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VAS ISSUE 25 ZAR 29.95 US$ 3.50 UK£ 2.25 EU€ 2.95 Rest of Africa US$ 2.95

Satellite East&Africa Fibre

Thought Leadership with Alan Harper of Eaton Towers

Q&A with Karri Kuoppamaki

[ 04 ] guest ed


Peter Bell, Research Analyst for Telegeography.

[ 06 ] news

The latest local and global telecoms news.

[ 16 ] gadgets

Want the next big thing in portable devices? Our gadget review is here to help you choose.

[ 20 ] stats

Africa Telecoms presents statistics and data relating to the African telecoms market.

[ 62 ] q&a


Tower guard

Telecoms infrastructure sharing is not an entirely new concept and is fast becoming an important best practice, writes Brett Haggard

much does 4G 28 How matter in Africa?

With Karri Kuoppamaki, Head of Technology for Africa, Nokia Siemens Networks.

[ 68 ] calendar

Upcoming events, shows and conferences you can’t afford to miss!

[ 70 ] jobs

A list of the latest telecoms vacancies from across Africa.

[ 72 ] last word

Curiouser and Curiouser: Curiosity didn’t kill the cat - it landed on Mars.


36 VAS & Apps: A Happy Co-existence in Africa

Issue 25


Out 42 Coming Slugging Windows 8 is a bold leap of faith for Microsoft, but it’s one that could pay off beautifully. What’s changed now that Consumer Preview is out and how are the Redmond software giant’s plans to retake the throne faring? By Brett Haggard

for the mag


Driving the Evolution of Mobile Broadband in Africa


The Evolution of the Connected Home

By Khalid Wani, Sales Director, Western Digital, Branded Business Middle East, Africa & India

[ Publisher ] Mohammed Khan [ Managing Editor ] Bradley Shaw [ Sales Director ] Sarah Theron [ Art Director ] Hayley Davis [ Sub-Editor ] Yazeed Fakier [ Printing ] Tandym Press [ Contributors ] Steven Ambrose, Alan Harper, Karri Kuoppamaki, Peter Bell, Brett Haggard, Lesley Stones, Richard Hurst, Gary Allemann, Stuart Eveleigh, Khalid Wani, Brendan Young, Thabo Jautse Africa Telecoms and Africa Telecoms Online are published by: 3i Publishing Unit 6, Planet Art, 32 Jamieson Street, Cape Town 8001 T: +27 21 426 5590 | E:


Guest Ed With Peter Bell

LTE needs allies not enemies

The current regulatory wrangles in Kenya over the country’s operators. Seventeen firms registered interest in partnering plans for the deployment of Long Term Evolution (LTE) with the government in the open access system by the networks are not signalling a healthy inception for 4G September 2011 deadline, including Safaricom, but the cellco technology in the region. Yet, there are still some signs of is now threatening to stand down from the consortium if the hope. Right across the continent we can see that the growth government does not move to open up the 700MHz band for of cellular services is still booming, while the growth in the LTE. That band is currently used for analogue TV broadcasts, number of fixed line connections with the CCK saying that it is unlikely has stalled or – in some cases – is to be freed for cellular use until 2015. even being reversed. Wireless is The regulator is looking to offer LTE definitely the future where Africa is spectrum at 2.6GHz instead, but concerned, and that future will also Safaricom argues that it would be too extend to wireless internet services. expensive to deploy LTE at the higher For many years it was frequency. 700MHz spectrum thought that WiMAX wireless would allow operators to broadband technology would fly deploy a wider coverage with fewer the flag for 4G in Africa, offering base stations, while the 2.6GHz band affordable internet connectivity is more suited to urban deployments, in areas not yet reached by fixed with a shorter range but greater inline networks. Yet, WiMAX has building signal penetration. failed to carve itself a niche in It is a stand-off that needs to be the region, with just a handful resolved if LTE is to take hold, of small-scale deployments. The not just in Kenya but across East Communications Commission Africa as a whole. One solution of Kenya (CCK) said WiMAX already being adopted in countries subscriber figures in that country, such as Germany is a dual-mode for example, peaked at just 29,979 system which uses the lower bands in June 2011, and the situation to provide blanket coverage of is the same in markets such as rural areas and the 2.6GHz band Kenya is expected to be the first Tanzania and Uganda. The main for greater capacity in the urban East African nation to deploy reason behind weak take-up has centres. Vodafone in Germany has 4G cellular networks been the failure of the technology just unveiled its first dual-band LTE to create a viable ecosystem, and handset and, while pricing is still at one-by-one, vendors have abandoned the WiMAX ship and the high end of the scale, by the time African nations begin set sail with a rival wireless access platform. adopting 4G technology, the device costs will surely have So, it has befallen LTE to take up the 4G banner. Kenya dropped considerably. So, perhaps is expected to be the first East African nation to deploy 4G Safaricom and the CCK could lay down cellular networks; in a report by the Global mobile Suppliers their swords and forge a similar solution Association (GSA) in March 2012, Kenya’s Safaricom was to their German counterparts that suits the only one of the region’s operators named among 301 all parties: governments, operators and firms worldwide that had at least run LTE trials. In November – most importantly – users. AT 2010, the CCK called for the implementation of a publicprivate partnership, with a view to creating a universal access by peter bell, Research analyst system which would be shared by all of the country’s telecoms for telegeography



Africa Telecoms brings you all the latest telecoms news from Africa and around the world.

8ta, BHP Billiton and partners do it again for South Africa’s matriculants Educ8 Matric Revision programme – a private sector-government campaign – has held its mathematics and science programme for disadvantaged learners across South Africa for the second successive year. First launched in July last year as a partnership between 8ta, BHP Billiton, Primestars, Samsung and the Department of Basic Education, it is aimed at improving Grade 12 learners’ final-year examination performance in maths and science. “We are excited and fully prepared for a bumper 2012 Matric Revision Programme,” said Martin Sweet, Managing Director of campaign initiators Primestars Marketing, adding that it would assist young people to excel in their individual performances, setting themselves up to be fully prepared for university and play a meaningful role in society. Revision sessions, which started on July 22 and continued every Sunday to 23 September this year, were each filmed from the cinema venues where they were held and simultaneously broadcast to a network of 15 digitised Ster-Kinekor theatres across the country. They were presented in an educational and fun way so that learners should feel free to interact with subject experts leading classes. This year, EduC8 reached three additional areas – Witbank, Richards Bay and Kuruman – as part of the project’s commitment to being as widely accessible as possible, offering equal opportunities to all disadvantaged learners. Special allowance was made for learners will not able to attend the revision sessions due to their geographical locations. The campaign took place against the background of an urgent need for the country to address its critical skills shortage, particularly in the maths- and science-related fields of actuarial science, engineering, medicine and accounting. Helping learners perform better in these subjects enhances their eligibility for admission to tertiary institutions. The campaign has already scored an early success – one of last year’s


participants, Zanele Khumalo, 18, who attended the revision sessions at Maponya Mall in Soweto, is on her way to Cuba on a scholarship to study medicine. “EduC8 helped me obtain the marks that I needed to be able to qualify for a scholarship and realise my dream of becoming a medical doctor,” said the former Letsibogo Girls High School learner, expressing her gratitude for the opportunity the programme had afforded her. The Sasol Inzalo Foundation (SaIF) and the national bursary organisation Studietrust will again this year cooperate with EduC8 by reserving at least five full-cost bursaries for qualifying applicants. SaIF aims to be a significant contributor to sustainable economic growth in South Africa by focusing on skills development in engineering and science through various programmes, including a bursary programme that started in 2010. Amith Maharaj, Senior Managing Executive of Telkom Mobile, said it was widely acknowledged that maths and science education was the foundation for many of those jobs needed to develop the country’s infrastructure, and therefore its economic growth. “Increasingly, these subjects are a critical component of getting ahead.” BHP Billiton Chairman Dr Xolani Mkhwanazi said that if the South African nation was to be transformed, “we need to start at a grassroots level with skills development and education; we need to change the lives and experiences of the youth for the better (for) we are nothing without talented, skilled employees”. Ntutule Tshenye, of Samsung Africa Regional Headquarters: Corporate Citizenship, noted the company’s commitment to developing skilled young leaders in Africa, specifically to develop 10 000 electronic engineers across the continent by 2015 – “and a strong maths and science foundation is critical (in this field)”.



Epsilon Telecommunications joins AMS-IX Partner Programme in Amsterdam Epsilon Telecommunications is the latest partner to join the reselling programme of the Amsterdam Internet Exchange (AMS-IX), enabling the company to remotely connect parties to peer at the exchange, while simultaneously enhancing their IP service offering. In response to Internet traffic growth worldwide, increasing numbers of parties need to improve their network performance and decrease costs. By peering at an Internet exchange, these parties can do just that. As one of the largest neutral exchanges with a growing community of members extending worldwide, AMS-IX enables connected networks to benefit from the financial and infrastructure benefits of the over 1.6 Tbps (Terabit per second) Internet traffic being exchanged at AMS-IX daily. AMS-IX has introduced the AMS-IX Partner Program to allow third parties to resell AMS-IX ports anywhere they have infrastructure connecting to the AMS-IX locations in Amsterdam. The programme is aimed at providing easier access to AMS-IX for new (remote) customers through the AMS-IX partners, and consequently increase the value of the exchange through peering benefits such as increased networks, traffic and routes. As a global network exchange, Epsilon provides a managed presence globally for carriers and service providers. Its network extends to over 60 carrier neutral data centres across Europe, Asia and America; the company currently serves over 400 carriers and service providers worldwide and has access to well over 1000 operators. CEO of Epsilon Andreas Hipp says that having over 400 pre-connected customers with an array of international gateway and connectivity requirements, “it is important that we stay well positioned to accommodate their needs”. The company was therefore glad to be partnered with AMS-IX to enhance its IP offerings. “The increased availability of peering is crucial in our layer 2 service, and we are glad to now be able to facilitate the benefits of AMS-IX to those on the Epsilon exchange,” he said. Meanwhile, a “pleased” AMS-IX CEO Job Witteman said that Epsilon’s reach and services would be a valuable addition to the partner ecosystem.

XConnect extends ‘plug and peer’ voice peering services to NAP Africa Voice and multimedia peering now enabled via XConnect at NAPAfrica Operators stand to gain handsomely from the establishment, announced recently, of an additional VoIP exchange on an IP peering point in South Africa. In terms of the announcement made by XConnect, the leader in federation-based IP, service providers – in collaboration with NAPAfrica, South Africa’s first open and free public peering facility – will now be able to directly exchange IP voice and multimedia traffic. This, in turn, will enable operators in South Africa and Africa to interconnect securely and multilaterally to multiple networks via a single IP connection, supporting the interworking and interoperability of IP voice and multimedia services such as HighDefinition Voice, video and Unified Communications (UC). There are financial benefits too – XConnect South Africa CEO Christopher Geerdts said the move would ensure the country gained richly from the rapid global evolution to IP-based unified communications. “Voice transit from one VoIP provider to another can cost anything from 5 to 10 cents per minute,” he noted. “However, as a promotional offer to mark this important connectivity milestone, members connecting on NAP Africa will only pay 1.2c transit to each other, for their first full year of membership. We are enabling operators to make calls on IP voice and new multimedia services across each other’s networks, with quality improvements, and significant cost savings.” Teraco (South Africa) Managing Director Lex van Wyk labelled the announcement “an exciting first for NAPAfrica (with) significant benefits for operators as it will reduce the technical complexity and commercial and operational costs of NGN interconnection”. This would allow for migration from bilateral, legacy-network TDM interconnects to IP. XConnect currently operates other national federations in Germany, North America, Europe and Asia.




51st SES spacecraft in orbit after successful ILS Proton launch SES satellite also hosts EGNOS payloads for European Commission

AN SES-5 satellite designed to deliver high-performance and extensive coverage for direct-to-home (DTH) services in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, has been launched. In addition, the satellite will also deliver such coverage for broadband, maritime communications, GSM backhaul and VSAT applications in those regions from its orbital slot of 5degE. The SES-5 was fired into space on board an ILS Proton Breeze M booster and after a nine-hour, 12-minute mission, the Breeze M upper stage of the Proton rocket successfully released the satellite directly into geostationary transfer orbit. Designed and built for SES by Space Systems/Loral (SS/L), a leading manufacturer of commercial satellites, the spacecraft features 36 active Ku-band transponders and up to 24 active C-band transponders. SES-5 has two Ku-band beams, one serving customers in the Nordic and Baltic countries, and one serving Sub-Saharan Africa. It also has two C-band beams, one with global coverage and one with hemispheric coverage over Europe, Africa and the Middle East. The satellite provides Ka-band uplink capability, allowing for flexible operations between Europe and Africa. It also features the L-band payload for the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS), which was developed for the European Commission (EC) to help verify, improve and report on the reliability and accuracy of navigation positioning signals in Europe.


Romain Bausch, President and CEO of SES, said the SES-5 marked the second successful ILS-Proton launch in 2012 for SES and the third SES satellite delivered by Space Systems/Loral in the last ten months. “The powerful new satellite enters the global SES fleet as Number 51. After thorough in-orbit testing, SES and its customers can now look forward to SES-5 providing new, state-of-the-art satellite capacity across Europe, Africa and the Middle East.” European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani, responsible for Industry and Entrepreneurship, said the launch demonstrated the Commission’s commitment to providing positioning signals with the highest possible accuracy to citizens and businesses in Europe. “This opens up a multitude of business opportunities, today and in the future, especially when EGNOS will start working with Galileo when Galileo becomes operational in 2014.” According to John Celli, President of Space Systems/Loral, the SES-5 demonstrated the robust capability of the 1,300 platform to provide state-of-the-art communications “and at the same time host an important payload for the European Commission”. Frank McKenna, President of ILS, noted that ILS and SES had a partnership spanning 16 years, starting with the first ILS Proton launch with SES’ Astra 1F satellite. ILS Proton has since launched 21 of SES’ satellites, providing telecommunications services for a diverse customer base across the globe.



Etisalat maintains strong credit ratings with three international credit rating agencies Following rigorous evaluations by the three leading international credit rating agencies, Etisalat has emerged as the highest overall rated telecommunications company in the GCC, and the fourth-highest rated telecommunications company in the world. The rating by Standard & Poor, Fitch and Moody’s of Etisalat, the leading telecommunications company in the Middle East, Africa and Asia with operations in 16 countries, means Etisalat has maintained one of the highest credit ratings in the telecom sector. Its existing credit rating during the second quarter of 2012 was affirmed as follows: AA- (by S&P), A+ (by Fitch), and Aa3 (by Moody’s), maintaining its ranking across all three agencies. Ahmad Abdulkarim Julfar, Etisalat Group Chief Executive Officer, attributed its strong credit score to sound financial policy and financial flexibility, along with solid generation of cash flow “and a strong portfolio of local and overseas assets that have yielded consistent increased value”. Said Julfar: “Etisalat is proud of the recognition of our financial success, which we look forward to maintaining with strong underlying operating performance that will sustain our stable rating and assist in diversifying our funding sources and provide strong liquidity and financial flexibility.”

Increased international demand for Payair mobile payment service Sweden’s Payair, the first fully commercial, non-wallet-based mobile payment service to launch a proof of concept in 2010 – devising plastic card functionality for the smartphone – is on the move again. The market leader in Sweden is expanding its international business department due to unprecedented interest from the trade industry, banks and credit card payment operators worldwide. Its commercial service was established at the end of 2011. The company announced that experienced CIT executives Erik Kockum and Tomas Mikaelsson would be at the helm of the global expansion to service all new business possibilities around the world and to safeguard the expansion “in a professional way”. “There is a high (level of) interest in the Payair solution as the industry is seeking a service that is easy to implement and well designed to suit the already existing payment eco-system,” said Payair Technologies CEO Staffan Ljung.

Comviva Leads the Electronic Recharge Market in Egypt Four in every five prepaid subscribers in Egypt use Comviva’s next generation PreTUPS Electronic Top-up The electronic top-up market in Egypt has been captured by Comviva – the global leader in mobile financial and VAS solutions to network operators and financial institutions – with its PreTUPS electronic recharge solution. Comviva said PreTUPS, “a market-proven” electronic recharge solution that handles around 1 billion recharge transactions annually in the country, is used by over 67 million subscribers out of the total 81.5 million prepaid subscribers in Egypt. Comviva is a world leader in the provision of electronic recharge solutions; its PreTUPS platform and suite of applications are deployed in over 56 operator sites across 39 countries. Worldwide, over 647 million subscribers worldwide use the platform, which the company says handles more than 18 billion recharge transactions annually. Across Africa, PreTUPS reportedly enables affordable recharge for more than 180 million mobile subscribers in 28 markets. The solution has been deployed by all major operator groups in Africa and is currently being deployed by a leading operator in 17 countries, says Comviva. Srinivas Nidugondi, Comviva’s Vice-President: Mobile Financial Solutions, said that with prepaid dominating markets, mobile service providers required a proven, highly scalable, flexible solution to handle the growing volumes of transactions and the specific needs of particular segments. “(The) over 101% mobile penetration and growing consumer base for electronic recharge in Egypt has spurred the development of mobile payments in the country,” said Nidugondi. “Egypt’s government and banks are working towards the expansion of mobile payment options in the country and we…believe that very soon millions of (Egyptians) can experience mobile payments, which will further contribute towards accessing banking and payment services.” According to the company, Comviva leads the mobile money and recharge solutions across growth markets, with more than 110 deployments across Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America; the award-winning “mobiquity” mobile financial solution is currently live or being deployed by 58 service providers and banks globally; and PreTUPS electronic recharge is deployed by 56 service providers and powers recharge for 9% of the world’s population.




