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2012 in review

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20 1 3 ISSUE 27 ZAR 29.95 US$ 3.50 UK£ 2.25 EU€ 2.95 Rest of Africa US$ 2.95

Thought Leadership with Samsung’s George Ferreira


Q&A with Lars Linden of Ericsson



George Ferreira, Chief Operating Officer and Vice President of Samsung Electronics Africa, sets out his vision for the next few years in an exlusive interview with Steven Ambrose.





We attended the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in January, and saw the innovative tech – both concepts and products – that will be released this year. Here are some of the headline-grabbing gadgets that caught our attention. By Christo van Gemert



Brett Haggard takes a closer look – in no particular order – at some of the good news, bad news and broader-reaching trends 2012 had to offer.





THE QUESTIONS In this issue, Africa Telecoms introduces a new section giving industry thought-leaders and innovators the opportunity to discuss the opportunities and challenges for 2013 in an openforum style.



Regulars [04] guest editorial

Bradley Shaw Managing Editor of Africa Telecoms.

[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.

[22] by the numbers

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

[66] q&a

With Lars Linden, Head of sub-Saharan Africa, Ericsson.

[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

Bradley Shaw, Managing Editor of Africa Telecoms, reviews some of the major tech blunders of 2012.







56 for the mag [ 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, Nabil Baccouche, Mike van der Bergh, Shirin Degan, Fernando George Ferreira, Christo van Gemert, Steve Good, Brett Haggard, Jerker Hellstrom, Jonathan Hoehler, Lars Linden, Andrew McHenry, James Munn, Hawa Omar, Hannes van Rensburg, Bradley Shaw, Ambar Sur, Chris Wood, Alexandra Zagury 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: |



AFRICA DAWNS Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the fastest-growing regions globally for mobile penetration, usage and revenues. While the world has been rocked by economic crises, the region’s mobile ecosystem has seen continued subscription growth and now accounts for over 454m connections, according to Wireless Intelligence, making it one of the world’s largest pools of mobile subscribers. It has taken a significant role in applying mobile to verticals such as education, healthcare and finance, buoyed by the innovation of home-grown entrepreneurs. This year, Africa Telecoms takes great pleasure and honour in chairing a session on Africa at Mobile World Congress 2013 in Barcelona. Industry leaders joining the panel are: • • • • • • •

Sifiso Dabengwa, Group President and CEO, MTN Group Manoj Kohli, CEO (International) and Joint MD, Bharti Airtel Essa Al Haddad, Chief Regional Officer – Africa, and CCO, Etisalat Group Omobola Johnson, Minister of Communication Technology, Federal Ministry of Communication Technology, Nigeria George Ferreira, COO, Samsung Africa Nic Rudnick, CEO, Liquid Networks Lars Linden, Head of Sub-Saharan Africa Region, Ericsson

Nevertheless, there are significant challenges for sub-Saharan Africa as a region, such as maintaining operator profitability and revenues as mobile penetration spreads to less affluent customers, and ensuring regulation keeps pace with the potential of the region. The solutions it finds have the potential to serve as a guide for the 4 AFRICA TELECOMS Issue 27

By Bradley Shaw, Managing Editor, Africa Telecoms mobile industry across the rest of the planet. Africa, therefore, is one of the last untapped regions that does not have close to the 100% mobile SIM penetration level. Far from it, in fact, with A.T. Kearney stating in November 2012 that Africa has a SIM penetration of 65%, equating to around 730 million connections. Although these figures are rather misleading as stated in the research, Africa has incredibly high multi-SIM ownership of between 30-50%. This would mean a far lower 35% SIM penetration. Should this mobile penetration be truly that low then the continent has huge scope for growth. That will be music to the ears of all operators and vendors working on the continent, but any improvement would require a massive need for better infrastructure and network management. However, should one compare this to mobile broadband penetration, an even more enticing picture can be painted, with around only 4% mobile broadband connections for sub-Saharan Africa (Wireless Intelligence 2012). Based on the mobile broadband figures, Africa truly is the land of opportunity for operators and vendors supplying equipment and services to this sector. Mobile World Congress certainly gives us an opportunity to discuss the challenges of doing business in Africa with a wider audience and to see how these challenges can be overcome. The increase in both SIM and mobile broadband penetration can only be to the benefit of all and the economic development of the continent at large. Let’s then harness what it is in our power to do to drive Africa into the next era of communications. AT

The handset interface for Ubuntu introduces distinctive new user experiences to the mobile market, including: • Edge magic: thumb gestures from all four edges of the screen enable users to find content and switch between apps faster than other phones. • Deep content immersion: controls appear only when the user wants them. • A beautiful global search for apps, content and products. • Voice and text commands in any application for faster access to rich capabilities. • Both native and web or HTML5 apps. • Evolving personalised art on the Welcome screen.


Canonical announced a distinctive smartphone interface for its popular operating system, Ubuntu, using all four edges of the screen for a more immersive experience. Ubuntu uniquely gives handset OEMs and mobile operators the ability to converge phone, PC and thin client into a single enterprise superphone. “We expect Ubuntu to be popular in the enterprise market, enabling customers to provision a single secure device for all PC, thin client and phone functions,” said Jane Silber, CEO of Canonical. “Ubuntu is already the most widely used Linux enterprise desktop, with customers in a wide range of sectors focused on security, cost and manageability. We also see an opportunity in basic smartphones that are used for the phone, SMS, web and email, where Ubuntu outperforms, thanks to its native core apps and stylish presentation.” Ubuntu is aimed at two core mobile segments: the high-end superphone, and the entry-level basic smartphone, helping operators grow the use of data amongst consumers who typically use only the phone and messaging, but who may embrace the use of web and email on their phone. Ubuntu also appeals to aspirational prosumers who want a fresh experience with faster, richer performance on a lower billof-materials device. Ubuntu offers compelling customisation options for partner apps, content and services. Operators and OEMs can easily add their own branded offerings. Canonical’s personal cloud service, Ubuntu One, provides storage and media services, file sharing and a secure transaction service which enables partners to integrate their own service offerings easily.

SAMSUNG INTRODUCES WORLD’S FIRST CURVED OLED TV AT CES 2013 Samsung’s Curved OLED TV delivers a truly immersive viewing experience by creating a panorama effect, breaking the barrier of innovation in home entertainment. The OLED panel is curved, which provides depth to the content displayed for a more life-like viewing experience. The TV’s immersive panorama effect, which is currently not possible with conventional flat-panel TVs, allows viewers to feel like they are surrounded by beautiful scenery when watching captivating content such as vast landscapes and scenes from nature. Leveraging its expertise in display technology, Samsung has optimised the picture quality of the Curved OLED TV to deliver a comfortable viewing experience. Viewing content on the TV does not cause eye strain, as the curved panel allows the distance between the user and TV screen to be the same from almost any angle. “Samsung is dedicated to developing innovative television solutions beyond what consumers could ever expect, or could even imagine,” said HS Kim, Executive Vice President of Visual Display Business, Samsung Electronics. “We will continue our tradition of developing Samsung TV innovations by steadily introducing new TV technology that helps enhance the lives of users, even beyond the World’s First Curved OLED TV.” Local availability in South Africa and across the continent will be announced in due course. 6 AFRICA TELECOMS Issue 27

ONE LAPTOP PER CHILD ASSOCIATION RELEASES THREE NEW PRODUCTS AT CES One Laptop Per Child Association (OLPCA), the world-renowned project to provide a modern education to children via a connected computing device, introduced three new products at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in January. OLPCA unveil the XO Learning System, an Android-compatible software suite for child-centric learning, which is available by license to computer manufacturers, governments, NGOs and content providers such as book publishers. Tablets under such a license will be called the XO Tablet, the second product announcement. Third, OLPCA showed off the fourth generation of its iconic green-andwhite laptop with both a keyboard and a multi-touch screen using Neonode technology. “A learning experience designed to unleash children’s creativity”, XO Learning directs the child’s passion, creativity and energy for their dreams into a new user interface that has 12 “dreams”, which include “I want to be” an artist, a musician and a scientist. Each dream features a rich learning experience and applications, books, games and videos that allow children aged 3 to 12 to naturally explore their dreams and learn at the same time. “The challenge in computing and education is to use the technology to develop new ways for children to learn. The rich content of the dreams allows the child’s natural passion to be directed into learning experiences,” said Giulia D’Amico, the lead designer of XO Learning. OLPCA teamed with Fuse Project designer Yves Behar and his team to create the XO Learning user interface and cover. The content in XO Learning has been curated and selected for age-appropriateness and learning value by OLPCA, in collaboration with Common Sense Media, the non-profit organisation dedicated to helping parents and teachers make informed decisions about media. Common Sense Media offers more than 18,000 media ratings and reviews based on both robust educational research and child development guidelines. XO Learning also offers a full range of parental controls and user IDs for up to three children, a dashboard where the child or the parent can review usage, types of content and the skills the child is developing. At the press of a single icon, XO Learning switches from English to Spanish with all new content, depending on the language. Additional languages will be available in future releases. XO Learning also offers unique learning experiences from leading partners who support OLPCA’s programme to foster child-centric learning. According to D’Amico, many international companies shared the vision to create learning experiences that exercised a child’s creativity. In addition to helping to curate the XO Learning content, Common Sense Media has also provided Digital Passport, an

interactive learning environment designed for students in grades 3 to 5 to teach them how to safely navigate a technology-enhanced world, to the XO Learning platform. Digital Passport is already available in classrooms via OLPCA XO laptops in the U.S. and internationally. Other XO Learning partners include Sesame Street, MyCityWay and Little Pim, among others. OLPCA is currently in negotiations with many of the world’s leading companies to provide unique experiences through XO Learning in time for the product introduction in May 2013. Amy Guggenheim Shenkan, president and COO, Common Sense Media, said that OLPCA and Common Sense Media “share the same vision of a world in which all kids have access to the limitless learning opportunities that technology provides”. “By using ratings and reviews from Common Sense Media to inform XO Learning, OLPCA has created a product that will point kids towards the highest quality digital media products available, and will go a long way to ensuring our kids are well-prepared to grow, thrive, and succeed in the 21st century.” Sakar International, based in Edison, New Jersey, is the first licensee of XO Learning and will offer XO Learning on a 7” Android tablet of its own design. The tablet will be marketed as the “XO Tablet”, which Sakar has the exclusive right to sell to leading U.S. retailers for both in-store and online sales. OLPCA also continues to develop its own line of iconic green-andwhite laptops. At CES, OLPCA unveiled its fourth-generation system – the XO 4.0 Touch. This touchscreen laptop features: • A Marvell ARMADA PXA2128 multicore application processor with hybrid-SMP technology running at 1 GHz. • The Marvell Avastar 88W8787 highly-integrated SoC. • Neonode touchscreen technology with multi-sensing capabilities. The XO 4.0 Touch preserves the dual-mode screen, which allows children to use the laptop in full sunlight as well as in the classroom. The XO 4.0 Touch will also offer the free educational software, Sugar, which has been featured on all previous versions of the laptop. Sugar offers over 300 child-centric learning apps and three programming environments for children. “We are pleased to be launching XO Learning and the XO Learning Tablet. OLPCA pioneered the inexpensive netbook for learning, and that concept remains viable today, particularly with the new touchscreen version,” said Rodrigo Arboleda, chairman and CEO of OLPCA Association. “The XO 4.0 is still the only laptop that is designed for children. It is reparable by a child with only a screwdriver (and) now has the latest Marvell hybrid-core processor and Noenode’s latest touchscreen technology.” Issue 27 AFRICA TELECOMS 7

PANASONIC EXPANDS TOUGHPAD ENTERPRISE-GRADE TABLET LINE At CES 2013, Panasonic introduced a new TEN-inch Windows 8 Pro-based and Seven-inch Android-powered Tablets offering a choice to meet expanding business tablet expectations. Both devices follow the original 10” Android-powered Toughpad FZ-A1, which became broadly available late last year. With the Toughpad (#Toughpad) family of ruggedised tablets, businesses and government institutions have a single partner delivering a selection of highly reliable and purpose-built devices ideal for numerous operational needs. “This customer feedback is a critical part of the development process and will continue to shape Toughbook and Toughpad devices in the future,” said Rance M Poehler, President, Panasonic System Communications Company of North America. “The wide variety of devices in the Toughbook and Toughpad families is a clear indication that we build products to meet our customers’ needs. For nearly 20 years, Panasonic has engineered the most reliable mobile computing devices on the market,”. “Because our customers know they can count on our products to deliver performance and return on investment, Panasonic – through its Toughbook brand – holds nearly 80% marketshare in the rugged mobile device space. We believe our engineering acumen, vertical market expertise and reputation for reliability, backed by our world-class service, will result in the Toughpad family being the leading B2B tablet solution in the coming years,” Poehler explained. Hide Harada, Director, IT Products Business Unit, added: “The goal for Panasonic is to achieve 50% marketshare in the ruggedised tablet space by 2015.” Toughpad tablets are designed for mission-critical and highly mobile workers in fields such as the military, construction,

healthcare, public safety, utilities, retail, maintenance, supply chain logistics and insurance. The devices are ideal for a host of usage scenarios, including inventory control, eForms, field sales, field service, route delivery, eCitations, electronic medical records, inspections, mobile pointof-sales and GIS. Toughpad tablets are MIL-STD-810G tested for drops, fluid ingress and temperature, to assure they deliver reliable performance under circumstances that render typical tablets non-operational. Devices feature daylight viewable screens, userreplaceable or serviceable batteries, a stylus for signature capture and handwriting (on the FZ-G1 and FZ-A1 with third-party apps), and multiple options for peripheral connectivity.“Our Toughpad tablets were designed, based on years of input from customers,” said Poehler. Enterprise-class mobile computing requires an enhanced level of device security and the Toughpad family is designed with this in mind. Security features like encryption, IPsec VPN, trusted boot, root protection and FIPS compliance are available in various configurations of the Toughpad FZ-A1 and Toughpad JT-B1. Compatibility with world-class mobile device management (MDM) tools allow IT managers to manage applications, secure devices from unauthorised use and perform many other tasks. Toughpad tablets are supported by an ecosystem that includes an enterprise-focused app store, developer tools and deployment support and will offer a full set of enterprise-grade accessories to support the Toughpad line, including cases, mounts, printers, keyboards, magnetic stripe readers, smartcard readers and multiunit storage and charging solutions.

