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Africa Mobile Networks Pumps US$550 million in Investments in Sub Saharan Africa

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Africa Mobile Networks has announced that it will invest US$550 million in establishing good networks in Sub Saharan Africa.

The three year investment plan will see the company work with its licensed mobile operators in Africa to increase connectivity.

The company aims to build 5,000 base stations over the next 3 years to increase rural connectivity in sub Saharan Africa. It will target to have over 20 million subscribers who will generate US$650 in revenue initially.

“AMN builds and operates mobile network base stations in rural areas in Africa. The AMN base stations are connected to the core 2G/3G network of the licensed mobile operator and provide voice and data services to the operator’s subscribers,” the company said.

“AMN offers a compelling and risk-free proposition for mobile operators, to extend the operator’s existing coverage deep into the rural areas and acquire new subscribers and generate incremental revenues with guaranteed margins and no capex.”

The company offers to build the base stations which will include 2G and 3G capabilities especially in the rural areas and work out a revenue share base with the selected operators.

The company says that it will be able to increase the revenue stream for the mobile networks in the long run.

The company prides itself in its technology and the solutions they have offered the African market. In rural Africa today, their base stations is providing up to 400,000 voice minutes, 6,000 sms per month in an average of 4,400 people.

“The AMN investment is intended to fill a major gap which exists currently in many developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa, between the population currently served by mobile network services and the total population which can be served economically,” the company said.

Currently (in 2013) only around 66% of sub-Saharan Africa’s 830 million population (14% of the world’s total) is served by at least one mobile operator, and this is projected to grow only to 74% by the end of 2015, leaving more than 200 million people with no telecoms services whatsoever. Of these 200 million people, it is estimated that nearly 140 million can be served economically.

 

Nigeria’s Swift Networks To Test LTE With Over 500 Volunteers

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nigeria

 Nigerian broadband internet and data services provider Swift Networks said that they will be conducting Long Term Evolution (LTE) network tests with over 500 volunteers who will be putting the new network through its paces in preparation for its launch in Lagos.

“This will be Nigeria’s fastest and most reliable 4G LTE network; we will not rush this launch and will take every care to ensure that we get it right the first time. Getting the most aggressive users from our current customer base to test-drive it will enable us to debug and fine-tune it to meet the exerting demands of our target customer base”, said Chukwuma Okoye, the Chief Operating Officer at Swift.

“These volunteers, who have been on our network for at least three years, will give us feedback on the several performance metrics we are tracking including download and upload speeds, network latency and uptime. They will also ghost call the Call Centre as part of the predetermined performance indicators that are important to our market segment. These customers have been with us through our Pre-WiMAX and current 4G networks and bring along their treasured comparative memory of our services”, he said.

The network company saw the potential and the growing demand for high-speed internet, and according to Philip Sonibare, Assistant General Manager within Consumer Sales and Marketing at Swift Networks, they will continue to provide that to as many customers as possible.

“We continue to see the demand for true broadband internet skyrocket in Nigeria and our 4G LTE network rollout starting from Lagos responds to what customers want from their broadband internet experience – faster and more reliable services backed by 24×7 customer care,” he said.

According to Nigeria’s Vanguard, “Wireless spectrum is a finite resource and LTE uses it more efficiently than other technologies, creating more space to carry data traffic and services and to deliver a better network experience. It delivers at least 10 times faster download speed than 3G and 4 times that of WIMAX 4G networks.”

Telkom To Boost SMEs

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Telkom Business has launched Business Circle programme, a congregate voice product specifically created for the small business sector.

This program will enable customers to create closed user groups comprising both Telkom fixed line and mobile services, and allows for unlimited free calling within the group.

Telkom Business aims to provide benefits to the SME market, offering the core components required for convergence, such as fixed data, cloud, IT and mobile capabilities.

“It is this kind of innovation that enables communication – a critical component to the success of any small business,” says Jan Pieterse, executive Product House at Telkom Business.