Ixia and Auspex Demonstrate IPv6 in Virtual Networks at Digital Government Institute’s IPv6 Conference Results Showcase Strategies for Meeting the Scalability and Performance Application Requirements of Demanding IPv4 to IPv6 Transition Scenarios With a deadline of 18 to 24 months looming before IPv6-only users will access federal agencies’ services, an application delivery validation demonstration was held in Washington, D.C., to assist the Office of Management and Budget in meeting its mission critical milestones. The dual-stack IPv4 and IPv6 demonstration, held at the Digital Government Institute’s IPv6 Conference on June 6th this year, highlighted IPv6 implementations in virtual environments, which federal agencies are in the midst of developing and deploying. Partipants included Ixia, the leading global provider of converged IP and wireless network test and visibility solutions, and federal IPv6 solutions leader Auspex Technologies, LLC, in conjunction with F5 Networks. While big data and Web 2.0 technologies are becoming more prominent in enterprise applications, they can push the limits of virtualised computing infrastructures. IPv6 migration methods can add even more complexity and potentially break critical applications, and federal agencies are not always able to fully evaluate different architectures and select the optimal approach.

The demonstration used Ixia’s flagship IxLoad application to control virtual test interfaces (IxVM) – emulating thousands of concurrent web users – in order to validate a virtualised enterprise cloud scenario that used the virtual edition of F5 BIG-IP® Local Traffic Manager™ and a real server farm. It showed that F5’s virtual application delivery controller (ADC) was able to accelerate the performance of a Web 2.0 infrastructure with web, application and database tiers by employing load balancing and caching functions. F5 Regional Vice-President of Federal Sales Nick Urick said U.S. government agencies were under pressure to support IPv6 by September 30 this year in order to meet their mandate, but there were concerns about disrupting existing operations. Ixia’s Senior Market Development Manager Mike Haugh commented that the transition to IPv6 “is a reality that is upon us, and must be thoroughly validated end-to-end through the network”, while Chief Operating Officer of Auspex Technologies, LLC, Dale Geesey noted that the company’s experience and expertise had helped agencies meet the Office of Management and Budget’s IPv6 milestones and accelerate their deployments.

Zain Bahrain deploys Minotaur fraud management system from Neural Technologies

Zain, a leading provider of mobile telecommunications in the Middle East, has deployed its third fraud management system from Neural Technologies, a leading provider of risk management software solutions at Zain Bahrain. Zain Bahrain is the latest member of the group to sign up to Neural Technologies’ Minotaur Fraud Management Solution. The operator follows in the footsteps of Zain Kuwait and Iraq, who have been using the solution since 2007. Minotaur Fraud Management Solution is providing Zain Bahrain with comprehensive protection against a multitude of fraud and revenue risks, from combating fraud at subscription stage, monitoring the GSM and WiMAX network as well as international usage for roaming and high international calling.


The solution combines multiple approaches, including neural predictive analytics, behavioural modelling, link analysis and identity matching techniques, with a several-stage detection process that delivers highly accurate fraud detection and low false positive rates. Minotaur also incorporates a powerful case management environment that facilitates the process of case investigation and enables proactive fraud identification through new innovative data mining functionality. Said Revenue Assurance & Fraud Manager for Zain Bahrain, Nooruldeen Al-Saif: “Having seen the success of the Minotaur product in other parts of the Zain Group, we are very pleased to be working with Neural Technologies to further improve our fraud and revenue management with Minotaur’s advanced analysis tools.”



International Bandwidth Demand Grows 45 Percent Demand for international bandwidth grew 45% in 2011, and at a compounded rate of 57% annually between 2007 and 2011, according to data from TeleGeography’s Global Bandwidth Research Service. Although growth has slowed since 2008, when network capacity increased nearly 70%, the pace remained brisk, with aggregate capacity requirements more than doubling every two years, the research service revealed. A key finding for Africa was that used capacity connected to Norway was greater than that connected to all the countries on the continent. The rate of growth varied widely by region, and was fastest on links to less-developed regions. Between 2007 and 2011, for example, international bandwidth usage in the Middle East grew at a compounded rate of 98% annually, from 148 Gbps to 2.3 Tbps. Over the same time period, Africa’s international bandwidth usage increased 85% annually to 677 Gbps and Latin America’s international bandwidth usage grew 71% to 5.6 Tbps.

Source: Telegeography

International bandwidth requirements in Asia and Europe grew at a compounded rate of more than 55% between 2007 and 2011, while international bandwidth demand in North America and Oceania grew 47%. Although international bandwidth usage growth was slower in these mature markets, their capacity requirements were far larger than those of emerging markets. North America’s international bandwidth usage was nearly 10 times greater than that of the entire Middle East. The research showed that broadband subscriber growth was the primary driver of bandwidth demand in the Middle East and Africa, where the number of subscribers grew from 9.4 million to 19.4 million between 2007 and 2011, and in Asia, where broadband subscriptions doubled to 250 million over the same period. While broadband subscriber growth had slowed in Latin America, Europe and North America, bandwidth demand in these regions was fuelled by increases in average broadband access speeds, enabling more frequent use of high-bandwidth applications such as video.




Gilat Selected by Cable & Wireless Panama for Broadband Network Expansion Solar powered Sky-Edge II VSAT solution to provide broadband Internet and telephony services

Prepaid vouchers: the perfect way to reach a mass market in South Africa Millions of South Africans who rely on prepaid vouchers to recharge their cellular airtime will now be easily accessible to marketers, thanks to the introduction of a new form of advertising on airtime vouchers. The new advertising recharge voucher makes it cost-effective for brands to reach consumers wherever they are, including those who don’t have easy access to TV, newspapers or the Internet. This advertising platform, by Blue Label Media, a subsidiary of Blue Label Telecoms Limited, allows marketers to print a message or call to action on prepaid airtime and electricity vouchers distributed through Blue Label Telecoms, one of the largest producers of recharge vouchers in South Africa. Blue Label distributes some 100 million prepaid vouchers every month, reaching an LSM 1-8 audience with its products. “This is a medium that guarantees eyeball penetration as users see the advertising message when they look at the recharge pin,” said Wayne Miller, head of Blue Label Media. The vouchers are sold through cash-and-carry outlets, wholesalers, retail outlets, hair salons, train stations, spaza shops, shebeens and filling stations, reaching as far as rural areas and into informal settlements.


Worldwide leader in satellite networking technology solutions and services, Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd, has been selected to provide a Sky-Edge II broadband network to deliver broadband Internet and telephony connectivity to the Panamanian nation. Cable & Wireless Panama, the country’s largest telecommunications operator, has partnered with Gilat since 2005, providing satellite-based services utilizing Gilat’s SkyEdge and SkyEdge II products with over 1,300 sites now in operation. The network enables Panamanians to access Internet applications such as interactive learning, as well as telephony services. The current network expansion includes solar-powered VSATs, as well as installation, maintenance and operation of the Sky Edge II hub equipment and VoIP gateways. The solar-powered solution will be supported by new outbound capacity from Telesat’s TelStar 11N. Gilat’s SkyEdge II is a multi-service platform enabling the delivery of high-quality voice, broadband data and video services for diverse environments, including enterprises, rural networks, cellular backhaul and government network applications. With better efficiencies and full adaptability to environmental conditions and satellite space segment capacity for both the inbound and outbound channels, the platform allows service providers to offer higher performance voice and broadband data services across urban and rural locations. SkyEdge II is a standards-based system using DVB-S2 and DVB-RCS. Said Jorge Nicolau, CEO of Cable & Wireless Panama: “Gilat’s ability to provide a bandwidth efficient, endto-end solution, coupled with their support to operate the central hub activities, has allowed us to ensure that broadband connectivity, even at the most remote locations, is of the highest quality and reliability for our customers.”



The business case for cloud computing While Cloud computing has generated significant hype in Africa, few companies have taken the time to consider the value it could offer from a business perspective when IT vendors were pushing the technology case, says Frank Rizzo, Partner in Advisory at KPMG. “With services such as Apple iCloud, Microsoft SkyDrive, and Google Drive popularising the commoditisation of Cloud computing, we have reached the point where implementation has become a question for the CEO and not the CIO,” Rizzo said. “Cloud computing is no longer driven solely by technical experts, but by business leaders looking to leverage Cloud computing from an overall business perspective.” Rizzo believes that while there are almost as many different definitions of Cloud computing as there are vendors supplying solutions for it, ondemand self-service and elastic capacity are the two fundamental characteristics of anything that has Cloud aspirations. Cost benefits “You do not think about scalability when it comes to electricity. It is a case of plugging in an appliance and it works. The same holds true for Cloud solutions. These solutions should be able to scale according to customer requirements, peaking during month-end activities and tapering down as less resources are required,” says Rizzo. The benefit of this is that companies can focus on their core activities while Cloud takes care of the management of resources. This more efficient use of resources and reduction of extraneous infrastructure costs are big business drivers and make economic sense to decision-makers. Scalability means that entrepreneurs and small enterprises are perfectly positioned to leverage off the power of Cloud as they do not have to invest heavily in IT infrastructure. But, while cutting costs is a big driver for Cloud adoption, CEOs need to properly understand the total cost of ownership before even considering the return on investment they’re getting from Cloud services. Questions lead to opportunities Rizzo says business decision-makers need to question themselves as to whether they are using Cloud just to cut costs or to improve business performance: “Questions around the tax implications of adopting Cloud might not be as straightforward to answer as those on how an organisation can manage security and privacy risks. Yet, companies need to be honest with themselves if they are to truly benefit from the promise of Cloud.”

He feels that there is most opportunity in Africa for Cloud services, especially as Internet access across the continent is increasing. For Rizzo, the fact that mobile operators are pushing infrastructure means that the bandwidth is arriving. But people need to move quicker to access and benefit from it. Building momentum Governments across the continent are also starting to take a more active role in Cloud services rollouts. For example, the government in Nigeria is driving Cloud adoption, while in Kenya the focus is more on e-health and e-education Cloud solutions. In South Africa, a number of pilot projects across sectors are on the go, including examples of enterprise resource planning taking place in relation to Cloud. “We need to look at where ICT fits in with the agenda of the South African government,” says Rizzo. “While we are starting to see the right movements by government, it needs to happen quicker. Quite a few other African countries are ahead of South Africa already.” Irrespective of whether it is for public or private sector use, Cloud adoption requires a careful examination of the potential operational risks and challenges, in addition to the technology questions. “Adopting Cloud definitely has a big impact on IT, but critical business operations are also affected. Approaches to implementation may vary depending on service and deployment models, and the maturity of existing business and IT processes,” according to Rizzo.




Blackberry is South Africa’s BFF Smartphone BlackBerry smartphones accounted for 7 out of the 10 best-selling smartphones in South Africa in May 2012, and has been the leading smartphone vendor in the country for over 20 months. This is according to GfK Retail and Technology quoted in a news release by Research In Motion (RIM), the company behind the popular BlackBerry brand. RIM was announcing the appointment of Alexandra Zagury as Managing Director for South Africa and Southern Africa, who will oversee all RIM’s operations, sales and marketing efforts for the region. Commenting on her appointment, an “excited” Zagury said: “Our goal is to maintain customer loyalty and expand RIM’s leading position in South Africa by being even more customer-focused and by working closely with our carrier and developer partners across the region.” Robert Bose, Regional Managing Director for Africa and the Middle

East at RIM, said Zagury brought a wealth of commercial, strategic and leadership experience to the role, and would be instrumental in driving the next stage of RIM’s business growth in southern Africa. Zagury, who will be based in Johannesburg, has been with RIM for more than four years and was RIM’s first Managing Director appointed in Turkey. Prior to moving to Istanbul, she was based in the UK, where she was responsible for regional strategic planning and business operations for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. She was at Yahoo! Europe, where she headed the UK and PanEuro Business Operations and Intelligence teams before joining RIM in April 2008. Her earlier experience spans the property, leisure, financial services and media industries in the US, Tunisia, Argentina, Korea and Poland.

Subscriber patterns drive Intersec launch of new Loyalty Management Suite for mobile operators Software reduces churn by 10-20% and increases ARPU by 5-9% per annum A new version of software based on analysis of actual usage patterns and allowing marketing teams easily and quickly to develop real-time promotions for targeted subscribers has been developed. Intersec, a value-added software provider for mobile and integrated operators, is launching this new version of its Loyalty Management Suite (LMS) to help operators offer contextual promotions and services based on subscribers’ actual usage, behaviour and preferences. . The LMS has already been installed in multiple geographies by Tier One operators such as Orange and has increased ARPU by 5-9% per annum by allowing the accurate targeting of users with new promotions and services. Equally effective in emerging markets, the software has been deployed by operators such as Maroc Telecom to target prepaid users, with timely offers to encourage top-ups and gain greater loyalty from subscribers switching between multiple SIMs.


The powerful new version of the LMS software (running on a Linux operating system and available in multiple languages) can process up to 100,000 events per second on a single server. Its unparalleled performance offers an ROI with 3-9 months, allowing marketers access to a wealth of information on patterns of usage and behaviour, allowing them to create targeted promotions in seconds without requiring the intervention of the IT team. The new release version 4.0 offers increased analytical functionality to measure the effectiveness of campaigns, launch repeat offers and share market trends and campaign results on a global basis. Said Intersec CEO Yann Chevalier: “Customers of mobile and converged operators are constantly being pursued by competitors. Pricing offers alone are too easy to replicate, but offering subscribers timely promotions that correspond to their specific usage, behaviour and interests is vastly more effective and much more difficult to emulate. The operators are winners with increased loyalty and ARPU, and the consumers as well, who enjoy a better customer experience with welltargeted promotions and services.”

Gadgets Africa Telecoms is always in the know when it comes to the hottest gadgets and devices.

HTC Sensation XL with Beats Audio™ Rating: hhh Price: R 6 999 NEED TO KNOW: • 4.7” S-LCD capacitive touchscreen • Android OS, v2.3 (Gingerbread) • 1.5 GHz Scorpion processor, Adreno 205 GPU, Qualcomm MSM8255 chipset • 768MB RAM • 16 GB storage • 8 MP, autofocus, dual-LED flash • Front facing 1.3MP camera • Beats Audio™ optimised Let’s start with that “capacitive” 4.7” touchscreen. Go on, say it. Sort of gives smartphone seekers what a hard-rocking stand-up guy like Hank Rollins would call “command presence”, doesn’t it? Mainline a bundle boosted by Dr Dre Beats Headphones with a Beats pouch into the mix and you’ve got bang for your buck, too. As usual, Beats Audio optimisation makes for great listening, whether your drug of choice is Alice Cooper’s “Poison” or a more


ethereal trip such as Faithless’“Insomnia”. Then there’s a factor that smartphone manufacturers often sacrifi ce: the build quality. Drum roll ... the solid, single-piece backing feels great in your hand. For its size, the weight is also impressive at a mere 162g – so it’s not lightweight but certainly not heavy. With HTC Sense 3.5 preloaded on this device and a deal signed with Dropbox for an additional 5GB of cloud storage, you can still enjoy the extra storage the mystically missing MicroSD slot would have given you. Then again, any geek’s gonna tell you that downloading movies and music off Dropbox is not ideal. Some might consider 16GB internal sufficient in our multimedia world, but believe it, the MicroSD card will be missed. This new version of Sense also makes the HTC Sensation customisable, with lock screen graphics, navigation panel removeability for all those Android app downloads, and more. It’s quirky too: the newly unlocked screen features three seconds of sound and graphics depicting the weather you are currently experiencing in your area. Overall, it’s a great device. It’s just a shame about that MicroSD slot that went missing.

Lenovo IdeaPad Rating: hhhh Price: R 12 999 NEED TO KNOW: • • • • • • • •

Intel Core i7 2677 M Dual Core processor 1.8GHz 4GB Dual Channel DDR3 1333MHz 13.3” HD WLED Display Weight 1,33kg 256GB SSD Windows 7 Home Premium 1.3MP Webcam USB 3.0, HDMI and headphone jack

“IdeaPad” – now that’s an ear-catching sales pitch, isn’t it? Substance or style? Performance or pretension? These are just some of the consumer binary questions Lenovo attempt to bridge in their latest foray into the flooded world of Ultrabooks. Better build quality, an optional top-end Intel Core i7 processor model and a productive eight hours of battery life mean this sleek metallic knockout also packs a pretty decent portable processing punch. As titillating as these specs are, though, there are a couple of caveats that strike a dissonant chord: the HD screen doesn’t render perfect colour; and as palmcool as it stays during those inevitable screenburning sessions, the keyboard is not backlit. But hey, these are minor misfires. The touchpad on the IdeaPad pulls off a minor coup, actually giving the MacBook Air a run for its intuitive sensitivity.

BlackBerry Curve Rating: hhh Price: R 3 799 NEED TO KNOW: • Marvel Tavor MG1 806MHz processor • 512MB storage upgradeable to 32GB with microSD • 5MP camera Given the all-touch Storm’s disastrous track record, it’s tempting to question whether BlackBerry should even be dabbling with touch screen phones. Still, if you’re after an entry-level smartphone, then the all-touch Curve 9380 has just enough upgradeable on-board memory for BBM junkies to start thinking seriously about making the smart migration.


