveau de l’espace communautaire pour les cinq prochaines années. Celles-ci tracent les contours du futur marché commun ouest africain des Ntic. Ce après des discussions très franches. «En ce qui concerne le document relatif à la suspension de la taxe de terminaison sur le trafic entrant entre les Etats membres de la Cedeao, la réunion a décidé, en tenant compte des positions et de la spécificité de chaque Etat, qu’une recommandation soit adressée à la commission de la Cedeao, en vue de la réalisation d’une étude sur l’impact de cette taxe à l’intérieur de la Communauté. Les conclusions de cette étude doivent être soumises à la prochaine réunion des ministres en charge des Télécommunications / Tic en vue de permettre une prise de décision motivée» a précisé le ministre Koné au cours d’une conférence de presse. Il est bon de préciser que la taxe de terminaison sur le trafic entrant qui est une charge supportée par l’entreprise de télécommunication et les clients qui reçoivent en bout de chaine l’appel et à verser à un Etat donné, est déjà en vigueur dans certains Etats de la Cedeao. Citons en autres, le Sénégal, le Bénin et le Ghana. Ne faudrait t-il pas craindre une réciprocité dans ces conditions et donc voir cette taxe entrer en vigueur en Côte d’Ivoire et partant des les Etats qui ne l’appliquent pas encore ? Le ministre Koné a dit clairement : «Nous n’avons reporté aucune décision qui puisse impacter la bourse de nos populations». Par ailleurs, en ce qui concerne le projet de règlement portant conditions d’accès aux câbles sous-marins en Afrique de l’Ouest, après analyse profonde, il a été recommandé également une étude pour l’élaboration d’une règlementation harmonisée des droits de passage en s’inspirant des meilleures pratiques existantes, notamment au Rwanda. Cette activité doit être inscrite dans la stratégie de mise en œuvre des projets prioritaires Télécommunications/Tic dans l’espace communautaire pour les cinq prochaines années. Ce après que les pays sans façade maritime aient souligné que la résolution de la question de droit de passage entre les pays membres est nécessaire pour faciliter, entre autres, l’accès aux stations d’atterrissement des câbles sous-marins. A noter que pour l’année 2012 et conformément à la «Vision 2020» de la Cedeao, l’objectif est de mettre en service deux nouveaux câbles de grande capacité en plus des trois qui sont déjà en activité avec une vingtaine de connexions au niveau des pays membres. Ce qui indubitablement, va faire baisser les coûts d’accès à ces infrastructures et partant offrir les meilleurs prix d’accès aux bandes passantes.

    Le Temps
  • Extrait du communiqué du Conseil des ministres du 20 octobre 2011
    dimanche 23 octobre 2011

    Le Chef de l’Etat a noté que la licence d’exploitation d’un réseau de télécommunications, concédée à un moment donné de l’évolution de notre pays, entraine d’énormes bénéfices en faveur de l’exploitant. Pourtant, l’Etat, qui perçoit au départ le prix de cette licence, ne voit pas sa part des revenus générés évoluer, malgré la croissance économique générale et l’augmentation rapide du nombre d’abonnés au téléphone. C’est pourquoi le Président de la République a fait part au Conseil de sa décision de soumettre au Parlement un projet de loi fixant la part incompressible de l’Etat, d’au moins 35%, dans le capital de toutes les sociétés de télécommunications au Sénégal. Ce projet de loi, a-t-il indiqué, ne remet pas en cause le principe du recours au secteur privé pour lui confier l’exploitation des différents réseaux de téléphone. Il s’agit tout simplement de faire bénéficier l’Etat d’une partie des bénéfices générés, autant que dure l’activité d’exploitation au lieu de la fixer une fois pour toutes au départ.

    A ce propos, le Chef de l’Etat a informé le Conseil de la création d’une société Anonyme dénommée TELECOM - SEN - SA, ayant pour objet la gestion de toutes les parts détenues par l’Etat, sans exception, dans les sociétés d’exploitation d’un réseau téléphonique au Sénégal. Cette gestion, a précisé le Président de la République, signifie la représentation de l’Etat et l’accomplissement de toutes les actions de bonne gouvernance, à l’exception de la perception des redevances et produits de licences d’exploitation de réseaux téléphoniques qui doivent être versés directement au Trésor public.

