Edition Française, 24 février 2011, No 152

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Editorial

  • La guerre des prix fait maintenant partie de la vie du secteur mobile en Afrique et il y a peu de réseaux qui soient aussi concurrentiels en ce moment qu’en Afrique de l’Est. Des tarifs toujours plus bas mettent même beaucoup de pression sur des opérateurs aussi bien établis et dominant que Safaricom au Kenya.  Les opérateurs partagent le sentiment qu’il faut qu’ils y participent  pour gagner plus de parts de marché. Les premiers résultats pour ceux qui se sont engagés dans cette voie sont modestes. La concurrence sur la qualité et les services est moins médiatisée en tant que stratégie mais elle fait certainement partie de leur approche. Russell Southwood s’est entretenu avec deux DGs très différents qui se trouvent au cœur de cette guerre des prix. Il s’agit de Bob Collymore, le DG de Safaricom et de Philipe de Luxcey, le DG d’Orange Ouganda, le premier défendant sa position d’opérateur dominant alors que le second cherche à développer son réseau. 

    - L’entretien avec Bob Collymore est centré sur la qualité du réseau, le service clientèle, la technologie LTE et le développement de contenu local.

    La guerre des prix au Kenya s’est récemment traduite par une annonce d’Airtel d’une baisse des prix des appels de 8 shillings à 3 shillings par minute. L’opérateur a par la suite « rectifié le tir » en annonçant qu’il s’agissait d’une promotion et non pas d’un nouveau tarif. L’homme qui se trouve sur des chardons ardents, c’est Bob Collymore, le DG de Safaricom, l’opérateur qui a la plus grosse part de marché du segment mobile au Kenya.

    « Notre part de marché sur la base du nombre d’abonnés s’élève à 77%. Notre ARPU est plus élevé que celui des autres. Nous avons une position significative sur le marché mais nous avons le sentiment que c’est parce que les autres n’étaient pas vraiment compétents. La direction en charge du second opérateur manquait de consistance par exemple. Nous sommes ok avec l’idée de perdre des parts de marché (aux regards des tarifs d’appels irréalistiquement trop bas) et de nous concentrer sur Nairobi et les communautés disposant de revenus confortables. Les populations qui habitent dans des endroits reculés reçoivent plus d’appels (qu’ils n’en font). Si les tarifs continuent à baisser, pourquoi est-ce que je devrais continuer à le faire aussi ? »

    Collymore souhaiterait que le Gouvernement fixe un prix plancher en dessous duquel les tarifs d’appels ne peuvent pas être réduit. Cela a été fait au Congo RDC et au Sri-Lanka. « Une solution alternative serait de taxer les appels à bas prix mais une taxe ne résoudra pas les autres problèmes (comme les besoins d’investissements). Face à ces challenges, Bob Collymore dit qu’il sera nécessaire d’adopter un autre modèle commercial plus centré sur les services professionnels à valeur ajoutée. « Nous n’emploierons plus des personnes diplômés dans nos centres d’appels. Pour l’instant nous évitons d’externaliser ». C’est un message clair pour le Gouvernement. En plus de ce message alarmant, il y a les pertes financières pour l’Etat, actionnaire de Safaricom.

    Avec cette guerre des prix et d’autres problèmes, Bob Collymore a beaucoup communiqué avec les médias cherchant à ne rien cacher de telle sorte qu’ils ne viennent pas le hanter plus tard dans son parcours. Il s’agit d’une personne beaucoup plus douce que son prédécesseur et il est bien conscient des challenges qui l’attendent.

    Sur le sujet de notoriété publique du réseau congestionné de Safaricom: « Lors de mes rencontres avec des clients, il est clair que la qualité du réseau est un souci pour beaucoup d’entre eux. Les gens vous disent des choses si vous les écoutez. Notre trafic a beaucoup augmenté. Notre trafic dans la semaine 50 de 2010 était 100% plus élevé que la même semaine en 2009 ».

    Et du côté des services data? « Nous ne sommes pas aussi vulnérable que sur le segment voix. Ce n’est pas mauvais et nous n’avons pas autant de plaintes concernant les prix et la couverture. Mes 3,000 adeptes sur Twitter me le diraient si quelque chose n’allait pas ».

    Le service clientèle très peu réactif de Safaricom : « l’accès aux centres d’appels aurait du être mieux contrôlé. Chaque jour nous recevons en moyenne 500,000 tentatives d’appels mais nous avons seulement une capacité de 100,000 appels. Par conséquent seul un appel sur 5 aura la chance de passer. Cela dit le nombre à baisser après une pointe de 800,000 appels par jour ».

    La grande partie de cette demande est générée par l’opérateur lui-même soit parce qu’il n’explique pas bien les choses à ses clients soit parce que ses tarifs sont trop compliqués. Bob Collymore a décidé de simplifier la structure des tarifs d’appels qui comptait 20 tarifs différents en la réduisant au prépayé et post-payé  (et aux appels on net et off net). Il y avait trop de tarifs. Cela sème la confusion dans le secteur. Nous devons dire la vérité aux consommateurs”.

    En dépit des pressions causées par la guerre des prix, Safaricom continue à jouer son rôle d’innovateur sur le marché kenyan. L’Internet résidentiel et une offre triple? « C’est sur notre feuille de route. Nous devrons inévitablement proposer cela parce que c’est ce que le consommateur veut”. La technologie LTE ? « Nos tests se sont bien passés mais il faut encore compter 12 à 18 mois parce que les portables ne sont pas encore vraiment disponibles. Mais nous sommes prêts et nous serons les premiers sur le marché ».

    Le service M-Pesa ? « Nous avons 14 millions de clients et 2.5 millions de transactions journalières pour une valeur de 1.3 milliards de shillings. Il y a de la concurrence dans ce segment mais nous continuons à ajouter de nouvelles fonctionnalités en exclusivité. Le service a besoin de devenir plus omniprésent». Est-ce que Safaricom va s’interconnecter avec d’autres services de paiements via mobile ? « Il n’en est pas question ». Mais vous avez le sentiment d’après l’éclat de ses yeux que cela arriver.
     
    Il n’est pas question que nous nous lancions dans la construction d’un réseau national fibre. « C’est trop tard pour le faire. Nous aurions du le faire il y a cinq ans deçà. Le réseau n’est pas très fiable en ce moment. Il y a eu des coupures perturbantes sur la fibre lorsque nous avons annoncé nos résultats pour le premier semestre et leurs occurrences étaient suspectes. Nous avons construit un partenariat solide avec KPLC, Telkom Kenya et JTL qui nous proposent des prix concurrentiels ».

    Est-ce que cela veut dire que les prix de l’Internet vont continuer à baisser ? « Oui, les prix vont continuer à baisser. Plus il y a de personnes qui l’utilisent, plus cela sera moins cher ». Quels sont les potentiels du marché ? « Je souhaiterai que tous les enfants kenyans puissent être connectés à l’Internet. Il faut l’utiliser pour encourager le développement social et j’ai la passion de le faire ».

    Est-ce que Safaricom est impliqué dans le développement de contenu et pourquoi le partage des revenus est aussi défavorable pour les développeurs ? « J’ai suivi le débat sur KICTANET ou l’on nous accuse d’en profiter. Nous demandons 70%. Pourquoi est-ce que les développeurs pensent qu’ils doivent en profiter immédiatement. Nous n’avons pas l’intention de changer notre modèle commercial ».

    « Nous souhaitons développer le contenu local et nous avons consenti des efforts et investi du temps dans la musique locale. Nous gérons notre propre maison d’édition. Nous avons des contrats d’exclusivité avec les artistes et nous les aiderons à se développer. Nous nous lancerons dans d’autres types de contenu mais nous savions que la musique était importante pour Bharti et nous avons pensé que c’était une bonne chose à faire. Le chiffre d’affaires est petit et nous ne générons pas des tonnes d’argent. Il s’agit de créer quelque chose de durable. Les musiciens doivent bien vivre ». Qu’en est-il des rumeurs qui disent que vous allez lancer une plate-forme pour les applicatifs mobiles ? « Nous n’allons pas le faire maintenant mais nous le ferons. Le Kenya est un pays qui a soif de technologie ».

    - Philippe Luxcey, le DG d’Orange Ouganda à propos du déploiement de la 3G, de la technologie LTE et de la TV mobile

    En tant que dernier entrant sur le segment mobile, Orange Ouganda s’est investi dans son développement. En terme de profile public, leur publicité extérieure est partout dans Kampala mais il reste encore à l’opérateur de « gagner les cœurs » des consommateurs voix. Comme Safaricom au Kenya, l’opérateur essaye de s’adapter à une guerre des prix initié par Essar, le nouveau propriétaire de Warid Telecom.

    Phillipe Luxcey ne croit pas que la guerre des prix apportera quelque chose de bien.  « C’est fou, c’est vraiment fou. Il y a des offres qui proposent des appels gratuits pendant 24 heures lorsque vous rechargez UGS1,000 de crédits. Les appels off-net ont baissé jusqu’à UGS3 par seconde et le tarif d’interconnexion est à UGS131 par minute. A cela il faut ajouter, le paiement d’un impôt de 30% sur le chiffre d’affaires. Nous n’avons pas assez de marges pour couvrir les coûts de réseaux. Tous les appels off-net se traduisent par une perte d’argent. Warid a commencé cette guerre des prix et Airtel lui a enjambé le pas ».

    “ Cependant en dépit des prix bas, leur part de marché n’a pas beaucoup bougé. Les opérateurs sont trop confiants qu’ils vont tuer les autres (leurs concurrents) et ils prétendent aussi que le volume de trafic va augmenter ».

    Combien d’abonnés avez-vous à présent ? « Trois mois après le lancement commercial, nous avons 600,000 abonnés mais cela va doucement. Nous comptons que les clients actifs ».

    Est-ce qu’Orange a eu plus de succès avec ses services data ? « Nous avons été les premiers à lancer la technologie HSDPA et UPA et le service a eu un succès très vif dès le premier jour. Nous avons la couverture 3G la plus large avec 230 stations de base 3G. Nous avons à présent 50,000 abonnés et le chiffre est en augmentation puisque nous avons la meilleure qualité et le réseau le plus rapide. Il y a de plus en plus de téléphone 3G sur le marché et beaucoup viennent du marché parallèle. Vous pouvez acheter des téléphones mobile tactiles pour environ 100 dollars US ou moins. Nous allons aussi offrir des services WiMAX mais pas à grande échelle. Nous offrons une version de la Livebox d’Orange sous le label Flybox qui fonctionne avec la 3G ».

    L’Internet est principalement utilisé pour aller sur Facebook, BiTorrent, Yahoo et You Tube. Google a créé un serveur cache local mais ce n’est pas bon pour l’instant.  « Nous étions connecté à Google Global Cache et c’était rapide mais maintenant c’est un cauchemar. Nous allons avoir une réunion avec Google pour leur dire que nous ne sommes pas contents. Nos clients se plaignent et UTL (l’opérateur historique) ne sait pas comment gérer le serveur cache ».

    Est-ce que Orange va introduire la technologie LTE en Ouganda? « Nous avons des réseaux pilotes en Europe mais je pense que pour cette année c’est trop tôt mais nous reverrons la situation l’année prochaine. Il nous faut d’abord stabiliser l’équipement ». Qu’en est-il de la TV mobile ? « Nous allons partager une plate-forme avec le Kenya pour fournir ce service via la 3G. La structure des tarifs sera soit fonction du temps ou du type d’événement avec des tarifs spéciaux pour faire des choses différentes et en garantir son succès ». Orange Money ? « Ce n’est pas encore disponible en Ouganda mais cela le sera bientôt. Le future des paiements mobiles est l’interpolarité ».

    NTIC en Afrique: Ne manquez pas nos dernières vidéos sur notre Web TV qui
    vous apportent des interviews récentes de personnalités d'Afrique et de la
    Diaspora. Ces entrevues sont en anglais et en français:

    Le Cloud en Afrique selon Hedera Tech, visitez:

    Pourquoi l'Afrique a besoin de data centres? par Konan Systems, visitez:

    Réduire la consommation et les coûts de son système informatique tout en le rendant plus adaptable et accessible
    Appel à l'attention des pros de l'informatique en Afrique - par Hedera Tech, visitez:

    Améliorer les services informatiques en Afrique: Konan Systems, visitez:

    Problématiques du marché des NTIC en Afrique sur 2011 - Fasken Martineau - visitez:

  • Le secteur de la téléphonie mobile au Maroc a atteint en 2010 le nombre de 31.982.279 d'abonnés contre 25.310.761 abonnés en 2009, soit une progression annuelle de 26,36 %, indique l'Agence nationale de réglementation des télécommunications (ANRT), soulignant que le nombre d'abonnée dépasse désormais la population du royaume qui est de 30 millions d'habitants.

    Cette augmentation a permis au taux de pénétration de ce segment de la téléphonie mobile de dépasser le seuil de 100 pour cent pour se hisser à 101,49% à fin décembre 2010, contre 81,18% en 2009, soit un gain de plus de 20 points.

    Selon l'ANRT, l'analyse de l'évolution du secteur des télécommunications au Maroc pour l'année 2010 montre que cette croissance a été plus nette au troisième trimestre de l'année dernière avec un taux de croissance trimestrielle de 9,41%, suivi du premier trimestre avec 6,46 pour cent de croissance.

    Elle fait également ressortir une mutation dans la structure du marché, avec une progression du dernier entrant, Wana Corporate, au détriment de l'opérateur historique (Maroc Telecom).

    Maroc Télécom détient 52,81% du marché, suivi de Medi Telecom avec 33,74%, alors que Wana Corporate détient désormais 13,45% du marché.

    Concernant la répartition des clients du mobile par type d'abonnement, l'ANRT constate qu'il n'y a presque aucun changement dans la structure du marché par rapport à l'année dernière et que le prépayé prédomine toujours avec une part de 96,16% (96% à fin décembre 2009) contre 3,84% pour le post-payé.

    L'Agence note également que les deux types d'abonnement ont évolué en 2010 de 26,56% pour le prépayé et de 21,58% pour le post-payé par rapport à fin 2009.

    Info Plus Gabon
  • Jusqu'ici les Comoriens attendent impatiemment les bienfaits de la fibre optique. Mais aucun consommateur n'en bénéficie alors même que le réseau est désormais connecté au câble sous-marin Eassy.

    Le haut débit tant promis par Comores Télécom reste un rêve pour les consommateurs. Pourquoi ce retard qui fait perdre à la société comorienne des télécommunications des millions par mois ?

    Les clients de Comores Telecom ont connu des perturbations dans l"accès à internet en fin de semaine dernière. Et pour cause, la fibre optique était coupée au niveau de la Tanzanie. Le câble connait des problèmes avant même qu'il soit officiellement accessible. Cet incident a permis au public de comprendre qu'il est branché à la fibre mais que « Comores Télécom a volontairement gardé la même vitesse de 128 kb en attendant la commercialisation (du haut débit, ndlr) », reconnait un des responsables de la société nationale des télécommunications.

    Plusieurs raisons expliquent ce retard dans la commercialisation. D'abord, la structure des prix de vente de ce produit est toujours sur la table du chef de l'Etat dans l'attente de validation, depuis plusieurs mois. Le ministre des télécommunications explique que « c'est parce que le gouvernement estime que le prix proposé est trop élevé. Il faut essayer de les revoir afin de protéger et défendre la population ». Le gouvernement ne valide pas encore mais ne propose pas d'autre structure de prix. D'après les informations glanées par Malango Actualité,  « le gouvernement voudrait que Comores Télécom s'aligne sur les prix pratiqués à Madagascar ».

    L'autre raison qui pourrait expliquer ce retard, est relative à la généralisation de la fibre dans toutes les îles. La fin des travaux d'extension de cette nouvelle technologie à travers les îles de Mohéli et Anjouan est prévue pour le mois de février. Si la fibre devait être lancée en ce moment, elle serait opérationnelle uniquement à Grande Comore. Or, les autorités voudraient lancer la fibre optique au même moment dans les trois îles . Donc, les consommateurs qui souffrent considérablement en matière de débit Internet, doivent prendre leur mal en patience. Si cette option d'attendre la connexion inter-île d'abord se confirme, la commercialisation du haut débit ne se fera qu'après février.

    Mais si ce retard dans la commercialisation de la fibre pénalise les utilisateurs, le gouvernement de l'Union n'en fait pas partie. Selon certaines sources, « tous les membres du gouvernement disposent de clé USB haut débit Mpessi. Ils utilisent cette option Internet en illimité. Donc ces problèmes de connexion que rencontrent la population ne les pénalisent pas », explique-t-on. D'où l'interrogation de savoir si réellement le gouvernement est animé d'une bonne volonté pour le lancement de la fibre.

    L’Express
  • L'annonce est venue non pas de l'opérateur, mais de l'un de ses équipementiers.

    C'est Alcatel Lucent qui va installer le réseau 3G de Togo Cellulaire lui donnant ainsi la possibilité de développer son réseau, d'améliorer la qualité des communications et surtout de pouvoir offrir à ses clients du haut débit sur téléphone mobile et clé USB.

    Togo Cellulaire sera ainsi le premier à proposer du 3G au Togo ; une longueur d'avance face à son concurrent Moov.

    Alcatel-Lucent se chargera de l'installation et la mise en service d'une grande partie des équipements d'extension du réseau, la conception du réseau 3G, la planification du réseau radio, l'intégration sur le terrain, l'optimisation et la gestion du projet, indique la société.

  • La nouvelle loi portant Code des Télécommunications, déjà votée par l'Assemblée nationale, a été adoptée en procédure d'urgence par le Sénat, rapporte Le Soleil dans son édition de jeudi.

    La nouvelle loi qui comprend 188 articles "va transposer l'essentiel des dispositions, directives et textes additionnels de l'UEMOA et de la CEDEAO dans notre Code national des Télécommunications", selon le ministre de la Communication et des Télécommunications cité par le journal.

    "Depuis le 31 décembre 2010, nous sommes dépassés et soumis aux textes communautaires. Donc il y a une urgence (à) adapter notre législation", a ajouté Moustapha Guirassy qui défendait ce projet de loi devant les sénateurs.

    Parlant du volet investissement de la nouvelle loi, il a dit que si le Sénégal ne fait pas le nécessaire pour se mettre à niveau des évolutions enregistrées dans ce secteur, le pays "pourrait perdre sa position de leader dans ce domaine d'ici à quelques années".

    "Si nous ne faisons pas vite, si nous n'encourageons pas les investissements dans ce domaine, le Sénégal risque d'accuser un retard. Notre pays est bien outillé, mais il y a de câbles à haut débit qui sont en train de traverser ou qui risquent de passer à côté du Sénégal", a-t-il prévenu.

    "Si nous ne saisissons pas l'occasion de les faire entrer dans le pays, nous perdrons de belles opportunités", a insisté le ministre de la Communication et des Télécommunications, en allusion au câble à fibre optique WACS (West Africa Cable System) qui a atteint, il y a quelques jours, les côtes namibiennes au niveau de la ville de Swakopmund.

    Le câble sous-marin reliera l'Afrique du Sud à la Grande Bretagne avec des points de raccordement au Togo, en Namibie, en RDC, au Congo, au Cameroun, au Nigeria, au Ghana et en Côte d'Ivoire, notamment. C'est la première liaison directe de ce genre et il coûtera en tout 600 millions de dollars.

    Ce câble de 14.000 km acheminera les communications classiques et le très haut débit internet (3.8 térabits/s) à des coûts largement inférieurs à ce qu'ils sont aujourd'hui, ce qui devrait ouvrir la voie à de nouvelles technologies comme le triple-play (téléphone, télévision, internet).

    Le WACS est un consortium qui regroupe plusieurs opérateurs africains dont Togo Telecom, Angola Telecom, Broadband Ifraco, Cable & Wireless, MTN, Portugal Telecom, Sotelco, Tata Communications, Telecom Namibia, Telkom et Vodacom.

    Selon Le Soleil, une grande partie du nouveau Code est consacrée à la régulation avec le renforcement attendu de l'Agence de régulations des télécommunications et des postes (ARTP).

    "Le secteur des télécoms est extrêmement important et compte pour 10 pour cent du PIB. De ce point de vue, il est important de rassurer les investisseurs, de repenser la régulation en faisant de l'ARTP un vrai organe, en renforçant ses prérogatives et en changeant la direction par un collège. Cette direction sera l'organe de décision en matière d'arbitrage et de régulation", note le journal.

    APS
  • Le prix de l'internet haut débit a beau baisser, toutefois, Mauritius Telecom augmente la bande passante de ses abonnés pour le contourner. L'offre comprenant les chaînes télé et les appels internationaux fait tiquer la Competition Commission of Mauritius (CCM) qui a ouvert une enquête.

    Il a fallu trois mois à la Competition Commission of Mauritius (CCM) pour réagir. C'est finalement ce lundi 21 février qu'elle a procédé à l'ouverture d'une enquête sur le bouquet My.T commercialisé par Mauritius Telecom, le principal opérateur téléphonique et fournisseur d'accès à l'Internet dans l'île.

    La CCM se base sur les provisions de la loi relative aux situations de monopole pour se pencher sur l'offre de My.T. Celle-ci comprend l'accès à l'ADSL (l'internet haut débit), le bouquet télé et l'accès direct aux appels internationaux à un tarif en dessous de ce que Mauritius Telecom pratique normalement.

    L'institution dirigée par John Davies explique, dans un communiqué, avoir des « appréhensions » sur la possibilité que Mauritius Telecom utilise sa position dominante sur le marché de l'internet haut débit pour tenter d'élargir ses parts de marché sur le créneau TV et les appels internationaux. Ainsi, un client lambda peut se voir refuser une connexion ADSL s'il ne souscrit pas à une offre de My.T, ce qui équivaut ainsi à un « abus d'influence ».

    La CCM indique que si, à l'issue de son enquête, elle découvre que le bouquet My.T de Mauritius Telecom a pour objectif de « restreindre, d'empêcher ou de fausser la concurrence », elle peut contraindre MT à revoir son « comportement ». Toutefois, Mauritius Telecom échapperait à une amende dans un tel cas, la loi ne prévoyant de sanction que pour les cartels.

    John Davies indique que l'enquête a été initiée après que plusieurs personnes soient venues de l'avant pour exprimer leurs « préoccupations » face à l'offre de Mauritius Telecom. Il s'attend ainsi à travailler conjointement avec l'Information Communications Technology Authority (ICTA) et les « autres parties intéressées par cette affaire ».

    Mais ce n'est pas demain la veille que les résultats de l'enquête seront connus, la CCM prévoit que ceux-ci sont attendus dans un an. En tout cas, l'Association des Consommateurs de l'île Maurice (Acim) doit être contente, ayant souligné en novembre dernier que la stratégie commerciale de Mauritius Telecom n'était pas équitable.

    A l'époque, le prix de l'internet avait baissé, mais Mauritius Telecom avait doublé le débit de la bande passante de ses clients. Quand ceux-ci ont voulu annuler leurs abonnements, ils se sont retrouvés le dos au mur, devant payer le reste de leur contrat.

    C'est le 26 novembre que le ministre des Technologies de l'information et de la communication, Tassarajen Pillay Chedumbrum, avait annoncé la baisse du prix de l'Internet à partir du 1er décembre. Mauritius Telecom s'est aussitôt fait remarquer en trouvant une stratégie qui contournait cette décision.

    « Financièrement et techniquement, ce n'est pas possible de réduire les deux tarifications en même temps, en l'occurrence celle de l'ADSL et celle de My.T. Si on baisse les prix de My.T, on est mort. Surtout avec tous les investissements pour rehausser le niveau du service, comme la plateforme télé HD à domicile. Sinon, ce serait céder à la pression, comme dans le passé, et faire des offres moins compétentes», faisait ressortir Emmanuel André, directeur commercial de la firme à lexpress.mu.

    L’Express
  • En raison du caractère extrême de la démarche et des risques qu'elle engendre pour la santé de celui qui la mène, Reporters sans frontières n'encourage pas la grève de la faim comme moyen de contestation. Mais nous saluons le courage de ce militant de la liberté dans un pays où toute démarche de protestation et tout discours critique sont réprimés. Nous demandons aux autorités, et surtout aux partenaires occidentaux de la Guinée équatoriale, d'entendre les revendications de Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel, concernant en particulier l'absence de liberté d'expression", a déclaré Jean-François Julliard, secrétaire général de Reporters sans frontières.

    Le militant a récemment déclaré dans une interview pour le journal en ligne GuinGuinBali : "Cela fait trente ans que nous vivons une situation terrible et que nous empruntons une mauvaise route. Il est temps d'agir. Nous ne pouvons pas continuer à subir cette dictature (. . .). Pendant longtemps, nous avons cru qu'il était impossible de renverser un dictateur. Maintenant nous savons que c'est possible et nous devons essayer. Nous devons nous inspirer de l'esprit de changement qui souffle au Maghreb"  Plus d'info sur visitez:

    Le blogueur a notamment demandé au président de l'Assemblée nationale espagnole, à la tête d'une délégation de parlementaires en visite en Guinée équatoriale, d'exercer "les pressions nécessaires" pour qu'un gouvernement de transition soit constitué sans aucun membre du régime actuel.

    Par crainte de voir poindre en Guinée équatoriale un mouvement de contestation similaire à celui du Nord de l'Afrique, le gouvernement a décidé d'organiser un black-out médiatique sur les chutes de Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali et Hosni Moubarak. Le ministre de l'Information et porte-parole du gouvernement, Jeronimo Osa Osa, a donné des instructions claires au personnel de la radio-télévision d'Etat RTVGE pour que les événements en Tunisie et en Egypte ne soient pas couverts.

    Sur son blog visitez: à travers ses oeuvres romanesques, poétiques et théâtrales, ou encore lors des conférences qu'il donne dans plusieurs universités étrangères, l'écrivain équato-guinéen n'a de cesse de critiquer le régime de Malabo, sa mauvaise gouvernance, ainsi que la complaisance étrangère vis-à-vis de la dictature de Teodoro Obiang Nguema.

    La publication de câbles Wikileaks par le quotidien espagnol "El Pais" a révélé, par exemple, l'indulgence coupable des Etats-Unis à l'égard de Malabo. En 2009, le diplomate américain en poste en Guinée équatoriale, Anton K. Smith, qualifiait ainsi Teodoro Obiang Nguema de "mec sympa", dirigeant le pays de manière "sereine et bienveillante". Autrement dit, tout va bien dans le "Koweit de l'Afrique", pays sans libertés mais important fournisseur de pétrole pour les entreprises américaines.

    La Guinée équatoriale occupe la 167e place, sur 178 pays, dans le classement mondial 2010 de la liberté de la presse publié par Reporters sans frontières. Son président, Teodoro Obiang Nguema, figure depuis plusieurs années parmi la liste des prédateurs de la liberté de la presse publiée par l'organisation. Mainmise sur l'économie, culte de la personnalité, corruption, absence de pluralisme, presse strictement encadrée, le chef de l'Etat dirige le pays d'une main de fer depuis 1979.

    IFEX
  • Face à la baisse drastique de l'audience, le géant de la recherche internet, Google veut aider les organes de presse sénégalais à explorer de nouvelles pistes pour développer les sites des journaux et en tirer des ressources additionnelles. Les responsables du moteur de recherche l'ont fait savoir hier lors du Gsenegal qui s'est tenu à Dakar et dont le thème portait sur 'Croissance locale, Impact global'.

    Parce que Internet gruge le marché des journaux en support papier, le géant de la recherche sur internet, Google, tente d'aider les groupes de presse sénégalais à s'orienter également dans ce créneau pour trouver des ressources additionnelles.

    C'est pourquoi, hier lors d'un atelier sur internet et les médias, organisé dans le cadre du Gsenegal qui s'est tenu durant deux jours à l'Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar, les responsables de Google ont discuté avec les patrons de presse des moyens de faire profiter les différents organes du pays des réelles opportunités qu'internet leur offre encore.

    'Les annonces commencent à être diffusées sur internet plutôt que dans les médias traditionnels. Donc, il faut travailler pour que les sites des journaux soient plus complets.

    Et Google propose des logiciels permettant de mieux enrichir les sites des journaux', a déclaré le vice-président de Google pour l'Europe du Sud, le Moyen-Orient et l'Afrique, Carlo d'Assaro Biondo.

    Qui soutient que l'Afrique a un avantage sur les marchés occidentaux déjà très saturés. 'Le déclin de l'audience est une tendance mondiale à cause de la forte concurrence. La concurrence sur internet en Afrique est moins forte.

    Donc, il y a une réelle opportunité pour la presse de se positionner. On a très peu de contenu Afrique. Sur le mondial, seuls 0,2 % des contenus sont africains. Donc, les journaux africains ont l'opportunité de développer des contenus à même d'intéresser les internautes des pays développés afin d'en tirer des ressources conséquentes', poursuit-il.

    Mais, pour ce faire, Biondo leur suggère de s'orienter vers des thèmes importants qui pourraient intéresser également le reste du monde. En effet, selon lui, vendre les journaux sur internet ne serait pas la solution. Il s'agira plutôt d'aller vers l'audience.

    Et, dit-il, Google va y aider en montrant ce que les gens cherchent ailleurs sur l'Afrique pour pousser les développeurs à s'investir dans ces contenus et d'y gagner de ressources additionnelles. 'Il n' y a pas de solutions miracles.

    Ce n'est pas l'abonnement qui va faire la différence. Il ne va pas résoudre le problème. Mais, la publicité sur le site oui. Le coût de la presse, c'est entre 50 à 60 % du physique. Cela devient extrêmement difficile de faire le passage sur internet.

    Avec internet, on vend en temps réel pour des petites quantités. Nous sommes prêts à vendre à votre place si vous vous lancez dans la fragmentation des contenus en différentes thématiques susceptibles d'intéresser d'autres utilisateurs à travers le monde. Car, plus on est présent sur internet, mieux on vend', renchérit le vice-président de Google.

    De plus, pour faire face aux problèmes des compétences techniques permettant de mettre en valeur les outils de Google, le moteur de recherche propose d'organiser trois fois par an des sessions de formation au profit des webmasters des journaux de la place pour leur apprendre comment utiliser ses nouveaux outils.

    Walfadjri
  • Mille neuf cent vingt-quatre étudiants âgés de 18 à 35 ans ont été formés, courant 2008-2009, aux techniques de recherche à la création d'emplois, grâce au programme Challenge lancé par Snapse Center et Microsoft qui veulent faire plus d'ici 2012.

    Microsoft et Synapse Center ont renouvelé leur partenariat. La signature de cet accord, hier à Dakar, a été sanctionnée par une remise de chèque d'un montant de 100 000 dollars, soit près de 50 millions de francs Cfa de la firme internationale spécialisée dans la fabrication de logiciels informatiques à son partenaire.

    L'enveloppe est destinée à la seconde édition du programme Challenge lancé depuis 2008 par Synapse Center, Microsoft et International Youth Foundation (Iyf). Ce programme vise à 'enrichir le Sénégal de sa relève'.

    C'est ainsi qu'entre 2008 et 2009, mille neuf cent vingt-quatre jeunes du pays ont bénéficié d'un renforcement de leurs habiletés personnelles et professionnelles et d'un accompagnement individuel vers l'insertion ou la création d'entreprise. Parmi eux, 66,6 % qui ont bénéficié d'un stage, ont été embauchés ou sont retournés aux études au terme du programme.

    Cette seconde édition du programme Challenge devra former et accompagner sept cent quarante jeunes âgés entre 18 et 35 ans dans les deux prochaines années. Ceux qui recevront la même formation, seront à moitié insérés dans le tissu économique du pays, comme prévu par Snapse Center, grâce au concourt d'un réseau établi de cent quatre-vingt dix-huit entreprises qui acceptent de les accueillir en qualité de stagiaires ou de recrues.

    'La poursuite du programme est une démonstration concrète de la priorité accordée par Snapse Center et Microsoft à la formation d'une relève dynamique et compétente au Sénégal', a déclaré le directeur exécutif de Snapse Center, Ciré Kane. Selon lui, c'est pour soutenir les jeunes dans leur épanouissement et dans la réalisation de leurs ambitions et de leurs rêves que Challenge a été mis en place.

    Le programme valorise le potentiel et l'audace des jeunes entrepreneurs potentiels, des jeunes diplômés et des étudiants dans la perspective de la réalisation d'eux-mêmes et d'entreprises durables soucieuses de leur rentabilité économique et de leur impact positif dans la société.

    Ainsi, selon M. Kane, des mille neuf cent vingt-quatre jeunes formés, 30 % ont pu retrouver, à la faveur du programme 'Passeport pour l'emploi', le chemin de l'emploi entre 2009 et 2010.

    'Snapse Center a prouvé qu'elle mérite le soutien de Microsoft qui lui avait fait don de logiciel d'une valeur de 6 millions de francs Cfa. L'année dernière, nous avions financé International Youth Foundation (Iyf) qui avait sous-traité avec Snapse pour faire face à la faiblesse de l'employabilité et à l'insuffisance des capacités entrepreneuriales des jeunes.

    Cette année, pour éviter ce circuit, nous avons jugé judicieux de traiter directement avec Snapse', a souligné Samba Guissé, chargé des programmes Education au bureau de Microsoft de l'Ouest et du Centre d'Afrique.

    Pour lui, Challenge s'inscrit également dans le cadre de l'initiative Microsoft Unlimited Potentiel qui vise à transformer l'éducation, à promouvoir les innovations au niveau local et à créer des emplois et de nouvelles opportunités, en s'adaptant aux besoins de chacun afin de jouer pleinement son rôle dans l'économie du savoir au niveau mondial.

    Fondé en 2002, Snapse Center est un organisme à but non lucratif dont la mission est de promouvoir une nouvelle génération de leaders, d'intra-preneurs et d'entrepreneurs dynamiques et compétents capables de relever les défis de l'avenir.

    13 % des chercheurs d'emplois chôment au Sénégal

    L'accès au marché du travail est très limité pour une frange importante de la population sénégalaise. Le chômage est malheureusement de plus en plus visible. Les derniers chiffres et analyses contenus dans l'étude de la Banque mondiale à la recherche d'emploi confirment que le taux de chômage avoisine 13 % dans le pays.

    Que plus de 30 % de la force de travail ne sont pas satisfaits, car sous occupés et désirent travailler plus. Et que le salaire médian dans le secteur informel à Dakar ne dépasse pas 68 dollars par mois.

    D'après l'étude réalisée en 2007, il n'y a qu'une personne sur cinq qui travaille à plein temps au Sénégal. Ce qui représente un taux élevé de dépendance, contribuant ainsi à mettre une pression croissante sur le taux de pauvreté qui se situe à un peu moins de 50 % des ménages.

    Ces lacunes du marché du travail sont apparues plus prononcées pour certaines catégories de travailleurs comme les jeunes représentant dans cette étude un taux de 30 %, puisque le document ajoute qu'environ 6 chômeurs sur 10 ont moins de 35 ans.

    Walfadjri
  • Plusieurs responsables d'organismes activant dans les technologies de l'information et de la communication ont mis à l'index le cadre réglementaire et législatif, qui n'accompagne pas l'évolution que connaît le secteur des TIC. C'est l'idée principale qui se dégage des différentes interventions hier lors d'une table ronde organisée à El Moudjahid. Le président de l'association des fournisseurs d'Internet ISP, M. Boukaaba, a expliqué dans ce sens que les opérateurs économiques ne peuvent pas travailler dans l'instabilité juridique.

    Exemples à l'appui, l'orateur évoquera, entre autres, les contraintes bureaucratiques et les textes législatifs qui changent du jour au lendemain. Pour lui, l'opérateur ne peut pas travailler et même monter ses projets, alors que les lois changent périodiquement. Bien que la problématique posée hier concerne l'utilisation des TIC dans le domaine économique, l'orateur a préféré évoquer le problème dans sa globalité, estimant que «la question est beaucoup plus profonde». Elle touche, souligne-t-il, tout le système économique. En d'autres termes, l'environnement économique est vital pour la réalisation de tout projet dans les TIC. M. Boukaaba n'a pas ménagé les responsables qui, juge-t-il, légifèrent dans la «suspicion».

    «Il faut que l'Etat lève la main sur l'économie du pays pour libérer les initiatives», a-t-il suggéré, précisant au passage que les lourdeurs bureaucratiques ont poussé pas moins de 26 000 ingénieurs et techniciens en informatique à quitter le pays. Le représentant du ministère des TIC, M. Benmehrez, a abondé dans le même sens, affirmant que le cadre juridique est «hostile». Avec 100 000 personnes qui activent dans le secteur, notre pays est toujours à la traîne, soutient-il. L'investissement dans le secteur évalué actuellement à 4 milliards de dollars est insuffisant, ajoute M. Benmehrez, pour qui la même somme sera consacrée à l'avenir pour le développement du contenu.

    Dans la foulée, il a indiqué que dix ministres ont conclu des partenariats avec le département des TIC pour développer des services en ligne «informationnels et transactionnels». Pour sa part, le directeur d'Animapp, M. Younes Grar, une entreprise spécialisée dans le développement des applications mobiles, s'est interrogé sur la disparition en Algérie des entreprises qui travaillent dans le secteur au moment où, ailleurs, elles connaissent une évolution fulgurante. Le même responsable qui a dévoilé une nouvelle application permettant le paiement via le mobile a regretté le fait que le nombre des sites internet ne dépasse pas les 10 000, alors que le nombre des entreprises frise le million actuellement.

    Pour lui, il n'est pas même pas question de parler aujourd'hui du développement de fond, des mises à jour qui ne représentent que des poussières par rapport au potentiel qui existe. Evoquant l'application développée par cette entreprise, M. Grar a assuré qu'elle permettra de réduire la crise des liquidités qui ne cesse de prendre de l'ampleur, mais aussi de faciliter les transactions commerciales pour les commerçants et les consommateurs.

    La Tribune
  • Le président de la Commission de l'Union économique et monétaire ouest africaine (UEMOA), Soumaïla Cissé, et la directrice générale de l'UNESCO Irina Bokova procèdent, vendredi à Paris (France), à la signature d'une convention pour l'exécution d'un projet de mise en place d'une bibliothèque virtuelle dans les Etats membres de l'Union.

    Le projet, d'un coût estimé à six milliards de francs CFA, a pour objectif de renforcer les capacités de mise en oeuvre de la réforme Licence-Master-Doctorat (LMD) dans les Etats membres de l'UEMOA, à travers le développement et l'utilisation des technologies de l'information et de la communication (TIC), explique un communiqué de l'organisation sous-régionale parvenu à l'APS.

    D'une durée de trois ans, le projet consiste réaliser des infrastructures physiques et virtuelles des TIC, acquérir des équipements et matériels informatiques, réaliser des études et renforcer les compétences dans les domaines de l'utilisation des TIC, la pédagogie universitaire, l'accréditation et l'assistance-qualité, ainsi que la recherche.

    La convention à signer définit les modalités d'exécution de ce projet confiée à l'UNESCO par la Commission de l'UEMOA, conformément au cadre de coopération et de partenariat qui existe entre les deux institutions depuis 2006, ajoute la même source.

    La gestion du projet est assurée par un comité de pilotage comprenant des représentants de l'UEMOA, de l'UNESCO et des universités des Etats membres de l'Union.

    Créée le 10 janvier 1994, l'UEMOA regroupe huit pays : le Bénin, le Burkina Faso, la Côte d'Ivoire, la Guinée-Bissau, le Mali, le Niger, le Sénégal et le Togo.

    En juillet 2007, l'UEMOA a adopté une directive instituant le système LMD comme cadre de référence des diplômes délivrés dans toutes les universités et institutions d'enseignement supérieur de ses Etats membres.

    APS
  • A la Banque centrale du Congo, la modernisation du système national de paiement par l'introduction de nouveaux modes de paiement n'est ni un voeu pieux, encore moins un discours creux. En effet, il est vécu au quotidien. Avec la percée du téléphone mobile, la Banque centrale du Congo explore la possibilité de mettre à profit cet outil de télécommunications dans l'expérimentation des services financiers innovants.

    C'est pour approfondir le sujet que l'Institut d'émission s'est rapproché du ministère des Postes, Téléphones et Télécommunications (PTT). La semaine dernière, sur initiative de la direction de la Surveillance des intermédiaires financières de la BCC, des experts de deux camps se sont retrouvés au Cercle de Kinshasa pour discuter des mécanismes à mettre en oeuvre pour concrétiser ce projet. La rencontre a tourné autour du thème : «La téléphonie mobile et les services bancaires ».

    De deux côtés, l'on s'est dit convaincu que les services financiers à distance, notamment par téléphonie mobile, représentent une nouvelle filière à explorer dans la phase de mise en oeuvre de modernisation en RDC du système national de paiement. En s'entourant de l'expertise du ministère des PTT, la Banque centrale s'est fixé comme objectif d'avoir une connaissance adéquate des infrastructures existantes, des difficultés éventuelles et des opportunités pour accompagner et faciliter les élans d'innovation dans les domaines de la téléphonie mobile et des services bancaires en vue d'en assurer leur promotion et leur vulgarisation.

    Présent à l'ouverture de cette concertation, le vice-Premier ministre et ministre des PTT, M. Simon Bulupiy, a loué l'initiative de la Banque centrale soulignant que, dans la phase de développement de nouveaux modes de paiements, les nouvelles technologues de l'information et de communications telles que le téléphone mobile devaient être mis à profit pour offrir de nouveaux services financiers et bancaires. Mais, bien avant le vice-Premier ministre Bulupiy, le gouverneur de la Banque centrale du Congo, Jean-Claude Masangu Mulongo, a recadré le débat, en circonscrivant notamment les objectifs poursuivis par la Banque centrale dans le contexte de mise en oeuvre du plan de modernisation du système national de paiement. Pour justifier la nécessité de la réflexion engagée par la Banque centrale, il est parti de la volonté exprimée par la communauté internationale de réduire à l'horizon 2015 la pauvreté dans le monde par la mise en oeuvre des Objectifs du Millénaire pour le Développement. La stratégie pour l'atteinte de ces objectifs vitaux exige notamment la mobilisation des moyens importants et nouveaux, capables de permettre à un grand nombre de personnes dont les plus démunis d'accéder aux services financiers. Dans ce cadre, il a fait savoir que la Banque centrale continue à jouer sa partition en développant depuis 2001 la réflexion sur la relance et de la consolidation du système bancaire.

    Ainsi, pour le gouverneur de la Banque centrale du Congo, la prochaine décennie de 2011 à 2020 sera celle de l'expansion et de la pénétration géographique du système bancaire. « Outre la modernisation actuelle en cours, la téléphonie mobile sera appelée elle aussi à jouer un rôle des plus déterminants. En effet, et pour ne prendre que cet exemple, en comparant le nombre d'abonnés du secteur des télécommunications par rapport au nombre des détenteurs de comptes, nous réalisons ce que pourra être le champ d'intervention de ce nouvel outil qui permettra à des millions de Congolais d'accéder aux services financiers tels que l'épargne, le transfert, le crédit, le paiement de factures et salaires ».

    A noter que les services financiers à distance, comme ceux offerts par téléphone mobile, représentent une « nouvelle filière qui mérite qu'on s'y penche au regard de son développement et de l'intérêt manifesté par les parties impliquées », a rappelé Jean-Claude Masangu. Compte du poids de l'innovation, il y a bien des préalables à réunir pour réussir l'innovation. Il s'agit, entre autres, des questions relatives notamment à la définition de la monnaie électronique, aux conditions d'agrément des opérateurs exploitants, aux principes de surveillance prudentielle, aux risques encourus et à la lutte contre le blanchiment de capitaux.

    Le Potentiel
  • Le personnel de Tunisie Télécom a organisé au siège de cette entreprise nationale, opérateur historique de téléphonie, un sit-in spécialement réussi. Et pour cause !

    Les salaires faramineux des hauts cadres de l'entreprise qu'un fac-similé circulant de main en main pointait du doigt.

    Mais au-delà, c'est du devenir de Tunisie Télécom dont ses salariés se soucient. Certes, les protestataires mettent en cause «une centaine de privilégiés de l'entreprise» ne répondant à aucun critère de recrutement, placés à des postes clés de décision et jouissant d'un statut Vip.

    «Plus grave», expliquent les employés et cadres mécontents, ces privilégiés se seraient proposés de soutirer encore de l'argent à l'entreprise en cette période de distribution de primes de bilan, alors que TT connaît disent-ils, «une baisse alarmante de chiffre d'affaires» qui serait due à «une politique de gestion défaillante et corrompue». Les parts de marché de Tunisie Télécom seraient passées, en quatre ans, de 70 à 40%.

    Certains cadres bien informés expliquent: le contrat de privatisation de Tunisie Télécom, établi en 2006 entre l'Etat tunisien et Télécom-Div, octroie aux Emiratis le droit à trois postes de responsabilité, à savoir celui de DGA., de directeur central d'affaires et marketing et de directeur central financier. Des ramifications de la famille Trabelsi et des pions du pouvoir déchu ont pris place au sein de l'entreprise, créant des postes de décision fictifs, jouissant de rémunérations exorbitantes. «Les Emiratis et la famille proche du pouvoir déchu ont créé de toutes pièces des fonctions au sein de l'entreprise qui ont déstabilisé l'aspect organisationnel, l'organigramme de l'entreprise et son statut, outre le recours à des consultants payés à 1.000 euros par jour sous prétexte qu'un savoir-faire et des compétences s'imposaient pour mettre Tunisie Télécom au diapason du modernisme, ce qui a alourdi considérablement les charges financières de l'entreprise pour satisfaire les intérêts de ces privilégiés, engagés en transgression des textes réglementaires et dont les salaires sont confectionnés selon une grille qui ne tient à aucune assise réglementaire», explique un responsable de Tunisie Télécom.

    Les protestataires ont, par ailleurs, dénoncé d'autres dépassements en termes de gaspillage et qui ont servi à renflouer les comptes bancaires des familles proches du pouvoir.

    La Presse
  • C’est avec un réel plaisir que j’ai pris connaissance de ma sélection parmi les 20 meilleurs blogueurs du concours Mondoblog sur RFI. Cela me donne plus de motivation et me pousse encore une fois à aller de l’avant. Le chemin est long certes mais le meilleur reste à venir. Je voulais personnellement remercier le jury mais aussi les organisateurs qui ont pensé à ce concours (Cédric Kalonji, Ziad Malouf et surtout l’homme de l’ombre Simon Decreuze). On était 100 blogueurs au départ et voici que 20 seulement vont continuer l’aventure. Cela ne veut pas dire que les autres ont démérité. L’importance repose sur le fait d’avoir participé au concours et de partager sa passion sur le web. A toutes et à tous merci de votre soutien.

    C’est mon objectif premier. Le blogging tarde toujours à prendre des ailes au Sénégal, mais avec des initiatives concrètes le défit peut être relevé. Je citerai en exemple l’Association des blogueurs sénégalais, l’avenue221 , et d’autres projets en cours comme celui du site seneweb.com qui va bientôt ouvrir ses blogs pour donner la parole à tous les internautes souhaitant s’exprimer librement sur la toile.

    Le monde évolue et nous devons évoluer avec lui. Exprimez-vous avec les nouveaux outils du web... Le Web 2.0 a les potentiels d’élargir la démocratie pour atteindre le plus grand nombre de communauté possible. Je suis convaincu que le blogging connaitra un avenir meilleur au Sénégal. Clin d’œil aux autres blogueurs qui figurent sur la liste : Arouna Ba, Kouyah Kouyate,Amara Soumah,Kahofi Suy, Boukary Konate.

  • D'après une étude réalisée par l'agence digitale du Groupe Impact " eMedia ", le monde digital à participé fortement dans la diffusion des informations qui ont mené vers la révolution tunisienne. Appelée " la révolution digitale tunisienne " et à partir des premières manifestations, tous les Tunisiens, à travers toute la République se sont tournés vers le Net pour suivre la première étincelle du 17 décembre dernier, qui avait donné lieu à toute une révolte.

    Faute de mieux et par manque d'informations suffisantes sur les chaînes de télévision, de radio ou même par le biais d'articles de presse, relatant avec fidélité des détails fiables et actuels et vu le contrôle exercé sur les médias officiels, les Tunisiens n'avaient qu'une seule alternative, se tourner vers les technologies digitales.

    L'enquête a montré que la rapidité des événements et la soif de s'informer manifestée par les Tunisiens sur tout le territoire les ont tous transformés en journalistes. Ils partagent des séquences vidéo, s'envoient des commentaires et des photos prises dans les rues tunisiennes et diffusent une des nouvelles sans aucune limite.

    Des réseaux sociaux qui leur ont permis d'être rapides, réactifs et parfois même très efficace. Il a été constaté également que le Tunisien a su, à travers ces supports, assumer complètement des opinions sans crainte aucune.

    On dirait même que " les réseaux sociaux sont devenus incontournables pour s'informer ". A l'opposé, les informations diffusées par les chaînes de télévision et le reste des médias sont restées " truquées ", pour " détournement de l'opinion publique ". Ainsi, le monde digital a gagné indéniablement la confiance de ses utilisateurs.

    Le public tunisien a vite compris que rapporter des faits était nettement plus facile que de les retoucher. Il s'est alors improvisé reporter, voire journaliste de l'instant. Appareil photo, téléphone " supportant la technologie " EDGE/3G ", le Tunisien a eu le bon réflexe d'envoyer rapidement ce qu'il voyait, ce qu'il entendait ou ce qu'il jugeait utile pour faire avancer le mouvement collectif.

    Des sites comme " Justin.TV " et " Qik.com " proposent de faire des diffusions en direct d'interventions policières violentes et même choquantes que les internautes tunisiens ou autres pouvaient suivre instantanément.

    Pour ce qui est des supports utilisés, l'enquête parle du mobile qui a été le premier support utilisé pour filmer ou prendre des photos. Le téléphone portable a par la suite permis la diffusion de l'information sur certaines pages ou groupes du réseau social " Facebook ". Les commentaires, les réactions, les photos et les vidéos étaient partagés par des centaines de milliers de personnes. "

    Même les méthodes de pression de l'ancien régime exercées par l'Agence tunisienne de l'Internet, à savoir censure, piratage de comptes... comme en témoigne Joe Sullivan, le responsable du département sécurité chez Facebook visitez: n'ont pas réussi à freiner les internautes à créer et partager du contenu ", retient cette enquête.

    L'autre réseau social qui a également contribué à la révolution a été " Twitter ", qui permettait une plus large diffusion, puisqu'il suffisait de s'inscrire pour pouvoir suivre toutes les informations envoyées par n'importe quel internaute, contrairement à " Facebook ", où le contenu partagé par les internautes n'est visible que par leurs amis.

    Les Tunisiens ont commencé à s'intéresser au réseau dès l'éclatement des événements à Sidi Bouzid et le phénomène s'est largement amplifié au fil des mois; plus de 1.000 Tunisiens y sont maintenant actifs. Ils ont " créé un sujet de discussion "hashtag" avec lequel toute personne possédant un compte " twitter " ou pas dans le monde pouvait suivre en temps réel le flux d'informations.

    Un " hashtag " qui s'appelle " #Sidibouzid ". D'autres hashtag ont vu le jour également mais " #Sidibouzid " est resté le plus important, ce qui lui a permis de prendre une place dans les "trending topics" (les sujets les plus chauds du jour dans le monde sur Twitter.com). Un lien qui a également permis à plusieurs médias étrangers de suivre la révolution tunisienne.

    La Presse
  • Défis et Enjeux de Régulation
    17-19 Mars 2011, Marrakech, Maroc

    Le secteur des télécoms a connu un essor considérable durant la dernière décennie grâce notamment aux innovations technologiques et au processus de libéralisation entamé par de nombreux pays. A cet égard, la régulation des télécoms en Afrique parait comme un maillon essentiel pour généraliser l’accessibilité, et assurer un développement sain et équilibré du secteur qui garanti les intérêts des différentes parties prenantes. C’est pour débattre des enjeux de la régulation en Afrique du Nord, du Centre et de l’Ouest que i-conférences organise en partenariat avec la Banque Africaine de Développement le Forum Africain des Télécoms.
    Pour plus d’informations visitez

    MobilePaymentExpo
    18-19 mai 2011, Paris Porte de Versailles, France

    Cette année le programme s'articule autour de 3 thématiques : les Usages, le Paiement et les Technologies.
    Mobile Payment vous propose :
    - Des Tables Rondes pour débattre sur toutes les thématiques actuelles et écouter les témoignages
    - Des Executives Keynotes d’acteurs influents pour comprendre les enjeux et le futur de ce marché
    - Des Ateliers pour présenter en détail vos produits et services
    - Une Exposition exhaustive pour échanger et découvrir les dernières avancées du monde des services transactionnels par mobile, le lieu où les entreprises présentent leur savoir-faire.
    - Un Village Start Up, une zone dédiée à l’innovation et aux tendances. Réservée aux jeunes entreprises présentant leurs derniers produits et services, pour des rencontres avec les experts, entrepreneurs et investisseurs.
    Pour plus d’informations visitez

    eLearning Africa 2011
    25 - 27 mai 2011, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzanie

    eLearning Africa 2011 se concentrera sur les jeunes mais mettra également en évidence l’importance des compétences, du développement des compétences et de l’employabilité.
    Pour plus d’informations visitez 

    West & Central Africa Com
    15-16 juin 2011, Dakar, Sénégal

    Agenda à suivre.
    Pour plus d’informations visitez

  • Le conseil des ministres du Niger  a nommé les nouveaux membres du Conseil National de la Régulation:
     
    Président du Conseil National de Régulation
    : Monsieur ALMOUSTAPHA BOUBACAR, Inspecteur Principal de la Gestion des Télécommunications, Représentant du Président du Conseil Suprême pour la Restauration de la Démocratie, Chef de l'Etat.
     
    Membres du Conseil National de Régulation :

    Monsieur IRO ADAMOU, Représentant du Premier ministre ;
    Monsieur SAIDOU ABDOULKARIM, Représentant du ministre en charge de l'Energie ;
    Madame FATOUMA ALHASSANE, Représentante du ministre en charge des Postes et Télécommunications ;
    Monsieur TINNI OUSSEINI, Représentant du ministre en charge des Transports ;
    Monsieur BOUKARY OUSMANE, Représentant du ministre en charge de l'Eau ;
    Monsieur MOUSTAPHA KADI, Représentant des Organisations des Consommateurs.

  • Offres d’emplois dans l’informatique de la BAD

    Assistant-appui aux applications
    Pour plus d’informations visitez

    Commis appui aux utilisateurs
    Pour plus d’informations visitez

Edition Française, 24 février 2011, No 152

node ref id: 21245

Editorial

  • La guerre des prix fait maintenant partie de la vie du secteur mobile en Afrique et il y a peu de réseaux qui soient aussi concurrentiels en ce moment qu’en Afrique de l’Est. Des tarifs toujours plus bas mettent même beaucoup de pression sur des opérateurs aussi bien établis et dominant que Safaricom au Kenya.  Les opérateurs partagent le sentiment qu’il faut qu’ils y participent  pour gagner plus de parts de marché. Les premiers résultats pour ceux qui se sont engagés dans cette voie sont modestes. La concurrence sur la qualité et les services est moins médiatisée en tant que stratégie mais elle fait certainement partie de leur approche. Russell Southwood s’est entretenu avec deux DGs très différents qui se trouvent au cœur de cette guerre des prix. Il s’agit de Bob Collymore, le DG de Safaricom et de Philipe de Luxcey, le DG d’Orange Ouganda, le premier défendant sa position d’opérateur dominant alors que le second cherche à développer son réseau. 

    - L’entretien avec Bob Collymore est centré sur la qualité du réseau, le service clientèle, la technologie LTE et le développement de contenu local.

    La guerre des prix au Kenya s’est récemment traduite par une annonce d’Airtel d’une baisse des prix des appels de 8 shillings à 3 shillings par minute. L’opérateur a par la suite « rectifié le tir » en annonçant qu’il s’agissait d’une promotion et non pas d’un nouveau tarif. L’homme qui se trouve sur des chardons ardents, c’est Bob Collymore, le DG de Safaricom, l’opérateur qui a la plus grosse part de marché du segment mobile au Kenya.

    « Notre part de marché sur la base du nombre d’abonnés s’élève à 77%. Notre ARPU est plus élevé que celui des autres. Nous avons une position significative sur le marché mais nous avons le sentiment que c’est parce que les autres n’étaient pas vraiment compétents. La direction en charge du second opérateur manquait de consistance par exemple. Nous sommes ok avec l’idée de perdre des parts de marché (aux regards des tarifs d’appels irréalistiquement trop bas) et de nous concentrer sur Nairobi et les communautés disposant de revenus confortables. Les populations qui habitent dans des endroits reculés reçoivent plus d’appels (qu’ils n’en font). Si les tarifs continuent à baisser, pourquoi est-ce que je devrais continuer à le faire aussi ? »

    Collymore souhaiterait que le Gouvernement fixe un prix plancher en dessous duquel les tarifs d’appels ne peuvent pas être réduit. Cela a été fait au Congo RDC et au Sri-Lanka. « Une solution alternative serait de taxer les appels à bas prix mais une taxe ne résoudra pas les autres problèmes (comme les besoins d’investissements). Face à ces challenges, Bob Collymore dit qu’il sera nécessaire d’adopter un autre modèle commercial plus centré sur les services professionnels à valeur ajoutée. « Nous n’emploierons plus des personnes diplômés dans nos centres d’appels. Pour l’instant nous évitons d’externaliser ». C’est un message clair pour le Gouvernement. En plus de ce message alarmant, il y a les pertes financières pour l’Etat, actionnaire de Safaricom.

    Avec cette guerre des prix et d’autres problèmes, Bob Collymore a beaucoup communiqué avec les médias cherchant à ne rien cacher de telle sorte qu’ils ne viennent pas le hanter plus tard dans son parcours. Il s’agit d’une personne beaucoup plus douce que son prédécesseur et il est bien conscient des challenges qui l’attendent.

    Sur le sujet de notoriété publique du réseau congestionné de Safaricom: « Lors de mes rencontres avec des clients, il est clair que la qualité du réseau est un souci pour beaucoup d’entre eux. Les gens vous disent des choses si vous les écoutez. Notre trafic a beaucoup augmenté. Notre trafic dans la semaine 50 de 2010 était 100% plus élevé que la même semaine en 2009 ».

    Et du côté des services data? « Nous ne sommes pas aussi vulnérable que sur le segment voix. Ce n’est pas mauvais et nous n’avons pas autant de plaintes concernant les prix et la couverture. Mes 3,000 adeptes sur Twitter me le diraient si quelque chose n’allait pas ».

    Le service clientèle très peu réactif de Safaricom : « l’accès aux centres d’appels aurait du être mieux contrôlé. Chaque jour nous recevons en moyenne 500,000 tentatives d’appels mais nous avons seulement une capacité de 100,000 appels. Par conséquent seul un appel sur 5 aura la chance de passer. Cela dit le nombre à baisser après une pointe de 800,000 appels par jour ».

    La grande partie de cette demande est générée par l’opérateur lui-même soit parce qu’il n’explique pas bien les choses à ses clients soit parce que ses tarifs sont trop compliqués. Bob Collymore a décidé de simplifier la structure des tarifs d’appels qui comptait 20 tarifs différents en la réduisant au prépayé et post-payé  (et aux appels on net et off net). Il y avait trop de tarifs. Cela sème la confusion dans le secteur. Nous devons dire la vérité aux consommateurs”.

    En dépit des pressions causées par la guerre des prix, Safaricom continue à jouer son rôle d’innovateur sur le marché kenyan. L’Internet résidentiel et une offre triple? « C’est sur notre feuille de route. Nous devrons inévitablement proposer cela parce que c’est ce que le consommateur veut”. La technologie LTE ? « Nos tests se sont bien passés mais il faut encore compter 12 à 18 mois parce que les portables ne sont pas encore vraiment disponibles. Mais nous sommes prêts et nous serons les premiers sur le marché ».

    Le service M-Pesa ? « Nous avons 14 millions de clients et 2.5 millions de transactions journalières pour une valeur de 1.3 milliards de shillings. Il y a de la concurrence dans ce segment mais nous continuons à ajouter de nouvelles fonctionnalités en exclusivité. Le service a besoin de devenir plus omniprésent». Est-ce que Safaricom va s’interconnecter avec d’autres services de paiements via mobile ? « Il n’en est pas question ». Mais vous avez le sentiment d’après l’éclat de ses yeux que cela arriver.
     
    Il n’est pas question que nous nous lancions dans la construction d’un réseau national fibre. « C’est trop tard pour le faire. Nous aurions du le faire il y a cinq ans deçà. Le réseau n’est pas très fiable en ce moment. Il y a eu des coupures perturbantes sur la fibre lorsque nous avons annoncé nos résultats pour le premier semestre et leurs occurrences étaient suspectes. Nous avons construit un partenariat solide avec KPLC, Telkom Kenya et JTL qui nous proposent des prix concurrentiels ».

    Est-ce que cela veut dire que les prix de l’Internet vont continuer à baisser ? « Oui, les prix vont continuer à baisser. Plus il y a de personnes qui l’utilisent, plus cela sera moins cher ». Quels sont les potentiels du marché ? « Je souhaiterai que tous les enfants kenyans puissent être connectés à l’Internet. Il faut l’utiliser pour encourager le développement social et j’ai la passion de le faire ».

    Est-ce que Safaricom est impliqué dans le développement de contenu et pourquoi le partage des revenus est aussi défavorable pour les développeurs ? « J’ai suivi le débat sur KICTANET ou l’on nous accuse d’en profiter. Nous demandons 70%. Pourquoi est-ce que les développeurs pensent qu’ils doivent en profiter immédiatement. Nous n’avons pas l’intention de changer notre modèle commercial ».