He further explains that he believes that Telkom being the country’s leading ICT provider it has an important role to play in aiding the development of the SME sector; as the products they develop would go a long way in enhancing efforts aimed at bringing the second economy into the first.

“Our aim is to provide valuable product offerings and solutions designed specifically for small business as they seek to be sustainable and competitive,” adds Pieterse, emphasizing that high quality and affordable communication is vital to the efficient functioning of all businesses.

“Businesses looking to tap into innovative solutions that enable productivity while enhancing convenience and cost-effectiveness must consider the convergence route – by using products like Business Circle – for their communication needs.”

According to Pieterse, Business Circle brings together the best of fixed and mobile.

“Our unique offering is the best voice value available in the market currently. With unlimited free calling between the various employees of a company, it is guaranteed to drastically lower costs and significantly increase efficiency and productivity in any organization.”

Free Social Networking From Telkom

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Telkom Internet has launched free anytime data for specific social networking services, to make things better, it has also announced free data for subscribers between 12am and 6am daily and while the capacity of all Telkom Internet packages of 5Gb or more will be doubled at no additional charge.

This offers began to run from the first day of this month; the enhancement to its SoftCap 5Gb and higher offerings to include free specific social networking and the Night Surfer are available until 31 March 2014.

When Telkom is talking about free social networking it has that user who loves to use Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. The offer runs 24 hours a day, without incurring costs from their in-bundle data. Customers can also make use of the instant messaging chat clients on WhatsApp; Yahoo Messenger, MSN Messenger and Google Talk without incurring additional charges.

This however does not extend to video streaming such as YouTube videos or links to other web sites via these platforms. Once a user reaches his SoftCap limit, the social networking services and night surfer will also be subject to SoftCap.

“Social networks are extremely popular communication platforms and we understand that our customers need to constantly interact and be engaged, hence their relationship with these platforms. This offer empowers our customers to access the information they want from the platform of their choice,” says Manelisa Mavuso, MD of Telkom’s Consumer and Retail Services Division.

“I believe that free data access to social networking is a game-changer as we are giving our customers free and greater choice in what is fast becoming a preferred communications platform” he adds.

The companies will also double the capacity of its 5Gb or more internet packages from 1 September 2013 until 31 March 2014. For customers on 1 Gb packages the option to upgrade to a 5Gb package means an additional 5Gb as well as the promotion for social networking and Night Surfer.

“We are enhancing our value proposition to truly differentiate our broadband offerings to satisfy the customer’s growing appetite for media rich online content, thus enabling our residential customers to download and watch more movies, and music and so forth, this sort of innovation is in-line with our strategy to deliver a great value and seamless connected home experience,” Mavuso says.

M-Pesa Partners With Vodacom Tanzania

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Mobile money in East Africa has grown significantly and is continuing to push through. Vodacom Tanzania has announced it latest contract with the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) for an M-Pesa partnership.

The annunciation of this agreement has been well received and is likely to spur further growth in the mobile money sector in the East African country.

Vodacom said that this contract comes with a number of benefits, for example, vehicle owners will now be able to pay for licenses through the mobile money scheme, allowing business to move more smoothly and with ease.

TRA Director of Tax Payers Services and Education, Richard Kayombo, said that M-Pesa would go a long way in easing the purchase of vehicle road licenses.

It is estimated that about $1.2-million worth of transactions were already made facilitating road license payments in the first two weeks of the service.

“The furthering of mobile money schemes in East Africa, and notably Tanzania, are a major means for economic growth,” said Vodacom.

The company also added that it would enable users to transfer money for licenses quickly and without hassle in order to complete transactions in a timely manner.

Subscribers Threaten To Sue MTN Ghana

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Subscribers of MTN Ghana are threatening the telecom company with a law suit after the company failed to compensate them as ordered by regulatory authorities.

Ghana’s National Communications Authority (NCA) ordered MTN to compensate the subscribers affected by some network disruptions that have been happening lately.

This order was given three weeks ago, and since the issuance of the order the affected subscribers say the company has yet to compensate clients.