  • Airtel est le premier opérateur en téléphonie mobile à couvrir tous les grands axes routiers. La Route nationale 7, assurément la plus utilisée, ne déroge pas à cette règle. Airtel a été l'initiateur de la couverture des axes routiers. Une initiative couronnée de succès dans la mesure où cela a permis d'accroître la sécurité pour les voyageurs sur ces tronçons. « Aujourd'hui, Airtel investit dans l'amélioration de son réseau sur les routes nationales et dans les villes riveraines. Antsirabe et Fianarantsoa figurent actuellement dans la liste des villes cibles », déclare un responsable d'Airtel.

    Les unes après les autres, les villes de cet axe se voient pourvues des nouveaux matériels de télécommunication d'Airtel Madagascar. Des matériels de la dernière technologie qui apportent une plus grande capacité et assurent une meilleure couverture à ces localités. Antsirabe, la deuxième ville la plus peuplée de Madagascar, et Fianarantsoa, capitale du royaume Betsileo, ont bénéficié de ces nouvelles infrastructures. La population peut désormais avoir accès à des services plus performants et à toutes les offres avec des applications modernes, en phase avec les besoins de chacun.

    Les travaux et les investissements de l'opérateur s'intensifient dans tout le pays et sur les axes routiers. Le but étant de donner aux clients un service de qualité mais à un coût accessible. Airtel Madagascar se donne comme objectif d'être l'opérateur le plus aimé des Malgaches dans les années à venir. Un objectif qui passe obligatoirement par des investissements et des améliorations de longue haleine.

  • Le processus d’octroi des licences d’exploitation de la 3e génération de la téléphonie mobile vient d’être ajourné encore une fois, à la demande des opérateurs ayant procédé au retrait de l’appel à la concurrence.

    A l’issue de la première étape de lancement de l’appel à la concurrence marquant le premier pas vers la concrétisation enfin de la 3G, les opérateurs ayant procédé au retrait de cet appel ont, en effet, émis le souhait de disposer de davantage de temps afin de mieux préparer leurs dossiers de candidature.

    Le ministère de la Poste et des Technologies de l’information et de la communication qui s’est montré attentif à cette doléance a ainsi décidé de procéder à un report des échéances des différentes étapes du processus en question.

    Dans un communiqué rendu public à l’effet d’annoncer le report de l’appel d’offres, le département de M. Benhamadi rappelle, cependant, que le déploiement de la 3G et de la 3G plus demeure une priorité dans le programme du gouvernement en matière de généralisation de l’accès et de l’usage des TIC par la disponibilité du haut débit et du très haut débit que permet essentiellement la technologie 3G et 3G plus.

    Donc, il ne s’agit cette fois que d’un ajournement du processus afin de permettre aux trois opérateurs de mieux se préparer pour cette nouvelle bataille que tous reconnaissent comme étant rude et nécessitant beaucoup d’investissements.

    Alors que les trois opérateurs mobiles étaient unanimes à déclarer dans un premier temps leur disposition à adopter cette nouvelle technologie, tous ont reconnu par la suite que l’opération exige des investissements conséquents.

    Techniquement, les trois opérateurs disposent de réseaux expérimentaux mais le déploiement de la technologie à travers le vaste territoire algérien n’est pas pour autant une mince affaire.

    A ce titre, le ministre de la Poste et des Technologie de l’information et de la communication, M. Moussa Benhamadi, a affirmé récemment dans un entretien accordé à un quotidien national que la couverture du territoire national en 3G se fera d’une manière graduelle dans la cadre d’un échéancier qui sera établi par l’ARPT dans le cahier des charges prévu à cet effet.

    Ce cahier des charges qui devrait être publié incessamment déterminera également les modalités d’attribution des licences d’exploitation.