    « Nous souhaitons développer le contenu local et nous avons consenti des efforts et investi du temps dans la musique locale. Nous gérons notre propre maison d’édition. Nous avons des contrats d’exclusivité avec les artistes et nous les aiderons à se développer. Nous nous lancerons dans d’autres types de contenu mais nous savions que la musique était importante pour Bharti et nous avons pensé que c’était une bonne chose à faire. Le chiffre d’affaires est petit et nous ne générons pas des tonnes d’argent. Il s’agit de créer quelque chose de durable. Les musiciens doivent bien vivre ». Qu’en est-il des rumeurs qui disent que vous allez lancer une plate-forme pour les applicatifs mobiles ? « Nous n’allons pas le faire maintenant mais nous le ferons. Le Kenya est un pays qui a soif de technologie ».

    - Philippe Luxcey, le DG d’Orange Ouganda à propos du déploiement de la 3G, de la technologie LTE et de la TV mobile

    En tant que dernier entrant sur le segment mobile, Orange Ouganda s’est investi dans son développement. En terme de profile public, leur publicité extérieure est partout dans Kampala mais il reste encore à l’opérateur de « gagner les cœurs » des consommateurs voix. Comme Safaricom au Kenya, l’opérateur essaye de s’adapter à une guerre des prix initié par Essar, le nouveau propriétaire de Warid Telecom.

    Phillipe Luxcey ne croit pas que la guerre des prix apportera quelque chose de bien.  « C’est fou, c’est vraiment fou. Il y a des offres qui proposent des appels gratuits pendant 24 heures lorsque vous rechargez UGS1,000 de crédits. Les appels off-net ont baissé jusqu’à UGS3 par seconde et le tarif d’interconnexion est à UGS131 par minute. A cela il faut ajouter, le paiement d’un impôt de 30% sur le chiffre d’affaires. Nous n’avons pas assez de marges pour couvrir les coûts de réseaux. Tous les appels off-net se traduisent par une perte d’argent. Warid a commencé cette guerre des prix et Airtel lui a enjambé le pas ».

    “ Cependant en dépit des prix bas, leur part de marché n’a pas beaucoup bougé. Les opérateurs sont trop confiants qu’ils vont tuer les autres (leurs concurrents) et ils prétendent aussi que le volume de trafic va augmenter ».

    Combien d’abonnés avez-vous à présent ? « Trois mois après le lancement commercial, nous avons 600,000 abonnés mais cela va doucement. Nous comptons que les clients actifs ».

    Est-ce qu’Orange a eu plus de succès avec ses services data ? « Nous avons été les premiers à lancer la technologie HSDPA et UPA et le service a eu un succès très vif dès le premier jour. Nous avons la couverture 3G la plus large avec 230 stations de base 3G. Nous avons à présent 50,000 abonnés et le chiffre est en augmentation puisque nous avons la meilleure qualité et le réseau le plus rapide. Il y a de plus en plus de téléphone 3G sur le marché et beaucoup viennent du marché parallèle. Vous pouvez acheter des téléphones mobile tactiles pour environ 100 dollars US ou moins. Nous allons aussi offrir des services WiMAX mais pas à grande échelle. Nous offrons une version de la Livebox d’Orange sous le label Flybox qui fonctionne avec la 3G ».

    L’Internet est principalement utilisé pour aller sur Facebook, BiTorrent, Yahoo et You Tube. Google a créé un serveur cache local mais ce n’est pas bon pour l’instant.  « Nous étions connecté à Google Global Cache et c’était rapide mais maintenant c’est un cauchemar. Nous allons avoir une réunion avec Google pour leur dire que nous ne sommes pas contents. Nos clients se plaignent et UTL (l’opérateur historique) ne sait pas comment gérer le serveur cache ».

    Est-ce que Orange va introduire la technologie LTE en Ouganda? « Nous avons des réseaux pilotes en Europe mais je pense que pour cette année c’est trop tôt mais nous reverrons la situation l’année prochaine. Il nous faut d’abord stabiliser l’équipement ». Qu’en est-il de la TV mobile ? « Nous allons partager une plate-forme avec le Kenya pour fournir ce service via la 3G. La structure des tarifs sera soit fonction du temps ou du type d’événement avec des tarifs spéciaux pour faire des choses différentes et en garantir son succès ». Orange Money ? « Ce n’est pas encore disponible en Ouganda mais cela le sera bientôt. Le future des paiements mobiles est l’interpolarité ».

    NTIC en Afrique: Ne manquez pas nos dernières vidéos sur notre Web TV qui
    vous apportent des interviews récentes de personnalités d'Afrique et de la
    Diaspora. Ces entrevues sont en anglais et en français:

    Le Cloud en Afrique selon Hedera Tech, visitez:

    Pourquoi l'Afrique a besoin de data centres? par Konan Systems, visitez:

    Réduire la consommation et les coûts de son système informatique tout en le rendant plus adaptable et accessible
    Appel à l'attention des pros de l'informatique en Afrique - par Hedera Tech, visitez:

    Améliorer les services informatiques en Afrique: Konan Systems, visitez:

    Problématiques du marché des NTIC en Afrique sur 2011 - Fasken Martineau - visitez:

  • Le secteur de la téléphonie mobile au Maroc a atteint en 2010 le nombre de 31.982.279 d'abonnés contre 25.310.761 abonnés en 2009, soit une progression annuelle de 26,36 %, indique l'Agence nationale de réglementation des télécommunications (ANRT), soulignant que le nombre d'abonnée dépasse désormais la population du royaume qui est de 30 millions d'habitants.

    Cette augmentation a permis au taux de pénétration de ce segment de la téléphonie mobile de dépasser le seuil de 100 pour cent pour se hisser à 101,49% à fin décembre 2010, contre 81,18% en 2009, soit un gain de plus de 20 points.

    Selon l'ANRT, l'analyse de l'évolution du secteur des télécommunications au Maroc pour l'année 2010 montre que cette croissance a été plus nette au troisième trimestre de l'année dernière avec un taux de croissance trimestrielle de 9,41%, suivi du premier trimestre avec 6,46 pour cent de croissance.

    Elle fait également ressortir une mutation dans la structure du marché, avec une progression du dernier entrant, Wana Corporate, au détriment de l'opérateur historique (Maroc Telecom).

    Maroc Télécom détient 52,81% du marché, suivi de Medi Telecom avec 33,74%, alors que Wana Corporate détient désormais 13,45% du marché.

    Concernant la répartition des clients du mobile par type d'abonnement, l'ANRT constate qu'il n'y a presque aucun changement dans la structure du marché par rapport à l'année dernière et que le prépayé prédomine toujours avec une part de 96,16% (96% à fin décembre 2009) contre 3,84% pour le post-payé.

    L'Agence note également que les deux types d'abonnement ont évolué en 2010 de 26,56% pour le prépayé et de 21,58% pour le post-payé par rapport à fin 2009.

    Info Plus Gabon
  • Jusqu'ici les Comoriens attendent impatiemment les bienfaits de la fibre optique. Mais aucun consommateur n'en bénéficie alors même que le réseau est désormais connecté au câble sous-marin Eassy.

    Le haut débit tant promis par Comores Télécom reste un rêve pour les consommateurs. Pourquoi ce retard qui fait perdre à la société comorienne des télécommunications des millions par mois ?

    Les clients de Comores Telecom ont connu des perturbations dans l"accès à internet en fin de semaine dernière. Et pour cause, la fibre optique était coupée au niveau de la Tanzanie. Le câble connait des problèmes avant même qu'il soit officiellement accessible. Cet incident a permis au public de comprendre qu'il est branché à la fibre mais que « Comores Télécom a volontairement gardé la même vitesse de 128 kb en attendant la commercialisation (du haut débit, ndlr) », reconnait un des responsables de la société nationale des télécommunications.

    Plusieurs raisons expliquent ce retard dans la commercialisation. D'abord, la structure des prix de vente de ce produit est toujours sur la table du chef de l'Etat dans l'attente de validation, depuis plusieurs mois. Le ministre des télécommunications explique que « c'est parce que le gouvernement estime que le prix proposé est trop élevé. Il faut essayer de les revoir afin de protéger et défendre la population ». Le gouvernement ne valide pas encore mais ne propose pas d'autre structure de prix. D'après les informations glanées par Malango Actualité,  « le gouvernement voudrait que Comores Télécom s'aligne sur les prix pratiqués à Madagascar ».

    L'autre raison qui pourrait expliquer ce retard, est relative à la généralisation de la fibre dans toutes les îles. La fin des travaux d'extension de cette nouvelle technologie à travers les îles de Mohéli et Anjouan est prévue pour le mois de février. Si la fibre devait être lancée en ce moment, elle serait opérationnelle uniquement à Grande Comore. Or, les autorités voudraient lancer la fibre optique au même moment dans les trois îles . Donc, les consommateurs qui souffrent considérablement en matière de débit Internet, doivent prendre leur mal en patience. Si cette option d'attendre la connexion inter-île d'abord se confirme, la commercialisation du haut débit ne se fera qu'après février.

    Mais si ce retard dans la commercialisation de la fibre pénalise les utilisateurs, le gouvernement de l'Union n'en fait pas partie. Selon certaines sources, « tous les membres du gouvernement disposent de clé USB haut débit Mpessi. Ils utilisent cette option Internet en illimité. Donc ces problèmes de connexion que rencontrent la population ne les pénalisent pas », explique-t-on. D'où l'interrogation de savoir si réellement le gouvernement est animé d'une bonne volonté pour le lancement de la fibre.

    L’Express
  • L'annonce est venue non pas de l'opérateur, mais de l'un de ses équipementiers.

    C'est Alcatel Lucent qui va installer le réseau 3G de Togo Cellulaire lui donnant ainsi la possibilité de développer son réseau, d'améliorer la qualité des communications et surtout de pouvoir offrir à ses clients du haut débit sur téléphone mobile et clé USB.

    Togo Cellulaire sera ainsi le premier à proposer du 3G au Togo ; une longueur d'avance face à son concurrent Moov.

    Alcatel-Lucent se chargera de l'installation et la mise en service d'une grande partie des équipements d'extension du réseau, la conception du réseau 3G, la planification du réseau radio, l'intégration sur le terrain, l'optimisation et la gestion du projet, indique la société.

  • La nouvelle loi portant Code des Télécommunications, déjà votée par l'Assemblée nationale, a été adoptée en procédure d'urgence par le Sénat, rapporte Le Soleil dans son édition de jeudi.

    La nouvelle loi qui comprend 188 articles "va transposer l'essentiel des dispositions, directives et textes additionnels de l'UEMOA et de la CEDEAO dans notre Code national des Télécommunications", selon le ministre de la Communication et des Télécommunications cité par le journal.

    "Depuis le 31 décembre 2010, nous sommes dépassés et soumis aux textes communautaires. Donc il y a une urgence (à) adapter notre législation", a ajouté Moustapha Guirassy qui défendait ce projet de loi devant les sénateurs.

    Parlant du volet investissement de la nouvelle loi, il a dit que si le Sénégal ne fait pas le nécessaire pour se mettre à niveau des évolutions enregistrées dans ce secteur, le pays "pourrait perdre sa position de leader dans ce domaine d'ici à quelques années".

    "Si nous ne faisons pas vite, si nous n'encourageons pas les investissements dans ce domaine, le Sénégal risque d'accuser un retard. Notre pays est bien outillé, mais il y a de câbles à haut débit qui sont en train de traverser ou qui risquent de passer à côté du Sénégal", a-t-il prévenu.

    "Si nous ne saisissons pas l'occasion de les faire entrer dans le pays, nous perdrons de belles opportunités", a insisté le ministre de la Communication et des Télécommunications, en allusion au câble à fibre optique WACS (West Africa Cable System) qui a atteint, il y a quelques jours, les côtes namibiennes au niveau de la ville de Swakopmund.

    Le câble sous-marin reliera l'Afrique du Sud à la Grande Bretagne avec des points de raccordement au Togo, en Namibie, en RDC, au Congo, au Cameroun, au Nigeria, au Ghana et en Côte d'Ivoire, notamment. C'est la première liaison directe de ce genre et il coûtera en tout 600 millions de dollars.

    Ce câble de 14.000 km acheminera les communications classiques et le très haut débit internet (3.8 térabits/s) à des coûts largement inférieurs à ce qu'ils sont aujourd'hui, ce qui devrait ouvrir la voie à de nouvelles technologies comme le triple-play (téléphone, télévision, internet).

    Le WACS est un consortium qui regroupe plusieurs opérateurs africains dont Togo Telecom, Angola Telecom, Broadband Ifraco, Cable & Wireless, MTN, Portugal Telecom, Sotelco, Tata Communications, Telecom Namibia, Telkom et Vodacom.

    Selon Le Soleil, une grande partie du nouveau Code est consacrée à la régulation avec le renforcement attendu de l'Agence de régulations des télécommunications et des postes (ARTP).

    "Le secteur des télécoms est extrêmement important et compte pour 10 pour cent du PIB. De ce point de vue, il est important de rassurer les investisseurs, de repenser la régulation en faisant de l'ARTP un vrai organe, en renforçant ses prérogatives et en changeant la direction par un collège. Cette direction sera l'organe de décision en matière d'arbitrage et de régulation", note le journal.

    APS
  • Le prix de l'internet haut débit a beau baisser, toutefois, Mauritius Telecom augmente la bande passante de ses abonnés pour le contourner. L'offre comprenant les chaînes télé et les appels internationaux fait tiquer la Competition Commission of Mauritius (CCM) qui a ouvert une enquête.

    Il a fallu trois mois à la Competition Commission of Mauritius (CCM) pour réagir. C'est finalement ce lundi 21 février qu'elle a procédé à l'ouverture d'une enquête sur le bouquet My.T commercialisé par Mauritius Telecom, le principal opérateur téléphonique et fournisseur d'accès à l'Internet dans l'île.

    La CCM se base sur les provisions de la loi relative aux situations de monopole pour se pencher sur l'offre de My.T. Celle-ci comprend l'accès à l'ADSL (l'internet haut débit), le bouquet télé et l'accès direct aux appels internationaux à un tarif en dessous de ce que Mauritius Telecom pratique normalement.

    L'institution dirigée par John Davies explique, dans un communiqué, avoir des « appréhensions » sur la possibilité que Mauritius Telecom utilise sa position dominante sur le marché de l'internet haut débit pour tenter d'élargir ses parts de marché sur le créneau TV et les appels internationaux. Ainsi, un client lambda peut se voir refuser une connexion ADSL s'il ne souscrit pas à une offre de My.T, ce qui équivaut ainsi à un « abus d'influence ».

    La CCM indique que si, à l'issue de son enquête, elle découvre que le bouquet My.T de Mauritius Telecom a pour objectif de « restreindre, d'empêcher ou de fausser la concurrence », elle peut contraindre MT à revoir son « comportement ». Toutefois, Mauritius Telecom échapperait à une amende dans un tel cas, la loi ne prévoyant de sanction que pour les cartels.

    John Davies indique que l'enquête a été initiée après que plusieurs personnes soient venues de l'avant pour exprimer leurs « préoccupations » face à l'offre de Mauritius Telecom. Il s'attend ainsi à travailler conjointement avec l'Information Communications Technology Authority (ICTA) et les « autres parties intéressées par cette affaire ».

    Mais ce n'est pas demain la veille que les résultats de l'enquête seront connus, la CCM prévoit que ceux-ci sont attendus dans un an. En tout cas, l'Association des Consommateurs de l'île Maurice (Acim) doit être contente, ayant souligné en novembre dernier que la stratégie commerciale de Mauritius Telecom n'était pas équitable.

    A l'époque, le prix de l'internet avait baissé, mais Mauritius Telecom avait doublé le débit de la bande passante de ses clients. Quand ceux-ci ont voulu annuler leurs abonnements, ils se sont retrouvés le dos au mur, devant payer le reste de leur contrat.

    C'est le 26 novembre que le ministre des Technologies de l'information et de la communication, Tassarajen Pillay Chedumbrum, avait annoncé la baisse du prix de l'Internet à partir du 1er décembre. Mauritius Telecom s'est aussitôt fait remarquer en trouvant une stratégie qui contournait cette décision.

    « Financièrement et techniquement, ce n'est pas possible de réduire les deux tarifications en même temps, en l'occurrence celle de l'ADSL et celle de My.T. Si on baisse les prix de My.T, on est mort. Surtout avec tous les investissements pour rehausser le niveau du service, comme la plateforme télé HD à domicile. Sinon, ce serait céder à la pression, comme dans le passé, et faire des offres moins compétentes», faisait ressortir Emmanuel André, directeur commercial de la firme à lexpress.mu.

    L’Express
  • En raison du caractère extrême de la démarche et des risques qu'elle engendre pour la santé de celui qui la mène, Reporters sans frontières n'encourage pas la grève de la faim comme moyen de contestation. Mais nous saluons le courage de ce militant de la liberté dans un pays où toute démarche de protestation et tout discours critique sont réprimés. Nous demandons aux autorités, et surtout aux partenaires occidentaux de la Guinée équatoriale, d'entendre les revendications de Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel, concernant en particulier l'absence de liberté d'expression", a déclaré Jean-François Julliard, secrétaire général de Reporters sans frontières.

    Le militant a récemment déclaré dans une interview pour le journal en ligne GuinGuinBali : "Cela fait trente ans que nous vivons une situation terrible et que nous empruntons une mauvaise route. Il est temps d'agir. Nous ne pouvons pas continuer à subir cette dictature (. . .). Pendant longtemps, nous avons cru qu'il était impossible de renverser un dictateur. Maintenant nous savons que c'est possible et nous devons essayer. Nous devons nous inspirer de l'esprit de changement qui souffle au Maghreb"  Plus d'info sur visitez:

    Le blogueur a notamment demandé au président de l'Assemblée nationale espagnole, à la tête d'une délégation de parlementaires en visite en Guinée équatoriale, d'exercer "les pressions nécessaires" pour qu'un gouvernement de transition soit constitué sans aucun membre du régime actuel.

    Par crainte de voir poindre en Guinée équatoriale un mouvement de contestation similaire à celui du Nord de l'Afrique, le gouvernement a décidé d'organiser un black-out médiatique sur les chutes de Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali et Hosni Moubarak. Le ministre de l'Information et porte-parole du gouvernement, Jeronimo Osa Osa, a donné des instructions claires au personnel de la radio-télévision d'Etat RTVGE pour que les événements en Tunisie et en Egypte ne soient pas couverts.

    Sur son blog visitez: à travers ses oeuvres romanesques, poétiques et théâtrales, ou encore lors des conférences qu'il donne dans plusieurs universités étrangères, l'écrivain équato-guinéen n'a de cesse de critiquer le régime de Malabo, sa mauvaise gouvernance, ainsi que la complaisance étrangère vis-à-vis de la dictature de Teodoro Obiang Nguema.

    La publication de câbles Wikileaks par le quotidien espagnol "El Pais" a révélé, par exemple, l'indulgence coupable des Etats-Unis à l'égard de Malabo. En 2009, le diplomate américain en poste en Guinée équatoriale, Anton K. Smith, qualifiait ainsi Teodoro Obiang Nguema de "mec sympa", dirigeant le pays de manière "sereine et bienveillante". Autrement dit, tout va bien dans le "Koweit de l'Afrique", pays sans libertés mais important fournisseur de pétrole pour les entreprises américaines.

    La Guinée équatoriale occupe la 167e place, sur 178 pays, dans le classement mondial 2010 de la liberté de la presse publié par Reporters sans frontières. Son président, Teodoro Obiang Nguema, figure depuis plusieurs années parmi la liste des prédateurs de la liberté de la presse publiée par l'organisation. Mainmise sur l'économie, culte de la personnalité, corruption, absence de pluralisme, presse strictement encadrée, le chef de l'Etat dirige le pays d'une main de fer depuis 1979.

    IFEX
  • Face à la baisse drastique de l'audience, le géant de la recherche internet, Google veut aider les organes de presse sénégalais à explorer de nouvelles pistes pour développer les sites des journaux et en tirer des ressources additionnelles. Les responsables du moteur de recherche l'ont fait savoir hier lors du Gsenegal qui s'est tenu à Dakar et dont le thème portait sur 'Croissance locale, Impact global'.

    Parce que Internet gruge le marché des journaux en support papier, le géant de la recherche sur internet, Google, tente d'aider les groupes de presse sénégalais à s'orienter également dans ce créneau pour trouver des ressources additionnelles.

    C'est pourquoi, hier lors d'un atelier sur internet et les médias, organisé dans le cadre du Gsenegal qui s'est tenu durant deux jours à l'Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar, les responsables de Google ont discuté avec les patrons de presse des moyens de faire profiter les différents organes du pays des réelles opportunités qu'internet leur offre encore.

    'Les annonces commencent à être diffusées sur internet plutôt que dans les médias traditionnels. Donc, il faut travailler pour que les sites des journaux soient plus complets.

    Et Google propose des logiciels permettant de mieux enrichir les sites des journaux', a déclaré le vice-président de Google pour l'Europe du Sud, le Moyen-Orient et l'Afrique, Carlo d'Assaro Biondo.

    Qui soutient que l'Afrique a un avantage sur les marchés occidentaux déjà très saturés. 'Le déclin de l'audience est une tendance mondiale à cause de la forte concurrence. La concurrence sur internet en Afrique est moins forte.

    Donc, il y a une réelle opportunité pour la presse de se positionner. On a très peu de contenu Afrique. Sur le mondial, seuls 0,2 % des contenus sont africains. Donc, les journaux africains ont l'opportunité de développer des contenus à même d'intéresser les internautes des pays développés afin d'en tirer des ressources conséquentes', poursuit-il.

    Mais, pour ce faire, Biondo leur suggère de s'orienter vers des thèmes importants qui pourraient intéresser également le reste du monde. En effet, selon lui, vendre les journaux sur internet ne serait pas la solution. Il s'agira plutôt d'aller vers l'audience.

    Et, dit-il, Google va y aider en montrant ce que les gens cherchent ailleurs sur l'Afrique pour pousser les développeurs à s'investir dans ces contenus et d'y gagner de ressources additionnelles. 'Il n' y a pas de solutions miracles.

    Ce n'est pas l'abonnement qui va faire la différence. Il ne va pas résoudre le problème. Mais, la publicité sur le site oui. Le coût de la presse, c'est entre 50 à 60 % du physique. Cela devient extrêmement difficile de faire le passage sur internet.

    Avec internet, on vend en temps réel pour des petites quantités. Nous sommes prêts à vendre à votre place si vous vous lancez dans la fragmentation des contenus en différentes thématiques susceptibles d'intéresser d'autres utilisateurs à travers le monde. Car, plus on est présent sur internet, mieux on vend', renchérit le vice-président de Google.

    De plus, pour faire face aux problèmes des compétences techniques permettant de mettre en valeur les outils de Google, le moteur de recherche propose d'organiser trois fois par an des sessions de formation au profit des webmasters des journaux de la place pour leur apprendre comment utiliser ses nouveaux outils.

    Walfadjri
  • Mille neuf cent vingt-quatre étudiants âgés de 18 à 35 ans ont été formés, courant 2008-2009, aux techniques de recherche à la création d'emplois, grâce au programme Challenge lancé par Snapse Center et Microsoft qui veulent faire plus d'ici 2012.

    Microsoft et Synapse Center ont renouvelé leur partenariat. La signature de cet accord, hier à Dakar, a été sanctionnée par une remise de chèque d'un montant de 100 000 dollars, soit près de 50 millions de francs Cfa de la firme internationale spécialisée dans la fabrication de logiciels informatiques à son partenaire.

    L'enveloppe est destinée à la seconde édition du programme Challenge lancé depuis 2008 par Synapse Center, Microsoft et International Youth Foundation (Iyf). Ce programme vise à 'enrichir le Sénégal de sa relève'.

    C'est ainsi qu'entre 2008 et 2009, mille neuf cent vingt-quatre jeunes du pays ont bénéficié d'un renforcement de leurs habiletés personnelles et professionnelles et d'un accompagnement individuel vers l'insertion ou la création d'entreprise. Parmi eux, 66,6 % qui ont bénéficié d'un stage, ont été embauchés ou sont retournés aux études au terme du programme.

    Cette seconde édition du programme Challenge devra former et accompagner sept cent quarante jeunes âgés entre 18 et 35 ans dans les deux prochaines années. Ceux qui recevront la même formation, seront à moitié insérés dans le tissu économique du pays, comme prévu par Snapse Center, grâce au concourt d'un réseau établi de cent quatre-vingt dix-huit entreprises qui acceptent de les accueillir en qualité de stagiaires ou de recrues.

    'La poursuite du programme est une démonstration concrète de la priorité accordée par Snapse Center et Microsoft à la formation d'une relève dynamique et compétente au Sénégal', a déclaré le directeur exécutif de Snapse Center, Ciré Kane. Selon lui, c'est pour soutenir les jeunes dans leur épanouissement et dans la réalisation de leurs ambitions et de leurs rêves que Challenge a été mis en place.

    Le programme valorise le potentiel et l'audace des jeunes entrepreneurs potentiels, des jeunes diplômés et des étudiants dans la perspective de la réalisation d'eux-mêmes et d'entreprises durables soucieuses de leur rentabilité économique et de leur impact positif dans la société.

    Ainsi, selon M. Kane, des mille neuf cent vingt-quatre jeunes formés, 30 % ont pu retrouver, à la faveur du programme 'Passeport pour l'emploi', le chemin de l'emploi entre 2009 et 2010.

    'Snapse Center a prouvé qu'elle mérite le soutien de Microsoft qui lui avait fait don de logiciel d'une valeur de 6 millions de francs Cfa. L'année dernière, nous avions financé International Youth Foundation (Iyf) qui avait sous-traité avec Snapse pour faire face à la faiblesse de l'employabilité et à l'insuffisance des capacités entrepreneuriales des jeunes.

    Cette année, pour éviter ce circuit, nous avons jugé judicieux de traiter directement avec Snapse', a souligné Samba Guissé, chargé des programmes Education au bureau de Microsoft de l'Ouest et du Centre d'Afrique.

    Pour lui, Challenge s'inscrit également dans le cadre de l'initiative Microsoft Unlimited Potentiel qui vise à transformer l'éducation, à promouvoir les innovations au niveau local et à créer des emplois et de nouvelles opportunités, en s'adaptant aux besoins de chacun afin de jouer pleinement son rôle dans l'économie du savoir au niveau mondial.

    Fondé en 2002, Snapse Center est un organisme à but non lucratif dont la mission est de promouvoir une nouvelle génération de leaders, d'intra-preneurs et d'entrepreneurs dynamiques et compétents capables de relever les défis de l'avenir.

    13 % des chercheurs d'emplois chôment au Sénégal

    L'accès au marché du travail est très limité pour une frange importante de la population sénégalaise. Le chômage est malheureusement de plus en plus visible. Les derniers chiffres et analyses contenus dans l'étude de la Banque mondiale à la recherche d'emploi confirment que le taux de chômage avoisine 13 % dans le pays.

    Que plus de 30 % de la force de travail ne sont pas satisfaits, car sous occupés et désirent travailler plus. Et que le salaire médian dans le secteur informel à Dakar ne dépasse pas 68 dollars par mois.

    D'après l'étude réalisée en 2007, il n'y a qu'une personne sur cinq qui travaille à plein temps au Sénégal. Ce qui représente un taux élevé de dépendance, contribuant ainsi à mettre une pression croissante sur le taux de pauvreté qui se situe à un peu moins de 50 % des ménages.

    Ces lacunes du marché du travail sont apparues plus prononcées pour certaines catégories de travailleurs comme les jeunes représentant dans cette étude un taux de 30 %, puisque le document ajoute qu'environ 6 chômeurs sur 10 ont moins de 35 ans.

    Walfadjri
  • Plusieurs responsables d'organismes activant dans les technologies de l'information et de la communication ont mis à l'index le cadre réglementaire et législatif, qui n'accompagne pas l'évolution que connaît le secteur des TIC. C'est l'idée principale qui se dégage des différentes interventions hier lors d'une table ronde organisée à El Moudjahid. Le président de l'association des fournisseurs d'Internet ISP, M. Boukaaba, a expliqué dans ce sens que les opérateurs économiques ne peuvent pas travailler dans l'instabilité juridique.

    Exemples à l'appui, l'orateur évoquera, entre autres, les contraintes bureaucratiques et les textes législatifs qui changent du jour au lendemain. Pour lui, l'opérateur ne peut pas travailler et même monter ses projets, alors que les lois changent périodiquement. Bien que la problématique posée hier concerne l'utilisation des TIC dans le domaine économique, l'orateur a préféré évoquer le problème dans sa globalité, estimant que «la question est beaucoup plus profonde». Elle touche, souligne-t-il, tout le système économique. En d'autres termes, l'environnement économique est vital pour la réalisation de tout projet dans les TIC. M. Boukaaba n'a pas ménagé les responsables qui, juge-t-il, légifèrent dans la «suspicion».

    «Il faut que l'Etat lève la main sur l'économie du pays pour libérer les initiatives», a-t-il suggéré, précisant au passage que les lourdeurs bureaucratiques ont poussé pas moins de 26 000 ingénieurs et techniciens en informatique à quitter le pays. Le représentant du ministère des TIC, M. Benmehrez, a abondé dans le même sens, affirmant que le cadre juridique est «hostile». Avec 100 000 personnes qui activent dans le secteur, notre pays est toujours à la traîne, soutient-il. L'investissement dans le secteur évalué actuellement à 4 milliards de dollars est insuffisant, ajoute M. Benmehrez, pour qui la même somme sera consacrée à l'avenir pour le développement du contenu.

    Dans la foulée, il a indiqué que dix ministres ont conclu des partenariats avec le département des TIC pour développer des services en ligne «informationnels et transactionnels». Pour sa part, le directeur d'Animapp, M. Younes Grar, une entreprise spécialisée dans le développement des applications mobiles, s'est interrogé sur la disparition en Algérie des entreprises qui travaillent dans le secteur au moment où, ailleurs, elles connaissent une évolution fulgurante. Le même responsable qui a dévoilé une nouvelle application permettant le paiement via le mobile a regretté le fait que le nombre des sites internet ne dépasse pas les 10 000, alors que le nombre des entreprises frise le million actuellement.

    Pour lui, il n'est pas même pas question de parler aujourd'hui du développement de fond, des mises à jour qui ne représentent que des poussières par rapport au potentiel qui existe. Evoquant l'application développée par cette entreprise, M. Grar a assuré qu'elle permettra de réduire la crise des liquidités qui ne cesse de prendre de l'ampleur, mais aussi de faciliter les transactions commerciales pour les commerçants et les consommateurs.

    La Tribune
  • Le président de la Commission de l'Union économique et monétaire ouest africaine (UEMOA), Soumaïla Cissé, et la directrice générale de l'UNESCO Irina Bokova procèdent, vendredi à Paris (France), à la signature d'une convention pour l'exécution d'un projet de mise en place d'une bibliothèque virtuelle dans les Etats membres de l'Union.

    Le projet, d'un coût estimé à six milliards de francs CFA, a pour objectif de renforcer les capacités de mise en oeuvre de la réforme Licence-Master-Doctorat (LMD) dans les Etats membres de l'UEMOA, à travers le développement et l'utilisation des technologies de l'information et de la communication (TIC), explique un communiqué de l'organisation sous-régionale parvenu à l'APS.

    D'une durée de trois ans, le projet consiste réaliser des infrastructures physiques et virtuelles des TIC, acquérir des équipements et matériels informatiques, réaliser des études et renforcer les compétences dans les domaines de l'utilisation des TIC, la pédagogie universitaire, l'accréditation et l'assistance-qualité, ainsi que la recherche.

    La convention à signer définit les modalités d'exécution de ce projet confiée à l'UNESCO par la Commission de l'UEMOA, conformément au cadre de coopération et de partenariat qui existe entre les deux institutions depuis 2006, ajoute la même source.

    La gestion du projet est assurée par un comité de pilotage comprenant des représentants de l'UEMOA, de l'UNESCO et des universités des Etats membres de l'Union.

    Créée le 10 janvier 1994, l'UEMOA regroupe huit pays : le Bénin, le Burkina Faso, la Côte d'Ivoire, la Guinée-Bissau, le Mali, le Niger, le Sénégal et le Togo.

    En juillet 2007, l'UEMOA a adopté une directive instituant le système LMD comme cadre de référence des diplômes délivrés dans toutes les universités et institutions d'enseignement supérieur de ses Etats membres.

    APS
  • A la Banque centrale du Congo, la modernisation du système national de paiement par l'introduction de nouveaux modes de paiement n'est ni un voeu pieux, encore moins un discours creux. En effet, il est vécu au quotidien. Avec la percée du téléphone mobile, la Banque centrale du Congo explore la possibilité de mettre à profit cet outil de télécommunications dans l'expérimentation des services financiers innovants.

    C'est pour approfondir le sujet que l'Institut d'émission s'est rapproché du ministère des Postes, Téléphones et Télécommunications (PTT). La semaine dernière, sur initiative de la direction de la Surveillance des intermédiaires financières de la BCC, des experts de deux camps se sont retrouvés au Cercle de Kinshasa pour discuter des mécanismes à mettre en oeuvre pour concrétiser ce projet. La rencontre a tourné autour du thème : «La téléphonie mobile et les services bancaires ».

    De deux côtés, l'on s'est dit convaincu que les services financiers à distance, notamment par téléphonie mobile, représentent une nouvelle filière à explorer dans la phase de mise en oeuvre de modernisation en RDC du système national de paiement. En s'entourant de l'expertise du ministère des PTT, la Banque centrale s'est fixé comme objectif d'avoir une connaissance adéquate des infrastructures existantes, des difficultés éventuelles et des opportunités pour accompagner et faciliter les élans d'innovation dans les domaines de la téléphonie mobile et des services bancaires en vue d'en assurer leur promotion et leur vulgarisation.

    Présent à l'ouverture de cette concertation, le vice-Premier ministre et ministre des PTT, M. Simon Bulupiy, a loué l'initiative de la Banque centrale soulignant que, dans la phase de développement de nouveaux modes de paiements, les nouvelles technologues de l'information et de communications telles que le téléphone mobile devaient être mis à profit pour offrir de nouveaux services financiers et bancaires. Mais, bien avant le vice-Premier ministre Bulupiy, le gouverneur de la Banque centrale du Congo, Jean-Claude Masangu Mulongo, a recadré le débat, en circonscrivant notamment les objectifs poursuivis par la Banque centrale dans le contexte de mise en oeuvre du plan de modernisation du système national de paiement. Pour justifier la nécessité de la réflexion engagée par la Banque centrale, il est parti de la volonté exprimée par la communauté internationale de réduire à l'horizon 2015 la pauvreté dans le monde par la mise en oeuvre des Objectifs du Millénaire pour le Développement. La stratégie pour l'atteinte de ces objectifs vitaux exige notamment la mobilisation des moyens importants et nouveaux, capables de permettre à un grand nombre de personnes dont les plus démunis d'accéder aux services financiers. Dans ce cadre, il a fait savoir que la Banque centrale continue à jouer sa partition en développant depuis 2001 la réflexion sur la relance et de la consolidation du système bancaire.

    Ainsi, pour le gouverneur de la Banque centrale du Congo, la prochaine décennie de 2011 à 2020 sera celle de l'expansion et de la pénétration géographique du système bancaire. « Outre la modernisation actuelle en cours, la téléphonie mobile sera appelée elle aussi à jouer un rôle des plus déterminants. En effet, et pour ne prendre que cet exemple, en comparant le nombre d'abonnés du secteur des télécommunications par rapport au nombre des détenteurs de comptes, nous réalisons ce que pourra être le champ d'intervention de ce nouvel outil qui permettra à des millions de Congolais d'accéder aux services financiers tels que l'épargne, le transfert, le crédit, le paiement de factures et salaires ».

    A noter que les services financiers à distance, comme ceux offerts par téléphone mobile, représentent une « nouvelle filière qui mérite qu'on s'y penche au regard de son développement et de l'intérêt manifesté par les parties impliquées », a rappelé Jean-Claude Masangu. Compte du poids de l'innovation, il y a bien des préalables à réunir pour réussir l'innovation. Il s'agit, entre autres, des questions relatives notamment à la définition de la monnaie électronique, aux conditions d'agrément des opérateurs exploitants, aux principes de surveillance prudentielle, aux risques encourus et à la lutte contre le blanchiment de capitaux.

    Le Potentiel
  • Le personnel de Tunisie Télécom a organisé au siège de cette entreprise nationale, opérateur historique de téléphonie, un sit-in spécialement réussi. Et pour cause !

    Les salaires faramineux des hauts cadres de l'entreprise qu'un fac-similé circulant de main en main pointait du doigt.

    Mais au-delà, c'est du devenir de Tunisie Télécom dont ses salariés se soucient. Certes, les protestataires mettent en cause «une centaine de privilégiés de l'entreprise» ne répondant à aucun critère de recrutement, placés à des postes clés de décision et jouissant d'un statut Vip.

    «Plus grave», expliquent les employés et cadres mécontents, ces privilégiés se seraient proposés de soutirer encore de l'argent à l'entreprise en cette période de distribution de primes de bilan, alors que TT connaît disent-ils, «une baisse alarmante de chiffre d'affaires» qui serait due à «une politique de gestion défaillante et corrompue». Les parts de marché de Tunisie Télécom seraient passées, en quatre ans, de 70 à 40%.

    Certains cadres bien informés expliquent: le contrat de privatisation de Tunisie Télécom, établi en 2006 entre l'Etat tunisien et Télécom-Div, octroie aux Emiratis le droit à trois postes de responsabilité, à savoir celui de DGA., de directeur central d'affaires et marketing et de directeur central financier. Des ramifications de la famille Trabelsi et des pions du pouvoir déchu ont pris place au sein de l'entreprise, créant des postes de décision fictifs, jouissant de rémunérations exorbitantes. «Les Emiratis et la famille proche du pouvoir déchu ont créé de toutes pièces des fonctions au sein de l'entreprise qui ont déstabilisé l'aspect organisationnel, l'organigramme de l'entreprise et son statut, outre le recours à des consultants payés à 1.000 euros par jour sous prétexte qu'un savoir-faire et des compétences s'imposaient pour mettre Tunisie Télécom au diapason du modernisme, ce qui a alourdi considérablement les charges financières de l'entreprise pour satisfaire les intérêts de ces privilégiés, engagés en transgression des textes réglementaires et dont les salaires sont confectionnés selon une grille qui ne tient à aucune assise réglementaire», explique un responsable de Tunisie Télécom.

    Les protestataires ont, par ailleurs, dénoncé d'autres dépassements en termes de gaspillage et qui ont servi à renflouer les comptes bancaires des familles proches du pouvoir.

    La Presse
  • C’est avec un réel plaisir que j’ai pris connaissance de ma sélection parmi les 20 meilleurs blogueurs du concours Mondoblog sur RFI. Cela me donne plus de motivation et me pousse encore une fois à aller de l’avant. Le chemin est long certes mais le meilleur reste à venir. Je voulais personnellement remercier le jury mais aussi les organisateurs qui ont pensé à ce concours (Cédric Kalonji, Ziad Malouf et surtout l’homme de l’ombre Simon Decreuze). On était 100 blogueurs au départ et voici que 20 seulement vont continuer l’aventure. Cela ne veut pas dire que les autres ont démérité. L’importance repose sur le fait d’avoir participé au concours et de partager sa passion sur le web. A toutes et à tous merci de votre soutien.

    C’est mon objectif premier. Le blogging tarde toujours à prendre des ailes au Sénégal, mais avec des initiatives concrètes le défit peut être relevé. Je citerai en exemple l’Association des blogueurs sénégalais, l’avenue221 , et d’autres projets en cours comme celui du site seneweb.com qui va bientôt ouvrir ses blogs pour donner la parole à tous les internautes souhaitant s’exprimer librement sur la toile.

    Le monde évolue et nous devons évoluer avec lui. Exprimez-vous avec les nouveaux outils du web... Le Web 2.0 a les potentiels d’élargir la démocratie pour atteindre le plus grand nombre de communauté possible. Je suis convaincu que le blogging connaitra un avenir meilleur au Sénégal. Clin d’œil aux autres blogueurs qui figurent sur la liste : Arouna Ba, Kouyah Kouyate,Amara Soumah,Kahofi Suy, Boukary Konate.

  • D'après une étude réalisée par l'agence digitale du Groupe Impact " eMedia ", le monde digital à participé fortement dans la diffusion des informations qui ont mené vers la révolution tunisienne. Appelée " la révolution digitale tunisienne " et à partir des premières manifestations, tous les Tunisiens, à travers toute la République se sont tournés vers le Net pour suivre la première étincelle du 17 décembre dernier, qui avait donné lieu à toute une révolte.

    Faute de mieux et par manque d'informations suffisantes sur les chaînes de télévision, de radio ou même par le biais d'articles de presse, relatant avec fidélité des détails fiables et actuels et vu le contrôle exercé sur les médias officiels, les Tunisiens n'avaient qu'une seule alternative, se tourner vers les technologies digitales.

    L'enquête a montré que la rapidité des événements et la soif de s'informer manifestée par les Tunisiens sur tout le territoire les ont tous transformés en journalistes. Ils partagent des séquences vidéo, s'envoient des commentaires et des photos prises dans les rues tunisiennes et diffusent une des nouvelles sans aucune limite.

    Des réseaux sociaux qui leur ont permis d'être rapides, réactifs et parfois même très efficace. Il a été constaté également que le Tunisien a su, à travers ces supports, assumer complètement des opinions sans crainte aucune.

    On dirait même que " les réseaux sociaux sont devenus incontournables pour s'informer ". A l'opposé, les informations diffusées par les chaînes de télévision et le reste des médias sont restées " truquées ", pour " détournement de l'opinion publique ". Ainsi, le monde digital a gagné indéniablement la confiance de ses utilisateurs.

    Le public tunisien a vite compris que rapporter des faits était nettement plus facile que de les retoucher. Il s'est alors improvisé reporter, voire journaliste de l'instant. Appareil photo, téléphone " supportant la technologie " EDGE/3G ", le Tunisien a eu le bon réflexe d'envoyer rapidement ce qu'il voyait, ce qu'il entendait ou ce qu'il jugeait utile pour faire avancer le mouvement collectif.

    Des sites comme " Justin.TV " et " Qik.com " proposent de faire des diffusions en direct d'interventions policières violentes et même choquantes que les internautes tunisiens ou autres pouvaient suivre instantanément.

    Pour ce qui est des supports utilisés, l'enquête parle du mobile qui a été le premier support utilisé pour filmer ou prendre des photos. Le téléphone portable a par la suite permis la diffusion de l'information sur certaines pages ou groupes du réseau social " Facebook ". Les commentaires, les réactions, les photos et les vidéos étaient partagés par des centaines de milliers de personnes. "

    Même les méthodes de pression de l'ancien régime exercées par l'Agence tunisienne de l'Internet, à savoir censure, piratage de comptes... comme en témoigne Joe Sullivan, le responsable du département sécurité chez Facebook visitez: n'ont pas réussi à freiner les internautes à créer et partager du contenu ", retient cette enquête.

    L'autre réseau social qui a également contribué à la révolution a été " Twitter ", qui permettait une plus large diffusion, puisqu'il suffisait de s'inscrire pour pouvoir suivre toutes les informations envoyées par n'importe quel internaute, contrairement à " Facebook ", où le contenu partagé par les internautes n'est visible que par leurs amis.

    Les Tunisiens ont commencé à s'intéresser au réseau dès l'éclatement des événements à Sidi Bouzid et le phénomène s'est largement amplifié au fil des mois; plus de 1.000 Tunisiens y sont maintenant actifs. Ils ont " créé un sujet de discussion "hashtag" avec lequel toute personne possédant un compte " twitter " ou pas dans le monde pouvait suivre en temps réel le flux d'informations.

    Un " hashtag " qui s'appelle " #Sidibouzid ". D'autres hashtag ont vu le jour également mais " #Sidibouzid " est resté le plus important, ce qui lui a permis de prendre une place dans les "trending topics" (les sujets les plus chauds du jour dans le monde sur Twitter.com). Un lien qui a également permis à plusieurs médias étrangers de suivre la révolution tunisienne.

    La Presse
  • Défis et Enjeux de Régulation
    17-19 Mars 2011, Marrakech, Maroc

    Le secteur des télécoms a connu un essor considérable durant la dernière décennie grâce notamment aux innovations technologiques et au processus de libéralisation entamé par de nombreux pays. A cet égard, la régulation des télécoms en Afrique parait comme un maillon essentiel pour généraliser l’accessibilité, et assurer un développement sain et équilibré du secteur qui garanti les intérêts des différentes parties prenantes. C’est pour débattre des enjeux de la régulation en Afrique du Nord, du Centre et de l’Ouest que i-conférences organise en partenariat avec la Banque Africaine de Développement le Forum Africain des Télécoms.
    Pour plus d’informations visitez

    MobilePaymentExpo
    18-19 mai 2011, Paris Porte de Versailles, France

    Cette année le programme s'articule autour de 3 thématiques : les Usages, le Paiement et les Technologies.
    Mobile Payment vous propose :
    - Des Tables Rondes pour débattre sur toutes les thématiques actuelles et écouter les témoignages
    - Des Executives Keynotes d’acteurs influents pour comprendre les enjeux et le futur de ce marché
    - Des Ateliers pour présenter en détail vos produits et services
    - Une Exposition exhaustive pour échanger et découvrir les dernières avancées du monde des services transactionnels par mobile, le lieu où les entreprises présentent leur savoir-faire.
    - Un Village Start Up, une zone dédiée à l’innovation et aux tendances. Réservée aux jeunes entreprises présentant leurs derniers produits et services, pour des rencontres avec les experts, entrepreneurs et investisseurs.
    Pour plus d’informations visitez

    eLearning Africa 2011
    25 - 27 mai 2011, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzanie

    eLearning Africa 2011 se concentrera sur les jeunes mais mettra également en évidence l’importance des compétences, du développement des compétences et de l’employabilité.
    Pour plus d’informations visitez 

    West & Central Africa Com
    15-16 juin 2011, Dakar, Sénégal

    Agenda à suivre.
    Pour plus d’informations visitez

  • Le conseil des ministres du Niger  a nommé les nouveaux membres du Conseil National de la Régulation:
     
    Président du Conseil National de Régulation
    : Monsieur ALMOUSTAPHA BOUBACAR, Inspecteur Principal de la Gestion des Télécommunications, Représentant du Président du Conseil Suprême pour la Restauration de la Démocratie, Chef de l'Etat.
     
    Membres du Conseil National de Régulation :

    Monsieur IRO ADAMOU, Représentant du Premier ministre ;
    Monsieur SAIDOU ABDOULKARIM, Représentant du ministre en charge de l'Energie ;
    Madame FATOUMA ALHASSANE, Représentante du ministre en charge des Postes et Télécommunications ;
    Monsieur TINNI OUSSEINI, Représentant du ministre en charge des Transports ;
    Monsieur BOUKARY OUSMANE, Représentant du ministre en charge de l'Eau ;
    Monsieur MOUSTAPHA KADI, Représentant des Organisations des Consommateurs.

  • Offres d’emplois dans l’informatique de la BAD

    Assistant-appui aux applications
    Pour plus d’informations visitez

    Commis appui aux utilisateurs
    Pour plus d’informations visitez

Edition Française, 24 février 2011, No 152

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Editorial

  • La guerre des prix fait maintenant partie de la vie du secteur mobile en Afrique et il y a peu de réseaux qui soient aussi concurrentiels en ce moment qu’en Afrique de l’Est. Des tarifs toujours plus bas mettent même beaucoup de pression sur des opérateurs aussi bien établis et dominant que Safaricom au Kenya.  Les opérateurs partagent le sentiment qu’il faut qu’ils y participent  pour gagner plus de parts de marché. Les premiers résultats pour ceux qui se sont engagés dans cette voie sont modestes. La concurrence sur la qualité et les services est moins médiatisée en tant que stratégie mais elle fait certainement partie de leur approche. Russell Southwood s’est entretenu avec deux DGs très différents qui se trouvent au cœur de cette guerre des prix. Il s’agit de Bob Collymore, le DG de Safaricom et de Philipe de Luxcey, le DG d’Orange Ouganda, le premier défendant sa position d’opérateur dominant alors que le second cherche à développer son réseau. 

    - L’entretien avec Bob Collymore est centré sur la qualité du réseau, le service clientèle, la technologie LTE et le développement de contenu local.

    La guerre des prix au Kenya s’est récemment traduite par une annonce d’Airtel d’une baisse des prix des appels de 8 shillings à 3 shillings par minute. L’opérateur a par la suite « rectifié le tir » en annonçant qu’il s’agissait d’une promotion et non pas d’un nouveau tarif. L’homme qui se trouve sur des chardons ardents, c’est Bob Collymore, le DG de Safaricom, l’opérateur qui a la plus grosse part de marché du segment mobile au Kenya.

    « Notre part de marché sur la base du nombre d’abonnés s’élève à 77%. Notre ARPU est plus élevé que celui des autres. Nous avons une position significative sur le marché mais nous avons le sentiment que c’est parce que les autres n’étaient pas vraiment compétents. La direction en charge du second opérateur manquait de consistance par exemple. Nous sommes ok avec l’idée de perdre des parts de marché (aux regards des tarifs d’appels irréalistiquement trop bas) et de nous concentrer sur Nairobi et les communautés disposant de revenus confortables. Les populations qui habitent dans des endroits reculés reçoivent plus d’appels (qu’ils n’en font). Si les tarifs continuent à baisser, pourquoi est-ce que je devrais continuer à le faire aussi ? »

    Collymore souhaiterait que le Gouvernement fixe un prix plancher en dessous duquel les tarifs d’appels ne peuvent pas être réduit. Cela a été fait au Congo RDC et au Sri-Lanka. « Une solution alternative serait de taxer les appels à bas prix mais une taxe ne résoudra pas les autres problèmes (comme les besoins d’investissements). Face à ces challenges, Bob Collymore dit qu’il sera nécessaire d’adopter un autre modèle commercial plus centré sur les services professionnels à valeur ajoutée. « Nous n’emploierons plus des personnes diplômés dans nos centres d’appels. Pour l’instant nous évitons d’externaliser ». C’est un message clair pour le Gouvernement. En plus de ce message alarmant, il y a les pertes financières pour l’Etat, actionnaire de Safaricom.

    Avec cette guerre des prix et d’autres problèmes, Bob Collymore a beaucoup communiqué avec les médias cherchant à ne rien cacher de telle sorte qu’ils ne viennent pas le hanter plus tard dans son parcours. Il s’agit d’une personne beaucoup plus douce que son prédécesseur et il est bien conscient des challenges qui l’attendent.

    Sur le sujet de notoriété publique du réseau congestionné de Safaricom: « Lors de mes rencontres avec des clients, il est clair que la qualité du réseau est un souci pour beaucoup d’entre eux. Les gens vous disent des choses si vous les écoutez. Notre trafic a beaucoup augmenté. Notre trafic dans la semaine 50 de 2010 était 100% plus élevé que la même semaine en 2009 ».

    Et du côté des services data? « Nous ne sommes pas aussi vulnérable que sur le segment voix. Ce n’est pas mauvais et nous n’avons pas autant de plaintes concernant les prix et la couverture. Mes 3,000 adeptes sur Twitter me le diraient si quelque chose n’allait pas ».

    Le service clientèle très peu réactif de Safaricom : « l’accès aux centres d’appels aurait du être mieux contrôlé. Chaque jour nous recevons en moyenne 500,000 tentatives d’appels mais nous avons seulement une capacité de 100,000 appels. Par conséquent seul un appel sur 5 aura la chance de passer. Cela dit le nombre à baisser après une pointe de 800,000 appels par jour ».

    La grande partie de cette demande est générée par l’opérateur lui-même soit parce qu’il n’explique pas bien les choses à ses clients soit parce que ses tarifs sont trop compliqués. Bob Collymore a décidé de simplifier la structure des tarifs d’appels qui comptait 20 tarifs différents en la réduisant au prépayé et post-payé  (et aux appels on net et off net). Il y avait trop de tarifs. Cela sème la confusion dans le secteur. Nous devons dire la vérité aux consommateurs”.

    En dépit des pressions causées par la guerre des prix, Safaricom continue à jouer son rôle d’innovateur sur le marché kenyan. L’Internet résidentiel et une offre triple? « C’est sur notre feuille de route. Nous devrons inévitablement proposer cela parce que c’est ce que le consommateur veut”. La technologie LTE ? « Nos tests se sont bien passés mais il faut encore compter 12 à 18 mois parce que les portables ne sont pas encore vraiment disponibles. Mais nous sommes prêts et nous serons les premiers sur le marché ».

    Le service M-Pesa ? « Nous avons 14 millions de clients et 2.5 millions de transactions journalières pour une valeur de 1.3 milliards de shillings. Il y a de la concurrence dans ce segment mais nous continuons à ajouter de nouvelles fonctionnalités en exclusivité. Le service a besoin de devenir plus omniprésent». Est-ce que Safaricom va s’interconnecter avec d’autres services de paiements via mobile ? « Il n’en est pas question ». Mais vous avez le sentiment d’après l’éclat de ses yeux que cela arriver.
     
    Il n’est pas question que nous nous lancions dans la construction d’un réseau national fibre. « C’est trop tard pour le faire. Nous aurions du le faire il y a cinq ans deçà. Le réseau n’est pas très fiable en ce moment. Il y a eu des coupures perturbantes sur la fibre lorsque nous avons annoncé nos résultats pour le premier semestre et leurs occurrences étaient suspectes. Nous avons construit un partenariat solide avec KPLC, Telkom Kenya et JTL qui nous proposent des prix concurrentiels ».

    Est-ce que cela veut dire que les prix de l’Internet vont continuer à baisser ? « Oui, les prix vont continuer à baisser. Plus il y a de personnes qui l’utilisent, plus cela sera moins cher ». Quels sont les potentiels du marché ? « Je souhaiterai que tous les enfants kenyans puissent être connectés à l’Internet. Il faut l’utiliser pour encourager le développement social et j’ai la passion de le faire ».

    Est-ce que Safaricom est impliqué dans le développement de contenu et pourquoi le partage des revenus est aussi défavorable pour les développeurs ? « J’ai suivi le débat sur KICTANET ou l’on nous accuse d’en profiter. Nous demandons 70%. Pourquoi est-ce que les développeurs pensent qu’ils doivent en profiter immédiatement. Nous n’avons pas l’intention de changer notre modèle commercial ».

    « Nous souhaitons développer le contenu local et nous avons consenti des efforts et investi du temps dans la musique locale. Nous gérons notre propre maison d’édition. Nous avons des contrats d’exclusivité avec les artistes et nous les aiderons à se développer. Nous nous lancerons dans d’autres types de contenu mais nous savions que la musique était importante pour Bharti et nous avons pensé que c’était une bonne chose à faire. Le chiffre d’affaires est petit et nous ne générons pas des tonnes d’argent. Il s’agit de créer quelque chose de durable. Les musiciens doivent bien vivre ». Qu’en est-il des rumeurs qui disent que vous allez lancer une plate-forme pour les applicatifs mobiles ? « Nous n’allons pas le faire maintenant mais nous le ferons. Le Kenya est un pays qui a soif de technologie ».

    - Philippe Luxcey, le DG d’Orange Ouganda à propos du déploiement de la 3G, de la technologie LTE et de la TV mobile

    En tant que dernier entrant sur le segment mobile, Orange Ouganda s’est investi dans son développement. En terme de profile public, leur publicité extérieure est partout dans Kampala mais il reste encore à l’opérateur de « gagner les cœurs » des consommateurs voix. Comme Safaricom au Kenya, l’opérateur essaye de s’adapter à une guerre des prix initié par Essar, le nouveau propriétaire de Warid Telecom.

    Phillipe Luxcey ne croit pas que la guerre des prix apportera quelque chose de bien.  « C’est fou, c’est vraiment fou. Il y a des offres qui proposent des appels gratuits pendant 24 heures lorsque vous rechargez UGS1,000 de crédits. Les appels off-net ont baissé jusqu’à UGS3 par seconde et le tarif d’interconnexion est à UGS131 par minute. A cela il faut ajouter, le paiement d’un impôt de 30% sur le chiffre d’affaires. Nous n’avons pas assez de marges pour couvrir les coûts de réseaux. Tous les appels off-net se traduisent par une perte d’argent. Warid a commencé cette guerre des prix et Airtel lui a enjambé le pas ».

    “ Cependant en dépit des prix bas, leur part de marché n’a pas beaucoup bougé. Les opérateurs sont trop confiants qu’ils vont tuer les autres (leurs concurrents) et ils prétendent aussi que le volume de trafic va augmenter ».

    Combien d’abonnés avez-vous à présent ? « Trois mois après le lancement commercial, nous avons 600,000 abonnés mais cela va doucement. Nous comptons que les clients actifs ».

    Est-ce qu’Orange a eu plus de succès avec ses services data ? « Nous avons été les premiers à lancer la technologie HSDPA et UPA et le service a eu un succès très vif dès le premier jour. Nous avons la couverture 3G la plus large avec 230 stations de base 3G. Nous avons à présent 50,000 abonnés et le chiffre est en augmentation puisque nous avons la meilleure qualité et le réseau le plus rapide. Il y a de plus en plus de téléphone 3G sur le marché et beaucoup viennent du marché parallèle. Vous pouvez acheter des téléphones mobile tactiles pour environ 100 dollars US ou moins. Nous allons aussi offrir des services WiMAX mais pas à grande échelle. Nous offrons une version de la Livebox d’Orange sous le label Flybox qui fonctionne avec la 3G ».

    L’Internet est principalement utilisé pour aller sur Facebook, BiTorrent, Yahoo et You Tube. Google a créé un serveur cache local mais ce n’est pas bon pour l’instant.  « Nous étions connecté à Google Global Cache et c’était rapide mais maintenant c’est un cauchemar. Nous allons avoir une réunion avec Google pour leur dire que nous ne sommes pas contents. Nos clients se plaignent et UTL (l’opérateur historique) ne sait pas comment gérer le serveur cache ».

    Est-ce que Orange va introduire la technologie LTE en Ouganda? « Nous avons des réseaux pilotes en Europe mais je pense que pour cette année c’est trop tôt mais nous reverrons la situation l’année prochaine. Il nous faut d’abord stabiliser l’équipement ». Qu’en est-il de la TV mobile ? « Nous allons partager une plate-forme avec le Kenya pour fournir ce service via la 3G. La structure des tarifs sera soit fonction du temps ou du type d’événement avec des tarifs spéciaux pour faire des choses différentes et en garantir son succès ». Orange Money ? « Ce n’est pas encore disponible en Ouganda mais cela le sera bientôt. Le future des paiements mobiles est l’interpolarité ».

    NTIC en Afrique: Ne manquez pas nos dernières vidéos sur notre Web TV qui
    vous apportent des interviews récentes de personnalités d'Afrique et de la
    Diaspora. Ces entrevues sont en anglais et en français:

    Le Cloud en Afrique selon Hedera Tech, visitez:

    Pourquoi l'Afrique a besoin de data centres? par Konan Systems, visitez:

    Réduire la consommation et les coûts de son système informatique tout en le rendant plus adaptable et accessible
    Appel à l'attention des pros de l'informatique en Afrique - par Hedera Tech, visitez:

    Améliorer les services informatiques en Afrique: Konan Systems, visitez:

    Problématiques du marché des NTIC en Afrique sur 2011 - Fasken Martineau - visitez:

  • Le secteur de la téléphonie mobile au Maroc a atteint en 2010 le nombre de 31.982.279 d'abonnés contre 25.310.761 abonnés en 2009, soit une progression annuelle de 26,36 %, indique l'Agence nationale de réglementation des télécommunications (ANRT), soulignant que le nombre d'abonnée dépasse désormais la population du royaume qui est de 30 millions d'habitants.

    Cette augmentation a permis au taux de pénétration de ce segment de la téléphonie mobile de dépasser le seuil de 100 pour cent pour se hisser à 101,49% à fin décembre 2010, contre 81,18% en 2009, soit un gain de plus de 20 points.

    Selon l'ANRT, l'analyse de l'évolution du secteur des télécommunications au Maroc pour l'année 2010 montre que cette croissance a été plus nette au troisième trimestre de l'année dernière avec un taux de croissance trimestrielle de 9,41%, suivi du premier trimestre avec 6,46 pour cent de croissance.

    Elle fait également ressortir une mutation dans la structure du marché, avec une progression du dernier entrant, Wana Corporate, au détriment de l'opérateur historique (Maroc Telecom).

    Maroc Télécom détient 52,81% du marché, suivi de Medi Telecom avec 33,74%, alors que Wana Corporate détient désormais 13,45% du marché.

    Concernant la répartition des clients du mobile par type d'abonnement, l'ANRT constate qu'il n'y a presque aucun changement dans la structure du marché par rapport à l'année dernière et que le prépayé prédomine toujours avec une part de 96,16% (96% à fin décembre 2009) contre 3,84% pour le post-payé.

    L'Agence note également que les deux types d'abonnement ont évolué en 2010 de 26,56% pour le prépayé et de 21,58% pour le post-payé par rapport à fin 2009.

    Info Plus Gabon
  • Jusqu'ici les Comoriens attendent impatiemment les bienfaits de la fibre optique. Mais aucun consommateur n'en bénéficie alors même que le réseau est désormais connecté au câble sous-marin Eassy.

    Le haut débit tant promis par Comores Télécom reste un rêve pour les consommateurs. Pourquoi ce retard qui fait perdre à la société comorienne des télécommunications des millions par mois ?

    Les clients de Comores Telecom ont connu des perturbations dans l"accès à internet en fin de semaine dernière. Et pour cause, la fibre optique était coupée au niveau de la Tanzanie. Le câble connait des problèmes avant même qu'il soit officiellement accessible. Cet incident a permis au public de comprendre qu'il est branché à la fibre mais que « Comores Télécom a volontairement gardé la même vitesse de 128 kb en attendant la commercialisation (du haut débit, ndlr) », reconnait un des responsables de la société nationale des télécommunications.

    Plusieurs raisons expliquent ce retard dans la commercialisation. D'abord, la structure des prix de vente de ce produit est toujours sur la table du chef de l'Etat dans l'attente de validation, depuis plusieurs mois. Le ministre des télécommunications explique que « c'est parce que le gouvernement estime que le prix proposé est trop élevé. Il faut essayer de les revoir afin de protéger et défendre la population ». Le gouvernement ne valide pas encore mais ne propose pas d'autre structure de prix. D'après les informations glanées par Malango Actualité,  « le gouvernement voudrait que Comores Télécom s'aligne sur les prix pratiqués à Madagascar ».