THE QUALCOMM SNAPDRAGON 800 PROCESSORS ARE CURRENTLY SAMPLING AND EXPECTED TO BE AVAILABLE IN COMMERCIAL DEVICES BY MID-2013. THE Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor targets high-end mobile devices is designed to deliver great performance, rich graphics and enhanced user experience, and will deliver up to 40% better performance than the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor at lower power. The new processor offers system-wide architectural improvements, key component upgrades and expanded connectivity options. It features a new Krait 300 quad-core CPU with speeds up to 1.9GHz, a new speed-enhanced Adreno 320 GPU and support for LPDDR3 memory. Sampling now, it is expected to be available in commercial devices by the second quarter of 2013. “With the overwhelming success of our previous Qualcomm Snapdragon platforms, our mobile processors have emerged as the platform of choice for high-end mobile devices,” said Steve Mollenkopf, President and Chief Operating Officer of Qualcomm. “With more than 50 design wins already secured with the first products of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 and 800 processors, we are advancing our vision and setting the standard for excellence in mobile computing.”


YOTAPHONE DUAL DISPLAY SMARTPHONE A NEW archetype in smartphones with two displays will help consumers enjoy life’s virtual side without missing the real one, according to a new device Yotaphone’s creator, Moscow-based Yota Devices. According to reports, YotaPhone is a powerful Android-based phone that integrates a full-colour LCD on one side and an electronic paper display (EPD) on the other. The two displays are linked together to open a new world of user experiences. The EPD is the user’s personal space for receiving notifications, linking to social media, reading news as it happens or simply displaying favourite pictures. The LCD and EPD are both 4.3”. “This will be the first time that people will be able to personalise the information they want to receive on their phones in an effortless way,” said Yota Devices CEO Vlad Martynov. “You tell YotaPhone what information you want and when you want it. It becomes your personal assistant, reminding you of what’s important to you. “Today, if you want to check your email, calendar or social media page, you have to pick up your phone, turn it on, open the application and only then can you receive the information. With YotaPhone, this information will appear on the electronic paper display effortlessly, continuously and updated in real time.” The two displays have different functions and different purposes. YotaPhone lets users watch videos, play games and perform other functions best suited on the LCD, but adds an electronic paper display for content that requires longer reading time, like reading a book or magazine. It also keeps important information visible without draining the battery. Boarding passes, maps, tickets and other important information are displayed even if the battery dies.

Said Martynov: “Technology is setting the tone of our lives rather than the other way around. We at Yota Devices aim to rebalance the relationship with our smartphone. YotaPhone takes all the best technologies and amplifies them. At the same time, we address some of the ways smartphones interfere with us being truly social beings. YotaPhone is always connected, but in a smarter, less stressful way.” Yota Devices has been working on YotaPhone for more than two years. The first model was shown to then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in September 2010 at a meeting on the country’s modernisation programme. Yota Devices has filed a number of patents, copyrights and design rights associated with YotaPhone. The device uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM 8960 platform, one of the most advanced processors currently available, and the latest release of the Google Android operating system. The API developed by Yota Devices will allow the developer community to create innovative ways to use and benefit from the phone’s two displays. Yota Devices has created a number of applications for YotaPhone to allow users to take full advantage of the EPD. “YotaPhone is elegant, slim and sleek,” said Martynov. “It’s as gorgeous outside as it is inside, featuring two Corning Gorilla Glass screens, which are exceptionally resistant to damage.” The phone will be available for sale worldwide in the second half of 2013. It is a multi-band, LTE phone that will work anywhere in the world. New details about YotaPhone and its innovations will be unveiled at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona from 25-28 February.


ZTE’S DEBUT OF THE 5.0 FHD QUAD-CORE SMARTPHONE GRAND S AT CES 2013 THE ZTE company’s first FHD smartphone in the high-end Grand Series – that it claims is “the world’s thinnest within 5-inch FHD quad-core smartphones, enabled by the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor” – was launched at CES 2013. ZTE says that, as the flagship handset in its line of products, the ultrathin body and high definition display of the ZTE Grand S offer consumers the latest in style, quality and functionality. “We understand that today’s consumers call for advanced features and state-of-the-art multimedia options in their handsets, and the ZTE Grand S confidently addresses those demands,” said Kan Yulun, Corporate Vice President of ZTE Corporation and CTO of the ZTE Mobile Device Division. Featuring full website display enabling optimal content browsing, 4G LTE high-speed network powering a world-class multimedia experience and 4G LTE network allowing for top-speed downloading, the handset is established as a premier gaming and movie-viewing portal. It also offers smartphone photography mavens, advanced functions for more vivid self-photography and video calling effects, along with face recognition, anti-shake and panoramic camera. Yulun said the introduction of the ZTE Grand S completed the new Grand Series, which also includes the Grand Era and Grand X. In the series, the ZTE Grand X is aimed at consumers with a passion for high tech, the ZTE Grand Era is for the most advanced smartphone user and the ZTE Grand S is the flagship handset offering an ideal combination of art and technology. The ZTE Grand S represents the company’s latest entry in a new era of smartphone design, which will continue in 2013 with the introduction of additional high-end smartphones.


Key features of the ZTE Grand S include: •

• • •

4G LTE – customers can expect fast download speeds of 100 Mbps and upload speeds of 50 Mbps in 4G LTE mobile broadband coverage areas. Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor with 1.7GHz quad-core CPU. Android Jelly Bean operating system. 13M AF camera with Flash and 2M FF 1080P video. Expert hardware and software safety protection standard – Palm Manager helps users manage mobile phone software, optimise electricity use and protect private information. 5” FHD screen capable of full website display. Dolby Digital Surround Sound. Memory: 2GB RAM + 16GB EMMC.

Dimensions: 142 x 69 x 6.9mm.

• • • •

MOBILE WEARABLE DEVICES AND SMART GLASSES TO REACH SALES OF ALMOST 70 MILLION BY 2017 – JUNIPER RESEARCH EXSET AND DIGITAL TELEMEDIA PARTNER FOR EMERGING MARKETS EXSET, pioneers of TV ecosystems for emerging markets, and Digital Telemedia (DTM) have announced their co-operation in a move set to redefine the digital pay-TV space in emerging markets, including across Africa. In terms of the move, Digital Telemedia becomes a Digital Monetisation System (DMS) technology partner. DTM will develop value-based MPEG-4 set-top boxes for digital cable in South Asia, as well as for deployment with some key DTH platforms using Exset CAS. The boxes will also be suitable for use with Exset’s DMS technology for other emerging markets. DMS allows digital television platforms to be created that can then be monetised where previously impossible. This means populations can benefit from new information and entertainment services, while partnering governments can achieve digital switchover bringing social transformation. Said Gary Ellis, CTO of Exset: “DTM’s management vision, global presence and ability to address customers needs in the context of Indian and African digitisation was a defining factor in this cooperation.” Huang Wie, Director International Sales, DTM, said: “Exset’s DMS philosophy – that digitisation can be monetised across emerging markets, allowing digital switchover and empowering populations via TV screenbased information dissemination – is very exciting to us. The DTM set-top boxes that are designed and implemented for DMS will be a game-changer globally. We’re very pleased to be able to jointly offer high-value STBs across emerging markets and in particular the Indian cable market.” Rahul Nehra, Global Head of Sales and Marketing, Exset, commented: “Exset is delighted to extend its philosophy of ‘Digitisation is Monetisation’ through its award-winning DMS technology to these markets using its CAS, which is implemented on more than 13 million STBs globally. This includes the largest DTH in EMEA, which has more than 10 million subscribers. A proven STB partner like DTM helps us in offering value-based technologies to our Indian cable partners and our pay-TV customers globally.” An award-winning solution, DMS bridges the gap between technology and value-added services, allowing digital television platforms to be created that can then be monetised where this was previously impossible. The result allows populations to benefit from new information and entertainment services, while partnering with governments to achieve digital switchover and contribute to social transformation.

APP-enabled fitness and health devices, along with smart glasses, are set to drive consumer demand, according to Juniper Research. It will comprise a total of almost 70 million smart wearable devices sold in 2017, including smart glasses, health and fitness devices, and enterprise wearables, compared to almost 15 million sales in 2013. Significant adoption towards the end of the forecast period, driven by the launch of augmented reality glasses and similar products from Google, Microsoft and Apple, says Juniper, adding that fitness and health wearables are set to dominate the market. Findings in the new Smart Wearable Devices: Fitness, Healthcare, Entertainment & Enterprise 2012-2017 report indicates that fitness and sports wearables, followed by healthcare devices, are likely to dominate the market with a combined market share of over 80% in the final forecast year, 2017. However, even though the number of fitness and sports devices bought per year is higher than the number of healthcare devices sold, the health sector will be slightly larger in terms of retail value due to higher price points. The report further notes that, as the retail price for smart glasses decline towards the end of the forecast period, the adoption level amongst consumers will increase by 2017. The report found that the development of an app-ecosystem for wearable devices is essential to create a platform for further broadening the role of wearable devices similar to the smartphone app ecosystem. Said report author Nitin Bhas: “The development of the smartphone/app store model has opened up new avenues for other segments within the market, such as the wearable device market, by combining mobility with an efficient method of software delivery. The simultaneous development of app-ecosystem and wearable devices will integrate technologies, such as augmented reality, into human life more seamlessly.”


ORANGE has launched a new subsidiary called Orange Horizons that aims to seek out new business opportunities in countries where the group is not already present as a mass-market telecommunications provider. These projects, which will leverage the global reputation of the Orange brand and existing group assets, aim to provide a new source of revenue and improve customer loyalty across its footprint without the need for significant investment. Such projects could include the launch of online stores selling telecoms-related equipment or airtime; the introduction of flexible travel solutions; or the launch of a virtual mobile operator (MVNO) activity. The first of these projects has already been launched in South Africa under the Orange Horizons banner. This comprises two websites: first, an e-commerce website,, has been launched to sell telecoms-related devices and accessories. This is combined with a country website,, which provides online content specifically tailored for a South African audience, including news feeds, sports news and audio-visual content. The launch of these services coincides with the start of the Orange Africa Cup of Nations, South Africa 2013 pan-African football tournament, in which six countries that Orange is already present in will be playing. To increase interest and visibility, South African residents connecting to the local website will be able to enter a contest to win tickets to several matches, including the final. A similar e-commerce initiative has also been opened in Italy, where the brand already enjoys a strong reputation. These two existing online stores already offer state-of-the-art telecoms and electronic equipment, and will soon also offer a variety of telecoms services, including airtime for Orange customers visiting from other countries. The group’s footprint currently covers around 10% of the world’s population, leaving 6.2 billion people who could potentially become customers through Orange Horizons activities. The group plans to launch business ventures in several other countries in 2013 in Europe and Africa, and will also look at opportunities in South America in order to leverage existing content-related assets such as starMedia (a South American internet portal) for example. A wide-range of business projects will be investigated depending on the specific potential within each country. These include: • e-commerce sites, and potentially even physical stores, selling handsets, accessories and electronic equipment. This could be extended to assistance corners for Orange customers visiting from abroad. • The launch of over-the-top country websites that aim to leverage existing assets such as the group’s two pan-continental web-portals, StarAfrica (Africa) and starMedia (South America), or content-providers such as Deezer and DailyMotion. • The introduction of multi-country travel solutions – data offers using WiFi or VoIP – aimed in particular at professionals or tourists from countries in which Orange is already present. • The launch of a virtual mobile operator (MVNO) activity is also a possibility in certain countries. Orange Horizons aims to provide a new source of revenue for the group, while improving its global visibility and reputation outside its traditional footprint. Many of these projects will also help improve customer loyalty in countries in which Orange is already present. To achieve this, Orange Horizons aims to leverage the power of the Orange brand as well as the Group’s considerable assets as one of the world’s leading telecoms providers. The Orange brand, which was ranked among the top 50 global brands in 2012, according to the annual Millward Brown “BrandZ” survey, is already widely known across the world. The brand is particularly well known for mobile, fixed and Internet services in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, and globally through the B2B services delivered by Orange Business Services. This reputation has been reinforced in recent years through major pan-continental sponsorship deals such as the Euro 2012 and the Orange Africa Cup of Nations football tournaments. Orange Horizons aims to harness the untapped market potential within these “Orange influence zones” and translate it into business opportunities. The Group also enjoys considerable assets that will enable it to launch specific business projects outside its footprint without any need for significant investments.


Image courtesy of: France Telecom group/Jordan Telecom Group


ETISALAT, ALCATEL-LUCENT SIGN PHASE 6 AGREEMENT TO BOOST QUALITY OF SERVICE NIGERIA’s fastest growing and most innovative telecommunications company, Etisalat Nigeria, has signed another agreement with Alcatel-Lucent, the global leader in mobile, fixed, IP and optics technologies. This is the sixth phase of the agreement between the two companies, a working relationship that dates back to 2008 when Etisalat Nigeria entered into an agreement with Alcatel-Lucent for the provision of Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) services for the establishment of a Public Mobile Cellular Service in Nigeria for Region 2 of its network which comprises Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Kwara, Ondo, Ekiti, Edo, Kogi and Delta states. Chief Executive Officer of Etisalat Nigeria, Steven Evans, described the contract signing as a milestone towards the company’s drive to continually upgrade its network to provide better services to its customers around the country. “This is a significant milestone as we move into the next phase of our network roll-out. We plan to increase our cell sites by an additional 1,000 in 2013 and this agreement is towards achieving that target. We are happy to be partnering with Alcatel-Lucent, in fulfilment of our promise to continuously deliver quality and innovative services to our customers every step of the way,” he said. He explained that the agreement with Alcatel-Lucent is for the provision of equipment and services for the expansion of its network in those states. “This agreement being executed is for phase 6 of the project and it is for the further expansion and strengthening of the network in the region. Under this phase 6, Alcatel is to build additional sites and provide the necessary equipment and services for the integration of the sites into the Etisalat Nigeria network.” Amr El-Leithy, President of Alcatel-Lucent’s activities in the Middle East and Africa, Turkey and Azerbaijan, said: “This new agreement further strengthens our long-standing relationship with Etisalat covering numerous projects, and demonstrates their confidence in our ability to build, deliver and deploy end-to-end complex networks with strong local expertise and support capabilities. We are committed to supporting Etisalat’s growth in Nigeria and ensure world-class services for its customers, and we look forward to continuing our successful working relationship into the future. ” Network expansion and strengthening in Nigeria are important aspects that Etisalat is committed to. In September 2012, Etisalat Nigeria signed an agreement with Huawei for the supply of equipment and services for the expansion of its network throughout Nigeria.