    En attendant de connaître la procédure finale telle qu’arrêtée, l’on parle de deux options adoptées par le ministère de la Poste et des TIC, dont la première envisage une cession à un prix fixe déterminé par le gouvernement alors que la deuxième option propose aux trois opérateurs du marché algérien concernés par l’offre de bénéficier d’un tarif d’accès beaucoup plus bas qui leur permettra de se lancer aisément et sans gros investissements dans ce nouveau service. En contrepartie, ils verseraient à l’Etat un certain pourcentage de leur chiffre d’affaires.

    Il reste que la décision finale sur les conditions de cession des licences 3G ne sera connue qu’avec la publication du cahier des charges dans les tout prochains jours.

    Les trois opérateurs mobiles algériens qui ont demandé à l’unisson un délai supplémentaire pour la préparation de leurs dossiers de candidature s’accordent également à affirmer que les tarifs finaux d’accès aux services 3G qui seront proposés aux utilisateurs dépendront en premier lieu du prix d’acquisition de la licence d’exploitation. Cette affirmation a été apportée par les trois (Mobilis, Djezzy et Nedjma) au lendemain même de l’annonce faite par M. Benhamadi le 15 août qui faisait part du lancement des services de la troisième génération du mobile sur le marché algérien en janvier 2012.Le premier responsable du département des TIC ne cesse lui de souligner que l’accès des citoyens utilisateurs de la téléphonie mobile aux services de la 3G se fera à des prix abordables avec, en plus, « une qualité de service exemplaire».

    Quant au choix de la norme 3G par rapport à la 4G, il est lié, avait expliqué encore le ministre, à des raisons économiques. «On ne veut pas alourdir les charges des trois opérateurs qui ont déjà déployé des réseaux expérimentaux de la 3G», avait-il déclaré.

    Algérie360
  • D’ici la prochaine réunion prévue en mars 2012, au Costa Rica, l’instance mondiale de la Gouvernance de l’Internet se penchera, entre autres, sur les recommandations de l’agenda africain, la mise en route des nouveaux noms de domaine (gTld), de l’Ipv6, etc.

    Vendredi à Dakar, dernier jour de la 42ème réunion de l’Icann, de nouveaux membres ont fait leur entrée au sein du Board tandis que deux autres ont quitté. C’est le cas du Gambien Katim Serigne Touray, l’un des trois Africains à siéger dans le Conseil d’administration de l’Icann. Hier, la session du Board de l’Icann a été le lieu d’échanges sur la campagne de communication à tenir sur les nouveaux noms de domaine (gTLD) qui entrent en vigueur en janvier 2012 dans les différentes zones géographiques de l’Icann. Les membres du Board ont suggéré une campagne de communication ouverte, transparente et compréhensible. Pour mettre en route l’Ipv6, une collaboration avec l’Union internationale des Télécommunications a été également préconisée. Ils ont également pris acte des recommandations de la table ronde ministérielle africaine, tenue du 19 au 21 octobre dernier, en prélude à la réunion de l’Icann à Dakar. La réponse à ces suggestions du continent, se fera sans doute avant décembre, nous a confié la Nigérienne Anne-Rachel Inné, directrice de l’Icann chargée des relations avec l’Afrique.

    L’autre moment fort de cette session du Conseil d’administration, était l’arrivée de nouveaux membres en son sein et le départ de deux autres, dont le Gambien Katim Serigne Touray. Dans son boubou caftan, la tête rasée, il ne passait pas inaperçu le long des couloirs du Méridien-Président et parmi les membres du Board de l’Icann.