    L'autre raison qui pourrait expliquer ce retard, est relative à la généralisation de la fibre dans toutes les îles. La fin des travaux d'extension de cette nouvelle technologie à travers les îles de Mohéli et Anjouan est prévue pour le mois de février. Si la fibre devait être lancée en ce moment, elle serait opérationnelle uniquement à Grande Comore. Or, les autorités voudraient lancer la fibre optique au même moment dans les trois îles . Donc, les consommateurs qui souffrent considérablement en matière de débit Internet, doivent prendre leur mal en patience. Si cette option d'attendre la connexion inter-île d'abord se confirme, la commercialisation du haut débit ne se fera qu'après février.

    Mais si ce retard dans la commercialisation de la fibre pénalise les utilisateurs, le gouvernement de l'Union n'en fait pas partie. Selon certaines sources, « tous les membres du gouvernement disposent de clé USB haut débit Mpessi. Ils utilisent cette option Internet en illimité. Donc ces problèmes de connexion que rencontrent la population ne les pénalisent pas », explique-t-on. D'où l'interrogation de savoir si réellement le gouvernement est animé d'une bonne volonté pour le lancement de la fibre.

    L’Express
  • L'annonce est venue non pas de l'opérateur, mais de l'un de ses équipementiers.

    C'est Alcatel Lucent qui va installer le réseau 3G de Togo Cellulaire lui donnant ainsi la possibilité de développer son réseau, d'améliorer la qualité des communications et surtout de pouvoir offrir à ses clients du haut débit sur téléphone mobile et clé USB.

    Togo Cellulaire sera ainsi le premier à proposer du 3G au Togo ; une longueur d'avance face à son concurrent Moov.

    Alcatel-Lucent se chargera de l'installation et la mise en service d'une grande partie des équipements d'extension du réseau, la conception du réseau 3G, la planification du réseau radio, l'intégration sur le terrain, l'optimisation et la gestion du projet, indique la société.

  • La nouvelle loi portant Code des Télécommunications, déjà votée par l'Assemblée nationale, a été adoptée en procédure d'urgence par le Sénat, rapporte Le Soleil dans son édition de jeudi.

    La nouvelle loi qui comprend 188 articles "va transposer l'essentiel des dispositions, directives et textes additionnels de l'UEMOA et de la CEDEAO dans notre Code national des Télécommunications", selon le ministre de la Communication et des Télécommunications cité par le journal.

    "Depuis le 31 décembre 2010, nous sommes dépassés et soumis aux textes communautaires. Donc il y a une urgence (à) adapter notre législation", a ajouté Moustapha Guirassy qui défendait ce projet de loi devant les sénateurs.

    Parlant du volet investissement de la nouvelle loi, il a dit que si le Sénégal ne fait pas le nécessaire pour se mettre à niveau des évolutions enregistrées dans ce secteur, le pays "pourrait perdre sa position de leader dans ce domaine d'ici à quelques années".

    "Si nous ne faisons pas vite, si nous n'encourageons pas les investissements dans ce domaine, le Sénégal risque d'accuser un retard. Notre pays est bien outillé, mais il y a de câbles à haut débit qui sont en train de traverser ou qui risquent de passer à côté du Sénégal", a-t-il prévenu.

    "Si nous ne saisissons pas l'occasion de les faire entrer dans le pays, nous perdrons de belles opportunités", a insisté le ministre de la Communication et des Télécommunications, en allusion au câble à fibre optique WACS (West Africa Cable System) qui a atteint, il y a quelques jours, les côtes namibiennes au niveau de la ville de Swakopmund.

    Le câble sous-marin reliera l'Afrique du Sud à la Grande Bretagne avec des points de raccordement au Togo, en Namibie, en RDC, au Congo, au Cameroun, au Nigeria, au Ghana et en Côte d'Ivoire, notamment. C'est la première liaison directe de ce genre et il coûtera en tout 600 millions de dollars.

    Ce câble de 14.000 km acheminera les communications classiques et le très haut débit internet (3.8 térabits/s) à des coûts largement inférieurs à ce qu'ils sont aujourd'hui, ce qui devrait ouvrir la voie à de nouvelles technologies comme le triple-play (téléphone, télévision, internet).

    Le WACS est un consortium qui regroupe plusieurs opérateurs africains dont Togo Telecom, Angola Telecom, Broadband Ifraco, Cable & Wireless, MTN, Portugal Telecom, Sotelco, Tata Communications, Telecom Namibia, Telkom et Vodacom.

    Selon Le Soleil, une grande partie du nouveau Code est consacrée à la régulation avec le renforcement attendu de l'Agence de régulations des télécommunications et des postes (ARTP).

    "Le secteur des télécoms est extrêmement important et compte pour 10 pour cent du PIB. De ce point de vue, il est important de rassurer les investisseurs, de repenser la régulation en faisant de l'ARTP un vrai organe, en renforçant ses prérogatives et en changeant la direction par un collège. Cette direction sera l'organe de décision en matière d'arbitrage et de régulation", note le journal.

    APS
  • Le prix de l'internet haut débit a beau baisser, toutefois, Mauritius Telecom augmente la bande passante de ses abonnés pour le contourner. L'offre comprenant les chaînes télé et les appels internationaux fait tiquer la Competition Commission of Mauritius (CCM) qui a ouvert une enquête.

    Il a fallu trois mois à la Competition Commission of Mauritius (CCM) pour réagir. C'est finalement ce lundi 21 février qu'elle a procédé à l'ouverture d'une enquête sur le bouquet My.T commercialisé par Mauritius Telecom, le principal opérateur téléphonique et fournisseur d'accès à l'Internet dans l'île.

    La CCM se base sur les provisions de la loi relative aux situations de monopole pour se pencher sur l'offre de My.T. Celle-ci comprend l'accès à l'ADSL (l'internet haut débit), le bouquet télé et l'accès direct aux appels internationaux à un tarif en dessous de ce que Mauritius Telecom pratique normalement.

    L'institution dirigée par John Davies explique, dans un communiqué, avoir des « appréhensions » sur la possibilité que Mauritius Telecom utilise sa position dominante sur le marché de l'internet haut débit pour tenter d'élargir ses parts de marché sur le créneau TV et les appels internationaux. Ainsi, un client lambda peut se voir refuser une connexion ADSL s'il ne souscrit pas à une offre de My.T, ce qui équivaut ainsi à un « abus d'influence ».

    La CCM indique que si, à l'issue de son enquête, elle découvre que le bouquet My.T de Mauritius Telecom a pour objectif de « restreindre, d'empêcher ou de fausser la concurrence », elle peut contraindre MT à revoir son « comportement ». Toutefois, Mauritius Telecom échapperait à une amende dans un tel cas, la loi ne prévoyant de sanction que pour les cartels.

    John Davies indique que l'enquête a été initiée après que plusieurs personnes soient venues de l'avant pour exprimer leurs « préoccupations » face à l'offre de Mauritius Telecom. Il s'attend ainsi à travailler conjointement avec l'Information Communications Technology Authority (ICTA) et les « autres parties intéressées par cette affaire ».

    Mais ce n'est pas demain la veille que les résultats de l'enquête seront connus, la CCM prévoit que ceux-ci sont attendus dans un an. En tout cas, l'Association des Consommateurs de l'île Maurice (Acim) doit être contente, ayant souligné en novembre dernier que la stratégie commerciale de Mauritius Telecom n'était pas équitable.

    A l'époque, le prix de l'internet avait baissé, mais Mauritius Telecom avait doublé le débit de la bande passante de ses clients. Quand ceux-ci ont voulu annuler leurs abonnements, ils se sont retrouvés le dos au mur, devant payer le reste de leur contrat.

    C'est le 26 novembre que le ministre des Technologies de l'information et de la communication, Tassarajen Pillay Chedumbrum, avait annoncé la baisse du prix de l'Internet à partir du 1er décembre. Mauritius Telecom s'est aussitôt fait remarquer en trouvant une stratégie qui contournait cette décision.

    « Financièrement et techniquement, ce n'est pas possible de réduire les deux tarifications en même temps, en l'occurrence celle de l'ADSL et celle de My.T. Si on baisse les prix de My.T, on est mort. Surtout avec tous les investissements pour rehausser le niveau du service, comme la plateforme télé HD à domicile. Sinon, ce serait céder à la pression, comme dans le passé, et faire des offres moins compétentes», faisait ressortir Emmanuel André, directeur commercial de la firme à lexpress.mu.

    L’Express
  • En raison du caractère extrême de la démarche et des risques qu'elle engendre pour la santé de celui qui la mène, Reporters sans frontières n'encourage pas la grève de la faim comme moyen de contestation. Mais nous saluons le courage de ce militant de la liberté dans un pays où toute démarche de protestation et tout discours critique sont réprimés. Nous demandons aux autorités, et surtout aux partenaires occidentaux de la Guinée équatoriale, d'entendre les revendications de Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel, concernant en particulier l'absence de liberté d'expression", a déclaré Jean-François Julliard, secrétaire général de Reporters sans frontières.

    Le militant a récemment déclaré dans une interview pour le journal en ligne GuinGuinBali : "Cela fait trente ans que nous vivons une situation terrible et que nous empruntons une mauvaise route. Il est temps d'agir. Nous ne pouvons pas continuer à subir cette dictature (. . .). Pendant longtemps, nous avons cru qu'il était impossible de renverser un dictateur. Maintenant nous savons que c'est possible et nous devons essayer. Nous devons nous inspirer de l'esprit de changement qui souffle au Maghreb"  Plus d'info sur visitez:

    Le blogueur a notamment demandé au président de l'Assemblée nationale espagnole, à la tête d'une délégation de parlementaires en visite en Guinée équatoriale, d'exercer "les pressions nécessaires" pour qu'un gouvernement de transition soit constitué sans aucun membre du régime actuel.

    Par crainte de voir poindre en Guinée équatoriale un mouvement de contestation similaire à celui du Nord de l'Afrique, le gouvernement a décidé d'organiser un black-out médiatique sur les chutes de Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali et Hosni Moubarak. Le ministre de l'Information et porte-parole du gouvernement, Jeronimo Osa Osa, a donné des instructions claires au personnel de la radio-télévision d'Etat RTVGE pour que les événements en Tunisie et en Egypte ne soient pas couverts.

    Sur son blog visitez: à travers ses oeuvres romanesques, poétiques et théâtrales, ou encore lors des conférences qu'il donne dans plusieurs universités étrangères, l'écrivain équato-guinéen n'a de cesse de critiquer le régime de Malabo, sa mauvaise gouvernance, ainsi que la complaisance étrangère vis-à-vis de la dictature de Teodoro Obiang Nguema.

    La publication de câbles Wikileaks par le quotidien espagnol "El Pais" a révélé, par exemple, l'indulgence coupable des Etats-Unis à l'égard de Malabo. En 2009, le diplomate américain en poste en Guinée équatoriale, Anton K. Smith, qualifiait ainsi Teodoro Obiang Nguema de "mec sympa", dirigeant le pays de manière "sereine et bienveillante". Autrement dit, tout va bien dans le "Koweit de l'Afrique", pays sans libertés mais important fournisseur de pétrole pour les entreprises américaines.

    La Guinée équatoriale occupe la 167e place, sur 178 pays, dans le classement mondial 2010 de la liberté de la presse publié par Reporters sans frontières. Son président, Teodoro Obiang Nguema, figure depuis plusieurs années parmi la liste des prédateurs de la liberté de la presse publiée par l'organisation. Mainmise sur l'économie, culte de la personnalité, corruption, absence de pluralisme, presse strictement encadrée, le chef de l'Etat dirige le pays d'une main de fer depuis 1979.

    IFEX
  • Face à la baisse drastique de l'audience, le géant de la recherche internet, Google veut aider les organes de presse sénégalais à explorer de nouvelles pistes pour développer les sites des journaux et en tirer des ressources additionnelles. Les responsables du moteur de recherche l'ont fait savoir hier lors du Gsenegal qui s'est tenu à Dakar et dont le thème portait sur 'Croissance locale, Impact global'.

    Parce que Internet gruge le marché des journaux en support papier, le géant de la recherche sur internet, Google, tente d'aider les groupes de presse sénégalais à s'orienter également dans ce créneau pour trouver des ressources additionnelles.

    C'est pourquoi, hier lors d'un atelier sur internet et les médias, organisé dans le cadre du Gsenegal qui s'est tenu durant deux jours à l'Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar, les responsables de Google ont discuté avec les patrons de presse des moyens de faire profiter les différents organes du pays des réelles opportunités qu'internet leur offre encore.

    'Les annonces commencent à être diffusées sur internet plutôt que dans les médias traditionnels. Donc, il faut travailler pour que les sites des journaux soient plus complets.

    Et Google propose des logiciels permettant de mieux enrichir les sites des journaux', a déclaré le vice-président de Google pour l'Europe du Sud, le Moyen-Orient et l'Afrique, Carlo d'Assaro Biondo.

    Qui soutient que l'Afrique a un avantage sur les marchés occidentaux déjà très saturés. 'Le déclin de l'audience est une tendance mondiale à cause de la forte concurrence. La concurrence sur internet en Afrique est moins forte.

    Donc, il y a une réelle opportunité pour la presse de se positionner. On a très peu de contenu Afrique. Sur le mondial, seuls 0,2 % des contenus sont africains. Donc, les journaux africains ont l'opportunité de développer des contenus à même d'intéresser les internautes des pays développés afin d'en tirer des ressources conséquentes', poursuit-il.

    Mais, pour ce faire, Biondo leur suggère de s'orienter vers des thèmes importants qui pourraient intéresser également le reste du monde. En effet, selon lui, vendre les journaux sur internet ne serait pas la solution. Il s'agira plutôt d'aller vers l'audience.

    Et, dit-il, Google va y aider en montrant ce que les gens cherchent ailleurs sur l'Afrique pour pousser les développeurs à s'investir dans ces contenus et d'y gagner de ressources additionnelles. 'Il n' y a pas de solutions miracles.

    Ce n'est pas l'abonnement qui va faire la différence. Il ne va pas résoudre le problème. Mais, la publicité sur le site oui. Le coût de la presse, c'est entre 50 à 60 % du physique. Cela devient extrêmement difficile de faire le passage sur internet.

    Avec internet, on vend en temps réel pour des petites quantités. Nous sommes prêts à vendre à votre place si vous vous lancez dans la fragmentation des contenus en différentes thématiques susceptibles d'intéresser d'autres utilisateurs à travers le monde. Car, plus on est présent sur internet, mieux on vend', renchérit le vice-président de Google.

    De plus, pour faire face aux problèmes des compétences techniques permettant de mettre en valeur les outils de Google, le moteur de recherche propose d'organiser trois fois par an des sessions de formation au profit des webmasters des journaux de la place pour leur apprendre comment utiliser ses nouveaux outils.

    Walfadjri
  • Mille neuf cent vingt-quatre étudiants âgés de 18 à 35 ans ont été formés, courant 2008-2009, aux techniques de recherche à la création d'emplois, grâce au programme Challenge lancé par Snapse Center et Microsoft qui veulent faire plus d'ici 2012.

    Microsoft et Synapse Center ont renouvelé leur partenariat. La signature de cet accord, hier à Dakar, a été sanctionnée par une remise de chèque d'un montant de 100 000 dollars, soit près de 50 millions de francs Cfa de la firme internationale spécialisée dans la fabrication de logiciels informatiques à son partenaire.

    L'enveloppe est destinée à la seconde édition du programme Challenge lancé depuis 2008 par Synapse Center, Microsoft et International Youth Foundation (Iyf). Ce programme vise à 'enrichir le Sénégal de sa relève'.

    C'est ainsi qu'entre 2008 et 2009, mille neuf cent vingt-quatre jeunes du pays ont bénéficié d'un renforcement de leurs habiletés personnelles et professionnelles et d'un accompagnement individuel vers l'insertion ou la création d'entreprise. Parmi eux, 66,6 % qui ont bénéficié d'un stage, ont été embauchés ou sont retournés aux études au terme du programme.

    Cette seconde édition du programme Challenge devra former et accompagner sept cent quarante jeunes âgés entre 18 et 35 ans dans les deux prochaines années. Ceux qui recevront la même formation, seront à moitié insérés dans le tissu économique du pays, comme prévu par Snapse Center, grâce au concourt d'un réseau établi de cent quatre-vingt dix-huit entreprises qui acceptent de les accueillir en qualité de stagiaires ou de recrues.

    'La poursuite du programme est une démonstration concrète de la priorité accordée par Snapse Center et Microsoft à la formation d'une relève dynamique et compétente au Sénégal', a déclaré le directeur exécutif de Snapse Center, Ciré Kane. Selon lui, c'est pour soutenir les jeunes dans leur épanouissement et dans la réalisation de leurs ambitions et de leurs rêves que Challenge a été mis en place.

    Le programme valorise le potentiel et l'audace des jeunes entrepreneurs potentiels, des jeunes diplômés et des étudiants dans la perspective de la réalisation d'eux-mêmes et d'entreprises durables soucieuses de leur rentabilité économique et de leur impact positif dans la société.

    Ainsi, selon M. Kane, des mille neuf cent vingt-quatre jeunes formés, 30 % ont pu retrouver, à la faveur du programme 'Passeport pour l'emploi', le chemin de l'emploi entre 2009 et 2010.

    'Snapse Center a prouvé qu'elle mérite le soutien de Microsoft qui lui avait fait don de logiciel d'une valeur de 6 millions de francs Cfa. L'année dernière, nous avions financé International Youth Foundation (Iyf) qui avait sous-traité avec Snapse pour faire face à la faiblesse de l'employabilité et à l'insuffisance des capacités entrepreneuriales des jeunes.

    Cette année, pour éviter ce circuit, nous avons jugé judicieux de traiter directement avec Snapse', a souligné Samba Guissé, chargé des programmes Education au bureau de Microsoft de l'Ouest et du Centre d'Afrique.

    Pour lui, Challenge s'inscrit également dans le cadre de l'initiative Microsoft Unlimited Potentiel qui vise à transformer l'éducation, à promouvoir les innovations au niveau local et à créer des emplois et de nouvelles opportunités, en s'adaptant aux besoins de chacun afin de jouer pleinement son rôle dans l'économie du savoir au niveau mondial.

    Fondé en 2002, Snapse Center est un organisme à but non lucratif dont la mission est de promouvoir une nouvelle génération de leaders, d'intra-preneurs et d'entrepreneurs dynamiques et compétents capables de relever les défis de l'avenir.

    13 % des chercheurs d'emplois chôment au Sénégal

    L'accès au marché du travail est très limité pour une frange importante de la population sénégalaise. Le chômage est malheureusement de plus en plus visible. Les derniers chiffres et analyses contenus dans l'étude de la Banque mondiale à la recherche d'emploi confirment que le taux de chômage avoisine 13 % dans le pays.

    Que plus de 30 % de la force de travail ne sont pas satisfaits, car sous occupés et désirent travailler plus. Et que le salaire médian dans le secteur informel à Dakar ne dépasse pas 68 dollars par mois.

    D'après l'étude réalisée en 2007, il n'y a qu'une personne sur cinq qui travaille à plein temps au Sénégal. Ce qui représente un taux élevé de dépendance, contribuant ainsi à mettre une pression croissante sur le taux de pauvreté qui se situe à un peu moins de 50 % des ménages.

    Ces lacunes du marché du travail sont apparues plus prononcées pour certaines catégories de travailleurs comme les jeunes représentant dans cette étude un taux de 30 %, puisque le document ajoute qu'environ 6 chômeurs sur 10 ont moins de 35 ans.

    Walfadjri
  • Plusieurs responsables d'organismes activant dans les technologies de l'information et de la communication ont mis à l'index le cadre réglementaire et législatif, qui n'accompagne pas l'évolution que connaît le secteur des TIC. C'est l'idée principale qui se dégage des différentes interventions hier lors d'une table ronde organisée à El Moudjahid. Le président de l'association des fournisseurs d'Internet ISP, M. Boukaaba, a expliqué dans ce sens que les opérateurs économiques ne peuvent pas travailler dans l'instabilité juridique.

    Exemples à l'appui, l'orateur évoquera, entre autres, les contraintes bureaucratiques et les textes législatifs qui changent du jour au lendemain. Pour lui, l'opérateur ne peut pas travailler et même monter ses projets, alors que les lois changent périodiquement. Bien que la problématique posée hier concerne l'utilisation des TIC dans le domaine économique, l'orateur a préféré évoquer le problème dans sa globalité, estimant que «la question est beaucoup plus profonde». Elle touche, souligne-t-il, tout le système économique. En d'autres termes, l'environnement économique est vital pour la réalisation de tout projet dans les TIC. M. Boukaaba n'a pas ménagé les responsables qui, juge-t-il, légifèrent dans la «suspicion».

    «Il faut que l'Etat lève la main sur l'économie du pays pour libérer les initiatives», a-t-il suggéré, précisant au passage que les lourdeurs bureaucratiques ont poussé pas moins de 26 000 ingénieurs et techniciens en informatique à quitter le pays. Le représentant du ministère des TIC, M. Benmehrez, a abondé dans le même sens, affirmant que le cadre juridique est «hostile». Avec 100 000 personnes qui activent dans le secteur, notre pays est toujours à la traîne, soutient-il. L'investissement dans le secteur évalué actuellement à 4 milliards de dollars est insuffisant, ajoute M. Benmehrez, pour qui la même somme sera consacrée à l'avenir pour le développement du contenu.

    Dans la foulée, il a indiqué que dix ministres ont conclu des partenariats avec le département des TIC pour développer des services en ligne «informationnels et transactionnels». Pour sa part, le directeur d'Animapp, M. Younes Grar, une entreprise spécialisée dans le développement des applications mobiles, s'est interrogé sur la disparition en Algérie des entreprises qui travaillent dans le secteur au moment où, ailleurs, elles connaissent une évolution fulgurante. Le même responsable qui a dévoilé une nouvelle application permettant le paiement via le mobile a regretté le fait que le nombre des sites internet ne dépasse pas les 10 000, alors que le nombre des entreprises frise le million actuellement.

    Pour lui, il n'est pas même pas question de parler aujourd'hui du développement de fond, des mises à jour qui ne représentent que des poussières par rapport au potentiel qui existe. Evoquant l'application développée par cette entreprise, M. Grar a assuré qu'elle permettra de réduire la crise des liquidités qui ne cesse de prendre de l'ampleur, mais aussi de faciliter les transactions commerciales pour les commerçants et les consommateurs.

    La Tribune
  • Le président de la Commission de l'Union économique et monétaire ouest africaine (UEMOA), Soumaïla Cissé, et la directrice générale de l'UNESCO Irina Bokova procèdent, vendredi à Paris (France), à la signature d'une convention pour l'exécution d'un projet de mise en place d'une bibliothèque virtuelle dans les Etats membres de l'Union.

    Le projet, d'un coût estimé à six milliards de francs CFA, a pour objectif de renforcer les capacités de mise en oeuvre de la réforme Licence-Master-Doctorat (LMD) dans les Etats membres de l'UEMOA, à travers le développement et l'utilisation des technologies de l'information et de la communication (TIC), explique un communiqué de l'organisation sous-régionale parvenu à l'APS.

    D'une durée de trois ans, le projet consiste réaliser des infrastructures physiques et virtuelles des TIC, acquérir des équipements et matériels informatiques, réaliser des études et renforcer les compétences dans les domaines de l'utilisation des TIC, la pédagogie universitaire, l'accréditation et l'assistance-qualité, ainsi que la recherche.

    La convention à signer définit les modalités d'exécution de ce projet confiée à l'UNESCO par la Commission de l'UEMOA, conformément au cadre de coopération et de partenariat qui existe entre les deux institutions depuis 2006, ajoute la même source.

    La gestion du projet est assurée par un comité de pilotage comprenant des représentants de l'UEMOA, de l'UNESCO et des universités des Etats membres de l'Union.

    Créée le 10 janvier 1994, l'UEMOA regroupe huit pays : le Bénin, le Burkina Faso, la Côte d'Ivoire, la Guinée-Bissau, le Mali, le Niger, le Sénégal et le Togo.

    En juillet 2007, l'UEMOA a adopté une directive instituant le système LMD comme cadre de référence des diplômes délivrés dans toutes les universités et institutions d'enseignement supérieur de ses Etats membres.

    APS
  • A la Banque centrale du Congo, la modernisation du système national de paiement par l'introduction de nouveaux modes de paiement n'est ni un voeu pieux, encore moins un discours creux. En effet, il est vécu au quotidien. Avec la percée du téléphone mobile, la Banque centrale du Congo explore la possibilité de mettre à profit cet outil de télécommunications dans l'expérimentation des services financiers innovants.

    C'est pour approfondir le sujet que l'Institut d'émission s'est rapproché du ministère des Postes, Téléphones et Télécommunications (PTT). La semaine dernière, sur initiative de la direction de la Surveillance des intermédiaires financières de la BCC, des experts de deux camps se sont retrouvés au Cercle de Kinshasa pour discuter des mécanismes à mettre en oeuvre pour concrétiser ce projet. La rencontre a tourné autour du thème : «La téléphonie mobile et les services bancaires ».

    De deux côtés, l'on s'est dit convaincu que les services financiers à distance, notamment par téléphonie mobile, représentent une nouvelle filière à explorer dans la phase de mise en oeuvre de modernisation en RDC du système national de paiement. En s'entourant de l'expertise du ministère des PTT, la Banque centrale s'est fixé comme objectif d'avoir une connaissance adéquate des infrastructures existantes, des difficultés éventuelles et des opportunités pour accompagner et faciliter les élans d'innovation dans les domaines de la téléphonie mobile et des services bancaires en vue d'en assurer leur promotion et leur vulgarisation.

    Présent à l'ouverture de cette concertation, le vice-Premier ministre et ministre des PTT, M. Simon Bulupiy, a loué l'initiative de la Banque centrale soulignant que, dans la phase de développement de nouveaux modes de paiements, les nouvelles technologues de l'information et de communications telles que le téléphone mobile devaient être mis à profit pour offrir de nouveaux services financiers et bancaires. Mais, bien avant le vice-Premier ministre Bulupiy, le gouverneur de la Banque centrale du Congo, Jean-Claude Masangu Mulongo, a recadré le débat, en circonscrivant notamment les objectifs poursuivis par la Banque centrale dans le contexte de mise en oeuvre du plan de modernisation du système national de paiement. Pour justifier la nécessité de la réflexion engagée par la Banque centrale, il est parti de la volonté exprimée par la communauté internationale de réduire à l'horizon 2015 la pauvreté dans le monde par la mise en oeuvre des Objectifs du Millénaire pour le Développement. La stratégie pour l'atteinte de ces objectifs vitaux exige notamment la mobilisation des moyens importants et nouveaux, capables de permettre à un grand nombre de personnes dont les plus démunis d'accéder aux services financiers. Dans ce cadre, il a fait savoir que la Banque centrale continue à jouer sa partition en développant depuis 2001 la réflexion sur la relance et de la consolidation du système bancaire.

    Ainsi, pour le gouverneur de la Banque centrale du Congo, la prochaine décennie de 2011 à 2020 sera celle de l'expansion et de la pénétration géographique du système bancaire. « Outre la modernisation actuelle en cours, la téléphonie mobile sera appelée elle aussi à jouer un rôle des plus déterminants. En effet, et pour ne prendre que cet exemple, en comparant le nombre d'abonnés du secteur des télécommunications par rapport au nombre des détenteurs de comptes, nous réalisons ce que pourra être le champ d'intervention de ce nouvel outil qui permettra à des millions de Congolais d'accéder aux services financiers tels que l'épargne, le transfert, le crédit, le paiement de factures et salaires ».

    A noter que les services financiers à distance, comme ceux offerts par téléphone mobile, représentent une « nouvelle filière qui mérite qu'on s'y penche au regard de son développement et de l'intérêt manifesté par les parties impliquées », a rappelé Jean-Claude Masangu. Compte du poids de l'innovation, il y a bien des préalables à réunir pour réussir l'innovation. Il s'agit, entre autres, des questions relatives notamment à la définition de la monnaie électronique, aux conditions d'agrément des opérateurs exploitants, aux principes de surveillance prudentielle, aux risques encourus et à la lutte contre le blanchiment de capitaux.

    Le Potentiel
  • Le personnel de Tunisie Télécom a organisé au siège de cette entreprise nationale, opérateur historique de téléphonie, un sit-in spécialement réussi. Et pour cause !

    Les salaires faramineux des hauts cadres de l'entreprise qu'un fac-similé circulant de main en main pointait du doigt.

    Mais au-delà, c'est du devenir de Tunisie Télécom dont ses salariés se soucient. Certes, les protestataires mettent en cause «une centaine de privilégiés de l'entreprise» ne répondant à aucun critère de recrutement, placés à des postes clés de décision et jouissant d'un statut Vip.

    «Plus grave», expliquent les employés et cadres mécontents, ces privilégiés se seraient proposés de soutirer encore de l'argent à l'entreprise en cette période de distribution de primes de bilan, alors que TT connaît disent-ils, «une baisse alarmante de chiffre d'affaires» qui serait due à «une politique de gestion défaillante et corrompue». Les parts de marché de Tunisie Télécom seraient passées, en quatre ans, de 70 à 40%.

    Certains cadres bien informés expliquent: le contrat de privatisation de Tunisie Télécom, établi en 2006 entre l'Etat tunisien et Télécom-Div, octroie aux Emiratis le droit à trois postes de responsabilité, à savoir celui de DGA., de directeur central d'affaires et marketing et de directeur central financier. Des ramifications de la famille Trabelsi et des pions du pouvoir déchu ont pris place au sein de l'entreprise, créant des postes de décision fictifs, jouissant de rémunérations exorbitantes. «Les Emiratis et la famille proche du pouvoir déchu ont créé de toutes pièces des fonctions au sein de l'entreprise qui ont déstabilisé l'aspect organisationnel, l'organigramme de l'entreprise et son statut, outre le recours à des consultants payés à 1.000 euros par jour sous prétexte qu'un savoir-faire et des compétences s'imposaient pour mettre Tunisie Télécom au diapason du modernisme, ce qui a alourdi considérablement les charges financières de l'entreprise pour satisfaire les intérêts de ces privilégiés, engagés en transgression des textes réglementaires et dont les salaires sont confectionnés selon une grille qui ne tient à aucune assise réglementaire», explique un responsable de Tunisie Télécom.

    Les protestataires ont, par ailleurs, dénoncé d'autres dépassements en termes de gaspillage et qui ont servi à renflouer les comptes bancaires des familles proches du pouvoir.

    La Presse
  • C’est avec un réel plaisir que j’ai pris connaissance de ma sélection parmi les 20 meilleurs blogueurs du concours Mondoblog sur RFI. Cela me donne plus de motivation et me pousse encore une fois à aller de l’avant. Le chemin est long certes mais le meilleur reste à venir. Je voulais personnellement remercier le jury mais aussi les organisateurs qui ont pensé à ce concours (Cédric Kalonji, Ziad Malouf et surtout l’homme de l’ombre Simon Decreuze). On était 100 blogueurs au départ et voici que 20 seulement vont continuer l’aventure. Cela ne veut pas dire que les autres ont démérité. L’importance repose sur le fait d’avoir participé au concours et de partager sa passion sur le web. A toutes et à tous merci de votre soutien.

    C’est mon objectif premier. Le blogging tarde toujours à prendre des ailes au Sénégal, mais avec des initiatives concrètes le défit peut être relevé. Je citerai en exemple l’Association des blogueurs sénégalais, l’avenue221 , et d’autres projets en cours comme celui du site seneweb.com qui va bientôt ouvrir ses blogs pour donner la parole à tous les internautes souhaitant s’exprimer librement sur la toile.

    Le monde évolue et nous devons évoluer avec lui. Exprimez-vous avec les nouveaux outils du web... Le Web 2.0 a les potentiels d’élargir la démocratie pour atteindre le plus grand nombre de communauté possible. Je suis convaincu que le blogging connaitra un avenir meilleur au Sénégal. Clin d’œil aux autres blogueurs qui figurent sur la liste : Arouna Ba, Kouyah Kouyate,Amara Soumah,Kahofi Suy, Boukary Konate.

  • D'après une étude réalisée par l'agence digitale du Groupe Impact " eMedia ", le monde digital à participé fortement dans la diffusion des informations qui ont mené vers la révolution tunisienne. Appelée " la révolution digitale tunisienne " et à partir des premières manifestations, tous les Tunisiens, à travers toute la République se sont tournés vers le Net pour suivre la première étincelle du 17 décembre dernier, qui avait donné lieu à toute une révolte.

    Faute de mieux et par manque d'informations suffisantes sur les chaînes de télévision, de radio ou même par le biais d'articles de presse, relatant avec fidélité des détails fiables et actuels et vu le contrôle exercé sur les médias officiels, les Tunisiens n'avaient qu'une seule alternative, se tourner vers les technologies digitales.

    L'enquête a montré que la rapidité des événements et la soif de s'informer manifestée par les Tunisiens sur tout le territoire les ont tous transformés en journalistes. Ils partagent des séquences vidéo, s'envoient des commentaires et des photos prises dans les rues tunisiennes et diffusent une des nouvelles sans aucune limite.

    Des réseaux sociaux qui leur ont permis d'être rapides, réactifs et parfois même très efficace. Il a été constaté également que le Tunisien a su, à travers ces supports, assumer complètement des opinions sans crainte aucune.

    On dirait même que " les réseaux sociaux sont devenus incontournables pour s'informer ". A l'opposé, les informations diffusées par les chaînes de télévision et le reste des médias sont restées " truquées ", pour " détournement de l'opinion publique ". Ainsi, le monde digital a gagné indéniablement la confiance de ses utilisateurs.

    Le public tunisien a vite compris que rapporter des faits était nettement plus facile que de les retoucher. Il s'est alors improvisé reporter, voire journaliste de l'instant. Appareil photo, téléphone " supportant la technologie " EDGE/3G ", le Tunisien a eu le bon réflexe d'envoyer rapidement ce qu'il voyait, ce qu'il entendait ou ce qu'il jugeait utile pour faire avancer le mouvement collectif.

    Des sites comme " Justin.TV " et " Qik.com " proposent de faire des diffusions en direct d'interventions policières violentes et même choquantes que les internautes tunisiens ou autres pouvaient suivre instantanément.

    Pour ce qui est des supports utilisés, l'enquête parle du mobile qui a été le premier support utilisé pour filmer ou prendre des photos. Le téléphone portable a par la suite permis la diffusion de l'information sur certaines pages ou groupes du réseau social " Facebook ". Les commentaires, les réactions, les photos et les vidéos étaient partagés par des centaines de milliers de personnes. "

    Même les méthodes de pression de l'ancien régime exercées par l'Agence tunisienne de l'Internet, à savoir censure, piratage de comptes... comme en témoigne Joe Sullivan, le responsable du département sécurité chez Facebook visitez: n'ont pas réussi à freiner les internautes à créer et partager du contenu ", retient cette enquête.

    L'autre réseau social qui a également contribué à la révolution a été " Twitter ", qui permettait une plus large diffusion, puisqu'il suffisait de s'inscrire pour pouvoir suivre toutes les informations envoyées par n'importe quel internaute, contrairement à " Facebook ", où le contenu partagé par les internautes n'est visible que par leurs amis.

    Les Tunisiens ont commencé à s'intéresser au réseau dès l'éclatement des événements à Sidi Bouzid et le phénomène s'est largement amplifié au fil des mois; plus de 1.000 Tunisiens y sont maintenant actifs. Ils ont " créé un sujet de discussion "hashtag" avec lequel toute personne possédant un compte " twitter " ou pas dans le monde pouvait suivre en temps réel le flux d'informations.

    Un " hashtag " qui s'appelle " #Sidibouzid ". D'autres hashtag ont vu le jour également mais " #Sidibouzid " est resté le plus important, ce qui lui a permis de prendre une place dans les "trending topics" (les sujets les plus chauds du jour dans le monde sur Twitter.com). Un lien qui a également permis à plusieurs médias étrangers de suivre la révolution tunisienne.

    La Presse
  • Défis et Enjeux de Régulation
    17-19 Mars 2011, Marrakech, Maroc

    Le secteur des télécoms a connu un essor considérable durant la dernière décennie grâce notamment aux innovations technologiques et au processus de libéralisation entamé par de nombreux pays. A cet égard, la régulation des télécoms en Afrique parait comme un maillon essentiel pour généraliser l’accessibilité, et assurer un développement sain et équilibré du secteur qui garanti les intérêts des différentes parties prenantes. C’est pour débattre des enjeux de la régulation en Afrique du Nord, du Centre et de l’Ouest que i-conférences organise en partenariat avec la Banque Africaine de Développement le Forum Africain des Télécoms.
    Pour plus d’informations visitez

    MobilePaymentExpo
    18-19 mai 2011, Paris Porte de Versailles, France

    Cette année le programme s'articule autour de 3 thématiques : les Usages, le Paiement et les Technologies.
    Mobile Payment vous propose :
    - Des Tables Rondes pour débattre sur toutes les thématiques actuelles et écouter les témoignages
    - Des Executives Keynotes d’acteurs influents pour comprendre les enjeux et le futur de ce marché
    - Des Ateliers pour présenter en détail vos produits et services
    - Une Exposition exhaustive pour échanger et découvrir les dernières avancées du monde des services transactionnels par mobile, le lieu où les entreprises présentent leur savoir-faire.
    - Un Village Start Up, une zone dédiée à l’innovation et aux tendances. Réservée aux jeunes entreprises présentant leurs derniers produits et services, pour des rencontres avec les experts, entrepreneurs et investisseurs.
    Pour plus d’informations visitez

    eLearning Africa 2011
    25 - 27 mai 2011, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzanie

    eLearning Africa 2011 se concentrera sur les jeunes mais mettra également en évidence l’importance des compétences, du développement des compétences et de l’employabilité.
    Pour plus d’informations visitez 

    West & Central Africa Com
    15-16 juin 2011, Dakar, Sénégal

    Agenda à suivre.
    Pour plus d’informations visitez

  • Le conseil des ministres du Niger  a nommé les nouveaux membres du Conseil National de la Régulation:
     
    Président du Conseil National de Régulation
    : Monsieur ALMOUSTAPHA BOUBACAR, Inspecteur Principal de la Gestion des Télécommunications, Représentant du Président du Conseil Suprême pour la Restauration de la Démocratie, Chef de l'Etat.
     
    Membres du Conseil National de Régulation :

    Monsieur IRO ADAMOU, Représentant du Premier ministre ;
    Monsieur SAIDOU ABDOULKARIM, Représentant du ministre en charge de l'Energie ;
    Madame FATOUMA ALHASSANE, Représentante du ministre en charge des Postes et Télécommunications ;
    Monsieur TINNI OUSSEINI, Représentant du ministre en charge des Transports ;
    Monsieur BOUKARY OUSMANE, Représentant du ministre en charge de l'Eau ;
    Monsieur MOUSTAPHA KADI, Représentant des Organisations des Consommateurs.

  • Offres d’emplois dans l’informatique de la BAD

    Assistant-appui aux applications
    Pour plus d’informations visitez

    Commis appui aux utilisateurs
    Pour plus d’informations visitez

Edition Française, 24 février 2011

node ref id: 21245

Editorial

  • La guerre des prix fait maintenant partie de la vie du secteur mobile en Afrique et il y a peu de réseaux qui soient aussi concurrentiels en ce moment qu’en Afrique de l’Est. Des tarifs toujours plus bas mettent même beaucoup de pression sur des opérateurs aussi bien établis et dominant que Safaricom au Kenya.  Les opérateurs partagent le sentiment qu’il faut qu’ils y participent  pour gagner plus de parts de marché. Les premiers résultats pour ceux qui se sont engagés dans cette voie sont modestes. La concurrence sur la qualité et les services est moins médiatisée en tant que stratégie mais elle fait certainement partie de leur approche. Russell Southwood s’est entretenu avec deux DGs très différents qui se trouvent au cœur de cette guerre des prix. Il s’agit de Bob Collymore, le DG de Safaricom et de Philipe de Luxcey, le DG d’Orange Ouganda, le premier défendant sa position d’opérateur dominant alors que le second cherche à développer son réseau. 

    - L’entretien avec Bob Collymore est centré sur la qualité du réseau, le service clientèle, la technologie LTE et le développement de contenu local.

    La guerre des prix au Kenya s’est récemment traduite par une annonce d’Airtel d’une baisse des prix des appels de 8 shillings à 3 shillings par minute. L’opérateur a par la suite « rectifié le tir » en annonçant qu’il s’agissait d’une promotion et non pas d’un nouveau tarif. L’homme qui se trouve sur des chardons ardents, c’est Bob Collymore, le DG de Safaricom, l’opérateur qui a la plus grosse part de marché du segment mobile au Kenya.

    « Notre part de marché sur la base du nombre d’abonnés s’élève à 77%. Notre ARPU est plus élevé que celui des autres. Nous avons une position significative sur le marché mais nous avons le sentiment que c’est parce que les autres n’étaient pas vraiment compétents. La direction en charge du second opérateur manquait de consistance par exemple. Nous sommes ok avec l’idée de perdre des parts de marché (aux regards des tarifs d’appels irréalistiquement trop bas) et de nous concentrer sur Nairobi et les communautés disposant de revenus confortables. Les populations qui habitent dans des endroits reculés reçoivent plus d’appels (qu’ils n’en font). Si les tarifs continuent à baisser, pourquoi est-ce que je devrais continuer à le faire aussi ? »

    Collymore souhaiterait que le Gouvernement fixe un prix plancher en dessous duquel les tarifs d’appels ne peuvent pas être réduit. Cela a été fait au Congo RDC et au Sri-Lanka. « Une solution alternative serait de taxer les appels à bas prix mais une taxe ne résoudra pas les autres problèmes (comme les besoins d’investissements). Face à ces challenges, Bob Collymore dit qu’il sera nécessaire d’adopter un autre modèle commercial plus centré sur les services professionnels à valeur ajoutée. « Nous n’emploierons plus des personnes diplômés dans nos centres d’appels. Pour l’instant nous évitons d’externaliser ». C’est un message clair pour le Gouvernement. En plus de ce message alarmant, il y a les pertes financières pour l’Etat, actionnaire de Safaricom.

    Avec cette guerre des prix et d’autres problèmes, Bob Collymore a beaucoup communiqué avec les médias cherchant à ne rien cacher de telle sorte qu’ils ne viennent pas le hanter plus tard dans son parcours. Il s’agit d’une personne beaucoup plus douce que son prédécesseur et il est bien conscient des challenges qui l’attendent.

    Sur le sujet de notoriété publique du réseau congestionné de Safaricom: « Lors de mes rencontres avec des clients, il est clair que la qualité du réseau est un souci pour beaucoup d’entre eux. Les gens vous disent des choses si vous les écoutez. Notre trafic a beaucoup augmenté. Notre trafic dans la semaine 50 de 2010 était 100% plus élevé que la même semaine en 2009 ».

    Et du côté des services data? « Nous ne sommes pas aussi vulnérable que sur le segment voix. Ce n’est pas mauvais et nous n’avons pas autant de plaintes concernant les prix et la couverture. Mes 3,000 adeptes sur Twitter me le diraient si quelque chose n’allait pas ».

    Le service clientèle très peu réactif de Safaricom : « l’accès aux centres d’appels aurait du être mieux contrôlé. Chaque jour nous recevons en moyenne 500,000 tentatives d’appels mais nous avons seulement une capacité de 100,000 appels. Par conséquent seul un appel sur 5 aura la chance de passer. Cela dit le nombre à baisser après une pointe de 800,000 appels par jour ».

    La grande partie de cette demande est générée par l’opérateur lui-même soit parce qu’il n’explique pas bien les choses à ses clients soit parce que ses tarifs sont trop compliqués. Bob Collymore a décidé de simplifier la structure des tarifs d’appels qui comptait 20 tarifs différents en la réduisant au prépayé et post-payé  (et aux appels on net et off net). Il y avait trop de tarifs. Cela sème la confusion dans le secteur. Nous devons dire la vérité aux consommateurs”.

    En dépit des pressions causées par la guerre des prix, Safaricom continue à jouer son rôle d’innovateur sur le marché kenyan. L’Internet résidentiel et une offre triple? « C’est sur notre feuille de route. Nous devrons inévitablement proposer cela parce que c’est ce que le consommateur veut”. La technologie LTE ? « Nos tests se sont bien passés mais il faut encore compter 12 à 18 mois parce que les portables ne sont pas encore vraiment disponibles. Mais nous sommes prêts et nous serons les premiers sur le marché ».

    Le service M-Pesa ? « Nous avons 14 millions de clients et 2.5 millions de transactions journalières pour une valeur de 1.3 milliards de shillings. Il y a de la concurrence dans ce segment mais nous continuons à ajouter de nouvelles fonctionnalités en exclusivité. Le service a besoin de devenir plus omniprésent». Est-ce que Safaricom va s’interconnecter avec d’autres services de paiements via mobile ? « Il n’en est pas question ». Mais vous avez le sentiment d’après l’éclat de ses yeux que cela arriver.
     
    Il n’est pas question que nous nous lancions dans la construction d’un réseau national fibre. « C’est trop tard pour le faire. Nous aurions du le faire il y a cinq ans deçà. Le réseau n’est pas très fiable en ce moment. Il y a eu des coupures perturbantes sur la fibre lorsque nous avons annoncé nos résultats pour le premier semestre et leurs occurrences étaient suspectes. Nous avons construit un partenariat solide avec KPLC, Telkom Kenya et JTL qui nous proposent des prix concurrentiels ».

    Est-ce que cela veut dire que les prix de l’Internet vont continuer à baisser ? « Oui, les prix vont continuer à baisser. Plus il y a de personnes qui l’utilisent, plus cela sera moins cher ». Quels sont les potentiels du marché ? « Je souhaiterai que tous les enfants kenyans puissent être connectés à l’Internet. Il faut l’utiliser pour encourager le développement social et j’ai la passion de le faire ».

    Est-ce que Safaricom est impliqué dans le développement de contenu et pourquoi le partage des revenus est aussi défavorable pour les développeurs ? « J’ai suivi le débat sur KICTANET ou l’on nous accuse d’en profiter. Nous demandons 70%. Pourquoi est-ce que les développeurs pensent qu’ils doivent en profiter immédiatement. Nous n’avons pas l’intention de changer notre modèle commercial ».

    « Nous souhaitons développer le contenu local et nous avons consenti des efforts et investi du temps dans la musique locale. Nous gérons notre propre maison d’édition. Nous avons des contrats d’exclusivité avec les artistes et nous les aiderons à se développer. Nous nous lancerons dans d’autres types de contenu mais nous savions que la musique était importante pour Bharti et nous avons pensé que c’était une bonne chose à faire. Le chiffre d’affaires est petit et nous ne générons pas des tonnes d’argent. Il s’agit de créer quelque chose de durable. Les musiciens doivent bien vivre ». Qu’en est-il des rumeurs qui disent que vous allez lancer une plate-forme pour les applicatifs mobiles ? « Nous n’allons pas le faire maintenant mais nous le ferons. Le Kenya est un pays qui a soif de technologie ».

    - Philippe Luxcey, le DG d’Orange Ouganda à propos du déploiement de la 3G, de la technologie LTE et de la TV mobile

    En tant que dernier entrant sur le segment mobile, Orange Ouganda s’est investi dans son développement. En terme de profile public, leur publicité extérieure est partout dans Kampala mais il reste encore à l’opérateur de « gagner les cœurs » des consommateurs voix. Comme Safaricom au Kenya, l’opérateur essaye de s’adapter à une guerre des prix initié par Essar, le nouveau propriétaire de Warid Telecom.

    Phillipe Luxcey ne croit pas que la guerre des prix apportera quelque chose de bien.  « C’est fou, c’est vraiment fou. Il y a des offres qui proposent des appels gratuits pendant 24 heures lorsque vous rechargez UGS1,000 de crédits. Les appels off-net ont baissé jusqu’à UGS3 par seconde et le tarif d’interconnexion est à UGS131 par minute. A cela il faut ajouter, le paiement d’un impôt de 30% sur le chiffre d’affaires. Nous n’avons pas assez de marges pour couvrir les coûts de réseaux. Tous les appels off-net se traduisent par une perte d’argent. Warid a commencé cette guerre des prix et Airtel lui a enjambé le pas ».

    “ Cependant en dépit des prix bas, leur part de marché n’a pas beaucoup bougé. Les opérateurs sont trop confiants qu’ils vont tuer les autres (leurs concurrents) et ils prétendent aussi que le volume de trafic va augmenter ».

    Combien d’abonnés avez-vous à présent ? « Trois mois après le lancement commercial, nous avons 600,000 abonnés mais cela va doucement. Nous comptons que les clients actifs ».

    Est-ce qu’Orange a eu plus de succès avec ses services data ? « Nous avons été les premiers à lancer la technologie HSDPA et UPA et le service a eu un succès très vif dès le premier jour. Nous avons la couverture 3G la plus large avec 230 stations de base 3G. Nous avons à présent 50,000 abonnés et le chiffre est en augmentation puisque nous avons la meilleure qualité et le réseau le plus rapide. Il y a de plus en plus de téléphone 3G sur le marché et beaucoup viennent du marché parallèle. Vous pouvez acheter des téléphones mobile tactiles pour environ 100 dollars US ou moins. Nous allons aussi offrir des services WiMAX mais pas à grande échelle. Nous offrons une version de la Livebox d’Orange sous le label Flybox qui fonctionne avec la 3G ».

    L’Internet est principalement utilisé pour aller sur Facebook, BiTorrent, Yahoo et You Tube. Google a créé un serveur cache local mais ce n’est pas bon pour l’instant.  « Nous étions connecté à Google Global Cache et c’était rapide mais maintenant c’est un cauchemar. Nous allons avoir une réunion avec Google pour leur dire que nous ne sommes pas contents. Nos clients se plaignent et UTL (l’opérateur historique) ne sait pas comment gérer le serveur cache ».

    Est-ce que Orange va introduire la technologie LTE en Ouganda? « Nous avons des réseaux pilotes en Europe mais je pense que pour cette année c’est trop tôt mais nous reverrons la situation l’année prochaine. Il nous faut d’abord stabiliser l’équipement ». Qu’en est-il de la TV mobile ? « Nous allons partager une plate-forme avec le Kenya pour fournir ce service via la 3G. La structure des tarifs sera soit fonction du temps ou du type d’événement avec des tarifs spéciaux pour faire des choses différentes et en garantir son succès ». Orange Money ? « Ce n’est pas encore disponible en Ouganda mais cela le sera bientôt. Le future des paiements mobiles est l’interpolarité ».

    NTIC en Afrique: Ne manquez pas nos dernières vidéos sur notre Web TV qui
    vous apportent des interviews récentes de personnalités d'Afrique et de la
    Diaspora. Ces entrevues sont en anglais et en français:

    Le Cloud en Afrique selon Hedera Tech, visitez:

    Pourquoi l'Afrique a besoin de data centres? par Konan Systems, visitez:

    Réduire la consommation et les coûts de son système informatique tout en le rendant plus adaptable et accessible
    Appel à l'attention des pros de l'informatique en Afrique - par Hedera Tech, visitez:

    Améliorer les services informatiques en Afrique: Konan Systems, visitez:

    Problématiques du marché des NTIC en Afrique sur 2011 - Fasken Martineau - visitez:

  • Le secteur de la téléphonie mobile au Maroc a atteint en 2010 le nombre de 31.982.279 d'abonnés contre 25.310.761 abonnés en 2009, soit une progression annuelle de 26,36 %, indique l'Agence nationale de réglementation des télécommunications (ANRT), soulignant que le nombre d'abonnée dépasse désormais la population du royaume qui est de 30 millions d'habitants.

    Cette augmentation a permis au taux de pénétration de ce segment de la téléphonie mobile de dépasser le seuil de 100 pour cent pour se hisser à 101,49% à fin décembre 2010, contre 81,18% en 2009, soit un gain de plus de 20 points.

    Selon l'ANRT, l'analyse de l'évolution du secteur des télécommunications au Maroc pour l'année 2010 montre que cette croissance a été plus nette au troisième trimestre de l'année dernière avec un taux de croissance trimestrielle de 9,41%, suivi du premier trimestre avec 6,46 pour cent de croissance.

    Elle fait également ressortir une mutation dans la structure du marché, avec une progression du dernier entrant, Wana Corporate, au détriment de l'opérateur historique (Maroc Telecom).

    Maroc Télécom détient 52,81% du marché, suivi de Medi Telecom avec 33,74%, alors que Wana Corporate détient désormais 13,45% du marché.

    Concernant la répartition des clients du mobile par type d'abonnement, l'ANRT constate qu'il n'y a presque aucun changement dans la structure du marché par rapport à l'année dernière et que le prépayé prédomine toujours avec une part de 96,16% (96% à fin décembre 2009) contre 3,84% pour le post-payé.

    L'Agence note également que les deux types d'abonnement ont évolué en 2010 de 26,56% pour le prépayé et de 21,58% pour le post-payé par rapport à fin 2009.

    Info Plus Gabon
  • Jusqu'ici les Comoriens attendent impatiemment les bienfaits de la fibre optique. Mais aucun consommateur n'en bénéficie alors même que le réseau est désormais connecté au câble sous-marin Eassy.

    Le haut débit tant promis par Comores Télécom reste un rêve pour les consommateurs. Pourquoi ce retard qui fait perdre à la société comorienne des télécommunications des millions par mois ?

    Les clients de Comores Telecom ont connu des perturbations dans l"accès à internet en fin de semaine dernière. Et pour cause, la fibre optique était coupée au niveau de la Tanzanie. Le câble connait des problèmes avant même qu'il soit officiellement accessible. Cet incident a permis au public de comprendre qu'il est branché à la fibre mais que « Comores Télécom a volontairement gardé la même vitesse de 128 kb en attendant la commercialisation (du haut débit, ndlr) », reconnait un des responsables de la société nationale des télécommunications.

    Plusieurs raisons expliquent ce retard dans la commercialisation. D'abord, la structure des prix de vente de ce produit est toujours sur la table du chef de l'Etat dans l'attente de validation, depuis plusieurs mois. Le ministre des télécommunications explique que « c'est parce que le gouvernement estime que le prix proposé est trop élevé. Il faut essayer de les revoir afin de protéger et défendre la population ». Le gouvernement ne valide pas encore mais ne propose pas d'autre structure de prix. D'après les informations glanées par Malango Actualité,  « le gouvernement voudrait que Comores Télécom s'aligne sur les prix pratiqués à Madagascar ».

    L'autre raison qui pourrait expliquer ce retard, est relative à la généralisation de la fibre dans toutes les îles. La fin des travaux d'extension de cette nouvelle technologie à travers les îles de Mohéli et Anjouan est prévue pour le mois de février. Si la fibre devait être lancée en ce moment, elle serait opérationnelle uniquement à Grande Comore. Or, les autorités voudraient lancer la fibre optique au même moment dans les trois îles . Donc, les consommateurs qui souffrent considérablement en matière de débit Internet, doivent prendre leur mal en patience. Si cette option d'attendre la connexion inter-île d'abord se confirme, la commercialisation du haut débit ne se fera qu'après février.

    Mais si ce retard dans la commercialisation de la fibre pénalise les utilisateurs, le gouvernement de l'Union n'en fait pas partie. Selon certaines sources, « tous les membres du gouvernement disposent de clé USB haut débit Mpessi. Ils utilisent cette option Internet en illimité. Donc ces problèmes de connexion que rencontrent la population ne les pénalisent pas », explique-t-on. D'où l'interrogation de savoir si réellement le gouvernement est animé d'une bonne volonté pour le lancement de la fibre.

    L’Express
  • L'annonce est venue non pas de l'opérateur, mais de l'un de ses équipementiers.

    C'est Alcatel Lucent qui va installer le réseau 3G de Togo Cellulaire lui donnant ainsi la possibilité de développer son réseau, d'améliorer la qualité des communications et surtout de pouvoir offrir à ses clients du haut débit sur téléphone mobile et clé USB.

    Togo Cellulaire sera ainsi le premier à proposer du 3G au Togo ; une longueur d'avance face à son concurrent Moov.

    Alcatel-Lucent se chargera de l'installation et la mise en service d'une grande partie des équipements d'extension du réseau, la conception du réseau 3G, la planification du réseau radio, l'intégration sur le terrain, l'optimisation et la gestion du projet, indique la société.

  • La nouvelle loi portant Code des Télécommunications, déjà votée par l'Assemblée nationale, a été adoptée en procédure d'urgence par le Sénat, rapporte Le Soleil dans son édition de jeudi.

    La nouvelle loi qui comprend 188 articles "va transposer l'essentiel des dispositions, directives et textes additionnels de l'UEMOA et de la CEDEAO dans notre Code national des Télécommunications", selon le ministre de la Communication et des Télécommunications cité par le journal.

    "Depuis le 31 décembre 2010, nous sommes dépassés et soumis aux textes communautaires. Donc il y a une urgence (à) adapter notre législation", a ajouté Moustapha Guirassy qui défendait ce projet de loi devant les sénateurs.

    Parlant du volet investissement de la nouvelle loi, il a dit que si le Sénégal ne fait pas le nécessaire pour se mettre à niveau des évolutions enregistrées dans ce secteur, le pays "pourrait perdre sa position de leader dans ce domaine d'ici à quelques années".

    "Si nous ne faisons pas vite, si nous n'encourageons pas les investissements dans ce domaine, le Sénégal risque d'accuser un retard. Notre pays est bien outillé, mais il y a de câbles à haut débit qui sont en train de traverser ou qui risquent de passer à côté du Sénégal", a-t-il prévenu.

    "Si nous ne saisissons pas l'occasion de les faire entrer dans le pays, nous perdrons de belles opportunités", a insisté le ministre de la Communication et des Télécommunications, en allusion au câble à fibre optique WACS (West Africa Cable System) qui a atteint, il y a quelques jours, les côtes namibiennes au niveau de la ville de Swakopmund.

    Le câble sous-marin reliera l'Afrique du Sud à la Grande Bretagne avec des points de raccordement au Togo, en Namibie, en RDC, au Congo, au Cameroun, au Nigeria, au Ghana et en Côte d'Ivoire, notamment. C'est la première liaison directe de ce genre et il coûtera en tout 600 millions de dollars.

    Ce câble de 14.000 km acheminera les communications classiques et le très haut débit internet (3.8 térabits/s) à des coûts largement inférieurs à ce qu'ils sont aujourd'hui, ce qui devrait ouvrir la voie à de nouvelles technologies comme le triple-play (téléphone, télévision, internet).

    Le WACS est un consortium qui regroupe plusieurs opérateurs africains dont Togo Telecom, Angola Telecom, Broadband Ifraco, Cable & Wireless, MTN, Portugal Telecom, Sotelco, Tata Communications, Telecom Namibia, Telkom et Vodacom.

    Selon Le Soleil, une grande partie du nouveau Code est consacrée à la régulation avec le renforcement attendu de l'Agence de régulations des télécommunications et des postes (ARTP).

    "Le secteur des télécoms est extrêmement important et compte pour 10 pour cent du PIB. De ce point de vue, il est important de rassurer les investisseurs, de repenser la régulation en faisant de l'ARTP un vrai organe, en renforçant ses prérogatives et en changeant la direction par un collège. Cette direction sera l'organe de décision en matière d'arbitrage et de régulation", note le journal.

    APS
  • Le prix de l'internet haut débit a beau baisser, toutefois, Mauritius Telecom augmente la bande passante de ses abonnés pour le contourner. L'offre comprenant les chaînes télé et les appels internationaux fait tiquer la Competition Commission of Mauritius (CCM) qui a ouvert une enquête.

    Il a fallu trois mois à la Competition Commission of Mauritius (CCM) pour réagir. C'est finalement ce lundi 21 février qu'elle a procédé à l'ouverture d'une enquête sur le bouquet My.T commercialisé par Mauritius Telecom, le principal opérateur téléphonique et fournisseur d'accès à l'Internet dans l'île.

    La CCM se base sur les provisions de la loi relative aux situations de monopole pour se pencher sur l'offre de My.T. Celle-ci comprend l'accès à l'ADSL (l'internet haut débit), le bouquet télé et l'accès direct aux appels internationaux à un tarif en dessous de ce que Mauritius Telecom pratique normalement.

    L'institution dirigée par John Davies explique, dans un communiqué, avoir des « appréhensions » sur la possibilité que Mauritius Telecom utilise sa position dominante sur le marché de l'internet haut débit pour tenter d'élargir ses parts de marché sur le créneau TV et les appels internationaux. Ainsi, un client lambda peut se voir refuser une connexion ADSL s'il ne souscrit pas à une offre de My.T, ce qui équivaut ainsi à un « abus d'influence ».

    La CCM indique que si, à l'issue de son enquête, elle découvre que le bouquet My.T de Mauritius Telecom a pour objectif de « restreindre, d'empêcher ou de fausser la concurrence », elle peut contraindre MT à revoir son « comportement ». Toutefois, Mauritius Telecom échapperait à une amende dans un tel cas, la loi ne prévoyant de sanction que pour les cartels.

    John Davies indique que l'enquête a été initiée après que plusieurs personnes soient venues de l'avant pour exprimer leurs « préoccupations » face à l'offre de Mauritius Telecom. Il s'attend ainsi à travailler conjointement avec l'Information Communications Technology Authority (ICTA) et les « autres parties intéressées par cette affaire ».

    Mais ce n'est pas demain la veille que les résultats de l'enquête seront connus, la CCM prévoit que ceux-ci sont attendus dans un an. En tout cas, l'Association des Consommateurs de l'île Maurice (Acim) doit être contente, ayant souligné en novembre dernier que la stratégie commerciale de Mauritius Telecom n'était pas équitable.