TURN ANY TELEVISION INTO A SMART TV WITH THE CIDEKO SMART TV BOX FROM NOLOGY YOU can now turn any old or new television into an advanced smart TV with the Cideko Smart TV Box from Nology. This Android-based product enables users to access digital content via the Internet, enjoy online shopping, download movies and music and interact on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Users also have the choice of making use of a collection of pre-loaded local content, educational tools and resources developed locally, known as the Wise Experience. The Cideko Smart TV Box is plug-and-play ready, easy to set up and simple to use. It features a wireless, full QWERTY keyboard, which incorporates a gyroscope that turns the keyboard into a user-friendly pointing device to replace a mouse, enhancing the user experience. The device is connected to the HDMI or RCA port on the television (RCA cables are included, but not the HDMI cable) and connected to a router wirelessly, via an Ethernet cable, or a compatible 3G USB modem is plugged into the rear USB port, for instant access to the Internet. “Smart is the future of television, and the Cideko Smart TV box delivers smart TV functionality at a fraction of the cost,” says Ross Griffiths, Product Manager at Nology. “Not only is it great for creating a home entertainment centre, but the Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) Operating System (OS) also allows users to download apps such as DropBox, Facebook and Twitter, as well as popular games like Angry Birds from the Android App Store. “Furthermore, the Wise Experience adds significant value. Online shopping and business tools enable users to buy air tickets, groceries and more through a variety of local partners, while classroom learning tools assist children with their schoolwork. The Smart TV Box is so powerful it can even be used as a mini-computer in the home. This means there is no need to buy additional PCs for children to do their homework on, surf the Internet and download content.” A user-friendly homepage screen with clock and weather widgets lets users easily access the features of the Cideko Smart TV Box, including the media player for sharing and playback of content, the Wise Experience, the Internet Browser and YouTube. Content can be streamed wirelessly from notebooks, smartphones or any other Wi-Fi enabled device for the ultimate in connected home content sharing. Three USB ports and an SD card reader let users display music, videos and photographs from memory sticks, external hard drives or SD cards for instant sharing. “The Cideko Smart TV Box turns your TV into a family entertainment hub, bringing the smart TV experience within reach of a wider audience, connecting more people and helping to bridge South Africa’s digital divide,” said Griffiths. Issue 27 AFRICA TELECOMS 13

MTN UGANDA PLANS TO DEPLOY LTE IN UGANDA, A FIRST IN EAST AFRICA MTN Uganda plans to deploy Long-Term Evolution (LTE) network in Uganda during Q2 2013, which will make it the first to offer this technology in East Africa. Popularly known as 4G, LTE is a standard for wireless communication of high-speed data for mobile phones and data terminals. A 4G system provides mobile ultra-broadband Internet access. MTN Uganda announced the network infrastructure upgrade plan to provide its customers with world-class data access and speed of up to 100Mbps. With the upgraded data speed, an MTN data customer will enjoy faster access to the Internet and superior quality live streaming and video chatting, to mention a few benefits. MTN, the country’s largest mobile provider by subscriber numbers, will roll out the 4G network in the coming months, according the company. Over the last two years, MTN Uganda has made major investments in the country, launching the first mobile money service there with tremendous success, introducing 3G+, expanding its distribution footprint, and greatly enhancing the core, radio capacity and infrastructure technology. Furthermore, it extended its fibre network by laying optical fibre and built regional switching centres in the north, east, west and central regions. In 2013 alone, MTN Uganda plans to invest US$70 million, added to another US$80 million spent in 2012. This investment has been mainly in expanding the network infrastructure to support the mobile subscriber growth, as well as roll out innovative products and digital solutions. 14 AFRICA TELECOMS Issue 27

“MTN remains committed to the development of the ICT sector and the Ugandan economy,” says Mazen Mroué, MTN Uganda Chief Executive Officer. “LTE becomes the new standard determining the level of technology development and offering substantially faster data speed than other technologies.” The rise of MTN 3G+ has given more than a million Ugandans Internet access for the first time with widest network coverage, a wide range of devices and affordable tariffs. In terms of network infrastructure, MTN Uganda has deployed close to 2,800km of fibre backbones achieved with multiple layers and rings to protect customer experience across all national regions and provide dedicated business solutions to SMEs and corporate enterprises. Over the last six months, MTN Uganda has rolled out 81 new base transmission sites to new coverage areas while commissioning another batch of capacity sites to enhance the quality of network services. MTN had a total of 1 100 sites at the end of 2012. Says Rami Farah, MTN Uganda Chief Technical Officer: “The continuous CAPEX investment by MTN is aimed at providing our customers with the best possible user experience across the country. “We would like to ensure consistently reliable network quality for all existing customers and also to enable many more new subscribers to enjoy the Mobile Technology.” Over the last few years, MTN has also made backhaul links expansion and enhancements to the Mombasa submarine cables (EASSY and TEAMS), which has enabled connectivity with the rest of the world, while providing better connectivity and high level redundancy for voice and data services.

LENOVO SMARTPHONE PUSHES DESIGN BOUNDARIES THE K900, a premium smartphone with a super-slim profile billed to be the slimmest in its class and whose look and feel make it a must-have top-end device, is the latest flagship smartphone to be launched by Lenovo. Punted as “a unique blend of design and performance”, the K900 sports a 5.5” IPS screen, one of the best camera arrays available in class and a super slim 6.9mm profile, all running on an Intel Atom processor. “With the K900, our team has broken down the key functions of the smartphone and redesigned them from the ground up,” said Liu Jun, President, Mobile Internet Digital Home, and Senior Vice President, Lenovo. “Rather than focus on specifications that look good on a data sheet, we’ve zeroed in on what consumers want and proved that for smartphone users, top performance doesn’t require a thick profile. The K900 is a gamechanger that looks as good as it performs.” As smartphones have become ubiquitous, customer demands on “top-of-the-line” devices have increased, with design and usability growing in importance. The K900 resets the bar on these aspects. At 6.9mm, the K900 is the thinnest phone in its class by a wide margin and weighs in at a mere 162g (5.7 ounces), making it a device that unobtrusively slips into a jacket pocket or handbag. Made from a composite of stainless steel alloy and polycarbonate in a Unibody mold, the K900 manages to stay strong and look sharp while maintaining its slim profile. The material alone is not the only aspect that has allowed Lenovo to achieve a design milestone with the K900. The rear camera array is optimised for size with a new sensor and layout that does not protrude from the case, leaving a clean, smooth rear face that doesn’t snag on clothing. The design team tweaked the PCB and battery layout to reduce the space used by internal components. And the K900 is topped off by a unique “stripe” ID language that reinforces the thin body and integrates the external components.

While the K900 is certainly sleek, it does not ignore the emerging trend toward larger and clearer displays on smartphones. The K900 is one of the first smartphones in the world to combine a 5.5” IPS display with 1080p full high-definition resolution performance at 400+ pixels per inch, all under the latest, touch-capacitive Gorilla Glass 2. This gives the K900 supreme clarity and crispness along with plenty of space to capture the nuances of high-definition photos and video, as well as for viewing standard-size web pages. The K900 does not skimp on performance. Centred on the forthcoming Intel Atom processor platform for smartphones, it is highly responsive, especially for key functions such as web-browsing and application-loading. Although Intel has yet to release complete specifications for the new chipset, Lenovo has maximised the opportunity to be the first to market with the new generation platform. The K900’s camera stands out as one of the smartphone’s most distinguishing features. As with other functions on the K900, Lenovo has overhauled the camera completely, and delivered a package greater than the sum of its parts. Megapixels is the first specification that users recognise for digital cameras, and with 13MP, the K900 ranks at the top of its class in this respect and combines this with an industry-leading, Sony Exmor BSI sensor for what would already be considered outstanding performance. With the K900, though, the Lenovo engineering team has gone even further. Recognising that customers often need to take clear, flashless photos in low light, Lenovo has equipped the K900 with an F1.8 focal length lens, making it the first smartphone to offer such a wide aperture on its camera. Combined with its other specifications, the K900 is now a legitimate stand-in for a digital camera in a smartphone. In addition to these improvements to the rear camera, the front camera has also been widened to an 88° viewing angle, the widest available on a smartphone front camera for convenient self-photos and video calls.


Western Digital My Book Live Duo 4TB RATING: HHHH PRICE: From R3 599 NEED TO KNOW: • • • •

Built-in 800MHz CPU 4TB or 6TB storage facilities RAID technology Personal Cloud Access

Why bother with dual drive storage solutions? Simple, thanks to RAID1 technology you can finally backup your files without freaking out about any possible drive failure due to one of those pesky rolling blackouts. For automatic backup, Windows die-hards can use the included WD SmartWare software and Mac junkies can utilise all the features of Apple Time Machine backup software. Plug and play capabilities with many Smart TV units and personal cloud access make this dual-drive a rocking unit for anyone with massive multimedia libraries. The real kicker is that you no longer need to mess with your router settings to stream your multimedia content behind a firewall to your mobile devices anywhere in the world! Toss gigabit transfer speeds, a USB port for expandable internal storage and passive “no white noise” cooling into the mix and you’ve pretty much got wireless storage perfection.

Huawei MediaPad 8Gb RATING: HH PRICE: R4 800 NEED TO KNOW: • • • • •

IPS LCD capacitive touch screen 256K colours 8GB storage 1GB RAM Dual-core 1.2 GHz

Decent processing power, full HD playback with crisp image quality. It’s light, yet feels solid. It boasts stereo sound … so how come this entry level Android tablet from Chinese mobile-makers Huawei is so underwhelming? 32GB of maximum storage space, a dodgy PC interface, a six-hour battery life and no USB charging don’t quite provide enough bang for your buck as do other 7” tablets. 16 AFRICA TELECOMS Issue 27


Nokia Wireless Charging Pillow by Fatboy RATING: HHHH PRICE: TBC NEED TO KNOW: • Wireless-charging standard QI (WPC) • 12V output • Made from eco-friendly, recyclable materials Cluttered cables driving you insane? Try wirelessly charging your Nokia mobile phone (available during this year). It doesn’t get easier than giving your mobile phone a power nap. Put it on the pillow and it charges. Comes standard on the Lumia 920; add-on covers can be purchased for other devices in the range.

Nokia Lumina 920 RATING: HHHHH PRICE: R7 999 NEED TO KNOW: • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Retro-style handsfree kit 4.5” ClearBlack, IPS TFT capacitive touch screen 16M colours 8.7MP PureView (8MP effective, 3264 x 2448 pixels) Carl Zeiss optics Optical image stabilisation Autofocus Dual-LED flash 32GB storage 1GB RAM Dual-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon Krait processor Microsoft Windows Phone 8 LTE-enabled Wireless Charging Standard Qi (WPC)

Loved the Lumia 900’s ability to perform superbly in direct sunlight, it’s Microsoft Office Suite and Nokia Music access? Well, the 920 is even better, with the good folks at Nokia cramming their latest unibody device with loads more features. The 4.5-inch ClearBlack screen once again allows you to sidestep direct sunlight blind spots. Toss an 8.7MP camera with Carl Zeiss optics and PureView technology into the mix and you’ve got some serious point-and-shoot bang for your buck. Pick of the onboard app packs is City Lens, an augmented reality app that makes your next night out a breeze with camera views of nearby watering holes, nightclubs, restaurants and hotels. Another nifty addition is a kids’ corner that is ring-fenced from the rest of the device, giving your teenagers access to only what you sanction. There’s also a group discussion area where you can pool your pics, docs and thoughts. And let’s not forget the music. Nokia Music’s free streaming service and the ability to buy your favourite tracks makes this a rocking offering. Nokia really does have it all musically – and now so much more with this device. Available in quality polycarbonate and a variety of colours (yellow, red, black, grey and white). Issue 27 AFRICA TELECOMS 17

Photo Punch

Realtime Wine


SK PLANET CO, LTD – IOS & ANDROID Not violent at all, but simply a cool photo-editing tool. Ever wanted to drop a pic of your friend’s head onto a pig? Well, now you can with this cool little app that literally “punches” out a portion of a picture to allow you to drop and position it onto another. This app has endless opportunities to create havoc sending Meme-type images of your friends and family. But be warned: it can be addictive and incredibly time-wasting, as you will find any excuse to drop someone’s face onto the rear end of a bus or cow!

INAPP SA – IOS & ANDROID This locally developed app hits the nail on the head for us South Africans who enjoy a good bottle of wine. Share your reviews, earn awards, follow people, share your thoughts, get access to special wine deals that are really the best that South Africa has to offer and see which wines are trending. If you agree, share a review; if you don’t, post your own. Can you say all you want to say about your last bottle of wine in 140 characters? Try it!

SUMMLY LIMITED – IOS This app has been causing a lot of interest with the likes of Hosain Rahman of Jawbone, Brian Chesky of Airbnb, Mark Pincus of Zynga and Spencer Hyman of all counted as investors. Founder Nick D’Aloisio, who is only 17, has created an algorithm that reduces news-stories size to three paragraphs, summarising the stories, hence Summly. But the navigation is tedious at best and certainly needs work. If the UI is reworked and navigation made easier, this could be the Angry Birds of the news space. So watch out for future editions.





Capdase Bluetooth Keyboard for iPad RATING: HHH PRICE: R6 999 NEED TO KNOW: • • • •

Compact and lightweight QWERTY keyboard Bluetooth connection to iPad Carry case and stand

Is anyone really hooked on typing on their tablet? If you’re nodding, then this

Bluetooth keypad is a useful add-on to your iPad. Simple Bluetooth connectivity allows for easy plug ‘n play pairing. Designed specifically for iPad, the shortcut keys are found on the top row, allowing you to navigate to the home screen, browser and even lock your screen from the keyboard. The leatherette carry case doubles as an adjustable iPad stand mountable in landscape or portrait. On the downside, the device can only be charged via USB from a laptop and not from the mains. So how come those status lights don’t carry any indication of the charge left?

House of Marley Stir It Up Harvest RATING: HHHH PRICE: R1 699 NEED TO KNOW: • • • •

Ultra-soft ear cushions HD 40mm drivers Earth-friendly materials Gold-plated connectors

These superb over-ear headphones are certainly taking it to the bigname manufacturers. Boasting quality finishes and some genuinely earth-friendly manufacturing materials and processes, these little units are at the top of their game and worthy of the Marley name. 18 AFRICA TELECOMS Issue 27


Ster-Kinekor HHHH

DEVELOPER: PREZENCE DIGITAL – ANDROID, IOS, SYMBIAN, BLACKBERRY AND MEEGO Movie maniac? Book your favourite shows on the go through your mobile phone or tablet. Granted, the Meego and Symbian versions are simply smooth versions of the mobi-site, but they are still good. For the full app experience, use the Android, iOS or BlackBerry versions. Windows Phone functionality is currently absent, but it’s coming soon. Whether you’re a rom-com freak or a vampire action junkie, this award-winning app is for you.