Maame Aku, a law student at the School of Law at University of Ghana, has said that if the telecoms service provider does not compensate affected subscribers as promised, he then plans to drag MTN Ghana to court again.

MTN, which has about 5 million subscribers in Ghana, has attributed the disruptions to extensive ongoing modernization and transformation activities in line with its network strategy of improving its services.

Reuben Opata, MTN’s senior manager for radio access network planning, has explained that during the process, the network interface link connection on the switch experienced irregular errors resulting in the links failing.

Consequently, voice and data service delivery were affected, making it difficult for subscribers to make and receive calls as well as data and SMS.

MTN said it “regrets” the inconvenience suffered by its subscribers during the network disruption.

The NCA has also previous fined MTN Ghana more than $ 5,000 (GH¢1 million) for inaccurately charging clients for incoming international calls.

Microsoft Buys Nokia’s Mobile Division For Over $5B

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Microsoft and Nokia Board of Directors have today proclaimed that they have decided to enter into a transaction that involves Microsoft purchasing substantially all of Nokia’s Devices & Services business, license Nokia’s patents, and license and use Nokia’s mapping services.

According to the terms of the agreement, Microsoft will pay EUR 3.79 billion for this purchase and EUR 1.65 billion to license Nokia’s patents, for a total transaction price of EUR 5.44 billion in cash.

Microsoft will draw upon its overseas cash resources to fund the transaction. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2014, subject to approval by Nokia’s shareholders, regulatory approvals and other closing conditions.

In relation to the partnership with Nokia which was announced in February 2011 and the increasing success of Nokia’s Lumia smartphones, Microsoft aims to increase the growth of its share and profit in mobile devices through faster innovation, increased synergies, and unified branding and marketing.

For Nokia, this transaction is expected to be significantly accretive to earnings, strengthen its financial position, and provide a solid basis for future investment in its continuing businesses.

“It’s a bold step into the future – a win-win for employees, shareholders and consumers of both companies. Bringing these great teams together will accelerate Microsoft’s share and profits in phones, and strengthen the overall opportunities for both Microsoft and our partners across our entire family of devices and services,” said Steve Ballmer, Microsoft chief executive officer. “In addition to their innovation and strength in phones at all price points, Nokia brings proven capability and talent in critical areas such as hardware design and engineering, supply chain and manufacturing management, and hardware sales, marketing and distribution.”

“After a thorough assessment of how to maximize shareholder value, including consideration of a variety of alternatives, we believe this transaction is the best path forward for Nokia and its shareholders. Additionally, the deal offers future opportunities for many Nokia employees as part of a company with the strategy, financial resources and determination to succeed in the mobile space,” said Risto Siilasmaa, Chairman of the Nokia Board of Directors.

In the agreement, about 32,000 people are expected to transfer to Microsoft, including 4,700 people in Finland and 18,300 employees directly involved in manufacturing, assembly and packaging of products worldwide. The operations as well are planned to be transferred to Microsoft generated an estimated EUR 14.9 billion.

Microsoft is also acquiring Nokia’s Smart Devices business unit, including the award winning Lumia brand and products. As part of the transaction, Nokia is assigning to Microsoft its long-term patent licensing agreement with Qualcomm, as well as other licensing agreements.

Nokia’s Mobile Phones business unit will also belong to Microsoft,including the Asha brand and will license the Nokia brand for use with current Nokia mobile phone products.

Nokia will, however continue to own and manage the Nokia brand. This element provides Microsoft with the opportunity to extend its service offerings to a far wider group around the world while allowing Nokia’s mobile phones to serve as an on-ramp to Windows Phone.

Nokia will also retain its patent portfolio and will grant Microsoft a 10-year license to its patents at the time of the closing. Microsoft will grant Nokia reciprocal rights to use Microsoft patents in its HERE services. In addition, Nokia will grant Microsoft an option to extend this mutual patent agreement in perpetuity.