    Présent dans le Conseil d’administration de l’Icann depuis novembre 2008, Katim Serigne Touray, a fini son mandat de trois ans, hier, 28 octobre à Dakar. La 42e réunion de l’instance de la Gouvernance de l’Internet en terre africaine, ne pouvait être meilleur symbole pour l’agronome gambien, de dire au revoir aux autres membres du Conseil d’administration. Ces derniers lui ont d’ailleurs décerné une bonne minute d’applaudissements, comme du reste le public présent sous la grande tente dressée sur le green de l’hôtel du Méridien-Président. « Permettez-moi, de remercier mes parents gambiens et sénégalais en langue wolof. Que cette réunion de Dakar rapproche davantage la Gambie et le Sénégal... » a lancé au micro l’ex-membre du Board de l’Icann quand son président Steve Crocker lui a donné la parole. De son petit village natal de Balangadé, aux instances de la Gouvernance mondiale de l’Internet, en passant par les écoles américaines, Katim Serigne Touray, n’a pas oublié ses racines. Au cours d’une courte présente diapo, K. Touray est revenu sur ses origines en partant de son village jusqu’à visiter de nombreux pays, rencontrer et travailler avec beaucoup de personnes de talent. Tout cela, dans le cadre de sa mission à l’Icann. C’est dans cette dynamique qu’il insistera sur le fait que les pays en voie développement, notamment africains, ont des choses à dire et à apporter à la gouvernance d’internet. « Le monde sera un endroit meilleur si tout un chacun jouit des progrès actuels des nouvelles technologies », a défendu K. Touray.

    « C’est un homme enthousiaste. On va le regretter. Nous allons regretter votre travail. Mais, vous ne nous quittez pas définitivement, restez intéressé par ce que fait l’Icann... » a dit Steve Crocker, le Pca de l’instance mondiale de la Gouvernance de l’Internet, à l’endroit de l’ingénieur agronome gambien. Ce dernier se dit convaincu qu’Internet reste un réseau de peuples et il a souhaité le meilleur pour ses ex-collègues du Board de l’Icann.

    Le Soleil
  • Appels vidéos, téléchargement de musique, télévision sur mobile, pour les 3,7 millions de Congolais (dont plus d’un million sont abonnés à l’opérateur Airtel Congo, filiale du groupe indien Barthi Airtel), la révolution du mobile est en marche, et il ne s’agit pas là que d’un simple positionnement marketing.

    La 3G a été officiellement lancée le 25 octobre dernier à Brazzaville, la capitale du pays. Les tarifs ne sont pas encore connus, mais le directeur général d’Airtel Congo, Betson Tsintsélé se montre déjà particulièrement enthousiaste : « La 3G va libérer le potentiel de la jeunesse en favorisant un accès rapide à Internet pour l’apprentissage, le partage, les réseaux sociaux, la création et l’accès à des contenus comme la musique », a-t-il déclaré, cité par l’Agence Ecofin.

    Au Gabon, le passage à la 3G est également sur la bonne voie. Airtel Gabon a signé le 4 ocotobre dernier une convention avec l’Artel (Agence de régulation des télécoms, l’Arcep gabonaise) autorisant son accès à la 3G. Dans les six prochain mois, l’ensemble du Gabon devrait bénéficier de cette technologie dont vont aussi profiter, outre les internautes, les banques et la médecine.

    L’Artel est aussi en train de discuter avec les quatre autres opérateurs de téléphonie mobile présents au Gabon pour les services de troisième génération.

    Newzilla
  • Le vice-ministre des Télécommunications aux Technologies de l'Information, Pedro Teta, a déclaré à Luanda, que le ministère de l'Enseignement supérieur et de la Science et Technologie compte promouvoir les langues nationales sur Internet, à travers une coopération avec la société de logiciels, Google.

    Le vice-ministre a lancé cette information après sa visite à l'Agence Angola Press, ajoutant que la  société multinationales de service online et software a l’intention de venir en Angola en novembre prochain pour un atelier de formation des cadres angolais.

    "Nous voulons que Google s'établisse en Angola afin que nous puissions promouvoir nos langues dans ses services", a-t-il précisé. Pedro Teta espère qu'avec l'établissement de google en Angola, le ministère de l'Enseignement supérieur, science et la technologie puisse réaliser ses objectifs établis pour la promotion des langues nationales, qui ont montré un déficit en matière de divulgation.

    ANGOP
  • Le logiciel dénommé IP Panorama axé sur la gestion de la propriété intellectuelle, vient d'être présenté aux pays membres de l'Organisation africaine de la propriété intellectuelle (OAPI) dans le but d'édifier les sociétés grâce au partage de stratégies d'affaires en matière de propriété intellectuelle. Ce logiciel qui est un outil multimédia et didactique de formation explique clairement l'importance de la propriété intellectuelle pour les entreprises tout en leur proposant le développement en ligne des produits éducatifs sur la propriété intellectuelle.

