Telecoms in Africa – October 2013

October 14th, 2013, Published in Articles: EngineerIT

Sub-Saharan mobile broadband connections set for fast growth

A new report issued by the International Telecommunication Union’s Broadband Commission for Digital Development in collaboration with Ericsson says mobile broadband connections in Sub-Saharan Africa are expected to increase almost fourfold to more 160- million from 2012 to 2016. The report, “Transformational Solutions for 2015 and Beyond”, notes that mobile broadband has been driving financial inclusion through mobile banking and mobile money across the continent, while also supporting new ways of delivering healthcare in many countries. The leader of the task force that delivered the report, Ericsson president/CEO Hans Vestberg, said: “As the post-2015 sustainable development agenda process evolved, we felt an urgent need to see action. We see so many opportunities for broadband to transform all aspects of society. Technology evolves faster than policy, and we wanted to make a concerted effort to do everything we could to raise awareness of the potential.”

MTN launches global virtual private network

MTN has introduced its global multiprotocol label switching virtual private network (Global MPLS VPN) connecting key network points of presence in Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Djibouti, South Africa and the UK. According to MTN group chief commercial officer Pieter Verkade, enterprise customers will experience a seamless managed network service, leveraging off MTN’s undersea cable investments and 24 operations across Africa and the Middle East. The data super-highway will connect key locations to deliver global scale, high-quality network and world-class support, meaning that customers across several sectors, including financial services, logistics, gas and oil, manufacturing and retail, will be able to outsource their WAN, LAN and customer premises equipment management requirements.

Liquid Telecom opens “largest data centre in East Africa”

Liquid Telecom has opened in Nairobi what it claims is the largest and most sophisticated data centre in East Africa. The carrier-neutral facility is already providing services to banks, mobile network operators, and providers of internet and cloud-computing solutions. Liquid says the facility provides space for dedicated hosting and interconnection services for customers across Africa. It is connected to the backbone and metro fibre of multiple carriers, including most Kenyan telcos plus international firms such as Tata, Level3 and Seacom.

Bharti Airtel to enhance African connectivity

Bharti Airtel has announced the launch of its Africa Connect network aimed at enhancing Africa’s connectivity with the rest of the world, and adding to the continent’s data carriage capacity. The network has an integrated fibre and satellite network with 42 points of presence through 17 African countries. The suite of products include submarine capacity, global leased circuits, Ethernet and backhauls, global and regional IP transit, managed Internet, bandwidth on demand, satellite and managed services to enterprises and carriers in the region. The new network further augmented its reach & connectivity using the multiple network-to-network interconnects that have more than 25 local network partners. The entire network interconnects with Bharti Airtel’s landing station in Mumbai thereby allowing access to the company’s terrestrial express connectivity into the SAARC countries and infrastructure across the Pacific to the USA.

Forbes sees Ghana becoming tech-friendly hub for innovation

Influential business magazine Forbes predicts that Ghana will benefit significantly from technological advancement in the next decade provided that various interventions in the sector proceed unhindered. The September 2013 edition of the Forbes Africa magazine based its projection on planned infrastructural developments. According to Forbes writer Muyiwa Moyela: “A consortium of Ghanaian and foreign firms looks set to transform Ghana into a modern, tech-friendly hub for innovation in Africa.” He cited the US$40-million Ghana Cyber City, Appolonia City, King City and HOPE City Projects being promoted by such institutions as the Renaissance Group of Russia, Xalles of Washington, Ernst & Young New York and Dubai-based AGAMS Holdings, a subsidiary of which is expected to commission a $100-million PC and mobile device manufacturing centre in Ghana next year.

Nigeria set to auction unused mobile broadband spectrum next year

Nigeria’s Federal Government expects to realise more than US$2-billion from the auction of unused mobile broadband spectrum that will result from vacating UHF bands previously used by television stations. Edward Amana, chairman of the Presidential Committee on the Transition from Analogue to Digital Broadcasting (DigiTeam) said all stakeholders are ready to commence the switchover to digital broadcasting in the first quarter of 2014. He said spectrum buyers would be telecoms operators that require additional bandwidth to deliver faster internet services, for which which Nigerians are willing to pay.

Telecom Namibia to deploy Zhone solution for advanced broadband

Zhone Technologies, a specialist in FTTx network-access solutions, has announced that Telecom Namibia (TN) is to deploy Zhone’s MXK and several additional Zhone services to provide customers with advanced voice and broadband services. TN, which serves more than 145 000 customers, runs the largest digital telecoms network in Namibia. It will use Zhone’s MXK to implement active fibre and copper-access to renovate and update its infrastructure, with the hope of providing solutions to 150 000 lines over the next three years. TN also aims to replace its existing voice and data systems by using Zhone’s MXK ubiquitous Access Solution, providing GPON, Active Ethernet in addition to ISDN BRI to migrate all existing voice services into a nationwide IP Multimedia Subsystem solution. This would allow seamless integration of mobile and fixed networks into the existing copper-based network. The operator will also consolidate its mobile backhaul solutions and TDM Leased Lines over an MXK Access System to deliver advanced broadband performance.

Koreans to provide Rwanda with systems integration and IT services

The government of Rwanda and Korea Telecom (KT) have signed a shareholders’ agreement to establish a systems integration and IT services joint-venture company to build and operate services in Rwanda and across the region. As principal shareholder, KT, Korea’s largest telecoms provider, will bring expertise and a baseline cash injection of around US $8-million. The joint venture has been established for an initial ten-year term. According to H J Kim, president of KT’s Global & Enterprise Group, the joint venture will contribute to developing the ICT industry, stimulating job creation and promoting socio-economic development in Rwanda. “And this opportunity will help KT to build a global ICT reference, and expand the Rwanda model to other African countries.”

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