Moreover,Microsoft will become a strategic licensee of the HERE platform, and will separately pay Nokia for a four-year license.

Microsoft will also immediately make available to Nokia EUR 1.5 billion of financing in the form of three EUR 500 million tranches of convertible notes that Microsoft would fund from overseas resources. If Nokia decides to draw down on this financing option, Nokia would pay back these notes to Microsoft from the proceeds of the deal upon closing. The financing is not conditional on the transaction closing.

Microsoft also announced that it has selected Finland as the home for a new data centre that will serve Microsoft consumers in Europe. The company said it would invest more than a quarter-billion dollars in capital and operation of the new data centre over the next few years, with the potential for further expansion over time.

Upon leadership, Nokia expects that Stephen Elop, Jo Harlow, Juha Putkiranta, Timo Toikkanen, and Chris Weber would transfer to Microsoft at the anticipated closing of the transaction.

Mobile subscription In African Countries Grow To 781m

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A statistics released in the weekend last from Stockholm, Sweden states that within the second quarter of this year, mobile subscription in Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and other African countries have reached 781 million; with Nigeria taking the lead.

The continent takes the third position after Asia Pacific and China, which presently have 1.28 billion and 1.17 billion mobile subscriptions respectively.

Western Europe, Central and Eastern Europe, India, Middle East, Latin America and North America added one million, six million, eight million, six million, and four million new subscribers respectively.

With about 105 million net additions of mobile subscription across the globe in the second quarter of this year, the global mobile subscription is anticipated to grow six percent from 2012 to 2018; reaching nine billion, higher than the population of the world, which is stands at seven billion.

The report, which puts global mobile subscriptions at 6.5 billion at the end of June, noted that world wide mobile penetration reached 91 percent.

According to Ericsson’s Head of Strategic Marketing and Intelligence, Patrick Cerwall, China alone presented 30 percent of net additions, adding 30 million subscriptions; Indonesia added nine million, India- eight million, Bangladesh- five million; Nigeria- four million of net additions.

The foursome of GSM operators including MTN Nigeria, Globacom, Airtel and Etisalat currently shares 117 million active lines; while the Code Division Multiple Operators including Visafone, Starcomms and Multilinks fight to retain the loyalty of 2.56 million subscribers. The Fixed Wired and Wireless operators share 382,678 lines.

Nigeria’s teledensity is presently at 85.3 percent. The GSM Association puts South Africa’s mobile penetration at 66 percent per subscriber.

According to the quarterly statistics report for the first quarter of the 2012/13 Financial Year released by Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK), the countries mobile subscription was put at slightly above 30 million, stressing that about 77.2 percent of its population now have access to mobile communications

Cerwall noted that mobile subscriptions have grown around seven percent annually and two percent quarterly basis.

The Ericsson’s Head of Strategic Marketing and Intelligence, in the mobility report said this was due to the fact that many subscribers have several subscriptions, with reasons including users lowering their traffic cost by using optimized subscriptions for different types of calls; maximizing coverage and having different subscriptions for mobile PCs, tablets and for mobile phones.

  “Consequently, subscription penetration can easily reach above 100 per cent, which is the case in many countries today. It should be noted however, that in some developing regions, it’s common for several people to share one subscription, having for example a family or community shared phone”, Cerwall stated.

SIM Card Registration Will Continue, Says Uganda High Court

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Implementing SIM registration in Uganda has proven to be a hard nut to crack as the Uganda Human Rights Network (HRN) and Legal Brains Trust has taken the government to task over the registration process and has continued to take the Uganda Communications Commission to court over the legalities of the process.

Uganda like many other African countries has applied a SIM registration policy to help in curbing the criminal activities done with SIM cards.

On Friday High court Judge Yasin Nyanzi ruled in favor of the Uganda Communications Commission, stating that the Uganda Human Rights Network and Legal Brains Trust failed to prove their case.