    Véritable aubaine pour les pays africains qui doivent nécessairement maîtriser cet outil de promotion parce que possédant un avantage concurrentiel dans plusieurs domaines

    Notons que le logiciel IP Panorama est disponible dans les langues officielles de l'ONU, en ce sens qu'il est un programme utilisé comme outil pour renforcer la sensibilisation à la propriété intellectuelle.

    Gabon News
  • Le Conseil africain et malgache pour l'enseignement supérieur (CAMES) a procédé au lancement officiel des activités de son Centre d'information et de documentation (CID) et de sa « plateforme cyberthèse », le mercredi 26 octobre 2011 à Ouagadougou.

    Inauguré le 25 mars 2011, le Centre d'information et de documentation du Conseil africain et malgache pour l'enseignement supérieur (CID-CAMES) dénommé « Centre Joseph Ki-Zerbo » a été conçu pour contribuer au renforcement des capacités et à la modernisation de l'institution, par la mise en oeuvre d'une infrastructure informatique.

    On s'attend à ce que, par cette mémoire, le fonds documentaire sur les systèmes d'enseignement supérieur et de recherche de l'espace CAMES soit mieux structuré et valorisé en vue d'une meilleure communication institutionnelle.

    Aussi, elle assurera au mieux, la diffusion des thèses et mémoires des enseignants-chercheurs d'universités ou de centres de recherche des pays membres. C'est pour atteindre un tel objectif que le CAMES a lancé officiellement les activités de ce centre, le mercredi 26 octobre 2011 à son siège à Ouagadougou.

    Etabli dans l'enceinte de l'institution, ce joyau aura pour entre autres prestations de service, l'accès à une bibliothèque spécialisée, la consultation des archives scientifiques, la formation aux Technologies de l'information et de la communication (TIC) et aux thématiques spécifiques de l'institution, en matière d'enseignement supérieur, de recherche et d'innovation, la connexion à l'Internet haut débit, avec une vingtaine d'ordinateurs etc.

    « Ces facilités permettront aux enseignants-chercheurs, aux chercheurs et aux doctorants de se former et d'être plus compétitifs », a indiqué Pr Bertrand Mbatchi, Secrétaire général (SG) du CAMES.

    La cérémonie de lancement des activités du centre a également été l'occasion de la présentation de la « plateforme cyberthèse » du CID, une base de données qui a pour vocation de devenir un portail d'accès aux différentes ressources documentaires et scientifiques des universités, des institutions d'enseignement supérieur et de centres de recherches publics et privés.

    Selon le SG, les futures évolutions de la « plateforme cyberthèse » prévoient de dynamiser le processus de production des thèses et des publications scientifiques par les outils du Web, dans le but de favoriser le libre accès aux savoirs produits par les scientifiques africains.

    « Le CAMES se retrouve devant un tournant historique qu'il doit opérer avec lucidité et audace pour continuer à jouer pleinement sa partition dans le concert des organismes se préoccupant des paradigmes liés à l'éducation, la formation, la recherche scientifique et l'innovation technologique », a-t-il dit. Le CID est ouvert au public les jours ouvrables et les différentes prestations de service sont payantes.

    Sidwaya
  • La Commission nationale de la connectivité (CNC) propose une nouvelle démarche afin de rendre l'accès aux Tics dans le secteur de l'éducation plus efficient.

    La CNC s'est réunie récemment pour sa première séance plénière statutaire en présence de son président, Alassane Dialy Ndiaye, ministre d'Etat auprès du chef de l'Etat.

    "Constatant le caractère désordonné dans l'informatisation du secteur de l'éducation, il a été demandé à la CNC de proposer une nouvelle démarche afin de rendre cet accès aux Tics plus efficient, même dans le secteur privé", selon un communiqué reçu à l'APS.

    La réunion a abordé l'éventualité de chevauchements dans la gestion du Fonds de développement du service universel des télécommunications (FDSUT) et l'orientation des interventions du FDSUT vers la réalisation de projets pour les plus démunis sur le plan numérique, selon la même source.