    A l'époque, le prix de l'internet avait baissé, mais Mauritius Telecom avait doublé le débit de la bande passante de ses clients. Quand ceux-ci ont voulu annuler leurs abonnements, ils se sont retrouvés le dos au mur, devant payer le reste de leur contrat.

    C'est le 26 novembre que le ministre des Technologies de l'information et de la communication, Tassarajen Pillay Chedumbrum, avait annoncé la baisse du prix de l'Internet à partir du 1er décembre. Mauritius Telecom s'est aussitôt fait remarquer en trouvant une stratégie qui contournait cette décision.

    « Financièrement et techniquement, ce n'est pas possible de réduire les deux tarifications en même temps, en l'occurrence celle de l'ADSL et celle de My.T. Si on baisse les prix de My.T, on est mort. Surtout avec tous les investissements pour rehausser le niveau du service, comme la plateforme télé HD à domicile. Sinon, ce serait céder à la pression, comme dans le passé, et faire des offres moins compétentes», faisait ressortir Emmanuel André, directeur commercial de la firme à lexpress.mu.

    L’Express
  • En raison du caractère extrême de la démarche et des risques qu'elle engendre pour la santé de celui qui la mène, Reporters sans frontières n'encourage pas la grève de la faim comme moyen de contestation. Mais nous saluons le courage de ce militant de la liberté dans un pays où toute démarche de protestation et tout discours critique sont réprimés. Nous demandons aux autorités, et surtout aux partenaires occidentaux de la Guinée équatoriale, d'entendre les revendications de Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel, concernant en particulier l'absence de liberté d'expression", a déclaré Jean-François Julliard, secrétaire général de Reporters sans frontières.

    Le militant a récemment déclaré dans une interview pour le journal en ligne GuinGuinBali : "Cela fait trente ans que nous vivons une situation terrible et que nous empruntons une mauvaise route. Il est temps d'agir. Nous ne pouvons pas continuer à subir cette dictature (. . .). Pendant longtemps, nous avons cru qu'il était impossible de renverser un dictateur. Maintenant nous savons que c'est possible et nous devons essayer. Nous devons nous inspirer de l'esprit de changement qui souffle au Maghreb"  Plus d'info sur visitez:

    Le blogueur a notamment demandé au président de l'Assemblée nationale espagnole, à la tête d'une délégation de parlementaires en visite en Guinée équatoriale, d'exercer "les pressions nécessaires" pour qu'un gouvernement de transition soit constitué sans aucun membre du régime actuel.

    Par crainte de voir poindre en Guinée équatoriale un mouvement de contestation similaire à celui du Nord de l'Afrique, le gouvernement a décidé d'organiser un black-out médiatique sur les chutes de Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali et Hosni Moubarak. Le ministre de l'Information et porte-parole du gouvernement, Jeronimo Osa Osa, a donné des instructions claires au personnel de la radio-télévision d'Etat RTVGE pour que les événements en Tunisie et en Egypte ne soient pas couverts.

    Sur son blog visitez: à travers ses oeuvres romanesques, poétiques et théâtrales, ou encore lors des conférences qu'il donne dans plusieurs universités étrangères, l'écrivain équato-guinéen n'a de cesse de critiquer le régime de Malabo, sa mauvaise gouvernance, ainsi que la complaisance étrangère vis-à-vis de la dictature de Teodoro Obiang Nguema.

    La publication de câbles Wikileaks par le quotidien espagnol "El Pais" a révélé, par exemple, l'indulgence coupable des Etats-Unis à l'égard de Malabo. En 2009, le diplomate américain en poste en Guinée équatoriale, Anton K. Smith, qualifiait ainsi Teodoro Obiang Nguema de "mec sympa", dirigeant le pays de manière "sereine et bienveillante". Autrement dit, tout va bien dans le "Koweit de l'Afrique", pays sans libertés mais important fournisseur de pétrole pour les entreprises américaines.

    La Guinée équatoriale occupe la 167e place, sur 178 pays, dans le classement mondial 2010 de la liberté de la presse publié par Reporters sans frontières. Son président, Teodoro Obiang Nguema, figure depuis plusieurs années parmi la liste des prédateurs de la liberté de la presse publiée par l'organisation. Mainmise sur l'économie, culte de la personnalité, corruption, absence de pluralisme, presse strictement encadrée, le chef de l'Etat dirige le pays d'une main de fer depuis 1979.

    IFEX
  • Face à la baisse drastique de l'audience, le géant de la recherche internet, Google veut aider les organes de presse sénégalais à explorer de nouvelles pistes pour développer les sites des journaux et en tirer des ressources additionnelles. Les responsables du moteur de recherche l'ont fait savoir hier lors du Gsenegal qui s'est tenu à Dakar et dont le thème portait sur 'Croissance locale, Impact global'.

    Parce que Internet gruge le marché des journaux en support papier, le géant de la recherche sur internet, Google, tente d'aider les groupes de presse sénégalais à s'orienter également dans ce créneau pour trouver des ressources additionnelles.

    C'est pourquoi, hier lors d'un atelier sur internet et les médias, organisé dans le cadre du Gsenegal qui s'est tenu durant deux jours à l'Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar, les responsables de Google ont discuté avec les patrons de presse des moyens de faire profiter les différents organes du pays des réelles opportunités qu'internet leur offre encore.

    'Les annonces commencent à être diffusées sur internet plutôt que dans les médias traditionnels. Donc, il faut travailler pour que les sites des journaux soient plus complets.

    Et Google propose des logiciels permettant de mieux enrichir les sites des journaux', a déclaré le vice-président de Google pour l'Europe du Sud, le Moyen-Orient et l'Afrique, Carlo d'Assaro Biondo.

    Qui soutient que l'Afrique a un avantage sur les marchés occidentaux déjà très saturés. 'Le déclin de l'audience est une tendance mondiale à cause de la forte concurrence. La concurrence sur internet en Afrique est moins forte.

    Donc, il y a une réelle opportunité pour la presse de se positionner. On a très peu de contenu Afrique. Sur le mondial, seuls 0,2 % des contenus sont africains. Donc, les journaux africains ont l'opportunité de développer des contenus à même d'intéresser les internautes des pays développés afin d'en tirer des ressources conséquentes', poursuit-il.

    Mais, pour ce faire, Biondo leur suggère de s'orienter vers des thèmes importants qui pourraient intéresser également le reste du monde. En effet, selon lui, vendre les journaux sur internet ne serait pas la solution. Il s'agira plutôt d'aller vers l'audience.

    Et, dit-il, Google va y aider en montrant ce que les gens cherchent ailleurs sur l'Afrique pour pousser les développeurs à s'investir dans ces contenus et d'y gagner de ressources additionnelles. 'Il n' y a pas de solutions miracles.

    Ce n'est pas l'abonnement qui va faire la différence. Il ne va pas résoudre le problème. Mais, la publicité sur le site oui. Le coût de la presse, c'est entre 50 à 60 % du physique. Cela devient extrêmement difficile de faire le passage sur internet.

    Avec internet, on vend en temps réel pour des petites quantités. Nous sommes prêts à vendre à votre place si vous vous lancez dans la fragmentation des contenus en différentes thématiques susceptibles d'intéresser d'autres utilisateurs à travers le monde. Car, plus on est présent sur internet, mieux on vend', renchérit le vice-président de Google.

    De plus, pour faire face aux problèmes des compétences techniques permettant de mettre en valeur les outils de Google, le moteur de recherche propose d'organiser trois fois par an des sessions de formation au profit des webmasters des journaux de la place pour leur apprendre comment utiliser ses nouveaux outils.

    Walfadjri
  • Mille neuf cent vingt-quatre étudiants âgés de 18 à 35 ans ont été formés, courant 2008-2009, aux techniques de recherche à la création d'emplois, grâce au programme Challenge lancé par Snapse Center et Microsoft qui veulent faire plus d'ici 2012.

    Microsoft et Synapse Center ont renouvelé leur partenariat. La signature de cet accord, hier à Dakar, a été sanctionnée par une remise de chèque d'un montant de 100 000 dollars, soit près de 50 millions de francs Cfa de la firme internationale spécialisée dans la fabrication de logiciels informatiques à son partenaire.

    L'enveloppe est destinée à la seconde édition du programme Challenge lancé depuis 2008 par Synapse Center, Microsoft et International Youth Foundation (Iyf). Ce programme vise à 'enrichir le Sénégal de sa relève'.

    C'est ainsi qu'entre 2008 et 2009, mille neuf cent vingt-quatre jeunes du pays ont bénéficié d'un renforcement de leurs habiletés personnelles et professionnelles et d'un accompagnement individuel vers l'insertion ou la création d'entreprise. Parmi eux, 66,6 % qui ont bénéficié d'un stage, ont été embauchés ou sont retournés aux études au terme du programme.

    Cette seconde édition du programme Challenge devra former et accompagner sept cent quarante jeunes âgés entre 18 et 35 ans dans les deux prochaines années. Ceux qui recevront la même formation, seront à moitié insérés dans le tissu économique du pays, comme prévu par Snapse Center, grâce au concourt d'un réseau établi de cent quatre-vingt dix-huit entreprises qui acceptent de les accueillir en qualité de stagiaires ou de recrues.

    'La poursuite du programme est une démonstration concrète de la priorité accordée par Snapse Center et Microsoft à la formation d'une relève dynamique et compétente au Sénégal', a déclaré le directeur exécutif de Snapse Center, Ciré Kane. Selon lui, c'est pour soutenir les jeunes dans leur épanouissement et dans la réalisation de leurs ambitions et de leurs rêves que Challenge a été mis en place.

    Le programme valorise le potentiel et l'audace des jeunes entrepreneurs potentiels, des jeunes diplômés et des étudiants dans la perspective de la réalisation d'eux-mêmes et d'entreprises durables soucieuses de leur rentabilité économique et de leur impact positif dans la société.

    Ainsi, selon M. Kane, des mille neuf cent vingt-quatre jeunes formés, 30 % ont pu retrouver, à la faveur du programme 'Passeport pour l'emploi', le chemin de l'emploi entre 2009 et 2010.

    'Snapse Center a prouvé qu'elle mérite le soutien de Microsoft qui lui avait fait don de logiciel d'une valeur de 6 millions de francs Cfa. L'année dernière, nous avions financé International Youth Foundation (Iyf) qui avait sous-traité avec Snapse pour faire face à la faiblesse de l'employabilité et à l'insuffisance des capacités entrepreneuriales des jeunes.

    Cette année, pour éviter ce circuit, nous avons jugé judicieux de traiter directement avec Snapse', a souligné Samba Guissé, chargé des programmes Education au bureau de Microsoft de l'Ouest et du Centre d'Afrique.

    Pour lui, Challenge s'inscrit également dans le cadre de l'initiative Microsoft Unlimited Potentiel qui vise à transformer l'éducation, à promouvoir les innovations au niveau local et à créer des emplois et de nouvelles opportunités, en s'adaptant aux besoins de chacun afin de jouer pleinement son rôle dans l'économie du savoir au niveau mondial.

    Fondé en 2002, Snapse Center est un organisme à but non lucratif dont la mission est de promouvoir une nouvelle génération de leaders, d'intra-preneurs et d'entrepreneurs dynamiques et compétents capables de relever les défis de l'avenir.

    13 % des chercheurs d'emplois chôment au Sénégal

    L'accès au marché du travail est très limité pour une frange importante de la population sénégalaise. Le chômage est malheureusement de plus en plus visible. Les derniers chiffres et analyses contenus dans l'étude de la Banque mondiale à la recherche d'emploi confirment que le taux de chômage avoisine 13 % dans le pays.

    Que plus de 30 % de la force de travail ne sont pas satisfaits, car sous occupés et désirent travailler plus. Et que le salaire médian dans le secteur informel à Dakar ne dépasse pas 68 dollars par mois.

    D'après l'étude réalisée en 2007, il n'y a qu'une personne sur cinq qui travaille à plein temps au Sénégal. Ce qui représente un taux élevé de dépendance, contribuant ainsi à mettre une pression croissante sur le taux de pauvreté qui se situe à un peu moins de 50 % des ménages.

    Ces lacunes du marché du travail sont apparues plus prononcées pour certaines catégories de travailleurs comme les jeunes représentant dans cette étude un taux de 30 %, puisque le document ajoute qu'environ 6 chômeurs sur 10 ont moins de 35 ans.

    Walfadjri
  • Plusieurs responsables d'organismes activant dans les technologies de l'information et de la communication ont mis à l'index le cadre réglementaire et législatif, qui n'accompagne pas l'évolution que connaît le secteur des TIC. C'est l'idée principale qui se dégage des différentes interventions hier lors d'une table ronde organisée à El Moudjahid. Le président de l'association des fournisseurs d'Internet ISP, M. Boukaaba, a expliqué dans ce sens que les opérateurs économiques ne peuvent pas travailler dans l'instabilité juridique.

    Exemples à l'appui, l'orateur évoquera, entre autres, les contraintes bureaucratiques et les textes législatifs qui changent du jour au lendemain. Pour lui, l'opérateur ne peut pas travailler et même monter ses projets, alors que les lois changent périodiquement. Bien que la problématique posée hier concerne l'utilisation des TIC dans le domaine économique, l'orateur a préféré évoquer le problème dans sa globalité, estimant que «la question est beaucoup plus profonde». Elle touche, souligne-t-il, tout le système économique. En d'autres termes, l'environnement économique est vital pour la réalisation de tout projet dans les TIC. M. Boukaaba n'a pas ménagé les responsables qui, juge-t-il, légifèrent dans la «suspicion».

    «Il faut que l'Etat lève la main sur l'économie du pays pour libérer les initiatives», a-t-il suggéré, précisant au passage que les lourdeurs bureaucratiques ont poussé pas moins de 26 000 ingénieurs et techniciens en informatique à quitter le pays. Le représentant du ministère des TIC, M. Benmehrez, a abondé dans le même sens, affirmant que le cadre juridique est «hostile». Avec 100 000 personnes qui activent dans le secteur, notre pays est toujours à la traîne, soutient-il. L'investissement dans le secteur évalué actuellement à 4 milliards de dollars est insuffisant, ajoute M. Benmehrez, pour qui la même somme sera consacrée à l'avenir pour le développement du contenu.

    Dans la foulée, il a indiqué que dix ministres ont conclu des partenariats avec le département des TIC pour développer des services en ligne «informationnels et transactionnels». Pour sa part, le directeur d'Animapp, M. Younes Grar, une entreprise spécialisée dans le développement des applications mobiles, s'est interrogé sur la disparition en Algérie des entreprises qui travaillent dans le secteur au moment où, ailleurs, elles connaissent une évolution fulgurante. Le même responsable qui a dévoilé une nouvelle application permettant le paiement via le mobile a regretté le fait que le nombre des sites internet ne dépasse pas les 10 000, alors que le nombre des entreprises frise le million actuellement.

    Pour lui, il n'est pas même pas question de parler aujourd'hui du développement de fond, des mises à jour qui ne représentent que des poussières par rapport au potentiel qui existe. Evoquant l'application développée par cette entreprise, M. Grar a assuré qu'elle permettra de réduire la crise des liquidités qui ne cesse de prendre de l'ampleur, mais aussi de faciliter les transactions commerciales pour les commerçants et les consommateurs.

    La Tribune
  • Le président de la Commission de l'Union économique et monétaire ouest africaine (UEMOA), Soumaïla Cissé, et la directrice générale de l'UNESCO Irina Bokova procèdent, vendredi à Paris (France), à la signature d'une convention pour l'exécution d'un projet de mise en place d'une bibliothèque virtuelle dans les Etats membres de l'Union.

    Le projet, d'un coût estimé à six milliards de francs CFA, a pour objectif de renforcer les capacités de mise en oeuvre de la réforme Licence-Master-Doctorat (LMD) dans les Etats membres de l'UEMOA, à travers le développement et l'utilisation des technologies de l'information et de la communication (TIC), explique un communiqué de l'organisation sous-régionale parvenu à l'APS.

    D'une durée de trois ans, le projet consiste réaliser des infrastructures physiques et virtuelles des TIC, acquérir des équipements et matériels informatiques, réaliser des études et renforcer les compétences dans les domaines de l'utilisation des TIC, la pédagogie universitaire, l'accréditation et l'assistance-qualité, ainsi que la recherche.

    La convention à signer définit les modalités d'exécution de ce projet confiée à l'UNESCO par la Commission de l'UEMOA, conformément au cadre de coopération et de partenariat qui existe entre les deux institutions depuis 2006, ajoute la même source.

    La gestion du projet est assurée par un comité de pilotage comprenant des représentants de l'UEMOA, de l'UNESCO et des universités des Etats membres de l'Union.

    Créée le 10 janvier 1994, l'UEMOA regroupe huit pays : le Bénin, le Burkina Faso, la Côte d'Ivoire, la Guinée-Bissau, le Mali, le Niger, le Sénégal et le Togo.

    En juillet 2007, l'UEMOA a adopté une directive instituant le système LMD comme cadre de référence des diplômes délivrés dans toutes les universités et institutions d'enseignement supérieur de ses Etats membres.

    APS
  • A la Banque centrale du Congo, la modernisation du système national de paiement par l'introduction de nouveaux modes de paiement n'est ni un voeu pieux, encore moins un discours creux. En effet, il est vécu au quotidien. Avec la percée du téléphone mobile, la Banque centrale du Congo explore la possibilité de mettre à profit cet outil de télécommunications dans l'expérimentation des services financiers innovants.

    C'est pour approfondir le sujet que l'Institut d'émission s'est rapproché du ministère des Postes, Téléphones et Télécommunications (PTT). La semaine dernière, sur initiative de la direction de la Surveillance des intermédiaires financières de la BCC, des experts de deux camps se sont retrouvés au Cercle de Kinshasa pour discuter des mécanismes à mettre en oeuvre pour concrétiser ce projet. La rencontre a tourné autour du thème : «La téléphonie mobile et les services bancaires ».

    De deux côtés, l'on s'est dit convaincu que les services financiers à distance, notamment par téléphonie mobile, représentent une nouvelle filière à explorer dans la phase de mise en oeuvre de modernisation en RDC du système national de paiement. En s'entourant de l'expertise du ministère des PTT, la Banque centrale s'est fixé comme objectif d'avoir une connaissance adéquate des infrastructures existantes, des difficultés éventuelles et des opportunités pour accompagner et faciliter les élans d'innovation dans les domaines de la téléphonie mobile et des services bancaires en vue d'en assurer leur promotion et leur vulgarisation.

    Présent à l'ouverture de cette concertation, le vice-Premier ministre et ministre des PTT, M. Simon Bulupiy, a loué l'initiative de la Banque centrale soulignant que, dans la phase de développement de nouveaux modes de paiements, les nouvelles technologues de l'information et de communications telles que le téléphone mobile devaient être mis à profit pour offrir de nouveaux services financiers et bancaires. Mais, bien avant le vice-Premier ministre Bulupiy, le gouverneur de la Banque centrale du Congo, Jean-Claude Masangu Mulongo, a recadré le débat, en circonscrivant notamment les objectifs poursuivis par la Banque centrale dans le contexte de mise en oeuvre du plan de modernisation du système national de paiement. Pour justifier la nécessité de la réflexion engagée par la Banque centrale, il est parti de la volonté exprimée par la communauté internationale de réduire à l'horizon 2015 la pauvreté dans le monde par la mise en oeuvre des Objectifs du Millénaire pour le Développement. La stratégie pour l'atteinte de ces objectifs vitaux exige notamment la mobilisation des moyens importants et nouveaux, capables de permettre à un grand nombre de personnes dont les plus démunis d'accéder aux services financiers. Dans ce cadre, il a fait savoir que la Banque centrale continue à jouer sa partition en développant depuis 2001 la réflexion sur la relance et de la consolidation du système bancaire.

    Ainsi, pour le gouverneur de la Banque centrale du Congo, la prochaine décennie de 2011 à 2020 sera celle de l'expansion et de la pénétration géographique du système bancaire. « Outre la modernisation actuelle en cours, la téléphonie mobile sera appelée elle aussi à jouer un rôle des plus déterminants. En effet, et pour ne prendre que cet exemple, en comparant le nombre d'abonnés du secteur des télécommunications par rapport au nombre des détenteurs de comptes, nous réalisons ce que pourra être le champ d'intervention de ce nouvel outil qui permettra à des millions de Congolais d'accéder aux services financiers tels que l'épargne, le transfert, le crédit, le paiement de factures et salaires ».

    A noter que les services financiers à distance, comme ceux offerts par téléphone mobile, représentent une « nouvelle filière qui mérite qu'on s'y penche au regard de son développement et de l'intérêt manifesté par les parties impliquées », a rappelé Jean-Claude Masangu. Compte du poids de l'innovation, il y a bien des préalables à réunir pour réussir l'innovation. Il s'agit, entre autres, des questions relatives notamment à la définition de la monnaie électronique, aux conditions d'agrément des opérateurs exploitants, aux principes de surveillance prudentielle, aux risques encourus et à la lutte contre le blanchiment de capitaux.

    Le Potentiel
  • Le personnel de Tunisie Télécom a organisé au siège de cette entreprise nationale, opérateur historique de téléphonie, un sit-in spécialement réussi. Et pour cause !

    Les salaires faramineux des hauts cadres de l'entreprise qu'un fac-similé circulant de main en main pointait du doigt.

    Mais au-delà, c'est du devenir de Tunisie Télécom dont ses salariés se soucient. Certes, les protestataires mettent en cause «une centaine de privilégiés de l'entreprise» ne répondant à aucun critère de recrutement, placés à des postes clés de décision et jouissant d'un statut Vip.

    «Plus grave», expliquent les employés et cadres mécontents, ces privilégiés se seraient proposés de soutirer encore de l'argent à l'entreprise en cette période de distribution de primes de bilan, alors que TT connaît disent-ils, «une baisse alarmante de chiffre d'affaires» qui serait due à «une politique de gestion défaillante et corrompue». Les parts de marché de Tunisie Télécom seraient passées, en quatre ans, de 70 à 40%.

    Certains cadres bien informés expliquent: le contrat de privatisation de Tunisie Télécom, établi en 2006 entre l'Etat tunisien et Télécom-Div, octroie aux Emiratis le droit à trois postes de responsabilité, à savoir celui de DGA., de directeur central d'affaires et marketing et de directeur central financier. Des ramifications de la famille Trabelsi et des pions du pouvoir déchu ont pris place au sein de l'entreprise, créant des postes de décision fictifs, jouissant de rémunérations exorbitantes. «Les Emiratis et la famille proche du pouvoir déchu ont créé de toutes pièces des fonctions au sein de l'entreprise qui ont déstabilisé l'aspect organisationnel, l'organigramme de l'entreprise et son statut, outre le recours à des consultants payés à 1.000 euros par jour sous prétexte qu'un savoir-faire et des compétences s'imposaient pour mettre Tunisie Télécom au diapason du modernisme, ce qui a alourdi considérablement les charges financières de l'entreprise pour satisfaire les intérêts de ces privilégiés, engagés en transgression des textes réglementaires et dont les salaires sont confectionnés selon une grille qui ne tient à aucune assise réglementaire», explique un responsable de Tunisie Télécom.

    Les protestataires ont, par ailleurs, dénoncé d'autres dépassements en termes de gaspillage et qui ont servi à renflouer les comptes bancaires des familles proches du pouvoir.

    La Presse
  • C’est avec un réel plaisir que j’ai pris connaissance de ma sélection parmi les 20 meilleurs blogueurs du concours Mondoblog sur RFI. Cela me donne plus de motivation et me pousse encore une fois à aller de l’avant. Le chemin est long certes mais le meilleur reste à venir. Je voulais personnellement remercier le jury mais aussi les organisateurs qui ont pensé à ce concours (Cédric Kalonji, Ziad Malouf et surtout l’homme de l’ombre Simon Decreuze). On était 100 blogueurs au départ et voici que 20 seulement vont continuer l’aventure. Cela ne veut pas dire que les autres ont démérité. L’importance repose sur le fait d’avoir participé au concours et de partager sa passion sur le web. A toutes et à tous merci de votre soutien.

    C’est mon objectif premier. Le blogging tarde toujours à prendre des ailes au Sénégal, mais avec des initiatives concrètes le défit peut être relevé. Je citerai en exemple l’Association des blogueurs sénégalais, l’avenue221 , et d’autres projets en cours comme celui du site seneweb.com qui va bientôt ouvrir ses blogs pour donner la parole à tous les internautes souhaitant s’exprimer librement sur la toile.

    Le monde évolue et nous devons évoluer avec lui. Exprimez-vous avec les nouveaux outils du web... Le Web 2.0 a les potentiels d’élargir la démocratie pour atteindre le plus grand nombre de communauté possible. Je suis convaincu que le blogging connaitra un avenir meilleur au Sénégal. Clin d’œil aux autres blogueurs qui figurent sur la liste : Arouna Ba, Kouyah Kouyate,Amara Soumah,Kahofi Suy, Boukary Konate.

  • D'après une étude réalisée par l'agence digitale du Groupe Impact " eMedia ", le monde digital à participé fortement dans la diffusion des informations qui ont mené vers la révolution tunisienne. Appelée " la révolution digitale tunisienne " et à partir des premières manifestations, tous les Tunisiens, à travers toute la République se sont tournés vers le Net pour suivre la première étincelle du 17 décembre dernier, qui avait donné lieu à toute une révolte.

    Faute de mieux et par manque d'informations suffisantes sur les chaînes de télévision, de radio ou même par le biais d'articles de presse, relatant avec fidélité des détails fiables et actuels et vu le contrôle exercé sur les médias officiels, les Tunisiens n'avaient qu'une seule alternative, se tourner vers les technologies digitales.

    L'enquête a montré que la rapidité des événements et la soif de s'informer manifestée par les Tunisiens sur tout le territoire les ont tous transformés en journalistes. Ils partagent des séquences vidéo, s'envoient des commentaires et des photos prises dans les rues tunisiennes et diffusent une des nouvelles sans aucune limite.

    Des réseaux sociaux qui leur ont permis d'être rapides, réactifs et parfois même très efficace. Il a été constaté également que le Tunisien a su, à travers ces supports, assumer complètement des opinions sans crainte aucune.

    On dirait même que " les réseaux sociaux sont devenus incontournables pour s'informer ". A l'opposé, les informations diffusées par les chaînes de télévision et le reste des médias sont restées " truquées ", pour " détournement de l'opinion publique ". Ainsi, le monde digital a gagné indéniablement la confiance de ses utilisateurs.

    Le public tunisien a vite compris que rapporter des faits était nettement plus facile que de les retoucher. Il s'est alors improvisé reporter, voire journaliste de l'instant. Appareil photo, téléphone " supportant la technologie " EDGE/3G ", le Tunisien a eu le bon réflexe d'envoyer rapidement ce qu'il voyait, ce qu'il entendait ou ce qu'il jugeait utile pour faire avancer le mouvement collectif.

    Des sites comme " Justin.TV " et " Qik.com " proposent de faire des diffusions en direct d'interventions policières violentes et même choquantes que les internautes tunisiens ou autres pouvaient suivre instantanément.

    Pour ce qui est des supports utilisés, l'enquête parle du mobile qui a été le premier support utilisé pour filmer ou prendre des photos. Le téléphone portable a par la suite permis la diffusion de l'information sur certaines pages ou groupes du réseau social " Facebook ". Les commentaires, les réactions, les photos et les vidéos étaient partagés par des centaines de milliers de personnes. "

    Même les méthodes de pression de l'ancien régime exercées par l'Agence tunisienne de l'Internet, à savoir censure, piratage de comptes... comme en témoigne Joe Sullivan, le responsable du département sécurité chez Facebook visitez: n'ont pas réussi à freiner les internautes à créer et partager du contenu ", retient cette enquête.

    L'autre réseau social qui a également contribué à la révolution a été " Twitter ", qui permettait une plus large diffusion, puisqu'il suffisait de s'inscrire pour pouvoir suivre toutes les informations envoyées par n'importe quel internaute, contrairement à " Facebook ", où le contenu partagé par les internautes n'est visible que par leurs amis.

    Les Tunisiens ont commencé à s'intéresser au réseau dès l'éclatement des événements à Sidi Bouzid et le phénomène s'est largement amplifié au fil des mois; plus de 1.000 Tunisiens y sont maintenant actifs. Ils ont " créé un sujet de discussion "hashtag" avec lequel toute personne possédant un compte " twitter " ou pas dans le monde pouvait suivre en temps réel le flux d'informations.

    Un " hashtag " qui s'appelle " #Sidibouzid ". D'autres hashtag ont vu le jour également mais " #Sidibouzid " est resté le plus important, ce qui lui a permis de prendre une place dans les "trending topics" (les sujets les plus chauds du jour dans le monde sur Twitter.com). Un lien qui a également permis à plusieurs médias étrangers de suivre la révolution tunisienne.

    La Presse
  • Défis et Enjeux de Régulation
    17-19 Mars 2011, Marrakech, Maroc

    Le secteur des télécoms a connu un essor considérable durant la dernière décennie grâce notamment aux innovations technologiques et au processus de libéralisation entamé par de nombreux pays. A cet égard, la régulation des télécoms en Afrique parait comme un maillon essentiel pour généraliser l’accessibilité, et assurer un développement sain et équilibré du secteur qui garanti les intérêts des différentes parties prenantes. C’est pour débattre des enjeux de la régulation en Afrique du Nord, du Centre et de l’Ouest que i-conférences organise en partenariat avec la Banque Africaine de Développement le Forum Africain des Télécoms.
    Pour plus d’informations visitez

    MobilePaymentExpo
    18-19 mai 2011, Paris Porte de Versailles, France

    Cette année le programme s'articule autour de 3 thématiques : les Usages, le Paiement et les Technologies.
    Mobile Payment vous propose :
    - Des Tables Rondes pour débattre sur toutes les thématiques actuelles et écouter les témoignages
    - Des Executives Keynotes d’acteurs influents pour comprendre les enjeux et le futur de ce marché
    - Des Ateliers pour présenter en détail vos produits et services
    - Une Exposition exhaustive pour échanger et découvrir les dernières avancées du monde des services transactionnels par mobile, le lieu où les entreprises présentent leur savoir-faire.
    - Un Village Start Up, une zone dédiée à l’innovation et aux tendances. Réservée aux jeunes entreprises présentant leurs derniers produits et services, pour des rencontres avec les experts, entrepreneurs et investisseurs.
    Pour plus d’informations visitez

    eLearning Africa 2011
    25 - 27 mai 2011, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzanie

    eLearning Africa 2011 se concentrera sur les jeunes mais mettra également en évidence l’importance des compétences, du développement des compétences et de l’employabilité.
    Pour plus d’informations visitez 

    West & Central Africa Com
    15-16 juin 2011, Dakar, Sénégal

    Agenda à suivre.
    Pour plus d’informations visitez

  • Le conseil des ministres du Niger  a nommé les nouveaux membres du Conseil National de la Régulation:
     
    Président du Conseil National de Régulation
    : Monsieur ALMOUSTAPHA BOUBACAR, Inspecteur Principal de la Gestion des Télécommunications, Représentant du Président du Conseil Suprême pour la Restauration de la Démocratie, Chef de l'Etat.
     
    Membres du Conseil National de Régulation :

    Monsieur IRO ADAMOU, Représentant du Premier ministre ;
    Monsieur SAIDOU ABDOULKARIM, Représentant du ministre en charge de l'Energie ;
    Madame FATOUMA ALHASSANE, Représentante du ministre en charge des Postes et Télécommunications ;
    Monsieur TINNI OUSSEINI, Représentant du ministre en charge des Transports ;
    Monsieur BOUKARY OUSMANE, Représentant du ministre en charge de l'Eau ;
    Monsieur MOUSTAPHA KADI, Représentant des Organisations des Consommateurs.

  • Offres d’emplois dans l’informatique de la BAD

    Assistant-appui aux applications
    Pour plus d’informations visitez

    Commis appui aux utilisateurs
    Pour plus d’informations visitez

Issue no 542 18th February 2011

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Top story

  • Price wars are a now a fact of life in Africa’s competitive mobile markets and there few more competitive than East Africa. Lower prices are putting even established dominant mobile players like Safaricom under enormous pressure (see Telecoms News below). Operators feel they have to take part in them to gain greater market share but the early results for those launching them are modest. Competing on quality and service get less airplay as a strategy but must surely be part of the mix. Russell Southwood talked to two contrasting CEOs in the thick of these price wars: Safaricom’s Bob Collymore in Kenya and Orange Uganda’s Phillipe Luxcey, one defending a dominant position and the other seeking to mount a challenge.

    Safaricom’s CEO Bob Collymore on network quality, customer care, LTE and local content

    A price war in Kenya has seen mobile calling rates drop from KS8 to KS3 a minute and then down to KS1 per minute from Airtel, although it later described this low rate as a promotional offer rather than a new tariff. The man in the hot seat is Safaricom’s new CEO Bob Collymore as the company currently has the lion’s share of the market:

    ”We have 77% of the market by subscriber numbers. Our ARPU is higher than anyone else’s. But 77% market share is not sustainable. We do have “significant market power” but we feel that’s because everyone else was very incompetent. There was no consistent management at the number two operator. We’re OK with losing market share (faced with unrealistically low rates) and focusing on Nairobi and high-income communities. The people in remote districts are receiving calls (more than making them). If rates decline, why should I continue to do that?”

    Collymore would like to see the Government establish a floor price below which rates could not be reduced, something he says has been done in DRC and Sri Lanka:”The alternative is to tax it (calls at low rates) but a tax doesn’t address other issues (like the need to invest). Faced with these challenges, Collymore says it would be necessary to adopt a different business model, with a focus on managed services:”We wouldn’t employ graduates in call centres. Currently we try and avoid outsourcing.” This is a clear message to Government along with his warning about potential loss of shareholder value.

    With both the price war and other issues, Collymore has worked the media extensively, seeking to make “full disclosure” so that they don’t become things that come back to haunt him further down the track. He is a much more emollient personality than his predecessor and must know that he has some significant mountains to climb.

    On Safaricom’s notoriously congested network:”In my interactions with customers, it’s clear that the quality of the network is a concern to a lot of customers. People tell you things if you’re listening.We have increased our traffic by a lot. Our traffic in week 50 of 2010 was 100% higher than the same week in 2009”.

    And on the data side of the network?:”We are not as vulnerable as on the voice side. It’s not bad and there are not as many complaints about pricing and coverage. My 3,000 followers on Twitter would tell me if there were.”

    On Safaricom’s less than responsive customer care:”Access to call centres could have been controlled better. Typically, we have 500,000 call attempts per day but only a capacity for 100,000 calls so you’ve only got a 1 in 5 chance of getting through. However, that’s down from a peak of 800,000 a day.”

    Much of this demand is generated by Safaricom either not explaining things well enough to customers or tariffs being too complicated. So Collymore has simplified the voice tariff structure reducing it to post-paid and paid (with on-net and off-net) down from 20 more different tariffs:”There were too many tariffs. It’s confusing across the industry. We need to tell customers the truth.”

    Despite the price war pressures, Safaricom is still acting as one of the main innovators in the Kenyan market. Household Internet and Triple Play?:”It’s on the radar. It’s inevitable we’ll have to do it as it’s what the customers want.” LTE?:”Our tests are fine but it’s 12-18 months away as the devices are not yet available. But we’ll be ready to go and first in.”

    M-Pesa?:” We have 14 million customers and 2.5 million transactions a day worth KS1.3 billion a day. There’s more competition in the space but we keep adding new, exclusive functionalities. It needs to be a lot more ubiquitous.” So will Safaricom interconnect M-Pesa with other M-Money services?:”It’s not going to happen.” But you sense from the twinkle in his eye that he knows it will.

    Building a national fibre network is one area it won’t be going into:”It’s too late to do it. We should have done it five years ago. It’s currently not very reliable. There were disruptive fibre cuts when we announced our half year results and the timing of these cuts was suspicious. We’ve built solid, interdependent relationships with KPLC, Telkom Kenya and JTL and are getting competitive pricing.”

    So will retail Internet prices continue to come down?:”Yes, they will continue to come down. The more people using it, the cheaper it will be.” So what’s the total potential market?:”I’d like to see every Kenyan child connected to the information highway. It needs to be used to drive social development and I have the passion to drive that.”

    Is Safaricom in the content business and why are the income splits so disadvantageous to developers?:”I’ve followed the debates on KICTANET where we’re accused of profiteering. We’re charging 70%. Why does the developer think he needs an immediate profit? We’re not about to change our business model.

    “We want to develop local content and have put time and effort into it with local music where effectively we run a record label. We have an exclusive deal with artists but we will develop them. We will do other forms of content but we knew music was important to Bharti and thought it was the right thing to do. It’s small in revenue terms and we’re not doing it to make tons of cash, it’s about creating sustainability. Musicians have to make a living” So what about the rumours that Safaricom will open an app store?:”We’re not going to do it just yet but we will do it. Kenya is technology hungry.”
    To see an interview on our Web TV channel covering these and other topics, click here:

    Phillipe Luxcey, CEO of Orange Uganda on its 3G roll-out, LTE and Mobile TV

    As Uganda’s latest challenge Orange Uganda has its work cut out. In terms of public profile, its outdoor advertising seems to be everywhere in Kampala but it has yet to win the “hearts and minds” of voice customers. Like Safaricom in Kenya, it is seeking to get to grips with a price war, this time initiated by Warid’s new owners, Essar.

    Phillipe Luxcey cannot believe the price war will bring any good:”It’s crazy, really crazy. There are offers like getting free calls for 24 hours when you load UGS1000 of airtime. Offnet calls are down to UGS3.00 a second and the interconnect rate is UGS131 a minute. Add to that, the fact that you pay 30% taxes to the Government on revenues. We don’t have enough margin to cover our network costs. All off-net calls are losing money. Warid started it but Airtel followed.

    “However, despite the low prices, their market share is not shifting very much. Operators are too confident they will kill the others (their competitors) and also claim that it will increase traffic.”

    So how many subscribers does Orange currently have?:”After three months in the market we have 600,000 subscribers but it’s going up slowly. But we only count living subscribers.”

    Orange has had more success with its data side:”We were the first to launch HSDPA and UPA and did so successfully from day one. We have the widest 3G coverage with 230 3G base stations. We currently have 50,000 subscribers but again this is still growing and we have the best quality, fastest network. We see more and more 3G phones in the market and lot of these are from the grey market. You can now get touch screen smartphones for around US$100 or less. We are also planning to do WiMAX but not on a large scale. We offer a version of the Orange Livebox product called Flybox which works with 3G.”

    Most Internet use is Facebook, BitTorrent, Yahoo and You Tube. Google has created a local caching server but all is not well in the short-term:”We used to be connected to the Google Global Cache and that used to be fast but now it’s a nightmare. We’re organizing a meeting with Google to say we’re not happy. Customers are complaining and utl (the former incumbent) doesn’t know how to manage the cache server.”

    So will Orange be introducing LTE in Uganda?:”We have some trial networks in Europe but we think this year it’s too early but will study the case next year. We have to stabilize the equipment.” Mobile TV?:”We will share a platform with Kenya to deliver it using 3G. It needs either time or event pricing with special rates to do different things to be successful.” Orange Money?:”We don’t have it yet but it will launch shortly. The future of mobile money is inter-operability.”

    News announcement: New clips this week on Balancing Act’s new Web TV Channel

    Do not miss our Web TV Channel which highlights recent interviews with top telecoms personalities. There are interviews in both English and French. For those interested in infrastructure developments and bandwidth prices:

    Funke Opeke, CEO, Main One on sales, national blockages and extending the cable
    http://bit.ly/h3G8ie

    Nigeria: IPnx’s Ejovi Aror talks about price falls and national blockages
    http://bit.ly/hUUKQi

    For those interested in content developments:

    Patrick Akushie, Commercial Manager, Agence France Presse on its mobile strategy in Africa
    http://bit.ly/hpPQu7

    Stefan Magdalinski, General Manager, Sub-Saharan Africa, MIH talks rolling out its competitor to Yellow Pages, Mocality and its classifieds service, Dealfish.
    http://bit.ly/gAIIlY

    Ayo Alli, Business Development Consultant for Goal.com talks about its massive growth in West Africa
    http://bit.ly/i5fBO5

    Akinde Aludamola, Team Leader, ConnectNigeria talks about search website
    http://bit.ly/eHMTxG

telecoms

  • Telephone calls (mobile and landline) and Internet access are set to radically decrease. This comes after the regulator, Botswana Telecommunications Authority (BTA) ordered telecoms companies, among them Botswana Telecommunications Corporation, Mascom, Orange and Be Mobile to reduce their tariffs with immediate effect. Some calls might be cut by up to 40 per cent. Furthermore, a number of charges across all communication services from international calls to bandwidth, will go down.

    In a statement released last week BTA explained that termination rates will be reduced by 30 thebe. Currently the companies charge up to 75 thebe, which is passed to the customer. This will be cut to 45 thebe, a reduction that will set prices for calls between networks radically reduced, to reflect the true picture of the costs incurred to run such calls.

    The new call cost regime comes in place as a result of, a 2010 study on the costing of calls commissioned by BTA which concluded that a reduction should be implemented. While some reductions will be immediate, some will come in gradually starting from 1st April. Fixed line termination rates will increase only marginally, by 1 thebe annually
    Furthermore Internet access charges will be slashed by up to 17 per cent in some instances. "Wholesale Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) prices will be revised downwards to align them to cost and make ADSL more affordable.  The weighted average reduction on wholesale ADSL prices for bandwidths of 512kbit/s, 1Mbit/s and 2Mbit/s is 17 per cent.

    The new Internet rates, the authority says, are a result of Botswana Government's investment in EASSy which launched late last year.

  • Kenya's dominant mobile operator, Safaricom on Tuesday turned to Parliament in their bid to have its rivals' cheaper calling rates tamed. At a meeting with Parliament's Energy and Communication Committee, the Safaricom delegation led by the Chief Executive, Bob Collymore, said the low calling rates to other networks meant it will have to go slow on its expansion plan.

    Safaricom gave examples of similar price wars in Uganda, Sri Lanka, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, all of which were geared to show the dangers of low "mobile termination rates" -money charged for making calls across networks.

    The Sri Lankan example, the committee heard, was in 2009 when a new operator entered the market and ignited a price war by lowering calling prices significantly with the effect that most subscribers were calling outside the network.

    With less incoming revenues -there's was no interconnection fee back then--the other operators threatened to stop the interconnection because they were not being compensated for the increase in incoming traffic. The DRC example is more like the Kenyan one where one of the operators reduced calling rates from Sh20 to 80 cents. This led to operators making very modest amounts.

    "Due to low revenues, operators resulted in cost-cutting measures, such as switching off the networks in areas with low average returns per user, poor quality of service and reduction in network expansion," reads a brief presented by Collymore to the committee.

    With the situation threatening to spiral out of control, the DRC regulator intervened prescribing a minimum price of Sh11 for voice calls and Sh2 for text messages. Speaking to the Nation, the Committee chairman, James Rege, said the House team had already met Airtel Kenya, and heard a presentation on the rationale for their low prices.

    The committee, Rege said, will now meet the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) and other operators to find the way forward in the on-going price wars. Airtel Kenya slashed calling rates to Sh1 per minute during the day sending its rivals sent its rivals, Safaricom, Telkom Kenya and Essar Telecom, back to the drawing board in search of a viable and effective response.

    Safaricom and Orange are warning that the model may threaten the viability of the Kenyan mobile industry and significantly dent government earnings from the industry. But consumers have been happy by the low calling rates saying it frees part of their income to be spent in managing the soaring food prices.

  • As Ugandans prepare to head to the polls in less than 48 hours, the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has asked bulk short message service providers not to allow their platforms to be used as a channel for what it said is information likely to incite.

    The UCC warned last week that any provider who breaches guidelines that have been set for this service, which is mainly operated through cell phones, risks losing their operation licences and would face instant closure.

    UCC interim Executive Director Godfrey Mutabazi accompanied by a team from the regulatory body met industry players in the morning and issued specific warnings against sending messages that he said could instigate hatred, violence and unrest during the electioneering period.

    It is not yet clear if these guidelines have been prompted by promises by some sections of the political opposition to mobilise protests if the Electoral Commission, which they denounce as an extension of the ruling party, attempts to manipulate the result of the elections.

    UCC called the meeting in a letter which said: "You will recall that sometime back [a] similar concern was raised and consultations were held with most of you in order to come up with measures to address the problem."

    According to a source within UCC, the commission first tried to quietly coax individual service providers against transmitting certain text messages. But some big players in the industry refused, insisting that the UCC puts this demand in writing.

    During last week's meeting, the short codes service providers were given guidelines on the kind of text and fax messages to avoid sending to the public. They were also cautioned against sending messages with negative tones and were asked to cooperate with law enforcement organs in the event anyone tries to force the providers to do otherwise.

    An industry source, who attended the meeting, however, said UCC did not say anything specific about SMS text messages being used as a mobilisation tool to rally peaceful protests.

    Recently, an SMS text message drawing parallels between the mass uprisings, which ultimately led to the toppling of the dictatorial regimes in Tunisia and Egypt to Uganda's own situation, has been circulating, causing a stir in certain circles.

    Protesters in Tunisia and Egypt used SMS text messaging and social media networks to mobilise civilians to protest against their unpopular governments. Some providers emerged from the meeting saying UCC was threatening them. Speaking to Daily Monitor, a representative of one service provider who preferred anonymity for fear his employer could be targeted, said the UCC was trying to gag Ugandans' constitutional rights to freedom of information and expression.

    But Mutabazi denied this suspicion. "We are not threatening anybody," he told The Monitor last week. "Our duty is to remind providers to stay within the law." Mutabazi added that the commission was acting within its mandate as regulator. "We, as a commission will be meeting broadcasters on Thursday," he said.

  • The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe will spend US$10 million on the installation of passive telecommunication infrastructure in rural areas. Passive telecommunication infrastructure refers to shared support infrastructure for the provision of Information Communication Technologies.

    It consists of towers, power back-up and equipment rooms, among other equipment. The funds are part of US$24 million under the Universal Services Fund's Connecting Rural Communities project aimed at promoting development of telecommunication services in rural areas.

    Potraz director-general Engineer Charles Sibanda said the project was expected to cost US$10 million. "The project is still at the tendering stage," he said. "It is also operating in phases and the first part should be complete by the end of the second quarter. All licensed operators are, under the obligation of their licences, to provide quality service irrespective of areas of service."

    Telecommunication companies pay a levy of 2 percent of their gross income to Potraz which is then allocated to all licensed operators to expand their services. Potraz can also boost the funds through money appropriated by an Act of Parliament for purposes of the fund and surpluses at the end of each financial year. In his Mid-Term Fiscal Policy Review last year, Finance Minister Tendai Biti revealed Potraz had a total of US$21 021 228 available under the Universal Services Fund.

    Since the establishment of USF through subsection (1) of Section 73 of the Postal and Telecommunications Act (Chapter 12:05), the fund has not contributed significantly towards developing remote areas. Potraz has since floated tenders seeking bids from qualified civil and structural engineers to design and install the infrastructure on its behalf.

  • Public Affairs Manager at the National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM) has told Concord Times that GSM operators in Sierra Leone were grossly violating the NATCOM Act by inflating the price for recharge cards without the approval of the Commission.

    Abdul Kuyateh said Section 53 (2) of the Telecommunications Act of 2006, as amended, gives NATCOM the sole authority to sanction any increase in the price of recharge cards by GSM operators, noting that "as for now the approved price for top-up cards remains at Le1,800 for 50 units, Le3,600 for 100 units and so on".

    According to Kuyateh, GSM operators were in the usual habit of violating the NATCOM Act by taking decisions without first informing the Commission, which he said serves as the regulatory body for all mobile phone companies operating in the country. "What they most often do is that they only communicate directly to their dealers and agents to increase prices. As far as this recent increase is concern, it has not been approved by NATCOM," Kuyateh told Concord Times, stressing that the commission has the sole mandate to communicate any increase in top-up prices or any relevant information that has to do with tele or mobile phone communication through the ministry of Information and Communication.

    The NATCOM Public Affairs Manager disclosed that the board will soon meet to discuss the issue; a development he said was very serious. He maintained that the commission has the responsibility of seeking the welfare of customers and consumers, noting that the NATCOM board needed to be notified by GSM operators about any proposed price increase in recharge cards. He said the commission will then look into the motive for the increase and it takes a period of 30 days before giving consent in the best interest of both the public and the operators.

    "GSM operators have a lot of work to do; they need to extend their coverage nationwide and provide more quality service to the nation rather than taking liberty in causing confusion in the market," said Kuyateh. "The price for top-up cards remains the same as far as NATCOM is concern as this increment has not been sanctioned by the commission. It is unacceptable and we are urging GSM operators to stop taking the law into their own hands, as NATCOM has the power to withdraw their licenses."

    Meanwhile, reacting to Kuyateh's comments, public relations officer of Airtel mobile company, June Rose-Johnson, said NATCOM should be in a position to let the public know about the increase in recharge cards, as they (Airtel) were working in line with the Telecommunications Act.

    Moreover, Ishmael Tucker - a recharge card agent for all the GSM operators in the country around the PZ area - said he was surprised to discover an increase in the price of recharge cards when he went to purchase his stock on Monday morning. He said the increase may not be unconnected with the increase in foreign exchange rates.

internet

  • The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Dr Eugene Juwah, with a team of officials including the Executive Commissioner, Stakeholders Management, Okey Itanyi, and a host of others, last weekend, stormed Vanguard premises on a courtesy visit, where the team unveiled some of its agenda to lift the nation to the threshold of strong telecommunication countries of the world.

    Q: What are the things you are bringing in?

    A: Unfortunately, we have not made much impact on data services. Although, we have it on GSM and CDMA services, but the capacity and reliability of such services are not what they should be. So, we are looking forward to help putting fibre in the ground. We are not operators, but regulators, so we in conjunction with our international consultants have analysed and decided on a model we are going to use. The regulatory framework for that model and all the guidelines are been worked out right now.

    Although NCC has always issued subsidies for people to build fibre and broadband infrastructure but there has also not been an impact. So, my view is to invest on fibre infrastructure deployment through open access model. This actually, deals with impediments to deployment like the right- of -way issue.

    For example in Lagos, it is a very serious issue. I do not know how many thousand dollars you have to pay per metre, if you want to lay fibre.

    So our strategy is to go into partnership with either state governments or local government areas, which ever authority that owns the right- of- way in that particular area, in conjunction with a technology solution provider, and together, we are going to build an infrastructure.

    The way we structure it is that, the technology solution provider provides funding and technology. The state or local government provides the equity through provision of the right of way and NCC comes as a development arm of government. We are not there to make money but to subsidise and augment what the solution provider is doing.

    In doing so, the primary infrastructure will be build on a community based network. For example, in an area like Apapa, we will build a number of infrastructure, in Lekki, we build one but all of them will be interconnected. These particular infrastructures will be run by licensed infrastructure providers. They are not GSM operators and when we license them to run these infrastructures, we make sure that all the service providers in the telecom sector will have access to the infrastructures on an equal basis.

    The advantage of this model is that it removes the monopoly of big companies holding everything, and fixing very high prices, provides opportunity for small companies to also have access at the same price with big companies.

    It will also make NCC free of accusations of competing with anybody rather position it as a regulator that has come to develop and bring Nigeria to 21st century with e-economy; Bring knowledge base to our children and adults. This is part of our agenda in the 2011 budget and once we succeed, it will be as revolutionary as the GSM.

    Q: How is this going to work with Glo1 and Main One already commercially launched?

    A: These initiatives are shore landing cables. This will even act as distribution for them. Glo1 and Main One landed on the shores and have not gotten into the inland. So, to take them inland, this project will be a major vehicle.

    It is so good listening to you and believing that it is going to work. But in most cases government gets the right framework but fails in execution. For instance you have State Accelerated Broadband Initiative, (SABI), Wire Nigeria (WIN) projects that were primed towards broadband for all. How is this going to work better than them?

    I think, the function of government is to create an enabling environment. We are there to create enabling environment for the operators to function. The key is that stakeholders are coming together. There is the state or local government areas, there must be a technology solution provider company, which is completely a private company, which will provide most of the funding to build this infrastructure.

    Then, NCC will be infrastructure operator. It will also be a completely private company that will run this infrastructure as a business. We in NCC are doing it for development of Nigeria. What we do is that we calculate how much to put, in the project to make it successful. So, it is not government project at all.

    Government through NCC is only creating an enabling environment, so that fibre can be deployed because we discovered that the operators do not want to deploy fibre and even when they are, they are taking a long time to do it. What I'm saying now is being done in India and in a lot of countries in Europe, out-skirts of England.
    (interview extract)

  • After a tough legal battle against former communications minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri to obtain an ECNS licence, Allied Technologies (Altech), through its subsidiary Altech Technology Concepts (ATC), has taken the first steps towards self-provisioning through its own network. ATC has officially deployed the Gauteng leg of its own first-tier network and plans to roll out in Cape Town and Durban within the next six months.

    ATC CEO Wayne de Nobrega says the implementation of the new network began in September last year, on the back of Altech's plans to begin building its own infrastructure.

    De Nobrega explains that ATC's acquisition of a significant amount of space in the new Teraco Data Centre, in Isando, Johannesburg, will form the core of its network. This will position the company as a complete communications service provider, offering services such as e-mail, backup, archiving, and converged data and voice solutions, he notes.

    The company has also invested in equal capacity on two international cables – SAT-3 and Seacom – to provide a failover service on its network.

    De Nobrega says ATC has negotiated multiple local and international peering agreements for both voice and data services. The network is designed to offer customers the choice of connecting to the ATC backbone through a variety of technologies, including wireless, fibre, diginet, ADSL and bonded ADSL, he comments.

    De Noberga explains that ATC has not dug up the streets to lay cables required to offer all these technologies, but has rather partnered with whoever owns the infrastructure, close to a particular client, to manage the link through ATC's data centres.

    Dubbed plumbing infrastructure, De Noberga believes this is what customers want in terms of redundancy and quality. ATC is focused on delivering a range of managed services and managed infrastructure solutions aimed at small to medium businesses and the consumer market.

    He notes the consumer solutions are in the pipeline through Altech Autopage and should be available in the coming months.“There is a massive market of businesses that requires high-quality services, but is being sold low-quality solutions. We now have a network that can meet the demands of those customers,” De Nobrega concludes.

  • MTN has unveiled InternetOnTV, a R999 living-room product that connects consumers to the Internet through a television set. The announcement comes just days after Vodacom took the wraps off a similar product of its own, the R749 WebBox.

    MTN and Vodacom hope the offerings will extend Internet access to poorer South Africans. InternetOnTV and the WebBox are both targeted at consumers who don’t already have access to a computer or the Internet at home.

    Both devices connect to television sets using standard RCA cables. However, the two devices are vastly different. MTN’s InternetOnTV has three separate components: a keyboard, a mouse, and a telephone that resembles a Telkom handset. The telephone is the hub of the device, housing the Sim card and connecting everything to the television.

    Vodacom’s WebBox is far simpler, with the technology, including GPRS/Edge modem built into a keyboard, which connects to the TV. The cable on the MTN device is short, at 2m, shorter than the 3m on offer from Vodacom. MTN gains a little extra length because a keyboard cable extends its reach, but not by much.

    InternetOnTV costs R999, almost R250 more than the WebBox. However, MTN says the device will be available from South African  retailer Jet stores across the country and consumers can pay off the device over six months, without incurring any interest. It also supports wireless broadband at speeds of up to 7.2Mbit/s and it can also make telephone calls.

    The R999 price tag includes a R60 airtime voucher, which MTN says can be converted to a 75MB data bundle. Much like Vodacom’s WebBox, which comes with a 100MB data bundle that must be used within three months, the InternetOnTV can be loaded with airtime denominations that can then be converted to data bundles.

    Interestingly, MTN has plans to introduce a new data bundle that may be aimed specifically at users of the device. The company will offer a 90-minute uncapped data bundle, a spin-off of its 24-hour uncapped service. It hasn’t revealed pricing for the planned bundle.

    InternetOnTV runs Qualcomm’s operating system, Brew. Qualcomm relaunched the operating system, originally developed for devices connecting to CDMA  networks, intending to take it to mass-market devices. It is not yet clear whether Brew allows users to download and install other applications on the device. Vodacom’s WebBox runs on Android, but does not connect to the Android Market.

    Like the WebBox, MTN’s device also uses Opera Mini as its Web browser. It also offers social media integration, Microsoft Office document support (not yet supported on the WebBox) and access to e-mail. It has a built-in media player that plays MP3, AAC, DivX, WMA and Mpeg-4 files.

    MTN, like Vodacom, has missed the opportunity to be innovative with the data offering on the InternetOnTV. Consumers have to buy prepaid data bundles or use expensive ad hoc prepaid data.

    MTN has slightly more innovative ideas around prepaid data, including timed access that can be purchased instead of only offering per-megabyte options.

    However, as with Vodacom’s offer, MTN could have taken a leaf out of BlackBerry’s book by offering unlimited on-device browsing for a set monthly amount — although, to be fair, MTN could run into trouble doing that given the InternetOnTV device supports 3G, unlike the WebBox.

    Still, the target market is one that would probably be keen to have access to cheap and “worry-free” browsing. Perhaps the planned 90-minute uncapped offering, if well priced, will encourage more users to take advantage of MTN’s offering.

computing

  • The United Nations agency tasked with promoting education and the West African monetary union today signed an agreement to launch a $12 million project to boost the information and communications technology (ICT) capacity of universities by creating a regional virtual library network.

    Irina Bokova, the Director-General of UNESCO, and Soumaïla Cissé, the President of the Commission of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), which is providing the funds, signed the agreement in Paris.

    The project is part of a wide-ranging cooperation plan initiated in 2006 by the two bodies, aiming to develop the use of ICTs to support an ongoing reform of higher education in the member countries of the UEMOA - Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Niger, Mali, Senegal and Togo.

    "Higher education is a vital force for development. Funding this project shows the commitment of your organization to reforming and modernizing higher education by creating centres of excellence," said Ms. Bokova.

    "The new technologies are the most effective method to reach this goal, by creating virtual libraries accessible to all, accelerating exchange between professors and students and stimulating research," she added.

    Cissé said the project will empower teachers, students and researchers. "We are indeed conscious that education is the key to the future, because emerging countries are founded on the quality of human resources. The virtual library we are creating will serve our young people both as roots and as wings," he said.

    The three-year project will install ICT infrastructure, both material and virtual, in higher education institutions. The campuses of eight universities, one in each UEMOA member State, will be equipped with fibre optic equipment and at least 200 computers with high-speed connection, according to UNESCO.

    In addition to a regional virtual library network to which universities will be linked, the project will set up a cyber institute giving professors online access to training courses. A central database for calculating students' course credits in all state universities will be established to help harmonize academic standards and facilitate student mobility.

  • As part of the Ministry of Education's endeavors to narrow the gap of the availability of information technology between urban and rural areas, computer training was introduced in schools in remote areas at a cost of 76 million Nakfa and 400, 000 students have thus far become beneficiaries of the program, according to the head of IT and Communications in the Ministry, Alem Habte.

    In an interview with ERINA, Alem stated that based on studies conducted since 2005, the Ministry of Education has introduced computer training programs in 65 Secondary and 50 Junior schools found in remote parts of the country.

    He further noted that parallel with the extension of electricity services in remote parts of the country, around 5,300 computers have been provided, while an additional 1,200 computers were given to the secondary school and vocational training center in Sawa.

    Alem went on to indicate that more than 6,500 computers were put to use for educational purposes in the past 5 years and that 222 school directors and 503 teachers were given computer training.

    Emahmime, Laba, Baqla, Gelalo, Tio, Afambo and Kerkebet include some of the areas that have been provided with solar energy powerd computer laboratories within the previous year.

  • Absa forked out R600m more on IT in its 2010 financial year than it did in 2009. The money was spent replacing old IT systems and aligning itself with international banking regulations.

    The group’s total capital and operational spend on IT jumped from R4,4bn to R5bn in the same period, with IT staff costs rising from R835m to R1bn. Amortisation and depreciation of intangible assets rose from R777m to R833m.

    The company released its annual results for the year ended 31 December 2010 on Tuesday, revealing IT spending increased 19% year on year.

    The investment forms part of the bank’s plan to plough R8bn into technology systems and upgrades over three years. Absa announced the spending plan at its interim results presentation in August last year.

    The investments are being made to replace legacy systems and align the bank with Basel II — international regulations governing the management of risk. Among other things, Basel II requires an increased focus on document management and disaster recovery technologies.

    Absa has also used new technology investment to expand its offerings elsewhere in Africa.

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

  • India’s Bharti Airtel has seen its proposal to delist the shares of its Zambian subsidiary from the Lusaka Stock Exchange rejected, Bloomberg reports. As reported by CommsUpdate last month, Bharti faced opposition to the move, and in the latest development Friday Ndhlovu, chairman of the Zambian bourse, announced that shares in Airtel Zambia must resume trading immediately. According to Ndhlovu, Bharti failed to follow the correct procedure in attempting to delist the company, while the application ‘lacked merit’. It is understood, however, that Bharti will be able to reapply to delist.

    The move to delist came after Bharti announced it would increase its stake in the Zambian cellco from 79% to 97% following the conclusion of a mandatory offer to buy out minority shareholders, which had been launched in November 2010. Around 2,000 shareholders, which hold around 3% of Airtel Zambia’s stock, rejected an offer of ZMK710 (USD0.15) per share however, while Mumba Kapumpa, one of the key architects of Zambia’s local capital market and the first chief executive officer and secretary of the country’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), said that he opposed Bharti’s plan to delist the unit, claiming that: ‘The intention of the government then and indeed now is to develop, deepen and broaden the capital market as an alternative place for investments in Zambia, but this development will certainly work against that.’

  • Econet Wireless has been rated as the telecommunications company with the highest growth potential in SubSaharan Africa (SSA), according to the latest Renaissance Capital report.

    The fact that the penetration rate in Zimbabwe still falls far below the regional average means the country's largest mobile company has more potential for upside growth in value and earnings. According to the report, the sector's market capitalisation for Sub-Saharan Africa companies is expected to grow by over US$1 billion this year.