“… there are criminals and like-minded people who would not like to register their SIM cards irrespective of the circumstances,” the judge said during the proceedings. The HRH and Legal Brains Trust said that the UCC had no legal right to disconnect SIM cards that weren’t registered by the Saturday last, as over a million SIM cards still needed to be registered.

SIM card registration in Uganda, according The Observer, is part of a regional exercise. Under the umbrella body called the East Africa Communications Organization (EACO), the East Africa region set mid 2012 as the deadline to have all existing SIM cards registered.”

The UCC also added that they had already reached their goal of registering over 90 percent of the SIM cards in Uganda as of August 30, which reflects a 70 percent increase since March this year.

The Observer reported that UCC Executive Director Godfrey Mutabazi said he was not surprised by the outcome of the petition since UCC was acting within the Regulation of Interception of Communications Act of 2010.

Mutabazi stressed that no extensions on the deadline would be made, even though 8 percent of the estimated 17 million mobile phone subscribers in Uganda have not yet registered their SIM cards.

Namibia’s Leo Telecom Rebrands To TN Mobile

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The leading Namibian Telecom company which was  acquired by Telecom Namibia, Leo, has introduced its new brand TN Mobile which is stepping into the market and is well equipped with a wide range of both pre-paid and post-paid products as well as data bundles.

The new Telecom company says that its aim  is to support Namibians as they tap into the full potential of high-speed mobile data services.

“TN Mobile intends to help drive the nation’s access to the internet via mobile devices, this will allow the nation to tap into opportunities in education, personal improvement and industry, made possible by better and affordable internet accessibility,” said TN Mobile.

The company promises to offer the market outstanding new options as well as high quality and value-for-money mobile products together with attractive offers.

 “The landscape will certainly be seeing more of the TN mobile logo and smiling subscribers in all towns across all 14 regions of Namibia. TN Mobile intends to shake things up and change the Namibian mobile market, for the better,” they continued.

 

New Web Based Software to Test Mobile Network Quality Launched in South Africa

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Image from Gizmodo.co.uk

After more than one year of research, Global Voice Group has launched a new service that will test the Quality of Service (QoS) and Quality of Experience, through a web platform.

The platform named QoS Tracker will be able to test quality of network calls across the country giving swift and accurate measurements of services from different mobile phone providers.

Through this platform, a virtually unlimited number of subscribers can download, from the Internet, an application that will run automated QoE tests from their mobile devices.

“QoS Tracker has already been put to the test by regulators of the telecommunications sector.  The new solution will also be presented at the international meeting of the International Telecommunications Union’s Quality of Service Development Group, which will take place in Accra (Ghana), from 16 to 20 September 2013,” Global Voice Group announced.

“GVG will take advantage of its participation in this event to exchange information about the latest approaches to QoS and QoE assessment focusing on the regulator’s point of view. “

More African countries including Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya have put various mobile phone companies on notice over poor service and coverage. Such companies face penalties in the tune of millions of dollars for not giving quality service as agreed by their regulators.

CEO Weekends: MTN South Africa Falls Victim Of Cyber Attack

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MTN South Africa experienced a breakdown on Wednesday on it SouthAfrican Data Network and it has now been confirmed that the company fell victim to a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) cyber-attack.

The breakdown also affected internet service providers Afrihost and Axxess, the former claiming the attack was launched on MTN’s DNS cluster.

The servers basically couldn’t cope with the load, and it was difficult for us to bring them up again while the attack was still in progress,” said Afrihost.

A denial-of-service cyber-attack is an ordinary tactic used by cyber criminals to flood a particular website with packet requests (traffic), to the point where the servers cannot handle the load and collapse under the pressure.

The MTN DNS servers would normally handle this type of attack without any problems, but at the time of the attack, some changes were made to the DNS servers and there was a bug in the system that made the situation far worse than it should have been. This bug has been fixed and this issue should not happen again,” Afrihost’s Greg Payne.

When the cyber attacker struck on 28 August, Afrihost announced on their Facebook profile that they are experiencing connectivity issues.

Afrihost partnered with MTN in January this year to deliver a premium ADSL service to their clients.