    Les membres de la commission ont souligné, entre autres, l'urgence de définir et de rédiger une stratégie nationale en matière de Télécommunications et de Tics.

    La CNC a aussi proposé à son secrétariat exécutif de "se rapprocher" du groupe en charge de la rédaction des décrets d'application du Code des Télécommunications "en vue d'une harmonisation avec le décret de la CNC", lit-on dans le texte.

    L'objectif, explique t-on, est d'éviter "des chevauchements dans les prérogatives des différents ministères en charge des Télécommunications, des Tics et de la téléphonie rurale".

    Mise en place par décret en 2011, la Commission nationale de la connectivité a pour missions de veiller sur les questions relatives à la réglementation ou la régulation des Télécommunications et des Tics, l'octroi de licences de Télécommunications et/ou des Technologies de l'Information et de la Communication et de Téléphonie rurale.

    Elle veille également sur les litiges entre opérateurs sur la connectivité, les catastrophes naturelles ayant entraîné des dommages importants sur les infrastructures de Télécommunications, l'interconnexion des réseaux administratifs au niveau national, l'interconnexion des réseaux africains et mondiaux.

    A cet effet, le président de la Commission et ses collaborateurs peuvent participer aux réunions et séminaires tant nationaux qu'internationaux relatifs aux télécommunications et aux Tics "afin de procéder à une analyse et d'adresser au Président de la République, un avis lui permettant de prendre les décisions idoines", indique le communiqué.

    APS
  • Le 3ème Sommet mondial de l'innovation dans l'éducation (WISE, de sigle anglais) a primé, mercredi à Doha, six projets innovateurs en matière d'éducation et capables d'offrir une scolarisation à davantage d'enfants dans le monde.

    Ces projets sont portés par des acteurs engagés dans l'éducation venus du Bangladesh, des Etats-Unis, des Pays- Bas, de la Turquie, du Maroc et du Brésil. Ils explorent de nouvelles manières de transmettre le savoir.

    Pour le Bangladesh, le projet s'intitule "BBC Janala". Initié à Dhaka en 2009 par la Fondation BBC, il vise l'apprentissage de l'anglais au plus grand nombre d'enfants, à travers les médias et le portable qu'ils utilisent tous les jours.

    "L'anglais est un marqueur social traditionnellement réservé à une élite et le projet a permis de briser les préjugés en permettant aujourd'hui à des milliers de personnes d'avoir des leçons accessibles et simples", a expliqué le chef du projet, Mouhamed Ashrafuzzman, récompensé par un Award remis par la présidente de la Fondation Qatar, Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser, lors d'une soirée de gala.

    De façon inattendue, ces leçons dispensées par le biais du portable, à travers des émissions interactives où encore des CD vendus à des prix très bas, ont permis au projet de réussir le pari de cet enseignement.

    Le 3ème WISE a aussi primé le projet dénommé "Connexions", créé en 1999. Il s'agit d'une plateforme "open source" de partage de connaissances où chacun peut consulter des cours envoyés par des contributeurs bénévoles.

    "Connexions" est ainsi un manuel scolaire qui évolue au fil des apports de ses membres pour répondre aux besoins de connaissance des apprenants. La plateforme attire près de 2 millions de visiteurs par mois et compte 10.000 membres inscrits.

    Récompensé lors de la soirée, Teacher Education in Sub Saharan Africa (TESSA) est un projet du Royaume-Uni dont le sujet principal est la partie sub-saharienne du continent africain. Son activité consiste à améliorer la formation des enseignants.

    Un projet marocain illustrant l'implication du secteur privé dans l'éducation, notamment au travers des technologies de l'information et de la communication (TIC), a aussi reçu un Award.

    APS
  • La Telecommunications Workers Union (TWU) s'apprête à commémorer dans la contestation le onzième anniversaire de la vente de 40 % d'actions de Mauritius Telecom à l'opérateur français. Un partenariat qualifié de faillite totale et « d'escroquerie politique ».