    Econet is well placed to provide the largest chunk of this money. The market capitalisation for SSA operators currently stands at US$6,393 billion.

    Econet is trading at EV/Subs (enterprise value over subscribers) of US$190.2 against an average of US$252.3 for three of its peers in the region - Celtel of Zambia, MTN of South Africa and Safaricom of Kenya.

    It is also grossly undervalued, using the price earnings ration although its EV/EBITDA (enterprise value over earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) is almost in line with the regional average of US$4,50.

    "We think investors should stick to markets with more favourable regulations, and stocks that pay high dividends.

    "Econet is the highest growth stock in our SSA telecoms universe and provides exposure to a relatively healthy telecoms market," said the report.

    Last year, Econet traded a volume of about 19 million shares valued at US$92 million or 23 percent of the total trades on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange. The report, however, noted that voice revenues will remain under pressure over the next one and half years and recommended operators to expand in other telecoms segments.

  • Innovators could soon benefit from a $150 million global fund aimed at supporting start-ups who focus on developing creativity in the mobile phones sector.

    Announced on Monday at the start of the Mobile World Congress currently underway in Barcelona, the fund will be backed by Research In Motion (manufacturers of the Blackberry phone) and the BlackBerry Partners Fund to provide independent venture capital fund focused exclusively on mobile computing.

    "We are very pleased with the positive impact of the first Fund on our mobile ecosystem and we look forward to BlackBerry Partners Fund II bringing additional resources and support to mobile innovators in a broader range of international markets," said Jim Balsillie, Co-CEO at Research In Motion.

    Over the last five years, growing interest in the country's mobile sector has seen increasing investment by multi-nationals. The BlackBerry Partners Fund II is expected to launch in June 2011 and will have a broader international mandate than the first fund.

    The first BlackBerry Partners Fund was established in 2008 in collaboration with Research In Motion, Thomson Reuters, Royal Bank of Canada and a roster of high profile investors.

    The Fund has made 13 investments to-date in mobile start-ups in Canada, the United States, Israel and Ireland. The Fund brings capital, resources and domain expertise to the partnerships it forms with exceptional entrepreneurs around the world who are shaping the future of the mobile eco-system.

  • A group of experts from Morocco is to begin the installation of the new National Switch, which will add some more features to the current existing one. The experts who arrived on Sunday will work with the staff of the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS) to get the switch in place to enable the national electronic platform to perform more functions. The General Manager in charge of Project and Business Development at GhIPSS, Archie Hesse, explained that the roll out of the project would be in phases with the first phase expected to be completed by September, which would lead to a significant change in the payment system.

    GhIPSS which was established by the Central Bank to build a solid national payment system has, as part of its objectives, to establish a national switch that would ensure total interoperability among the banks and also be able to connect all other switches, used by the telecommunications companies (telecos) and foreign switches. However, to achieve this objective, GhIPSS needs to expand the current national switch into a much extended one capable of supporting the various transactions.

    The experts would use the first two weeks to complete the preliminary installations after which they could begin to customize the switch. According to Mr Hesse, when the first phase of the project is completed, the universal banks, the rural banks as well as the savings and loans companies would be able to operate together.

    This means that all ATM cards can work in any ATM machine. This implies that bank customers would be able to use their traditional or e-zwich ATM card in just any ATM outlet. Currently, only cards affiliated to Visa enjoy this service in Ghana, but soon all ATMs would accept all cards.

    Hesse said gradually Ghana was catching up with the most sophisticated payment systems in the world, adding that the installation of the new national switch would begin with a few banks on a pilot basis, until all banks were brought on board. He promised bank customers of exciting times and urged the public to start planning their businesses and lives along these developments. Hesse said the second phase would link the national switch to the platform of the telecommunications companies that were providing mobile money services.

    When the telecommunication companies are connected to the national switch, their customers can use any of the mobile money services even if they are not subscribers to that network.

    This would be possible because the mobile money platforms can interact through the national switch. He said the second phase of the project would link the national switch to other international switches such as Visa and Master cards. Hesse added that soon it would be possible for people to use their traditional ATM cards to make payments in shops that had Point of Sale devices, a service currently available to a few cards such as Visa, MasterCard, and the e-zwich.

Telecoms, Rates, Offers and Coverage

  • Airtel Zambia has launched its first K0 campaign which will make it possible for the customers to talk for free every day.

    Millicom Ghana (which trades as Tigo) has expanded an existing mobile advertising management contract with Alcatel-Lucent. The service, Tigo Ads, is based on the Alcatel-Lucent Optism mobile marketing solution and enables Tigo's customers to receive targeted promotions on their mobile phones. Subscribers can share information with Tigo about their preferences and receive interactive text messages containing news, promotions, discounts and exclusive offers from their preferred brands.

    Mobile virtual network operator Virgin Mobile SA has switched on its first third-generation (3G) mobile services, piggybacking off Cell C’s new network, and offering out-of-bundle broadband at 60c/MB.

    O-Tel Telecom, a licensed national telecom services provider (LNTSP) in South Africa announced the nationwide availability of 1Cloud Hosted PBX Service (http://1cloud.co.za), an effective telecommunication system which easily improves business productivity, lowers telecommunication costs, offers greater advantages with fewer hassles, and steps up the company to new generation telephony, dubbed Telephone 2.0

    Vodafone Ghana has expressed concern about the white-on-red brand colours of Airtel Ghana, but the latter insist on maintaining their brand colours even though it conflicts with that of Vodafone. Chief Executive Officer of Vodafone Ghana, Kyle Whitehill said Vodafone was concerned about the confusion Airtel’s brand colours are creating for both Vodafone and Airtel.

Digital Content

  • Piped water consumers in Uganda can expect to get better service delivery on the back of business deals signed between National Water & Sewerage Corporation and two mobile phone companies.

    Dr William Muhairwe, the managing director of NWSC told Daily Monitor that the company will save at least Shs1 billion per year by receiving water payments through mobile-money payment systems.

    "We are going to ensure that we re-invest this money into the system to make it more suitable for the customers," Dr Muhairwe said in an interview in Kampala.

    On Monday, Uganda Telecom Limited (UTL) became the second mobile operator to enter a partnership with the water company to collect its bills through its mobile money service dubbed M-sente. The UTL deal came less than a week after NWSC entered a similar agreement with MTN Uganda. The companies are charging customers between Shs300 and Shs700 per SMS meant for a water bill transaction.

    The corporation spends huge sums of money in the transfer of cash from its branches around the country to banks by way of bullion vans with escorts.

    "The insurance cost was very high because we had to pay the security companies and also the banks. So that cost will be saved," Dr Muhairwe said.

    In addition, the company also spends a lot of money in delivery of paper bills, which will be substituted by SMS bills.

    "We have been sending our bills with our meter readers to people's houses. But with this system, if you give us your telephone number, the moment we bill you we then transfer the bill to your phone by SMS for payment," he explained.

    The water company is set to completely phase out most of its cash offices and adopt only mobile money payment systems in the future.

    "We think this will be one of the easiest ways for customers to pay their water bill and the cost is also low," he said.

    A single NWSC cash office can collect between Shs300, 000 and Shs10 million per day from its customers.

    But water shortage continues to hit parts of Uganda as a result of a weak and delicate distribution service systems operated by the company.

    At the signing of the agreement, Stanley Henning, UTL's Chief Operations Officer said the new system will increase efficiency in making payments and eliminate the risk of carrying lots of money.

  • This week Africa Business Communities meet with Taha Jiwaji, Founder and CEO of Bongo Live! on bringing mobile and SMS based services to empower businesses, NGOs, government and consumers in Tanzania.

    "Bongo Live! provides individuals who register on our website with exclusive deals and offers that match their interests. Advertisers then in turn can promote their companies/brands based on their specific target demographic. We also provide group messaging services to large businesses and institutions to send messages to their contacts en mass."

    "Bongo Live! was registered in May 2010 and started actively operating in October 2010. It combines a niche space between the advertising and technology realms. We combine both of these in a unique way using sms as our medium to deliver highly targeted and high impact offers direct to consumers."

    "Bongo Live! is both a technology company as well as an advertising company. Our website and sms platform is at the core of our business. We are however constantly striving to develop new technologies and methods to improve our services as well as offer our customers a better experience."

    "Bongo Live! is currently funded from personal funds as well as from friends and family. We are seeking additional seed funding to allow us to scale faster and enter neighboring markets."

    "As an advertising and communication tool Bongo Live! can help all companies improve both their branding as well as their communication with customers, employees, suppliers etc."

    "We're currently operating only in Tanzania.  but see ourselves growing to the neighboring markets of Kenya, Uganda and Zambia. We're currently partnered with a social media advertising company in India called AliveNow. We collaborate on unique social media marketing and customer acquisition strategies."

More

  • Outgoing Telkom South Africa chairman Jeff Molobela has been replaced by Lazarus Zim, who was previously MD of MTN International. Molobela officially retired as chairman of the fixed-line operator's board last week, but has been re-appointed as a non-executive director for another three years. Zim, who took over as chairman last week, will serve as chairman for a year and a non-executive director for three years.

    In South Africa, the Cabinet approved Brian Molefe as the new group Chief Executive for Transnet. Molefe's appointment, which is for a period of five years, starts with immediate effect.

    O3b Networks announced today that it has appointed Steve Collar as Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Collar succeeds Mark Rigolle after the completion of O3b’s latest financing round in November 2010. After a handover period, Collar will formally take up his new position on 7th March 2011.

  • 5th Africa Economic Forum 2011
    7-9 March 2011, Cape Town, South Africa Venue BMW Pavilion, V&A Waterfront

    Our 5th Africa Economic Forum 2011 (AEF-2011) in Cape Town at the BMW-Imax Theatre, with Africa Exhibition is a landmark Conference on Africa and significant business networking occasion for the top corporate players active in, across and involved with the development of the African continent - Cape-to-Cairo, with Governments and officials in key industries and state institutions.
    Contact: babette@glopac.com
    Click here for further information:

    Cloud Computing World Forum Middle East & Africa
    9 March  2011, Grand Millennium Hotel, Dubai

    Taking place on the 9th March 2011, the Cloud Computing World Forum Middle East and Africa is a Free-to-attend event and will feature all of the key players within the Cloud Computing and SaaS market providing an introduction, discussion and look into the future for the ICT industry. This one day conference will provide the most complete and comprehensive platform for the global Cloud Computing and SaaS industry. Register Free today and get inspiration on how to address your latest issues with advice from real-life end-user case studies and practical examples. Contact the Keynote team on +44 (0) 845 519 1230 or email info@keynoteworld.com.
    Click here further information: 

    Broadband World Forum MEA
    14-15 March 2011, Dubai UAE

    The conference programme features 60+ visionary speakers presenting across keynote plenary sessions, 4 in-depth technology tracks and a Rural Coverage and Connectivity focus day.  Co-located to the conference is a 35+ stand technology exhibition showcasing some of the region’s latest cutting-edge broadband technologies, applications, solutions and services to hit the market.
    Limited FREE passes for operators and early booking discounts apply to all others.  Register with VIP code: BBM11BAA
    Click here for further information:

    HR4ICT11 - Business Continuity Planning: Strategic and Organisational Imperatives in a Global Economy
    21-23 March 2011, Hilton Nairobi, Nairobi Kenya.

    The Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation is holding its annual HR4ICT Forum in Kenya, beginning 21 March 2011. The event will take place over three days addressing the human resource management aspect of business continuity planning.  With a theme focused on "Business Continuity Planning: Strategic and Organisational Imperatives in a Global Economy", HR4ICT'11 will focus on the challenges faced by major communications user groups (telecommunications, IT, finance, transport, energy, etc) in developing and implementing effective business continuity programmes.
    Email:  programmes@cto.int or visit here for further informatio:

    ICT For Development in Africa – Sustaining The Momentum, Extending The Reach
    23-26 March 2011, Ota, Nigeria

    The conference will initiate research and practice agenda where ICTs will aid the academia, organizations - public and private and non-governmental to improve socio-economic conditions and directly benefit the disadvantaged in some manner.
    Click here for further information: 

    Managed Services Growth Markets 2011
    4-5 April, Movenpick Jumeirah Beach, Dubai, UAE

    Now in its 4th year and attended by over 200 attendees in 2010, Informa Telecoms and Media’s Managed Services for Growth Markets event will take place on 4th - 5th April at the Moevenpick Jumeirah Beach, Dubai, UAE.With a proven track-record and repeat sponsorship from leading suppliers Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, NokiaSiemens Networks and Motorola, this event is truly established as the ultimate meeting-place for the Managed Services industry in the growth markets.A 50% discount for operators ensures a high percentage operator attendance.  Extended break times and additional social functions will guarantee a further enhancement to the already unique networking opportunities. Informa’s Managed Services for Growth Markets conference is the only established event in the region, proven to deliver an industry focussed agenda, the highest level speakers, superior networking opportunities, and top class delegates year on year.
    Click here for further information:

    Ghana ICT and Telecom Summit
    28-29 April 2011, Ghana-India Kofi Annan ICT Centre Accra, Ghana

    The summit will bring together over 200 decision-makers from Ghanaian operators and international stakeholders with an interest in the market to share experiences, knowledge and ideas with a view to overcoming the industry challenges. The 2 day summit agenda will address all aspects of Ghanaian ICT & telecoms strategies for attracting investment, broadband connectivity for all, solutions to boost operator ROI, Regulatory challenges & opportunities, infrastructure development, VAS and local content for Ghanaians, subscriber acquisition and retention strategies, mobile banking, customer loyalty, future trends and more.
    Click here for further information:

    eLearning Africa 2011 - Spotlight on Youth, Skills and Employability
    25-27 May 2011, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

    The 6th event in the series of pan-African conferences and exhibitions will focus on Africa's youth. Africa has the highest percentage of young people anywhere in the world. How can it unlock the vast reservoir of talent? How can technology support education and training?
    Click here for further information:

  •  World Bank Group is consulting on new ICT Strategy

    World Bank Group consultations open on a new Information and Communication Technology (ICT) strategy to expand connectivity networks and transform social and economic services.
    Forthcoming strategy to also encourage grass-roots innovation and local IT industries.
    A series of online real-time consultations begin February 4, 2011. A virtual consultation is accessible 24/7 on the Strategy website and face-to-face consultations will take place in selected countries.
    For further information click here

    DotConnectAfrica seeks Expression of Interest (EOI) for ".africa" Registry

    DotConnectAfrica (DCA) intends to participate in the new gTLD application issued by ICANN,.  As such DCA will be looking for a registry partner for technical and operational services for the planned .AFRICA Top Level Domain, that is consistent with the road-map of ICANN's requirements.

    Background on DCA's project can be seen here.  Additionally, preliminary proposal by DCA presented and championed across the African Continent, inclusive of community feedback is available online.

    Interested parties with requisite capability to provide registry services should submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) with the following information -

    ·         Name and Address of company
    ·         Company Profile
    .         Financial capabilities
    ·         Experience in providing registry services (technical and operational)
    ·         Presence and/or experience in developing markets, (preferred but not a must)

    DCA will then contact selected parties for more detailed discussions and a selection process.  Pre-qualification  would include technical and financial evaluation as well as support from a host country.

    DCA is not obligated to work with any of the parties who participate in this EOI process.
     
    Please send your EOI with the above information to address at eoi@dotconnectafrica.org  to participate.
    Full Press release available here:

  • Togo Cellulaire and Alcatel- Lucent - Togo
    Alcatel-Lucent announced that it has been selected by Togo Cellulaire, the leading mobile operator in Togo for a major expansion and upgrade of its 2G/3G wireless network. The new network will enable Togo Cellulaire to offer advanced mobile broadband services and to reach a greater number of subscribers and further improve their already high quality of service by taking benefit from a scalable bandwidth to accommodate the anticipated surge in mobile traffic.

    Inwi and Sicap - Morocco
    Inwi, the ambitious challenger operator in Morocco, has announced the roll out of sicap Customer Retention Platform, a flexible, plug and play solution which rewards inwi subscribers for their mobile, fixed or Internet service loyalty. The sicap Customer Retention Platform is powered by the “Loyalty Manager”, a flexible real-time promotions and campaigning enabler.

Issue no 542 18th February 2011

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Top story

  • Price wars are a now a fact of life in Africa’s competitive mobile markets and there few more competitive than East Africa. Lower prices are putting even established dominant mobile players like Safaricom under enormous pressure (see Telecoms News below). Operators feel they have to take part in them to gain greater market share but the early results for those launching them are modest. Competing on quality and service get less airplay as a strategy but must surely be part of the mix. Russell Southwood talked to two contrasting CEOs in the thick of these price wars: Safaricom’s Bob Collymore in Kenya and Orange Uganda’s Phillipe Luxcey, one defending a dominant position and the other seeking to mount a challenge.

    Safaricom’s CEO Bob Collymore on network quality, customer care, LTE and local content

    A price war in Kenya has seen mobile calling rates drop from KS8 to KS3 a minute and then down to KS1 per minute from Airtel, although it later described this low rate as a promotional offer rather than a new tariff. The man in the hot seat is Safaricom’s new CEO Bob Collymore as the company currently has the lion’s share of the market:

    ”We have 77% of the market by subscriber numbers. Our ARPU is higher than anyone else’s. But 77% market share is not sustainable. We do have “significant market power” but we feel that’s because everyone else was very incompetent. There was no consistent management at the number two operator. We’re OK with losing market share (faced with unrealistically low rates) and focusing on Nairobi and high-income communities. The people in remote districts are receiving calls (more than making them). If rates decline, why should I continue to do that?”

    Collymore would like to see the Government establish a floor price below which rates could not be reduced, something he says has been done in DRC and Sri Lanka:”The alternative is to tax it (calls at low rates) but a tax doesn’t address other issues (like the need to invest). Faced with these challenges, Collymore says it would be necessary to adopt a different business model, with a focus on managed services:”We wouldn’t employ graduates in call centres. Currently we try and avoid outsourcing.” This is a clear message to Government along with his warning about potential loss of shareholder value.

    With both the price war and other issues, Collymore has worked the media extensively, seeking to make “full disclosure” so that they don’t become things that come back to haunt him further down the track. He is a much more emollient personality than his predecessor and must know that he has some significant mountains to climb.

    On Safaricom’s notoriously congested network:”In my interactions with customers, it’s clear that the quality of the network is a concern to a lot of customers. People tell you things if you’re listening.We have increased our traffic by a lot. Our traffic in week 50 of 2010 was 100% higher than the same week in 2009”.

    And on the data side of the network?:”We are not as vulnerable as on the voice side. It’s not bad and there are not as many complaints about pricing and coverage. My 3,000 followers on Twitter would tell me if there were.”

    On Safaricom’s less than responsive customer care:”Access to call centres could have been controlled better. Typically, we have 500,000 call attempts per day but only a capacity for 100,000 calls so you’ve only got a 1 in 5 chance of getting through. However, that’s down from a peak of 800,000 a day.”

    Much of this demand is generated by Safaricom either not explaining things well enough to customers or tariffs being too complicated. So Collymore has simplified the voice tariff structure reducing it to post-paid and paid (with on-net and off-net) down from 20 more different tariffs:”There were too many tariffs. It’s confusing across the industry. We need to tell customers the truth.”

    Despite the price war pressures, Safaricom is still acting as one of the main innovators in the Kenyan market. Household Internet and Triple Play?:”It’s on the radar. It’s inevitable we’ll have to do it as it’s what the customers want.” LTE?:”Our tests are fine but it’s 12-18 months away as the devices are not yet available. But we’ll be ready to go and first in.”

    M-Pesa?:” We have 14 million customers and 2.5 million transactions a day worth KS1.3 billion a day. There’s more competition in the space but we keep adding new, exclusive functionalities. It needs to be a lot more ubiquitous.” So will Safaricom interconnect M-Pesa with other M-Money services?:”It’s not going to happen.” But you sense from the twinkle in his eye that he knows it will.

    Building a national fibre network is one area it won’t be going into:”It’s too late to do it. We should have done it five years ago. It’s currently not very reliable. There were disruptive fibre cuts when we announced our half year results and the timing of these cuts was suspicious. We’ve built solid, interdependent relationships with KPLC, Telkom Kenya and JTL and are getting competitive pricing.”

    So will retail Internet prices continue to come down?:”Yes, they will continue to come down. The more people using it, the cheaper it will be.” So what’s the total potential market?:”I’d like to see every Kenyan child connected to the information highway. It needs to be used to drive social development and I have the passion to drive that.”

    Is Safaricom in the content business and why are the income splits so disadvantageous to developers?:”I’ve followed the debates on KICTANET where we’re accused of profiteering. We’re charging 70%. Why does the developer think he needs an immediate profit? We’re not about to change our business model.

    “We want to develop local content and have put time and effort into it with local music where effectively we run a record label. We have an exclusive deal with artists but we will develop them. We will do other forms of content but we knew music was important to Bharti and thought it was the right thing to do. It’s small in revenue terms and we’re not doing it to make tons of cash, it’s about creating sustainability. Musicians have to make a living” So what about the rumours that Safaricom will open an app store?:”We’re not going to do it just yet but we will do it. Kenya is technology hungry.”
    To see an interview on our Web TV channel covering these and other topics, click here:

    Phillipe Luxcey, CEO of Orange Uganda on its 3G roll-out, LTE and Mobile TV

    As Uganda’s latest challenge Orange Uganda has its work cut out. In terms of public profile, its outdoor advertising seems to be everywhere in Kampala but it has yet to win the “hearts and minds” of voice customers. Like Safaricom in Kenya, it is seeking to get to grips with a price war, this time initiated by Warid’s new owners, Essar.

    Phillipe Luxcey cannot believe the price war will bring any good:”It’s crazy, really crazy. There are offers like getting free calls for 24 hours when you load UGS1000 of airtime. Offnet calls are down to UGS3.00 a second and the interconnect rate is UGS131 a minute. Add to that, the fact that you pay 30% taxes to the Government on revenues. We don’t have enough margin to cover our network costs. All off-net calls are losing money. Warid started it but Airtel followed.

    “However, despite the low prices, their market share is not shifting very much. Operators are too confident they will kill the others (their competitors) and also claim that it will increase traffic.”

    So how many subscribers does Orange currently have?:”After three months in the market we have 600,000 subscribers but it’s going up slowly. But we only count living subscribers.”

    Orange has had more success with its data side:”We were the first to launch HSDPA and UPA and did so successfully from day one. We have the widest 3G coverage with 230 3G base stations. We currently have 50,000 subscribers but again this is still growing and we have the best quality, fastest network. We see more and more 3G phones in the market and lot of these are from the grey market. You can now get touch screen smartphones for around US$100 or less. We are also planning to do WiMAX but not on a large scale. We offer a version of the Orange Livebox product called Flybox which works with 3G.”

    Most Internet use is Facebook, BitTorrent, Yahoo and You Tube. Google has created a local caching server but all is not well in the short-term:”We used to be connected to the Google Global Cache and that used to be fast but now it’s a nightmare. We’re organizing a meeting with Google to say we’re not happy. Customers are complaining and utl (the former incumbent) doesn’t know how to manage the cache server.”

    So will Orange be introducing LTE in Uganda?:”We have some trial networks in Europe but we think this year it’s too early but will study the case next year. We have to stabilize the equipment.” Mobile TV?:”We will share a platform with Kenya to deliver it using 3G. It needs either time or event pricing with special rates to do different things to be successful.” Orange Money?:”We don’t have it yet but it will launch shortly. The future of mobile money is inter-operability.”

    News announcement: New clips this week on Balancing Act’s new Web TV Channel

    Do not miss our Web TV Channel which highlights recent interviews with top telecoms personalities. There are interviews in both English and French. For those interested in infrastructure developments and bandwidth prices:

    Funke Opeke, CEO, Main One on sales, national blockages and extending the cable
    http://bit.ly/h3G8ie

    Nigeria: IPnx’s Ejovi Aror talks about price falls and national blockages
    http://bit.ly/hUUKQi

    For those interested in content developments:

    Patrick Akushie, Commercial Manager, Agence France Presse on its mobile strategy in Africa
    http://bit.ly/hpPQu7

    Stefan Magdalinski, General Manager, Sub-Saharan Africa, MIH talks rolling out its competitor to Yellow Pages, Mocality and its classifieds service, Dealfish.
    http://bit.ly/gAIIlY

    Ayo Alli, Business Development Consultant for Goal.com talks about its massive growth in West Africa
    http://bit.ly/i5fBO5

    Akinde Aludamola, Team Leader, ConnectNigeria talks about search website
    http://bit.ly/eHMTxG

telecoms

  • Telephone calls (mobile and landline) and Internet access are set to radically decrease. This comes after the regulator, Botswana Telecommunications Authority (BTA) ordered telecoms companies, among them Botswana Telecommunications Corporation, Mascom, Orange and Be Mobile to reduce their tariffs with immediate effect. Some calls might be cut by up to 40 per cent. Furthermore, a number of charges across all communication services from international calls to bandwidth, will go down.

    In a statement released last week BTA explained that termination rates will be reduced by 30 thebe. Currently the companies charge up to 75 thebe, which is passed to the customer. This will be cut to 45 thebe, a reduction that will set prices for calls between networks radically reduced, to reflect the true picture of the costs incurred to run such calls.

    The new call cost regime comes in place as a result of, a 2010 study on the costing of calls commissioned by BTA which concluded that a reduction should be implemented. While some reductions will be immediate, some will come in gradually starting from 1st April. Fixed line termination rates will increase only marginally, by 1 thebe annually
    Furthermore Internet access charges will be slashed by up to 17 per cent in some instances. "Wholesale Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) prices will be revised downwards to align them to cost and make ADSL more affordable.  The weighted average reduction on wholesale ADSL prices for bandwidths of 512kbit/s, 1Mbit/s and 2Mbit/s is 17 per cent.

    The new Internet rates, the authority says, are a result of Botswana Government's investment in EASSy which launched late last year.

  • Kenya's dominant mobile operator, Safaricom on Tuesday turned to Parliament in their bid to have its rivals' cheaper calling rates tamed. At a meeting with Parliament's Energy and Communication Committee, the Safaricom delegation led by the Chief Executive, Bob Collymore, said the low calling rates to other networks meant it will have to go slow on its expansion plan.

    Safaricom gave examples of similar price wars in Uganda, Sri Lanka, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, all of which were geared to show the dangers of low "mobile termination rates" -money charged for making calls across networks.

    The Sri Lankan example, the committee heard, was in 2009 when a new operator entered the market and ignited a price war by lowering calling prices significantly with the effect that most subscribers were calling outside the network.

    With less incoming revenues -there's was no interconnection fee back then--the other operators threatened to stop the interconnection because they were not being compensated for the increase in incoming traffic. The DRC example is more like the Kenyan one where one of the operators reduced calling rates from Sh20 to 80 cents. This led to operators making very modest amounts.

    "Due to low revenues, operators resulted in cost-cutting measures, such as switching off the networks in areas with low average returns per user, poor quality of service and reduction in network expansion," reads a brief presented by Collymore to the committee.

    With the situation threatening to spiral out of control, the DRC regulator intervened prescribing a minimum price of Sh11 for voice calls and Sh2 for text messages. Speaking to the Nation, the Committee chairman, James Rege, said the House team had already met Airtel Kenya, and heard a presentation on the rationale for their low prices.

    The committee, Rege said, will now meet the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) and other operators to find the way forward in the on-going price wars. Airtel Kenya slashed calling rates to Sh1 per minute during the day sending its rivals sent its rivals, Safaricom, Telkom Kenya and Essar Telecom, back to the drawing board in search of a viable and effective response.

    Safaricom and Orange are warning that the model may threaten the viability of the Kenyan mobile industry and significantly dent government earnings from the industry. But consumers have been happy by the low calling rates saying it frees part of their income to be spent in managing the soaring food prices.

  • As Ugandans prepare to head to the polls in less than 48 hours, the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has asked bulk short message service providers not to allow their platforms to be used as a channel for what it said is information likely to incite.

    The UCC warned last week that any provider who breaches guidelines that have been set for this service, which is mainly operated through cell phones, risks losing their operation licences and would face instant closure.

    UCC interim Executive Director Godfrey Mutabazi accompanied by a team from the regulatory body met industry players in the morning and issued specific warnings against sending messages that he said could instigate hatred, violence and unrest during the electioneering period.

    It is not yet clear if these guidelines have been prompted by promises by some sections of the political opposition to mobilise protests if the Electoral Commission, which they denounce as an extension of the ruling party, attempts to manipulate the result of the elections.

    UCC called the meeting in a letter which said: "You will recall that sometime back [a] similar concern was raised and consultations were held with most of you in order to come up with measures to address the problem."

    According to a source within UCC, the commission first tried to quietly coax individual service providers against transmitting certain text messages. But some big players in the industry refused, insisting that the UCC puts this demand in writing.

    During last week's meeting, the short codes service providers were given guidelines on the kind of text and fax messages to avoid sending to the public. They were also cautioned against sending messages with negative tones and were asked to cooperate with law enforcement organs in the event anyone tries to force the providers to do otherwise.

    An industry source, who attended the meeting, however, said UCC did not say anything specific about SMS text messages being used as a mobilisation tool to rally peaceful protests.

    Recently, an SMS text message drawing parallels between the mass uprisings, which ultimately led to the toppling of the dictatorial regimes in Tunisia and Egypt to Uganda's own situation, has been circulating, causing a stir in certain circles.

    Protesters in Tunisia and Egypt used SMS text messaging and social media networks to mobilise civilians to protest against their unpopular governments. Some providers emerged from the meeting saying UCC was threatening them. Speaking to Daily Monitor, a representative of one service provider who preferred anonymity for fear his employer could be targeted, said the UCC was trying to gag Ugandans' constitutional rights to freedom of information and expression.

    But Mutabazi denied this suspicion. "We are not threatening anybody," he told The Monitor last week. "Our duty is to remind providers to stay within the law." Mutabazi added that the commission was acting within its mandate as regulator. "We, as a commission will be meeting broadcasters on Thursday," he said.

  • The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe will spend US$10 million on the installation of passive telecommunication infrastructure in rural areas. Passive telecommunication infrastructure refers to shared support infrastructure for the provision of Information Communication Technologies.

    It consists of towers, power back-up and equipment rooms, among other equipment. The funds are part of US$24 million under the Universal Services Fund's Connecting Rural Communities project aimed at promoting development of telecommunication services in rural areas.

    Potraz director-general Engineer Charles Sibanda said the project was expected to cost US$10 million. "The project is still at the tendering stage," he said. "It is also operating in phases and the first part should be complete by the end of the second quarter. All licensed operators are, under the obligation of their licences, to provide quality service irrespective of areas of service."

    Telecommunication companies pay a levy of 2 percent of their gross income to Potraz which is then allocated to all licensed operators to expand their services. Potraz can also boost the funds through money appropriated by an Act of Parliament for purposes of the fund and surpluses at the end of each financial year. In his Mid-Term Fiscal Policy Review last year, Finance Minister Tendai Biti revealed Potraz had a total of US$21 021 228 available under the Universal Services Fund.

    Since the establishment of USF through subsection (1) of Section 73 of the Postal and Telecommunications Act (Chapter 12:05), the fund has not contributed significantly towards developing remote areas. Potraz has since floated tenders seeking bids from qualified civil and structural engineers to design and install the infrastructure on its behalf.

  • Public Affairs Manager at the National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM) has told Concord Times that GSM operators in Sierra Leone were grossly violating the NATCOM Act by inflating the price for recharge cards without the approval of the Commission.

    Abdul Kuyateh said Section 53 (2) of the Telecommunications Act of 2006, as amended, gives NATCOM the sole authority to sanction any increase in the price of recharge cards by GSM operators, noting that "as for now the approved price for top-up cards remains at Le1,800 for 50 units, Le3,600 for 100 units and so on".

    According to Kuyateh, GSM operators were in the usual habit of violating the NATCOM Act by taking decisions without first informing the Commission, which he said serves as the regulatory body for all mobile phone companies operating in the country. "What they most often do is that they only communicate directly to their dealers and agents to increase prices. As far as this recent increase is concern, it has not been approved by NATCOM," Kuyateh told Concord Times, stressing that the commission has the sole mandate to communicate any increase in top-up prices or any relevant information that has to do with tele or mobile phone communication through the ministry of Information and Communication.

    The NATCOM Public Affairs Manager disclosed that the board will soon meet to discuss the issue; a development he said was very serious. He maintained that the commission has the responsibility of seeking the welfare of customers and consumers, noting that the NATCOM board needed to be notified by GSM operators about any proposed price increase in recharge cards. He said the commission will then look into the motive for the increase and it takes a period of 30 days before giving consent in the best interest of both the public and the operators.

    "GSM operators have a lot of work to do; they need to extend their coverage nationwide and provide more quality service to the nation rather than taking liberty in causing confusion in the market," said Kuyateh. "The price for top-up cards remains the same as far as NATCOM is concern as this increment has not been sanctioned by the commission. It is unacceptable and we are urging GSM operators to stop taking the law into their own hands, as NATCOM has the power to withdraw their licenses."

    Meanwhile, reacting to Kuyateh's comments, public relations officer of Airtel mobile company, June Rose-Johnson, said NATCOM should be in a position to let the public know about the increase in recharge cards, as they (Airtel) were working in line with the Telecommunications Act.

    Moreover, Ishmael Tucker - a recharge card agent for all the GSM operators in the country around the PZ area - said he was surprised to discover an increase in the price of recharge cards when he went to purchase his stock on Monday morning. He said the increase may not be unconnected with the increase in foreign exchange rates.

internet

  • The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Dr Eugene Juwah, with a team of officials including the Executive Commissioner, Stakeholders Management, Okey Itanyi, and a host of others, last weekend, stormed Vanguard premises on a courtesy visit, where the team unveiled some of its agenda to lift the nation to the threshold of strong telecommunication countries of the world.

    Q: What are the things you are bringing in?

    A: Unfortunately, we have not made much impact on data services. Although, we have it on GSM and CDMA services, but the capacity and reliability of such services are not what they should be. So, we are looking forward to help putting fibre in the ground. We are not operators, but regulators, so we in conjunction with our international consultants have analysed and decided on a model we are going to use. The regulatory framework for that model and all the guidelines are been worked out right now.

    Although NCC has always issued subsidies for people to build fibre and broadband infrastructure but there has also not been an impact. So, my view is to invest on fibre infrastructure deployment through open access model. This actually, deals with impediments to deployment like the right- of -way issue.

    For example in Lagos, it is a very serious issue. I do not know how many thousand dollars you have to pay per metre, if you want to lay fibre.

    So our strategy is to go into partnership with either state governments or local government areas, which ever authority that owns the right- of- way in that particular area, in conjunction with a technology solution provider, and together, we are going to build an infrastructure.

    The way we structure it is that, the technology solution provider provides funding and technology. The state or local government provides the equity through provision of the right of way and NCC comes as a development arm of government. We are not there to make money but to subsidise and augment what the solution provider is doing.

    In doing so, the primary infrastructure will be build on a community based network. For example, in an area like Apapa, we will build a number of infrastructure, in Lekki, we build one but all of them will be interconnected. These particular infrastructures will be run by licensed infrastructure providers. They are not GSM operators and when we license them to run these infrastructures, we make sure that all the service providers in the telecom sector will have access to the infrastructures on an equal basis.

    The advantage of this model is that it removes the monopoly of big companies holding everything, and fixing very high prices, provides opportunity for small companies to also have access at the same price with big companies.

    It will also make NCC free of accusations of competing with anybody rather position it as a regulator that has come to develop and bring Nigeria to 21st century with e-economy; Bring knowledge base to our children and adults. This is part of our agenda in the 2011 budget and once we succeed, it will be as revolutionary as the GSM.

    Q: How is this going to work with Glo1 and Main One already commercially launched?

    A: These initiatives are shore landing cables. This will even act as distribution for them. Glo1 and Main One landed on the shores and have not gotten into the inland. So, to take them inland, this project will be a major vehicle.

    It is so good listening to you and believing that it is going to work. But in most cases government gets the right framework but fails in execution. For instance you have State Accelerated Broadband Initiative, (SABI), Wire Nigeria (WIN) projects that were primed towards broadband for all. How is this going to work better than them?

    I think, the function of government is to create an enabling environment. We are there to create enabling environment for the operators to function. The key is that stakeholders are coming together. There is the state or local government areas, there must be a technology solution provider company, which is completely a private company, which will provide most of the funding to build this infrastructure.

    Then, NCC will be infrastructure operator. It will also be a completely private company that will run this infrastructure as a business. We in NCC are doing it for development of Nigeria. What we do is that we calculate how much to put, in the project to make it successful. So, it is not government project at all.

    Government through NCC is only creating an enabling environment, so that fibre can be deployed because we discovered that the operators do not want to deploy fibre and even when they are, they are taking a long time to do it. What I'm saying now is being done in India and in a lot of countries in Europe, out-skirts of England.
    (interview extract)

  • After a tough legal battle against former communications minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri to obtain an ECNS licence, Allied Technologies (Altech), through its subsidiary Altech Technology Concepts (ATC), has taken the first steps towards self-provisioning through its own network. ATC has officially deployed the Gauteng leg of its own first-tier network and plans to roll out in Cape Town and Durban within the next six months.

    ATC CEO Wayne de Nobrega says the implementation of the new network began in September last year, on the back of Altech's plans to begin building its own infrastructure.

    De Nobrega explains that ATC's acquisition of a significant amount of space in the new Teraco Data Centre, in Isando, Johannesburg, will form the core of its network. This will position the company as a complete communications service provider, offering services such as e-mail, backup, archiving, and converged data and voice solutions, he notes.

    The company has also invested in equal capacity on two international cables – SAT-3 and Seacom – to provide a failover service on its network.

    De Nobrega says ATC has negotiated multiple local and international peering agreements for both voice and data services. The network is designed to offer customers the choice of connecting to the ATC backbone through a variety of technologies, including wireless, fibre, diginet, ADSL and bonded ADSL, he comments.

    De Noberga explains that ATC has not dug up the streets to lay cables required to offer all these technologies, but has rather partnered with whoever owns the infrastructure, close to a particular client, to manage the link through ATC's data centres.

    Dubbed plumbing infrastructure, De Noberga believes this is what customers want in terms of redundancy and quality. ATC is focused on delivering a range of managed services and managed infrastructure solutions aimed at small to medium businesses and the consumer market.

    He notes the consumer solutions are in the pipeline through Altech Autopage and should be available in the coming months.“There is a massive market of businesses that requires high-quality services, but is being sold low-quality solutions. We now have a network that can meet the demands of those customers,” De Nobrega concludes.

  • MTN has unveiled InternetOnTV, a R999 living-room product that connects consumers to the Internet through a television set. The announcement comes just days after Vodacom took the wraps off a similar product of its own, the R749 WebBox.

    MTN and Vodacom hope the offerings will extend Internet access to poorer South Africans. InternetOnTV and the WebBox are both targeted at consumers who don’t already have access to a computer or the Internet at home.

    Both devices connect to television sets using standard RCA cables. However, the two devices are vastly different. MTN’s InternetOnTV has three separate components: a keyboard, a mouse, and a telephone that resembles a Telkom handset. The telephone is the hub of the device, housing the Sim card and connecting everything to the television.

    Vodacom’s WebBox is far simpler, with the technology, including GPRS/Edge modem built into a keyboard, which connects to the TV. The cable on the MTN device is short, at 2m, shorter than the 3m on offer from Vodacom. MTN gains a little extra length because a keyboard cable extends its reach, but not by much.

    InternetOnTV costs R999, almost R250 more than the WebBox. However, MTN says the device will be available from South African  retailer Jet stores across the country and consumers can pay off the device over six months, without incurring any interest. It also supports wireless broadband at speeds of up to 7.2Mbit/s and it can also make telephone calls.

    The R999 price tag includes a R60 airtime voucher, which MTN says can be converted to a 75MB data bundle. Much like Vodacom’s WebBox, which comes with a 100MB data bundle that must be used within three months, the InternetOnTV can be loaded with airtime denominations that can then be converted to data bundles.

    Interestingly, MTN has plans to introduce a new data bundle that may be aimed specifically at users of the device. The company will offer a 90-minute uncapped data bundle, a spin-off of its 24-hour uncapped service. It hasn’t revealed pricing for the planned bundle.

    InternetOnTV runs Qualcomm’s operating system, Brew. Qualcomm relaunched the operating system, originally developed for devices connecting to CDMA  networks, intending to take it to mass-market devices. It is not yet clear whether Brew allows users to download and install other applications on the device. Vodacom’s WebBox runs on Android, but does not connect to the Android Market.

    Like the WebBox, MTN’s device also uses Opera Mini as its Web browser. It also offers social media integration, Microsoft Office document support (not yet supported on the WebBox) and access to e-mail. It has a built-in media player that plays MP3, AAC, DivX, WMA and Mpeg-4 files.

    MTN, like Vodacom, has missed the opportunity to be innovative with the data offering on the InternetOnTV. Consumers have to buy prepaid data bundles or use expensive ad hoc prepaid data.

    MTN has slightly more innovative ideas around prepaid data, including timed access that can be purchased instead of only offering per-megabyte options.

    However, as with Vodacom’s offer, MTN could have taken a leaf out of BlackBerry’s book by offering unlimited on-device browsing for a set monthly amount — although, to be fair, MTN could run into trouble doing that given the InternetOnTV device supports 3G, unlike the WebBox.

    Still, the target market is one that would probably be keen to have access to cheap and “worry-free” browsing. Perhaps the planned 90-minute uncapped offering, if well priced, will encourage more users to take advantage of MTN’s offering.

computing

  • The United Nations agency tasked with promoting education and the West African monetary union today signed an agreement to launch a $12 million project to boost the information and communications technology (ICT) capacity of universities by creating a regional virtual library network.

    Irina Bokova, the Director-General of UNESCO, and Soumaïla Cissé, the President of the Commission of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), which is providing the funds, signed the agreement in Paris.

    The project is part of a wide-ranging cooperation plan initiated in 2006 by the two bodies, aiming to develop the use of ICTs to support an ongoing reform of higher education in the member countries of the UEMOA - Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Niger, Mali, Senegal and Togo.

    "Higher education is a vital force for development. Funding this project shows the commitment of your organization to reforming and modernizing higher education by creating centres of excellence," said Ms. Bokova.

    "The new technologies are the most effective method to reach this goal, by creating virtual libraries accessible to all, accelerating exchange between professors and students and stimulating research," she added.

    Cissé said the project will empower teachers, students and researchers. "We are indeed conscious that education is the key to the future, because emerging countries are founded on the quality of human resources. The virtual library we are creating will serve our young people both as roots and as wings," he said.

    The three-year project will install ICT infrastructure, both material and virtual, in higher education institutions. The campuses of eight universities, one in each UEMOA member State, will be equipped with fibre optic equipment and at least 200 computers with high-speed connection, according to UNESCO.

    In addition to a regional virtual library network to which universities will be linked, the project will set up a cyber institute giving professors online access to training courses. A central database for calculating students' course credits in all state universities will be established to help harmonize academic standards and facilitate student mobility.

  • As part of the Ministry of Education's endeavors to narrow the gap of the availability of information technology between urban and rural areas, computer training was introduced in schools in remote areas at a cost of 76 million Nakfa and 400, 000 students have thus far become beneficiaries of the program, according to the head of IT and Communications in the Ministry, Alem Habte.

    In an interview with ERINA, Alem stated that based on studies conducted since 2005, the Ministry of Education has introduced computer training programs in 65 Secondary and 50 Junior schools found in remote parts of the country.

    He further noted that parallel with the extension of electricity services in remote parts of the country, around 5,300 computers have been provided, while an additional 1,200 computers were given to the secondary school and vocational training center in Sawa.

    Alem went on to indicate that more than 6,500 computers were put to use for educational purposes in the past 5 years and that 222 school directors and 503 teachers were given computer training.

    Emahmime, Laba, Baqla, Gelalo, Tio, Afambo and Kerkebet include some of the areas that have been provided with solar energy powerd computer laboratories within the previous year.

  • Absa forked out R600m more on IT in its 2010 financial year than it did in 2009. The money was spent replacing old IT systems and aligning itself with international banking regulations.

    The group’s total capital and operational spend on IT jumped from R4,4bn to R5bn in the same period, with IT staff costs rising from R835m to R1bn. Amortisation and depreciation of intangible assets rose from R777m to R833m.

    The company released its annual results for the year ended 31 December 2010 on Tuesday, revealing IT spending increased 19% year on year.

    The investment forms part of the bank’s plan to plough R8bn into technology systems and upgrades over three years. Absa announced the spending plan at its interim results presentation in August last year.

    The investments are being made to replace legacy systems and align the bank with Basel II — international regulations governing the management of risk. Among other things, Basel II requires an increased focus on document management and disaster recovery technologies.

    Absa has also used new technology investment to expand its offerings elsewhere in Africa.

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

  • India’s Bharti Airtel has seen its proposal to delist the shares of its Zambian subsidiary from the Lusaka Stock Exchange rejected, Bloomberg reports. As reported by CommsUpdate last month, Bharti faced opposition to the move, and in the latest development Friday Ndhlovu, chairman of the Zambian bourse, announced that shares in Airtel Zambia must resume trading immediately. According to Ndhlovu, Bharti failed to follow the correct procedure in attempting to delist the company, while the application ‘lacked merit’. It is understood, however, that Bharti will be able to reapply to delist.

    The move to delist came after Bharti announced it would increase its stake in the Zambian cellco from 79% to 97% following the conclusion of a mandatory offer to buy out minority shareholders, which had been launched in November 2010. Around 2,000 shareholders, which hold around 3% of Airtel Zambia’s stock, rejected an offer of ZMK710 (USD0.15) per share however, while Mumba Kapumpa, one of the key architects of Zambia’s local capital market and the first chief executive officer and secretary of the country’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), said that he opposed Bharti’s plan to delist the unit, claiming that: ‘The intention of the government then and indeed now is to develop, deepen and broaden the capital market as an alternative place for investments in Zambia, but this development will certainly work against that.’

  • Econet Wireless has been rated as the telecommunications company with the highest growth potential in SubSaharan Africa (SSA), according to the latest Renaissance Capital report.

    The fact that the penetration rate in Zimbabwe still falls far below the regional average means the country's largest mobile company has more potential for upside growth in value and earnings. According to the report, the sector's market capitalisation for Sub-Saharan Africa companies is expected to grow by over US$1 billion this year.

    Econet is well placed to provide the largest chunk of this money. The market capitalisation for SSA operators currently stands at US$6,393 billion.

    Econet is trading at EV/Subs (enterprise value over subscribers) of US$190.2 against an average of US$252.3 for three of its peers in the region - Celtel of Zambia, MTN of South Africa and Safaricom of Kenya.

    It is also grossly undervalued, using the price earnings ration although its EV/EBITDA (enterprise value over earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) is almost in line with the regional average of US$4,50.

    "We think investors should stick to markets with more favourable regulations, and stocks that pay high dividends.

    "Econet is the highest growth stock in our SSA telecoms universe and provides exposure to a relatively healthy telecoms market," said the report.

    Last year, Econet traded a volume of about 19 million shares valued at US$92 million or 23 percent of the total trades on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange. The report, however, noted that voice revenues will remain under pressure over the next one and half years and recommended operators to expand in other telecoms segments.

  • Innovators could soon benefit from a $150 million global fund aimed at supporting start-ups who focus on developing creativity in the mobile phones sector.

    Announced on Monday at the start of the Mobile World Congress currently underway in Barcelona, the fund will be backed by Research In Motion (manufacturers of the Blackberry phone) and the BlackBerry Partners Fund to provide independent venture capital fund focused exclusively on mobile computing.

    "We are very pleased with the positive impact of the first Fund on our mobile ecosystem and we look forward to BlackBerry Partners Fund II bringing additional resources and support to mobile innovators in a broader range of international markets," said Jim Balsillie, Co-CEO at Research In Motion.

    Over the last five years, growing interest in the country's mobile sector has seen increasing investment by multi-nationals. The BlackBerry Partners Fund II is expected to launch in June 2011 and will have a broader international mandate than the first fund.

    The first BlackBerry Partners Fund was established in 2008 in collaboration with Research In Motion, Thomson Reuters, Royal Bank of Canada and a roster of high profile investors.

    The Fund has made 13 investments to-date in mobile start-ups in Canada, the United States, Israel and Ireland. The Fund brings capital, resources and domain expertise to the partnerships it forms with exceptional entrepreneurs around the world who are shaping the future of the mobile eco-system.

  • A group of experts from Morocco is to begin the installation of the new National Switch, which will add some more features to the current existing one. The experts who arrived on Sunday will work with the staff of the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS) to get the switch in place to enable the national electronic platform to perform more functions. The General Manager in charge of Project and Business Development at GhIPSS, Archie Hesse, explained that the roll out of the project would be in phases with the first phase expected to be completed by September, which would lead to a significant change in the payment system.

    GhIPSS which was established by the Central Bank to build a solid national payment system has, as part of its objectives, to establish a national switch that would ensure total interoperability among the banks and also be able to connect all other switches, used by the telecommunications companies (telecos) and foreign switches. However, to achieve this objective, GhIPSS needs to expand the current national switch into a much extended one capable of supporting the various transactions.

    The experts would use the first two weeks to complete the preliminary installations after which they could begin to customize the switch. According to Mr Hesse, when the first phase of the project is completed, the universal banks, the rural banks as well as the savings and loans companies would be able to operate together.

    This means that all ATM cards can work in any ATM machine. This implies that bank customers would be able to use their traditional or e-zwich ATM card in just any ATM outlet. Currently, only cards affiliated to Visa enjoy this service in Ghana, but soon all ATMs would accept all cards.

    Hesse said gradually Ghana was catching up with the most sophisticated payment systems in the world, adding that the installation of the new national switch would begin with a few banks on a pilot basis, until all banks were brought on board. He promised bank customers of exciting times and urged the public to start planning their businesses and lives along these developments. Hesse said the second phase would link the national switch to the platform of the telecommunications companies that were providing mobile money services.

    When the telecommunication companies are connected to the national switch, their customers can use any of the mobile money services even if they are not subscribers to that network.

    This would be possible because the mobile money platforms can interact through the national switch. He said the second phase of the project would link the national switch to other international switches such as Visa and Master cards. Hesse added that soon it would be possible for people to use their traditional ATM cards to make payments in shops that had Point of Sale devices, a service currently available to a few cards such as Visa, MasterCard, and the e-zwich.

Telecoms, Rates, Offers and Coverage

  • Airtel Zambia has launched its first K0 campaign which will make it possible for the customers to talk for free every day.

    Millicom Ghana (which trades as Tigo) has expanded an existing mobile advertising management contract with Alcatel-Lucent. The service, Tigo Ads, is based on the Alcatel-Lucent Optism mobile marketing solution and enables Tigo's customers to receive targeted promotions on their mobile phones. Subscribers can share information with Tigo about their preferences and receive interactive text messages containing news, promotions, discounts and exclusive offers from their preferred brands.

    Mobile virtual network operator Virgin Mobile SA has switched on its first third-generation (3G) mobile services, piggybacking off Cell C’s new network, and offering out-of-bundle broadband at 60c/MB.

    O-Tel Telecom, a licensed national telecom services provider (LNTSP) in South Africa announced the nationwide availability of 1Cloud Hosted PBX Service (http://1cloud.co.za), an effective telecommunication system which easily improves business productivity, lowers telecommunication costs, offers greater advantages with fewer hassles, and steps up the company to new generation telephony, dubbed Telephone 2.0

    Vodafone Ghana has expressed concern about the white-on-red brand colours of Airtel Ghana, but the latter insist on maintaining their brand colours even though it conflicts with that of Vodafone. Chief Executive Officer of Vodafone Ghana, Kyle Whitehill said Vodafone was concerned about the confusion Airtel’s brand colours are creating for both Vodafone and Airtel.

Digital Content

  • Piped water consumers in Uganda can expect to get better service delivery on the back of business deals signed between National Water & Sewerage Corporation and two mobile phone companies.

    Dr William Muhairwe, the managing director of NWSC told Daily Monitor that the company will save at least Shs1 billion per year by receiving water payments through mobile-money payment systems.

    "We are going to ensure that we re-invest this money into the system to make it more suitable for the customers," Dr Muhairwe said in an interview in Kampala.

    On Monday, Uganda Telecom Limited (UTL) became the second mobile operator to enter a partnership with the water company to collect its bills through its mobile money service dubbed M-sente. The UTL deal came less than a week after NWSC entered a similar agreement with MTN Uganda. The companies are charging customers between Shs300 and Shs700 per SMS meant for a water bill transaction.

    The corporation spends huge sums of money in the transfer of cash from its branches around the country to banks by way of bullion vans with escorts.

    "The insurance cost was very high because we had to pay the security companies and also the banks. So that cost will be saved," Dr Muhairwe said.

    In addition, the company also spends a lot of money in delivery of paper bills, which will be substituted by SMS bills.

    "We have been sending our bills with our meter readers to people's houses. But with this system, if you give us your telephone number, the moment we bill you we then transfer the bill to your phone by SMS for payment," he explained.

    The water company is set to completely phase out most of its cash offices and adopt only mobile money payment systems in the future.

    "We think this will be one of the easiest ways for customers to pay their water bill and the cost is also low," he said.

    A single NWSC cash office can collect between Shs300, 000 and Shs10 million per day from its customers.

    But water shortage continues to hit parts of Uganda as a result of a weak and delicate distribution service systems operated by the company.

    At the signing of the agreement, Stanley Henning, UTL's Chief Operations Officer said the new system will increase efficiency in making payments and eliminate the risk of carrying lots of money.

  • This week Africa Business Communities meet with Taha Jiwaji, Founder and CEO of Bongo Live! on bringing mobile and SMS based services to empower businesses, NGOs, government and consumers in Tanzania.

    "Bongo Live! provides individuals who register on our website with exclusive deals and offers that match their interests. Advertisers then in turn can promote their companies/brands based on their specific target demographic. We also provide group messaging services to large businesses and institutions to send messages to their contacts en mass."

    "Bongo Live! was registered in May 2010 and started actively operating in October 2010. It combines a niche space between the advertising and technology realms. We combine both of these in a unique way using sms as our medium to deliver highly targeted and high impact offers direct to consumers."

    "Bongo Live! is both a technology company as well as an advertising company. Our website and sms platform is at the core of our business. We are however constantly striving to develop new technologies and methods to improve our services as well as offer our customers a better experience."

    "Bongo Live! is currently funded from personal funds as well as from friends and family. We are seeking additional seed funding to allow us to scale faster and enter neighboring markets."

    "As an advertising and communication tool Bongo Live! can help all companies improve both their branding as well as their communication with customers, employees, suppliers etc."

    "We're currently operating only in Tanzania.  but see ourselves growing to the neighboring markets of Kenya, Uganda and Zambia. We're currently partnered with a social media advertising company in India called AliveNow. We collaborate on unique social media marketing and customer acquisition strategies."

More

  • Outgoing Telkom South Africa chairman Jeff Molobela has been replaced by Lazarus Zim, who was previously MD of MTN International. Molobela officially retired as chairman of the fixed-line operator's board last week, but has been re-appointed as a non-executive director for another three years. Zim, who took over as chairman last week, will serve as chairman for a year and a non-executive director for three years.

    In South Africa, the Cabinet approved Brian Molefe as the new group Chief Executive for Transnet. Molefe's appointment, which is for a period of five years, starts with immediate effect.

    O3b Networks announced today that it has appointed Steve Collar as Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Collar succeeds Mark Rigolle after the completion of O3b’s latest financing round in November 2010. After a handover period, Collar will formally take up his new position on 7th March 2011.

  • 5th Africa Economic Forum 2011
    7-9 March 2011, Cape Town, South Africa Venue BMW Pavilion, V&A Waterfront

    Our 5th Africa Economic Forum 2011 (AEF-2011) in Cape Town at the BMW-Imax Theatre, with Africa Exhibition is a landmark Conference on Africa and significant business networking occasion for the top corporate players active in, across and involved with the development of the African continent - Cape-to-Cairo, with Governments and officials in key industries and state institutions.
    Contact: babette@glopac.com
    Click here for further information:

    Cloud Computing World Forum Middle East & Africa
    9 March  2011, Grand Millennium Hotel, Dubai

    Taking place on the 9th March 2011, the Cloud Computing World Forum Middle East and Africa is a Free-to-attend event and will feature all of the key players within the Cloud Computing and SaaS market providing an introduction, discussion and look into the future for the ICT industry. This one day conference will provide the most complete and comprehensive platform for the global Cloud Computing and SaaS industry. Register Free today and get inspiration on how to address your latest issues with advice from real-life end-user case studies and practical examples. Contact the Keynote team on +44 (0) 845 519 1230 or email info@keynoteworld.com.
    Click here further information: 

    Broadband World Forum MEA
    14-15 March 2011, Dubai UAE

    The conference programme features 60+ visionary speakers presenting across keynote plenary sessions, 4 in-depth technology tracks and a Rural Coverage and Connectivity focus day.  Co-located to the conference is a 35+ stand technology exhibition showcasing some of the region’s latest cutting-edge broadband technologies, applications, solutions and services to hit the market.
    Limited FREE passes for operators and early booking discounts apply to all others.  Register with VIP code: BBM11BAA
    Click here for further information:

    HR4ICT11 - Business Continuity Planning: Strategic and Organisational Imperatives in a Global Economy
    21-23 March 2011, Hilton Nairobi, Nairobi Kenya.

    The Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation is holding its annual HR4ICT Forum in Kenya, beginning 21 March 2011. The event will take place over three days addressing the human resource management aspect of business continuity planning.  With a theme focused on "Business Continuity Planning: Strategic and Organisational Imperatives in a Global Economy", HR4ICT'11 will focus on the challenges faced by major communications user groups (telecommunications, IT, finance, transport, energy, etc) in developing and implementing effective business continuity programmes.
    Email:  programmes@cto.int or visit here for further informatio:

    ICT For Development in Africa – Sustaining The Momentum, Extending The Reach
    23-26 March 2011, Ota, Nigeria

    The conference will initiate research and practice agenda where ICTs will aid the academia, organizations - public and private and non-governmental to improve socio-economic conditions and directly benefit the disadvantaged in some manner.
    Click here for further information: 

    Managed Services Growth Markets 2011
    4-5 April, Movenpick Jumeirah Beach, Dubai, UAE

    Now in its 4th year and attended by over 200 attendees in 2010, Informa Telecoms and Media’s Managed Services for Growth Markets event will take place on 4th - 5th April at the Moevenpick Jumeirah Beach, Dubai, UAE.With a proven track-record and repeat sponsorship from leading suppliers Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, NokiaSiemens Networks and Motorola, this event is truly established as the ultimate meeting-place for the Managed Services industry in the growth markets.A 50% discount for operators ensures a high percentage operator attendance.  Extended break times and additional social functions will guarantee a further enhancement to the already unique networking opportunities. Informa’s Managed Services for Growth Markets conference is the only established event in the region, proven to deliver an industry focussed agenda, the highest level speakers, superior networking opportunities, and top class delegates year on year.
    Click here for further information:

    Ghana ICT and Telecom Summit
    28-29 April 2011, Ghana-India Kofi Annan ICT Centre Accra, Ghana

    The summit will bring together over 200 decision-makers from Ghanaian operators and international stakeholders with an interest in the market to share experiences, knowledge and ideas with a view to overcoming the industry challenges. The 2 day summit agenda will address all aspects of Ghanaian ICT & telecoms strategies for attracting investment, broadband connectivity for all, solutions to boost operator ROI, Regulatory challenges & opportunities, infrastructure development, VAS and local content for Ghanaians, subscriber acquisition and retention strategies, mobile banking, customer loyalty, future trends and more.
    Click here for further information:

    eLearning Africa 2011 - Spotlight on Youth, Skills and Employability
    25-27 May 2011, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

    The 6th event in the series of pan-African conferences and exhibitions will focus on Africa's youth. Africa has the highest percentage of young people anywhere in the world. How can it unlock the vast reservoir of talent? How can technology support education and training?
    Click here for further information:

  •  World Bank Group is consulting on new ICT Strategy

    World Bank Group consultations open on a new Information and Communication Technology (ICT) strategy to expand connectivity networks and transform social and economic services.
    Forthcoming strategy to also encourage grass-roots innovation and local IT industries.
    A series of online real-time consultations begin February 4, 2011. A virtual consultation is accessible 24/7 on the Strategy website and face-to-face consultations will take place in selected countries.
    For further information click here

    DotConnectAfrica seeks Expression of Interest (EOI) for ".africa" Registry

    DotConnectAfrica (DCA) intends to participate in the new gTLD application issued by ICANN,.  As such DCA will be looking for a registry partner for technical and operational services for the planned .AFRICA Top Level Domain, that is consistent with the road-map of ICANN's requirements.

    Background on DCA's project can be seen here.  Additionally, preliminary proposal by DCA presented and championed across the African Continent, inclusive of community feedback is available online.

    Interested parties with requisite capability to provide registry services should submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) with the following information -

    ·         Name and Address of company
    ·         Company Profile
    .         Financial capabilities
    ·         Experience in providing registry services (technical and operational)
    ·         Presence and/or experience in developing markets, (preferred but not a must)

    DCA will then contact selected parties for more detailed discussions and a selection process.  Pre-qualification  would include technical and financial evaluation as well as support from a host country.

    DCA is not obligated to work with any of the parties who participate in this EOI process.
     
    Please send your EOI with the above information to address at eoi@dotconnectafrica.org  to participate.
    Full Press release available here:

  • Togo Cellulaire and Alcatel- Lucent - Togo
    Alcatel-Lucent announced that it has been selected by Togo Cellulaire, the leading mobile operator in Togo for a major expansion and upgrade of its 2G/3G wireless network. The new network will enable Togo Cellulaire to offer advanced mobile broadband services and to reach a greater number of subscribers and further improve their already high quality of service by taking benefit from a scalable bandwidth to accommodate the anticipated surge in mobile traffic.