Afrihost have partnered with MTN to offer a premium ADSL service to our clients. By joining the biggest telecoms network on the continent, we have ensured the future of our products, services and clients. Over the past 3 years, MTN has been investing approximately R4 Billion annually on infrastructure upgrades to make their Broadband Services the very best on offer,” they announced at the time.

Africell Gambia and Siera Leone Partner with iSend to Enable Users Receive Top Ups from Abroad

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iSend, Africell Gambia and Sierra Leone have partnered to increase users who can benefit from top ups from relatives and friends in the Diaspora.

iSend customers can top up any family member’s or friend’s cell phone at any level, with instant verification. Customers are not charged for the service beyond the normal price of airtime, and it is an extremely convenient way to keep communications open during holidays, major events or emergencies.

“iSend’s direct arrangement with Africell marks our continuing efforts to partner with dominant carriers worldwide to offer our customers maximum convenience,” said Dan Lambert, iSend’s vice president of carrier relations. “We look forward to working with Africell Gambia and Africell Sierra Leone to create attractive offers for their subscribers.”

Zein Annous, commercial director of Africell Sierra Leone, said that “Africell Gambia and Africell Sierra Leone have achieved approximately 60 percent market share in their respective countries, which comes from providing outstanding service and convenience.”

“Our partnership with iSend expands that convenience by making it easy for our customers’ prepaid mobile phones to be topped up by their loved ones abroad, keeping them ready for communications at any time.”

Unregistered SIM Cards In Zimbabwe To Be Cut – Off

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Subscribers of Zimbabwe’s Telecel stand at a risk of having their Prepay SIM cards cut off if not registered by the end of this week.

This action was motivated by regulatory requirement that all the SIM cards are to by registered before 31st August.

“Any subscriber with an unregistered Sim card risks disconnection if he or she has not registered the line before August 31,”said Obert Mandimika,Telecel Zimbabwe communications and branding director.

Customers are adviced to either contact the company directly, or visit a local retailer alongside producing their identification cards for proof.

Speculating views of customers, regarding this move of mandating of phone registration revolves around the government wanting to control communications and some people deliberately chose to delay their compliance until after the recent elections.

 

Ericsson & Zamtel Partner To Pilot 4G In Zambia

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Image from Technobuffalo.com

Ericsson and Zamtel are piloting state-of-the-art 4G mobile communications technology for the first time ever in Zambia fulfilling the partners’ vision in delivering advanced mobile communications services in the country.

Piloting the LTE network on the side lines of the 20th edition of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) General Assembly 2013 which is being held in Livingstone which has attracted approximately 1 200 delegates from over 150 United Nations member states.

As one of the sponsors of the UNWTO 2013, Zamtel agreed with Ericsson to conduct a trial showcasing the benefits of the 4G technology – also known as Long Term Evolution (LTE) using Ericsson technology and the Zamtel mobile communications network, in order to give Zambians an opportunity to experience this latest and most advanced mobile communications technology and compare it with 3G technology.

“We are extremely excited about this trial as it affords an opportunity for both Zamtel and Ericsson to showcase the very latest 4G mobile communications technology and demonstrate, in a live network environment, that it can operate smoothly on the robust Zamtel mobile network infrastructure. Delegates have the opportunity to experience the phenomenal speeds offered by 4G technology – which can deliver in excess of 50Mbps which represents a quantum leap in performance when compared to 3G technology which has typical speeds of 2-3Mbps. 4G technology will provide a platform for data-hungry services and applications such as IP-TV, Interactive gaming, Video-on-demand, etc.”said Zamtel’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Mupanga Mwanakatwe.

Dr. Mwanakatwe said Zamtel remain steadfast in its commitment to provide cost effective and relevant communication solutions that consistently offer an unrivaled customer experience through the use of cutting-edge, state-of-the-art technology.