Rolling Stone South Africa DEVELOPER: SNAPPLIFY – ANDROID AND IOS Bra Hugh Masekela’s “Wild Years” or “One Nation Under Zahara’s Groove”? “Beer and Self-loathing with the Great Apes”, or “On the Frontline of Rock’s Apocalypse” with the BLK JKS? Yep, you can now read the best RS features using iOS or Android devices; the full editorial catalogue of magazines; and access to all your favourite content since the launch in December 2011 – it’s a movable feast.

FNB Banking App HHHH

DEVELOPER: FNB – ANDROID, IOS, SYMBIAN AND BLACKBERRY The first banking app to launch globally has become the standard in South Africa. Other banks are now playing a catch-up game with this platform that is slick and secure. You need to link your device using your online banking login and OTP (SMS notification) to ensure the device is secure, but then it’s a breeze buying electricity, prepaid airtime and more while you’re on the go.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 RATING: HHHH PRICE: R7 999 NEED TO KNOW: • • • • • • • • • •

5.5” Super AMOLED capacitive touch screen 16M colours 8MP, 3264 x 2448 pixels Autofocus LED flash 32GB storage 2GB RAM Exynos quad-core 1.6GHz processor Android 4.1.1 (Jelly Bean) LTE-enabled

“Phablet”? Uh-huh. Size always matters when it comes to mobile, right? So how does a whopping 5.5” screen grab you? Chill. The Galaxy Note 2 will fit in your jeans pocket, as long as you’re not wearing skinnies. The Note 2 is packed with the power performance of a quad-core processor that could easily launch Neil Armstrong to the moon. Actually, the processor is around 16 times faster than those used for the moon landing. Samsung took a bet on consumers wanting the use of a stylus for the mobile phones. Judging by global sales of the first-generation Note and now the Note 2, they were right. Using the Android calendar is great, but the handiness of being able to write, yes actually write, using the stylus over the calendar like a print version is brilliant. You can also employ the stylus to preview pictures, calendar and video scrolling, and the ability to “cut” out a piece of the screen and use it in a document is pretty “phab”. Jelly Bean is also a large improvement on its Ice Cream Sandwich predecessor and the TouchWiz UI again is a winner. Any cons, then? Well, the sound quality out of the rear speaker is rather tinny and a bit thin. But this can be remedied with an external speaker or headset. Issue 27 AFRICA TELECOMS 19

JBL OnBeat aWake RATING: HHHHH PRICE: R1 899 NEED TO KNOW: • • • •

Bluetooth-enabled Aux In HARMAN Truestream™ iPad/iPhone docking

Not all Bluetooth speakers are created equal, and with the HARMAN Truestream™, this small but powerful unit certainly stands head and shoulders above its competition. The kicker? The JBL AmpUp™ app allows the device to receive “wake up” instructions so you can set it up as an alarm clock.

Survivor Military Duty Cover for iPad RATING: HHHH PRICE: R899 NEED TO KNOW: • Independently tested and certified to meet conditions outlined in U.S. Department of Defence MIL-STD-810 • Multi-position stand This hardcore protection for the iPad and iPad 2 is certainly going to keep your device protected – to military standards, no less. Sure, it may not be a sleek and designer-friendly case, but if you are hard on your devices and work out in the field, this one’s for you.


MOBILE SUBSCRIPTIONS IN AFRICA, 2009-2016 Informa Telecoms & Media 2010 - Africa is estimated to have around 761 million connections across the continent by the end of 2012. - 17.5% increase in subscribers (year on year). This represents a higher rate than any other major region globally (world average of 10.75%) over the same period. - The number of connections is expected to jump to 1.13 billion by the end of 2017. - The rate of mobile penetration in Africa at the end of September was 67.55%, the lowest rate among major world regions and well below the world average of 91%.

















MOBILE SUBSCRIPTIONS BY REGION, 2012 Ericsson (November 2012) Global mobile subscriptions: 6.4 billion (Quarter 3, 2012) Africa mobile subscriptions: 724 million (Quarter 3, 2012) Africa Net Additions: 25 million (Quarter 3, 2012) Percentage of African mobile subscribers to global mobile subscribers: 11%

















268 528




534 724

913 1100





MOBILE SUBSCRIPTIONS IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA, 2009-2016 GSMA / Deloitte Sub-Saharan Africa Mobile Observatory 2012 Over the past decade, sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), a region formed by 47 diverse countries with a combined population of over 830 million, has experienced significant economic growth. The region includes seven of the 10 fastest-growing economies in the world. - Mobile penetration has increased from 1% in 2000 to 54% in 2012 - Representing a compound annual growth rate of over 36%, or 454 million connections in SSA (Wireless Intelligence). - Reaching 75% of the population and 700 million connections in 2016. - Only 12.3 million fixed lines in SSA in 2010 (ITU). - Since 2000, mobile connections in SSA has grown by 44%, compared to 10% for developed regions.









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Profiles: Jonathan Hoehler is the manager for Mobile Technologies at Deloitte Digital in South Africa as well as an active committee member of Mobile Monday South Africa. Andrew McHenry has 20 years’ experience in the Information Technology industry, spanning software, hardware and custom application development. He is currently consulting in the Social, Location and Mobile (SoLoMo) sectors covering all OSs, all devices, hardware, software and solutions with a focus on Africa. Issue 27 AFRICA TELECOMS 23





George Ferreira, Chief Operating Officer and Vice President of Samsung Electronics Africa, sets out his vision for the next few years in an interview with Steven Ambrose

Africa is a continent of contrasts. It has great natural beauty and bountiful mineral wealth, and along with this are pockets of massive poverty as well as many infrastructure and other challenges. Technology, specifically mobile technology, is now helping to transform the continent, and should help to alleviate some of the challenges facing Africa. Technology is also assisting in furthering economic growth across the continent and creating prosperity for all of Africa’s citizens. While there are many technology companies operating in Africa, one touches most of our lives almost every day, and with a huge spread of technologies, from light bulbs to mobile phones. That company is Samsung, which has ambitious plans for Africa. Ferreira, who joined Samsung in 2010, pointed out that Samsung had grown rapidly in the past few years and was doubling its business every two years in Africa. Along with this tremendous growth comes a clear strategy for Samsung to become the number one industry player on the continent. The key drivers of Samsung’s strategy is the Built for Africa campaign, which is not just a product-specific initiative, but includes research and development into specific African needs. Another critical leg of the Samsung Africa strategy is devices and allied products, including on device services, such as music. Another area of focus will be core mobile infrastructure, with LTE and fourthgeneration data-based technologies leading the way forward.

The Built for Africa devices launched last year ... The key product areas will be TV, air-conditioning and appliances, but the mobile consumer will also have unique products that take Africa-specific needs into account. Issue 27 AFRICA TELECOMS 25

Music remains close to the heart of many consumers globally, and is one of the key mobile services on offer from ecosystem and device providers.



Ferreira is clear on the specific needs of African consumers. He maintains that we are increasingly becoming globalised, and with a burgeoning African middle class, we are demanding products and services that mirror our counterparts in other parts of the more developed world. Despite this demand, Samsung discovered through consumer feedback that there were specific needs and requirements that were fairly unique to Africa. The main areas where this was reflected were in the environment – with dust and heat being key issues – and infrastructure, with the stability and consistency of the electrical supply causing major issues for product supplied by Samsung and many other brands. These challenges led to the specifically-named Built for Africa campaign from Samsung. Rather than create brand-new Africa-specific product, Samsung engineers modified existing ranges in order to cater for the various environmental and electrical requirements. The Built for Africa devices launched last year at the Samsung Africa forum have proved very successful, according to Ferreira, and the initial success will pave the way for more products with this specific Africa focus. The key product areas will be TV, airconditioning and appliances, but the mobile consumer will also have unique products that take Africa-specific needs into account.

Samsung had achieved global success on the back of the now dominant Android operating system. Despite, or perhaps in spite of, this success, Samsung intends to pursue a two-tier approach across a diverse range of operating systems. Samsung also has a much more nuanced approach to Africa, realising that one size may not fit all requirements. Ferreira acknowledges that their latest offerings, with the new Windows 8 operating system, may currently be focused on the higher end, though lower-price entry-level Windows 8 mobile devices are already in the planning stage. Samsung intends to pursue a multi-faceted strategy with Android and its own BADA-operating-system-based devices, which will be targeted at the lower end of the market. With the Microsoft Windows 8 and high-end Android product powering their tablet and slate business, Samsung fully intends to also stay in the high end market in Africa with their flagship smartphones such as the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note II. The lower end of the market will be addressed via the Galaxy Pocket and BADA-based smart devices that address the specific need of consumers in Africa for lower-cost yet fully-functioning smart devices.

THE AFRICA CONSUMER IS BECOMING A GLOBAL CONSUMER Ferreira believes that the billion inhabitants of Africa want to be part of the global shift to technology and sees the average African consumer going directly to mobile devices to achieve this. A small minority of consumers in Africa traditionally felt that they needed a laptop or desktop to connect to the world, but those days are now firmly over. Smartphones have radically changed the perception that you need a computer to connect, because you can now connect via your smart device, be that primarily a smartphone or, increasingly, a tablet device. Ferreira predicts that there is huge growth potential in low-cost smart devices throughout Africa. The cost of smart devices is dropping and Ferreira sees 2013 as the tipping point in this regard. He also feels that “full touch” will dominate, mainly due to the efforts of both Apple with the iPhone and Samsung with their Galaxy range of devices. Ferreira maintains that consumers are getting more comfortable with “full touch”, and lower-priced “full touch” devices are improving and becoming more ubiquitous. Samsung’s device strategy is to cover the whole gamut of entrylevel smart phones with full-touch capability, all the way to tabletstyle full-computing devices such as the Ativ Windows 8-based tablets, which are full-function slate computers. 26 AFRICA TELECOMS Issue 27

OVER-THE-TOP SERVICES AND SAMSUNG’S ROLE Music remains close to the heart of many consumers globally, and is one of the key mobile services on offer from ecosystem and device providers such as Nokia, Apple and others. Ferreira is convinced that Africa is no different in this regard, and Samsung is increasingly finding this area key to its continued growth and success. Ferreira points out that the Readers Hub, Game Hub and Video Hub are already active on Samsung devices in many parts of Africa, and promised that 2013 would bring new services and greater functionality to these hubs. A fully-fledged music streaming service to be launched in March is designed to take on the other players in the music game, and offers Samsung users another good reason to stay with or move to their mobile platforms. Samsung is working closely with the various mobile networks and content providers in order to offer an enhanced level of service as well as consistency of experience no matter the access platform across all markets. As bandwidth and speeds vary greatly across the continent, Samsung is careful to ensure a consistent userexperience across their various media platforms. Ferreira insisted that satisfying Samsung’s users with a consistent experience, no matter where content is accessed, is key. In order to ensure this consistency, major work is being done with operators and service providers across the continent.


Africa environment, with this area being one offering Samsung great opportunity for growth in the next few years.


Although Ferreira still describes Samsung as “primarily a manufacturer of consumer-facing product”, he acknowledges that services and over-the-top products are critical to Samsung’s success in the Africa market. Collaboration with various partners is critical and Samsung is continuously investigating local conditions, optimising these with partners to ensure the consumer is best served with the content and service they desire. Ferreira sees over-the-top and value-added services as an integral component of the Samsung device and service ecosystem. Samsung has created a specific team to deal directly and exclusively with mobile operators in Africa on devices and services. Their mandate will be to ensure the smooth operation of all Samsung devices on the various operators’ networks. Ferreira sees the mobile operators throughout Africa as being on the cutting edge of technology delivery. He reiterated that the development of technology in Africa is a combined effort with the various governments, as well as with close collaboration between Samsung and mobile operators. Samsung’s mission is to ensure these mobile-led Africa partnerships will produce the most relevant devices and services that address the specific needs of each country, and groupings of languages in Africa.

LTE AND 4G WILL BE THE NEXT FRONTIER Ferreira emphatically confirmed the need for Africa to move into the next generation of mobile technology from an infrastructure perspective. He noted Samsung as the clear leader in Wimax and LTE technologies in South Korea. He and his team aim to bring this expertise and experience to Africa and the company is currently in discussion with many of the tier-one Africa and global operators playing various roles on the continent. Ferreira confirmed that the infrastructure market was a heavily competitive one, dominated by the traditional players such as Ericsson and Nokia Siemens networks, along with the major Chinese players Huawei and ZTE. He believes that Samsung can be competitive, and will be able to deliver a unique combination of device and infrastructure know-how specifically relevant to the

More than simply devices, consumers in Africa want an ecosystem that is both simple to use, yet very sophisticated, according to Ferreira. “Consumers want their devices to be simple to operate and to connect to other devices seamlessly and simply,” he says. Consequently, an example is that Samsung wishes to offer an ecosystem that will allow all devices to be controlled from the smartphone, allowing the user to switch on the air conditioner remotely, or programme the washing machine from the office. The primary driving factor for all these technologies is ease of use. Consumers want to connect from any device from any place, and also want these devices to connect with maximum simplicity and no fuss. The solution Samsung offers is based on its AllShare platform. This technology platform will continue to be developed in order to allow the full ecosystem of Samsung devices to communicate with each other, be it from tablet to smartphone, to the washing machine and any other Samsung household appliance or gadget. In this way, Samsung is hoping to make life easier and far more connected for users.

SMARTPHONES WILL DOMINATE Ferreira is convinced that the market will swing heavily towards full touchscreen smart devices in the next few years, with a projection of over 100 million mobile devices being sold in Africa in 2013. He believes that more than 50% of these will be smart devices, and Samsung intends to take the lion’s share of this exploding market. The company’s combination of Africa market understanding, underpinned by its Built for Africa initiative, along with excellent partnerships with all global and local operators in Africa, is aimed at making Samsung the leading supplier of smart devices in Africa for the foreseeable future. Ferreira predicts that the average Africa mobile user would move rapidly from basic phones and feature phones to smart devices. This move is currently underway, but would pick up massive momentum in 2013 and 2014. Apart from simply supplying devices, Samsung also plans to ensure that all the associated data-based services are in place, and is convinced that the various operators would be ready to take advantage of the huge growth in the number of connected consumers. AT

More than simply devices, consumers in Africa want an ecosystem that is both simple to use, yet very sophisticated.


CES 2013


CES 2013


We attended the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in January, and saw the innovative tech – both concepts and products – that will be released this year. Here are some of the headline-grabbing gadgets vying for attention, as we take a look at the new direction the industry is set to take. Christo van Gemert


Panasonic’s Mr. Kazuhiro Tsuga delivers the opening keynote at the 2013 International CES.