Olympus Tough TG-810 digital camera Rating: hhhh Price: R 3 999 NEED TO KNOW: • • • • • •

Built-in GPS Electronic compass Dustproof Waterproof to 10m (33ft) Shockproof to 2m (6,6ft) and freezeproof to -10°C (14°F) Tested with the SanDisk 8GB Extreme Pro SDHC card

Easy-to-use camera is ideal for those bloggers prone to literally throwing their camera into their bag. After tossing it around it still looks and feels and operates like it’s out of the box. Video function is crisp, clear and great under water. Overall, a safe buy for mid-level users. That buit-in GPS is teasing too.

Logitech K750 Wireless Solar Keyboard Rating: hhh Price: R 896 NEED TO KNOW: • 7,5mm thick • Logitech Advanced 2.4 GHz wireless connectivity • 128-bit AES encryption This slim, sexy little keyboard allows charging via solar even while indoors under office lights. There is also a lux meter app available from Logitech that allows you to view your battery levels and also check whether your keyboard is getting enough light. Don’t, however, expect to handle this roughly as the keyboard needs TLC, not rough-and-tumble.

Sony Ericsson WT19i Live Walkman Rating: hhh.5 Price: R 3 699 NEED TO KNOW: • • • •

3.2” TFT Capacitive touch screen Sony xLoud sound enhancement Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) 5MP camera

When the Walkman launched in 1979 it revolutionised the music industry, making music portable wherever you went. Now you can relive some of that history with this medium-range Android-based and Walkman enhanced mobile phone. Pity it’s a mediocre product spec-wise – but the brand may be enough to get some to buy this device.


Dell XPS 8300 Desktop Rating: hhhh.5 Price: R 9 999 NEED TO KNOW: • Radeon graphics • THX TruStudio audio • Home or office desktop PC If an XPS laptop is not quite your bag, and a desktop is what you need for upgradeability and expandability, Dell still has something for you. The XPS 8300, a stylish tower with a minimalist design, is a sexy old dinosaur in an age of high-tech all-in-one office machines. As mentioned, desktops are far more versatile – many ports for bigger hard drives, CPU and RAM upgrade options are more plentiful, and there’s the option of connecting up to two 24” or 27” monitors to it. Being an XPS machine it’s aimed at folk who want a strong multimedia performer; the Core i5 processor and 4GB of RAM make sure of that. Some light gaming is possible with the 1GB Radeon 5450 graphics card, but serious gaming might need that to be upgraded. For HD video and photo editing, DVD or Blu-ray playback, web browsing and music listening, it’s great. The latter is enhanced with the inclusion of THX TruStudio audio technology, enhancing your music and movies to sound far better than they would on a regular old sound card, as long as you have a set of speakers to match. And since it’s a desktop there’s no shortage of ports and plugs: 8 USB ports, an HDMI output and card reader make sure you’ll never have a shortage of slots to plug things into, while Gigabit networking will keep you connected.


Statistics Focus on Mobile Devices and Global Traffic

Live WiMax Networks

Wireline Subscribers by Country 2010 PSTN (POTS & ISDN) Lines

Source: Telegeography

Source: Telegeography

Zimbabwe - 3 Zambia - 4 Uganda - 8


32 600


25 300


18 826 9 315 000


Tanzania - 3

55 000


1 175 000


Rwanda - 3 Mozambique - 5 Mauritius - 2 Malawi - 3 Madagascar - 2 Kenya - 6 Ethiopia - 1 Egypt - 2 Burundi - 2

2011 WiMax Subscribers


380 748


142 065


165 000


387 700


88 062


28 653


21 942


280 000


375 000


174 200


327 114


118 388


379 000

30 000

Source: Telegeography

2011 - March 2011 - June 2011 - September

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130 %

2011 Broadband Penetration by country household Source: Telegeography

2011 - March 2011 - June 2011 - September

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Mobile subscribers vs Broadband subscribers by country

Mobile Subscribers

Source: Telegeography

2011 - March 1 789 600 144 350 178 350 73 705 237 198 000 8 750 000 NA 5 537 000 3 290 000 1 197 923 6 396 000 3 602 947 71 000 1 727 000 19 239 000 19 221 778 14 371 000 5 883 000 8 041 000

Burundi Comoros Djibouti Egypt Eritrea Ethiopia Kenya Madagascar Malawi Mauritius Mozambique Rwanda Seychelles Somalia Sudan Tanzania Uganda Zambia Zimbabwe

1 220 690 9 060 1 492 292 210 4 300 54 804 5 000 5 000 85 000 15 000 2 835 7 300 NA 68 300 23 835 60 000 30 000 45 000

2011 - June 1 917 100 150 000 182 900 76 530 062 205 000 10 000 000 NA 5 756 000 3 379 000 1 203 691 6 880 050 3 606 569 72 500 1 818 000 20 761 000 19 688 841 15 433 000 6 283 000 7 601 000

1 230 700 9 100 1 604 443 230 4 500 68 567 5 500 5 300 88 000 16 000 3 1000 7 550 NA 71 500 24 287 85 000 32 000 53 000

Broadband subscribers 2011 - September 2 092 800 152 200 190 000 80 176 921 211 000 10 750 000 NA 5 852 000 3 463 000 1 226 595 7 263 430 3 953 424 74 000 1 929 000 22 251 000 21 356 247 16 109 000 6 728 000 8 228 749

1 250 750 9 120 1 660 000 270 4 725 46 707 6 000 5 600 92 100 17 000 1 666 7 700 NA 75 000 24 720 100 000 34 000 61 000

2011 Mobile Penetration by country Source: Telegeography

300 %

2011 - March 2011 - June 2011 - September

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Thought Leadership

Alan Harper chief executive officer eaton towers 22 AFRICA TELECOMS Issue 25

Tower guard

By Brett Haggard

Telecoms infrastructure-sharing is not an entirely new concept and is fast becoming an important best practice. This is true especially in emerging markets and underserviced areas where average revenues per user aren’t large enough for a telco to justify the expense of building its own tower and filling it with equipment. Yet, things are changing in this space and telcos no longer choose to manage these sharing agreements in-house. That’s where specialists like Eaton Towers are coming into their own. Contrary to what the market may believe, telcos – once the most “speeds and feeds”-obsessed bunch of tech-heads you were ever likely to meet – aren’t technology specialists any longer. Instead of scrutinising and poring over the latest radio technologies to make their appearance on the market and striving to understand how those technologies will evolve (and deliver value to their customers) in the coming years, telcos have become fixated on building ever more attractive calling plans, data options, exciting marketing campaigns and projecting the right brand image. Is that the right thing for them to be doing? Well, the simple answer is that it’s too early to tell. The slightly more complex answer is that it doesn’t seem to be doing any harm. Yet. When last did you consider how superior the service of your telecoms player was compared to that of another? And, more important, how would you (or the average layperson) know the difference? Now ask yourself how you would know whether your telco was investing heavily in technology in order to provide you with the ultimate in service, or simply investing the minimum required to

ensure a satisfactory service… Exactly. Also compare pricing deals, data bundles, the quality of the handsets offered with contracts, and to what extent a telco’s “in your face” brand awareness influences your perception of the quality of its network or service. And how often these kinds of comparisons take place. These factors explain why infrastructure-sharing arrangements (and the consequent cost savings they enable) have become such a hot topic in Africa – and most other emerging markets. It also explains why telcos are moving away from managing these infrastructure-sharing arrangements. Instead, they are making way for specialist investors and infrastructure management companies dead-keen on taking ownership of an asset such as a base station and rent or lease real estate on that asset back to a host of telcos. Eaton Towers is one such company. And from the cool, calm and collected way Eaton CEO Alan Harper unpacks his value proposition, it’s clear the organisation is comfortable with the desire of telcos to take their skin out of the infrastructure-sharing game. Issue 25 AFRICA TELECOMS 23


Thought Leadership

Perfect storm


Harper admits, though, that the recipe does rely on a long-term strategic commitment from customers. If that commitment is present, Harper says, telcos often end up with infrastructure that’s far more reliable and cutting edge than what they would have considered on their own.

Upgrading the assets Eaton’s business isn’t as simple as buying base stations in the right areas, bolstering these by erecting a host of other towers and then leasing these back to a group of hungry telcos. Often investment needs to be made in the upgrading of those towers to support multiple telcos and deliver the kind of efficiencies required to make the financial model sing. “At the most basic level this means reinforcing the physical structures themselves to cope with the additional weight of multiple telcos’ equipment,” he says. “Next, we’d look at upgrading the power generators to cope



Eaton Towers’ activities in Africa started a few years ago with a 10-year contract with Vodafone Ghana to take over the operations and co-location management of 750 telecom towers for the Ghanaian operator. As part of that agreement, Eaton was granted the ability to colocate other telcos on that footprint, and soon added MTN Ghana, Millicom (Tigo), Zain and Kasapa to the mix. But, Harper says that Eaton has been looking to establish itself as a shared tower provider in East Africa for some time, primarily because the economic climate, maturity of the telecoms market, governmental landscape and legislative environment in the region is preferable. That opportunity arose a few months ago when the company clinched a deal in Uganda with two telcos that consists of a buyback of 300 towers from Orange Uganda and 400 towers from Warid Telecom. Eaton will bolster this with an additional 100 towers and lease back to the two companies. What makes the deal remarkable is how the two sets of asset combined afford Eaton a near-perfect footprint in the market – and in turn, the capability it affords Orange and Warid to expand their respective coverage areas. Harper explains that Orange and Warid were both late entrants into the market and, by coordinating their infrastructure rollouts, the companies managed to build networks that complement each other in the sense that there’s hardly any overlap. It means that in entering into this agreement with Eaton, Orange and Warid are able to sell some base stations to free up cash and expand their coverage map with near-perfect efficiency over the 15-year lease period. Harper implies that the arrangement does not result in inordinate additional costs to a telco in the long run either. This was because, if one telco owned a tower, there was a good chance it was the only customer making use of the real estate. If Eaton owned it, however, there were two or more telcos making use of the real estate, translating into a bigger pool from which maintenance could be funded. “We buy towers and share them between multiple telcos, thereby cutting down on the individual capital costs each telco needs to incur, but at the same time sharing out the operating costs,” he says. “We also know how to sweat those assets and make sure they’re geared correctly.”

Often investment needs to be made in the upgrading of those towers to support multiple telcos and deliver the kind of efficiencies required to make the financial model sing.

with the increased power demands of multiple telcos’ equipment and to do so more efficiently.” In some cases, Harper says, Eaton will go as far as implementing hybrid battery systems, which provide failover power when the power-grid fails and provide a stopgap before the diesel generators are started up. “Diesel is expensive,” he says “and in areas that are prone to short-term power failures, hybrid batteries can save a fortune.” Harper says that the difference is that Eaton is actively looking to gain an extra 5% efficiency, as this was where the company would find the returns on its investments. Since this was not a core focus for the vast majority of telcos, this was not something they would be interested in.

“Eaton also has a team that’s dedicated to the practice of finding new customers with which to share infrastructure,” he says. “By contrast, a telco would enter into an infrastructure-sharing arrangement if it was approached by one of its peers, but not be actively seeking another party to assist with the operation and amortisation of that asset.”

With a little help from my trends Harper says that Eaton focuses on what is termed “passive infrastructure” and simply puts the framework in place for telcos to install their own networking equipment, antennas and microwave dishes. But that doesn’t mean Eaton’s business isn’t affected by changes in telecoms technology. In fact, it’s often the contrary. Harper says for example, a trend such as the miniaturisation of technology is proving to be a massive boon for his company, but not in the way one would think. “You’d think that the miniaturisation of technology and the fact that today a telco needs a fraction of the equipment to service a set number of customers would mean we’re able to co-locate a larger number of customers per base station,” Harper says. “In reality, however, all it’s done is reduce the footprint required for each telco at the base of a tower – both because the equipment is physically smaller and the amount of air-conditioning required to keep the kit cool is reduced.” Realistically, though, the amount of antenna equipment required hasn’t been reduced – and for this reason, the number of customers Eaton can share infrastructure with depends to a large degree on the overall strength and structural integrity of the tower itself. “Because the equipment footprint at the base of the tower is that much smaller and there’s such a reduced need for air-conditioning, there’s some serious power-saving in the offing,” he says. It’s worthwhile noting, Harper says, that in some cases the efficiencies gained are rendered moot by the fact that the market’s insatiable demand for data capacity meant an increasing amount of equipment needed to be installed on each tower.

Plans for expansion In a few short years, Eaton has leapfrogged into an enviable position. It has 800 towers in Ghana, 800 towers in Uganda, and is actively pursuing other opportunities on the continent. Harper says that the right conditions need to prevail for Eaton to proceed and often the tack it takes in one African country will be different from the tack it takes in another. “A great example of this is in South Africa, where we haven’t found an existing tower portfolio that appeals to us.” Instead, says Harper, Eaton has elected to build out its own tower footprint and offer this back to the major operators MTN and Vodacom on a shared basis and “we’re also not limiting our offer to telcos”. Eaton’s towers are great for radio distribution companies and ISPs aiming to promote services like WiFi. Largely, however, Eaton’s footprint remained applicable and highly attractive to mobile telcos. “The climate in the market when it comes to infrastructuresharing has changed dramatically in the past two to three years,” Issue 25 AFRICA TELECOMS 25



mobile operators have no choice but to build more capacity into their existing networks

says Harper, “and today the market is a great deal more welcoming of the concept than what it was in previous years. “Increasingly, specialists like ourselves are proving the business case and making infrastructure a more accepted practice.” The company’s goals for the coming years are simple: add more markets and countries to Eaton’s radar. “But these transactions take a long time to do and we’ll report news as and when deals are concluded. “Eaton’s most recent deal in Uganda took a little over a year to conclude.”

Different strokes This was complicated by the fact that each deal was different, because what each telco wanted from its specific deal varied. “Some telcos are looking to unlock cash, which might mean their monthly rental might be higher. “Others aren’t looking for cash at all and are instead looking to shift the management burden to a third party.” It’s a space that is anything but boring to be involved with. Addressing the prevailing trends in the telecoms industry for the next year and beyond, Harper speculates that his company feels it’s on a winning wicket because tower infrastructure-sharing transactions were becoming more commonplace and more accepted in the market. “Outside of that, we see the growth in data showing no evidence of slowing down,” he says. “Up until now, the mobile telephony space – at least in the markets where we have operations – has been mainly centred on voice and text services. But there’s a brave new data-centric world out there and the prevalence of smartphones, tablets and 3G-capable notebooks is driving this trend. “It means that mobile operators have no choice but to build more capacity into their existing networks, as opposed to just focusing on expanding their coverage areas.” It’s no surprise that Harper says this is driving Eaton’s business quite strongly. “If telcos need to build more capacity into their networks, they need to increase the concentration of base stations in a specific area, and colocating is a much faster and more cost-effective way of doing this,” he says. “When it comes to spotting these trends and capitalising on them, I must say we’re extremely lucky to have a staff complement and management team as experienced and senior as we do,” he says. Most of Eaton’s management team are drawn from the cellular industry – both in the tower management and core telecoms markets. “That means we have fantastic insight into the market and a number of strategic customers and relationships. “Our ability to leverage that expertise and those relationships is truly a big differentiator,” he says. AT 26 AFRICA TELECOMS Issue 25

4G How much does

matter in Africa?

By Steven Ambrose Global mobile data is expected to reach 11 Exabytes, (one billion billion bytes of data) by 2016, according to Cisco Research, with Africa contributing merely 6% of that total. Couple this with the prediction from Cisco that over 70% of that transferred data will be video. There is no question that we can expect huge changes in how we use the Internet. When you mix in the fact that we are being flooded with smart devices, from phones to tablets and more, from all the various manufacturers, a mobile revolution is no longer coming soon, but is already unfolding as we speak.