    Inwi and Sicap - Morocco
    Inwi, the ambitious challenger operator in Morocco, has announced the roll out of sicap Customer Retention Platform, a flexible, plug and play solution which rewards inwi subscribers for their mobile, fixed or Internet service loyalty. The sicap Customer Retention Platform is powered by the “Loyalty Manager”, a flexible real-time promotions and campaigning enabler.

Issue no 542: Price wars in East Africa – Safaricom and Orange Uganda CEOs

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Top story

  • Price wars are a now a fact of life in Africa’s competitive mobile markets and there few more competitive than East Africa. Lower prices are putting even established dominant mobile players like Safaricom under enormous pressure (see Telecoms News below). Operators feel they have to take part in them to gain greater market share but the early results for those launching them are modest. Competing on quality and service get less airplay as a strategy but must surely be part of the mix. Russell Southwood talked to two contrasting CEOs in the thick of these price wars: Safaricom’s Bob Collymore in Kenya and Orange Uganda’s Phillipe Luxcey, one defending a dominant position and the other seeking to mount a challenge.

    Safaricom’s CEO Bob Collymore on network quality, customer care, LTE and local content

    A price war in Kenya has seen mobile calling rates drop from KS8 to KS3 a minute and then down to KS1 per minute from Airtel, although it later described this low rate as a promotional offer rather than a new tariff. The man in the hot seat is Safaricom’s new CEO Bob Collymore as the company currently has the lion’s share of the market:

    ”We have 77% of the market by subscriber numbers. Our ARPU is higher than anyone else’s. But 77% market share is not sustainable. We do have “significant market power” but we feel that’s because everyone else was very incompetent. There was no consistent management at the number two operator. We’re OK with losing market share (faced with unrealistically low rates) and focusing on Nairobi and high-income communities. The people in remote districts are receiving calls (more than making them). If rates decline, why should I continue to do that?”

    Collymore would like to see the Government establish a floor price below which rates could not be reduced, something he says has been done in DRC and Sri Lanka:”The alternative is to tax it (calls at low rates) but a tax doesn’t address other issues (like the need to invest). Faced with these challenges, Collymore says it would be necessary to adopt a different business model, with a focus on managed services:”We wouldn’t employ graduates in call centres. Currently we try and avoid outsourcing.” This is a clear message to Government along with his warning about potential loss of shareholder value.

    With both the price war and other issues, Collymore has worked the media extensively, seeking to make “full disclosure” so that they don’t become things that come back to haunt him further down the track. He is a much more emollient personality than his predecessor and must know that he has some significant mountains to climb.

    On Safaricom’s notoriously congested network:”In my interactions with customers, it’s clear that the quality of the network is a concern to a lot of customers. People tell you things if you’re listening.We have increased our traffic by a lot. Our traffic in week 50 of 2010 was 100% higher than the same week in 2009”.

    And on the data side of the network?:”We are not as vulnerable as on the voice side. It’s not bad and there are not as many complaints about pricing and coverage. My 3,000 followers on Twitter would tell me if there were.”

    On Safaricom’s less than responsive customer care:”Access to call centres could have been controlled better. Typically, we have 500,000 call attempts per day but only a capacity for 100,000 calls so you’ve only got a 1 in 5 chance of getting through. However, that’s down from a peak of 800,000 a day.”

    Much of this demand is generated by Safaricom either not explaining things well enough to customers or tariffs being too complicated. So Collymore has simplified the voice tariff structure reducing it to post-paid and paid (with on-net and off-net) down from 20 more different tariffs:”There were too many tariffs. It’s confusing across the industry. We need to tell customers the truth.”

    Despite the price war pressures, Safaricom is still acting as one of the main innovators in the Kenyan market. Household Internet and Triple Play?:”It’s on the radar. It’s inevitable we’ll have to do it as it’s what the customers want.” LTE?:”Our tests are fine but it’s 12-18 months away as the devices are not yet available. But we’ll be ready to go and first in.”

    M-Pesa?:” We have 14 million customers and 2.5 million transactions a day worth KS1.3 billion a day. There’s more competition in the space but we keep adding new, exclusive functionalities. It needs to be a lot more ubiquitous.” So will Safaricom interconnect M-Pesa with other M-Money services?:”It’s not going to happen.” But you sense from the twinkle in his eye that he knows it will.

    Building a national fibre network is one area it won’t be going into:”It’s too late to do it. We should have done it five years ago. It’s currently not very reliable. There were disruptive fibre cuts when we announced our half year results and the timing of these cuts was suspicious. We’ve built solid, interdependent relationships with KPLC, Telkom Kenya and JTL and are getting competitive pricing.”

    So will retail Internet prices continue to come down?:”Yes, they will continue to come down. The more people using it, the cheaper it will be.” So what’s the total potential market?:”I’d like to see every Kenyan child connected to the information highway. It needs to be used to drive social development and I have the passion to drive that.”

    Is Safaricom in the content business and why are the income splits so disadvantageous to developers?:”I’ve followed the debates on KICTANET where we’re accused of profiteering. We’re charging 70%. Why does the developer think he needs an immediate profit? We’re not about to change our business model.

    “We want to develop local content and have put time and effort into it with local music where effectively we run a record label. We have an exclusive deal with artists but we will develop them. We will do other forms of content but we knew music was important to Bharti and thought it was the right thing to do. It’s small in revenue terms and we’re not doing it to make tons of cash, it’s about creating sustainability. Musicians have to make a living” So what about the rumours that Safaricom will open an app store?:”We’re not going to do it just yet but we will do it. Kenya is technology hungry.”
    To see an interview on our Web TV channel covering these and other topics, click here:

    Phillipe Luxcey, CEO of Orange Uganda on its 3G roll-out, LTE and Mobile TV

    As Uganda’s latest challenge Orange Uganda has its work cut out. In terms of public profile, its outdoor advertising seems to be everywhere in Kampala but it has yet to win the “hearts and minds” of voice customers. Like Safaricom in Kenya, it is seeking to get to grips with a price war, this time initiated by Warid’s new owners, Essar.

    Phillipe Luxcey cannot believe the price war will bring any good:”It’s crazy, really crazy. There are offers like getting free calls for 24 hours when you load UGS1000 of airtime. Offnet calls are down to UGS3.00 a second and the interconnect rate is UGS131 a minute. Add to that, the fact that you pay 30% taxes to the Government on revenues. We don’t have enough margin to cover our network costs. All off-net calls are losing money. Warid started it but Airtel followed.

    “However, despite the low prices, their market share is not shifting very much. Operators are too confident they will kill the others (their competitors) and also claim that it will increase traffic.”

    So how many subscribers does Orange currently have?:”After three months in the market we have 600,000 subscribers but it’s going up slowly. But we only count living subscribers.”

    Orange has had more success with its data side:”We were the first to launch HSDPA and UPA and did so successfully from day one. We have the widest 3G coverage with 230 3G base stations. We currently have 50,000 subscribers but again this is still growing and we have the best quality, fastest network. We see more and more 3G phones in the market and lot of these are from the grey market. You can now get touch screen smartphones for around US$100 or less. We are also planning to do WiMAX but not on a large scale. We offer a version of the Orange Livebox product called Flybox which works with 3G.”

    Most Internet use is Facebook, BitTorrent, Yahoo and You Tube. Google has created a local caching server but all is not well in the short-term:”We used to be connected to the Google Global Cache and that used to be fast but now it’s a nightmare. We’re organizing a meeting with Google to say we’re not happy. Customers are complaining and utl (the former incumbent) doesn’t know how to manage the cache server.”

    So will Orange be introducing LTE in Uganda?:”We have some trial networks in Europe but we think this year it’s too early but will study the case next year. We have to stabilize the equipment.” Mobile TV?:”We will share a platform with Kenya to deliver it using 3G. It needs either time or event pricing with special rates to do different things to be successful.” Orange Money?:”We don’t have it yet but it will launch shortly. The future of mobile money is inter-operability.”

    News announcement: New clips this week on Balancing Act’s new Web TV Channel

    Do not miss our Web TV Channel which highlights recent interviews with top telecoms personalities. There are interviews in both English and French. For those interested in infrastructure developments and bandwidth prices:

    Funke Opeke, CEO, Main One on sales, national blockages and extending the cable
    http://bit.ly/h3G8ie

    Nigeria: IPnx’s Ejovi Aror talks about price falls and national blockages
    http://bit.ly/hUUKQi

    For those interested in content developments:

    Patrick Akushie, Commercial Manager, Agence France Presse on its mobile strategy in Africa
    http://bit.ly/hpPQu7

    Stefan Magdalinski, General Manager, Sub-Saharan Africa, MIH talks rolling out its competitor to Yellow Pages, Mocality and its classifieds service, Dealfish.
    http://bit.ly/gAIIlY

    Ayo Alli, Business Development Consultant for Goal.com talks about its massive growth in West Africa
    http://bit.ly/i5fBO5

    Akinde Aludamola, Team Leader, ConnectNigeria talks about search website
    http://bit.ly/eHMTxG

telecoms

  • Telephone calls (mobile and landline) and Internet access are set to radically decrease. This comes after the regulator, Botswana Telecommunications Authority (BTA) ordered telecoms companies, among them Botswana Telecommunications Corporation, Mascom, Orange and Be Mobile to reduce their tariffs with immediate effect. Some calls might be cut by up to 40 per cent. Furthermore, a number of charges across all communication services from international calls to bandwidth, will go down.

    In a statement released last week BTA explained that termination rates will be reduced by 30 thebe. Currently the companies charge up to 75 thebe, which is passed to the customer. This will be cut to 45 thebe, a reduction that will set prices for calls between networks radically reduced, to reflect the true picture of the costs incurred to run such calls.

    The new call cost regime comes in place as a result of, a 2010 study on the costing of calls commissioned by BTA which concluded that a reduction should be implemented. While some reductions will be immediate, some will come in gradually starting from 1st April. Fixed line termination rates will increase only marginally, by 1 thebe annually
    Furthermore Internet access charges will be slashed by up to 17 per cent in some instances. "Wholesale Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) prices will be revised downwards to align them to cost and make ADSL more affordable.  The weighted average reduction on wholesale ADSL prices for bandwidths of 512kbit/s, 1Mbit/s and 2Mbit/s is 17 per cent.

    The new Internet rates, the authority says, are a result of Botswana Government's investment in EASSy which launched late last year.

  • Kenya's dominant mobile operator, Safaricom on Tuesday turned to Parliament in their bid to have its rivals' cheaper calling rates tamed. At a meeting with Parliament's Energy and Communication Committee, the Safaricom delegation led by the Chief Executive, Bob Collymore, said the low calling rates to other networks meant it will have to go slow on its expansion plan.

    Safaricom gave examples of similar price wars in Uganda, Sri Lanka, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, all of which were geared to show the dangers of low "mobile termination rates" -money charged for making calls across networks.

    The Sri Lankan example, the committee heard, was in 2009 when a new operator entered the market and ignited a price war by lowering calling prices significantly with the effect that most subscribers were calling outside the network.

    With less incoming revenues -there's was no interconnection fee back then--the other operators threatened to stop the interconnection because they were not being compensated for the increase in incoming traffic. The DRC example is more like the Kenyan one where one of the operators reduced calling rates from Sh20 to 80 cents. This led to operators making very modest amounts.

    "Due to low revenues, operators resulted in cost-cutting measures, such as switching off the networks in areas with low average returns per user, poor quality of service and reduction in network expansion," reads a brief presented by Collymore to the committee.

    With the situation threatening to spiral out of control, the DRC regulator intervened prescribing a minimum price of Sh11 for voice calls and Sh2 for text messages. Speaking to the Nation, the Committee chairman, James Rege, said the House team had already met Airtel Kenya, and heard a presentation on the rationale for their low prices.

    The committee, Rege said, will now meet the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) and other operators to find the way forward in the on-going price wars. Airtel Kenya slashed calling rates to Sh1 per minute during the day sending its rivals sent its rivals, Safaricom, Telkom Kenya and Essar Telecom, back to the drawing board in search of a viable and effective response.

    Safaricom and Orange are warning that the model may threaten the viability of the Kenyan mobile industry and significantly dent government earnings from the industry. But consumers have been happy by the low calling rates saying it frees part of their income to be spent in managing the soaring food prices.

  • As Ugandans prepare to head to the polls in less than 48 hours, the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has asked bulk short message service providers not to allow their platforms to be used as a channel for what it said is information likely to incite.

    The UCC warned last week that any provider who breaches guidelines that have been set for this service, which is mainly operated through cell phones, risks losing their operation licences and would face instant closure.

    UCC interim Executive Director Godfrey Mutabazi accompanied by a team from the regulatory body met industry players in the morning and issued specific warnings against sending messages that he said could instigate hatred, violence and unrest during the electioneering period.

    It is not yet clear if these guidelines have been prompted by promises by some sections of the political opposition to mobilise protests if the Electoral Commission, which they denounce as an extension of the ruling party, attempts to manipulate the result of the elections.

    UCC called the meeting in a letter which said: "You will recall that sometime back [a] similar concern was raised and consultations were held with most of you in order to come up with measures to address the problem."

    According to a source within UCC, the commission first tried to quietly coax individual service providers against transmitting certain text messages. But some big players in the industry refused, insisting that the UCC puts this demand in writing.

    During last week's meeting, the short codes service providers were given guidelines on the kind of text and fax messages to avoid sending to the public. They were also cautioned against sending messages with negative tones and were asked to cooperate with law enforcement organs in the event anyone tries to force the providers to do otherwise.

    An industry source, who attended the meeting, however, said UCC did not say anything specific about SMS text messages being used as a mobilisation tool to rally peaceful protests.

    Recently, an SMS text message drawing parallels between the mass uprisings, which ultimately led to the toppling of the dictatorial regimes in Tunisia and Egypt to Uganda's own situation, has been circulating, causing a stir in certain circles.

    Protesters in Tunisia and Egypt used SMS text messaging and social media networks to mobilise civilians to protest against their unpopular governments. Some providers emerged from the meeting saying UCC was threatening them. Speaking to Daily Monitor, a representative of one service provider who preferred anonymity for fear his employer could be targeted, said the UCC was trying to gag Ugandans' constitutional rights to freedom of information and expression.

    But Mutabazi denied this suspicion. "We are not threatening anybody," he told The Monitor last week. "Our duty is to remind providers to stay within the law." Mutabazi added that the commission was acting within its mandate as regulator. "We, as a commission will be meeting broadcasters on Thursday," he said.

  • The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe will spend US$10 million on the installation of passive telecommunication infrastructure in rural areas. Passive telecommunication infrastructure refers to shared support infrastructure for the provision of Information Communication Technologies.

    It consists of towers, power back-up and equipment rooms, among other equipment. The funds are part of US$24 million under the Universal Services Fund's Connecting Rural Communities project aimed at promoting development of telecommunication services in rural areas.

    Potraz director-general Engineer Charles Sibanda said the project was expected to cost US$10 million. "The project is still at the tendering stage," he said. "It is also operating in phases and the first part should be complete by the end of the second quarter. All licensed operators are, under the obligation of their licences, to provide quality service irrespective of areas of service."

    Telecommunication companies pay a levy of 2 percent of their gross income to Potraz which is then allocated to all licensed operators to expand their services. Potraz can also boost the funds through money appropriated by an Act of Parliament for purposes of the fund and surpluses at the end of each financial year. In his Mid-Term Fiscal Policy Review last year, Finance Minister Tendai Biti revealed Potraz had a total of US$21 021 228 available under the Universal Services Fund.

    Since the establishment of USF through subsection (1) of Section 73 of the Postal and Telecommunications Act (Chapter 12:05), the fund has not contributed significantly towards developing remote areas. Potraz has since floated tenders seeking bids from qualified civil and structural engineers to design and install the infrastructure on its behalf.

  • Public Affairs Manager at the National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM) has told Concord Times that GSM operators in Sierra Leone were grossly violating the NATCOM Act by inflating the price for recharge cards without the approval of the Commission.

    Abdul Kuyateh said Section 53 (2) of the Telecommunications Act of 2006, as amended, gives NATCOM the sole authority to sanction any increase in the price of recharge cards by GSM operators, noting that "as for now the approved price for top-up cards remains at Le1,800 for 50 units, Le3,600 for 100 units and so on".

    According to Kuyateh, GSM operators were in the usual habit of violating the NATCOM Act by taking decisions without first informing the Commission, which he said serves as the regulatory body for all mobile phone companies operating in the country. "What they most often do is that they only communicate directly to their dealers and agents to increase prices. As far as this recent increase is concern, it has not been approved by NATCOM," Kuyateh told Concord Times, stressing that the commission has the sole mandate to communicate any increase in top-up prices or any relevant information that has to do with tele or mobile phone communication through the ministry of Information and Communication.

    The NATCOM Public Affairs Manager disclosed that the board will soon meet to discuss the issue; a development he said was very serious. He maintained that the commission has the responsibility of seeking the welfare of customers and consumers, noting that the NATCOM board needed to be notified by GSM operators about any proposed price increase in recharge cards. He said the commission will then look into the motive for the increase and it takes a period of 30 days before giving consent in the best interest of both the public and the operators.

    "GSM operators have a lot of work to do; they need to extend their coverage nationwide and provide more quality service to the nation rather than taking liberty in causing confusion in the market," said Kuyateh. "The price for top-up cards remains the same as far as NATCOM is concern as this increment has not been sanctioned by the commission. It is unacceptable and we are urging GSM operators to stop taking the law into their own hands, as NATCOM has the power to withdraw their licenses."

    Meanwhile, reacting to Kuyateh's comments, public relations officer of Airtel mobile company, June Rose-Johnson, said NATCOM should be in a position to let the public know about the increase in recharge cards, as they (Airtel) were working in line with the Telecommunications Act.

    Moreover, Ishmael Tucker - a recharge card agent for all the GSM operators in the country around the PZ area - said he was surprised to discover an increase in the price of recharge cards when he went to purchase his stock on Monday morning. He said the increase may not be unconnected with the increase in foreign exchange rates.

internet

  • The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Dr Eugene Juwah, with a team of officials including the Executive Commissioner, Stakeholders Management, Okey Itanyi, and a host of others, last weekend, stormed Vanguard premises on a courtesy visit, where the team unveiled some of its agenda to lift the nation to the threshold of strong telecommunication countries of the world.

    Q: What are the things you are bringing in?

    A: Unfortunately, we have not made much impact on data services. Although, we have it on GSM and CDMA services, but the capacity and reliability of such services are not what they should be. So, we are looking forward to help putting fibre in the ground. We are not operators, but regulators, so we in conjunction with our international consultants have analysed and decided on a model we are going to use. The regulatory framework for that model and all the guidelines are been worked out right now.

    Although NCC has always issued subsidies for people to build fibre and broadband infrastructure but there has also not been an impact. So, my view is to invest on fibre infrastructure deployment through open access model. This actually, deals with impediments to deployment like the right- of -way issue.

    For example in Lagos, it is a very serious issue. I do not know how many thousand dollars you have to pay per metre, if you want to lay fibre.

    So our strategy is to go into partnership with either state governments or local government areas, which ever authority that owns the right- of- way in that particular area, in conjunction with a technology solution provider, and together, we are going to build an infrastructure.

    The way we structure it is that, the technology solution provider provides funding and technology. The state or local government provides the equity through provision of the right of way and NCC comes as a development arm of government. We are not there to make money but to subsidise and augment what the solution provider is doing.

    In doing so, the primary infrastructure will be build on a community based network. For example, in an area like Apapa, we will build a number of infrastructure, in Lekki, we build one but all of them will be interconnected. These particular infrastructures will be run by licensed infrastructure providers. They are not GSM operators and when we license them to run these infrastructures, we make sure that all the service providers in the telecom sector will have access to the infrastructures on an equal basis.

    The advantage of this model is that it removes the monopoly of big companies holding everything, and fixing very high prices, provides opportunity for small companies to also have access at the same price with big companies.

    It will also make NCC free of accusations of competing with anybody rather position it as a regulator that has come to develop and bring Nigeria to 21st century with e-economy; Bring knowledge base to our children and adults. This is part of our agenda in the 2011 budget and once we succeed, it will be as revolutionary as the GSM.

    Q: How is this going to work with Glo1 and Main One already commercially launched?

    A: These initiatives are shore landing cables. This will even act as distribution for them. Glo1 and Main One landed on the shores and have not gotten into the inland. So, to take them inland, this project will be a major vehicle.

    It is so good listening to you and believing that it is going to work. But in most cases government gets the right framework but fails in execution. For instance you have State Accelerated Broadband Initiative, (SABI), Wire Nigeria (WIN) projects that were primed towards broadband for all. How is this going to work better than them?

    I think, the function of government is to create an enabling environment. We are there to create enabling environment for the operators to function. The key is that stakeholders are coming together. There is the state or local government areas, there must be a technology solution provider company, which is completely a private company, which will provide most of the funding to build this infrastructure.

    Then, NCC will be infrastructure operator. It will also be a completely private company that will run this infrastructure as a business. We in NCC are doing it for development of Nigeria. What we do is that we calculate how much to put, in the project to make it successful. So, it is not government project at all.

    Government through NCC is only creating an enabling environment, so that fibre can be deployed because we discovered that the operators do not want to deploy fibre and even when they are, they are taking a long time to do it. What I'm saying now is being done in India and in a lot of countries in Europe, out-skirts of England.
    (interview extract)

  • After a tough legal battle against former communications minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri to obtain an ECNS licence, Allied Technologies (Altech), through its subsidiary Altech Technology Concepts (ATC), has taken the first steps towards self-provisioning through its own network. ATC has officially deployed the Gauteng leg of its own first-tier network and plans to roll out in Cape Town and Durban within the next six months.

    ATC CEO Wayne de Nobrega says the implementation of the new network began in September last year, on the back of Altech's plans to begin building its own infrastructure.

    De Nobrega explains that ATC's acquisition of a significant amount of space in the new Teraco Data Centre, in Isando, Johannesburg, will form the core of its network. This will position the company as a complete communications service provider, offering services such as e-mail, backup, archiving, and converged data and voice solutions, he notes.

    The company has also invested in equal capacity on two international cables – SAT-3 and Seacom – to provide a failover service on its network.

    De Nobrega says ATC has negotiated multiple local and international peering agreements for both voice and data services. The network is designed to offer customers the choice of connecting to the ATC backbone through a variety of technologies, including wireless, fibre, diginet, ADSL and bonded ADSL, he comments.

    De Noberga explains that ATC has not dug up the streets to lay cables required to offer all these technologies, but has rather partnered with whoever owns the infrastructure, close to a particular client, to manage the link through ATC's data centres.

    Dubbed plumbing infrastructure, De Noberga believes this is what customers want in terms of redundancy and quality. ATC is focused on delivering a range of managed services and managed infrastructure solutions aimed at small to medium businesses and the consumer market.

    He notes the consumer solutions are in the pipeline through Altech Autopage and should be available in the coming months.“There is a massive market of businesses that requires high-quality services, but is being sold low-quality solutions. We now have a network that can meet the demands of those customers,” De Nobrega concludes.

  • MTN has unveiled InternetOnTV, a R999 living-room product that connects consumers to the Internet through a television set. The announcement comes just days after Vodacom took the wraps off a similar product of its own, the R749 WebBox.

    MTN and Vodacom hope the offerings will extend Internet access to poorer South Africans. InternetOnTV and the WebBox are both targeted at consumers who don’t already have access to a computer or the Internet at home.

    Both devices connect to television sets using standard RCA cables. However, the two devices are vastly different. MTN’s InternetOnTV has three separate components: a keyboard, a mouse, and a telephone that resembles a Telkom handset. The telephone is the hub of the device, housing the Sim card and connecting everything to the television.

    Vodacom’s WebBox is far simpler, with the technology, including GPRS/Edge modem built into a keyboard, which connects to the TV. The cable on the MTN device is short, at 2m, shorter than the 3m on offer from Vodacom. MTN gains a little extra length because a keyboard cable extends its reach, but not by much.

    InternetOnTV costs R999, almost R250 more than the WebBox. However, MTN says the device will be available from South African  retailer Jet stores across the country and consumers can pay off the device over six months, without incurring any interest. It also supports wireless broadband at speeds of up to 7.2Mbit/s and it can also make telephone calls.

    The R999 price tag includes a R60 airtime voucher, which MTN says can be converted to a 75MB data bundle. Much like Vodacom’s WebBox, which comes with a 100MB data bundle that must be used within three months, the InternetOnTV can be loaded with airtime denominations that can then be converted to data bundles.

    Interestingly, MTN has plans to introduce a new data bundle that may be aimed specifically at users of the device. The company will offer a 90-minute uncapped data bundle, a spin-off of its 24-hour uncapped service. It hasn’t revealed pricing for the planned bundle.

    InternetOnTV runs Qualcomm’s operating system, Brew. Qualcomm relaunched the operating system, originally developed for devices connecting to CDMA  networks, intending to take it to mass-market devices. It is not yet clear whether Brew allows users to download and install other applications on the device. Vodacom’s WebBox runs on Android, but does not connect to the Android Market.

    Like the WebBox, MTN’s device also uses Opera Mini as its Web browser. It also offers social media integration, Microsoft Office document support (not yet supported on the WebBox) and access to e-mail. It has a built-in media player that plays MP3, AAC, DivX, WMA and Mpeg-4 files.

    MTN, like Vodacom, has missed the opportunity to be innovative with the data offering on the InternetOnTV. Consumers have to buy prepaid data bundles or use expensive ad hoc prepaid data.

    MTN has slightly more innovative ideas around prepaid data, including timed access that can be purchased instead of only offering per-megabyte options.

    However, as with Vodacom’s offer, MTN could have taken a leaf out of BlackBerry’s book by offering unlimited on-device browsing for a set monthly amount — although, to be fair, MTN could run into trouble doing that given the InternetOnTV device supports 3G, unlike the WebBox.

    Still, the target market is one that would probably be keen to have access to cheap and “worry-free” browsing. Perhaps the planned 90-minute uncapped offering, if well priced, will encourage more users to take advantage of MTN’s offering.

computing

  • The United Nations agency tasked with promoting education and the West African monetary union today signed an agreement to launch a $12 million project to boost the information and communications technology (ICT) capacity of universities by creating a regional virtual library network.

    Irina Bokova, the Director-General of UNESCO, and Soumaïla Cissé, the President of the Commission of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), which is providing the funds, signed the agreement in Paris.

    The project is part of a wide-ranging cooperation plan initiated in 2006 by the two bodies, aiming to develop the use of ICTs to support an ongoing reform of higher education in the member countries of the UEMOA - Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Niger, Mali, Senegal and Togo.

    "Higher education is a vital force for development. Funding this project shows the commitment of your organization to reforming and modernizing higher education by creating centres of excellence," said Ms. Bokova.

    "The new technologies are the most effective method to reach this goal, by creating virtual libraries accessible to all, accelerating exchange between professors and students and stimulating research," she added.

    Cissé said the project will empower teachers, students and researchers. "We are indeed conscious that education is the key to the future, because emerging countries are founded on the quality of human resources. The virtual library we are creating will serve our young people both as roots and as wings," he said.

    The three-year project will install ICT infrastructure, both material and virtual, in higher education institutions. The campuses of eight universities, one in each UEMOA member State, will be equipped with fibre optic equipment and at least 200 computers with high-speed connection, according to UNESCO.

    In addition to a regional virtual library network to which universities will be linked, the project will set up a cyber institute giving professors online access to training courses. A central database for calculating students' course credits in all state universities will be established to help harmonize academic standards and facilitate student mobility.

  • As part of the Ministry of Education's endeavors to narrow the gap of the availability of information technology between urban and rural areas, computer training was introduced in schools in remote areas at a cost of 76 million Nakfa and 400, 000 students have thus far become beneficiaries of the program, according to the head of IT and Communications in the Ministry, Alem Habte.

    In an interview with ERINA, Alem stated that based on studies conducted since 2005, the Ministry of Education has introduced computer training programs in 65 Secondary and 50 Junior schools found in remote parts of the country.

    He further noted that parallel with the extension of electricity services in remote parts of the country, around 5,300 computers have been provided, while an additional 1,200 computers were given to the secondary school and vocational training center in Sawa.

    Alem went on to indicate that more than 6,500 computers were put to use for educational purposes in the past 5 years and that 222 school directors and 503 teachers were given computer training.

    Emahmime, Laba, Baqla, Gelalo, Tio, Afambo and Kerkebet include some of the areas that have been provided with solar energy powerd computer laboratories within the previous year.

  • Absa forked out R600m more on IT in its 2010 financial year than it did in 2009. The money was spent replacing old IT systems and aligning itself with international banking regulations.

    The group’s total capital and operational spend on IT jumped from R4,4bn to R5bn in the same period, with IT staff costs rising from R835m to R1bn. Amortisation and depreciation of intangible assets rose from R777m to R833m.

    The company released its annual results for the year ended 31 December 2010 on Tuesday, revealing IT spending increased 19% year on year.

    The investment forms part of the bank’s plan to plough R8bn into technology systems and upgrades over three years. Absa announced the spending plan at its interim results presentation in August last year.

    The investments are being made to replace legacy systems and align the bank with Basel II — international regulations governing the management of risk. Among other things, Basel II requires an increased focus on document management and disaster recovery technologies.

    Absa has also used new technology investment to expand its offerings elsewhere in Africa.

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

  • India’s Bharti Airtel has seen its proposal to delist the shares of its Zambian subsidiary from the Lusaka Stock Exchange rejected, Bloomberg reports. As reported by CommsUpdate last month, Bharti faced opposition to the move, and in the latest development Friday Ndhlovu, chairman of the Zambian bourse, announced that shares in Airtel Zambia must resume trading immediately. According to Ndhlovu, Bharti failed to follow the correct procedure in attempting to delist the company, while the application ‘lacked merit’. It is understood, however, that Bharti will be able to reapply to delist.

    The move to delist came after Bharti announced it would increase its stake in the Zambian cellco from 79% to 97% following the conclusion of a mandatory offer to buy out minority shareholders, which had been launched in November 2010. Around 2,000 shareholders, which hold around 3% of Airtel Zambia’s stock, rejected an offer of ZMK710 (USD0.15) per share however, while Mumba Kapumpa, one of the key architects of Zambia’s local capital market and the first chief executive officer and secretary of the country’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), said that he opposed Bharti’s plan to delist the unit, claiming that: ‘The intention of the government then and indeed now is to develop, deepen and broaden the capital market as an alternative place for investments in Zambia, but this development will certainly work against that.’

  • Econet Wireless has been rated as the telecommunications company with the highest growth potential in SubSaharan Africa (SSA), according to the latest Renaissance Capital report.

    The fact that the penetration rate in Zimbabwe still falls far below the regional average means the country's largest mobile company has more potential for upside growth in value and earnings. According to the report, the sector's market capitalisation for Sub-Saharan Africa companies is expected to grow by over US$1 billion this year.

    Econet is well placed to provide the largest chunk of this money. The market capitalisation for SSA operators currently stands at US$6,393 billion.

    Econet is trading at EV/Subs (enterprise value over subscribers) of US$190.2 against an average of US$252.3 for three of its peers in the region - Celtel of Zambia, MTN of South Africa and Safaricom of Kenya.

    It is also grossly undervalued, using the price earnings ration although its EV/EBITDA (enterprise value over earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) is almost in line with the regional average of US$4,50.

    "We think investors should stick to markets with more favourable regulations, and stocks that pay high dividends.

    "Econet is the highest growth stock in our SSA telecoms universe and provides exposure to a relatively healthy telecoms market," said the report.

    Last year, Econet traded a volume of about 19 million shares valued at US$92 million or 23 percent of the total trades on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange. The report, however, noted that voice revenues will remain under pressure over the next one and half years and recommended operators to expand in other telecoms segments.

  • Innovators could soon benefit from a $150 million global fund aimed at supporting start-ups who focus on developing creativity in the mobile phones sector.

    Announced on Monday at the start of the Mobile World Congress currently underway in Barcelona, the fund will be backed by Research In Motion (manufacturers of the Blackberry phone) and the BlackBerry Partners Fund to provide independent venture capital fund focused exclusively on mobile computing.

    "We are very pleased with the positive impact of the first Fund on our mobile ecosystem and we look forward to BlackBerry Partners Fund II bringing additional resources and support to mobile innovators in a broader range of international markets," said Jim Balsillie, Co-CEO at Research In Motion.

    Over the last five years, growing interest in the country's mobile sector has seen increasing investment by multi-nationals. The BlackBerry Partners Fund II is expected to launch in June 2011 and will have a broader international mandate than the first fund.

    The first BlackBerry Partners Fund was established in 2008 in collaboration with Research In Motion, Thomson Reuters, Royal Bank of Canada and a roster of high profile investors.

    The Fund has made 13 investments to-date in mobile start-ups in Canada, the United States, Israel and Ireland. The Fund brings capital, resources and domain expertise to the partnerships it forms with exceptional entrepreneurs around the world who are shaping the future of the mobile eco-system.

  • A group of experts from Morocco is to begin the installation of the new National Switch, which will add some more features to the current existing one. The experts who arrived on Sunday will work with the staff of the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS) to get the switch in place to enable the national electronic platform to perform more functions. The General Manager in charge of Project and Business Development at GhIPSS, Archie Hesse, explained that the roll out of the project would be in phases with the first phase expected to be completed by September, which would lead to a significant change in the payment system.

    GhIPSS which was established by the Central Bank to build a solid national payment system has, as part of its objectives, to establish a national switch that would ensure total interoperability among the banks and also be able to connect all other switches, used by the telecommunications companies (telecos) and foreign switches. However, to achieve this objective, GhIPSS needs to expand the current national switch into a much extended one capable of supporting the various transactions.

    The experts would use the first two weeks to complete the preliminary installations after which they could begin to customize the switch. According to Mr Hesse, when the first phase of the project is completed, the universal banks, the rural banks as well as the savings and loans companies would be able to operate together.

    This means that all ATM cards can work in any ATM machine. This implies that bank customers would be able to use their traditional or e-zwich ATM card in just any ATM outlet. Currently, only cards affiliated to Visa enjoy this service in Ghana, but soon all ATMs would accept all cards.

    Hesse said gradually Ghana was catching up with the most sophisticated payment systems in the world, adding that the installation of the new national switch would begin with a few banks on a pilot basis, until all banks were brought on board. He promised bank customers of exciting times and urged the public to start planning their businesses and lives along these developments. Hesse said the second phase would link the national switch to the platform of the telecommunications companies that were providing mobile money services.

    When the telecommunication companies are connected to the national switch, their customers can use any of the mobile money services even if they are not subscribers to that network.

    This would be possible because the mobile money platforms can interact through the national switch. He said the second phase of the project would link the national switch to other international switches such as Visa and Master cards. Hesse added that soon it would be possible for people to use their traditional ATM cards to make payments in shops that had Point of Sale devices, a service currently available to a few cards such as Visa, MasterCard, and the e-zwich.

Telecoms, Rates, Offers and Coverage

  • Airtel Zambia has launched its first K0 campaign which will make it possible for the customers to talk for free every day.

    Millicom Ghana (which trades as Tigo) has expanded an existing mobile advertising management contract with Alcatel-Lucent. The service, Tigo Ads, is based on the Alcatel-Lucent Optism mobile marketing solution and enables Tigo's customers to receive targeted promotions on their mobile phones. Subscribers can share information with Tigo about their preferences and receive interactive text messages containing news, promotions, discounts and exclusive offers from their preferred brands.

    Mobile virtual network operator Virgin Mobile SA has switched on its first third-generation (3G) mobile services, piggybacking off Cell C’s new network, and offering out-of-bundle broadband at 60c/MB.

    O-Tel Telecom, a licensed national telecom services provider (LNTSP) in South Africa announced the nationwide availability of 1Cloud Hosted PBX Service (http://1cloud.co.za), an effective telecommunication system which easily improves business productivity, lowers telecommunication costs, offers greater advantages with fewer hassles, and steps up the company to new generation telephony, dubbed Telephone 2.0

    Vodafone Ghana has expressed concern about the white-on-red brand colours of Airtel Ghana, but the latter insist on maintaining their brand colours even though it conflicts with that of Vodafone. Chief Executive Officer of Vodafone Ghana, Kyle Whitehill said Vodafone was concerned about the confusion Airtel’s brand colours are creating for both Vodafone and Airtel.

Digital Content

  • Piped water consumers in Uganda can expect to get better service delivery on the back of business deals signed between National Water & Sewerage Corporation and two mobile phone companies.

    Dr William Muhairwe, the managing director of NWSC told Daily Monitor that the company will save at least Shs1 billion per year by receiving water payments through mobile-money payment systems.

    "We are going to ensure that we re-invest this money into the system to make it more suitable for the customers," Dr Muhairwe said in an interview in Kampala.

    On Monday, Uganda Telecom Limited (UTL) became the second mobile operator to enter a partnership with the water company to collect its bills through its mobile money service dubbed M-sente. The UTL deal came less than a week after NWSC entered a similar agreement with MTN Uganda. The companies are charging customers between Shs300 and Shs700 per SMS meant for a water bill transaction.

    The corporation spends huge sums of money in the transfer of cash from its branches around the country to banks by way of bullion vans with escorts.

    "The insurance cost was very high because we had to pay the security companies and also the banks. So that cost will be saved," Dr Muhairwe said.

    In addition, the company also spends a lot of money in delivery of paper bills, which will be substituted by SMS bills.

    "We have been sending our bills with our meter readers to people's houses. But with this system, if you give us your telephone number, the moment we bill you we then transfer the bill to your phone by SMS for payment," he explained.

    The water company is set to completely phase out most of its cash offices and adopt only mobile money payment systems in the future.

    "We think this will be one of the easiest ways for customers to pay their water bill and the cost is also low," he said.

    A single NWSC cash office can collect between Shs300, 000 and Shs10 million per day from its customers.

    But water shortage continues to hit parts of Uganda as a result of a weak and delicate distribution service systems operated by the company.

    At the signing of the agreement, Stanley Henning, UTL's Chief Operations Officer said the new system will increase efficiency in making payments and eliminate the risk of carrying lots of money.

  • This week Africa Business Communities meet with Taha Jiwaji, Founder and CEO of Bongo Live! on bringing mobile and SMS based services to empower businesses, NGOs, government and consumers in Tanzania.

    "Bongo Live! provides individuals who register on our website with exclusive deals and offers that match their interests. Advertisers then in turn can promote their companies/brands based on their specific target demographic. We also provide group messaging services to large businesses and institutions to send messages to their contacts en mass."

    "Bongo Live! was registered in May 2010 and started actively operating in October 2010. It combines a niche space between the advertising and technology realms. We combine both of these in a unique way using sms as our medium to deliver highly targeted and high impact offers direct to consumers."

    "Bongo Live! is both a technology company as well as an advertising company. Our website and sms platform is at the core of our business. We are however constantly striving to develop new technologies and methods to improve our services as well as offer our customers a better experience."

    "Bongo Live! is currently funded from personal funds as well as from friends and family. We are seeking additional seed funding to allow us to scale faster and enter neighboring markets."

    "As an advertising and communication tool Bongo Live! can help all companies improve both their branding as well as their communication with customers, employees, suppliers etc."

    "We're currently operating only in Tanzania.  but see ourselves growing to the neighboring markets of Kenya, Uganda and Zambia. We're currently partnered with a social media advertising company in India called AliveNow. We collaborate on unique social media marketing and customer acquisition strategies."

More

  • Outgoing Telkom South Africa chairman Jeff Molobela has been replaced by Lazarus Zim, who was previously MD of MTN International. Molobela officially retired as chairman of the fixed-line operator's board last week, but has been re-appointed as a non-executive director for another three years. Zim, who took over as chairman last week, will serve as chairman for a year and a non-executive director for three years.

    In South Africa, the Cabinet approved Brian Molefe as the new group Chief Executive for Transnet. Molefe's appointment, which is for a period of five years, starts with immediate effect.

    O3b Networks announced today that it has appointed Steve Collar as Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Collar succeeds Mark Rigolle after the completion of O3b’s latest financing round in November 2010. After a handover period, Collar will formally take up his new position on 7th March 2011.

  • 5th Africa Economic Forum 2011
    7-9 March 2011, Cape Town, South Africa Venue BMW Pavilion, V&A Waterfront

    Our 5th Africa Economic Forum 2011 (AEF-2011) in Cape Town at the BMW-Imax Theatre, with Africa Exhibition is a landmark Conference on Africa and significant business networking occasion for the top corporate players active in, across and involved with the development of the African continent - Cape-to-Cairo, with Governments and officials in key industries and state institutions.
    Contact: babette@glopac.com
    Click here for further information:

    Cloud Computing World Forum Middle East & Africa
    9 March  2011, Grand Millennium Hotel, Dubai

    Taking place on the 9th March 2011, the Cloud Computing World Forum Middle East and Africa is a Free-to-attend event and will feature all of the key players within the Cloud Computing and SaaS market providing an introduction, discussion and look into the future for the ICT industry. This one day conference will provide the most complete and comprehensive platform for the global Cloud Computing and SaaS industry. Register Free today and get inspiration on how to address your latest issues with advice from real-life end-user case studies and practical examples. Contact the Keynote team on +44 (0) 845 519 1230 or email info@keynoteworld.com.
    Click here further information: 

    Broadband World Forum MEA
    14-15 March 2011, Dubai UAE

    The conference programme features 60+ visionary speakers presenting across keynote plenary sessions, 4 in-depth technology tracks and a Rural Coverage and Connectivity focus day.  Co-located to the conference is a 35+ stand technology exhibition showcasing some of the region’s latest cutting-edge broadband technologies, applications, solutions and services to hit the market.
    Limited FREE passes for operators and early booking discounts apply to all others.  Register with VIP code: BBM11BAA
    Click here for further information:

    HR4ICT11 - Business Continuity Planning: Strategic and Organisational Imperatives in a Global Economy
    21-23 March 2011, Hilton Nairobi, Nairobi Kenya.

    The Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation is holding its annual HR4ICT Forum in Kenya, beginning 21 March 2011. The event will take place over three days addressing the human resource management aspect of business continuity planning.  With a theme focused on "Business Continuity Planning: Strategic and Organisational Imperatives in a Global Economy", HR4ICT'11 will focus on the challenges faced by major communications user groups (telecommunications, IT, finance, transport, energy, etc) in developing and implementing effective business continuity programmes.
    Email:  programmes@cto.int or visit here for further informatio:

    ICT For Development in Africa – Sustaining The Momentum, Extending The Reach
    23-26 March 2011, Ota, Nigeria

    The conference will initiate research and practice agenda where ICTs will aid the academia, organizations - public and private and non-governmental to improve socio-economic conditions and directly benefit the disadvantaged in some manner.
    Click here for further information: 

    Managed Services Growth Markets 2011
    4-5 April, Movenpick Jumeirah Beach, Dubai, UAE

    Now in its 4th year and attended by over 200 attendees in 2010, Informa Telecoms and Media’s Managed Services for Growth Markets event will take place on 4th - 5th April at the Moevenpick Jumeirah Beach, Dubai, UAE.With a proven track-record and repeat sponsorship from leading suppliers Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, NokiaSiemens Networks and Motorola, this event is truly established as the ultimate meeting-place for the Managed Services industry in the growth markets.A 50% discount for operators ensures a high percentage operator attendance.  Extended break times and additional social functions will guarantee a further enhancement to the already unique networking opportunities. Informa’s Managed Services for Growth Markets conference is the only established event in the region, proven to deliver an industry focussed agenda, the highest level speakers, superior networking opportunities, and top class delegates year on year.
    Click here for further information:

    Ghana ICT and Telecom Summit
    28-29 April 2011, Ghana-India Kofi Annan ICT Centre Accra, Ghana

    The summit will bring together over 200 decision-makers from Ghanaian operators and international stakeholders with an interest in the market to share experiences, knowledge and ideas with a view to overcoming the industry challenges. The 2 day summit agenda will address all aspects of Ghanaian ICT & telecoms strategies for attracting investment, broadband connectivity for all, solutions to boost operator ROI, Regulatory challenges & opportunities, infrastructure development, VAS and local content for Ghanaians, subscriber acquisition and retention strategies, mobile banking, customer loyalty, future trends and more.
    Click here for further information:

    eLearning Africa 2011 - Spotlight on Youth, Skills and Employability
    25-27 May 2011, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

    The 6th event in the series of pan-African conferences and exhibitions will focus on Africa's youth. Africa has the highest percentage of young people anywhere in the world. How can it unlock the vast reservoir of talent? How can technology support education and training?
    Click here for further information:

  •  World Bank Group is consulting on new ICT Strategy

    World Bank Group consultations open on a new Information and Communication Technology (ICT) strategy to expand connectivity networks and transform social and economic services.
    Forthcoming strategy to also encourage grass-roots innovation and local IT industries.
    A series of online real-time consultations begin February 4, 2011. A virtual consultation is accessible 24/7 on the Strategy website and face-to-face consultations will take place in selected countries.
    For further information click here

    DotConnectAfrica seeks Expression of Interest (EOI) for ".africa" Registry

    DotConnectAfrica (DCA) intends to participate in the new gTLD application issued by ICANN,.  As such DCA will be looking for a registry partner for technical and operational services for the planned .AFRICA Top Level Domain, that is consistent with the road-map of ICANN's requirements.

    Background on DCA's project can be seen here.  Additionally, preliminary proposal by DCA presented and championed across the African Continent, inclusive of community feedback is available online.

    Interested parties with requisite capability to provide registry services should submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) with the following information -

    ·         Name and Address of company
    ·         Company Profile
    .         Financial capabilities
    ·         Experience in providing registry services (technical and operational)
    ·         Presence and/or experience in developing markets, (preferred but not a must)

    DCA will then contact selected parties for more detailed discussions and a selection process.  Pre-qualification  would include technical and financial evaluation as well as support from a host country.

    DCA is not obligated to work with any of the parties who participate in this EOI process.
     
    Please send your EOI with the above information to address at eoi@dotconnectafrica.org  to participate.
    Full Press release available here:

  • Togo Cellulaire and Alcatel- Lucent - Togo
    Alcatel-Lucent announced that it has been selected by Togo Cellulaire, the leading mobile operator in Togo for a major expansion and upgrade of its 2G/3G wireless network. The new network will enable Togo Cellulaire to offer advanced mobile broadband services and to reach a greater number of subscribers and further improve their already high quality of service by taking benefit from a scalable bandwidth to accommodate the anticipated surge in mobile traffic.

    Inwi and Sicap - Morocco
    Inwi, the ambitious challenger operator in Morocco, has announced the roll out of sicap Customer Retention Platform, a flexible, plug and play solution which rewards inwi subscribers for their mobile, fixed or Internet service loyalty. The sicap Customer Retention Platform is powered by the “Loyalty Manager”, a flexible real-time promotions and campaigning enabler.

Issue no 542: Price wars in East Africa – Safaricom and Orange Uganda CEOs

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Top story

  • Price wars are a now a fact of life in Africa’s competitive mobile markets and there few more competitive than East Africa. Lower prices are putting even established dominant mobile players like Safaricom under enormous pressure (see Telecoms News below). Operators feel they have to take part in them to gain greater market share but the early results for those launching them are modest. Competing on quality and service get less airplay as a strategy but must surely be part of the mix. Russell Southwood talked to two contrasting CEOs in the thick of these price wars: Safaricom’s Bob Collymore in Kenya and Orange Uganda’s Phillipe Luxcey, one defending a dominant position and the other seeking to mount a challenge.

    Safaricom’s CEO Bob Collymore on network quality, customer care, LTE and local content

    A price war in Kenya has seen mobile calling rates drop from KS8 to KS3 a minute and then down to KS1 per minute from Airtel, although it later described this low rate as a promotional offer rather than a new tariff. The man in the hot seat is Safaricom’s new CEO Bob Collymore as the company currently has the lion’s share of the market:

    ”We have 77% of the market by subscriber numbers. Our ARPU is higher than anyone else’s. But 77% market share is not sustainable. We do have “significant market power” but we feel that’s because everyone else was very incompetent. There was no consistent management at the number two operator. We’re OK with losing market share (faced with unrealistically low rates) and focusing on Nairobi and high-income communities. The people in remote districts are receiving calls (more than making them). If rates decline, why should I continue to do that?”

    Collymore would like to see the Government establish a floor price below which rates could not be reduced, something he says has been done in DRC and Sri Lanka:”The alternative is to tax it (calls at low rates) but a tax doesn’t address other issues (like the need to invest). Faced with these challenges, Collymore says it would be necessary to adopt a different business model, with a focus on managed services:”We wouldn’t employ graduates in call centres. Currently we try and avoid outsourcing.” This is a clear message to Government along with his warning about potential loss of shareholder value.

    With both the price war and other issues, Collymore has worked the media extensively, seeking to make “full disclosure” so that they don’t become things that come back to haunt him further down the track. He is a much more emollient personality than his predecessor and must know that he has some significant mountains to climb.

    On Safaricom’s notoriously congested network:”In my interactions with customers, it’s clear that the quality of the network is a concern to a lot of customers. People tell you things if you’re listening.We have increased our traffic by a lot. Our traffic in week 50 of 2010 was 100% higher than the same week in 2009”.

    And on the data side of the network?:”We are not as vulnerable as on the voice side. It’s not bad and there are not as many complaints about pricing and coverage. My 3,000 followers on Twitter would tell me if there were.”

    On Safaricom’s less than responsive customer care:”Access to call centres could have been controlled better. Typically, we have 500,000 call attempts per day but only a capacity for 100,000 calls so you’ve only got a 1 in 5 chance of getting through. However, that’s down from a peak of 800,000 a day.”

    Much of this demand is generated by Safaricom either not explaining things well enough to customers or tariffs being too complicated. So Collymore has simplified the voice tariff structure reducing it to post-paid and paid (with on-net and off-net) down from 20 more different tariffs:”There were too many tariffs. It’s confusing across the industry. We need to tell customers the truth.”

    Despite the price war pressures, Safaricom is still acting as one of the main innovators in the Kenyan market. Household Internet and Triple Play?:”It’s on the radar. It’s inevitable we’ll have to do it as it’s what the customers want.” LTE?:”Our tests are fine but it’s 12-18 months away as the devices are not yet available. But we’ll be ready to go and first in.”

    M-Pesa?:” We have 14 million customers and 2.5 million transactions a day worth KS1.3 billion a day. There’s more competition in the space but we keep adding new, exclusive functionalities. It needs to be a lot more ubiquitous.” So will Safaricom interconnect M-Pesa with other M-Money services?:”It’s not going to happen.” But you sense from the twinkle in his eye that he knows it will.

    Building a national fibre network is one area it won’t be going into:”It’s too late to do it. We should have done it five years ago. It’s currently not very reliable. There were disruptive fibre cuts when we announced our half year results and the timing of these cuts was suspicious. We’ve built solid, interdependent relationships with KPLC, Telkom Kenya and JTL and are getting competitive pricing.”

    So will retail Internet prices continue to come down?:”Yes, they will continue to come down. The more people using it, the cheaper it will be.” So what’s the total potential market?:”I’d like to see every Kenyan child connected to the information highway. It needs to be used to drive social development and I have the passion to drive that.”

    Is Safaricom in the content business and why are the income splits so disadvantageous to developers?:”I’ve followed the debates on KICTANET where we’re accused of profiteering. We’re charging 70%. Why does the developer think he needs an immediate profit? We’re not about to change our business model.

    “We want to develop local content and have put time and effort into it with local music where effectively we run a record label. We have an exclusive deal with artists but we will develop them. We will do other forms of content but we knew music was important to Bharti and thought it was the right thing to do. It’s small in revenue terms and we’re not doing it to make tons of cash, it’s about creating sustainability. Musicians have to make a living” So what about the rumours that Safaricom will open an app store?:”We’re not going to do it just yet but we will do it. Kenya is technology hungry.”
    To see an interview on our Web TV channel covering these and other topics, click here:

    Phillipe Luxcey, CEO of Orange Uganda on its 3G roll-out, LTE and Mobile TV

    As Uganda’s latest challenge Orange Uganda has its work cut out. In terms of public profile, its outdoor advertising seems to be everywhere in Kampala but it has yet to win the “hearts and minds” of voice customers. Like Safaricom in Kenya, it is seeking to get to grips with a price war, this time initiated by Warid’s new owners, Essar.

    Phillipe Luxcey cannot believe the price war will bring any good:”It’s crazy, really crazy. There are offers like getting free calls for 24 hours when you load UGS1000 of airtime. Offnet calls are down to UGS3.00 a second and the interconnect rate is UGS131 a minute. Add to that, the fact that you pay 30% taxes to the Government on revenues. We don’t have enough margin to cover our network costs. All off-net calls are losing money. Warid started it but Airtel followed.

    “However, despite the low prices, their market share is not shifting very much. Operators are too confident they will kill the others (their competitors) and also claim that it will increase traffic.”

    So how many subscribers does Orange currently have?:”After three months in the market we have 600,000 subscribers but it’s going up slowly. But we only count living subscribers.”

    Orange has had more success with its data side:”We were the first to launch HSDPA and UPA and did so successfully from day one. We have the widest 3G coverage with 230 3G base stations. We currently have 50,000 subscribers but again this is still growing and we have the best quality, fastest network. We see more and more 3G phones in the market and lot of these are from the grey market. You can now get touch screen smartphones for around US$100 or less. We are also planning to do WiMAX but not on a large scale. We offer a version of the Orange Livebox product called Flybox which works with 3G.”

    Most Internet use is Facebook, BitTorrent, Yahoo and You Tube. Google has created a local caching server but all is not well in the short-term:”We used to be connected to the Google Global Cache and that used to be fast but now it’s a nightmare. We’re organizing a meeting with Google to say we’re not happy. Customers are complaining and utl (the former incumbent) doesn’t know how to manage the cache server.”

    So will Orange be introducing LTE in Uganda?:”We have some trial networks in Europe but we think this year it’s too early but will study the case next year. We have to stabilize the equipment.” Mobile TV?:”We will share a platform with Kenya to deliver it using 3G. It needs either time or event pricing with special rates to do different things to be successful.” Orange Money?:”We don’t have it yet but it will launch shortly. The future of mobile money is inter-operability.”

    News announcement: New clips this week on Balancing Act’s new Web TV Channel

    Do not miss our Web TV Channel which highlights recent interviews with top telecoms personalities. There are interviews in both English and French. For those interested in infrastructure developments and bandwidth prices:

    Funke Opeke, CEO, Main One on sales, national blockages and extending the cable
    http://bit.ly/h3G8ie

    Nigeria: IPnx’s Ejovi Aror talks about price falls and national blockages
    http://bit.ly/hUUKQi

    For those interested in content developments:

    Patrick Akushie, Commercial Manager, Agence France Presse on its mobile strategy in Africa
    http://bit.ly/hpPQu7

    Stefan Magdalinski, General Manager, Sub-Saharan Africa, MIH talks rolling out its competitor to Yellow Pages, Mocality and its classifieds service, Dealfish.
    http://bit.ly/gAIIlY

    Ayo Alli, Business Development Consultant for Goal.com talks about its massive growth in West Africa
    http://bit.ly/i5fBO5

    Akinde Aludamola, Team Leader, ConnectNigeria talks about search website
    http://bit.ly/eHMTxG

telecoms

  • Telephone calls (mobile and landline) and Internet access are set to radically decrease. This comes after the regulator, Botswana Telecommunications Authority (BTA) ordered telecoms companies, among them Botswana Telecommunications Corporation, Mascom, Orange and Be Mobile to reduce their tariffs with immediate effect. Some calls might be cut by up to 40 per cent. Furthermore, a number of charges across all communication services from international calls to bandwidth, will go down.

    In a statement released last week BTA explained that termination rates will be reduced by 30 thebe. Currently the companies charge up to 75 thebe, which is passed to the customer. This will be cut to 45 thebe, a reduction that will set prices for calls between networks radically reduced, to reflect the true picture of the costs incurred to run such calls.

    The new call cost regime comes in place as a result of, a 2010 study on the costing of calls commissioned by BTA which concluded that a reduction should be implemented. While some reductions will be immediate, some will come in gradually starting from 1st April. Fixed line termination rates will increase only marginally, by 1 thebe annually
    Furthermore Internet access charges will be slashed by up to 17 per cent in some instances. "Wholesale Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) prices will be revised downwards to align them to cost and make ADSL more affordable.  The weighted average reduction on wholesale ADSL prices for bandwidths of 512kbit/s, 1Mbit/s and 2Mbit/s is 17 per cent.

    The new Internet rates, the authority says, are a result of Botswana Government's investment in EASSy which launched late last year.

  • Kenya's dominant mobile operator, Safaricom on Tuesday turned to Parliament in their bid to have its rivals' cheaper calling rates tamed. At a meeting with Parliament's Energy and Communication Committee, the Safaricom delegation led by the Chief Executive, Bob Collymore, said the low calling rates to other networks meant it will have to go slow on its expansion plan.

    Safaricom gave examples of similar price wars in Uganda, Sri Lanka, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, all of which were geared to show the dangers of low "mobile termination rates" -money charged for making calls across networks.

    The Sri Lankan example, the committee heard, was in 2009 when a new operator entered the market and ignited a price war by lowering calling prices significantly with the effect that most subscribers were calling outside the network.

    With less incoming revenues -there's was no interconnection fee back then--the other operators threatened to stop the interconnection because they were not being compensated for the increase in incoming traffic. The DRC example is more like the Kenyan one where one of the operators reduced calling rates from Sh20 to 80 cents. This led to operators making very modest amounts.

    "Due to low revenues, operators resulted in cost-cutting measures, such as switching off the networks in areas with low average returns per user, poor quality of service and reduction in network expansion," reads a brief presented by Collymore to the committee.

    With the situation threatening to spiral out of control, the DRC regulator intervened prescribing a minimum price of Sh11 for voice calls and Sh2 for text messages. Speaking to the Nation, the Committee chairman, James Rege, said the House team had already met Airtel Kenya, and heard a presentation on the rationale for their low prices.

    The committee, Rege said, will now meet the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) and other operators to find the way forward in the on-going price wars. Airtel Kenya slashed calling rates to Sh1 per minute during the day sending its rivals sent its rivals, Safaricom, Telkom Kenya and Essar Telecom, back to the drawing board in search of a viable and effective response.

    Safaricom and Orange are warning that the model may threaten the viability of the Kenyan mobile industry and significantly dent government earnings from the industry. But consumers have been happy by the low calling rates saying it frees part of their income to be spent in managing the soaring food prices.

  • As Ugandans prepare to head to the polls in less than 48 hours, the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has asked bulk short message service providers not to allow their platforms to be used as a channel for what it said is information likely to incite.

    The UCC warned last week that any provider who breaches guidelines that have been set for this service, which is mainly operated through cell phones, risks losing their operation licences and would face instant closure.

    UCC interim Executive Director Godfrey Mutabazi accompanied by a team from the regulatory body met industry players in the morning and issued specific warnings against sending messages that he said could instigate hatred, violence and unrest during the electioneering period.

    It is not yet clear if these guidelines have been prompted by promises by some sections of the political opposition to mobilise protests if the Electoral Commission, which they denounce as an extension of the ruling party, attempts to manipulate the result of the elections.

    UCC called the meeting in a letter which said: "You will recall that sometime back [a] similar concern was raised and consultations were held with most of you in order to come up with measures to address the problem."

    According to a source within UCC, the commission first tried to quietly coax individual service providers against transmitting certain text messages. But some big players in the industry refused, insisting that the UCC puts this demand in writing.

    During last week's meeting, the short codes service providers were given guidelines on the kind of text and fax messages to avoid sending to the public. They were also cautioned against sending messages with negative tones and were asked to cooperate with law enforcement organs in the event anyone tries to force the providers to do otherwise.

    An industry source, who attended the meeting, however, said UCC did not say anything specific about SMS text messages being used as a mobilisation tool to rally peaceful protests.

    Recently, an SMS text message drawing parallels between the mass uprisings, which ultimately led to the toppling of the dictatorial regimes in Tunisia and Egypt to Uganda's own situation, has been circulating, causing a stir in certain circles.

    Protesters in Tunisia and Egypt used SMS text messaging and social media networks to mobilise civilians to protest against their unpopular governments. Some providers emerged from the meeting saying UCC was threatening them. Speaking to Daily Monitor, a representative of one service provider who preferred anonymity for fear his employer could be targeted, said the UCC was trying to gag Ugandans' constitutional rights to freedom of information and expression.

    But Mutabazi denied this suspicion. "We are not threatening anybody," he told The Monitor last week. "Our duty is to remind providers to stay within the law." Mutabazi added that the commission was acting within its mandate as regulator. "We, as a commission will be meeting broadcasters on Thursday," he said.

  • The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe will spend US$10 million on the installation of passive telecommunication infrastructure in rural areas. Passive telecommunication infrastructure refers to shared support infrastructure for the provision of Information Communication Technologies.

    It consists of towers, power back-up and equipment rooms, among other equipment. The funds are part of US$24 million under the Universal Services Fund's Connecting Rural Communities project aimed at promoting development of telecommunication services in rural areas.

    Potraz director-general Engineer Charles Sibanda said the project was expected to cost US$10 million. "The project is still at the tendering stage," he said. "It is also operating in phases and the first part should be complete by the end of the second quarter. All licensed operators are, under the obligation of their licences, to provide quality service irrespective of areas of service."

    Telecommunication companies pay a levy of 2 percent of their gross income to Potraz which is then allocated to all licensed operators to expand their services. Potraz can also boost the funds through money appropriated by an Act of Parliament for purposes of the fund and surpluses at the end of each financial year. In his Mid-Term Fiscal Policy Review last year, Finance Minister Tendai Biti revealed Potraz had a total of US$21 021 228 available under the Universal Services Fund.

    Since the establishment of USF through subsection (1) of Section 73 of the Postal and Telecommunications Act (Chapter 12:05), the fund has not contributed significantly towards developing remote areas. Potraz has since floated tenders seeking bids from qualified civil and structural engineers to design and install the infrastructure on its behalf.

  • Public Affairs Manager at the National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM) has told Concord Times that GSM operators in Sierra Leone were grossly violating the NATCOM Act by inflating the price for recharge cards without the approval of the Commission.

