Digital Content

The Wi-Fi Technology Forum/- Alcatel has announced the signature of a 3-year MOU with Manobi, the leading operator of Mobile and Internet services dedicated to the rural sector of developing and emerging countries. Already a long-term partner with Manobi, Alcatel will be involved in the running of several pilot projects that will improve the standard of living and infrastructure in these countries, but also strengthen Alcatel's presence in Africa and the Middle East.

For three years, Alcatel has been working with Manobi on a mobile service project in rural areas in Senegal. This project address the needs of individual farmers in the Dakar neighbourhood and artisan fishermen in the area of Kayar, one of the largest fishing place in Senegal (Alcatel has provided the local mobile operator Sonatel with a long haul GSM antenna oriented toward the sea with a range up to 70 kms). The purpose of this innovative project is to enable producers, intermediaries and wholesalers to use a GSM mobile phone provided by Alcatel under a WAP protocol in order to know in real time the price of their products traded on the markets as well as sell their harvest by making proposals through SMS to all other Manobi's subscribers. Market data are gathered by Manobi's inspectors visiting agricultural and fish markets who enter data onto their PDAs and send them through the GSM network of Sonatel to a mobile carrier-class platform designed by Manobi.

Thanks to this service, subscribers' revenues have strongly improved and largely cover the cost of the GSM utilisation. In addition, this service has already increased the ARPU of its users to higher than urban subscribers ones.

Alcatel and Manobi are currently working on similar projects and in that respect a second concrete project in Africa will be materialized in the coming weeks.

"Manobi's mission is to develop, operate and provide value-added services on GSM to address efficiently the local requirements of all economic worlds. Like in Senegal we are targeting to deploy our services within African rural areas to stimulate the development of telecom infrastructures, by offering an extensive telecom coverage and a vast improvement in the revenues and the standard of living of rural users," stated Mr Daniel Annerose, CEO of Manobi. "Alcatel shares our vision and was the ideal partner to Manobi due to its expertise, long standing presence in Africa and extensive local knowledge of the telecom environment in these countries."

Thierry Albrand, Vice President of Digital Bridge for Alcatel in France, Africa, Middle East and South Asia, added "Alcatel is committed to bridging the digital divide in underserved regions, allowing local populations to access value-added services, which are useful for the improvement of their economic and social conditions. In that respect, we are glad to reinforce our successful partnership with Manobi thanks to their expertise in developing customized applications for farmers. This agreement will pave the way for many other projects within Africa and the Middle East, given the increasing demand for mobile applications and services in these regions."