    Les dirigeants de la TWU ont, lors d'une conférence de presse ce lundi 7 novembre, présenté un bilan complètement négatif du partenariat entre Mauritius Telecom et France Télécom. Ils estiment que le partenaire stratégique choisi en novembre 2000 n'a pas été à la hauteur des promesses faites à la population à l'époque.

    Tout au contraire, estime les dirigeants syndicaux, les onze années de présence de FT au sein de l'actionnariat et de la direction de Mauritius Telecom ont été « des plus sombres ». Ils réclament la reprise du contrôle total de l'opérateur national de téléphonie par l'Etat. Une manifestation sera organisée le vendredi 11 novembre prochain à cet effet.

    « Ce partenariat avec France Télécom s'est avéré être une grande arnaque et une escroquerie politique au détriment du pays, des employés ainsi que de la compagnie nationale de télécommunications », estime Vishnu Jugdhurry, négociateur de la TWU. « Reprendre le contrôle de Mauritius Telecom n'est plus une option ou un rêve gauchiste, mais un impératif », ajoute-t-il.

    Le négociateur de la TWU soutient que le temps a prouvé que les appréhensions et les mises en garde exprimées par les employés au moment des négociations se sont confirmées alors que les promesses faites par les politiques ne se sont jamais matérialisées.
    Ainsi, la TWU estime que le partenariat de Mauritius Telecom et France Telecom est une « faillite totale » qui n'a rien apporté de plus, ni à la société mauricienne ni au développement de l'entreprise.

    « Il n'y a eu, au cours de ces onze années de présence française, aucun développement technologique que Mauritius Telecom n'aurait pas pu mettre en oeuvre sans l'apport de France Télécom », explique Vishnu Jugdhurry.

    Pour les syndicalistes, le grand gagnant de l'accord signé en 2000 est France Télécom qui « continue à vampiriser les ressources de la compagnie », entre autres en se positionnant comme l'unique fournisseur d'équipement auprès de Mauritius Telecom. « Même les modems fabriqués en Chine sont fournis par France Télécom et payés en euros », ajoute Vishnu Jugdhurry.

    Il fait également ressortir que depuis 2000, l'effectif de Mauritius Telecom a connu une baisse considérable avec le départ de 500 employés qui n'ont pas été remplacés. Il dénonce également la baisse de la qualité des services offerts par la compagnie due au manque de moyens avec la réduction permanente des dépenses.

    La manifestation de vendredi prochain regroupera toutes les confédérations syndicales du pays ainsi que d'autres mouvements politiques et citoyens, selon, les organisateurs, Ces derniers invitent la population dans son ensemble, et plus particulièrement les employés des corps para-étatiques qui sont menacés de privatisation, à venir les rejoindre devant les locaux de Mauritius Telecom.

    L’Express
  • Depuis quelques temps, le gouvernement algérien multiplie les contacts avec les firmes étrangères en vue de mettre en place de nouveaux partenariats. Le but : Acquérir un nouveau savoir-faire et un transfert de technologies, créer de l’emploi et relancer l’industrialisation du pays paralysée par plus de 10 ans de terrorisme et de crise économique.

    Les pouvoirs publics entendent également revoir leur coopération avec des partenaires traditionnels. Pas loin qu’hier, le ministre de la Poste et des Technologies de l’information et de la communication, Moussa Benhamadi, a invité Ericsson, groupe suédois spécialisé en télécommunications, à œuvrer dans le cadre de leur partenariat, vieux de plusieurs décennies, à un transfert de savoir-faire et d’expertise en faveur de l’Algérie ainsi qu’à une redynamisation de la société mixte algéro-suédoise SITEL.

    M. Benhamadi a exprimé ces attentes du secteur national des télécommunications vis-à-vis de ce partenaire ” historique ” de l’Algérie lors d’un entretien à Genève avec le PDG de la multinationale suédoise, en marge du sommet mondial des télécommunications (ITU World 2011) qui se tient dans la ville suisse du 24 et qui prendra fin ce soir.