For the mobile revolution to happen at all, it will take a number of critical success factors. Two key factors are the emergence of 4G, more properly known as LTE (Long Term Evolution), which will emerge to become the main method of consumer and business connectivity to the Internet in Africa by 2020. The second, and far more critical, enabler will be the extension inland of all the undersea capacity reaching our continent via new and existing fibre optic cables. These terrestrial fibre networks will have to reach deep into both rural and urban Africa and ultimately fully connect the Cape to Cairo, and Mombasa to Lagos, via a massive fibre-based communication network. LTE is the next generation of mobile standards that has evolved from the current 2G and 3G networks. In some countries, notably the U.S., this network is referred to as 4G. The ITU has clearly indicated that true 4G will be based on LTE advances, which is the next generation of technologies that will follow on from the current commercially available LTE solutions. True 4G will offer download speeds of over 100Mb per second. These speeds are an order of magnitude faster that many of us are achieving currently in Africa, from even the best fixed networks, nevermind mobile. Before we get into the name game, to those who have not experienced truly high speed, fixed fibre-based internet speeds: the current 3G mobile networks with speeds up to 21.2, and a little beyond in a few places, are a revelation. These speeds are far faster than many would need, or even currently use. 3G networks are, however, still not ubiquitous in many African countries, with stable and pervasive networks only available in South Africa, Egypt, Kenya and some parts of Nigeria and Tanzania, and many countries just starting to deploy in 2012. The growth of smartphones and internet access when highspeed mobile data networks are deployed are explosive, with the networks in many countries overloading faster than any planning could predict. This capacity issue is one of the main reasons that LTE will supplant current 3G networks in many countries by 2016. LTE is far more spectrally efficient than current 3G systems and even more so than the latest HSPA+ networks that deliver up to 42Mbs. Spectrum is without doubt the new gold rush in Africa. Many countries are slowly moving across to digital television, and with the ITU cut-off of 2015 looming ever closer, the spectrum below 1GHz, where television has traditionally lived, will become available for operators, who are planning to deploy high-speed data networks in this spectrum. LTE is also a fully IP or internet protocol-based system, and, as such, it seamlessly works with the exiting Issue 25 AFRICA TELECOMS 29

internet systems, and allows simpler, faster deployment and management. LTE is an evolution of the current GSM/EDGE and UMTS/HSPA standards currently in place, but uses new modulation techniques to get more connections, with far lower latency, on the same spectrum, that the older generations of 3G were able to. Once the growth highlighted above is taken into account, it is only logical that all the various operators will be looking for a system that allows faster speeds, coupled with more connections precisely where LTE shines. Another factor for the growth of LTE in Africa is that the majority of installations at the various mobile operators are still fairly new and are fully IP-based at the core. This makes the upgrade to LTE relatively inexpensive and simple. Many of the CDMA networks in Africa such as Algeria, Angola, Cameroon and Congo, to name only a few, have indicated that their evolutionary upgrade path is to LTE. This natural convergence of technologies will ultimately make LTE one of the most universal and global mobile data and voice networks in current history. The march to LTE in Africa, as well as much of the rest of the world, is inevitable and is actually well underway in many countries such as the U.S. Many countries in Africa without true 3G mobile data networks will eventually go directly to LTE. The benefits of this rush to 4G are clearly manifold, and will help to drive the smartphone and Internet revolution deep into Africa. With a potential market of at least 250 million mobile broadband users in Africa alone in the next three to six years, the attraction for many vendors as well as operators is obvious. This inevitable growth in both networks capable of high-speed data and the massive swing to smartphones and connected mobile devices, such as tablets, experienced in the US and Europe will create a massive challenge for Africa. This challenge will be simple but with massive implications. It may be logical, and in fact fairly easy, to upgrade or instal the newer LTE-capable mobile network technologies. The requirements of offering internationalclass services that many in developed markets take for granted will create massive demand for bandwidth. The surge to mobility in much of the northern hemisphere has been facilitated by the simple fact that large majorities of people were connected to the internet via fixed networks, well before the mobile revolution started to take off. The fixed terrestrial networks were well evolved and fairly ubiquitous, with many, if not most, of the major cities and countries being completely wired with fibre-optic networks. These networks allowed massive capacity and redundancy. As the mobile networks moved quickly into data and as this data demand exploded, the physical networks were able to respond accordingly. In many cases these networks do not yet exist in Africa, however.


Imagine you have one cellular tower which would service a 4km radius in an urban area, and it would not be unreasonable for 100 people to connect to that tower concurrently. Using LTE at an average throughput of 20Mbs, which is conservative for LTE, you will need backhaul of 2 000Mbs. Studies by network equipment manufacturers have shown the average LTE cell tower will need backhaul capacity (this is the connection back to the main network) of 300-500Mbps to deliver a reasonable experience. Contrast this to the 1.5Mbps that a 2G or 3G tower currently needs, and the magnitude of the challenge becomes clear. As the data backhaul requirements for LTE are 200 to 400 times 3G, the only practical and reliable way to deploy these networks is for the tower to connect to the main core network via a fibre connection. Before high-speed mobile data networks can be effectively deployed in Africa, many thousands of kilometres of solid fibre networks will have to be deployed. This will not only be in dense, high-traffic urban areas, but will also have to be used to connect deep rural areas to the network. Additional fibre will also have to be deployed between cities and towns, and even countries, throughout Africa before the so-called mobile data revolution can begin to take hold. We fully expect the next revolution in Africa will be one based on roads being dug up, trenches being dug, and thousands of kilometres of fibre being laid. The only other real issue, apart from the inconvenience of holes in the road, is time. It will take in the region of 5 to 10 years to get the various networks and fibre rings in place, and able to handle the exponential and relentless growth of data. These two interconnected issues are but two key challenges that Africa will face in the next few years as we struggle to keep up with the global surge in data and connected devices. The other key issue that will need to be dealt with is regulation, primarily the challenge of the so-called Digital Dividend that will emerge from the switch to digital television. Other major issues facing Africa, and especially East Africa, are political stability, and the overall socio-economic issues that countries such as Tanzania, Somalia and Ethiopia will have to face in order to lay the foundation for a hightech connected society. The simple fact is that, although Africa is at the forefront of the mobile revolution for the moment with massive growth in mobile connections, and allied to this, when available, impressive uptake in mobile data there is huge opportunity and massive need in the so-called traditional, and far less glamorous fixed-line networks. Without huge investment and subsequent growth of fixedline terrestrial networks, the emergence of the mobile internet, that wonderful system that many pundits believe will allow Africa to leapfrog into the global internet economy, will just not happen. As a direct consequence, the digital divide will continue to grow between Africa and the rest of the world. AT


Many of the CDMA networks in Africa such as Algeria, Angola, Cameroon and Congo, to name only a few, have indicated that their evolutionary upgrade path is to LTE. This natural convergence of technologies will ultimately make LTE one of the most universal and global mobile data and voice networks in current history.



Afr the last-remaining underserved



by Lesley Stones

territory in the world

Many African telecoms operators are simply not ready to begin investing in fibre connectivity for their networks, afraid that the massive costs will never be recouped in markets where the average consumer has so little to spend. But with the take-up of telephony spreading rapidly, the time it takes between rolling out a network and reaching full capacity is shrinking, experts from Alcatel-Lucent said at the company’s recent

Annual Technology Symposium. So even African operators with no fibre backbone are beginning to realise they cannot postpone that next-stage transition for long. “We are talking to a lot of African operators because a lot of them are trying to figure out what fibre means for them and what they are going to do about it,” said Michael Peeters, the Chief Technology Officer of Alcatel-Lucent Wireline.


The goal for telecoms players around the world seems to have become supplying high-speed bandwidth of 100Mbps to at least 50% of their country’s population by 2020. In many African countries, those targets may seem too ambitious, and certainly too costly to implement, Peeters says. Cost calculations that have been done around installing fibre lines and recovering the costs don’t necessarily apply in Africa, he said, so it’s going to take a while before the operators figure out when would be the right time to make that move. “Many operators are at the stage where they are very open to ideas and they’re trying to figure out the cost picture because it’s a very developed-world technology.” South Africa and Egypt are already quite advanced in the fibre field, but most other countries are still assessing which is the best and most cost-effective way to expand their networks. Their existing mobile infrastructure was not capable of offering bandwidth of 100Mbps, Peeters said. “But, do the African markets require those speeds – are they ready for it? Probably not yet. Which means that, initially, high-speed internet access may very well happen over mobile. But for long-term higher speeds it’s going to have to be fibre,” he said. Most operators see fibre as the end goal, but are waiting until the services to capitalise on that bandwidth become available, and their customers are ready to explore more sophisticated offerings that require such bandwidth. “Then the investment in fibre will become a lot easier. Fibre is the path of choice for new deployments or new players in traditional areas,” said Peeters. Operators may not be able to delay that additional investment for long, however, as subscriber numbers are growing so rapidly that more effective backhaul capacity is becoming crucial, said David Stephenson, Alcatel-Lucent’s Head of Customer Experience Solutions. Initially mobile operators were concerned about getting people to join their network, but the time lag between beginning that process


and reaching a stage where most people were on the network isn’t very long now, he said. From there it was an even shorter time until the networks reached saturation. Instead of annoying customers with dropped calls and poor quality services, smart operators should be increasing their capacity to offer more services and extract more money from each customer, Stephenson said. “Huge growth happens very quickly, and it’s about getting the maximum out of the customers and moving them from very low quality to high quality services quickly.” Africa isn’t a massive market for Alcatel-Lucent in terms of its network analytics tools, but more operators were expressing interest in those technologies as they recognised the need to extract the maximum value and capacity from their existing network infrastructure. Often cellular operators made huge and expensive efforts to attract people to their network, only to lose them again them in the first few weeks. “If you can prevent that churn in the first three months you get a significantly bigger impact, instead of losing revenue and trying to win them back,” he said. “Then you need to get people to move up from very simple low-value 2G services to buying data services.” Analytical tools could help to achieve that by detecting which services people were trying to access and then sending them promotional offers to encourage them to subscribe to additional services. Stephenson says those African operators that are talking to Alcatel-Lucent about analytical tools are generally tech-savvy and ask exactly the right questions, and he hasn’t encountered any lack of IT skills. Yet, many operators may be interested in buying analytical software as part of a managed services offering, commissioning Alcatel-Lucent to install and manage the tools and interpret the results. “Some customers are attracted to the idea of managed services

telecoms services, the operators need to be particularly innovative, Stephenson says. That innovation is already evident in Africa’s hugely successful cellphone banking applications and the clever “Please Call Me” service that allows users to send a free text message to somebody who has the airtime to call them back. For operators to make sufficient money from those cash-strapped consumers to cover the cost of fibre expansion, they had to offer a wide choice of compelling services, rather than rely on revenue from voice calls. “If there’s not that much money, you need to bundle as many services together as possible to pay for constructing the infrastructure,” Stephenson says. “The innovation coming out of Africa is very interesting as it opens up opportunities to leverage the network and applications. If you are aggregating enough services in a market with limited money, you can create enough critical mass to justify more infrastructure investment. Services like cellphone banking evolve faster in Africa than elsewhere because they solve a unique problem, and apps built around family relationships stand a good chance,” he said. International players certainly recognise Africa as the last remaining large and underserved territory in the world, making it a natural target market for their equipment and services. But they also have to remember that this is a continent where developments often happen in “African time”. AT


“If there’s not that much money, you need to bundle as many services together as possible to pay for constructing the infrastructure,” Stephenson says.


if they don’t have the expertise to use the tools. I think that’s something that has a real chance in Africa,” Stephenson said. “We have built up expertise from working with different operators, so we know how to apply the software to understand where the value is and how to improve the end-customer experience with regards to churn, staying and spending more.” Maroc Telecom and Vodacom are the biggest African customers for its networking equipment, and the company is now in discussion with the first potential customer for its analytical tools in Africa. Stephenson would not say which operator that involves. He expects several other African operators to install analytical software as their networks grow and they need to extract more value from their existing infrastructure. “African operators are starting to need more sophisticated reporting about what’s going on in their networks and the quality experience customers are getting,” he said. “Analytics is network optimisation to get the maximum out of the infrastructure by letting you exploit it more and improve the customer experience and support.” The Middle East and African player Zain is high on AlcatelLucent’s list of operators to target with its customer experience toolsets. “Africa is an important market to us, although it’s fragmented. While some parts are as advanced as other markets, in some other countries there’s not much happening. South Africa and Egypt are very advanced, but we haven’t seen much in the middle, except for the one deal we are about to close.” Stephenson believes a key factor in the pace at which different African countries have developed their telecoms infrastructure lies in the degree of government help – or hindrance. Countries that have made the greatest progress are generally those where the government is creating the right environment and encouraging people to invest, he says. Since the average African person has very little to spend on


Richard Hurst Senior Analyst Emerging Markets Ovum 36 AFRICA TELECOMS Issue 25

VAS and apps: a happy co-existence in Africa The rapid growth of mobile connections in the African market, and the hugely beneficial impact of greater connectivity to the economies, has been the focal point in these markets thus far. Mobile content, apps, value-added services (VAS), and indeed the development of the mobile Internet in a broader sense, so far have received less attention. Across Africa this is changing, coupled with increased investment and focus from all facets of the telecommunications sector. A key driver has been the increased affordability of devices that are able to cater for the distribution and take-up of VAS and apps. Mobile network operators (MNOs) still dominate this segment but face a struggle to retain this position in the years to come and the real possibility that they will be reduced to providers of bandwidth alone. The mobile VAS and application segment in Africa is undergoing significant change. Currently, the market remains dominated by value-added services such as ringtones, caller ring-back tones (CRBTs), wallpapers, and other information-based services, which amounted to over US$1,2bn in revenues for African MNOs in 2011. Beyond SMS, VAS contributes an average of 12% across Africa to overall non-voice revenues. Data revenues from access are negligible, though they are set to grow rapidly as MNOs push 3G and LTE services. The ecosystem around SMS and VAS is dominated by mobile operators, with little financial incentive or room for developers to innovate. However, the MNOs’ dominant role is under pressure, not unlike what has occurred in mature markets in recently. Several factors are contributing to this disruption. Consumer habits and consumption patterns are changing, with increasing awareness of, and access to, desire to take advantage of the latest content services. The African device landscape, dominated by basic and feature phones, is also rapidly changing. The middle ground, currently occupied by feature phones, is receiving much attention from vendors like Nokia and Samsung who are working to “smarten” up these devices, but also from smartphone vendors who are looking to introduce affordable, entry-level smartphones. The lack of

device subsidies in Africa implies that a consumer has to purchase a device in full. This means that, unlike in mature markets, African users are not only free to choose devices that are affordable, but also offer end-to-end user experiences that include a superior user interface and access to apps and content through their respective stores. Developer attention is also shifting away from the MNOs, as many content providers are now seeking out other distribution avenues, with mobile browser and app store-based channels looking more attractive. The increased capabilities of these devices are eroding MNOs’ control of the content ecosystem as consumers are increasingly able to connect to the Internet and access apps and content beyond the orbit of the MNOs. Consumers are increasingly venturing beyond the walled gardens of the operator channels and either browsing or accessing the mobile Internet through apps. As a result, developers are also shifting away from the MNO orbit as they see greater opportunities through app stores driven by device Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and third parties. MNOs are doing their best to combat these threats by investing in their own app stores, working with browser companies such as Opera, and trying to build developer communities themselves. Despite these attempts, Ovum believes that MNOs will likely lose their dominant place in the ecosystem. They will succeed in some segments, but will have to adopt more collaborative approaches with developers and device OEMs in others. Ovum expects mobile entertainment services in particular to grow in Africa. MNOs have an opportunity to shape the mobile entertainment landscape in these markets. Due to the high costs involved in the purchase of PCs, fixed broadband, and gaming consoles, Ovum expects less affluent consumers to opt for the mobile device as the primary, and in many cases the only, screen for entertainment. This creates an opportunity for operators to grow their subscriber base with the lure of new content services. However, Ovum expects some speed bumps in the road ahead. MNOs will face monetisation hurdles due to the low ability to pay and piracy, especially for content categories such as music. However, creating effective pricing strategies, offering localised content, and adapting Issue 25 AFRICA TELECOMS 37


VAS generated over US$1,2bn in revenues in 2011. However, measured in the context of overall non-voice revenues, VAS accounts for a small percentage at an average of just over 16% in 2011.

Value-added services account for majority of “data” revenues in Africa


the service to the local context will enable operators to make the most of the growing consumption of video, music and gaming services. Mobile utilities (m-utilities) offer an approach for MNOs, content providers and application developers to engage with emerging market subscribers, offering them access to practical content and services that will positively impact their well-being. From an MNO perspective, these services and applications will serve to bolster the business case and ROI of improving network coverage and expanding to rural areas due to the increased traffic and revenues. However, MNOs will need to work around the cost sensitivities of subscribers and tailor services accordingly to maximise the revenue opportunity. The m-utility services will require a different approach. M-health will need to be rolled out via a partnership with government or NGO health agencies. MNOs could seek to offer discounted rates for bearer services such as SMS, while m-agribusiness will offer MNOs a greater possibility of being able to commercialise VAS and applications due to the benefit to both small- and large-scale farmers.

VAS has growing role in non-voice revenues VAS generated over US$1,2bn in revenues in 2011. However, measured in the context of overall non-voice revenues, VAS accounts for a small percentage at an average of just over 16% in 2011. SMS is still the predominant revenue contributor, and data access revenues are only just beginning to gain traction as several markets prime 3G services. The good news for Africa though is that VAS service will experience an increase rising to an average of over 22% total non-voice revenues by 2016. However, as a part of overall revenue contributions, VAS currently accounts for 3% of total revenue contributions and will grow to an average of 5% revenue contributions across Africa. Figure 2 Mobile VAS contribution to revenues 2011 - 2016

Apart from SMS, the primary source of “data” revenues in emerging markets continues to be from VAS. These include the typical paid downloads of ringtones, wallpapers, skins (i.e. an idle screen), and the broader category of ringback tones, which are generally very popular in emerging markets (see Figure 1 for Ovum’s forecast of VAS in Africa over the next five years). By 2016, Ovum projects the VAS ecosystem to generate over US$3,3bn in revenues, the bulk of which will come from South Africa, at US$1.2bn in 2016. Figure 1 VAS revenues across Africa 2011–2016 Source: Ovum Mobile VAS Revenue Forecasts: 2011–16

Mobile operators’ control of the ecosystem will fade as the battle for consumer relevance emerges between VAS and apps

Source: Ovum Mobile VAS Revenue Forecasts: 2011–16 38 AFRICA TELECOMS Issue 25

Content in Africa has in the past only been available within the walled gardens of mobile operator–controlled channels. Regardless of aggregation, the operators were the only meaningful curators of “data” services and still largely control the content experience. These services are mostly premium services. Mobile operators in Africa have not offered much by way of free content and apps to their consumers. On the one hand, this approach has ensured that

all content is monetised. However, this has also discouraged traffic growth and has held back adoption of content and apps. Despite the significant revenues generated from VAS, the fact remains that such on-deck content is actually limited in scope and innovative appeal. VAS also suffers in terms of search and discovery when compared to a more curated experience on an app store. The “limited” nature of VAS would suggest that consumers will eventually become aware of and migrate to more compelling apps and content through alternative channels. Indeed, as 3G and LTE data adoption grows, the relevance of VAS will fade and operator control over the ecosystem will also recede. The business models around VAS in emerging markets have been skewed in favour of mobile operators. While the revenue shares vary across markets, operators in markets such as Nigeria command nearly 70% of the revenues from VAS, with the balance shared between the aggregators and the ultimate content developer. These skewed revenue shares have discouraged innovation, with very few developers getting a fair shake and forcing them, as well as aggregators and platform vendors, into “me-too” propositions. The current operator models are simply not sustainable and will come under pressure.

