Telecoms in Africa – September 2013

September 10th, 2013, Published in Articles: EngineerIT

Compiled by Matthew White

African mobile telecom market growing at over 21% pa

The African mobile telecom market will grow from a combined value of more than US$60-billion in 2013 to more than US$230-billion in 2020 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21,27%, according to a new study. Mobile network operators will generate the largest portion of this revenue, followed by mobile distributors and retailers. Application developers and content providers will also benefit. While African countries include half of the top ten fastest-growing economies in the world, it is a challenging marketplace to penetrate, according to Carol L. Stimmel, founder of Manifest Mind, a US-based sustainability research and consulting company. The study –The Mobile Telecommunications Market in Africa: Market Dynamics and Challenges, Unique Innovations, Sustainability Issues and African Telecom Market Forecasts –explores emerging opportunities in Africa related to mobile infrastructure, technologies and applications,

Asian firms develop satellite technology

Two of Asia’s largest telecoms firms have joined forces to engineer new technology that should ease mobile access to some of Africa’s most hard-to-reach places. India’s Bharti Airtel said in a statement that with help from Japan’s Softbank Corp it has completed a successful field trial for 3G phone services using satellite transmission lines. The technology could bring data services to many rural areas that have been largely out of telecoms’ reach because of infrastructural barriers. The trial, which took place in Kenya, tested a method of making satellite 3G transmission more viable.

Seacom, France-IX partner to interconnect African internet firms

Seacom, owner of a high-speed fibre-optic network that serves both the East and West coasts of Africa, has entered into a partnership with Internet exchange point operator France-IX to provide peering services to its African customers. The main advantage of this partnership is to provide African operators and service providers with a shorter path to the content delivery networks which handle both French- and English-speaking content. About 19 countries to benefit from this immediately.

Ethiopia signs US $1,6-billon deal with Chinese “spy” firms

Two controversial Chinese companies, Huawei and ZTE, have signed to handle half each of a US$1,6-billion contract with state monopoly Ethio Telecom. According to the utility project is designed to expand mobile phone infrastructure and introduce 4G broadband. Both companies are barred from contracts and acquisitions in the USA, Australia and India for allegedly posing a security threat. Ethiopian Minister of Communication & Information Technology Debretsion Gebremichael argued, however, that accusations by other nations caused no fear in Ethiopia. “We and China are not rivals,” he said. “They have no reason to spy on us.”

Second phase of Kenyan digital project to start soon

The second phase of the Kenya’s County Connectivity Installation Project has been launched to help increase efficiency in government services through technology use. Belgium has given Kenya US$15-million funding for the project, which will allow government institutions in counties to be connected to the national fibre-optic backbone infrastructure. Project implementation is scheduled to begin in October and be ready by the year’s end.

Simbanet deploys GPON fibre technology in Dar es Salaam


Tanzanian ICT company Simbanet has deployed GPON (Gigabit passive optical network) fibre technology in Dar es Salaam, providing greater bandwidth to allow more speed and reliability in internet connections in the capital.

Zimbabwe regulator slammed for ordering Econet tariff increase

Zimbabwe telecommunications regulator Potraz has angered mobile phone customers by ordering the country’s largest service provider to reverse a 60% cut in its user tariffs. Seeking to compete with the much lower rates offered by state-run Telecel, privately owned Econet reduced its call rate from 25 to 10 cents per minute. Potraz, however, claimed that any increase or decrease in tariffs has to be approved by the authority “in order to safeguard consumers as well as promote fair competition”.

Satellite link takes connectivity to remote parts of South Sudan

Al Yah Satellite Communications Co, an Abu Dhabi-based satellite operator, has expanded availability of its flagship satellite broadband internet service in South Sudan through its new partnership with SS Co-operative (Scoop). The high-speed Internet service via satellite will be available to government, businesses and home users. Scoop CEO David Alan Cubbin said YahClick will provide connectivity to South Sudan, including remote areas that have been affected by internal conflicts and the poor economic situation, leaving parts of the Republic without any internet connection. YahClick is beamed via Y1B, Yahsat’s second satellite and the first Ka band service for Africa.

Uganda sets up high-tech unit to fight cyber crime

The Uganda Communications Commission has set up a Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) to improve and secure communication services in the country. The regulator said the team will complement the National CERT, which is under the National Information & Technology Authority. UCC director for technology and licensing Patrick Mwesigwa said the unit will prowl the Internet to monitor and report high-tech crimes, including cyber-based terrorism, computer intrusions, online sexual exploitation and cyber frauds. The regulator had already acquired equipment to be used to monitor such crimes.

Satellite and digital broadcasting a boost for Nigeria’s economy

The director-general of Nigeria’s National Space Research & Development Agency, Prof. Seidu Onailo Mohammed, claims that the country’s communications satellite, which provides television, radio and broadband services contributed about US $90-billion to the economy in 2011. In a further development, Edward Amana, chairman of Fatora Consult, which is part of the country’s digitalisation team, said Nigeria could earn as much as US$2-billion from the sale of the spectrum which will be freed up by the impending migration from analogue to digital broadcasting.

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