    En attendant la réponse d’Ericsson, l’Algérie a signé dans le courant de la semaine, par le biais du ministère de la Poste et des Technologies de l’information et de la communication, deux conventions avec les firmes Nokia Siemens Network et Huawei pour la création en Algérie de centres de formation et d’innovation. Au titre des activités de son secteur, M. Benhamadi a annoncé qu’une ” commission nationale pour la large bande (haut débit, très haut débit) sera bientôt créée “.

    Algérie360.
  • Un nouveau jeu pour téléphone mobile apprend aux utilisateurs africains à mieux survivre dans un bidonville. Les défis de la vie quotidienne sont minutieusement reproduits dans le but d'éduquer tout en divertissant.

    « J'ai grandi dans le bidonville de Nairobi, mais il n'y avait personne qui prenait d'initiatives pour changer les choses d'une façon amusante », se souvient Tobias Ouma, un des créateurs du jeu GetH2O.

    Et puis, un concept est né, celui d'un jeu qu'on peut télécharger sur son téléphone portable. « L'idée du jeu GetH2O est de gagner des points lorsqu'on construit des maisons, des écoles et des hôpitaux, tout ce qui apporte du poids dans la vie sociale. Mais tu risques aussi de perdre des points lorsque tu participes à des affaires criminelles. »

    GetH2O a été inventé simultanément par Nairobits, une équipe de jeunes designers kényans et leurs mentors de l'ONG néerlandaise Butterfly Works.

    Apres avoir réalisé une étude approfondie sur les problématiques au niveau des bidonvilles, ils ont traduit les conditions de vie dans ce jeu pour mobile. Comme, par exemple, la carence d'eau potable et la pollution de la rivière qui traverse la ville. Il y a deux dangers auxquels il faut faire face: les gangs et les promoteurs immobiliers.

    Le nom anglophone GetH2O est à double sens : traduit littéralement, cela veux dire organiser de l'eau. Mais phonétiquement, ça se lit « ghetto ». Ce jeu de mots caractérise l'ambiguïté qui règne dans les bidonvilles du Kenya. GetH2O rapproche les jeunes par la sensibilisation et permet de créer des forums de discussion et d'échanges sur ces thématiques.

    "En général", dit Tobias Ouma, "les gens voient ce qui se passe autour d'eux, mais ils se taisent. Ils n'aiment pas parler de leurs émotions et sentiments. C'était le cas lors des irrégularités après les élections présidentielles en 2007.

    Par contre, le jeu GetH2O apporte un changement parmi les jeunes participants du jeu: ils sont plus conscients de leur situation quotidienne. Grâce à ce jeu, nous organisons des séances en groupe pour ouvrir le dialogue parmi les jeunes habitants du bidonville."

    GetH2O cible surtout les adolescents entre 11 et 20 ans qui possèdent déjà un téléphone portable avec un accès à l'Internet. Le téléchargement de l'application est relativement rapide. Avec sa taille de 60 kilobits (kb), la transmission du logiciel ne prend pas plus de temps que celle d'un courrier électronique.

    "Le jeu en soi est gratuit. Le coût de la communication revient à moins d'un dollar par semaine", explique Tobias Ouma. "Un des désavantages de ce jeu est qu'il faut lire le manuel pour connaître les règles du jeu."

    L'autre obstacle : GetH2O est seulement accessible avec d'anciens modèles de téléphones mobiles. "En ce moment, Butterfly Works développe une application du jeu pour smartphones", rassure Tobias Ouma.

    Mais le succès de GetH2O va déjà maintenant au-delà des frontières du Kenya : dans 20 pays, le jeu à été téléchargé plus de 40.000 fois.

    RNW
  • 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: 

  • - Blaise Compaoré, Président du Burkina Faso, a été nommé Président du Conseil consultatif international du Partenariat multilatéral international contre les cybermenaces (IMPACT), qui est l’agent d’exécution de l’UIT dans le domaine de la cybersécurité.

    - Hamadou Saliah-Hassane, professeur à l'unité d'enseignement et de recherche Science et technologie, a reçu la plus haute distinction honorifique de l’Ordre des Palmes académiques du Niger, celle de commandeur.

  • Un(e) Ingénieur développement java senior H/F – Sénégal

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