The frenzied media day, ahead of the show’s official opening to other attendees, is where many companies choose to highlight the year’s upcoming products. That’s been the tradition in the past, and so it was this year. Netgear showed off its upcoming networking products. Panasonic, LG and Samsung highlighted their new smart TVs. Accessory maker Monster proved that it could make headphones without help from rapper Dr. Dre. And Sony was in top form as it presented a cohesive message of its vision for the future – not only for itself, but for the industry. And the future, Sony points out to us, is now. Last year’s CES was dominated by 3D everything, from TVs and projects, to phones and tablets. This year, things were back to normal and 3D was just a footnote on the spec sheets for TVs. Instead, the focus was on the recentlyratified Ultra HD standard, also known as 4K. Boasting four times the number of pixels as regular HD, TVs based on the new standard will have supremely crisp images, even when viewed from just 60cm away. One impressive demo at the Sony booth showed its largest previous-generation TV next to its current flagship, the XBR900 84” 4K TV. Both models had the same newspaper broadsheet on display, and the finer pixel density on the 4K TV made it as easy to read as a Post-it, while the picture on the regular HDTV was a coarse mess. Sony’s 84” model is nothing new, though. It went on sale late last year – for a king’s ransom, we might add – and was joined on store shelves by LG’s TV with very similar specifications. At CES, Samsung took the opportunity to steal their thunder by announcing an


85” 4K TV, while American brand Westinghouse even showed off a prototype 4K TV that measured 110” diagonally. While these extremely large models are great halo products, they are not within reach for most people. To remedy that, Sony was the only company that announced a range of smaller 4K models, with 55” and 65” Bravias slated to go on sale later this year. The only smaller 4K screen shown off at the show was not even a TV. Sharp Electronics demoed a large format tablet at its stand, boasting a 20” 4K display. Overkill? Maybe, but for Sharp’s intended target market – graphics professionals like designers and architects – the relatively compact ultra-high-def display would be a superb tool. With Sony preaching at its keynote address that 4K is the future, and the future is now. But really, the future is OLED (organic lightemitting diode). Currently all TVs, even those fancy 4K models, are based on LCD technology. Granted, it’s cutting-edge glass being used for the panels in these high-resolution displays, but the inherent downfalls of LCD, even when paired with rapidly evolving LED backlighting, means there are still insurmountable problems. The major limitation is light bleed, thanks to the backlit nature of the technology, and the best new technology is actually one that’s five years old. OLED is the real future of display technology. It’s been used for some time now in mobile displays, and professional-grade displays. Last year, LG previewed a 55” OLED HDTV just 5mm thick, and that model showed up again this year. Joining it was another 55” model from Samsung. Both Korean companies promised that their respective OLED HDTVs would go on sale this year, and LG’s model even has a



Sony was the first to announce a phone at CES, stopping the presses with its Xperia Zs.

tentative price. You can have one for just US$12,000 – nearly 10 times the asking price for a decent 55” LED-backlit TV. The problem, though, is that both of those are HDTVs. Surely 4K OLEDs would make more sense? Panasonic and Sony agree, which is why both companies announced working models of their 4K OLED TVs at this year’s show. Sony even went as far as showing off a working prototype of its 56” 4K OLED, proving that it can also play the one-inch one-upmanship game, while throwing in 4K for good measure. Even next to Sony’s own flagship 4K TVs, the OLED model proves its superiority. Colours are phenomenally accurate, refresh rates are otherworldly and blacks are pure. Since every OLED (all four million of them on a 4K TV) is its own light source, you get contrast that is simply not possible with LCD technology. The message of higher pixel density and bigger displays wasn’t just for the lounge, though. Sony was the first to announce a phone at CES, stopping the presses with its Xperia Z, which boasts a quad-core processor, a 5” full HD display, 13-megapixel camera, and more. Chinese handset manufacturers like ZTE and Oppo also unveiled phones with similar displays. That said, phone launches at CES are more a curiosity than commonplace occurrence, since the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona at the end of February is where mobile phones are usually announced. Strategically, though, others will now be playing catch-up while these early birds get the proverbial worm. Even without many new handset announcements, the mobile market was a hot topic. The majority of the year’s new phones might only be shown off in March, but CES served as the launch platform for the technology that will drive those devices. Four new mobile platforms were announced in Las Vegas, all from very big names, and

each with very big stakes in the market. Intel showed off both a nextgeneration quad-core mobile system-on-a-chip codenamed Bay Trail, as well as an improved Atom processor for entry-level phones in Africa, Asia and India. Though entry-level is relative, here the 1.2GHz chip is said to support 1080P video, 5-megapixel cameras and dual SIM cards. Being Intel, there were also reference designs that it had concocted to show the world the nature of its vision, and to serve as a gentle push in the right direction for device manufacturers. NVIDIA also announced the fourth iteration of its popular Tegra system-on-a-chip. The new chipset adopts an odd 4-plus-1 core scheme, where the regular powerhouse is a quad-core chip that delivers six times the performance of its predecessor; and then there’s a fifth, standalone core that can stand in for less demanding tasks. This allows the system to save power when major processing work isn’t required. NVIDIA has also included a programmable software LTE modem. Phones or tablets that use this chip will support LTE at 100Mbit/s out of the box, but it can later be upgraded to support higher speeds, such as the upcoming LTE category 4 standard that runs at 150Mbit/s. To show off what Tegra 4 is capable of, NVIDIA pulled a surprise out of the bag, announcing the Project Shield handheld games console. The company is quite proud of its graphics technology, so what better than a gaming device to demonstrate its superiority in this area? Unlike other portable consoles that can fit in a pocket, Project Shield looks a bit more cumbersome. Admittedly it’s only a prototype now, so when it releases around June the final design should be something far more pocketable. Qualcomm took to the stage at the end of the media preview day, Issue 27 AFRICA TELECOMS 31

delivering the official pre-CES opening keynote address. There it unveiled its Snapdragon 800 mobile processor, the successor to the wildly popular Snapdragon S4. The new flagship part boasts twice the graphics power of its predecessor and is built on the Krait architecture. Speeds scale all the way to 2.3GHz, which Qualcomm demonstrated by playing an entire video sequence encoded at 4K resolution. While this doesn’t necessarily mean that we’ll see Snapdragon 800 phones that have 4K screens, it does provide a solid platform for phones that can output to 4K TVs, or 4K TVs that use Qualcomm’s latest and greatest. Finally, Samsung unveiled its Exynos 5 Octa processor. If it intended to grab headlines, this would do it: an eight-core mobile processor, based on ARM’s big.LITTLE architecture, designed to provide more performance while reducing both power consumption and the thermal envelope. The chipset consists of four ARM v7 cores, and then four ARM Cortex A15 cores – the slower, low-power v7 cores representing “little”, while the faster, power-hungry A15 cores are “big”. Graphics power comes from a PowerVR graphics chip, with slightly less computational power than the A6X chip in Apple’s fourthgeneration iPad. Based on a 28-nanometre lithography process, the entire Exynos 5 Octa chip is roughly 30% more power efficient than the previous generation. Faster mobile platforms are pointless if they’re just there for show. To get the best from these fast processors and high-definition displays we’ll need content, and that’s where innovative consumer electronics will drive demand for infrastructure and content platforms.


Sony announced its U.S.-market-only 4K video streaming service, so that those who buy one if its ultra-high-definition displays will at least have suitable content. Delivering that kind of content not only requires a beefy internet backbone, but also faster home network equipment. Sure, gigabit Ethernet has the throughput for it, but nobody wants to run wires through their house nowadays. To remedy that, networking companies like Netgear and D-Link showed off their new 802.11ac wireless networking equipment at CES – just the kind of back-end that modern homes will need for delivering streams of 4K video and other HD sources. The new networking standard offers throughput speeds as high as 1Gbit/s, and both companies also introduced new products that focus on delivering a better wireless experience. Most notably, Netgear has a plug-and-play wireless range extender. Simply plug it into a wall socket and pair it with your existing wireless network, and it’ll extend wireless coverage to former dead spots in the home. The firm has even done research to discover what these dead spots are in modern homes, with the top three being the garage, the back yard, and bedrooms. Netgear’s solution is dual-band, too – a huge plus, since congestion on the 2.4GHz spectrum is a common problem that will limit coverage and speed. In fact, it’s such a problem in the U.S. that the FCC, America’s wireless and communications regulatory body, has vowed to adopt measures for increasing spectrum and reducing interference. In countries like the United States, where wireless hotspots are quite common, this will go a long way to alleviating wireless congestion. However, the FCC’s regulations won’t affect other countries, where independent communications bodies have different rules.



Faster mobile platforms are pointless if they’re just there for show. To get the best from these fast processors and high-definition displays we’ll need content.

That means its proposal won’t be a catalyst for new technologies to be developed just yet – something that would be more beneficial to other countries. But where the FCC leads, others might follow: it will be easy to implement revised wireless specifications and congestion countermeasures in developing countries where there is not a lot of wireless traffic at the moment. That way, by the time we get HD and 4K video streaming services, the technology will already be ready, without major modifications needed to accommodate it. The market for accessories is also thriving, as shown off by the exhibitors in the northern halls of CES. Here, accessory-makers put on display wares ranging from portable battery packs and solar chargers, to protective life-proof cases for smartphones and storage solutions for technology. Case manufacturers were proudly showing off all sorts of protective designs aimed at people who lead rugged lifestyles. One company aptly named LifeProof showed off the latest version of its eponymous case designed for the iPhone 5. Without adding too much bulk, the protective enclosure makes your phone waterproof and drop-proof. There’s even a LifeJacket attachment designed to work with the case. A company rep rightly points out that while the case itself is waterproof, your phone can still sink. The LifeJacket, bright orange in colour, slips over the LifeProof case and lets it float in water. The foam slip-on also adds another degree of padding for drop protection. And, given the runaway popularity of Samsung’s Galaxy SIII, the LifeProof case will soon also be available for that device. Griffin, the company manufacturing many Apple-oriented accessories, also announced a new water- and drop-proof case. Called the Survivor + Catalyst, it’s designed to spend up to half an

hour in three metres of water. A visible O-ring in the assembly also lets you know that the enclosure is sealed properly, giving extra peace of mind. The headphone jack is compatible with third-party underwater headphones, so you can still listen to music while surfing, though scuba diving is probably out of the question. Personalisation was also a hot topic. Phone cases with Swarovski crystals, leather finishes or mother of pearl insets featured at Case Mate. Also on its shelves were designer cases featuring art works by prominent artists. Here, too, Samsung’s popular SIII received attention, with a number of designs also being produced for that phone. Another interesting phone accessory – though Apple-specific – was from Olloclip, which already brings to market the Olloclip lens for the iPhone 4, and now the iPhone 5. It simply slips over the camera corner of Apple’s phone and provides three lens options (macro, wide angle and fish-eye). By the end of March, there will also be an iPhone case for Olloclip users, designed by the company itself. The reasoning is that existing cases aren’t compatible with the addon lens, so the company set about creating a protective case with a swiveling cover for the phone’s camera. Moved aside, it lets the Olloclip lens be attached without inhibiting operation. In fact, the swivelling cover even acts as a shutter button for the iPhone’s camera – a remarkable bit of ingenuity for something so simple. Bigger devices also received some accessory attention. If you use a tablet or laptop then there are a good number of add-ons arriving in the next few months that’ll make your life easier. Since these are usually kept in bigger bags, along with tons of other cables and devices, the focus seemed to be on keeping things organised. One company, Cocoon Innovations, has a laptop bag arriving that’ll Issue 27 AFRICA TELECOMS 33



CES didn’t have many breakthrough technologies from the big names; there was definitely some clever kit from the smaller guys.

provide all the benefits of a backpack in a slim design usually seen in messenger bags or brief cases. It has plush pockets to protect touch screens, and the cable management system is completely dynamic. It can even be used to hold phones, chargers, pens and other paraphernalia.Tylt showed off a smart backpack. Its Energi Backpack, named for its range of Energi portable backup chargers, features a built-in 10 400mAh rechargeable battery. There are four USB ports on the power pack, and supplied cables are designed to work with the latest iPhone, older Apple products, and Android phones that use the micro USB jack. Four cables and a battery pack might sound messy but the compartmentalised design of the Energi backpack means there’s a separate pocket for each device, and the cable routing system lets you run cables in a way that won’t get them tangled up. The power pack is good for charging up to three devices at once, including tablets, which usually require a higher current draw. It’s also designed for travellers, with the entire pack splitting open to reveal the wiring, and allowing for easy removal of laptops at screening checkpoints in airports. One of the biggest sub-segments in the accessories market focuses on personal audio. This year’s show had a huge variety of products, for both personal listening and slightly less-than-personal listening. The former consists of headphones and earphones, both wired and wireless, while the latter was well represented by a huge range of Bluetooth wireless speakers, mostly designed for travel rather than entertaining at parties. One of the newcomers in this market is Australian startup Audiofly. With engineers who are also musicians, the company set out to provide high fidelity earphones – the kind you pop inside your ear, rather than wear on a headband – for portable music


players. Despite their small size these buds don’t sacrifice quality, and the products span a healthy price range: US$30 for an entrylevel set of Audiofly AF33 earphones, all the way to US$400 for the range-topping AF180 earphones. Another audio startup is California Headphone Company, which currently has two sets of high-end headphones on offer. Highquality materials, leather inserts and metal construction give them the show, but the large 50mm drivers give them the go. Uniquely, they’re designed to be linked up, and a regular MP3 player will be able to drive more than 10 sets of these high-end music makers. British audio experts Midbass also unveiled its entire range of personal audio products, from gaming to high-end headphones aimed at a younger crowd wanting a bit more boom for their buck. The company started out specialising in subwoofer enclosures for cars, so it has a fair bit of experience when it comes to bass. Another unique product came from Bēm wireless (pronounced “beam”). A trio of wireless speakers sits on a charging dock, which also doubles up as a bass wireless station. Mobile devices pair to the dock using Bluetooth, and it then relays the signal to the speakers, up to 30m away. The company claims that multiple wireless docks can be linked, allowing up to 99 speakers to play the same music. While the 2013 CES didn’t have many breakthrough technologies from the big names; there was definitely some clever kit from the smaller guys – the ones that eventually help devices from those big manufacturers perform even better. Sony’s keynote speech ended off with a video about its new philosophy: it wants people to say “wow” when using one of its new products. That’s exactly what we said about some of the offerings from startups. Perhaps not what Sony had in mind, but definitely its vision for the future. AT

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The empowerment of the man in the street ... will determine the behaviour of companies, governments and pretty much everyone else in the coming years.