Consumption patterns are changing African consumers are increasingly looking beyond SMS and VAS, and their consumption patterns are changing quite rapidly. Mobile operators have maintained an iron grip on the VAS business model, but changing consumption patterns around mobile content and apps means that these business models will be disrupted in a world with 3G and LTE services and smartphones. Several underlying factors are helping these changes take effect and these trends represent tipping points that are a threat to mobile operators. The biggest of these is the changing device landscape with “smarter” devices at more affordable levels driving fundamental change. Mobile operators are also doing their best to lower the cost of data access to their users in a bid to seed the market and spur adoption. Affordable data access options are driving consumers towards the mobile Internet and beyond the walled garden offerings of the operators.

Duality in consumer demand is driving service evolution Demand for services in Africa has two facets; the first is that consumers are being exposed to big brand services such as Facebook, and want access to similar localised services through their mobile devices. The second is that consumers are looking for content and apps with local context or language, or both. This duality in demand is driving creation of smarter VAS and applike services. An example of this would be to use location-based services to push traffic updates to feature phones. As the device gets smarter, mobile Internet penetration intensifies and consumers begin increasingly to opt for services that provide

them with a user-friendly and intuitive interface. Over the Top (OTT) players big and small are creating services to meet this changing consumer demand, which goes beyond traditional VAS and SMS. A good example of this shifting trend has been the rapid rise of MxIT in Africa and other emerging markets. The service offers local flavour and scale. The service is expected to evolve into a social networking platform with users now having access to mobile apps, and even currency dubbed MxIT Moola, to purchase goods and services off the platform.

African consumers want “app-like” experiences, regardless of technology Industry stakeholders have differing views about whether consumers in Africa want a web-based or app-based experience. Not surprisingly, companies like Opera are pushing a browserbased approach to experiencing the mobile Internet, while device OEMs and independent app store vendors are pushing app-based experiences. Ovum’s research has shown that African consumers are more than willing to search for and discover content initially over their browsers. However, we believe that this debate distracts from what consumers really want. We believe that consumers in Africa are showing great interest in “app-like” experiences, regardless of the underlying technology. That is, consumers are not particularly enamoured of a particular OS, whether or not the app is native or downloaded, whether it is based on HTML5 or another technology, or whether it is rendered on the home screen via an app UI or a browser. While consumers would love to experiment and browse casually, African users will seek out customised “app-like” experiences on their mobiles due to time and disposable income constraints. This leads us to conclude that the political economy of mobile content and apps in Africa will not be dissimilar in the long run to that in mature markets. Indeed, Ovum believes that app stores will dominate in the long run, whether driven by operators, OEMs, or third-party vendors such as GetJar, Appia, and Mobango.

A pivotal role for the “smarter” feature phones Device OEMs offer superior user experiences and are cornering this space, there is already evidence of significant shifts in content ecosystems in Africa. Mobile operators rarely subsidise mobile devices to drive adoption. In most cases, they simply can’t afford to, but there are also very real concerns about managing fraud and debt. Focusing on prepaid subscribers and forgoing device sales is a far easier option. Once a consumer has to purchase a device in full, they will increasingly veer towards those devices that are affordable but also offer end-to-end user experiences which include a superior user interface and access to apps and content through their respective stores.


With increasing availability and marketing of content and apps, consumer attention is shifting away from accessing content through operator-driven portals towards app stores, mobile browsers and OTT services. This is the space that device OEMs are pushing heavily into, offering superior endto-end user experiences along with access to significantly more and better curated content and apps through their respective stores. For example, Nokia now offers its Maps, Nokia Drive, Nokia Music and other apps and services on its new lineup of devices. These are available for download through the Windows Marketplace app store. Nokia Maps is also available on the Nokia Store for feature phones. They are free and easy to use and represent a significant point of differentiation and value-add to Nokia. These apps do not, however, add much for operators other than revenues for billing and generating data traffic that is monetised through access revenues. This shifting consumption pattern has major implications for the ecosystem in emerging markets.

The feature phone segment is the new flash point Smartphones actually account for a very small percentage of device shipments in emerging markets, representing barely 18% of total device shipments. Many consumers who are target adopters of data services simply can’t afford to buy expensive smartphones. This is the large middle segment that consists of feature phone users, representing approximately 81% of mobile device shipments in Africa today. Device OEMs are aware of this and are trying to close the gap, although they are attacking this market from different ends. On one side of the equation is the increasing availability of entry-level Android smartphones from the Chinese OEMs. Many of these early smartphones are driven by chipset offerings from vendors like Mediatek and Spreadtrum. OEMs like Huawei and ZTE are now making great strides in the smartphone arena and are promising sub-US$100 smartphones this year, and prices will rapidly fall to US$50 by 2014. On the other side of the equation, OEMs like Nokia and Samsung are also pushing their feature phone portfolio to be “smarter”. Nokia is beefing up Series 40 with a set of improvements, which are visible in the recently-launched Asha range of phones. Samsung, for its part, is pushing its feature phone lineup, which now boasts an app store. These two opposing forces are driving the device landscape in Africa, and have implications for the consumption of mobile content and apps. On one level, these forces are complementary

in that they will drive overall data adoption and consumption – both sets of stakeholder OEMs will ultimately push more and more consumers to adopt phones and sophisticated data services. Regardless of whether a user consumes data on a feature phone or a smartphone, it is ultimately good for data adoption and traffic. But these opposing forces are also competitive, particularly when viewed from an ecosystem perspective. The ecosystems around feature phones and smartphones look similar but they are exactly the same. In fact, the role of the operator is critical to understanding this coming disruption in the market. Currently, operator portals and app stores are firmly entrenched in the feature phone space, while the OTT players and device OEMs are the ones driving the smartphone phenomenon. The speed with which smartphones and “smarter” feature phones penetrate deeper into the populace will determine whether mobile operators essentially cede control and possibly revenues or carve out a meaningful role at the centre of this emerging ecosystem for content and apps.

Shifting developer focus is also weakening operator-driven ecosystems Content and app developers are also shifting their attentions away from the mobile operator–dominated VAS ecosystem. Developers are realising that their addressable market and revenue opportunities are significantly higher if they align their resources and investments towards non-operator environments. Developers stand to gain significantly more favourable revenue shares and payment settlement options through the OEM-driven app stores. For example, Nokia offers 70% of revenues to developers, both for downloads in cases where the user is able to pay directly, and those cases where they take advantage of operator billing agreements. In the latter case, Nokia shares the remaining 30% with the operator. Another major issue that developers currently struggle with is discoverability of their content and apps. Operator channels have not been particularly helpful in this regard, and in addition, the lack of discoverability makes it very difficult for developers to monetise their apps and content. Many content providers are now actively looking for other distribution avenues, with mobile browser-and app store-based channels

OEMs like Huawei and ZTE are now making great strides in the smartphone arena and are promising sub-US$100 smartphones this year, and prices will rapidly fall to US$50 by 2014. 40 AFRICA TELECOMS Issue 25

Mobile operator developer initiatives meeting with mixed success Many developers in emerging markets increasingly have third-party payment and reconciliation options that allow them to sidestep the mobile operator. Services from companies such as mobile9 and Mobango allow developers to go directly to consumers in a B2Ctype model. The role of the operator in this scenario is significantly reduced to that of payment reconciliation. Unfortunately, such a reduced proposition simply doesn’t warrant the high revenue shares that operators currently enjoy in VAS. To their credit, operators are aware of the changing landscape and have attempted various initiatives to redress the imbalance. One of the biggest issues they face is the highly fragmented device landscape in emerging markets. Numerous devices, device OSs, app stores and payment options have made not only the monetisation of content and apps difficult, but also the more basic process of getting these to market quickly. The Wholesale Application Community (WAC) application development platform, launched in February 2010 by a group of operators, was a sincere attempt to address this daunting challenge. Despite garnering over 70 WAC, members and conducting significant work on standards and device launches (Netphone by Smart in the Philippines), the WAC initiative appears to be floundering. There has been little emphasis on WAC with many mobile operators hedging their bets with their own app store launches. The lack of progress for WAC does not bode well for operators’ efforts to offer a compelling framework to developers and remain relevant in the emerging content ecosystem.


Numerous devices, device OSs, app stores and payment options have made not only the monetisation of content and apps difficult, but also the more basic process of getting these to market quickly.


looking much more attractive. Indeed, several developers have suggested that operators are losing their strength in emerging markets and, in fact, are no longer really needed in the content distribution ecosystem.

Developers are increasingly focusing on the feature phone opportunity Developers have had an eye on the large addressable market promised by feature phones, which dominate the landscape in Africa. Feature phones represent a great opportunity for developers, with 106 million handsets in Africa in 2011, rising to just under a projected 136 million by 2016. The big problem for developers has been that feature phone platforms have not been up to scratch. Entry-level smartphones such as the current crop of Android phones do offer the Android OS, but they compromise in other areas and the experience tends to be sluggish. Moreover, even entry-level smartphones may be unaffordable for many consumers in emerging markets. AT


Coming out

slugging 42 AFRICA TELECOMS Issue 25

Windows 8 is a bold leap of faith for Microsoft, but it’s one that could pay off beautifully. What’s changed now that Consumer Preview is out and how are the Redmond software giant’s plans to retake the throne faring? By Brett Haggard

Microsoft is planning to retake the operating system crown when it releases its much-vaunted Windows 8 operating system and brings the tablet, desktop, notebook and (if rumours are anything to go by) smartphone worlds together under a single kernel. What exactly does that mean? Well, among other things, it means users will be able to use the same applications on their notebook or desktop as they do on their tablet and smartphone. For developers it means the ability to develop a piece of code once – whether it’s designed to wow consumer users or scratch a very specific itch in the business space – and immediately be able to address customers on all types of devices. It’s a pretty big deal. And, ironically, it is an ideal that Apple has been steadily building towards for a little over two years now.


One kernel to rule them all It’s no coincidence that Mac OS 10.7 Lion and the upcoming 10.8 Mountain Lion running on Apple’s Macbooks and iMacs have started t0 resemble the iOS operating system running on its iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch in a big way. But it looks like Microsoft has beaten Apple to the punch. Its Windows 8 operating system has just hit Consumer Preview (for all intents and purposes, Beta 2) and will be ready for prime time by October/November this year. The Consumer Preview has over 100 000 code enhancements since the Developer Preview version, which was released last September and, quite notably, gives the market its first glimpse of the online application store Microsoft will roll out as part of the operating system. It’s building towards an important victory because, even though Microsoft is still the dominant software vendor on the desktop and notebook fronts, it’s about so much more than market share today. It’s about mindshare. And over the past two years, with its compelling hardware and virtual inability to put a foot wrong in the mobile market, Apple has become the superstar. Apple has fared very well in the desktop and notebook arenas. But it’s in the smartphone and tablet areas that where it’s achieved most of its success. And it’s here that Microsoft needs to catch up. Yes, Windows Phone 7.5 looks good and offers users a great experience. But it’s nowhere when it comes to numbers; and if Microsoft is ever going to survive – and thrive – in the next decade, the smartphone and tablet markets are critical. The ability to address the desktop/ notebook, tablet and smartphone markets with a single product could be the silver bullet that does exactly that.

Rewritten from the ground up To get to a place where it’s able to address these three form factors or market segments with a single operating system, Microsoft has had to do some serious panel-beating


on its kernel. This means it’s substantially lighter than the Windows 7 kernel (because it will have to run on a variety of different hardware specifications) and supports both x86 processors (from the likes of Intel and AMD) and ARM processors (from the likes of Qualcomm). To ensure that’s a stable affair, Microsoft has had to take back a great deal of the control from a driver architecture and interoperability perspective. Most notably, it has developed a host of new class drivers for Windows 8, which allows all kinds of hardware to work seamlessly with the OS without needing a separate driver. The idea seems to be that these drivers will be the default, and hardware vendors will be able to develop applications that unlock new features, or allow them to derive deeper functionality from their hardware.

Windows Phone 7.5 looks good and offers users a great experience. But it’s nowhere when it comes to numbers Impressive additions to the kernel include fantastic new power-saving features that very quickly “freeze-dry” applications that have been moved to the background, and new memory management that makes switching between applications and sharing data a “fast-and-fluid” affair. In testing, we’ve found Windows 8 to be every bit as stable as Windows 7, with a handful of applications crashing, but no misbehaviour from the operating system. That bodes extremely well for the final version of the platform, since stability is

something Microsoft’s peers have (perhaps unfairly) been singling out as a drawback to using Windows for far too long now. Thankfully, it seems that Microsoft has learnt some important lessons from the mistakes it had made with Vista and is producing code that’s more efficient, stable – and for lack of a better description – “clever”. The proof of the pudding will, however, be in the eating and as we keep reminding the market, Vista looked pretty stable and quick throughout its beta phases. It’s only when it went into production that things went awry.

Metro state of mind As you’ve probably gathered by now though, Windows 8 is about more than a revamped code base and the confluence of the traditional computing world with the newer tablet and smartphone worlds. It has a new front-end that Microsoft calls “Metro” that’s inspired by the interface Microsoft developed for Windows Phone 7.5 a year ago. It’s a vastly different look and feel to the traditional Windows interface that Microsoft has employed and the various ways, means and forms since Windows 98 debuted back in the Dark Ages of computing. Along with the new look and feel, touch is at the core of what makes Windows 8 sing. While the OS can still be driven with a keyboard and mouse, the experience isn’t nearly as intuitive. Windows 8 also “on-boards” Windows Phone’s signature launch tiles that have the ability to communicate some in-app information (like the number of unread e-mails in your inbox or today’s high and low temperatures) to users at a glance. Microsoft has also taken the contextual architecture and application layout it developed with Windows Phone a step further and, in doing so, allowed for the easy sharing of information between complementary applications. This is a paradigm Microsoft calls “contracts” and the idea behind it is that developers shouldn’t have to bother with

Windows classic is still around

driven a stake into the ground and allowed developers a new direction in which to move with Metro, while supporting the legacy world in an almost sidebar fashion. That means users can still play their Windows Classic games or continue getting value from their Windows Classic applications. But it also means that developers are being encouraged to break with the past and focus their efforts on building applications for Metro. This is, to a great extent, driven by the fact that when Windows 8 arrives on ARM architectures it will be without the ‘Windows Classic’ layer users have become familiar with on the desktop. In a nutshell, this tells us that, should developers want to take advantage of the “develop once, deploy on multiple platforms” value proposition Microsoft is touting with Windows 8, they will have to develop new applications inside the Metrostyle paradigm. The Classic layer that’s been implemented with Consumer Preview is a little different to the version shown off with Developer Preview, the most notable change being the disappearance of the start button. Now there’s an Internet Explorer and Windows Explorer button in its place, the ability to pin other classic applications to the start bar in the same way the Explorers have been pinned, and the familiar notification area at the bottom right. This little change makes the whole paradigm that much more coherent. Before, with the start button available in the classic screen, there were multiple places users could go to change system variables. Now, this is limited to the controls in Metro. Classic has become a place users will run their legacy applications and nothing more. It’s a small change, but one that makes sense of the paradigm of having two distinct user interfaces.