    Abdul Kuyateh said Section 53 (2) of the Telecommunications Act of 2006, as amended, gives NATCOM the sole authority to sanction any increase in the price of recharge cards by GSM operators, noting that "as for now the approved price for top-up cards remains at Le1,800 for 50 units, Le3,600 for 100 units and so on".

    According to Kuyateh, GSM operators were in the usual habit of violating the NATCOM Act by taking decisions without first informing the Commission, which he said serves as the regulatory body for all mobile phone companies operating in the country. "What they most often do is that they only communicate directly to their dealers and agents to increase prices. As far as this recent increase is concern, it has not been approved by NATCOM," Kuyateh told Concord Times, stressing that the commission has the sole mandate to communicate any increase in top-up prices or any relevant information that has to do with tele or mobile phone communication through the ministry of Information and Communication.

    The NATCOM Public Affairs Manager disclosed that the board will soon meet to discuss the issue; a development he said was very serious. He maintained that the commission has the responsibility of seeking the welfare of customers and consumers, noting that the NATCOM board needed to be notified by GSM operators about any proposed price increase in recharge cards. He said the commission will then look into the motive for the increase and it takes a period of 30 days before giving consent in the best interest of both the public and the operators.

    "GSM operators have a lot of work to do; they need to extend their coverage nationwide and provide more quality service to the nation rather than taking liberty in causing confusion in the market," said Kuyateh. "The price for top-up cards remains the same as far as NATCOM is concern as this increment has not been sanctioned by the commission. It is unacceptable and we are urging GSM operators to stop taking the law into their own hands, as NATCOM has the power to withdraw their licenses."

    Meanwhile, reacting to Kuyateh's comments, public relations officer of Airtel mobile company, June Rose-Johnson, said NATCOM should be in a position to let the public know about the increase in recharge cards, as they (Airtel) were working in line with the Telecommunications Act.

    Moreover, Ishmael Tucker - a recharge card agent for all the GSM operators in the country around the PZ area - said he was surprised to discover an increase in the price of recharge cards when he went to purchase his stock on Monday morning. He said the increase may not be unconnected with the increase in foreign exchange rates.

internet

  • The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Dr Eugene Juwah, with a team of officials including the Executive Commissioner, Stakeholders Management, Okey Itanyi, and a host of others, last weekend, stormed Vanguard premises on a courtesy visit, where the team unveiled some of its agenda to lift the nation to the threshold of strong telecommunication countries of the world.

    Q: What are the things you are bringing in?

    A: Unfortunately, we have not made much impact on data services. Although, we have it on GSM and CDMA services, but the capacity and reliability of such services are not what they should be. So, we are looking forward to help putting fibre in the ground. We are not operators, but regulators, so we in conjunction with our international consultants have analysed and decided on a model we are going to use. The regulatory framework for that model and all the guidelines are been worked out right now.

    Although NCC has always issued subsidies for people to build fibre and broadband infrastructure but there has also not been an impact. So, my view is to invest on fibre infrastructure deployment through open access model. This actually, deals with impediments to deployment like the right- of -way issue.

    For example in Lagos, it is a very serious issue. I do not know how many thousand dollars you have to pay per metre, if you want to lay fibre.

    So our strategy is to go into partnership with either state governments or local government areas, which ever authority that owns the right- of- way in that particular area, in conjunction with a technology solution provider, and together, we are going to build an infrastructure.

    The way we structure it is that, the technology solution provider provides funding and technology. The state or local government provides the equity through provision of the right of way and NCC comes as a development arm of government. We are not there to make money but to subsidise and augment what the solution provider is doing.

    In doing so, the primary infrastructure will be build on a community based network. For example, in an area like Apapa, we will build a number of infrastructure, in Lekki, we build one but all of them will be interconnected. These particular infrastructures will be run by licensed infrastructure providers. They are not GSM operators and when we license them to run these infrastructures, we make sure that all the service providers in the telecom sector will have access to the infrastructures on an equal basis.

    The advantage of this model is that it removes the monopoly of big companies holding everything, and fixing very high prices, provides opportunity for small companies to also have access at the same price with big companies.

    It will also make NCC free of accusations of competing with anybody rather position it as a regulator that has come to develop and bring Nigeria to 21st century with e-economy; Bring knowledge base to our children and adults. This is part of our agenda in the 2011 budget and once we succeed, it will be as revolutionary as the GSM.

    Q: How is this going to work with Glo1 and Main One already commercially launched?

    A: These initiatives are shore landing cables. This will even act as distribution for them. Glo1 and Main One landed on the shores and have not gotten into the inland. So, to take them inland, this project will be a major vehicle.

    It is so good listening to you and believing that it is going to work. But in most cases government gets the right framework but fails in execution. For instance you have State Accelerated Broadband Initiative, (SABI), Wire Nigeria (WIN) projects that were primed towards broadband for all. How is this going to work better than them?

    I think, the function of government is to create an enabling environment. We are there to create enabling environment for the operators to function. The key is that stakeholders are coming together. There is the state or local government areas, there must be a technology solution provider company, which is completely a private company, which will provide most of the funding to build this infrastructure.

    Then, NCC will be infrastructure operator. It will also be a completely private company that will run this infrastructure as a business. We in NCC are doing it for development of Nigeria. What we do is that we calculate how much to put, in the project to make it successful. So, it is not government project at all.

    Government through NCC is only creating an enabling environment, so that fibre can be deployed because we discovered that the operators do not want to deploy fibre and even when they are, they are taking a long time to do it. What I'm saying now is being done in India and in a lot of countries in Europe, out-skirts of England.
    (interview extract)

  • After a tough legal battle against former communications minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri to obtain an ECNS licence, Allied Technologies (Altech), through its subsidiary Altech Technology Concepts (ATC), has taken the first steps towards self-provisioning through its own network. ATC has officially deployed the Gauteng leg of its own first-tier network and plans to roll out in Cape Town and Durban within the next six months.

    ATC CEO Wayne de Nobrega says the implementation of the new network began in September last year, on the back of Altech's plans to begin building its own infrastructure.

    De Nobrega explains that ATC's acquisition of a significant amount of space in the new Teraco Data Centre, in Isando, Johannesburg, will form the core of its network. This will position the company as a complete communications service provider, offering services such as e-mail, backup, archiving, and converged data and voice solutions, he notes.

    The company has also invested in equal capacity on two international cables – SAT-3 and Seacom – to provide a failover service on its network.

    De Nobrega says ATC has negotiated multiple local and international peering agreements for both voice and data services. The network is designed to offer customers the choice of connecting to the ATC backbone through a variety of technologies, including wireless, fibre, diginet, ADSL and bonded ADSL, he comments.

    De Noberga explains that ATC has not dug up the streets to lay cables required to offer all these technologies, but has rather partnered with whoever owns the infrastructure, close to a particular client, to manage the link through ATC's data centres.

    Dubbed plumbing infrastructure, De Noberga believes this is what customers want in terms of redundancy and quality. ATC is focused on delivering a range of managed services and managed infrastructure solutions aimed at small to medium businesses and the consumer market.

    He notes the consumer solutions are in the pipeline through Altech Autopage and should be available in the coming months.“There is a massive market of businesses that requires high-quality services, but is being sold low-quality solutions. We now have a network that can meet the demands of those customers,” De Nobrega concludes.

  • MTN has unveiled InternetOnTV, a R999 living-room product that connects consumers to the Internet through a television set. The announcement comes just days after Vodacom took the wraps off a similar product of its own, the R749 WebBox.

    MTN and Vodacom hope the offerings will extend Internet access to poorer South Africans. InternetOnTV and the WebBox are both targeted at consumers who don’t already have access to a computer or the Internet at home.

    Both devices connect to television sets using standard RCA cables. However, the two devices are vastly different. MTN’s InternetOnTV has three separate components: a keyboard, a mouse, and a telephone that resembles a Telkom handset. The telephone is the hub of the device, housing the Sim card and connecting everything to the television.

    Vodacom’s WebBox is far simpler, with the technology, including GPRS/Edge modem built into a keyboard, which connects to the TV. The cable on the MTN device is short, at 2m, shorter than the 3m on offer from Vodacom. MTN gains a little extra length because a keyboard cable extends its reach, but not by much.

    InternetOnTV costs R999, almost R250 more than the WebBox. However, MTN says the device will be available from South African  retailer Jet stores across the country and consumers can pay off the device over six months, without incurring any interest. It also supports wireless broadband at speeds of up to 7.2Mbit/s and it can also make telephone calls.

    The R999 price tag includes a R60 airtime voucher, which MTN says can be converted to a 75MB data bundle. Much like Vodacom’s WebBox, which comes with a 100MB data bundle that must be used within three months, the InternetOnTV can be loaded with airtime denominations that can then be converted to data bundles.

    Interestingly, MTN has plans to introduce a new data bundle that may be aimed specifically at users of the device. The company will offer a 90-minute uncapped data bundle, a spin-off of its 24-hour uncapped service. It hasn’t revealed pricing for the planned bundle.

    InternetOnTV runs Qualcomm’s operating system, Brew. Qualcomm relaunched the operating system, originally developed for devices connecting to CDMA  networks, intending to take it to mass-market devices. It is not yet clear whether Brew allows users to download and install other applications on the device. Vodacom’s WebBox runs on Android, but does not connect to the Android Market.

    Like the WebBox, MTN’s device also uses Opera Mini as its Web browser. It also offers social media integration, Microsoft Office document support (not yet supported on the WebBox) and access to e-mail. It has a built-in media player that plays MP3, AAC, DivX, WMA and Mpeg-4 files.

    MTN, like Vodacom, has missed the opportunity to be innovative with the data offering on the InternetOnTV. Consumers have to buy prepaid data bundles or use expensive ad hoc prepaid data.

    MTN has slightly more innovative ideas around prepaid data, including timed access that can be purchased instead of only offering per-megabyte options.

    However, as with Vodacom’s offer, MTN could have taken a leaf out of BlackBerry’s book by offering unlimited on-device browsing for a set monthly amount — although, to be fair, MTN could run into trouble doing that given the InternetOnTV device supports 3G, unlike the WebBox.

    Still, the target market is one that would probably be keen to have access to cheap and “worry-free” browsing. Perhaps the planned 90-minute uncapped offering, if well priced, will encourage more users to take advantage of MTN’s offering.

computing

  • The United Nations agency tasked with promoting education and the West African monetary union today signed an agreement to launch a $12 million project to boost the information and communications technology (ICT) capacity of universities by creating a regional virtual library network.

    Irina Bokova, the Director-General of UNESCO, and Soumaïla Cissé, the President of the Commission of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), which is providing the funds, signed the agreement in Paris.

    The project is part of a wide-ranging cooperation plan initiated in 2006 by the two bodies, aiming to develop the use of ICTs to support an ongoing reform of higher education in the member countries of the UEMOA - Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Niger, Mali, Senegal and Togo.

    "Higher education is a vital force for development. Funding this project shows the commitment of your organization to reforming and modernizing higher education by creating centres of excellence," said Ms. Bokova.

    "The new technologies are the most effective method to reach this goal, by creating virtual libraries accessible to all, accelerating exchange between professors and students and stimulating research," she added.

    Cissé said the project will empower teachers, students and researchers. "We are indeed conscious that education is the key to the future, because emerging countries are founded on the quality of human resources. The virtual library we are creating will serve our young people both as roots and as wings," he said.

    The three-year project will install ICT infrastructure, both material and virtual, in higher education institutions. The campuses of eight universities, one in each UEMOA member State, will be equipped with fibre optic equipment and at least 200 computers with high-speed connection, according to UNESCO.

    In addition to a regional virtual library network to which universities will be linked, the project will set up a cyber institute giving professors online access to training courses. A central database for calculating students' course credits in all state universities will be established to help harmonize academic standards and facilitate student mobility.

  • As part of the Ministry of Education's endeavors to narrow the gap of the availability of information technology between urban and rural areas, computer training was introduced in schools in remote areas at a cost of 76 million Nakfa and 400, 000 students have thus far become beneficiaries of the program, according to the head of IT and Communications in the Ministry, Alem Habte.

    In an interview with ERINA, Alem stated that based on studies conducted since 2005, the Ministry of Education has introduced computer training programs in 65 Secondary and 50 Junior schools found in remote parts of the country.

    He further noted that parallel with the extension of electricity services in remote parts of the country, around 5,300 computers have been provided, while an additional 1,200 computers were given to the secondary school and vocational training center in Sawa.

    Alem went on to indicate that more than 6,500 computers were put to use for educational purposes in the past 5 years and that 222 school directors and 503 teachers were given computer training.

    Emahmime, Laba, Baqla, Gelalo, Tio, Afambo and Kerkebet include some of the areas that have been provided with solar energy powerd computer laboratories within the previous year.

  • Absa forked out R600m more on IT in its 2010 financial year than it did in 2009. The money was spent replacing old IT systems and aligning itself with international banking regulations.

    The group’s total capital and operational spend on IT jumped from R4,4bn to R5bn in the same period, with IT staff costs rising from R835m to R1bn. Amortisation and depreciation of intangible assets rose from R777m to R833m.

    The company released its annual results for the year ended 31 December 2010 on Tuesday, revealing IT spending increased 19% year on year.

    The investment forms part of the bank’s plan to plough R8bn into technology systems and upgrades over three years. Absa announced the spending plan at its interim results presentation in August last year.

    The investments are being made to replace legacy systems and align the bank with Basel II — international regulations governing the management of risk. Among other things, Basel II requires an increased focus on document management and disaster recovery technologies.

    Absa has also used new technology investment to expand its offerings elsewhere in Africa.

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

  • India’s Bharti Airtel has seen its proposal to delist the shares of its Zambian subsidiary from the Lusaka Stock Exchange rejected, Bloomberg reports. As reported by CommsUpdate last month, Bharti faced opposition to the move, and in the latest development Friday Ndhlovu, chairman of the Zambian bourse, announced that shares in Airtel Zambia must resume trading immediately. According to Ndhlovu, Bharti failed to follow the correct procedure in attempting to delist the company, while the application ‘lacked merit’. It is understood, however, that Bharti will be able to reapply to delist.

    The move to delist came after Bharti announced it would increase its stake in the Zambian cellco from 79% to 97% following the conclusion of a mandatory offer to buy out minority shareholders, which had been launched in November 2010. Around 2,000 shareholders, which hold around 3% of Airtel Zambia’s stock, rejected an offer of ZMK710 (USD0.15) per share however, while Mumba Kapumpa, one of the key architects of Zambia’s local capital market and the first chief executive officer and secretary of the country’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), said that he opposed Bharti’s plan to delist the unit, claiming that: ‘The intention of the government then and indeed now is to develop, deepen and broaden the capital market as an alternative place for investments in Zambia, but this development will certainly work against that.’

  • Econet Wireless has been rated as the telecommunications company with the highest growth potential in SubSaharan Africa (SSA), according to the latest Renaissance Capital report.

    The fact that the penetration rate in Zimbabwe still falls far below the regional average means the country's largest mobile company has more potential for upside growth in value and earnings. According to the report, the sector's market capitalisation for Sub-Saharan Africa companies is expected to grow by over US$1 billion this year.

    Econet is well placed to provide the largest chunk of this money. The market capitalisation for SSA operators currently stands at US$6,393 billion.

    Econet is trading at EV/Subs (enterprise value over subscribers) of US$190.2 against an average of US$252.3 for three of its peers in the region - Celtel of Zambia, MTN of South Africa and Safaricom of Kenya.

    It is also grossly undervalued, using the price earnings ration although its EV/EBITDA (enterprise value over earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) is almost in line with the regional average of US$4,50.

    "We think investors should stick to markets with more favourable regulations, and stocks that pay high dividends.

    "Econet is the highest growth stock in our SSA telecoms universe and provides exposure to a relatively healthy telecoms market," said the report.

    Last year, Econet traded a volume of about 19 million shares valued at US$92 million or 23 percent of the total trades on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange. The report, however, noted that voice revenues will remain under pressure over the next one and half years and recommended operators to expand in other telecoms segments.

  • Innovators could soon benefit from a $150 million global fund aimed at supporting start-ups who focus on developing creativity in the mobile phones sector.

    Announced on Monday at the start of the Mobile World Congress currently underway in Barcelona, the fund will be backed by Research In Motion (manufacturers of the Blackberry phone) and the BlackBerry Partners Fund to provide independent venture capital fund focused exclusively on mobile computing.

    "We are very pleased with the positive impact of the first Fund on our mobile ecosystem and we look forward to BlackBerry Partners Fund II bringing additional resources and support to mobile innovators in a broader range of international markets," said Jim Balsillie, Co-CEO at Research In Motion.

    Over the last five years, growing interest in the country's mobile sector has seen increasing investment by multi-nationals. The BlackBerry Partners Fund II is expected to launch in June 2011 and will have a broader international mandate than the first fund.

    The first BlackBerry Partners Fund was established in 2008 in collaboration with Research In Motion, Thomson Reuters, Royal Bank of Canada and a roster of high profile investors.

    The Fund has made 13 investments to-date in mobile start-ups in Canada, the United States, Israel and Ireland. The Fund brings capital, resources and domain expertise to the partnerships it forms with exceptional entrepreneurs around the world who are shaping the future of the mobile eco-system.

  • A group of experts from Morocco is to begin the installation of the new National Switch, which will add some more features to the current existing one. The experts who arrived on Sunday will work with the staff of the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS) to get the switch in place to enable the national electronic platform to perform more functions. The General Manager in charge of Project and Business Development at GhIPSS, Archie Hesse, explained that the roll out of the project would be in phases with the first phase expected to be completed by September, which would lead to a significant change in the payment system.

    GhIPSS which was established by the Central Bank to build a solid national payment system has, as part of its objectives, to establish a national switch that would ensure total interoperability among the banks and also be able to connect all other switches, used by the telecommunications companies (telecos) and foreign switches. However, to achieve this objective, GhIPSS needs to expand the current national switch into a much extended one capable of supporting the various transactions.

    The experts would use the first two weeks to complete the preliminary installations after which they could begin to customize the switch. According to Mr Hesse, when the first phase of the project is completed, the universal banks, the rural banks as well as the savings and loans companies would be able to operate together.

    This means that all ATM cards can work in any ATM machine. This implies that bank customers would be able to use their traditional or e-zwich ATM card in just any ATM outlet. Currently, only cards affiliated to Visa enjoy this service in Ghana, but soon all ATMs would accept all cards.

    Hesse said gradually Ghana was catching up with the most sophisticated payment systems in the world, adding that the installation of the new national switch would begin with a few banks on a pilot basis, until all banks were brought on board. He promised bank customers of exciting times and urged the public to start planning their businesses and lives along these developments. Hesse said the second phase would link the national switch to the platform of the telecommunications companies that were providing mobile money services.

    When the telecommunication companies are connected to the national switch, their customers can use any of the mobile money services even if they are not subscribers to that network.

    This would be possible because the mobile money platforms can interact through the national switch. He said the second phase of the project would link the national switch to other international switches such as Visa and Master cards. Hesse added that soon it would be possible for people to use their traditional ATM cards to make payments in shops that had Point of Sale devices, a service currently available to a few cards such as Visa, MasterCard, and the e-zwich.

Telecoms, Rates, Offers and Coverage

  • Airtel Zambia has launched its first K0 campaign which will make it possible for the customers to talk for free every day.

    Millicom Ghana (which trades as Tigo) has expanded an existing mobile advertising management contract with Alcatel-Lucent. The service, Tigo Ads, is based on the Alcatel-Lucent Optism mobile marketing solution and enables Tigo's customers to receive targeted promotions on their mobile phones. Subscribers can share information with Tigo about their preferences and receive interactive text messages containing news, promotions, discounts and exclusive offers from their preferred brands.

    Mobile virtual network operator Virgin Mobile SA has switched on its first third-generation (3G) mobile services, piggybacking off Cell C’s new network, and offering out-of-bundle broadband at 60c/MB.

    O-Tel Telecom, a licensed national telecom services provider (LNTSP) in South Africa announced the nationwide availability of 1Cloud Hosted PBX Service (http://1cloud.co.za), an effective telecommunication system which easily improves business productivity, lowers telecommunication costs, offers greater advantages with fewer hassles, and steps up the company to new generation telephony, dubbed Telephone 2.0

    Vodafone Ghana has expressed concern about the white-on-red brand colours of Airtel Ghana, but the latter insist on maintaining their brand colours even though it conflicts with that of Vodafone. Chief Executive Officer of Vodafone Ghana, Kyle Whitehill said Vodafone was concerned about the confusion Airtel’s brand colours are creating for both Vodafone and Airtel.

Digital Content

  • Piped water consumers in Uganda can expect to get better service delivery on the back of business deals signed between National Water & Sewerage Corporation and two mobile phone companies.

    Dr William Muhairwe, the managing director of NWSC told Daily Monitor that the company will save at least Shs1 billion per year by receiving water payments through mobile-money payment systems.

    "We are going to ensure that we re-invest this money into the system to make it more suitable for the customers," Dr Muhairwe said in an interview in Kampala.

    On Monday, Uganda Telecom Limited (UTL) became the second mobile operator to enter a partnership with the water company to collect its bills through its mobile money service dubbed M-sente. The UTL deal came less than a week after NWSC entered a similar agreement with MTN Uganda. The companies are charging customers between Shs300 and Shs700 per SMS meant for a water bill transaction.

    The corporation spends huge sums of money in the transfer of cash from its branches around the country to banks by way of bullion vans with escorts.

    "The insurance cost was very high because we had to pay the security companies and also the banks. So that cost will be saved," Dr Muhairwe said.

    In addition, the company also spends a lot of money in delivery of paper bills, which will be substituted by SMS bills.

    "We have been sending our bills with our meter readers to people's houses. But with this system, if you give us your telephone number, the moment we bill you we then transfer the bill to your phone by SMS for payment," he explained.

    The water company is set to completely phase out most of its cash offices and adopt only mobile money payment systems in the future.

    "We think this will be one of the easiest ways for customers to pay their water bill and the cost is also low," he said.

    A single NWSC cash office can collect between Shs300, 000 and Shs10 million per day from its customers.

    But water shortage continues to hit parts of Uganda as a result of a weak and delicate distribution service systems operated by the company.

    At the signing of the agreement, Stanley Henning, UTL's Chief Operations Officer said the new system will increase efficiency in making payments and eliminate the risk of carrying lots of money.

  • This week Africa Business Communities meet with Taha Jiwaji, Founder and CEO of Bongo Live! on bringing mobile and SMS based services to empower businesses, NGOs, government and consumers in Tanzania.

    "Bongo Live! provides individuals who register on our website with exclusive deals and offers that match their interests. Advertisers then in turn can promote their companies/brands based on their specific target demographic. We also provide group messaging services to large businesses and institutions to send messages to their contacts en mass."

    "Bongo Live! was registered in May 2010 and started actively operating in October 2010. It combines a niche space between the advertising and technology realms. We combine both of these in a unique way using sms as our medium to deliver highly targeted and high impact offers direct to consumers."

    "Bongo Live! is both a technology company as well as an advertising company. Our website and sms platform is at the core of our business. We are however constantly striving to develop new technologies and methods to improve our services as well as offer our customers a better experience."

    "Bongo Live! is currently funded from personal funds as well as from friends and family. We are seeking additional seed funding to allow us to scale faster and enter neighboring markets."

    "As an advertising and communication tool Bongo Live! can help all companies improve both their branding as well as their communication with customers, employees, suppliers etc."

    "We're currently operating only in Tanzania.  but see ourselves growing to the neighboring markets of Kenya, Uganda and Zambia. We're currently partnered with a social media advertising company in India called AliveNow. We collaborate on unique social media marketing and customer acquisition strategies."

More

  • Outgoing Telkom South Africa chairman Jeff Molobela has been replaced by Lazarus Zim, who was previously MD of MTN International. Molobela officially retired as chairman of the fixed-line operator's board last week, but has been re-appointed as a non-executive director for another three years. Zim, who took over as chairman last week, will serve as chairman for a year and a non-executive director for three years.

    In South Africa, the Cabinet approved Brian Molefe as the new group Chief Executive for Transnet. Molefe's appointment, which is for a period of five years, starts with immediate effect.

    O3b Networks announced today that it has appointed Steve Collar as Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Collar succeeds Mark Rigolle after the completion of O3b’s latest financing round in November 2010. After a handover period, Collar will formally take up his new position on 7th March 2011.

  • 5th Africa Economic Forum 2011
    7-9 March 2011, Cape Town, South Africa Venue BMW Pavilion, V&A Waterfront

    Our 5th Africa Economic Forum 2011 (AEF-2011) in Cape Town at the BMW-Imax Theatre, with Africa Exhibition is a landmark Conference on Africa and significant business networking occasion for the top corporate players active in, across and involved with the development of the African continent - Cape-to-Cairo, with Governments and officials in key industries and state institutions.
    Contact: babette@glopac.com
    Click here for further information:

    Cloud Computing World Forum Middle East & Africa
    9 March  2011, Grand Millennium Hotel, Dubai

    Taking place on the 9th March 2011, the Cloud Computing World Forum Middle East and Africa is a Free-to-attend event and will feature all of the key players within the Cloud Computing and SaaS market providing an introduction, discussion and look into the future for the ICT industry. This one day conference will provide the most complete and comprehensive platform for the global Cloud Computing and SaaS industry. Register Free today and get inspiration on how to address your latest issues with advice from real-life end-user case studies and practical examples. Contact the Keynote team on +44 (0) 845 519 1230 or email info@keynoteworld.com.
    Click here further information: 

    Broadband World Forum MEA
    14-15 March 2011, Dubai UAE

    The conference programme features 60+ visionary speakers presenting across keynote plenary sessions, 4 in-depth technology tracks and a Rural Coverage and Connectivity focus day.  Co-located to the conference is a 35+ stand technology exhibition showcasing some of the region’s latest cutting-edge broadband technologies, applications, solutions and services to hit the market.
    Limited FREE passes for operators and early booking discounts apply to all others.  Register with VIP code: BBM11BAA
    Click here for further information:

    HR4ICT11 - Business Continuity Planning: Strategic and Organisational Imperatives in a Global Economy
    21-23 March 2011, Hilton Nairobi, Nairobi Kenya.

    The Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation is holding its annual HR4ICT Forum in Kenya, beginning 21 March 2011. The event will take place over three days addressing the human resource management aspect of business continuity planning.  With a theme focused on "Business Continuity Planning: Strategic and Organisational Imperatives in a Global Economy", HR4ICT'11 will focus on the challenges faced by major communications user groups (telecommunications, IT, finance, transport, energy, etc) in developing and implementing effective business continuity programmes.
    Email:  programmes@cto.int or visit here for further informatio:

    ICT For Development in Africa – Sustaining The Momentum, Extending The Reach
    23-26 March 2011, Ota, Nigeria

    The conference will initiate research and practice agenda where ICTs will aid the academia, organizations - public and private and non-governmental to improve socio-economic conditions and directly benefit the disadvantaged in some manner.
    Click here for further information: 

    Managed Services Growth Markets 2011
    4-5 April, Movenpick Jumeirah Beach, Dubai, UAE

    Now in its 4th year and attended by over 200 attendees in 2010, Informa Telecoms and Media’s Managed Services for Growth Markets event will take place on 4th - 5th April at the Moevenpick Jumeirah Beach, Dubai, UAE.With a proven track-record and repeat sponsorship from leading suppliers Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, NokiaSiemens Networks and Motorola, this event is truly established as the ultimate meeting-place for the Managed Services industry in the growth markets.A 50% discount for operators ensures a high percentage operator attendance.  Extended break times and additional social functions will guarantee a further enhancement to the already unique networking opportunities. Informa’s Managed Services for Growth Markets conference is the only established event in the region, proven to deliver an industry focussed agenda, the highest level speakers, superior networking opportunities, and top class delegates year on year.
    Click here for further information:

    Ghana ICT and Telecom Summit
    28-29 April 2011, Ghana-India Kofi Annan ICT Centre Accra, Ghana

    The summit will bring together over 200 decision-makers from Ghanaian operators and international stakeholders with an interest in the market to share experiences, knowledge and ideas with a view to overcoming the industry challenges. The 2 day summit agenda will address all aspects of Ghanaian ICT & telecoms strategies for attracting investment, broadband connectivity for all, solutions to boost operator ROI, Regulatory challenges & opportunities, infrastructure development, VAS and local content for Ghanaians, subscriber acquisition and retention strategies, mobile banking, customer loyalty, future trends and more.
    Click here for further information:

    eLearning Africa 2011 - Spotlight on Youth, Skills and Employability
    25-27 May 2011, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

    The 6th event in the series of pan-African conferences and exhibitions will focus on Africa's youth. Africa has the highest percentage of young people anywhere in the world. How can it unlock the vast reservoir of talent? How can technology support education and training?
    Click here for further information:

  •  World Bank Group is consulting on new ICT Strategy

    World Bank Group consultations open on a new Information and Communication Technology (ICT) strategy to expand connectivity networks and transform social and economic services.
    Forthcoming strategy to also encourage grass-roots innovation and local IT industries.
    A series of online real-time consultations begin February 4, 2011. A virtual consultation is accessible 24/7 on the Strategy website and face-to-face consultations will take place in selected countries.
    For further information click here

    DotConnectAfrica seeks Expression of Interest (EOI) for ".africa" Registry

    DotConnectAfrica (DCA) intends to participate in the new gTLD application issued by ICANN,.  As such DCA will be looking for a registry partner for technical and operational services for the planned .AFRICA Top Level Domain, that is consistent with the road-map of ICANN's requirements.

    Background on DCA's project can be seen here.  Additionally, preliminary proposal by DCA presented and championed across the African Continent, inclusive of community feedback is available online.

    Interested parties with requisite capability to provide registry services should submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) with the following information -

    ·         Name and Address of company
    ·         Company Profile
    .         Financial capabilities
    ·         Experience in providing registry services (technical and operational)
    ·         Presence and/or experience in developing markets, (preferred but not a must)

    DCA will then contact selected parties for more detailed discussions and a selection process.  Pre-qualification  would include technical and financial evaluation as well as support from a host country.

    DCA is not obligated to work with any of the parties who participate in this EOI process.
     
    Please send your EOI with the above information to address at eoi@dotconnectafrica.org  to participate.
    Full Press release available here:

  • Togo Cellulaire and Alcatel- Lucent - Togo
    Alcatel-Lucent announced that it has been selected by Togo Cellulaire, the leading mobile operator in Togo for a major expansion and upgrade of its 2G/3G wireless network. The new network will enable Togo Cellulaire to offer advanced mobile broadband services and to reach a greater number of subscribers and further improve their already high quality of service by taking benefit from a scalable bandwidth to accommodate the anticipated surge in mobile traffic.

    Inwi and Sicap - Morocco
    Inwi, the ambitious challenger operator in Morocco, has announced the roll out of sicap Customer Retention Platform, a flexible, plug and play solution which rewards inwi subscribers for their mobile, fixed or Internet service loyalty. The sicap Customer Retention Platform is powered by the “Loyalty Manager”, a flexible real-time promotions and campaigning enabler.

Issue no 98 - 17 February 2011

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  • Last week, Africa’s biggest content market – Discop Africa – took place in Accra. The event brings together African broadcasters and producers with their international counterparts. It offers an ideal moment to take the pulse of what is happening in the industry. The event was spread over three floors so Russell Southwood expended serious shoe leather to find out what was happening both above and below the radar.

    The event produced no single big story but a clear set of trends emerged from the public conference sessions and discussions with a wide range of people:

    * There was a pre-conference workshop on co-productions. Ghanaian film-maker Kwesi Owusu complained that as the host country, there were not enough Ghanaian film-makers in attendance. Not surprisingly, the event was well attended by Nigeria producers who were all articulate and knew what they were looking for. The story of Gollywood is largely untold but Ghana has both high quality film-makers and post-production facilities. Somehow they have to be more like Nigerians in promoting the work they do.

    * Although the workshop was about co-production, there were not a lot of people in the room offering co-production finance. African broadcasters have occasionally come together to buy rights but have not yet (to the best of our knowledge) done so on co-productions. As a result, when Biola Alabi, Managing Director, M-Net Africa, one of the few companies providing production commissions on the continent, spoke she acted as a lightning rod for the frustrations of producers. They were all demanding that she spent more on production commissions. Rightly, she pointed out that Pay TV rights were secondary income and that it was doing as many commissions as its budgets allowed. She also said (and it was confirmed by one of the participants) that they had offered advertising and coverage to support cinema releases. DStv has just launched Africa Magic Yoruba and Africa Magic Hausa and its Nigeria soap Tinsel and its South African soap Jacob’s Cross are both on its premium HD channels.

    * African producers need to look to both finding sponsorship (see link to Mo Abudu clip below this article) and to cinema release. Africa’s Oprah Winfrey Mo Abudu described how she worked with M-Net and sponsors to get her show (Moments with Mo) off the ground. Several Nollywood producers talked about higher budget films showing only in cinemas and that with an increase in the number of cinemas in the country, the income had gone up. (For more details, see: http://bit.ly/fGFg5q) Even in Accra, there are now 2 more cinemas and one film producer was distributing digitally, using a security key. There also plans by companies like Cinemart to increase the number of cinemas and these are the missing financial element for the continent’s film industry. One distributor was talking about taking West African movies into selected South African cinemas.

    * Throughout the event, I seemed to be having conversations with both producers and companies who were talking about creating new channels. A broadcaster like Telesports in Togo is perhaps a sign of the future. As the name indicates, it does nothing but sport and claims 2 million viewers. It has rights to UEAFA, Champion des Footballs and the NBA. At least two other serious players are in the process of creating new sports channels for existing platforms. In addition, other successful producers are talking about local content channels with a variety of different focused themes. With all the testosterone running about on sport channels, it’s easy to forget that large parts of the schedule are for women. Gary Rathbone, Head of Africa, Supersport International said that they were seeking to become the African broadcaster of sport. In Zambia, it shows womens’ boxing: a gender crossover sport?

    * There was a session on South Africa: Post World Cup in which Mike Dearham, Head: Sales and Library Acquisition, DStv gave a very detailed and interesting presentation, studded with interesting facts. Currently DStv has 20,000 mobile TV subscribers and plans to have 180,000 by 2014. Online advertising in South Africa will go from 15% of total spend this year to 24% by 2014. Pay TV challenger Walk on Water will launch later this year offering super cheap bouquets: 5 channels for R49 (US$6.71)and 10 channels for R99 (US$13.57) per month. He also predicted that 5-10 years from now that the “release window” (with cascading dates for cinema, DVD, TV, etc) will disappear to be replaced by a single release date.

    * In the Differentiate your TV Channel workshop, panel speaker Ephraim Banda from the public broadcaster CRTV rucked up a considerable debate about public broadcasting by claiming CRTV did things better than its private sector equivalents. Many speakers (with a strong Nigerian representation) expressed outrage that the largely unimpressive public broadcasters could claim accolades of any kind for themselves. Whilst I find myself largely in that camp, you have to ask why it is CRTV as a public broadcaster (like many others on the continent) consistently gets between a quarter and a third of audience share. Is there audience simply stupid? I don’t think that’s an easy argument to sustain so perhaps more thought needs to be given to why their audiences keep watching.

    * Despite the often half-hearted approach to the digital transition in broadcasting on the continent, small private sector companies see to be pioneering roll-out ahead of Government. In Congo-Brazzaville, MNTV is offering a set-top box for US$80 and has attracted 6,000 subscribers over a relatively short period. A Ugandan company will shortly be launching a similar service. And these examples are perhaps the tip of the iceberg?

    * At Africa’s biggest film festival FESPACO this year, CFI are doing a day’s live broadcasting with 8 African broadcasters. Also TV5Monde are doing coverage from African film-makers themselves (see Investment News below). For African film and TV to continue to succeed, there needs to be media coverage. Another piece of this jigsaw might the launch by FCCE of Films and Stars Africa which will be focused on
    Nollywood, African movies and the best of Hollywood.

    The next DISCOP will take place in Nairobi in September and we look forward to seeing you there. Meanwhile, take a look at the clips below with some of the participants.

    Five video clips from last week’s Discop Accra:

    Mo Abudu, Executive Producer and hostess of Moments with Mo talks about getting the show off the ground
    click here:

    Alex Okosi, MD of MTV Network (Africa Region) on its Choose or lose it voter registration initiative
    click here:

    Farah Chaudhry, COO of A24 Media on the launch of Africa's Voice
    click here:

    Fathia Plange, CEO of VTV on the first season of Make Me a Success in Ghana and taking the second season across Africa
    click here:

    Patrick Akushie, Commercial Manager, Agence France-Presse talks about its strategy for selling news video in Africa
    click here:

  • Production Listings reports that Denzel Washington movie is on its way to the rainbow nation. The countdown to the arrival of Hollywood stars Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds in Cape Town has begun. Preparation for the shooting of the action movie Safe House (Action) is underway. The plot: The only surviving agent (Ryan Reynolds) of an attack on a CIA safe house must transport a dangerous prisoner (Denzil Washington) to safety while being pursued by forces that want both of them dead.

    Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds both star in the production. The film is directed by Daniel Espinosa. Casting: Sarah Haley Finn, The Sarah Finn Company, 588 N. Larchmont Blvd., 1st Fl., L.A., CA 90004.

    iol.co.za reported that local film and video industry agent Moonyeenn Lee Associates could be responsible for the local casting, which has already begun.

    The film’s production company, Moonlighting Films, has been quiet about details surrounding the movie so far. It is, however, believed that filming will begin in the middle of February.

  • On the 1st February 2011,  the African Film Festival of Tarifa announced that it will offer movies online. Sylvain Béletre from Balancing Act interviewed Filip Hruby, International Press Officer at Festival de Cine Africano de Tarifa – FCAT to find out more.

    Q: How does this new partnership work?

    A: The African Film Festival of Tarifa (www.fcat.es), has entered into a partnership with AfricanFilms.tv, a video-on-demand internet platform with headquarter in Dakar, Senegal, aiming to help the platform build up its catalogue of African films.

     “AfricaFilms.tv is very transparent and straight forward. It is commercial, but the focus is on the African filmmaker. Right holders get 50% of revenue, have online access to the back office and the cession of rights is non-exclusive” said AfricaFilm.tv CEO, Enrico Chiesa (see our previous story: click here:

    With AfricaFilms.tv, film fans will be able to watch movies from the 500 films rich FCAT library on the video-on-demand platform when it launches commercially in June 2011. This legal, commercial downloading platform, available worldwide, guarantees fair revenue to African filmmakers and producers.

    We hope to provide the platform with 20-30 titles from our library per year. Securing the rights and all the materials related will take time and effort, but we are convinced this is the right platform for us and for the filmmakers.

    Q: What are the results of your Spanish-African co-productions?

    A: An important objective of the FCAT is to helping African filmmakers realize their project through international (mainly Spanish) co-productions. Africa Produce forum, where African filmmakers present their projects to Spanish producers, will celebrate its 3rd edition this year. It will also provide results from the two previous forums - 2 running co-productions, 1 co-production before contract sign off, 3 copyrights of African movies bought by Spanish TVs.

    In January FCAT closed selection process for the 3rd Africa Produce - forum between African filmmakers and Spanish producers, TV commissioning editors and co-production managers, which goal is to introduce African cinema projects to the Spanish co-production market. For this year forum FCAT received 18 feature-length projects and 12 documentary projects, coming from 14 African countries. The most entries in fiction category came from Nigeria (4) and Cameroon (4), while the most documentary projects came from Burkina Faso (3). For the first time ever Equatorial Guinea and Namibia applied in the forum.

    Six projects will be selected by FCAT jury and their directors will be present at the festival to convince Spanish producers. ‘We aim to continue promoting co-production between Africa and Spain. Two films, from Senegal and Mali, presented in the previous editions are now in development’ said Carlos Domínguez, África Produce‘s co-ordinator.

    Q: What is the African film festival of Tarifa doing this year?

    A: FCAT – Festival de Cine Africano de Tarifa is an independent and competitive film festival and one of the biggest African film festivals in Europe. The FCAT celebrates its eighth edition from 11th to 19th June 2011 in Andalusian town Tarifa - the closest town of continental Europe to the African continent - the two continents are in fact only 14 km apart from one another in this geographical area.
    This year FCAT will screen up over hundred African films and it will bring together some of the most distinguished African filmmakers. Its aim is to spread knowledge about African film production by exhibiting a representative wide variety of audiovisual African works every year: from the classics to more innovative and recent films, from documentaries to feature length fiction films, from South Africa to Morocco and from Senegal to Ethiopia. (More on www.fcat.es)
    FCAT 2010 attracted over 14 thousand visitors/viewers and its growing media coverage represents another 18 million viewers/listeners/readers, who were "hit" by news regarding FCAT 2010.

    Q: Are calls for entries still open?

    A: Filmmakers from all over Africa can send their films to FCAT’s committee until February 25th, which is in charge of selecting movies for the competing and non-competing sections of the festival.

    The 3rd African-Spanish film Co-production forum’s submission is closed, but we still have submissions of films for official competition open – to be closed on February 25th, and submissions of for 4th PhotoAfrica, which closes March 1st 2011.
    At the same time African photographers can send their entries for the 4th PhotoAfrica until March 1st. 2011.

    More info regarding application process can be found on www.fcat.es

  • A new report released by Rhodes University in South Africa analyzes citizen journalism within Africa's unique political, economic and technological context.

    The ethnographic study, "Citizen Journalism and Democracy in Africa," reveals that the media landscape is shifting in Africa to allow more engaged citizen participation in journalism. According to the report, there has been rapid growth in information and communication technologies; the Internet is increasingly available to citizens, and the number of cell phones has surpassed fixed lines in most countries.

    Along with these developments, journalism is rapidly evolving into democratic participation, it says. Citizens now have the ability to report news or express views on their community, and news is becoming "of the people, by the people and for the people."

    The report also outlines several problems associated with citizen journalism, namely: Who authorizes this kind of journalism? How can citizens be held accountable? Should citizen journalism be institutionalized?

    To view the report, written by Fackson Banda, click here:

  • In Luanda, the activities of the Angolan Institute of Cinema, Audio-visual and Multimedia (IACAM) in 2010 were marked by a strong personnel training component and concerted actions in the promotion of the national cinema, with the stress going on the Luanda Cinema International Fair (FIC) held on November 19-26, 2010. Simao Souindoula, Historian and Art Critic, Fellow of the Scientist Committee of World Festival of Negro Arts in Luanda (Angola) provided a year in review.

    Training and promotion of cinema were top of IACAM activities in 2010.
     
    According to IACAM programme of activities, the institution secured audio-visual training of more than 100 professionals in the various fields of the so-called seventh art.

    As an example, the institution ran a scriptwriting course from August 1 to November 15, 2010 in Luanda, with the participation of 50 professionals.
     
    In addition, IACAM ran the second seminar on "The relevance of the anthropological studies in Angola”, from March 6-7, in south-western Namibe province.
     
    The programme gathered researchers in the fields of social science, particularly anthropology, with debates on the state of anthropological studies in Angola, its importance and perspective.

    In a separate note, it was reported that Angolan Mass Media minister, Carolina Cerqueira, start of February 2011 in northern Malanje province urged for a greater rigour in management of technical and administrative equipments of Television Station (TPA) production centre in the province.

  • The crisis in Côte d’Ivoire drags on, with the political leadership of the country deadlocked. The 2010 elections had raised hopes across the country that the eight-year crisis would be finally resolved; instead the country now has two presidents who claim national authority. Alassane Ouattara was declared the winner by the Independent Electoral Commission (CEI) and is backed by the international community, while the Constitutional Court invalidated these results and proclaimed incumbent Laurent Gbagbo as the winner. International mediators have sought to negotiate a solution, but to date without success. In this tense context, violence is rising within communities as well as between the armed forces and the civilian population. More than 20,000 people have fled to neighbouring Liberia, and no end to the stalemate is in sight.

    Search for Common Ground (SFCG), with its mandate of conflict transformation and dialogue, has a critical role to play in calming tensions and promoting moderate voices within this environment of extremism. SFCG has been working in Côte d’Ivoire since 2005, producing weekly radio programmes that provide information; bridge divides of identity, geography, and affiliation; and offer alternatives to the volatile rhetoric frequently featured in the media. SFCG actively supported the steps leading up to and including the elections process, including disarmament, national identification, voter registration, civic education, and election monitoring. SFCG is now focusing its efforts on trying to calm rising divisions, and provide accurate information where rumours and manipulation are rampant.

    Despite significant challenges, SFCG is doing its best to maintain its production and broadcast of high-quality radio programmes that offer credible and balanced information. With most media outlets identified with one political side or the other, SFCG has built a strong reputation of credibility and neutrality, and people particularly outside of Abidjan rely on SFCG as a source of information. Therefore, despite obstacles ranging from physical insecurity, citizens’ reluctance to speak openly for interviews, or challenges finding positive role models within communities, and transportation issues in sending programmes for broadcast, SFCG continues its mission. As Ouattara About Karno, SFCG’s Studio Coordinator explains: "It is more than necessary to continue our mission and to adapt our programs to the current situation. We have to look for role models within our communities to give them a voice and to share positive values, which should guide the Ivoirians in this tense period."

    With the help of its partners within local communities to gather content, as well as with the support of the United Nations radio station ONUCI FM for broadcast, SFCG studios in Côte d’Ivoire have produced a series of radio programmes to support the end of the crisis. Topics have addressed a number of important themes, including “After the election, it is not war,” “Dialogue on values and priorities for a peaceful management of the post-electoral crisis,” and “Women propose solutions to ease the climate.” In this highly sensitive environment, SFCG focuses on values such as unity, respect of the democratic rules, and peaceful management of crisis. SFCG is particularly focusing on balanced reporting and on the diversity and representativeness of those who are interviewed in the programmes. In addition to maintaining balance in its programmes, one of the guiding principles of SFCG in this context is to offer a positive voice, an alternative to violence and conflict for its listeners.

    Accessing content from around the country has not been easy given the insecurity. Ouattara About Karno explains SFCG’s approach to this challenge: “Our partners greatly supported us in gathering voices for the programmes, especially in this context, when citizens do not trust the media. Our partners were the first to stand up and speak out against violence and partisanship during this period, using our programmes as a voice.” Among its local partners, SFCG relied on civil society organisations, such as youth and women organisations, that promote reconciliation at the local level while remaining neutral. SFCG also relied on intellectuals who offer an objective voice in the debate and throw light on issues without being partisan. SFCG paid particular attention to the positive message and values that its partners could share with the listeners. Thanks to these partners, SFCG was able to identify role models, outstanding individuals who have emerged as moderate voices within their community and who often have a positive impact on their peers.

    While some Ivoirian media are used to propagate false information or stir violence, the production of constructive radio programs spreading positive values is particularly appreciated by the population, as this listener explains: “I was listening to one of your programs. It talked about the proper behavior of a citizen after the election and why it is important to be tolerant in politics. The message broadcast has brought hope and made me understand that all is not lost. Because some people still believe in and work toward peace.”

    To listen to one of the radio programmes recently produced and broadcast by SFCG studios in Côte d’Ivoire, visit the audio section of its website www.radiopeaceafrica.org

  • Eutelsat announced on 7 February 2011 that the Middle East and North Africa are representing some of the most vibrant markets for satellite-delivered digital entertainment, enterprise and government services.

    Key players are assembling in Dubai for the annual CABSAT exhibition and conference. Eutelsat Communications, one of the world's leading satellite operators, will be exhibiting once again at this major digital media event to demonstrate new broadcast and Internet resources for users across North Africa and the Middle East.

    As the main platform for multi-channel reception in North Africa and the Middle East, satellite is the star performer, delivering bandwidth and coverage that enables channels to optimise their audience, and pay-TV platforms to aggregate a diverse range of content and progressively introduce High-Definition channels. According to Eutelsat's own audience research (Eutelsat's two-yearly survey of cable and satellite homes includes research in 12 countries in North Africa and the Middle East), the number of satellite homes in North Africa and the Middle East continues to climb, growing on average by 7.7% per year since 2008, to 48.7 million. New data from Pyramid Research forecasts that pay-TV platforms in the region are expected to experience the world's highest growth rate over the coming five years.

    Within the satellite TV universe, Eutelsat's video neighbourhoods have consolidated their position as the key points of reference in the MENA region, notably:

    A total of 685 channels, of which over 70% in Arabic, are broadcast from 7° West by Eutelsat's Atlantic Bird 4A satellite and the NileSat satellites. There is also a growing HDTV market in the region, with 27 HD channels (of which 14 on Atlantic Bird 4A), up in one year from only two channels. The launch in 4th quarter 2011 of Eutelsat's Atlantic Bird 7 satellite to 7° West will mark significant new progress in broadcasting resources for North Africa and the Middle East. Atlantic Bird 7 will increase Eutelsat Ku-band capacity at 7° West to 50 transponders.

    Looking ahead already to the new face of television, Eutelsat will be showcasing the capacity of satellites to deliver 3D signals both Direct-to-Home and to out-of-home venues. A 3D workshop on new trends and technologies will be held on Wednesday 9th February from 11am to 12pm on the Eutelsat stand (please confirm your attendance in advance at the Eutelsat stand).

    Eutelsat’s KA-SAT is now ready to serve Internet, data and video markets in the region. In addition to renewing and expanding resources for video broadcasting in the MENA region, Eutelsat is addressing the market for IP services with a new all Ka-band high-capacity satellite. Launched in December 2010, and on track to enter commercial service in May 2011, KA-SAT's 70 Gbps of throughput makes it the world's most powerful multi-spotbeam Ka-band satellite.

    Operating in combination with an advanced network of gateways linked by a fibre ring to four Points of Presence in Europe, this new infrastructure will herald significant economic benefits for point-to-point video, data and IP applications across Europe and North Africa, with a dedicated spotbeam over the Middle East including coverage of Dubai, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and parts of Oman. Business services able to be carried through KA-SAT include network interconnection, professional Internet access, back-up services and SCADA applications. It is also suited for professional video solutions such as regional and corporate television and Satellite News Gathering, as well as High Definition broadcasts given the bandwidth available.

    The ground is being prepared for the launch in 2013 of the Eurobird 2A high-capacity satellite which will be jointly owned and operated by Eutelsat and ictQatar (representing the State of Qatar). This new satellite will provide expanded coverage and performance across the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia to follow-on from Eutelsat's EUROBIRD™ 2 satellite at 25.5° East. In addition to securing Ku-band continuity for Eutelsat and Ku-band resources for ictQatar, Eurobird 2A will initiate a Ka-band capability, opening new business opportunities for both partners.

  • Anne-Ryan Heatwole, PBS MediaShift Idea Lab reported on 02/02/11 in ijnet.com that from January 9 to 15, Southern Sudan held a referendum to decide if the region should become an independent state. The results have now been announced.

    It's essential to keep citizens informed of new developments during the voting period -- and one of the best ways to reach large numbers of people is through radio. The Sudan Radio Service, which has been operating since 2006, recently began incorporating mobile technology into its work in a two-pronged approach to monitor the reach of their broadcasts and to solicit reader feedback.

    Jacob Korenblum of SoukTel, the company that designed both mobile services, explains that the service, which is based out of Nairobi, Kenya, and Juba, Sudan, wanted to make sure that their broadcasts were being heard by their target audience.

    "The power of radio is that it can reach millions of people; the challenge of radio is that you don't know if people are listening," he said. "So I think that there was a big need for ways to get feedback from listeners across southern Sudan."

    In order to monitor the reliability and clarity of the radio broadcasts, SoukTel designed a survey for field workers in ten different regions where the Sudan Radio Service is heard. Previously, the broadcasts were sent out of Nairobi over shortwave radio frequencies, but the new station in Juba uses an FM signal. The branching survey, available in both English and Arabic, leads the field workers through a series of questions to describe the sound quality of the programs and, if the sound quality is poor, potential reasons for the interrupted service. The information is sent back to the main radio centers where the data is used to track trends in service interruption and to make changes in problem areas. Written in PHP and SQL, the survey is available to field workers entirely through SMS so it works on basic phones.

  • At the end of last year, UNESCO and Al Jazeera Satellite Network have signed an agreement to promote freedom of expression and access to information in the Arab world. UNESCO’s Director-General Irina Bokova and Al Jazeera’s Director General, Wadah Khanfar, signed the Memorandum of Understanding in Doha (Qatar) during Ms Bokova’s official visit to the country.

    “This agreement advances a new kind of partnership UNESCO is establishing with media organizations,” said Ms Bokova. “The UN charter proclaims the promotion of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all. As a leading source of news and information about the Arab world and beyond, Al Jazeera is well positioned to uphold these principles in this region.”

    Advocacy and awareness-raising are key components of the agreement. The partnership will research the status of the freedom of expression in the Arab region and share findings through Al Jazeera news and programmes.

    World Press Freedom Day on 3 May 2011 will be an annual focal point of the two-year agreement. UNESCO and Al Jazeera will work together to host a series of events to mark the Day, including documentary films and photojournalism exhibitions.

    To further encourage freedom of expression, a correspondent who has demonstrated exceptional professionalism and courage while covering armed conflict or natural disaster will be awarded a trophy at the Al Jazeera International Documentary Film Festival. The award will be funded by Al Jazeera and UNESCO will be part of the selection committee.

  • NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) and NHK Enterprises (NEP) attended DISCOP Africa for the first time from Japan. NHK, Japan's sole public broadcaster, has a high reputation for quality programs in almost every genre, and NHK Enterprises, NHK's international business arm, brought a catalogue of over 1,000 titles of NHK programs.

    "The African market is still new to us, so I look forward to building new relationships and to seeking a better understanding of the needs and trends in the African market. I'm keen to see how our poplar series like "Wildlife (nature documentary)","Discover Science (science entertainment)", and "Samurai 7 (animation)" will do here," said sales representative Miho Yoshimasu.

    Naoji Ono, President and CEO of NHK Enterprises, Inc. (NEP) explained that the company produces a wide range of programs for TV and radio and also meets image and content needs in such diverse fields as Hagetaka: The Movie, events like Tokyo Jazz, and DVD and character goods sales.

    NHK Enterprises was merged with International Media Corporation (MICO) in April, 2010 with the goal of reinforcing its international reach in diverse operations from the overseas sales of programs and goods to joint international program productions.

    The complete digitalization of Japan’s terrestrial TV services is due in 2011 and NHK Enterprises’ new ‘Three-Year Corporate Plan’ sets the goal of development as a new type of corporation, a provider of comprehensive “content-related services” for the digital age. The company will continue to strengthen our powers of planning, development and production for the digital age, supporting public broadcasting services and simultaneously seeking to maximize the value of “contents” through sales and applications.

    NEP revenue in 2010 amounted 47.0 billion yen and the company employs about 500 people.

    For more click here:

  • The MENA region’s 2nd entertainment content marketplace MYCONTENT will be held in Dubai from 30th Nov. - 3rd Dec. in 2011 in conjunction with 4th Dubai International Character & Licensing Fair and 4th Dubai World Game Expo.
    Website: http://www.mycontent.ae/

    MYCONTENT is the international entertainment content marketplace (exhibition & conference) for the Middle East and North Africa. It is essentially a marketplace for networking, producing, co-producing, selling, buying, distributing, and financing entertainment content. It provides the best biz opportunities for professionals involved in the TV, film, animation, kids programmes, documentary, mobile and internet content, digital media industry with the perfect platform to meet buyers and sellers and distributers from the region.

    Koichi Yokoyama
    Project Manager
    INDEX Conferences & Exhibitions Organisation Est.
    Email: koichi.yokoyama@index.ae

  • Global shipments of 3D TV sets in 2010 are expected to total 3.2 million worldwide, according to DisplaySearch.The findings from the Q4 report include: in the global broadcast environment, South African countries have opted to jump straight to the latest DVB-T2 broadcast standard.

    Globally, DisplaySearch forecasts that almost 20 million TV sets will ship with DVB-T2 decoding in 2015; 21% of all TVs shipped in 2010 are forecast to have internet connectivity. This category is forecast to grow to over 122 million in 2014, with emerging markets providing a significant portion of the growth as broadband adoption surges.

    TV set makers are addressing the new opportunities in emerging markets for flat panel TVs, with TV products being launched that are customised to consumers in these regions. Low power consumption, resilience to electricity supply failure, robust reception and different local preferences are being actualized in new TV models.

    Competitive pressures in the industry are rapidly making 3D a compulsory feature, according to DisplaySearch, who forecast nearly 18 million 3D sets will be shipped in 2011, rising to over 91 million in 2014.

  • Over the last few years, Television in Africa has become more due to the arrival of new private channels. But the competition will reached an unprecedented level by 2015 when governments will switch the DTT button, and when telcos and cable operators will start to offer multi-play packs - which will include TV.

    In the meantime African TV stations such as TV5 Monde are trying to bring innovations and differentiate themselves to keep their audiences high on the continent and among the Diaspora. After a launching a web portal dedicated to Africa, TV5Monde broadcasts new programmes focused on Africa.

    ‘Quoi de neuf doc ?’ (what’s up doc?) programme provided a series of  tips to improve health standards in Africa.

    "Maghreb-Orient-Express", a special TV news edition from TV5Monde was broadcast on Sunday, February 6, 2011 at 20:00 (Paris time) on TV5Monde France, Belgium and Switzerland. The programme provided a review of the recent crisis in Egypt. Will President Mubarak give in to pressure from the street and from diplomatic mainly coming from the United States? After the revolution in Tunisia, shall we expect the beginnings of an "Arab Spring"?

    Guests on the set of the mag were Paula Jacques, born in Cairo, writer and radio host, author of " Kayro Jacobi, juste avant l"oubli"; Robert Solé, journalist and writer of Egyptian origin, author of "An Evening in Cairo"; Walid Mattar, Tunisian director, author of the film " Condamnations", and with duplex in Cairo, with Nadia Kamel, Egyptian filmmaker, author of "House Salad".
    Presented by Mohamed Kaci with Paul Germain as the Editor in Chief, the mag is 26 ' long.

    The Channel also broadcast an interview with Boutros Boutros-Ghali on developments in Egypt.

    As part of FESPACO 2011, TV5Monde will broadcast a 52 'documentary called «Ouaga Paradiso" on Tuesday 1st March 2011 at17:00 on TV5Monde France, Belgium, Switzerland and at FESPACO 2011. For the last 40 years Ouagadougou has been hosting the largest African film festival, FESPACO. This documentary reflects the reality of African cinema through the lives of four filmmakers -Boubakar Diallo, Emmanuel Rotoubam, Carine Sawadogo, and Kouka Aimé Zongo- who struggle every day with passion and determination to release their films. A new wind blowing across the African film ...The film directed by Thierry Robert, includes the following authors: Thierry Robert, Chim Yong and Alix Bayle. Narrated by Soro Solo, it was produced by ‘The Good Guest’.

  • On Friday 4 February 2011, Members and supporters of the international press freedom NGO Reporters Without Borders demonstrated outside the Egyptian embassy in Paris at midday today to express their outrage at the systematic use of violence against journalists in Egypt since 2 February.

    Chanting “The news is being killed” and “Egypt, stop violence against journalists,” the Reporters Without Borders activists brandished posters showing journalists who have been physically attacked.

    “We have come to the Egyptian embassy to denounce the campaign of hate and violence against the international media in Egypt,” Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Jean-François Julliard said. “The photos of journalists who have been injured, beaten, roughed up and arrested testify to an alarming situation of constant harassment designed to stifle news coverage and rid Cairo of the journalists.”

    Julliard added: “After censoring the Internet for several days, the authorities are now targeting journalists physically. This is unacceptable and must stop at once.”

    Journalists have repeatedly been the targets of violence in a witch-hunt by President Hosni Mubarak’s supporters since 2 February. The list of journalists who have been roughed up, arrested, beaten or assaulted by mobs keeps getting longer. Reporters Without Borders has already expressed its concern about the dangerous climate.

    On a separate note, it was reported that three French journalists covering anti-government protests in Egypt were detained by armed men, blindfolded and subjected to hours of interrogation before being released in the middle of the night, their TV station said on Friday. RFI's correspondent in Cairo reports that reporters have been targets of physical attack and harassment.
    Reporters Without Borders was pleased that Internet access was restored on 3rd Feb 2011 in Egypt after being blocked for five days, but the organization calls for vigilance.

  • The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned about the well-being of two Ivorian journalists who have been detained without charge for 10 days amid reports that they have been tortured in custody.

    Aboubacar Sanogo and Yayoro Charles Lopez Kangbé have been held by the Ivorian military police in Abidjan since January 28, according to local journalists and news reports. The journalists have been described as "rebels" by newspapers supporting Laurent Gbagbo, the incumbent president who has contested November election results that showed him as losing.

    Authorities have disclosed no formal charges against the two journalists, and have provided no description or evidence of alleged wrongdoing. No court proceedings have been held or scheduled. The Ivorian constitution prohibits detention without charge beyond 48 hours, according to Ivorian legal experts.

    Local journalists said Sanogo and Kangbé produced programs for TV Notre Patrie, a station controlled by Forces Nouvelles rebels who have controlled the north since the outbreak of a civil war that split the country in 2002. Based in the northern city of Bouaké, the station airs news and programs on a frequency of the government-controlled national broadcaster Radiodiffusion-Télévision Ivoirienne (RTI), local journalists told CPJ. Although the station does not have a broadcast license from the government-controlled broadcast regulator, its journalists have interviewed several officials of the Gbagbo government and covered their visits in the Bouaké area, Bouaké journalist Ladji Abou Sanogo told CPJ.

    Sanogo and Kangbé were headed to the Golf hotel in Abidjan, the besieged headquarters of opposition leader Alassane Ouattara, for interviews when they were picked up by security forces loyal to Gbagbo, according to news reports. Kenneth Blackman, a spokesman for the U.N. peacekeeping force in Ivory Coast, told local news media that Sanogo and Kangbé were journalists who had flown aboard a U.N. aircraft from Bouaké to Abidjan prior to their arrests.