Looking back on 2012, I think we can all agree that it was the best we could have hoped for. Especially if we consider how financially plagued 2011 was and how much legal wrangling and uninspiring technology was offered up. But, beyond offering us some relief from what has surely been some of the toughest days the technology industry has ever seen, 2012 was a year for change. We’d known it was coming for some time, but very little prepared us for the fact that 2012 would, in fact, be the year where everyday people (users and customers) would get in touch with the real strength they held in the market – and begin using it to get what they wanted. Harnessing the distance-destroying power of the Internet and its almost infinite potential for collaboration and self-organisation, 2012 was the year that the ordinary man in the street became the most important consideration in the industry. The evidence is everywhere you look today. From historic events like the Arab Spring to the ability for an

unknown musician from South Korea to become a worldwide singing and dancing success, the Internet and technology have become vital influences in literally every aspect of life. If that’s a little too philosophical for you, there’s a far more practical knock-on effect observable in that increasing numbers of employees are bringing their own technology to the workplace. The empowerment of the man in the street is an important place for us to start as we review 2012, since it will determine the behaviour of companies, governments and pretty much everyone else in the coming years if they want to make a success of their endeavours and, more importantly, survive. Social opinion and gaining the approval of the masses is no longer the difference between a moderate success and a massive one. It’s the difference between worldwide fame or worldwide notoriety. And it will define our era from here on out. So, with that in mind, let’s look at some of the technological areas where end-users flexed their muscles last year.


ANDROID IS ON STEROIDS We’ve all known that Android’s openness, accessibility and, more importantly, cost efficiency would lead to its dominance of the worldwide smartphone market. But nobody thought it would happen this fast. Android garnered a 72% market share in the third quarter of 2012 (up from 53% for the same period a year go), with device shipments numbering 122m units (more than double the shipments for the same quarter a year ago). In its wake, Apple’s iOS fell from 15% to 13.9% in the third quarter of 2011 and 2012 respectively, and Microsoft’s Windows Phone and Samsung’s Bada managed to increase their market share from 1.5% to 2.4% and from 2.2% to 3% respectively. Where to from here for Android? Surely the growth will slow down sometime? Well, from my vantage point, the answer is a firm “no”. Android is uniquely positioned to be everything to everyone – which, let’s face it, is only a bad thing if you get it wrong. And Android is getting it very, very right. The Google mobile operating system allows some vendors to produce handsets that are extremely cost effective and just powerful enough to get users at the lower end of the market onto the Internet. Because of its open source nature, it also allows vendors to produce heavily customised solutions that often fall outside the pure smartphone or tablet space (look at the Samsung Galaxy Camera, for example), thereby allowing the market to satisfy myriad needs. And lastly, it’s cutting edge, slightly tech-chic nature allows it to appeal to users at the higher end of the market. It’s a tough act to follow and one all competitors will struggle to compete with over the next several years.


LTE FAILS TO IMPRESS Gaining access to more bandwidth is generally not a bad thing. But, when that speed bump arrives in a geography where data speeds have been sub-par and the cost too high, all it ends up doing is throwing the spotlight on some of the glaring deficiencies that still exist. For end-users, LTE’s arrival has highlighted the fact that (despite there now being a mechanism to connect to the Internet at truly blazingly fast speeds) 3G and, in some cases, EDGE (and not even HSPA+) are still the most commonplace data bearers available. For network operators, LTE’s arrival has highlighted or, more realistically, reminded them of the harsh reality of what it’s like to operate in a market where spectrum is in such short supply and the powers that be are moving so slowly that key opportunities are being missed. Still, Africa has LTE now. And the knock-on effects will be felt, regardless of whether you have EDGE, 3G or HSPA+, or are lucky enough to have LTE coverage. Back-end and backhaul infrastructure will be upgraded now that LTE is here and that will mean better service for all users, regardless of what technology covers them. Now, if we could only solve that spectrum problem…

3D PRINTING COMES OF AGE Machines that extrude plastic from gigantic spools of raw material and lay it down in such a way that it creates a touchable, holdable and, in most cases, fully functional object can hardly be referred to as printers. Or as commonplace for that matter. But, earlier this year, when kits such as the Makerbot Replicator hit the mainstream and began selling for somewhere in the region of US$2,000 (including shipping), all of that changed. Suddenly it started becoming viable for companies to spring up with the sole purpose of designing (and not manufacturing) “things” from everyday objects like salt and pepper cellars or clothes hangers, to more specialised car parts or even (and this one has the world in uproar) firearms. Where this will lead to in coming years is anyone’s guess. But it sure is an interesting next step for e-commerce. Think about buying a pair of jeans from GAP online at a fraction of the cost you used to, but instead of paying the company for the physical garment, you’re paying a royalty to use the design in order to print your new trousers in the convenience of your home, cheaply and instantly. Think about the levelling effect of the Internet in the context of allowing small, unknown designers in unknown parts of the world to compete with the top fashion houses. In this day and age, having the capital and the knowhow to outsource manufacturing to the East is no longer a requirement for success. It sounds like a fun, disruptive era to live in, doesn’t it? I can hardly wait.

SAMSUNG BECOMES THE NEW DARLING When Samsung became embroiled in its legal battle with Apple, anyone with more than a few years’ experience in the technology industry would have said that Samsung would come off second-best in the court of public opinion. But, despite the outcome of the court case (Samsung is currently appealing its loss to Apple), the South Korean giant seems to be doing just fine. It recently announced the sale of its 100 millionth Galaxy S smartphone and was able to boast with a 23% market share in mobile phones during the third quarter of 2012, with close to 100m unit shipments. That’s more than four times the shipments its rival, Apple, garnered during the same period. And, although Apple remains the dominant player in the tablet game, Samsung owns the lion’s share of unit shipments in the Android space. Add Samsung’s recent push in the television space and traditional IT products (Windows 8 Ultrabooks, notebooks, all-in-ones and tablets) to the mix and it’s clear that, even excluding the areas where it doesn’t compete with Apple (air conditioners, fridges, etc), it’s still a formidable rival. And one the market is giving a ton of love at the moment. Samsung is making great products across all of its sectors and starting to represent something pretty important for its customers. For some, it’s the Android vendor that’s making products that stand out head and shoulders above the competition. For others, it’s the best alternative to Apple in a world where an increasing number of vocal, outspoken folks are boycotting Apple because of its closed business practices. In all likelihood, 2013 will be the year in which Samsung truly hits its stride. But it all began making sense in 2012.



WINDOWS 8’S VALUE IS OVERSOLD When Microsoft unpacked its vision for Windows 8 back in September 2011, it was all about providing a single operating system for desktops, notebooks, tablets and smartphones. To developers that meant they’d have the ability to build an application once and at the click of a button, deploy it in all those applications at the same time. It’s pretty compelling stuff – if only it were so. When the operating system shipped a couple of months ago, smartphones were curiously missing from the host of devices showed off to be running Windows 8. A few weeks later, Windows Phone 8 arrived – in a guise not that different to Windows Phone 7 and 7.5. Yes, technically speaking, Windows Phone 8 was indeed running the Windows 8 kernel. But developers have subsequently found that what they’ve been given and promised is a slightly different thing. When it comes to building applications, there’s a number of differences between software for the different “versions” of 8 and it’s turning out to be a ton more work than many thought it would be. Whether or not this impacts on the progress Microsoft makes with its new toy in the smartphone space over the next few years remains to be seen. If it impacts on Microsoft’s ability to get critical mass from an apps perspective, it will get punished in the market-share stakes. If it manages somehow to get a large number of decent applications into its store, all will be well for the company. Either way, it’s going to be an interesting one to watch. So what can we expect in 2013? Looking at what CES had to offer this year and what’s on the cards for Mobile World Congress, 2013 is not going to be a quiet year technology-wise. It does somehow feel like it will be quieter, with developments taking on the form of small, calculated incremental steps, as opposed to radical new thinking and bold new directions. Are we as an industry growing up? It certainly looks that way. Is that a good thing? Well, that depends entirely on whether you’re an economist or a technologist.


Regardless of what your opinion of Steve Jobs is, he was the one that was at the helm when the company had its first, meteoric rise to fame in the early 1980s and the one who rescued it from the brink of collapse in the late 1990s. Popular opinion amongst those analysts and journalists close to the company is that things will be okay for the next few years (in all likelihood, Jobs bequeathed to Tim Cook a solid roadmap for the future), but what lies beyond that is uncertain. It’s not just about having a solid roadmap, however. And testimony to this is shining through in the noticeable chinks that have begun to show in Apple’s armour. The first of these was the launch of Apple’s own mapping service and simultaneous displacing of Google Maps as the de facto standard on its iOS devices – and the fact that the overall quality of the experience was sub-par to say the least. The second has appeared around the launch of the iPad Mini, a device Jobs said the company would never make because “nobody wants a 7-inch tablet”. Don’t get me wrong. The device is great. My concern is more centred on the fact that Apple is launching products in response to market trends, whereas it always set the trend in the past. The third – and probably most significant – chink is the fact that the iPhone 5, which is bigger, better and more impressive than any of the company’s previous smartphones, may not be living up to expectations. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Apple had been forced to cut orders for a number of the handset’s parts – more specifically the LCD panels and memory modules – by as much as 50% for the first half of 2013. By comparison to previous years, 2012 was most definitely not the best year for the fruit company from California, and, at the risk of sounding alarmist, could this be the start of a slow, downward spiral? I’m sure I speak for the majority of the industry when I say: “I hope it ain’t so.”


The communications market in sub-Saharan Africa is moving into 2013 with a fair level of expectation. New fibre and satellite services have been implemented and domestic telecommunications operators have a greater arsenal of resources from which to service their customer base. Legacy networks continue to provide domestic operators with operating revenue, while the flexibility of new services now allows them to make the transition to higher levels of resource efficiency in order to retain and grow their respective customer bases. Ka-band is being received with much interest in Africa, as it provides increased spectrum compared to C-band and Ku-band and enables greater volumes of traffic to be transmitted. For this reason, demand for new next generation Ka-band satellite capacity in this region is expected to increase over the next decade. It is therefore worth discussing how the introduction of Ka-band might impact the African satellite service market in the short- and medium-term.

CHALLENGES FACED BY NETWORK OPERATORS Terrestrial network operators in the sub-Saharan market face a number of challenges. Most network operators are now well established and understand the dynamics of the growing market within their sector. However, during the establishment phase, the operators had invested in equipment that used protocols of the day and in services that were structured for the market at that time. It is reasonable to assume that they adapted to the change in technology and service requirements for new services, but there is bound to be a trail of legacy services and equipment that are inefficient and outdated by modern standards. In summary, along with the launch of the second-generation satellites comes the need to upgrade both equipment and software to achieve significant improvements in bandwidth efficiencies as well as to reduce equipment and operating costs.


KEY ISSUES FACED BY NETWORK OPERATORS REPLACING SATELLITE NETWORK EQUIPMENT – With most network operators moving to IP-based services for seamless integration of networks, many interface problems have disappeared, but at the cost of replacing legacy satellite network equipment. Point-to-point links remain functional but are less bandwidth-efficient than their modern-day counterparts. COST OF BANDWIDTH – Modulation and coding schemes that are both hardware- and software-based have improved bandwidth efficiency. Today, the use of DVB S2 and MPEG4 standards have given both data and video networks up to a two-to-one improvement in the bits/Hz ratio, thus driving greater network efficiency. EQUIPMENT LIFETIME AND SUPPORT – The simple issues of equipment lifetime and support are facing many network operators who established themselves in the late 1990s. COMPETITION – Since deregulation, many new network operators have appeared on the market. While some have used infrastructure of existing operators, there has been a general trend to establish their own networks at significant cost. Early adopters now face efficiency and redundancy decisions.


THE INTRODUCTION OF KA-BAND So how does the introduction of Ka-band satellite services impact the current telecommunications scenario in sub-Saharan Africa? Going back to basics and looking at the metrics used in the business case for a satellite in geostationary orbit, there are a number of trade-offs to be made. The life of the satellite is determined by the quality of the launch and how much fuel remains after the satellite has finally manoeuvred itself into its given orbital position. The remaining fuel is used to keep the satellite in its orbital position by correcting for drift. The commercial lifespan of a satellite is usually 15 years or more. Given that a launch rocket has a limit on the payload it can deliver into space, the maximum mass of the satellite is fixed. Within this mass limit, trade-offs such as lifespan, availability of service, band of operation and the amount of bandwidth available for sale are made,to satisfy a business case for a given market (or markets) that the satellite will serve. The increased spectrum available at Ka-band when compared to C-band and Ku-band makes the move to Ka-band a natural choice given the strong demand for connectivity. Smaller end-user antennas, increased mobility and higher bandwidths make Ka-band satellite capacity an attractive offering to many sectors. Ka-band promises to trigger a step-change in the African satellite communications industry, presenting challenges as well as opportunities and business models for both existing and new satellite operators. It will open up new satellite possibilities as applications including trunking and cellular backhaul services, broadband access, video distribution, enterprise networks and government communications will demand more Ka-band capacity in the future. Ka-band is therefore the logical successor to Ku-band and will evolve into the delivery band of choice for emerging markets and high demand regions throughout the world.

JABIRU SATELLITE PROGRAM NewSat will be expanding its satellite capabilities with the Jabiru Satellite Program, beginning with the launch and operation of Jabiru-1, Australia’s first Ka-band satellite. Jabiru-1, a large next-generation satellite, will provide superior coverage over North Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. Jabiru-1 will provide “new” capacity to these regions through a range of multi-spot, regional and steerable beams. NewSat has rights to eight premium orbital slots and its fleet of next-generation geostationary satellites will lead Australia’s space quest.

AFRICA AS A GROWTH MARKET Considering all the above, there is no doubt that the African market is grossly under-serviced by the telecommunications industry. Judging by the amount of fibre connectivity, GSM and new satellite services coming into the region, one must assume that the various operators have done their homework before committing resources to the region upfront. However, growth in the market is product- and price-sensitive and these should be considered as primary drivers.

The fact that governments have not delivered services successfully into rural areas, and that the issue is becoming politically sensitive, should not be overlooked. Where terrestrial services such as wireless and GSM are subscriber-density-driven, there will always be gaps in the coverage where it is uneconomical to invest in additional equipment to fill those gaps. These are both opportunities for immediate satellite growth.