While Metro presents a compelling new mode of work, one of Microsoft’s key value propositions for the longest time has been support for legacy applications, features and other blasts form the past. It’s somewhat exciting that Microsoft has

Windows 8 is due to become available in October this year, but the rumour is that the release date has been delayed slightly and we’ll only be welcoming the operating

integrating their applications with others, opting instead into a contract to allow that sharing to take place. So, if their application has something to share with another application, such as a camera application sharing its photographs with a social networking application, the camera app developer simply needs to ‘opt into’ the sharing agreement and be explicit about the application’s ability to share information. Similarly, the developer of the social networking application needs to ‘opt into’ the sharing contract in such a way that the operating system knows that the application is able to accept content from the sharing contract (and, in turn, other applications). This ability (along with the ability to change an application’s settings or perform a search of an application, or the entire system’s data) is enabled through something Microsoft calls the Charms Interface, which users access by dragging their finger from the right-hand edge of their touch screen inwards (or press Windows-Key and “C” if they don’t have a touch screen). The charms are available across all metro-style applications, not only saving on screen real estate, but providing a uniformly elegant way of getting to features that reside at the guts of Metro. Outside the Charms Interface, users drag their finger from the left edge of the screen inwards to switch between applications, drag their finger from the top of the screen downwards to access additional menu options in some applications, or drag their finger from the top of the screen all the way down to the bottom of the screen to close applications. Microsoft really is betting the farm on this new interface. In fact, the same look and feel has already made its way onto its Xbox 360 gaming console.

system onto our hard disks in November. Consumer Preview marks Microsoft’s arrival at the Beta 2 stage and from here, the company has implied (though this still has to be confirmed), things will follow its past release schedules with a Release Candidate due to arrive next, and then the Release to Manufacturer (RTM) version. After that, Windows 8 will finally be available to the public. There’s still a fair amount of clarity required on what Microsoft’s strategy is on the smartphone front before then, however. The company has publicly disclosed that the kernel for the next version of its phone operating system will be the same kernel used by Windows 8. What is unclear right now, though, is how quickly the switchover to Windows 8 on the smartphone will take place. Hardware vendors close to Africa Telecoms tell us that the date falls sometime before year–end and that they have Windows 8 smartphones on their roadmap before year-end as well. But, until we get a firm indication from Microsoft, it’s all just speculation. One thing’s for sure: Microsoft is back in the limelight in a big way with Windows 8 and, should it actually pull off the threedevices/single-operating system vision it’s driving towards, Apple should be suitably afraid. AT

When Windows 8 arrives on ARM architectures it will be without the ‘Windows Classic’ layer users have become familiar with

Forecast is cloudy


By Karri Kuoppamaki, Head of Technology for Africa at Nokia Siemens Networks


Driving the

evolution of mobile broadband

in Africa

As consumer and business demand continues to drive the evolution of mobile broadband in Africa, operators are faced with the challenge of not only increasing network speed and capacity, but also improving coverage, customer service levels and network quality to attract and retain this rapidly growing user base.The importance of Africa as a growth market for operators is clearly evident, as the continent remains the fastest-growing telecommunications market in the world. In 2011, the mobile penetration rate in Africa was 78% and is expected to cross the 100% mark by 2014 as it tracks the more mature South African telecommunications market. South Africa, which currently leads the continent in terms of telecommunication technology, crossed the 100% mobile penetration rate in 2010 and is expected to continue along this growth curve, reaching 150% penetration by 2015. In addition to the increased volume of subscribers using mobile

networks in Africa, the continent is also experiencing rapid growth in the adoption of smart mobile devices like smartphones and tablet PCs. These devices are increasingly being used to access “always-on� mobile broadband-intensive services like social media, stream-and-play online videos, and much more, which puts significant pressure on mobile networks. This trend is driving exponential data growth in the African and South African telecoms market, with data demands expected to grow 10-fold by 2015. The importance of mobile broadband services to subscribers is clearly reflected in the 2011 Acquisition & Retention (A&R) study conducted by Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN), where heavy mobile broadband users dissatisfied with their current service will have a higher probability of switching operators. This is a significant segment of consumers as revenues from voice services are dropping and mobile data will be the most important revenue generator for


operators in the future. Network coverage and voice quality were rated as the most important criteria for selecting and staying with an operator in 2010 and continue to be among the top criteria to retain customers in 2011. However, customers who are classified as “heavy users of advanced services” now rank mobile broadband quality alongside voice quality and network coverage in determining whether to stay with or leave their current mobile operator. The A&R findings also clearly indicate the importance and impact that customer care and experience can have on subscriber retention, which means operators cannot overlook or underestimate these elements. Technology is one avenue that operators can use to assist them in enhancing their customer care capabilities. For instance, intuitive self-care systems like NSN’s Customer Experience Management (CEM) solutions can help operators utilise the extensive customer data from across their organisation to understand and predict customer expectations and behaviour. This can significantly enhance value and boost customer care. In addition, the study also highlighted the importance of mobile broadband in terms of both customer retention and as a revenue stream for operators, especially as global mobile broadband usage is currently just 60%. This figure is higher in in-transition markets, where 68% of users have mobile Internet access. Forty-six percent of users access the mobile Internet via their smartphones, followed by data cards, dongles or web sticks at 29% and netbooks or tablets at 19%. WiFi hotspot access accounts for 36% of the market, with 42% of users in in-transition markets using this form of wireless access. With such growth potential NSN believes that mobile broadband is the future of telecommunications, especially in the Africa region, and is committed to providing the world’s most efficient mobile networks, the intelligence that maximises the value of those networks and the services that make it all operate seamlessly. As mobile broadband technology will serve as a key differentiator for operators and early adopters of mobile broadband, NSN began realigning its strategy in 2011. This is aimed at helping African operators deliver the next evolution in mobile broadband as they look to improve the capacity and speed of their networks by increasing their emphasis on technologies that can carry more data, like 3G to support the mass market and LTE (4G) to deliver premium services. 48 AFRICA TELECOMS Issue 25

By offering technologies like 3G, WCDMA, HSPA and HSPA+, TD-SCDMA, LTE and LTE-Advanced, as well as innovations like NSN’s Liquid Net, African operators can overcome conventional network limitations and redirect spare capacity where it is needed, when it is needed. By unleashing frozen network capacity into a reservoir of resources, NSN’s Liquid Net technology provides an end-to-end solution that enables mobile broadband networks to instantly adapt to unpredictable changes in end-user demand and boost network utilisation. This technology helps to create a network able to understand the traffic and service demands placed on it by a wide variety of daily users. For example, for a business person moving from home in the morning to a commercial area for work during the day, and then to a recreational area in the evening, Liquid Net helps the network adapt to these movements and continue to provide an exceptional level of service quality. If there’s a concert or football match in Johannesburg, the network becomes aware of the concentration of people in a particular place and adapts to meet the demand of mobile connectivity. This enables operators to make the most of their network resources and also opens the door to new revenue streams for them. These next-generation technologies also boost network, voice, messaging and Internet quality by helping operators predict patterns of bandwidth usage and avoid spikes in network demand. All this while delivering high-speed ubiquitous mobile broadband services through expanded network coverage – which impact positively on customer loyalty. With this level of technology in place, operators are able to meet the ever-changing demands of end-users, who increasingly use mobile broadband to stay connected to applications and Internetbased services via a number of new mobile devices as they move around. And as Liquid Net is based on evolutionary change rather than wholesale revolution, the process of transforming a network into a more fluid and dynamic one can be started via any domain at any time, be it the radio, core or transport layer. This allows operators to deliver a “unique experience” to their customers, win them over and secure valuable market share in the highly competitive and important African market. AT


By Khalid Wani sales director, western digital, Branded Business : Middle East, Africa & India

The evolution of the connected home Issue 25 AFRICA TELECOMS 51




Over the past decade, the Internet has become part of our everyday lives and connectivity more widely available for a lower cost, revolutionising the way we work, play and communicate. From a time when a home with an Internet connection was a rare exception, we have evolved to the point where Internet connectivity is now the norm. As this evolution has continued, connectivity has spread from computers to mobile phones and even televisions, enabling us to use a variety of new technological advances to network entire homes into powerful content-sharing portals – the connected home. The journey towards the connected home centres on connectivity, and began with a single computer with a single Internet connection shared among users who had to take turns to access the web. As the price of computers and notebooks began to drop, we saw an emergence of multiple devices in single homes, but these devices could still only access the Internet one at a time. Wi-Fi emerged as the solution to this, enabling homes to create a wireless network for multiple computers to access the Internet, but connectivity began to evolve into so much more than just a way for computers to access the web. With the emergence of Web 2.0 and the growing trend towards content creation and sharing along with live media streaming, downloadable media content and the sheer proliferation of network-enabled devices, demand for home connectivity has fast grown beyond just the ability to connect computers to the Internet. Technology now allows home-users to stream connectivity and entertainment content easily to any network-enabled device throughout the house, using wired or wireless connections, or any combination of the two. From centralised storage and access to personal content from any device anywhere in the world, to Ethernet over power connections that allow wired connectivity without the wires, and even media players and media centre hubs for streaming of content, technology has changed dramatically in the past few years. Using this range of home entertainment devices that plug into the home network and work seamlessly together, the connected home enhances sharing, viewing and enjoyment by enabling easy streaming of digital content, including videos, music and photographs. Home network attached storage (NAS) drives enable you to store digital media collections on a wired or wireless network by creating a personal cloud for centralised storage and sharing of content to all devices on a network. This media can then be shared via wired or wireless connections within the home, streamed to individual devices or media centres. Computers, tablets and smartphones can

Taking the connected home a step further, the latest technology to be introduced to the mix is a networked media centre

backup content wirelessly and automatically for added security in the event of loss or theft, and, through mobile applications, files can even be accessed remotely using a web browser anywhere in the world. The contents of the personal cloud can also be streamed to a networked media player, which, when connected to networkenabled televisions, can broadcast brilliant, full high-definition (HD) movies, videos and photographs. The media player can also connect other devices, such as laptops, tablet PCs and smartphones, allowing for streaming throughout a home, and allows for Internet connectivity straight to a TV for access to social media sites such as YouTube and Facebook, podcasts from news broadcasters, and any other online content. In order to combat the inherent issues with wireless connectivity, such as short signal range, lack of signal between floors or through walls, jitters and interference from other electrical devices, Ethernet over power adaptors can be used. These turn any electrical outlet point into a streaming-ready, secure high-speed Internet connection anywhere in the home, in effect creating a wired network without the need to actually lay the wiring to connect a router and up to seven networked devices. Taking the connected home a step further, the latest technology to be introduced to the mix is a networked media centre, combining up to a terabyte of storage with the power of a media server. These devices allow you to store and play media content in virtually any format from USB drives, network drives and so on, so you can watch movies on demand, listen to streaming audio or personal music files and access the Internet straight from any network-enabled HDTV, or stream content to any screen anywhere in the home. With the evolution of the network and the proliferation of connected devices, households have never been more connected. And as new devices emerge with connectivity capability, they will be able to slot easily into the connected home for added convenience. The future of content is all about sharing, and the connected home is the next step. AT





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By Stuart Eveleigh Vice president CIT Network Solutions Convergys 54 AFRICA TELECOMS Issue 25



The GSMA believes that Africa is the fastest-growing mobile phone market, and will be home to 738 million handsets by the end of 2012.

The African mobile market remains fiercely competitive. While network infrastructure lags behind other international regions, the African economy is betting that mobile broadband technology will drive penetration in the world’s least-developed but fastest-growing internet market. While customer uptake is vast, retaining these customers still proves to be a significant problem for African operators. The mobile industry body - The GSMA - which represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, points to the advent of mobile broadband as the catalyst for this growth. Over the past 10 years, African mobile connections have increased by an average of 30% every year. The GSMA believes that Africa is the fastest-growing mobile phone market, and will be home to 738 million handsets by the end of 2012. This puts Africa ahead of Latin America as the second largest mobile market in the world. With some basic smartphones now selling for as little as $50, operators can expect increased demand for data services and enhanced connectivity to offer lucrative rewards in the future. This is assuming however, that African operators improve when it comes to retaining existing customers. Issue 25 AFRICA TELECOMS 55

Customer retention is critical Retaining customers has never been more crucial for African operators. Fierce competition continues to force down prices and increase market penetration. This means that operator price wars across Africa are becoming increasingly common – a battle that, according to the GSMA, has seen prices reduce by 18% between 2010 and 2011. We have just about reached the stage where prices can’t get much lower. Operators are therefore looking for increasingly innovative ways to build market share. This includes trying to find ways to build loyalty in an increasingly impulsive consumer market.

No such thing as customer loyalty in Africa – a prepaid market According to a recent report by industry analysts, Strategy Analytics, globally the average mobile customer switches service provider every 27 months, more than twice as frequently as a decade ago. The same analyst firm also revealed that global mobile customer churn reached a staggering 44% at the end of 2011 – its highest ever level. While this appears to be a worrying trend facing wireless operators, it gets a great deal worse for African service providers. This is largely because the African market is dominated by prepaid users - approximately 96% of all subscriptions sold in Africa. The prepaid market has done much of the damage in terms of an operator’s inability to hold on to its customers. According to Strategy Analytics, average prepaid customer lifetimes have halved over the last five years to just 17 months. This compares to customer lifetimes of 67 months for postpaid users. This is because postpaid customers are more likely to upgrade with their existing provider rather than looking for better deals elsewhere. The key difference is the customer retention powers of operator device subsidies with postpaid deals. In addition, African subscribers have an ever-increasing propensity to use multiple SIMs at the same time, making the most of promotional offers available. This is good news for the customer, but not so great for the operator trying to convince customers to 56 AFRICA TELECOMS Issue 25



According to Strategy Analytics, average prepaid customer lifetimes have halved over the last five years to just 17 months. This compares to customer lifetimes of 67 months for postpaid users.

remain on its network. These promotional SIM offers are rife across Africa as each operator looks to boost its own market share at the expense of its competition. It doesn’t cost an operator much to push new SIM cards into the market – this investment would make far greater sense, however, if it was targeted towards existing customers and used to build longer-term, more valuable relationships.

Earning the trust and loyalty of African prepaid users African subscribers use multiple promotional SIMs from multiple operators at the same time, according to what will afford them the most competitive tariff at certain times of the day. These users have several active SIMs because they have reacted to a specific promotion or campaign from an operator that directly appealed to their usage patterns. Rather than focus its efforts on simply targeting new customers with these promotions, operators could generate far greater advocacy amongst their existing prepaid users if they targeted the same types of promotions and offers to them, via their handsets, on a regular, automated basis.

The rise of campaign management technology in Africa Campaign management technology currently exists as a value added service to help operators increase share-of-wallet through focussed below-the-line offers to their current customer base. This technology is set to become a key tool for all prepaid service providers globally, not just in Africa. These offers are essentially targeted, fast promotions designed to provide specific segments of subscribers with rewards for increased usage – offering additional voice minutes if the customer uses more data over the following week, for example. The potential benefits are significant, from increased revenue, to the ability to establish a dialogue with subscribers and better understand customer needs. With such clear benefits, why hasn’t this type of technology made more of an impact on the bottom lines of African prepaid service providers to date?

The problem with typical campaign management processes The greater the number of targeted, timely offers that telecom companies can get in front of subscribers, the greater the potential for increased revenue. To create and deliver such offers, operators need the campaign management process to be fast and agile. The traditional approach, however, is often slow and inflexible. Today, campaign management in prepaid operators is typically a manual process. Marketers design offers, then send their plans to IT, where data-mining experts identify which subscribers to target and technicians make the system changes required to execute the plan. The result: rolling out a single campaign can take weeks or even months. That slow pace has several ramifications. For one, it puts a ceiling on the number of campaigns that an operator can run over any given period of time. Using a manual process, most prepaid providers find it difficult to conduct more than 15 or 20 campaigns a month, making it hard to build momentum and have any material impact on customer retention and/or revenue. Also, the extensive lead times between campaign conception and actual execution increases the risk that offers will be out of date by the time they reach subscribers, resulting in low uptake rates. Effective campaign management means getting the right offer to the right person at the right time, and in increasingly competitive markets, where consumers have more choice than ever before, that window of time is diminishing rapidly. The traditional process is no longer sufficient—and wireless service providers need new tools and new approaches.

How are these tools changing campaign management in the industry? The key to a better approach is automating more of the process— and the basis for this is real-time data and actionable information. Instead of working with complex technologies in the traditional IT environment, companies can run campaigns with proven, highlyscalable marketing tools based on flexible rules engines. With this type of technology, the campaign management system can automatically query a data warehouse to identify the appropriate subscribers, build white lists, and then deliver offers to targeted subscribers based on the policies endorsed by the company. These policies can be put into the system by the marketers themselves, without the need to constantly involve IT - all of which dramatically reduces campaign time and expense. This technology also makes it possible to monitor campaign performance in near real-time, improving the company’s ability to learn from campaigns.

What sorts of benefits have operators had from campaign management tools? At heart, an automated approach brings greater speed and scalability to campaign management. Experience has shown that telecom companies have been able to increase the number of campaigns they run from just a few dozen to hundreds per month. And because the offers are more timely and thus more relevant to the targeted

subscribers, operators have seen offer acceptance rates increase from as low as 1-5% to upwards of 11% and sometimes even as high as 50%, depending on the types of campaigns and possible segmentation rules employed. It is not unheard of for operators to run more than 500 campaigns per month using a campaign management solution. This quantity of targeted offers, coupled with increased take-up rates, could result in incremental revenues upwards of US$100 million to a mobile operator per year, depending on the size of the subscriber base. In terms of agility, these tools make it easier to run multistage campaigns. When subscribers respond to or decline an offer, the system can quickly provide a tailored follow-on offer based on that response. Alternatively, the system can provide offers that are automatically triggered by events, such as a change in usage patterns. And near-real-time feedback can enable marketers to constantly hone and adapt campaigns.

Aligning people and process to campaign management Mobile operators will want to assess how they assign responsibility for these below-the-line offerings. Today, such efforts are typically handled by a number of different areas of the organisation. While that may be fine when employing traditional methods, it can be a problem when the company is capable of sending out a great many more offers and, perhaps, overloading subscribers with a barrage of inconsistent messages. As a result, campaign management should be funnelled through one team that can prioritise and coordinate offers. And that team should be measured on campaign results and, ultimately, on its success in helping the company tap into the existing customer base.