“Our participation in this event and our agreement with Ericsson to conduct this 4G trial provides an added impetus to  our vision and quest to make a positive and meaningful impact in the lives of Zambians in all walks of life and in all parts of the nation,” he added.

Currently, there is no LTE network in Zambia and the trial is expected to showcase the immense benefits of this latest generation of mobile communications technology to Zambians and international delegates attending the UNWTO conference.

Hans Piet, Head of Practice, Mobile Broadband, Ericsson sub-Saharan Africa, said: “This pilot gives us an invaluable opportunity to showcase the enormous benefits of LTE (4G) to the delegates and reaffirm our technology leadership. Mobile Broadband is a game changer that will transform the ICT landscape in Zambia, open up whole new possibilities in the field of m-commerce and will shape how education and health is provisioned. Ericsson is ready to explore Zambian partnerships that can transform the ICT landscape in this country.”

Via PR

Kenyans Transacted $17 Billion via Mobile Money in 2012-CBK Report

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Image: nation.co.ke
Image: nation.co.ke
Image: nation.co.ke

Central Bank of Kenya(CBK) has released a report that shows Kenyans transacted Kshs1.5 trillion ($17.33 Billion)via mobile money in 2012, representing a 31.5 percent growth in value.

In the report dubbed “Kenya Financial Sector Stability Report 2012”, CBK states that this money was transacted in 575 million mobile money transfer messages, representing a 32.8 percent growth in the message volumes in 2012.

The average value per transaction declined from Kshs2,700 in 2011 to Kshs2,672 in 2012. “This reflects increased small value transactions probably, to support more people faced with economic difficulties in 2012,” the CBK report said, “It also reflects more financial inclusion by poor people.”

The number of mobile money users increased to 21.1 million users from the previous 19.2 million users in 2011, representing a 9.9 percent growth. The agents across all the networks also increased to 76,912 from the previous 50,471, representing a 52.4 percent growth.

Safaricom’s M-Pesa service still remained the most widely used, with over 16 million users on the platform.

More Kenyans are taking up card payments, with the usage level in 2012 growing strongly in terms of Automated Tellet Machines (ATM) cards, Credit and Debit Cards, and Point of Sale (POS) terminals.

“The number of transactions and equivalent value increased from 122.4 million transactions worth Kshs 577.9 billion in2011 to 224.6 million transactions worth Kshs 1 Trillion in 2012,” added the report.

It will however be interesting to see how this growth will be like in 2013, considering most network operators increased their transactional fees earlier this year, due to the tax imposed on mobile money transfer by the government.

Dropped Calls Cost Nigeria $126 Million In 2012

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Image: telegraph.co.uk

A report published by the Economic Intelligence Unit in the United States has revealed that Nigeria lost $126 million (N20billion) in dropped calls, due to poor communication infrastructure in the West African country.

This revelation did not go down well with industry stakeholders in the country, with Director General of the National Air Space and Research Development Agency, NASRDA, Prof Seidu Mohammed, coming out to state that these loses could have been avoided by using modern communication satellites.

Prof Mohammed was speaking at a commemoration lecture to mark the launch of the first communication satellite, Syncom2 in July 26, 1963, and later the first conversation via satellite between  the First Nigerian Prime Minister, Alhaji Tafawa Balewa and American President, John Kennedy in August 23 1963.

“The Friday August 23, 1963 conversation between the two eminent leaders was more than a call. It was indeed the first two way call across the Atlantic between Heads of state via Satellite in the global history,” Prof Mohammed said.

He said that it was unfortunate that the country could lose such an insurmountable amount in dropped calls, yet “revenue for services from communications satellite in 2011 alone was $90 billion comprising of satellite TV, Satellite radio and broadband.”

For this reason, Nigeria Space Programme has embarked on ensuring that it employs use of modern satellite communication to carter for the needs of the raising West African population, currently estimated to stand at 392 million people.

It is reported that there are over 1,100 satellites providing civilian communications and another 792 supporting military communications around the globe, with the number expected to grow over time.