    Brahima Coulibaly, a lawyer defending the journalists, told local media that Sanogo and Kangbé had been beaten with rifle butts and burned with cigarettes while in custody. Idrissa Navoun Soro, another defense lawyer, confirmed those accounts of mistreatment in an interview with CPJ. While police seized broadcasting equipment from the two journalists, the lawyers noted, they did not seize weapons or any evidence of rebel activity.

    In response to the allegations of torture, military police spokesman Capt. Ange Nouko told CPJ today that "I am not aware of anything." Gbagbo's communications minister, Ouattara Gnonzié, did not respond to CPJ's repeated calls for comment.

    "By detaining journalists Aboubacar Sanogo and Yayoro Charles Lopez Kangbé without due process, the Gbagbo government is violating the Ivorian constitution it is swearing to uphold in public," said CPJ Africa Advocacy Coordinator Mohamed Keita. "We call on the administration of President Laurent Gbagbo to release these journalists, to halt mistreatment of them, and to investigate and bring to justice all those responsible for the reported abuse."
    Gbagbo has disputed the results of the November 2010 presidential runoff that showed Ouattara as the clear victor. Those results have been backed by the United Nations and the international community, although the Ivorian Constitutional Court declared Gbagbo as the winner. The Gbagbo government has justified its continued legitimacy by invoking its adherence to the Ivorian constitution, according to CPJ research.

    CPJ is also concerned about the status and whereabouts of Wohi Douti and Traoré Salam, two RTI technicians detained on January 5. Gnonzié told CPJ in January that authorities had arrested the two on accusations of "sabotaging" station property. He said one of them had been released but would not identify that person. No formal charges have been filed against the two.

  • CTO reported that over one hundred broadcasting experts and ICT leaders congregated at the Southern Sun Grayston Hotel in Johannesburg from the 1-3 February 2011, to discuss and deliberate on the progress made in the switchover from analogue to digital broadcasting in Africa. Organised by the London-based Commonwealth Telecommunication’s Organisation (CTO), the conference seeked to address issues of policy and regulation, the adoption of the new European standard DVB-T2, funding mechanisms, technology, international frequency planning, the Digital Dividend, among others.

    Hon Roy Padayachie, Minister of Communications, South Africa, was expected to deliver the keynote address and officially open the conference, with speaker representations from the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA), Lesotho Communication Authority, Department of Communications, South Africa, The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), The Commonwealth Broadcasting Association (CBA), the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation and Botswana Telecommunications Authority, who also shared their experiences at the conference.

    Speaking about the challenges faced by African countries in its digital switchover strategy, Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, CEO of CTO said, “The migration from analogue to digital technologies can be a challenging one for a continent as large as Africa. However, shared best practices from ‘digital-ready’ countries can help alleviate some of the challenges faced during the migration. While these are challenges that are not new to any country that has gone through a digital switchover, in Africa it also addresses its socio-economic developmental needs, thereby bringing it closer to the Millennium Development Goals. It also creates new opportunities that of deploying advanced technologies and building electronic manufacturing hubs to meet the upcoming demands of needs such as a set-box.”

    Emphasising on the need for such forums, Dr. Mashilo Boloka, Director of Broadcasting Policy, Department of Communications, Republic of South Africa said, “As an annual event, CTO’s Digital Broadcasting Switchover Forum has over the years provided a strategic platform for sharing of information and new learnings on the implementation of digital broadcasting migration on the continent.  The forum’s ability to attract speakers beyond the African continent ensures that information shared is relevant for countries at the various phases of migration.”   

    Representative country experiences and reports on the migration from South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Botswana, Ghana, Mauritius and Israel were presented at the conference.

    For further information about the event, please visit here:

  • On February 4, 2011, SMC, a South Africa based association of Pay TV and Media consultants, has agreed to partner with CRM.COM Software Ltd to promote, sell and implement the CRM.COM Subscriber Management and Billing solutions for the Pay TV and Triple Play industry on the African continent.

    SMC comprises a group of professionals with extensive, hands-on experience in the Pay TV, telecommunications and broadcast media industries. SMC’s principal consultants are Pay TV industry experts Jock Anderson, Charlene Fullard and Neil Stokes. SMC offers assistance in business, strategic and organisational planning, business requirements definition, selection and implementation of industry-specific technology solutions.

    CRM.COM Software Ltd develops and markets one of the leading web-based Subscriber Management and Billing software solutions for the Pay TV and Triple Play industry. Headquartered in London, United Kingdom with regional offices in Greece and Cyprus, CRM.COM supports its software and its partners across Europe, Middle East and Africa.

  • On 24 Jan. 2011, Colin McLeod has been managing director of Emerging Markets EMEA, Universal Networks International since December 2007 and recently added BNA (Benelux, Nordics and South Africa) to his list of territories. From 2005 – 2007, he was Commercial Director across Central & Eastern Europe (and German speaking territories) for Sparrowhawk International Channels Ltd.

    Eutelsat Communications has announced the appointment of Edouard Silverio as group general counsel and company secretary on 24 Jan. 2011.

    In a recent communiqué, the Tunisian announced new nominations:
    - Adel Chiboub, National Radio Director,
    - Haythem Lasram, Director of Tunis Radio International channel,
    - Mounir Ben Mustapha, Director of Youth Radio,
    - Khaled el Oughlani, Director of Tunisia Culture Radio,
    - Ezzeddine el Amri, Director of Sfax Regional Radio,
    - Zouheir Ben Ahmed, Director of Monastir Regional Radio,
    - Mohamed Maamri, Director of Kef Regional Radio,
    - Moncef el Ouheibi, Director of Gafsa Regional radio and
    - Ameur Bouazza, Director of Tataouine Regional Radio.
    (3 February 2011, Tunisia Online)

  • Reminder: Call for Papers for ‘Reading & Producing Nollywood: An International Symposium’, March 23-25, 2011 at University of Lagos.

    A reminder that deadline is February 21 for submitting your proposals and abstracts to the Reading & Producing Nollywood: An International Symposium, on March 23-25 at the University of Lagos. Please click here: to download the CFP and go to the symposium website here:


    Arts, media convergence fellowships offered to journalists [Worldwide]

    Deadline:11/03/11, Clore Duffield Foundation
    Journalists who work in the arts or media convergence can apply for a fellowship. The Clore Leadership Programme aims to shape emerging creative leaders in the arts through in-depth of about 20 people a year.

    The fellowship, which lasts seven months, includes a 3-month work placement, training courses, mentoring and coaching. Fellows will also attend a residential course in Kent, England from September 12 to 23, 2011.
    Fellows must have at least five years experience and be able to demonstrate leadership and knowledge/experience in the cultural sector. Candidates from outside the UK can apply for the International Scholarships on the Clore Leadership Programme as well as for unfunded fellowships.
    UK music and arts reporter Paul Cutts used the award to travel to the US in 2008-2009, where he spent five months editing a Native American newspaper for the Shoshone and Arapaho tribes in the Lower Rocky mountains of Wyoming.
    There are a number of general and specialist fellowships available, of those, one is of particular interest to journalists and editors: “Sustainable Convergence of Media.”
    For more information, click here:

    Internews Network seeks senior resident journalism advisor in the DRC.
    The senior radio journalism advisor will oversee and coordinate a small team of trainers and support facilities to build the journalistic capacity of community radio stations in four provinces of DRC: Bandundu, Maniema, South Kivu and Katanga. Internews Network also seeks community radio resident journalism advisor in Sudan. More information here:

    ICFJ Launches Global Online Learning Center
    The International Center for Journalists has launched ICFJ Anywhere, a Web site offering journalism courses for participants around the world.
    The courses will cover a variety of topics. In Iran, for example, students will learn to cover social issues. In Latin America they will focus on immigration. Middle Eastern students will study investigative reporting.ICFJ currently offers a class on investigative journalism for Senegalese reporters.
    Instructors will teach the classes in local languages. When participants speak different languages, the program will translate their comments daily. On the Web site, students can search for courses by topic, region and deadline. The site also will feature stories from participants.
    For more information, click here:


    Manual for reporters who cover HIV/AIDS

    Published by Inter Press Service, is made of up of three parts and designed to be used as part of a week-long training session on gender and HIV.
    For more information click here:

    Guide aims to improve election reporting in Africa
    For information click here:

    Video: Tips for Journalists Covering Disaster Zones
    Joel Simon, Executive Director of the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists discusses what journalists should think about when covering disaster areas.
    For more information click here:

    Video: Using Google Maps in your coverage
    IJNet writer Seth Palmer explains how to use Google Maps within an online story and why it can be useful to readers and viewers.
    For more information click here:


    Video: health care in Kenya guide for journalists

    Award-winning journalist Rachel Jonesdiscusses how she is following up on her groundbreaking story on work covering health care in Kenya.
    For more information click here:


    In Namibia, a radio seeks child presenters.

    Looking for new presenters and quickly gaining popularity, Uitani ChildLine Radio will be hosting auditions this month.

  • 10-20 February 2011
    “Berlinale” – Berlin International Film Festival (Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin)

    Venue: Berlin
    One of the most important dates on the international film industry’s calendar: About 400 films are shown every year, more than 19,000 film professionals from 128 countries, including about 4,000 journalists, almost 300,000 tickets sold.
    Clik here for details:

    16-21 February 2011
    2011 Pan African Film Festival (PAFF)

    Venue: Los Angeles, CA, USA
    Completed U.S. and international feature-length and short films festival. The PAFF presents and showcases a broad spectrum of Black creative works, particularly those that reinforce positive images and help to destroy negative stereotypes of Africans and African-Americans.  In addition to the film festival, the PAFF presents a world renowned Art Show featuring over 100 fine artists and craftspeople from around the world showcasing the best in Black fine art, sculpture, photography, unique handmade crafts, home furnishings, designer jewelry, designer fashions and accessories that highlight the artistry and beauty of the African aesthetic. 
    Click here for details:

    23 - 26 February 2011
    Aluta film festival 2011

    Venue: Kimberley – South Africa.
    Click here for details:

    26 February - 5 March 2011
    2011 FESPACO – 22nd edition

    Venue: Ouagadougou – Burkina Fasso
    Set up every two years, the well-known FESPACO festival is a week of celebration for Cinema for Africans and for the African Diaspora. Fespaco is considered as one of the biggest film events on the African continent. In 2011, it will be held under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Communication of Burkina Faso
    Click here for details:

    15th March 2011
    BOBTV conference, exhibition and trade show

    African film and TV programmes expo
    Topic: new media tech
    Venue: Abuja, Nigeria
    Click here for details:

    22 - 27 March 2011
    Festival Cinema Africano Asia e America Latina 21° edizione

    Venue: Milano, Italy
    Click here for details:

    22 - 24 March 2011
    IPTV World Forum 2011

    Venue: Olympia, London UK
    The IP&TV World Forum 2011, renamed this year to highlight and encompass the increasing number of cable companies adopting IP technology, focussing on hybrid, IP and Connected TV, will take place on 22-24 March at Londonís Olympia and will feature A comprehensive programme of more than 200 visionary speakers, including over 140 service providers from telcos, cablecos, broadcasters and content providers.
    Click here for details:

    23 - 25 March 2011
    AdExpo

    Venue: Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa
    Mega Media AdExpo is a platform where the advertising industry, marketers, advertisers and media buyers gather and meet to discuss and plan advertising for the year ahead. Apart from the exhibits, the event also aims to educate with its offering of short 30 min workshops on interesting topics from Mobile marketing to internet advertising.

    25 March - 9 April 2011
    Afrika Filmfestival

    Leuven, 3220 Holsbeek - Belgium
    The Afrika Filmfestival in Leuven is the most important annual showcase for African films in the Benelux. The festival promotes African cinema.
    Click here for details:

    4 - 7 April 2011
    MIPTV

    Venue: Cannes, France
    MIPTV is the world's leading content market. It provides a unique opportunity to meet the key decision makers in the TV/Film, Digital media and Cinema industry. 21,000 m2 exhibition floor.
    Click here for details:

    13 - 17 April 2011
    International Pan-African Film Festival of Cannes

    Venue: Cannes
    Submission of films and application for accreditation for the International Pan-African Film Festival of Cannes are now open.
    Closing date for film entries: February 20, 2011
    Film Genres Sought: Fiction/ Narrative, Documentary, Animation...
    Category: Long, Medium, Short film.
    Click here for details:

    April May 2011 (final dates tba)
    African film festival (AFF) in NYC

    NYC, USA
    Film Festival. AFF organisers accept submissions on an ongoing basis.
    Click here for details:

    May 2010
    The Helsinki African Film Festival

    Venue: Andorra, Eerikinkatu 11, 00100 Helsinki
    Call for short film submissions - Deadline 31 December 2010
    Helsinki African Film Festival brings an entertaining and thought-provoking selection of contemporary African cinema to Finland. The festival aims to foster communication across cultures and support dialogue on wide-ranging issues related to Africa
    Click here for details:

    2 - 5 June 2011
    Africa Festival

    Venue: Wurzburg, Germany
    Click here for details:

    11 - 19 June, 2011
    The 8th African Film Festival of Tarifa, Spain

    Venue: Tarifa, Spain
    Click here for details:


    2 - 10 July, 2011
    Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF)

    East Africa's largest film and arts festival, showcasing a broad spectrum of African films.
    Click here for details:

    20-22 July 2011
    Mediatech Africa 2011 Exhibition

    The Coca-Cola Dome
    Northgate - Johannesburg (South Africa)
    Mediatech Africa SA's only all-inclusive broadcast, media, entertainment and AV trade. It showcases cutting edge technologies and services from industry leaders in television and broadcast, sound and audio, lighting and staging, animation, communication and related fields.
    Click here for details:

    22-25 July 2011
    The 2nd Durban FilmMart over the 32nd Durban International Film Festival (21-31 July).

    Venue: Durban
    Contact: Durban Film Office –
    Click here for details:

    July - Sept. 2011 (final dates tba)
    African film festival (AFF) in NYC

    NYC, USA
    Outdoor Summer Screenings in NYC Parks. Featuring dance, music, food and of course films. AFF programs year-round; therefore, AFF organisers accept submissions on an ongoing basis.
    Click here for details:

    11-14 Septembre 2011
    HighwayAfrica 2011

    Venue: Rhodes Uni., Grahamstown, SA.
    A show focused on journalism and new multimedia. For fourteen years the Highway Africa conference has been at the centre of Africa’s debates on journalism and new media. The conference has over the years become the largest annual gathering of African journalists in the world.
    click here for details:

    3 - 8 Octobre 2011
    « Festival du Court Métrage Méditerranéen de Tanger »
    Venue: Tangier, Morocco
    A festival focused on short films.
    E-mail : ccm@menara.ma


    31 Oct 7 Nov 2011
    Out In Africa

    South African Gay and Lesbian Film Festival
    Venue: various, see website
    Click here for details:

    Oct - Nov, final dates tba
    Africa in Motion (AiM) Film Festival

    Venue: Edinburgh's Filmhouse cinema
    The UK's largest African Film Festival
    Click here for details:

    30th Nov. - 3rd Dec. 2011
    MYCONTENT, 4th Dubai International Character & Licensing Fair and 4th Dubai World Game Expo.

    Venue: Dubai
    MYCONTENT - (exhibition & conference) in dedicated to the Middle East & North Africa. It is MENA region’s 2nd entertainment content marketplace which will be held in conjunction with 4th Dubai International Character & Licensing Fair and 4th Dubai World Game Expo.
    Click here for details:

    Dec 2011 (final date tba)
    Africa Int. Film Festival

    Venue : Port Harcourt, Nigeria
    Click here for details:

    Dec 2011 (final date tba)
    Festival International du Film de Marrakech

    Venue : Marrakech, Morocco
    Click here for details:

    (final date tba)
    Festival du Monde Arabe du Court-métrage Azrou-Ifrane

    Click here for details:

Issue no 98 - 17 February 2011

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  • Last week, Africa’s biggest content market – Discop Africa – took place in Accra. The event brings together African broadcasters and producers with their international counterparts. It offers an ideal moment to take the pulse of what is happening in the industry. The event was spread over three floors so Russell Southwood expended serious shoe leather to find out what was happening both above and below the radar.

    The event produced no single big story but a clear set of trends emerged from the public conference sessions and discussions with a wide range of people:

    * There was a pre-conference workshop on co-productions. Ghanaian film-maker Kwesi Owusu complained that as the host country, there were not enough Ghanaian film-makers in attendance. Not surprisingly, the event was well attended by Nigeria producers who were all articulate and knew what they were looking for. The story of Gollywood is largely untold but Ghana has both high quality film-makers and post-production facilities. Somehow they have to be more like Nigerians in promoting the work they do.

    * Although the workshop was about co-production, there were not a lot of people in the room offering co-production finance. African broadcasters have occasionally come together to buy rights but have not yet (to the best of our knowledge) done so on co-productions. As a result, when Biola Alabi, Managing Director, M-Net Africa, one of the few companies providing production commissions on the continent, spoke she acted as a lightning rod for the frustrations of producers. They were all demanding that she spent more on production commissions. Rightly, she pointed out that Pay TV rights were secondary income and that it was doing as many commissions as its budgets allowed. She also said (and it was confirmed by one of the participants) that they had offered advertising and coverage to support cinema releases. DStv has just launched Africa Magic Yoruba and Africa Magic Hausa and its Nigeria soap Tinsel and its South African soap Jacob’s Cross are both on its premium HD channels.

    * African producers need to look to both finding sponsorship (see link to Mo Abudu clip below this article) and to cinema release. Africa’s Oprah Winfrey Mo Abudu described how she worked with M-Net and sponsors to get her show (Moments with Mo) off the ground. Several Nollywood producers talked about higher budget films showing only in cinemas and that with an increase in the number of cinemas in the country, the income had gone up. (For more details, see: http://bit.ly/fGFg5q) Even in Accra, there are now 2 more cinemas and one film producer was distributing digitally, using a security key. There also plans by companies like Cinemart to increase the number of cinemas and these are the missing financial element for the continent’s film industry. One distributor was talking about taking West African movies into selected South African cinemas.

    * Throughout the event, I seemed to be having conversations with both producers and companies who were talking about creating new channels. A broadcaster like Telesports in Togo is perhaps a sign of the future. As the name indicates, it does nothing but sport and claims 2 million viewers. It has rights to UEAFA, Champion des Footballs and the NBA. At least two other serious players are in the process of creating new sports channels for existing platforms. In addition, other successful producers are talking about local content channels with a variety of different focused themes. With all the testosterone running about on sport channels, it’s easy to forget that large parts of the schedule are for women. Gary Rathbone, Head of Africa, Supersport International said that they were seeking to become the African broadcaster of sport. In Zambia, it shows womens’ boxing: a gender crossover sport?

    * There was a session on South Africa: Post World Cup in which Mike Dearham, Head: Sales and Library Acquisition, DStv gave a very detailed and interesting presentation, studded with interesting facts. Currently DStv has 20,000 mobile TV subscribers and plans to have 180,000 by 2014. Online advertising in South Africa will go from 15% of total spend this year to 24% by 2014. Pay TV challenger Walk on Water will launch later this year offering super cheap bouquets: 5 channels for R49 (US$6.71)and 10 channels for R99 (US$13.57) per month. He also predicted that 5-10 years from now that the “release window” (with cascading dates for cinema, DVD, TV, etc) will disappear to be replaced by a single release date.

    * In the Differentiate your TV Channel workshop, panel speaker Ephraim Banda from the public broadcaster CRTV rucked up a considerable debate about public broadcasting by claiming CRTV did things better than its private sector equivalents. Many speakers (with a strong Nigerian representation) expressed outrage that the largely unimpressive public broadcasters could claim accolades of any kind for themselves. Whilst I find myself largely in that camp, you have to ask why it is CRTV as a public broadcaster (like many others on the continent) consistently gets between a quarter and a third of audience share. Is there audience simply stupid? I don’t think that’s an easy argument to sustain so perhaps more thought needs to be given to why their audiences keep watching.

    * Despite the often half-hearted approach to the digital transition in broadcasting on the continent, small private sector companies see to be pioneering roll-out ahead of Government. In Congo-Brazzaville, MNTV is offering a set-top box for US$80 and has attracted 6,000 subscribers over a relatively short period. A Ugandan company will shortly be launching a similar service. And these examples are perhaps the tip of the iceberg?

    * At Africa’s biggest film festival FESPACO this year, CFI are doing a day’s live broadcasting with 8 African broadcasters. Also TV5Monde are doing coverage from African film-makers themselves (see Investment News below). For African film and TV to continue to succeed, there needs to be media coverage. Another piece of this jigsaw might the launch by FCCE of Films and Stars Africa which will be focused on
    Nollywood, African movies and the best of Hollywood.

    The next DISCOP will take place in Nairobi in September and we look forward to seeing you there. Meanwhile, take a look at the clips below with some of the participants.

    Five video clips from last week’s Discop Accra:

    Mo Abudu, Executive Producer and hostess of Moments with Mo talks about getting the show off the ground
    click here:

    Alex Okosi, MD of MTV Network (Africa Region) on its Choose or lose it voter registration initiative
    click here:

    Farah Chaudhry, COO of A24 Media on the launch of Africa's Voice
    click here:

    Fathia Plange, CEO of VTV on the first season of Make Me a Success in Ghana and taking the second season across Africa
    click here:

    Patrick Akushie, Commercial Manager, Agence France-Presse talks about its strategy for selling news video in Africa
    click here:

  • Production Listings reports that Denzel Washington movie is on its way to the rainbow nation. The countdown to the arrival of Hollywood stars Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds in Cape Town has begun. Preparation for the shooting of the action movie Safe House (Action) is underway. The plot: The only surviving agent (Ryan Reynolds) of an attack on a CIA safe house must transport a dangerous prisoner (Denzil Washington) to safety while being pursued by forces that want both of them dead.

    Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds both star in the production. The film is directed by Daniel Espinosa. Casting: Sarah Haley Finn, The Sarah Finn Company, 588 N. Larchmont Blvd., 1st Fl., L.A., CA 90004.

    iol.co.za reported that local film and video industry agent Moonyeenn Lee Associates could be responsible for the local casting, which has already begun.

    The film’s production company, Moonlighting Films, has been quiet about details surrounding the movie so far. It is, however, believed that filming will begin in the middle of February.

  • On the 1st February 2011,  the African Film Festival of Tarifa announced that it will offer movies online. Sylvain Béletre from Balancing Act interviewed Filip Hruby, International Press Officer at Festival de Cine Africano de Tarifa – FCAT to find out more.

    Q: How does this new partnership work?

    A: The African Film Festival of Tarifa (www.fcat.es), has entered into a partnership with AfricanFilms.tv, a video-on-demand internet platform with headquarter in Dakar, Senegal, aiming to help the platform build up its catalogue of African films.

     “AfricaFilms.tv is very transparent and straight forward. It is commercial, but the focus is on the African filmmaker. Right holders get 50% of revenue, have online access to the back office and the cession of rights is non-exclusive” said AfricaFilm.tv CEO, Enrico Chiesa (see our previous story: click here:

    With AfricaFilms.tv, film fans will be able to watch movies from the 500 films rich FCAT library on the video-on-demand platform when it launches commercially in June 2011. This legal, commercial downloading platform, available worldwide, guarantees fair revenue to African filmmakers and producers.

    We hope to provide the platform with 20-30 titles from our library per year. Securing the rights and all the materials related will take time and effort, but we are convinced this is the right platform for us and for the filmmakers.

    Q: What are the results of your Spanish-African co-productions?

    A: An important objective of the FCAT is to helping African filmmakers realize their project through international (mainly Spanish) co-productions. Africa Produce forum, where African filmmakers present their projects to Spanish producers, will celebrate its 3rd edition this year. It will also provide results from the two previous forums - 2 running co-productions, 1 co-production before contract sign off, 3 copyrights of African movies bought by Spanish TVs.

    In January FCAT closed selection process for the 3rd Africa Produce - forum between African filmmakers and Spanish producers, TV commissioning editors and co-production managers, which goal is to introduce African cinema projects to the Spanish co-production market. For this year forum FCAT received 18 feature-length projects and 12 documentary projects, coming from 14 African countries. The most entries in fiction category came from Nigeria (4) and Cameroon (4), while the most documentary projects came from Burkina Faso (3). For the first time ever Equatorial Guinea and Namibia applied in the forum.

    Six projects will be selected by FCAT jury and their directors will be present at the festival to convince Spanish producers. ‘We aim to continue promoting co-production between Africa and Spain. Two films, from Senegal and Mali, presented in the previous editions are now in development’ said Carlos Domínguez, África Produce‘s co-ordinator.

    Q: What is the African film festival of Tarifa doing this year?

    A: FCAT – Festival de Cine Africano de Tarifa is an independent and competitive film festival and one of the biggest African film festivals in Europe. The FCAT celebrates its eighth edition from 11th to 19th June 2011 in Andalusian town Tarifa - the closest town of continental Europe to the African continent - the two continents are in fact only 14 km apart from one another in this geographical area.
    This year FCAT will screen up over hundred African films and it will bring together some of the most distinguished African filmmakers. Its aim is to spread knowledge about African film production by exhibiting a representative wide variety of audiovisual African works every year: from the classics to more innovative and recent films, from documentaries to feature length fiction films, from South Africa to Morocco and from Senegal to Ethiopia. (More on www.fcat.es)
    FCAT 2010 attracted over 14 thousand visitors/viewers and its growing media coverage represents another 18 million viewers/listeners/readers, who were "hit" by news regarding FCAT 2010.

    Q: Are calls for entries still open?

    A: Filmmakers from all over Africa can send their films to FCAT’s committee until February 25th, which is in charge of selecting movies for the competing and non-competing sections of the festival.

    The 3rd African-Spanish film Co-production forum’s submission is closed, but we still have submissions of films for official competition open – to be closed on February 25th, and submissions of for 4th PhotoAfrica, which closes March 1st 2011.
    At the same time African photographers can send their entries for the 4th PhotoAfrica until March 1st. 2011.

    More info regarding application process can be found on www.fcat.es

  • A new report released by Rhodes University in South Africa analyzes citizen journalism within Africa's unique political, economic and technological context.

    The ethnographic study, "Citizen Journalism and Democracy in Africa," reveals that the media landscape is shifting in Africa to allow more engaged citizen participation in journalism. According to the report, there has been rapid growth in information and communication technologies; the Internet is increasingly available to citizens, and the number of cell phones has surpassed fixed lines in most countries.

    Along with these developments, journalism is rapidly evolving into democratic participation, it says. Citizens now have the ability to report news or express views on their community, and news is becoming "of the people, by the people and for the people."

    The report also outlines several problems associated with citizen journalism, namely: Who authorizes this kind of journalism? How can citizens be held accountable? Should citizen journalism be institutionalized?

    To view the report, written by Fackson Banda, click here:

  • In Luanda, the activities of the Angolan Institute of Cinema, Audio-visual and Multimedia (IACAM) in 2010 were marked by a strong personnel training component and concerted actions in the promotion of the national cinema, with the stress going on the Luanda Cinema International Fair (FIC) held on November 19-26, 2010. Simao Souindoula, Historian and Art Critic, Fellow of the Scientist Committee of World Festival of Negro Arts in Luanda (Angola) provided a year in review.

    Training and promotion of cinema were top of IACAM activities in 2010.
     
    According to IACAM programme of activities, the institution secured audio-visual training of more than 100 professionals in the various fields of the so-called seventh art.

    As an example, the institution ran a scriptwriting course from August 1 to November 15, 2010 in Luanda, with the participation of 50 professionals.
     
    In addition, IACAM ran the second seminar on "The relevance of the anthropological studies in Angola”, from March 6-7, in south-western Namibe province.
     
    The programme gathered researchers in the fields of social science, particularly anthropology, with debates on the state of anthropological studies in Angola, its importance and perspective.

    In a separate note, it was reported that Angolan Mass Media minister, Carolina Cerqueira, start of February 2011 in northern Malanje province urged for a greater rigour in management of technical and administrative equipments of Television Station (TPA) production centre in the province.

  • The crisis in Côte d’Ivoire drags on, with the political leadership of the country deadlocked. The 2010 elections had raised hopes across the country that the eight-year crisis would be finally resolved; instead the country now has two presidents who claim national authority. Alassane Ouattara was declared the winner by the Independent Electoral Commission (CEI) and is backed by the international community, while the Constitutional Court invalidated these results and proclaimed incumbent Laurent Gbagbo as the winner. International mediators have sought to negotiate a solution, but to date without success. In this tense context, violence is rising within communities as well as between the armed forces and the civilian population. More than 20,000 people have fled to neighbouring Liberia, and no end to the stalemate is in sight.

    Search for Common Ground (SFCG), with its mandate of conflict transformation and dialogue, has a critical role to play in calming tensions and promoting moderate voices within this environment of extremism. SFCG has been working in Côte d’Ivoire since 2005, producing weekly radio programmes that provide information; bridge divides of identity, geography, and affiliation; and offer alternatives to the volatile rhetoric frequently featured in the media. SFCG actively supported the steps leading up to and including the elections process, including disarmament, national identification, voter registration, civic education, and election monitoring. SFCG is now focusing its efforts on trying to calm rising divisions, and provide accurate information where rumours and manipulation are rampant.

    Despite significant challenges, SFCG is doing its best to maintain its production and broadcast of high-quality radio programmes that offer credible and balanced information. With most media outlets identified with one political side or the other, SFCG has built a strong reputation of credibility and neutrality, and people particularly outside of Abidjan rely on SFCG as a source of information. Therefore, despite obstacles ranging from physical insecurity, citizens’ reluctance to speak openly for interviews, or challenges finding positive role models within communities, and transportation issues in sending programmes for broadcast, SFCG continues its mission. As Ouattara About Karno, SFCG’s Studio Coordinator explains: "It is more than necessary to continue our mission and to adapt our programs to the current situation. We have to look for role models within our communities to give them a voice and to share positive values, which should guide the Ivoirians in this tense period."

    With the help of its partners within local communities to gather content, as well as with the support of the United Nations radio station ONUCI FM for broadcast, SFCG studios in Côte d’Ivoire have produced a series of radio programmes to support the end of the crisis. Topics have addressed a number of important themes, including “After the election, it is not war,” “Dialogue on values and priorities for a peaceful management of the post-electoral crisis,” and “Women propose solutions to ease the climate.” In this highly sensitive environment, SFCG focuses on values such as unity, respect of the democratic rules, and peaceful management of crisis. SFCG is particularly focusing on balanced reporting and on the diversity and representativeness of those who are interviewed in the programmes. In addition to maintaining balance in its programmes, one of the guiding principles of SFCG in this context is to offer a positive voice, an alternative to violence and conflict for its listeners.

    Accessing content from around the country has not been easy given the insecurity. Ouattara About Karno explains SFCG’s approach to this challenge: “Our partners greatly supported us in gathering voices for the programmes, especially in this context, when citizens do not trust the media. Our partners were the first to stand up and speak out against violence and partisanship during this period, using our programmes as a voice.” Among its local partners, SFCG relied on civil society organisations, such as youth and women organisations, that promote reconciliation at the local level while remaining neutral. SFCG also relied on intellectuals who offer an objective voice in the debate and throw light on issues without being partisan. SFCG paid particular attention to the positive message and values that its partners could share with the listeners. Thanks to these partners, SFCG was able to identify role models, outstanding individuals who have emerged as moderate voices within their community and who often have a positive impact on their peers.

    While some Ivoirian media are used to propagate false information or stir violence, the production of constructive radio programs spreading positive values is particularly appreciated by the population, as this listener explains: “I was listening to one of your programs. It talked about the proper behavior of a citizen after the election and why it is important to be tolerant in politics. The message broadcast has brought hope and made me understand that all is not lost. Because some people still believe in and work toward peace.”

    To listen to one of the radio programmes recently produced and broadcast by SFCG studios in Côte d’Ivoire, visit the audio section of its website www.radiopeaceafrica.org

  • Eutelsat announced on 7 February 2011 that the Middle East and North Africa are representing some of the most vibrant markets for satellite-delivered digital entertainment, enterprise and government services.

    Key players are assembling in Dubai for the annual CABSAT exhibition and conference. Eutelsat Communications, one of the world's leading satellite operators, will be exhibiting once again at this major digital media event to demonstrate new broadcast and Internet resources for users across North Africa and the Middle East.

    As the main platform for multi-channel reception in North Africa and the Middle East, satellite is the star performer, delivering bandwidth and coverage that enables channels to optimise their audience, and pay-TV platforms to aggregate a diverse range of content and progressively introduce High-Definition channels. According to Eutelsat's own audience research (Eutelsat's two-yearly survey of cable and satellite homes includes research in 12 countries in North Africa and the Middle East), the number of satellite homes in North Africa and the Middle East continues to climb, growing on average by 7.7% per year since 2008, to 48.7 million. New data from Pyramid Research forecasts that pay-TV platforms in the region are expected to experience the world's highest growth rate over the coming five years.

    Within the satellite TV universe, Eutelsat's video neighbourhoods have consolidated their position as the key points of reference in the MENA region, notably:

    A total of 685 channels, of which over 70% in Arabic, are broadcast from 7° West by Eutelsat's Atlantic Bird 4A satellite and the NileSat satellites. There is also a growing HDTV market in the region, with 27 HD channels (of which 14 on Atlantic Bird 4A), up in one year from only two channels. The launch in 4th quarter 2011 of Eutelsat's Atlantic Bird 7 satellite to 7° West will mark significant new progress in broadcasting resources for North Africa and the Middle East. Atlantic Bird 7 will increase Eutelsat Ku-band capacity at 7° West to 50 transponders.

    Looking ahead already to the new face of television, Eutelsat will be showcasing the capacity of satellites to deliver 3D signals both Direct-to-Home and to out-of-home venues. A 3D workshop on new trends and technologies will be held on Wednesday 9th February from 11am to 12pm on the Eutelsat stand (please confirm your attendance in advance at the Eutelsat stand).

    Eutelsat’s KA-SAT is now ready to serve Internet, data and video markets in the region. In addition to renewing and expanding resources for video broadcasting in the MENA region, Eutelsat is addressing the market for IP services with a new all Ka-band high-capacity satellite. Launched in December 2010, and on track to enter commercial service in May 2011, KA-SAT's 70 Gbps of throughput makes it the world's most powerful multi-spotbeam Ka-band satellite.

    Operating in combination with an advanced network of gateways linked by a fibre ring to four Points of Presence in Europe, this new infrastructure will herald significant economic benefits for point-to-point video, data and IP applications across Europe and North Africa, with a dedicated spotbeam over the Middle East including coverage of Dubai, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and parts of Oman. Business services able to be carried through KA-SAT include network interconnection, professional Internet access, back-up services and SCADA applications. It is also suited for professional video solutions such as regional and corporate television and Satellite News Gathering, as well as High Definition broadcasts given the bandwidth available.

    The ground is being prepared for the launch in 2013 of the Eurobird 2A high-capacity satellite which will be jointly owned and operated by Eutelsat and ictQatar (representing the State of Qatar). This new satellite will provide expanded coverage and performance across the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia to follow-on from Eutelsat's EUROBIRD™ 2 satellite at 25.5° East. In addition to securing Ku-band continuity for Eutelsat and Ku-band resources for ictQatar, Eurobird 2A will initiate a Ka-band capability, opening new business opportunities for both partners.

  • Anne-Ryan Heatwole, PBS MediaShift Idea Lab reported on 02/02/11 in ijnet.com that from January 9 to 15, Southern Sudan held a referendum to decide if the region should become an independent state. The results have now been announced.

    It's essential to keep citizens informed of new developments during the voting period -- and one of the best ways to reach large numbers of people is through radio. The Sudan Radio Service, which has been operating since 2006, recently began incorporating mobile technology into its work in a two-pronged approach to monitor the reach of their broadcasts and to solicit reader feedback.

    Jacob Korenblum of SoukTel, the company that designed both mobile services, explains that the service, which is based out of Nairobi, Kenya, and Juba, Sudan, wanted to make sure that their broadcasts were being heard by their target audience.

    "The power of radio is that it can reach millions of people; the challenge of radio is that you don't know if people are listening," he said. "So I think that there was a big need for ways to get feedback from listeners across southern Sudan."

    In order to monitor the reliability and clarity of the radio broadcasts, SoukTel designed a survey for field workers in ten different regions where the Sudan Radio Service is heard. Previously, the broadcasts were sent out of Nairobi over shortwave radio frequencies, but the new station in Juba uses an FM signal. The branching survey, available in both English and Arabic, leads the field workers through a series of questions to describe the sound quality of the programs and, if the sound quality is poor, potential reasons for the interrupted service. The information is sent back to the main radio centers where the data is used to track trends in service interruption and to make changes in problem areas. Written in PHP and SQL, the survey is available to field workers entirely through SMS so it works on basic phones.

  • At the end of last year, UNESCO and Al Jazeera Satellite Network have signed an agreement to promote freedom of expression and access to information in the Arab world. UNESCO’s Director-General Irina Bokova and Al Jazeera’s Director General, Wadah Khanfar, signed the Memorandum of Understanding in Doha (Qatar) during Ms Bokova’s official visit to the country.

    “This agreement advances a new kind of partnership UNESCO is establishing with media organizations,” said Ms Bokova. “The UN charter proclaims the promotion of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all. As a leading source of news and information about the Arab world and beyond, Al Jazeera is well positioned to uphold these principles in this region.”

    Advocacy and awareness-raising are key components of the agreement. The partnership will research the status of the freedom of expression in the Arab region and share findings through Al Jazeera news and programmes.

    World Press Freedom Day on 3 May 2011 will be an annual focal point of the two-year agreement. UNESCO and Al Jazeera will work together to host a series of events to mark the Day, including documentary films and photojournalism exhibitions.

    To further encourage freedom of expression, a correspondent who has demonstrated exceptional professionalism and courage while covering armed conflict or natural disaster will be awarded a trophy at the Al Jazeera International Documentary Film Festival. The award will be funded by Al Jazeera and UNESCO will be part of the selection committee.

  • NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) and NHK Enterprises (NEP) attended DISCOP Africa for the first time from Japan. NHK, Japan's sole public broadcaster, has a high reputation for quality programs in almost every genre, and NHK Enterprises, NHK's international business arm, brought a catalogue of over 1,000 titles of NHK programs.

    "The African market is still new to us, so I look forward to building new relationships and to seeking a better understanding of the needs and trends in the African market. I'm keen to see how our poplar series like "Wildlife (nature documentary)","Discover Science (science entertainment)", and "Samurai 7 (animation)" will do here," said sales representative Miho Yoshimasu.

    Naoji Ono, President and CEO of NHK Enterprises, Inc. (NEP) explained that the company produces a wide range of programs for TV and radio and also meets image and content needs in such diverse fields as Hagetaka: The Movie, events like Tokyo Jazz, and DVD and character goods sales.

    NHK Enterprises was merged with International Media Corporation (MICO) in April, 2010 with the goal of reinforcing its international reach in diverse operations from the overseas sales of programs and goods to joint international program productions.

    The complete digitalization of Japan’s terrestrial TV services is due in 2011 and NHK Enterprises’ new ‘Three-Year Corporate Plan’ sets the goal of development as a new type of corporation, a provider of comprehensive “content-related services” for the digital age. The company will continue to strengthen our powers of planning, development and production for the digital age, supporting public broadcasting services and simultaneously seeking to maximize the value of “contents” through sales and applications.

    NEP revenue in 2010 amounted 47.0 billion yen and the company employs about 500 people.

    For more click here:

  • The MENA region’s 2nd entertainment content marketplace MYCONTENT will be held in Dubai from 30th Nov. - 3rd Dec. in 2011 in conjunction with 4th Dubai International Character & Licensing Fair and 4th Dubai World Game Expo.
    Website: http://www.mycontent.ae/

    MYCONTENT is the international entertainment content marketplace (exhibition & conference) for the Middle East and North Africa. It is essentially a marketplace for networking, producing, co-producing, selling, buying, distributing, and financing entertainment content. It provides the best biz opportunities for professionals involved in the TV, film, animation, kids programmes, documentary, mobile and internet content, digital media industry with the perfect platform to meet buyers and sellers and distributers from the region.

    Koichi Yokoyama
    Project Manager
    INDEX Conferences & Exhibitions Organisation Est.
    Email: koichi.yokoyama@index.ae

  • Global shipments of 3D TV sets in 2010 are expected to total 3.2 million worldwide, according to DisplaySearch.The findings from the Q4 report include: in the global broadcast environment, South African countries have opted to jump straight to the latest DVB-T2 broadcast standard.

    Globally, DisplaySearch forecasts that almost 20 million TV sets will ship with DVB-T2 decoding in 2015; 21% of all TVs shipped in 2010 are forecast to have internet connectivity. This category is forecast to grow to over 122 million in 2014, with emerging markets providing a significant portion of the growth as broadband adoption surges.

    TV set makers are addressing the new opportunities in emerging markets for flat panel TVs, with TV products being launched that are customised to consumers in these regions. Low power consumption, resilience to electricity supply failure, robust reception and different local preferences are being actualized in new TV models.

    Competitive pressures in the industry are rapidly making 3D a compulsory feature, according to DisplaySearch, who forecast nearly 18 million 3D sets will be shipped in 2011, rising to over 91 million in 2014.

  • Over the last few years, Television in Africa has become more due to the arrival of new private channels. But the competition will reached an unprecedented level by 2015 when governments will switch the DTT button, and when telcos and cable operators will start to offer multi-play packs - which will include TV.

    In the meantime African TV stations such as TV5 Monde are trying to bring innovations and differentiate themselves to keep their audiences high on the continent and among the Diaspora. After a launching a web portal dedicated to Africa, TV5Monde broadcasts new programmes focused on Africa.

    ‘Quoi de neuf doc ?’ (what’s up doc?) programme provided a series of  tips to improve health standards in Africa.

    "Maghreb-Orient-Express", a special TV news edition from TV5Monde was broadcast on Sunday, February 6, 2011 at 20:00 (Paris time) on TV5Monde France, Belgium and Switzerland. The programme provided a review of the recent crisis in Egypt. Will President Mubarak give in to pressure from the street and from diplomatic mainly coming from the United States? After the revolution in Tunisia, shall we expect the beginnings of an "Arab Spring"?

    Guests on the set of the mag were Paula Jacques, born in Cairo, writer and radio host, author of " Kayro Jacobi, juste avant l"oubli"; Robert Solé, journalist and writer of Egyptian origin, author of "An Evening in Cairo"; Walid Mattar, Tunisian director, author of the film " Condamnations", and with duplex in Cairo, with Nadia Kamel, Egyptian filmmaker, author of "House Salad".
    Presented by Mohamed Kaci with Paul Germain as the Editor in Chief, the mag is 26 ' long.

    The Channel also broadcast an interview with Boutros Boutros-Ghali on developments in Egypt.

    As part of FESPACO 2011, TV5Monde will broadcast a 52 'documentary called «Ouaga Paradiso" on Tuesday 1st March 2011 at17:00 on TV5Monde France, Belgium, Switzerland and at FESPACO 2011. For the last 40 years Ouagadougou has been hosting the largest African film festival, FESPACO. This documentary reflects the reality of African cinema through the lives of four filmmakers -Boubakar Diallo, Emmanuel Rotoubam, Carine Sawadogo, and Kouka Aimé Zongo- who struggle every day with passion and determination to release their films. A new wind blowing across the African film ...The film directed by Thierry Robert, includes the following authors: Thierry Robert, Chim Yong and Alix Bayle. Narrated by Soro Solo, it was produced by ‘The Good Guest’.

  • On Friday 4 February 2011, Members and supporters of the international press freedom NGO Reporters Without Borders demonstrated outside the Egyptian embassy in Paris at midday today to express their outrage at the systematic use of violence against journalists in Egypt since 2 February.

    Chanting “The news is being killed” and “Egypt, stop violence against journalists,” the Reporters Without Borders activists brandished posters showing journalists who have been physically attacked.

    “We have come to the Egyptian embassy to denounce the campaign of hate and violence against the international media in Egypt,” Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Jean-François Julliard said. “The photos of journalists who have been injured, beaten, roughed up and arrested testify to an alarming situation of constant harassment designed to stifle news coverage and rid Cairo of the journalists.”

    Julliard added: “After censoring the Internet for several days, the authorities are now targeting journalists physically. This is unacceptable and must stop at once.”

    Journalists have repeatedly been the targets of violence in a witch-hunt by President Hosni Mubarak’s supporters since 2 February. The list of journalists who have been roughed up, arrested, beaten or assaulted by mobs keeps getting longer. Reporters Without Borders has already expressed its concern about the dangerous climate.

    On a separate note, it was reported that three French journalists covering anti-government protests in Egypt were detained by armed men, blindfolded and subjected to hours of interrogation before being released in the middle of the night, their TV station said on Friday. RFI's correspondent in Cairo reports that reporters have been targets of physical attack and harassment.
    Reporters Without Borders was pleased that Internet access was restored on 3rd Feb 2011 in Egypt after being blocked for five days, but the organization calls for vigilance.

  • The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned about the well-being of two Ivorian journalists who have been detained without charge for 10 days amid reports that they have been tortured in custody.

    Aboubacar Sanogo and Yayoro Charles Lopez Kangbé have been held by the Ivorian military police in Abidjan since January 28, according to local journalists and news reports. The journalists have been described as "rebels" by newspapers supporting Laurent Gbagbo, the incumbent president who has contested November election results that showed him as losing.

    Authorities have disclosed no formal charges against the two journalists, and have provided no description or evidence of alleged wrongdoing. No court proceedings have been held or scheduled. The Ivorian constitution prohibits detention without charge beyond 48 hours, according to Ivorian legal experts.

    Local journalists said Sanogo and Kangbé produced programs for TV Notre Patrie, a station controlled by Forces Nouvelles rebels who have controlled the north since the outbreak of a civil war that split the country in 2002. Based in the northern city of Bouaké, the station airs news and programs on a frequency of the government-controlled national broadcaster Radiodiffusion-Télévision Ivoirienne (RTI), local journalists told CPJ. Although the station does not have a broadcast license from the government-controlled broadcast regulator, its journalists have interviewed several officials of the Gbagbo government and covered their visits in the Bouaké area, Bouaké journalist Ladji Abou Sanogo told CPJ.

    Sanogo and Kangbé were headed to the Golf hotel in Abidjan, the besieged headquarters of opposition leader Alassane Ouattara, for interviews when they were picked up by security forces loyal to Gbagbo, according to news reports. Kenneth Blackman, a spokesman for the U.N. peacekeeping force in Ivory Coast, told local news media that Sanogo and Kangbé were journalists who had flown aboard a U.N. aircraft from Bouaké to Abidjan prior to their arrests.

    Brahima Coulibaly, a lawyer defending the journalists, told local media that Sanogo and Kangbé had been beaten with rifle butts and burned with cigarettes while in custody. Idrissa Navoun Soro, another defense lawyer, confirmed those accounts of mistreatment in an interview with CPJ. While police seized broadcasting equipment from the two journalists, the lawyers noted, they did not seize weapons or any evidence of rebel activity.

    In response to the allegations of torture, military police spokesman Capt. Ange Nouko told CPJ today that "I am not aware of anything." Gbagbo's communications minister, Ouattara Gnonzié, did not respond to CPJ's repeated calls for comment.

    "By detaining journalists Aboubacar Sanogo and Yayoro Charles Lopez Kangbé without due process, the Gbagbo government is violating the Ivorian constitution it is swearing to uphold in public," said CPJ Africa Advocacy Coordinator Mohamed Keita. "We call on the administration of President Laurent Gbagbo to release these journalists, to halt mistreatment of them, and to investigate and bring to justice all those responsible for the reported abuse."
    Gbagbo has disputed the results of the November 2010 presidential runoff that showed Ouattara as the clear victor. Those results have been backed by the United Nations and the international community, although the Ivorian Constitutional Court declared Gbagbo as the winner. The Gbagbo government has justified its continued legitimacy by invoking its adherence to the Ivorian constitution, according to CPJ research.

    CPJ is also concerned about the status and whereabouts of Wohi Douti and Traoré Salam, two RTI technicians detained on January 5. Gnonzié told CPJ in January that authorities had arrested the two on accusations of "sabotaging" station property. He said one of them had been released but would not identify that person. No formal charges have been filed against the two.

  • CTO reported that over one hundred broadcasting experts and ICT leaders congregated at the Southern Sun Grayston Hotel in Johannesburg from the 1-3 February 2011, to discuss and deliberate on the progress made in the switchover from analogue to digital broadcasting in Africa. Organised by the London-based Commonwealth Telecommunication’s Organisation (CTO), the conference seeked to address issues of policy and regulation, the adoption of the new European standard DVB-T2, funding mechanisms, technology, international frequency planning, the Digital Dividend, among others.

    Hon Roy Padayachie, Minister of Communications, South Africa, was expected to deliver the keynote address and officially open the conference, with speaker representations from the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA), Lesotho Communication Authority, Department of Communications, South Africa, The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), The Commonwealth Broadcasting Association (CBA), the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation and Botswana Telecommunications Authority, who also shared their experiences at the conference.

    Speaking about the challenges faced by African countries in its digital switchover strategy, Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, CEO of CTO said, “The migration from analogue to digital technologies can be a challenging one for a continent as large as Africa. However, shared best practices from ‘digital-ready’ countries can help alleviate some of the challenges faced during the migration. While these are challenges that are not new to any country that has gone through a digital switchover, in Africa it also addresses its socio-economic developmental needs, thereby bringing it closer to the Millennium Development Goals. It also creates new opportunities that of deploying advanced technologies and building electronic manufacturing hubs to meet the upcoming demands of needs such as a set-box.”

    Emphasising on the need for such forums, Dr. Mashilo Boloka, Director of Broadcasting Policy, Department of Communications, Republic of South Africa said, “As an annual event, CTO’s Digital Broadcasting Switchover Forum has over the years provided a strategic platform for sharing of information and new learnings on the implementation of digital broadcasting migration on the continent.  The forum’s ability to attract speakers beyond the African continent ensures that information shared is relevant for countries at the various phases of migration.”   

    Representative country experiences and reports on the migration from South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Botswana, Ghana, Mauritius and Israel were presented at the conference.

    For further information about the event, please visit here:

  • On February 4, 2011, SMC, a South Africa based association of Pay TV and Media consultants, has agreed to partner with CRM.COM Software Ltd to promote, sell and implement the CRM.COM Subscriber Management and Billing solutions for the Pay TV and Triple Play industry on the African continent.

    SMC comprises a group of professionals with extensive, hands-on experience in the Pay TV, telecommunications and broadcast media industries. SMC’s principal consultants are Pay TV industry experts Jock Anderson, Charlene Fullard and Neil Stokes. SMC offers assistance in business, strategic and organisational planning, business requirements definition, selection and implementation of industry-specific technology solutions.

    CRM.COM Software Ltd develops and markets one of the leading web-based Subscriber Management and Billing software solutions for the Pay TV and Triple Play industry. Headquartered in London, United Kingdom with regional offices in Greece and Cyprus, CRM.COM supports its software and its partners across Europe, Middle East and Africa.

  • On 24 Jan. 2011, Colin McLeod has been managing director of Emerging Markets EMEA, Universal Networks International since December 2007 and recently added BNA (Benelux, Nordics and South Africa) to his list of territories. From 2005 – 2007, he was Commercial Director across Central & Eastern Europe (and German speaking territories) for Sparrowhawk International Channels Ltd.

    Eutelsat Communications has announced the appointment of Edouard Silverio as group general counsel and company secretary on 24 Jan. 2011.

    In a recent communiqué, the Tunisian announced new nominations:
    - Adel Chiboub, National Radio Director,
    - Haythem Lasram, Director of Tunis Radio International channel,
    - Mounir Ben Mustapha, Director of Youth Radio,
    - Khaled el Oughlani, Director of Tunisia Culture Radio,
    - Ezzeddine el Amri, Director of Sfax Regional Radio,
    - Zouheir Ben Ahmed, Director of Monastir Regional Radio,
    - Mohamed Maamri, Director of Kef Regional Radio,
    - Moncef el Ouheibi, Director of Gafsa Regional radio and
    - Ameur Bouazza, Director of Tataouine Regional Radio.
    (3 February 2011, Tunisia Online)

  • Reminder: Call for Papers for ‘Reading & Producing Nollywood: An International Symposium’, March 23-25, 2011 at University of Lagos.

    A reminder that deadline is February 21 for submitting your proposals and abstracts to the Reading & Producing Nollywood: An International Symposium, on March 23-25 at the University of Lagos. Please click here: to download the CFP and go to the symposium website here:


    Arts, media convergence fellowships offered to journalists [Worldwide]

    Deadline:11/03/11, Clore Duffield Foundation
    Journalists who work in the arts or media convergence can apply for a fellowship. The Clore Leadership Programme aims to shape emerging creative leaders in the arts through in-depth of about 20 people a year.

    The fellowship, which lasts seven months, includes a 3-month work placement, training courses, mentoring and coaching. Fellows will also attend a residential course in Kent, England from September 12 to 23, 2011.
    Fellows must have at least five years experience and be able to demonstrate leadership and knowledge/experience in the cultural sector. Candidates from outside the UK can apply for the International Scholarships on the Clore Leadership Programme as well as for unfunded fellowships.
    UK music and arts reporter Paul Cutts used the award to travel to the US in 2008-2009, where he spent five months editing a Native American newspaper for the Shoshone and Arapaho tribes in the Lower Rocky mountains of Wyoming.
    There are a number of general and specialist fellowships available, of those, one is of particular interest to journalists and editors: “Sustainable Convergence of Media.”
    For more information, click here:

    Internews Network seeks senior resident journalism advisor in the DRC.
    The senior radio journalism advisor will oversee and coordinate a small team of trainers and support facilities to build the journalistic capacity of community radio stations in four provinces of DRC: Bandundu, Maniema, South Kivu and Katanga. Internews Network also seeks community radio resident journalism advisor in Sudan. More information here:

    ICFJ Launches Global Online Learning Center
    The International Center for Journalists has launched ICFJ Anywhere, a Web site offering journalism courses for participants around the world.
    The courses will cover a variety of topics. In Iran, for example, students will learn to cover social issues. In Latin America they will focus on immigration. Middle Eastern students will study investigative reporting.ICFJ currently offers a class on investigative journalism for Senegalese reporters.
    Instructors will teach the classes in local languages. When participants speak different languages, the program will translate their comments daily. On the Web site, students can search for courses by topic, region and deadline. The site also will feature stories from participants.
    For more information, click here:


    Manual for reporters who cover HIV/AIDS

    Published by Inter Press Service, is made of up of three parts and designed to be used as part of a week-long training session on gender and HIV.
    For more information click here:

    Guide aims to improve election reporting in Africa
    For information click here:

    Video: Tips for Journalists Covering Disaster Zones
    Joel Simon, Executive Director of the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists discusses what journalists should think about when covering disaster areas.
    For more information click here:

    Video: Using Google Maps in your coverage
    IJNet writer Seth Palmer explains how to use Google Maps within an online story and why it can be useful to readers and viewers.
    For more information click here:


    Video: health care in Kenya guide for journalists

    Award-winning journalist Rachel Jonesdiscusses how she is following up on her groundbreaking story on work covering health care in Kenya.
    For more information click here:


    In Namibia, a radio seeks child presenters.

    Looking for new presenters and quickly gaining popularity, Uitani ChildLine Radio will be hosting auditions this month.

  • 10-20 February 2011
    “Berlinale” – Berlin International Film Festival (Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin)

    Venue: Berlin
    One of the most important dates on the international film industry’s calendar: About 400 films are shown every year, more than 19,000 film professionals from 128 countries, including about 4,000 journalists, almost 300,000 tickets sold.
    Clik here for details:

    16-21 February 2011
    2011 Pan African Film Festival (PAFF)

    Venue: Los Angeles, CA, USA
    Completed U.S. and international feature-length and short films festival. The PAFF presents and showcases a broad spectrum of Black creative works, particularly those that reinforce positive images and help to destroy negative stereotypes of Africans and African-Americans.  In addition to the film festival, the PAFF presents a world renowned Art Show featuring over 100 fine artists and craftspeople from around the world showcasing the best in Black fine art, sculpture, photography, unique handmade crafts, home furnishings, designer jewelry, designer fashions and accessories that highlight the artistry and beauty of the African aesthetic. 
    Click here for details:

    23 - 26 February 2011
    Aluta film festival 2011

    Venue: Kimberley – South Africa.
    Click here for details:

    26 February - 5 March 2011
    2011 FESPACO – 22nd edition

    Venue: Ouagadougou – Burkina Fasso
    Set up every two years, the well-known FESPACO festival is a week of celebration for Cinema for Africans and for the African Diaspora. Fespaco is considered as one of the biggest film events on the African continent. In 2011, it will be held under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Communication of Burkina Faso
    Click here for details:

    15th March 2011
    BOBTV conference, exhibition and trade show

    African film and TV programmes expo
    Topic: new media tech
    Venue: Abuja, Nigeria
    Click here for details:

    22 - 27 March 2011
    Festival Cinema Africano Asia e America Latina 21° edizione

    Venue: Milano, Italy
    Click here for details:

    22 - 24 March 2011
    IPTV World Forum 2011

    Venue: Olympia, London UK
    The IP&TV World Forum 2011, renamed this year to highlight and encompass the increasing number of cable companies adopting IP technology, focussing on hybrid, IP and Connected TV, will take place on 22-24 March at Londonís Olympia and will feature A comprehensive programme of more than 200 visionary speakers, including over 140 service providers from telcos, cablecos, broadcasters and content providers.
    Click here for details:

    23 - 25 March 2011
    AdExpo

    Venue: Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa
    Mega Media AdExpo is a platform where the advertising industry, marketers, advertisers and media buyers gather and meet to discuss and plan advertising for the year ahead. Apart from the exhibits, the event also aims to educate with its offering of short 30 min workshops on interesting topics from Mobile marketing to internet advertising.

    25 March - 9 April 2011
    Afrika Filmfestival

    Leuven, 3220 Holsbeek - Belgium
    The Afrika Filmfestival in Leuven is the most important annual showcase for African films in the Benelux. The festival promotes African cinema.
    Click here for details:

    4 - 7 April 2011
    MIPTV

    Venue: Cannes, France
    MIPTV is the world's leading content market. It provides a unique opportunity to meet the key decision makers in the TV/Film, Digital media and Cinema industry. 21,000 m2 exhibition floor.
    Click here for details:

    13 - 17 April 2011
    International Pan-African Film Festival of Cannes

    Venue: Cannes
    Submission of films and application for accreditation for the International Pan-African Film Festival of Cannes are now open.
    Closing date for film entries: February 20, 2011
    Film Genres Sought: Fiction/ Narrative, Documentary, Animation...
    Category: Long, Medium, Short film.
    Click here for details:

    April May 2011 (final dates tba)
    African film festival (AFF) in NYC

    NYC, USA
    Film Festival. AFF organisers accept submissions on an ongoing basis.
    Click here for details:

    May 2010
    The Helsinki African Film Festival

    Venue: Andorra, Eerikinkatu 11, 00100 Helsinki
    Call for short film submissions - Deadline 31 December 2010
    Helsinki African Film Festival brings an entertaining and thought-provoking selection of contemporary African cinema to Finland. The festival aims to foster communication across cultures and support dialogue on wide-ranging issues related to Africa
    Click here for details:

    2 - 5 June 2011
    Africa Festival

    Venue: Wurzburg, Germany
    Click here for details:

    11 - 19 June, 2011
    The 8th African Film Festival of Tarifa, Spain

    Venue: Tarifa, Spain
    Click here for details:


    2 - 10 July, 2011
    Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF)

    East Africa's largest film and arts festival, showcasing a broad spectrum of African films.
    Click here for details:

    20-22 July 2011
    Mediatech Africa 2011 Exhibition

    The Coca-Cola Dome
    Northgate - Johannesburg (South Africa)
    Mediatech Africa SA's only all-inclusive broadcast, media, entertainment and AV trade. It showcases cutting edge technologies and services from industry leaders in television and broadcast, sound and audio, lighting and staging, animation, communication and related fields.
    Click here for details:

    22-25 July 2011
    The 2nd Durban FilmMart over the 32nd Durban International Film Festival (21-31 July).

    Venue: Durban
    Contact: Durban Film Office –
    Click here for details:

    July - Sept. 2011 (final dates tba)
    African film festival (AFF) in NYC

    NYC, USA
    Outdoor Summer Screenings in NYC Parks. Featuring dance, music, food and of course films. AFF programs year-round; therefore, AFF organisers accept submissions on an ongoing basis.
    Click here for details:

    11-14 Septembre 2011
    HighwayAfrica 2011

    Venue: Rhodes Uni., Grahamstown, SA.
    A show focused on journalism and new multimedia. For fourteen years the Highway Africa conference has been at the centre of Africa’s debates on journalism and new media. The conference has over the years become the largest annual gathering of African journalists in the world.
    click here for details:

    3 - 8 Octobre 2011
    « Festival du Court Métrage Méditerranéen de Tanger »
    Venue: Tangier, Morocco
    A festival focused on short films.
    E-mail : ccm@menara.ma


    31 Oct 7 Nov 2011
    Out In Africa

    South African Gay and Lesbian Film Festival
    Venue: various, see website
    Click here for details:

    Oct - Nov, final dates tba
    Africa in Motion (AiM) Film Festival

    Venue: Edinburgh's Filmhouse cinema
    The UK's largest African Film Festival
    Click here for details:

    30th Nov. - 3rd Dec. 2011
    MYCONTENT, 4th Dubai International Character & Licensing Fair and 4th Dubai World Game Expo.

    Venue: Dubai
    MYCONTENT - (exhibition & conference) in dedicated to the Middle East & North Africa. It is MENA region’s 2nd entertainment content marketplace which will be held in conjunction with 4th Dubai International Character & Licensing Fair and 4th Dubai World Game Expo.
    Click here for details:

    Dec 2011 (final date tba)
    Africa Int. Film Festival

    Venue : Port Harcourt, Nigeria
    Click here for details:

    Dec 2011 (final date tba)
    Festival International du Film de Marrakech

    Venue : Marrakech, Morocco
    Click here for details:

    (final date tba)
    Festival du Monde Arabe du Court-métrage Azrou-Ifrane

    Click here for details:

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