Campaign management technology – a valuable inevitability Delivering the best possible customer experience remains the last major differentiator available to African mobile operators. Competition has driven prices as low as they can get – for airtime and for the devices themselves. Mobile services have never been more accessible in Africa, meaning increased market saturation. The focus on winning new customers is swinging towards retaining, and driving more profitable relationships with, existing customers. Campaign management solutions will be instrumental in putting the brakes on customer churn, and on increasing operators’ average “wallet share” of existing customers. The technology gives mobile operators the flexibility to react in real time to changing market conditions with targeted offers aimed at specific groups of users. It also enables operators to reach millions of customers per campaign and monitor user trends in terms of their propensity to accept or decline these offers. This includes any subsequent followup promotions for specific customers. Campaign management solutions are a cost effective, measurable means to actively reduce churn and grow incremental revenues worth hundreds of millions of dollars every year. Given the current market climate and competitive trends in Africa, mobile operators will deem this technology to be a valuable inevitability. AT Issue 25 AFRICA TELECOMS 57

By Brendan Young Director of Sales and Business Development for Building Efficiency at Johnson Controls Energy Solutions Europe-Africa 58 AFRICA TELECOMS Issue 25



Smart technology promises to deliver a better quality of life by automating the built environment

business efficiency needs smarter cities and smarter buildings We are currently experiencing some common global challenges such as a shortage of energy, water and other resources, which are crucial to sustain our cities and homes. In order to conserve these scarce resources and minimise the impact on the environment, a more “controlled” approach is required that results in significantly less wastage. By controlling excessive use and waste, we can lessen the need to find alternative sources.


Johnson Controls is using technology to help win this battle; our technology is getting “smarter” at reducing waste and improving efficiency. “Smart” technology also ushers in a host of other benefits that promise to take our world into a whole new dimension of smart buildings and smart cities. Smart technology promises to deliver a better quality of life by automating the built environment and extending connectivity. It will also enhance functionality that will change the way we work and conduct business, and digitise the way we interact socially. Automation is at the heart of this technology, with intelligent appliances and building equipment all interconnected to the smart communications system. Smart technology applications called smart grids and smart power networks are just a few of the groundbreaking solutions to emerge recently that provide for better control over wasted resources. This smart technology also delivers the means to improve energy efficiency at various levels of city and building infrastructure. One such “smart” application uses the existing power line infrastructure of the city distribution grid to network all the demand loads and responding generation supplies. This includes upgrading the point of interconnection onto the grid with the installation of intelligent computerised control devices. These devices communicate with each other and with master systems, providing a city-wide level of control over energy and waste. The application provides other smart benefits such as automatic meter reading, high-speed data and voice communication, and granular energy control. It also provides a backhaul data superhighway for gigabit internet connectivity that supports social feed applications and more. However, functioning within the expanded smart city are smart buildings that combine automation, smart communication and smart appliances with the commercial or home space.



People are becoming more aware of the need for greater levels of sustainability


These use resources intelligently to reduce their carbon footprints, lowering energy usage and helping businesses to achieve sustainability goals. At this level, smart applications use the existing power reticulation infrastructure within buildings to enable a smart building to deliver granular control down to the switchboard and appliance level (even up to every light bulb, switch socket or electrical device). These devices can be managed intelligently and networked through to a building management system or a home controller. The systems run independently and continue operating even if the power circuits are switched off, delivering a reliable, uninterruptable solution which saves energy by switching off all unnecessary appliances and controlling the duration of energy usage. Another benefit of the smart building solution is the delivery of faster (gigabit), more efficient media and social communication capability. When viewed in isolation, these technologies have significant benefits both for cities and buildings. However, the true power of smart applications only emerges once the two are combined. Seamless connectivity between smart city applications and smart buildings can potentially create a completely connected, and efficient world where all devices communicate constantly for the greatest energy and resource efficiency, right down to individual light bulbs in every home. When this is used in conjunction with renewable energy solutions that incorporate intelligent energy storage devices, the smart city can potentially move the focus away from the traditional centrally-generated energy supply to micro-decentralised solutions that can operate collaboratively in combination with sustainable sources of energy at the edge of the grid. People are becoming more aware of the need for greater levels of sustainability and eco-consciousness, as well as the need for more effective planning to deal with growing populations around the globe. Saving energy and becoming more efficient are of the utmost importance globally and in particular in South Africa where energy and water resource prices continue to escalate. Along with this, regulatory bodies are beginning to adopt tougher carbon reduction and environmental impact compliance standards. In light of this, it is vital for organisations to begin considering initiatives to reduce their base operating cost and optimise efficiency. This can help to produce a significant and sustainable difference in bottom-line earnings while keeping up with customer demand and global trends. The idea of the smart city has emerged as a solution to all of these needs, using technological intelligence to improve quality of life and economic wellbeing. The expanded smart city concept features a “smarter”, more intelligently designed city infrastructure that enables all elements to work in harmony with each other and the environment. It combines elements such as economic development, transportation, social services, education, public safety and healthcare into a holistic entity that uses resources more efficiently and provides a sustainable way of living for the populations of the future. Improving building efficiency and adopting green business and building standards such as those promoted by the smart city concept, and implementing smart technology, are the first steps towards achieving the goal of waste reduction. AT






Encourage innovation within the mobile sector. Facilitate networking between small, large, local and international companies. Help local companies effectively participate in international initiatives through the import and export of visions, concepts, technologies, know-how and best practices. Present innovative visions, trends, studies and forecasts from the mobile marketplace. Facilitate and create partnerships. Contribute to the education of the broader public through its publications, online presence and media partnerships.




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Q&A Africa Telecoms chats with Karri Kuoppamaki, Head of Technology, Africa, Nokia Siemans Networks

This issue of Africa Telecoms is focusing on East Africa and LTE (Long Term Evolution). Being based in Nairobi and being Head of Technology for Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN), you are ideally situated to speak about both of these topics. To start, with do you feel that Africa is ready for LTE? Africa is definitely ready for mobile broadband, and LTE is one of the key enablers to deliver it. Consumers in Africa are today increasingly mobile and have access to the latest smartphones and tablet PCs. They are demanding faster mobile data connectivity and a much better subscriber experience. Moreover, the African telecommunications market is growing at a tremendous pace and there is still plenty of room for growth. The continent is the second largest mobile market after Asia and the fastest-growing mobile market in the world in terms of subscriptions. Although the mobile penetration rate in terms of subscriptions has exceeded 60%, which means that in Africa we have over 600 million subscriptions based on mobile technologies, Nokia Siemens Networks expects that by 2015 more than 900 million mobile connections will exist in Africa, demonstrating the continued and increasing demand and need for mobile networks and services. Although today the lion’s share of subscriptions are still in 2G, the continent will experience a strong shift to 3G technology, with many countries adopting LTE, but as a premium service. NSN has recently shifted its group focus to mobile broadband. How is this going to affect NSN’s operations in Africa? NSN is the world’s specialist in mobile broadband. And we provide the world’s most efficient mobile networks, the intelligence that maximizes the value of those networks and the services that make it all work seamlessly. And we believe that the telecommunications world, including the African continent, is headed in the direction of mobile broadband. Operators in Africa too are focusing on mobile broadband; they recognise that it is the way of the future and they are investing in it. With 52 commercial LTE deals and 206 3G customers, NSN is poised to use its leadership in the mobile broadband space to provide the expertise and product portfolio 62 AFRICA TELECOMS Issue 25



The use of services where and when users want them, particularly high end video, is driving traffic inexorably upwards.

to support African operators to take the crucial next step towards mobile broadband. From a technology perspective, do you feel that LTE has a place in rural markets in Africa? Or is LTE an urban mobile broadband solution? The technology itself does not dictate whether it will be used in rural or urban areas. It is regulation that plays a significant role in this decision. But as regulation related to LTE is still in the early stages in Africa, it remains to be seen whether it will play a role in LTE deployments. For example, in Germany the LTE rollouts using digital dividend spectrum were mandated to start first in the rural areas rather than cities. It is, however, safe to predict that the biggest demand for mobile broadband services in Africa will initially come from urban areas and big cities, where it most likely will be launched as a premium service. This trend will change gradually, which means that, as the LTE ecosystem develops and some of the enablers related to delivering high-speed mobile broadband, such as fibre networks, mature in Africa, it is expected that the LTE footprint will grow. While this does not mean that mobile broadband is not possible also in rural markets, it is good to remember that the 3G evolution is in progress and can serve the needs of rural markets. At the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona and a recent media event in Johannesburg, NSN were showcasing its LiquidNet Technology. Could you describe this? Furthermore, what are the benefits of this product to end users and operators? The use of services where and when users want them, particularly high-end video, is driving traffic inexorably upwards. High consumption wireless subscribers will generate 1 GB per day via mobile and Wi-Fi by 2020. Traffic is also becoming more unpredictable. Demand for services changes with time and location as people move around daily for business and holidays. New devices, services and applications hit the market constantly. This makes it increasingly difficult to plan the development and use of network resources.

In a nutshell, Liquid Net is a network architecture that unleashes network capacity into a reservoir of resources that can freely flow to fulfill unpredictable demand, wherever and whenever people use broadband. This is achieved by intelligent, software-defined network applications running on multipurpose hardware: • Self–aware, self-adapting: The network recognizes where demand is coming from and instantly re-adjusts itself to deliver the right capacity, coverage and services to the right places. • Software-defined applications on multipurpose hardware: Software-defined network applications run on multi-purpose hardware, either COTS ATCA-based or other generic, enabling processing capacity to be matched to changing demand. • Inter-linked architecture: Infrastructure elements are extensively interconnected to allow capacity and processing to flow freely across the network. • Investment-protection, evolution: Liquid Net takes a fully evolutionary approach that is non-disruptive, yet also transformational. Liquid Net basically enhances the network’s capital efficiency. Huge chunks of unused network resources, as much as 80% of baseband capacity, are released by avoiding the need to dimension every network element according to peak demand. In the core domain, the network element footprint can be reduced by 80% and energy use by up to 65%. The heart of Liquid Net is Intelligent Broadband Management, which dynamically manages network traffic, as well as optimizes content and service delivery in line with user expectations while also creating new revenue opportunities for the operator. For example, Intelligent Broadband Management can halve video standstills to boost customer loyalty, while an operator’s customers can pay for a temporarily higher throughput, raising total operator revenues by up to 10%. In 2011, NSN conducted an Acquisition & Retention (A&R) study. Could you describe what the key findings of this study were? NSN Acquisition and Retention Study is a study that we conduct in several countries, including countries in Africa, to understand end-users’ key criteria for selecting a specific operator. The study also looks at consumers’ drivers and barriers for changing their operator as well as explore end-users’ current satisfaction, as well as loyalty drivers. More than 21,000 interviews were conducted in 17 countries as part of the study. Network coverage and voice quality were rated as the most important criteria in 2010 and continue to be among the top criteria to retain customers in 2011. However, customers who are classified as “heavy users of advanced services”, such as email, chat, browsing, personalized applications and mobile payments and location-based services, now rank mobile broadband quality alongside voice quality and network coverage in determining to leave or stay with their mobile operator. This was common for all markets studied, including Africa and other developing markets. People who chose their mobile operator for the first time, and subscribers who swapped operators during the last six months, also ranked voice quality, network coverage and mobile broadband quality as the three top criteria in determining their operator.

According to the report, customers rated high-speed mobile broadband as the most important service over the next few years. Unfavourable contract conditions, the high cost of devices and voice services, unfavourable tariff schemes, operators’ device portfolios and poor mobile broadband quality attracted the highest dissatisfaction ratings globally. The study further reveals that, given the rise in smartphone subscriber numbers, heavy users of advanced services will become the most prevalent subscribers in the future. The number of users in this segment increased dramatically by 34% in mature markets in 2011, and more than half of them are below 35 years. According to the study, about 60% of these users expect excellent network quality even if it costs a little more, and about 45% are ready to pay extra for special mobile services such as security packages or GPS-based services. In a nutshell, this means that it is vital for operators to focus on network and mobile broadband quality, and provide a personalized experience by using the information they have about how customers use their mobile services, to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty. Currently, a key theme across much of NSN’s communications is the “unfreezing” of mobile networks. How is this achieved? Unfreezing mobile networks refers to changing the traditional network architecture and freeing up network resources to be utilized optimally by the operator. The accelerating demand for broadband services is driving up the volume of data traffic coming onto communications networks. As people access the internet anywhere, their usage drives up traffic, straining the capacity of traditional network architectures. The network efficiency and flexibility needs to be increased through “unfreezing” the idle, or “frozen” capacity and Liquid Net releases the full potential of network resources to meet user demands as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible and deliver a superior customer experience. NSN is foreseeing a 1,000-fold increase in mobile broadband by 2020. How has NSN come to this conclusion? And, furthermore, what justification is there for this? Every year, the demand in mobile broadband communications increases dramatically as more and more users subscribe to mobile broadband packages. Smartphones, super-phones and tablets with powerful multimedia capabilities and applications are becoming increasingly popular and are creating new demands on mobile broadband. Additionally, the arrival of billions of machine devices and related machine-to-machine (M2M) applications will dramatically increase the number of mobile broadband connections. Finally, new data services and applications, for example 3D multimedia, are emerging, making the experience of using mobile broadband better and more exciting. All these factors are adding up to create an exponential increase in traffic volumes and transactions. Extrapolations of current growth trends predict that networks need to be prepared to support up to a thousand-fold increase in total mobile broadband traffic by 2020. This figure assumes a ten-fold increase in broadband mobile subscribers and up to 100 times higher traffic per user (beyond 1 GByte/sub/day), with smartphones and super-phones experiencing the fastest growth. Issue 25 AFRICA TELECOMS 63

Meeting the demand calls for liquid network capacity that can adapt easily to fluctuating user demands over time and location. NSN’s Liquid Net solution can help operators to lower their cost– per-delivered-bit, while at the same time providing unprecedented system scalability. These are the two most important design targets for networks to cope with the thousand-fold increase in traffic by the end of this decade. NSN has been investing significantly in Small Cell technology. Why is this? And do you think Africa will start adopting this technology soon? Small cells are an efficient way of delivering mobile broadband connectivity in high-density areas, like shopping malls and central business districts, where people congregate and may have a higher demand for capacity. Small cells form part of an overall telecom network and can provide additional data capacity and speeds that are beyond macro-cellular capabilities of typical base stations. The macro layer gives ubiquitous coverage, especially for high-speed moving users, while smaller cells cater to stationary and heavy users in dense areas. Small cells can also use Wi-Fi radio as a way of offloading traffic from the macro layer. All these benefits make it an ideal component for any network design across the world, not just Africa. Subscribers will enjoy better coverage and data speeds. Moreover, small cells form an integral part of Nokia Siemens Networks’ Liquid Net portfolio. At both MWC and the press conference in Johannesburg, NSN showed a variety of BTS solutions. What product/s do you feel will have the biggest impact in Africa? Although we have quite a few BTS solutions for different deployment scenarios, such as small cells, macro cells, active antenna, and so on, they are all based on the Nokia Siemens Networks’ Flexi Multiradio Base Station (BTS) platform. It is an industry-leading, cost- and energy-efficient multiradio base station for Single RAN Advanced mobile broadband networks. It is the most compact, software-defined base station for three technologies - GSM/EDGE, WCDMA/HSPA+ and LTE (FDD/TDD). It enables efficient utilization of sites and operates with the lowest number of sites needed for coverage and capacity. Its compact size and weight is only 20% of a conventional cabinet base station and its power consumption is up to 70% lower. Energy efficiency is another big bonus as it dramatically reduces power consumption. The first Flexi version draws as much as 70% less power than conventional systems. What’s more, Flexi Multiradio BTS will be even more economical, adding another 40% cut to the energy savings 64 AFRICA TELECOMS Issue 25



The techno-economic balance between traffic growth and revenue is achieved by higher radio efficiency with smaller base stations and making additional spectrum available for operators. However, it is not enough to have lower base station cost; we also need to push down operational costs with low cost transport, low cost configuration and low cost optimization.