Liquid Telecom Launched New Data Service in Zimbabwe

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Liquid Telecom

Liquid Telecom has introduced a new technology that will help in transmission of technology called Dense Wavelength Division Mutliplexing (DWDM).

According to the company this new technology will enhance internet connectivity as it can carry multiple 10Gbits/s wavelengths and can scale to support many more.

“The high-speed technology goes across the borders into South Africa through Johannesburg to link two Data Centres (Teraco and Neotel). These two data centres are in turn linked to five undersea cables, namely SEACOM, WACS, EASSY, SAT 3 and TEAMS,” he said.

Mr Makamure said this development comes at a time when bandwidth requirements are increasing for both business and homes. “Liquid Telecom has prepared itself to handle huge increases in bandwidth demand for the business and enterprise market as well for the home market,” he added.

Liquid managing director Mr Wellington Makamure said the latest technology will provide both Zimbabwe and Zambia market high capacity access to undersea cables that link Southern Africa to the rest of the world.

Source: The Herald

South Africa’s Cell C In $20M Network Upgrade | Targeting Over 4K Sites By December

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Cell-C-Logo-PAY-OFF-BLACKSouth Africa’s Cell C has launched an R200,000,000 ($20M) network upgrade in Johannesburg which will see it set up 100 sites in the next three months in a move to up its network capacity and improve quality as it races to have 4340 outdoor and indoor sites on air by year end.

The 100 sites will be in addition to the firm’s already existing 959 sites in Johannesburg. The roll out starts  with the first 19 live before end of this month. The areas earmarked  include Sandton, Fourways, Bryanston, Morningside, Soweto and Benoni amongst others.

According to Alan Knott-Craig, Cell C CEO, “Traffic on our network has doubled over the past year and we’ve been hard at work rolling out new sites and installing additional capacity to cater for this growth and restore quality.”

“In particular, the network in Johannesburg and Pretoria has been taking strain.  In addition to the new sites, we have also embarked on a project to optimise close to 900 existing sites in Johannesburg and Pretoria to improve coverage and minimise interference on the network in high-density areas.  We expect these activities to be completed by the end of November 2013,” Alan added.

The firm will also be building an additional 70 indoor coverage sites in Johannesburg and Pretoria. It promises to roll out new sites, upgrade and optimise existing sites and add additional capacity across its network nationally.

African Android Statue To Be Constructed By Lenovo

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Lenovo wants to lead other companies in being the first company to create an African Android statue, this will happen alone side the launch of the Lenovo A1000, A3000 and S6000 Android tablets in Africa.

The most famous Android statues have been created by Google and are located at its corporate headquarters in California.

These statues mark important milestones in the history of Android and have traditionally been based on the code names for the versions of Google’s Android mobile operating system, which are named alphabetically after desserts: Cupcake; Donut; Éclair; Froyo; Gingerbread; Honeycomb; Ice Cream Sandwich; and Jellybean.

The grapevine has it that the next official version of Android will be called Key Lime Pie, a traditional American dessert, nevertheless Lenovo has decided to start on a campaign to ask Africans what they would name it if they had a choice. Lenovo will then build a statue, modeling it after the winning name.

The campaign is accompanied by a social media competition on Lenovo Africa Facebook page asking Android and Lenovo fans, in South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya, to name the statue. The winner of the best and most creative name will receive a hamper of Lenovo goodies worth R20,000.

The winner will be chosen by Lenovo and the Africa Android statue will be uncovered in October this year.

“We are thrilled to create Africa’s first ever Android statue to celebrate the launch of our new range of tablets,” says Graham Braum, country manager of Lenovo Africa.

“Our latest Android tablet family is perfectly matched to meet our customers’ demands. We’ve noted that 7-inch tablets are well accepted, particularly by young, active users who are always on the go, so we’ve created devices that address these customers’ needs, as well as devices for more demanding gamers and multimedia users.

“We are confident that our Android family will appeal to customers across Africa as we’ve made them highly accessible and flexible to serve multiple needs, styles and budgets.”