IS RAIN FADE REALLY AN ISSUE? In the analysis of rain fade, two approaches need to be examined – one considering the average rate of rainfall within the signal path between the satellite and the ground station, and the other considering the energy scatter associated with the droplet size. Rain in the sub-Saharan region is generally characterised by downpours and thunderstorms. Both types of rain have large droplet sizes when compared with the wavelengths of Ku-band and Ka-band. Taking some licence, it can be assumed then that both bands will be affected by rain, with the difference in time (a matter of second) between Ka-band and Ku-band breaking the link being marginal. Furthermore, the use of Adaptive Coding and Modulation (ACM) by modern ground equipment maintains the energy per bit of information transmitted at the expense of transmission data rate to maintain link availability. This technology is available in both bands and will minimise perceived differences in link availability.

CONCLUSION The success of Ka-band consumer broadband systems in North America and Europe has resulted in Ka-band equipment being manufactured in large quantities. Accordingly, the cost and availability of Ka-band equipment is no longer the barrier to adoption it once was. In addition, current-generation modems are more cost-effective and capable of delivering two-fold bandwidth efficiency when compared to older-generation equipment. This will certainly offset the cost of the upgrading of existing networks and not hamper the decision to do so. Fundamentally, Ka-band has the ability to enter the African market and clearly differentiate itself from existing bands. It introduces “new” capacity, higher bandwidth, smaller end-user antennas and lower-cost network deployments. Ka-band also provides the flexibility that network operators need to adapt products to a changing market. Provided network operators take a more holistic view of the product and market requirements, it can be expected that satellite services will become stratified. As a result, new market segments will be created that can service lower-income groups in volume. Ka-band is set to secure the future of satellite communications into the next decade.

Scan the QR code with your smartphone to download a white paper on Ka-band and its advantages, or visit ka-bandwhitepaper




H H TC A W OO 3 1 A 20 N I

“They call it Africa – we call it home,” said Standard Bank South Africa in a clever tagline to a corporate advert. The truth is Africa is home to just over a billion people, and is increasingly seen as the final frontier for technology companies looking for growth and new markets. The focus is intense and the knowledge of the market is growing. A number of companies are emerging as key players in the African context. Their contribution will evolve over the next few years, but 2013 will be the year Africa takes its place in the global technology landscape as connectivity erupts and mobile technology dominates.




The big daddy of the computing revolution, Intel, is focusing all its considerable resources on Africa. Intel is currently the global leader in computer processors that power the vast majority of servers, desktops and laptops across the globe and their innovative and cost-effective products have enabled a massive growth in computing globally. Coming off a low base, Africa is now catching up fast. The major growth in Africa has been mobile. This is one area where Intel fell behind other companies such as Qualcomm and NVidia, along with many Asian manufacturers of low power processors, based on Arm technology. These low-cost, low-power chips fuelled the growth of lowcost smart devices growing rapidly in Africa. That all changed at CES 2013 in Las Vegas. Intel opened the conference with an Android smartphone specifically designed for emerging markets. Mike Bell, Intel’s VP of the Mobile Communications Group, highlighted the new Atom Z2420 processor, which has high-end features at mid-level pricing aimed squarely at the more than 500 million potential customers in emerging markets globally. These new mobile Atom systems on a chip or SoC match, and in some areas outdo, the competition and, coupled with Intel’s global partnerships and distribution, may well herald Intel’s emergence as a force to be reckoned with in the mobile space. As part of their long anticipated mobile strategy, the new smartphone platforms with Intel inside, coupled with their Africa focus, may well make Intel a key player in the emerging Africa mobile smartphone and smart device (read “tablet”) arenas.

When asked which the second biggest smartphone brand in Africa is, many would venture Samsung or LG. The crazy fact is that currently the second biggest brand is fake Nokias. Nokia have hit on hard times recently with their failed transition from the Symbian platform to the Windows platform. Their latest offerings from Windows appear to be doing well but Windows phones simply is too high-end for much of Africa, where their Asha range of smart devices has actually been doing really well. Nokia continues to be number one in South Africa and their top selling Xpress music 5130 phone is still one of the top sellers across the continent. With their laser focus on the Asha range and the availability of its Windows Phone-based Lumia range in more and more countries across Africa, Nokia appear to understand exactly what users in Africa actually need. Often superphone battery life of under 10 hours and dataintensive applications make them unattractive in a continent where cost certainty and lack of readily-available power makes the less-expensive and very capable Asha range preferable. The lines between traditional feature phones and smart devices are getting increasingly blurred and Nokia look poised to continue their hold on their key African markets. The main reason for this is that Nokia clearly understand what the customer needs and have products that address these needs far more effectively than those that work for much of the developed world.




Samsung have been surging ahead for most of 2012 and look set to dominate the smartphone space for 2013. Samsung have become the must-have smartphone with their Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 and it appears the momentum is only building. The Galaxy range has now sold over 100 million devices globally, with the Galaxy S3 selling in excess of 40 million. The imminent launch of the Galaxy S3 style Ativ Windows Phone 8 device in South Africa will further cement Samsung’s dominance of the smartphone space. As smartphone penetration moves toward 40% of the market in South Africa in 2013, and firmly above 10% for Africa as a whole, the Samsung Galaxy range – which includes real value, lower cost devices such as the Galaxy Ace and Pocket – are well-positioned to take an even greater share of the market across the continent. Samsung’s greatest competition will come from Chinese manufacturers such as Huawei and ZTE. The advantage Samsung has is that it’s distribution of its other products in Africa, as well as its consistent brand promotion, has given Samsung an enviable position as far as brand recognition is concerned.

Deep innovation is what counts for this little-known company. Qualcomm currently makes most of the chips that power the vast majority of smartphones on the market. The chances are that if you have a 3G-enabled phone, or more recently, an LT-enabled device you are using Qualcomm technology. At the recent CES 2013 conference in Las Vegas, Qualcomm CEO Dr Paul Jacobs coined the phrase “born mobile”, and we are all in fact living in the “born mobile” generation. Mobile connectivity, driven by pioneers and innovators such as Qualcomm, is most definitely redefining how we do business, and how we communicate across the planet. The effect of all this innovation in mobile is having a profound effect on Africa in paricular and the world as a whole. Africa will, in fact, be the first mainly mobile continent; with 4G LTE rolling out across many countries in Africa, a connectivity explosion is around the corner. From the low end to the ultra-high end with their newly-announced Snapdragon 800 chipset, Qualcomm are a mobile force to be reckoned with.




Cell C South Africa is the number three mobile network in South Africa with around 15% marketshare. Their new CEO, Alan Knott Craig, has set his sights on doubling Cell C’s marketshare in the next few years. The result will be that Cell C will have equal marketshare to the two main players, Vodacom and MTN, with around 30% each. These are ambitious goals and will need significant investment in not only telecommunications infrastructure, but retail and distribution resources, along with administrative support that is an order of magnitude greater than they currently have. One solution is to find a partner who understands scale, and can bring the investment and expertise needed to assist in doubling the marketshare of Cell C. The rumour mill has been churning out possible partners for a while, but one stands out – Bharti Airtel. Airtel is an Indian-based mobile operator with over 246 million subscribers in Asia and Africa. They abortively tried to do a deal with MTN recently, and are on the growth trail in Africa as a whole. Airtel is definitely a company to watch for 2013 as their Africa strategy plays out.

Business Support Services (BSS) is a huge area of growth for African mobile service providers. As the market matures and data services grow along with the rapid growth in subscriber’s sophistication, African networks will be looking for ways to increase revenues, and bring additional services to its subscribers. Nokia Siemens Networks, or NSN, have long been active in Africa with relationships with numerous significant mobile operators. The sale of the BSS division by NSN to Redknee, a little-known Canadian BSS provider of almost equal size to the NSN division, represents a significant change in the BSS landscape traditionally dominated by integrated services and hardware providers such as Ericsson and the market leader in this space, Amdocs. Expect to see fierce competition in this space as services and products offered by the mobile operators in Africa surge in both size and scale in 2013.




Africa will be home to some cutting-edge manufacturing of mobile phones and tablets by VMK, the company led by entrepeneur Verone Mankou from the Republic of Congo. Although the VMK devices are being assembled in China, the design is uniquely African. Initially, two products only are being offered – the Way-C Tablet, billed as Africa’s first tablet computer, and the “Elikia” smartphone, which translates to “hope” in the local Lingala language. The Elikia smartphone is on sale in the Congo for around US$171 and the Way-C tablet stands at a competitive US$300. Mankou says the fact that all development of his products is local, and African, this will set them apart from any competition. “Only Africans know what Africa needs,” he says. “Apple is huge in the U.S., Samsung is huge in Asia, and we want VMK to be huge in Africa.” The key to the success of the two products will be local knowledge of the Africa markets, and super-competitive pricing, but already the vision of VMK and the price-versus-specs aspect of the launch products are sound.

Infrastructure is the missing ingredient in the growth of broadband in Africa, and in Somaliland an innovative and effective system of “fibre through the air”, as Bluwan call it, is being deployed. The innovative system comprises small outdoor antennas connected to customer devices that receive wireless broadband transmissions from a central transmission hub. Each hub is able to provide up to 8 gigabits per second of capacity in a 360º five-kilometre radius, delivering average constant speeds of 2 megabits per second (minimum bandwidth for advanced broadband applications such as HDTV), peaking to speeds of 100 Mbps to thousands of customers. Michael Cothill, Chief Executive Officer at Somcable, commented: “We have set a target to provide one million subscribers with access to high-speed broadband by 2015, to help move Somaliland into the knowledge-based economy.” Innovative combinations of wireless broadband backhaul, in conjunction with standard terrestrial equipment such as Wi-Fi and fibre to the premises, cleverly bypass the time and expense of massive infrastructure deployment. Expect to see this innovation in use in more parts of Africa in 2013.




Content is king, it is said, and with the explosion of connectivity and the massive growth in smart devices across Africa anticipated for 2013, value-added services or VAS should grow rapidly in 2013. Having cut its teeth in the hyper-competitive Indian market, Spice are now spreading fast through Africa. Music and other value-added services are top of mind for most users once they have a device capable of accessing these services and Spice appear to have a good headstart and understanding of the Africa market. The spice platform allows music and artist discovery, along with creating a platform for local content. The Spice platform offers far more than simply music and adds numerous other services such as SMS, apps, education and many others delivered by mobile services. Spice Africa CEO Arun Nagar believes that Spice, together with its mobile partners, will help change how people buy and listen to music across the continent. He further believes that music will become a cornerstone of the business models for mobile operators across the continent. Spice has also become a music aggregator itself, signing up numerous local artists across the continent. There is no question that VAS will proliferate and grow along with mobile users’ needs and preferences and Spice appear to be wellpositioned to take full advantage of this trend in 2013.

The Liquid Telecommunications group is a key player in the infrastructure and wholesale carrier services environment on the African continent. Massive growth in undersea cables coupled with the concomitant leap in usage of Internet and telecommunications services have placed massive strain on the infrastructure of most Africa nations. Liquid Telecom has turned this challenge into opportunity, and are playing an increasingly important role in connecting Africa to the rest of the world. The various mobile and fixed-line operators are increasingly turning to partnerships with companies such as Liquid Telecom to assist in the rollout of fibre infrastructure coupled with satellite backhaul. Liquid have recently taken over Altech’s east Africa infrastructure operations in a complex deal, which brings Altech onboard as a shareholder and partner. The acquisition makes Liquid one of the biggest terrestrial fibre operators in Africa, and adds scale to an already dynamic company. Liquid’s deep investment in fibre infrastructure offerings coupled with its expertise in payment solutions, as well as IP transit, have combined to place the company on a fast-growth track. All these key services will be critical to the successful deployment of much of the mobile infrastructure in Africa. 2013 will be a significant year for Liquid Telecom as mobility continues its charge in Africa.




Higher productivity, increased labour costs and a strong trend towards true mobility in the workplace are all factors that have put the spotlight firmly on “total costs of ownership� for computers and devices. Organisations will have to start spending more on durable and reliable mobile computers, rather than looking for bargains, if they want to avoid losing valuable productive time.


Twenty years ago, a laptop could cost the equivalent of a month’s salary for the employee who was supposed to use it. Since then, prices of mobile computers have been slashed. Great news, isn’t it? So let’s just continue to buy the cheapest computers available – they are so cheap to replace! Not so fast. Yes, mobile computers have become much more inexpensive, and much more advanced in the last decade or two. But there has also been other major changes in the workplace. One such change is the trend towards true mobility. Smaller and better devices, better software solutions for mobile work and increasing availability and affordability of wireless broadband have freed people up from the confines of the traditional office environment. Traditional field workers and many white-collar workers now spend much of their time out of the office and on the go. But consumer, or commercial, computers are simply too fragile to withstand mobile work, even in moderately tough environments; they might last one year, or two at the most. Rugged computers, on the other hand, are more expensive but they are built for tough environments and can last five years or more. By their very nature, they also have much lower failure rates. Another strong development has been the steady rise in wages and productivity, for e.g., professional field workers. A tablet or a smartphone now costs an employee the equivalent of only perhaps around a few hours’ salary. In the old days, it was important to get the best possible price for mobile devices. Today, it is more important to not lose productivity; a field worker who sits by idly for four hours because of a malfunctioning computer has wasted the entire cost of the computer in lost productivity. Also, everything is connected these days – one broken computer can affect the work of many people. It all boils down to the magic of total cost of ownership (TCO). The total cost of ownership includes all direct and indirect costs associated with the purchase of an asset over its entire lifecycle. A TCO analysis includes the total cost of acquisition and the subsequent operating costs. Acquisition costs are quite straightforward: they include the costs for computer hardware and programmes, installation and integration, and migration expenses. Subsequent operating expenses during the lifespan of the computers are, however, often overlooked. These costs are usually much higher than the purchase costs and include downtime, outage and failure expenses, backup and recovery process, and replacement costs. Downtime is the most serious, and costly, of these expenses. Independent research firm VDC estimates that mobile workers lose an average of 75 minutes each time their mobile devices fail. In a study focused on rugged computers, VDC has performed TCO computations across four levels of computers – from non-rugged to fully rugged – across a number of common mobile applications. The total cost for each type of computer has been calculated over a five-year lifespan. The results show that using a commercial or non-rugged device will cost about 65% more per year than using a fully rugged device.
Generally speaking, TCO studies show that over a 3-5 year period of use, the more rugged devices will carry a lower total cost of ownership, meaning that over that period they are actually cheaper than the less rugged devices, even though they are usually more expensive to purchase. With the complexity of today’s technology configurations, the cost of deployment and downtime is high if there’s a breakdown. The upfront cost of a piece of mobile technology pales in comparison to the potential cost of downtime and redeployment. For the sake of productivity, organisations would be well advised to start increasing the costs for their mobile devices. AT




























1. What do you think 2013 has in store for the telecoms industry in Africa?

MVDB – Data demand will continue to grow exponentially, driven by the widespread introduction of 3G mobile networks and the early

buildout of LTE. Smartphones will increasingly become the preferred access device of choice for the majority of users across the continent, which will continue to accelerate the growth of mobile data. Content will start to become a major driver, with local content also helping to drive data volumes.