equation. Recently, we even introduced renewable energy sources such as solar panels and wind turbines in real-world deployments. With these sets of features, it’s no surprise that this BTS makes it ideal for the African environment and it has been implemented for customers like Bharti and Vodacom. Why does NSN believe in the assertion that there is a widening gap between traffic and revenue for mobile operators? There is a data tsunami that is heading our way and mobile broadband is the solution to address this challenge. However, unless the operators do something to reduce the cost per delivered bit, the growth in demand for mobile data combined is going to exceed the associated revenues as the mobile revenues are expected to grow only moderately in the coming years. The techno-economic balance between traffic growth and revenue is achieved by higher radio efficiency with smaller base stations and making additional spectrum available for operators. However, it is not enough to have lower base-station cost; we also need to push down operational costs with low-cost transport, lowcost configuration and low-cost optimization. Liquid Net is all about addressing the challenge related to maintaining a balance between the traffic and associated revenues. Liquid Net with flexible resource allocation for enhanced efficiency and flexible traffic and content management for improved subscriber experience will not only provide operators with the means to lower the cost per delivered bit, but also create new revenue opportunities. Is LTE involved in any LTE trials currently in Africa? And when do you think NSN’s LTE technology will go live in Africa? Nokia Siemens Networks is a leader in LTE commercialization in terms of commercial references and live network performance: We have commercial LTE deals with 52 operators on 5 continents, and on 11 frequency bands. These deals cover the whole LTE ecosystem, Radio Access for both FDD and TDD LTE, EPC and IMS. NSN is also leading the industry with commercial deals with six TD-LTE network operators including STC, Mobily, Sky Brazil and Bharti Airtel. We are involved in half of the ongoing TD-LTE trials globally, with 16 major field trials. We are trialing LTE in Africa but it depends on the operator when the networks will go live. But, in general, 2012 is the year when LTE will start picking up pace in Africa. What is “baseband pooling” and why do you think it is so vitally important for operators? Baseband pooling is one of the pillars of Liquid Net and it is all about efficiency and increased network utilization. In technical

biggest challenge to improve rural connectivity is the lack of power grids or poor grids. According to a GSMA study, about 79% of sub-Saharan BTSs do not have access to reliable electricity. And with 15-30% of overall OPEX related to energy costs, operators are under severe pressure and are increasingly looking at energy-saving solutions to counter these challenges. Innovation in the end-to-end energy solutions, which include managing an operator’s network and enriching it with energy efficient and green solutions, help overcome these challenges. The other challenge for Africa is management of the explosive need for more data bandwidth. We’ve already seen how data has grown in networks in other regions and there’s no reason why mobile broadband in Africa should not follow the same trends. As people in Africa start getting more and more mobile in 2012 and connect to internet over mobile networks, a lot of work is required to prepare and enable the networks for the future and to accommodate this huge tsunami of data. This is not only a challenge to operators and vendors, but extends across the whole of society. Lastly, but equally important, is that the availability of spectrum to enable widespread adoption of mobile broadband has been and will remain a challenge for Africa, unless necessary action is taken by regulatory authorities. Different countries in the region have adopted different regulatory approaches and a multitude of technologies have been deployed. Harmonised spectrum is a key factor in promoting the development of mass mobile broadband access, and an enabler for cost-effective introduction of 3G and 4G technologies due to global economies of scale. NSN is working closely with global industry and standardisation bodies such as 3GPP and ITU to drive dialogue and decisions on spectrum-related policies and specifications. Additionally, we work with operators and other African stakeholders, at a regional level, such as with the African Telecommunications Union, as well as at a country level. Who do you think will be the first operator to launch a commercial LTE network in Africa? A few operators across Africa in countries like South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria have announced their interest in LTE and they are actively involved in trials and other network tests. 2012 is definitely the year of LTE in Africa. But it will be interesting, even for us, to see which operator gets to the finish line first. AT


According to a GSMA study, about 79% of sub-Saharan BTSs do not have access to reliable electricity. And with 15-30% of overall OPEX related to energy costs, operators are under severe pressure and are increasingly looking at energysaving solutions to counter these challenges.


terms, baseband pooling allows signal processing power to be shared between multiple cells in contrast with a more conventional distributed architecture, which co-locates each RF transceiver and its associated signal processing on the same site. Centralized baseband, i.e. baseband pooling, can save a substantial amount of baseband processing resources as we are increasingly moving towards unequal traffic distribution between the cells and liquid nature of the demand for mobile broadband services. In other words, baseband pooling is an efficient way to enhance network utilization using liquid capacity redistribution. In Barcelona at MWC, Africa Telecoms saw the Active Antenna for the first time. Please describe to our readers what the Active Antenna can do. And then tell us what benefit this product can bring to end users and operators? In a nutshell, the Active Antenna System enhances mobile network performance by integrating the base station’s radio frequency (RF) elements into the antenna, combined with advanced features such as fully adjustable electrical tilt per carrier or Radio Access Technology (RAT) and beamforming. NSN’s Flexi Multiradio Active Antenna System increases site capacity and coverage. For example, vertical beamforming provides up to 65% capacity gain compared to a standard 3-sector feederless site. Additionally, Active Antennas can focus its beams on a given area to give more flexibility in providing capacity where it is needed. Moving the RF function inside the antenna means that no coaxial cabling is needed, avoiding components such as feeders and connectors. This reduces RF power losses significantly, compared to conventional base station sites, which will improve coverage. Additional benefit is that it also raises overall energy efficiency to reduce electricity costs and carbon emissions for a much greener site. So the benefits to the operator are lower overall site cost and greater gains in network performance for those sites that require high capacity due to capital and operational cost savings enabled by combining the RF and antenna elements. The benefit for the end user is better Mobile Broadband experience in areas where the demand for service is high. If you compared the East African market to some of the other markets where you have worked, what do you think are the benefits of being in East Africa? And what are the biggest challenges to having a presence in the region? Although I’m based in East Africa and Kenya, Africa is my region. This is an exciting market, fastest-growing in the world in terms of subscriptions, and we see that it will also have the fastest relative growth in mobile broadband in the coming years. The biggest difference compared to other markets I’ve worked in is the maturity of the market. It is great to be a part of bringing mobile broadband and internet to the masses, and to see how differently it is used here compared to other markets. The localization of the service is important, after all. Even though more than 60% of Africa is now connected, the biggest challenge in 2012 is to connect the remaining 40%. A significant portion of this 40% is concentrated in rural areas. The


Advertorial by Thabo Jautse Sales Manager Rorotika Technologies


Business intelligence tools for configuration management Networks spend billions of dollars annually in an attempt to improve network quality and performance. The bulk of the work necessitates configuration changes to the network elements. Yet, only a few operators invest in business intelligence tools for configuration management. Configuration Management (CM) is the discipline that is used to identify the need for, and make changes to, mobile network equipment configuration, thereby altering the behaviour of the mobile network environment. A mobile network environment comprises the following sub-systems: • RAN or Radio Access Network • Core network • Transmission Each of the above sub-systems has teams of engineers making daily configuration changes in order for mobile telephony to work at optimum levels. The common configuration functions within all of the above sub-systems are: • Provisioning of new network elements • Solving operational faults • Monitoring of alarms • Re-parenting of existing equipment from one parent node to another • Ongoing optimisation (that is, changing the configuration of the equipment to deliver optimum performance). CM as a discipline reaches far and wide inside networks, from network planning, to operations, and all the way to network optimisation. Each operational unit involved in the running of a network interacts daily with network parameter settings. To date, a combination of vendor-specific tools, technology-centric third party applications and even in-house spreadsheets have been used to perform configuration management functions within networks. This fragmented approach has led to gaps in the process of managing

configuration settings, resulting in a vicious cycle of reactive error corrections. The situation has been made more difficult because no single tool could wholly support multivendor, multi-technology environments and provide insightful business intelligence, as well as generate Minimum Message Length (MML) to be run into a network. Configuration Management has been in limbo as it is usually not owned by any one entity or department in an organisation. Leveraging Rorotika’s expertise in the area of Radio Access Networks and Network Switching Sub-systems, we have focused on configuration management within these two spheres and developed a sound software solution to overcome the complexities of CM problems. NetCM is the first configuration management tool that handles parameter changes in the network for Radio, Core, IP, Abis and Uib interfaces. The business intelligence reporting function that comes standard with the tool is used to identify parameter issues in the network components. Workflow measures have been built into the tool to aid interdepartment functionality. This allows NetCM to be used by: • Planning departments, to determine the current network configuration, and for the addition of new network nodes. • Optimisation departments to automatically generate MML as part of the daily optimisation tasks. • Operations departments for ensuring network quality and enforcing configuration management policies. All this and more can be done via an easy-to-use web and mobilebased front end, allowing for rapid deployment of the tool that can be accessed remotely without the need for heavy client-based installations. Rorotika NetCM is the only configuration management tool in the world that can boast a mobile-based application enabling engineers on call to effect changes whilst on the move. NetCM has redefined the industry standard for, and the approach to, the network configuration management environment. AT

Calendar Africa Telecoms Events Calendar November 2012 – October 2013

november 13-15 africa com Cape Town, South africa


Louisa Rogers: +44 (0)20 7017 51575



13-14 aitec banking & mobile money west africa Lagos, Nigeria

Helen Moroney: +44 148 088 0774

25-27 7th annual e-gov africa Munyono, Uganda


april 22-26 commonwealth cybersecurity conference Yaounde, Cameroon


may 14-15 north africa com Tunis, Tunisia

Denise Duffy: +44 20 3377 3136


20-21 east africa com Nairobi, Kenya

Denise Duffy: +44 20 3377 3136


27-30 satcom africa Johannesburg, South Africa


Tarryn Volkwyn: +27 (0)11 516 4000

27-30 submarine networks world africa Johannesburg, South Africa

Tarryn Volkwyn: +27 (0)11 516 4000

27-30 the broadcast show africa Johannesburg, South Africa

Tarryn Volkwyn: +27 (0)11 516 4000

28-29 the ip networks show africa Johannesburg, South Africa

Tarryn Volkwyn: +27 (0)11 516 4000

june 11-12 west & central africa com Dakar, senegal


Denise Duffy: +44 20 3377 3136

25-26 vas africa Johannesburg, South Africa


Denise Duffy: +44 20 3377 3136

26-27 Aitec banking & mobile money comesa 2013 Nairobi, kenya

Helen Moroney: +44 148 088 0774

october 23-24 Aitec east africa ict summit 2013 Nairobi, kenya

Helen Moroney: +44 148 088 0774

If you would like Africa Telecoms to add an event to the calendar, please contact Bradley Shaw at


Functional Support Assistant

PABX Technician

Flex Developer

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East London, South Africa (Eastern Cape)

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Market Related Basic Salary

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Permanent senior level position in the Telecommunication industry.

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Singleview Project Manager

Senior Singleview Architect

EE Sales / Key Account Managers

South Africa (Western Cape)

Johannesburg ( Johannesburg), South Africa (Gauteng)

South Africa (Gauteng)

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Call Centre Manager

Exhibitions & Events Specialist

Chartered Accountant

Johannesburg Metro South Africa (Gauteng)

Gauteng South Africa (Gauteng)

Pretoria (Pretoria), South Africa (Gauteng)

Market Related Cost To Company Incl Benefits

Market Related Cost To Company Incl Benefits Neg

R850,000 - R950,000 Per Annum Cost To Company

Permanent skilled level position at TeleBest in the Telecommunication industry.

Permanent senior level position at Swan IT Recruitment in the Telecommunication industry.

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Commercial Credit Control Supervisor

Operations Manager

Tele Sales

South Africa (Gauteng)

Sandton, South Africa (Gauteng)

Johannesburg, South Africa (Gauteng)

Market Related Basic Salary

R650,000 - R840,000 Per Annum CTC

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Exhibitions & Events Manager

Project Management Specialist

EE Engineer Transmissions Planning

Pretoria (Pretoria), South Africa (Gauteng)

Centurion, South Africa (Gauteng)

Gauteng South Africa (Gauteng)

R450,000 - R550,000 Per Annum Cost To Company Incl Benefits

R418,000 - R631,000 Per Annum Cost To Company

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CJ Ref# 1421717

Senior Server Systems Administrator

Lease Negotiator

Johannesburg, South Africa (Gauteng)

Pretoria (Silverton), South Africa (Gauteng)

Market Related Cost To Company

R12,000 Per Month Basic Salary Neg

Market Related CTC

Permanent skilled level position in the Telecommunication industry.

Permanent skilled level position at Torbiouse Solutions cc in the Telecommunication industry.

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Commercial Service Delivery Manager South Africa (Western Cape)

CJ Ref# 1421472

CJ Ref# 1421325

CJ Ref# 1421674

OMS Developer

EE Developer

South Africa (Gauteng)

Pretoria, South Africa (Gauteng)

Cape Town, South Africa (Western Cape)

Market Related Basic Plus Commission And Benefits

R200 - R350 Per Hour CTC

Market Related Cost To Company

Permanent junior level position at Rayburn Telecommunications in the Telecommunication industry.

Contract skilled level position at JMR SOFTWARE in the Telecommunication industry.

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PABX Sales

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EE Senior Manager

Operations Director

Sandton (Rivonia), South Africa (Gauteng)

Johannesburg, South Africa (Gauteng)

Midrand, South Africa (Gauteng)

R10,000 - R12,500 Per Month Basic Plus Commission

Basic Salary Neg

R12,000,000 - R15,000,000 Per Annum Cost To Company

Permanent skilled level position at Office Talk in the Telecommunication industry.

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CJ Ref# 1419187

CJ Ref# 1419727

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Supply Chain Administrator

Business Analysis

Financial Analyst

Randburg (Fourways), South Africa (Gauteng)

Gauteng South Africa (Gauteng)

Randburg ( Johannesburg-North), South Africa (Gauteng)

Market Related CTC Neg

Market Related Cost To Company Incl Benefits Neg

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Permanent skilled level position at Moshitoa Selections in the Telecommunication industry.

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Contract Analyst

Demand & Supply Planner

Configuration Management

Randburg ( Johannesburg-North), South Africa (Gauteng)

Randburg (Weltevredenpark), South Africa (Gauteng)

Johannesburg, South Africa (Gauteng)

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Product Manager / Data & Messaging

Senior Account Manager

Business Analytics Expert

Sandton, South Africa (Gauteng)

South Africa (Gauteng)

Randburg, South Africa (Gauteng)

R380,000 - R400,000 Per Annum CTC

Market Related On Target Earnings

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CJ Ref# 1420651

CJ Ref# 1420463

Senior Client Development Manager

Business Performance Manager

Exhibitions & Events Specialist

Randburg, South Africa (Gauteng)

Sandton, South Africa (Gauteng)

Centurion, South Africa (Gauteng)

Market Related CTC

R800 - R810 Per Annum Cost To Company Incl Benefits

R650 - R700 Per Annum CTC

Permanent management level position in the Telecommunication industry.

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for more jobs visit

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Last Word Bradley Shaw writes exclusively for Africa Telecoms Magazine

Curiouser and curiouser: Curiosity didn’t kill the cat - it landed on Mars In 1969, Buzz Aldrin – well-known for being the second man on the moon, after Neil Armstrong - once said: “Mars is there, waiting to be reached.” On 6 August 2012, the Curiosity touched down on the surface of Mars. Yes, it’s an unmanned vehicle, but it landed faultlessly and everything went off as planned. Adam Steltzner, the NASA Team Leader for this project, said after the safe touchdown: “We landed in a nice flat spot. Beautiful, really beautiful.” This is quite a feat by the not-cheap-to-run NASA outfit, as any malfunction can cause damage running into the millions of dollars. With such a hefty price tag attached to the operation, estimates are that the budget to land Curiosity on Mars comes in at around US$2billion. The Curiosity odyssey came after an eightmonth journey from Earth to Mars - a distance of 566 million kilometres. Curiosity entered the Martian atmosphere at an astounding speed of 21,243km/h, 17 times the speed of sound. It boggles the mind. These acceleration figures put the landing of this nuclear-powered space vehicle into perspective, with the rover having been slowed down by means of a parachute, and a skycrane akin to some futuristic hovering vehicle straight out of the movies. Then again, we are in the future already, aren’t we – it’s 2012, after all. Yet, the astonishing feat in all of this lies in the transmission of data from Mars to Earth, with the first images received via the Mars rover being visible just 7 minutes after landing. The rover is powered by a “multi-mission radioisotope thermoelectric generator” (MMRTG), basically a geeky term for a nuclear power source, using plutonium-238. This can


generate up to 100W of power per day, with the rover only needing in the region of 25W per day to operate. NASA on Earth will be communicating with the rover in two ways: directly via an X-band at up to 32kbps; then, as a secondary and probably more likely route of transmissions, via the Mars Satellite Orbiters (Reconnaissance and Odyssey). These will use UHF Electra-Lite software-defined radio and will be able to transmit at up to 2Mbps. The snag is that each of these satellites can only communicate with the rover for 8 minutes a day due to the orbital nature and line of sight needed for transmission. The ultimate purpose of the Curiosity is to do biological and geological studies on the surface of the Red Planet to discover if it has ever been able to support life. Surely the US government is also looking for potential mineral opportunities that can be exploited? In movies like Avatar and others in a similar vein, we have seen mining taking place on foreign planets; now we are seeing this becoming more and more of a reality. It begs the question: If NASA can transmit data from this distance 566 million kilometres away, why is it that some operators in Africa still cannot manage to keep their networks running 24/7?! This might be a somewhat tongue-in-cheek question, but it’s still valid for those of us who pay fairly large sums of money for mobile communications and expect an uninterrupted 24/7 service. We’re only asking for the signal to travel at most 15km from our local base station back to the network. I mean, if they can do it out there in outer space – why not back here on our little blue planet? The answer is out there somwhere! AT

Our connectivity solutions are shaped by you.

Tell us your connectivity needs and we’ll deliver. There’s no single connectivity solution that’s right for every mobile network operator in Africa. Which is why, at Gateway, we don’t just offer one. We take a more sophisticated approach, offering a mix of technologies to meet our clients’ differing connectivity needs. Gateway combine sub-sea and terrestrial cables with satellite technology to provide pan-African connectivity solutions. We own and operate the continent’s largest and most advanced network, connecting 40 countries with local on-the-ground support in 14 of them. That makes us the ideal wholesale telecoms carrier for any mobile network operator serious about connecting across the whole of Africa. In other words, we have the right mix to help you meet your customers’ demands in the most efficient, cost-effective way possible.



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Africa Telecoms Issue 25  
Africa Telecoms Issue 25  

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