CW – One thing I expect to see is the importance of data services increasingly being recognised by operators across the continent as voice

revenues plateau or fall. This will drive further investment in deployment of leading-edge network platforms such as 3G and LTE (longterm evolution), encouraging further uptake and usage of mobile broadband services. I expect this to bring considerable growth in demand for international connectivity, which is exactly why WIOCC, which has invested in linking the largest terrestrial fibre footprint in Africa with its strategic investments in 40,000km of submarine network. It appears that few new licences will be awarded across Africa in 2013, leaving existing telcos to compete in retaining and attracting an ever-shrinking addressable market of attractive customers. We are seeing hints of consolidation in some markets, and I expect this to continue – particularly in markets that are currently supporting a large number of competing operators. The winners will be the operators that can effectively balance falling revenues (due to ever-more competitive markets) against the cost of the investments required to attract and retain a profitable customer base.

JM – Growth, growth and more growth.

In 2013 and in years to come, Africa will benefit from increasingly affordable data services, faster data speeds, improved affordability of devices, and a broader choice of applications and services.

FGF – We will see data prices continue coming down, meaning we will have a greater influx of smart devices (phones, tablets, etc). We will see the mobile operators invest ever greater into providing smart devices to consumers.

SD – The African market often has different priorities to other regions. What we see going on in 2013 is a lot of mass adoption of LTE, and

a lot of significant rollout of small cells. We suspect these don’t solve the African operators’ needs in quite the same way they address other regions. We see challenges around continuing to run businesses where voice, and in particular GSM voice, is still a very valuable source of revenue and profits. With our multi-technology, customer-centric solutions we are still bringing innovative solutions to market that help operators address these challenges, while at the same time helping them understand the experience of their top-tier customers who continue to migrate to smartphones, and 3G and even LTE-capable devices.

NB – The mobile lifestyle has truly been established for a large subset of the African population, and this group will continue to grow over

the next year. African end-users are increasingly using mobile to underpin all facets of their lives and, in doing so, are coming to expect much more from their customer experience. They will not be afraid to take their business elsewhere if they believe a better experience can be found. Mobile service providers must respond to this by enhancing their business processes and network capacity to maintain customer loyalty and grow their businesses in 2013. Traditional challenges for the market, such as a lack of physical infrastructure, will be overshadowed by this need to manage the customer experience effectively.

HVR – Africa was the cradle for mobile financial services. Ten years ago, we launched the world’s first mobile money service for the

unbanked with Celpay in Zambia. Since then, Africa has led the mobile money market and now boasts 55% of the world’s services (Mobile Money Tracker, GSMA, 2012). 2013 is set to be another exciting year for the continent. We expect to see continued accelerated growth across Africa. A great deal of attention will be focused on Nigeria, which has enormous potential. Only 38% of the country’s 160 million people have access to formal financial services (Gallup and NOI-Polls, 2010). Meanwhile, there are more than 93 million mobile phone subscriptions in Nigeria, the most in Africa (GSMA, 2011). Earlier this year, the Central Bank of Nigeria issued 11 mobile money-operating licences to service providers in the region. A number of services have already launched, with many more in the pipeline.


We also expect to see increased service innovation. According to the recent Visa Mobile Money Study, consumers understand mobile money within 18 months of service launch, find it easy to use and trust that it is secure. The Visa Mobile Money Study found that consumers have complex, sophisticated financial service needs beyond the basic services currently offered – 56% of respondents want to pay utility bills and 52% want to save money for their family, for example. In many African markets where mobile financial services are now well established, the introduction of more sophisticated services is simply a matter of time. Consumers are already (also) demanding services such as insurance. And providers are looking to stand out in an increasingly crowded market by offering something new and different.

AZ – As one of the most rapidly growing economies in the world, sub-Saharan Africa continues to be the fastest-growing mobile market,

according to the GSMA. The Praekelt Foundation states that mobile penetration has risen to 65%, with 50% of Internet connections in Africa being exclusively on mobile. This will not change in 2013 – if anything, the trend will accelerate. We expect to see massive growth in the handset market as users continue to shift from cellphones and feature-phones to smartphones. Affordable and powerful mobile devices continue to bring the Internet to more and more people for the first time. The growth and change this will spark in African economies is transformative. Mobile adoption has already contributed US$32 billion to the sub-Saharan African economy (GSMA). And there’s potential for it to offer even more economic upside as Africans increasingly use their mobile phones for more than texting and voice messages. RIM is successful not only in South Africa and Nigeria, but also throughout Africa, Asia and Latin America – parts of the world that are the engines of growth for the global mobile industry. The emerging markets of the world will remain a strategic priority for RIM in 2013, and we are listening to our customers to ensure our products meet their needs. FM Radio is one example of a feature we added to the new BlackBerry® Curve™ 9230 smartphone in response to feedback from BlackBerry users in Africa and the Middle East.

HO – It’s no secret that Africa has experienced a dramatic increase in mobile penetration with small businesses and economies having

benefitted from this increased connectivity throughout the continent. Feature-phone availability played an influential role over the past few years and this trend continued throughout 2012. The intended release of super broadband 4G connectivity (also known as LTE), plummeting data costs and the increased accessibility of smartphones across Africa will all contribute to the continual African mobile explosion set for the telecommunications industry in 2013.

AS – Different VAS services have emerged in markets across Africa over the years. Voice revenues have declined and mobile VAS is

beginning to contribute more to revenue for the operators. Over the next 2 to 3 years, the VAS market in Africa is expected to grow at a strong compounded annual growth rate of around 22% and will generate revenues of over US$11.5 billion. Mobile money and prepaid recharge are two other very popular services across Africa. Based on the success stories in Kenya, and now Tanzania, operators across the continent appear to be making the most of it. Comviva would focus on its Mobiquity® mobile financial solution and PreTUPS™ prepaid recharge and target operators and banks. With mobile data usage proliferating across Africa, Comviva identifies a need for mobile data management as operators and broadband providers experience three major challenges in the region: handling explosive data traffic growth cost effectively; monetising the mobile data opportunity; and ensuring a positive user experience.

SG – The African telecoms landscape will continue to generate excitement in 2013. Overall, bandwidth availability to underserved areas is trending up via new inland network buildouts intended to distribute the immense amounts of capacity now arriving along African shores through a number of undersea fibre options. The challenge that will remain is providing an acceptable user-experience level into these areas by eliminating bottlenecks and single points of failure with a focus on reliability. The solution to this challenge will be intelligent hybrid network solution designs that leverage fibre rollouts where they make operational and economic sense, with complementary, reliable microwave and satellite solutions where they don’t. Exponential user-demand and revenuegrowth potential is present and a massive amount of content is now available at African shores – in 2013, telecoms operators will reach a tipping point as they determine a proper strategy of connecting the two.


2. Are there any major changes in store for the industry in 2013?

MVDB – Smartphones and reliable high-speed networks will drive an accelerated demand for mobile data. CW – I expect to see the industry continuing its evolution, rather than experiencing major changes. Growth in mobile and Internet subscriptions and usage will continue, and innovative Africa-focused applications of these technologies will continue to emerge. While the African content will continue to grow, supported by local investment in IT programmes and Internet exchange points across the continent, as well as the initiative of global players such as Google and Microsoft, most content will continue to be drawn from international sources. There will be no major new submarine deployments for at least the next few years, so I am expecting to see carriers boosting their international capacity while spreading their traffic across more cables to improve resilience – increasingly necessary as service quality becomes ever-more critical in the buying decision. JM – We’re expecting to see increased competition among operators through more compelling voice and data tariffs, while we also expect to see improvement on the affordability of 3G smartphones and data-enabled devices. We also expect to see substantial growth in the variety and availability of locally developed applications and services.

FGF – I think that the market will be limited to only 3 to 4 players across Africa from an OEM and operators perspective. SD – LTE devices finally arrived in 2012, but in all but a very few markets there are only a handful of devices and we are still looking at

“early adopters”. 2013 will have to be the year when they go mainstream in many markets, and the operators will have to move their focus away from deployment and launch, and into service assurance, optimisation and starting the networks down the long road towards repaying the massive investment.

NB – The number and variety of smartphones used in the region is soaring, with 40% year-over-year growth in sub-Saharan Africa through

to the year 2017 estimated in a recent GSMA/Deloitte report. This, coupled with the increasing range of mobile data services and content available to African end-users, will have a major impact on the industry in 2013. Although from the back-end we know that smartphones and advanced networks hold a host of new complexities that must be addressed, end-users will still demand the same seamless, always-on experience they have been conditioned to expect from their mobile devices. Critical to ensuring exceptional end-user experiences is harnessing the massive quantities of data generated by users and turning that data into relevant real-time information that can be used to engage customers and proactively improve experiences. Doing so will position mobile service providers to thrive as the number of smartphones and services available continues to accelerate in the coming year and beyond. The biggest challenge and opportunity for the African market in 2013 therefore will be the management of rocketing mobile data usage and customer data generation to ensure an optimal customer experience.

HVR – The major change for mobile financial services will be the increase in standardisation. At the moment, I can pay at nearly any

shop in the world with a single card. In the same way I can call or text any other mobile phone in the world using my phone. The situation for mobile financial services is different. Very few existing services allow you to send money or conduct other financial services across networks, let alone across country borders. One in three respondents to the Visa Mobile Money study cited the lack of interoperability as a key barrier to adoption. As mobile money services in Africa mature and consumer demand for more sophisticated services increases, interoperability between services and the wider financial economy will be critical to ongoing success. Domestic, cross-border and cross-network interoperability will gather pace in 2013 as providers seek to enhance the utility of mobile money services. And the need for standards goes beyond interoperability. Standards are also critical in building a wider ecosystem. To offer a service to a consumer, whether that is insurance, health or agriculture, you need a way for them to pay for that service. In Africa, the de facto payment


method will be mobile. Mobile money providers and third parties need standards to ensure their services can scale. Ultimately, by breaking down the walls between services and countries we can foster a rich ecosystem in Africa that connects consumers to rich services, each other and the global economy. Take First Bank Nigeria’s mobile money service, FirstMonie, as an example. FirstMonie is available to all mobile phone subscribers in Nigeria, regardless of their mobile network. It allows a consumer on one mobile network to send and receive money from a consumer on a different mobile network. It is one of the first interoperable cross-network mobile financial services in the world. To meet the demand for advanced services, FirstMonie offers utility payments (airline tickets, electric, insurance), cash withdrawal at an ATM without a bank card, and payment for goods at merchant locations.

AZ – We’ll see Africa speed up its move from a voice-centric mobile market to one where data is equally important. Africa already has

some of the highest levels of mobile Internet usage globally, but we will see telecommunications organisations, governments and handset manufacturers really step up their focus on driving mobile broadband in Africa this year. One area that will get a great deal of focus is spectrum allocation to drive the rollout of high-speed mobile broadband. We’ll see LTE becoming a reality in some metropolitan areas in Africa, but, even more significantly, we’ll see 3G reach even more corners of the continent as network operators invest aggressively in capacity and infrastructure to grow their data revenues. In addition to base stations for the last mile, we can expect to see continued investment in national links around the continent. In order for mobile to stake its claim as the central component to innovation, mobile computing platforms need to be more robust and scalable. These are key traits of BlackBerry 10 and it’s why we see it as a great opportunity not just for the next year, but for the next decade. Based on QNX, a long-established platform for embedded technologies across a whole range of vertical sectors such as the healthcare and automobile industries, BlackBerry 10 is future-proofed to take advantage of the next evolution in mobile. The launch of this platform took place on 30 January 2013 across the globe. The rising mass-market penetration of “smarter” devices has had a profound impact on the use of mobile technology within the enterprise space as well, and this is a trend that will continue to accelerate during 2013. However, rather than focusing solely on managing BYOD, organisations will instead use the trend as the basis for developing a more holistic enterprise mobility strategy, which will meet the longterm needs of both the organisation and its employees. RIM is proud of its success in Africa and will continue to work closely with our carrier partners to make all our latest products and services available to the local market and to ensure BlackBerry customers have the best possible BlackBerry experience.

HO – With smartphones on the rise, mobile web already surpassing desktop in Africa, application downloads increasing daily, increasing data connectivity and higher speeds at lower costs, 2013 is set to be a year for mobile! Watch this space!

AS – Content-based services like those that have succeeded in Asia are now becoming popular in Africa. SMS-based services like contests,

CRBT, SMS and USSD portals, etc, are fairly successful and are showing promise in the African market. Such services bring alternative mechanisms for content distribution to the market. E-Governance and use of SMS for public information dissemination is another trend that seems to be catching on, adding to operators’ VAS revenues. The key growth drivers would be the increasing demand for interactive communication among end-users, and, more importantly, the demand for mission-critical information on a real-time basis. Another important factor for the growth is the fact that a lot of useful critical transactions can be carried out through value-added services available today. MCommerce, social networking, video streaming, enterprise VAS and location-based services are some of the game-changers for the industry. A critical driver for this growth is the changing handset mix. The proportion of phones that can be called smart is changing more rapidly than at any time in the past. The additional capabilities in the hands of users will drive MVAS.

SG – We anticipate that regulators will increase pressure on operators to provide users with consistent network reliability, in line with

their 3G/4G licence stipulations. The biggest challenge in doing so for mobile operators will be finding new ways to reach rural markets cost-effectively and in line with the initial promises made regarding these frequency rights. In line with this, efforts to ensure reliable connectivity will become an increasing priority. Satellite has an important role to play in this as it is still considered to be the best choice in most locations in terms of availability and reliability.


3. Will the prevalence of LTE networks affect your business in 2013? And why?

MVDB – Yes, demand for reliable networks capable of satisfying the demand for cost-effective mobile data will continue to drive increasing growth across the continent. Growth may be impeded, however, by the shortage of LTE-capable terminal devices at affordable prices, so in 2013 the primary driver will be 3G rather than LTE.

CW – LTE deployments will affect WIOCC’s business positively in 2013. They will drive uptake and usage of mobile broadband and associated applications, increasing demand for high-speed international connectivity from Africa’s east and west coasts as operators need to increase the capacity of their international Internet connections.

JM – Globally, LTE is seeing considerable interest in regions where operators are looking to supplement their 3G networks with the additional capacity that 4G provides. As these operators deploy their 4G LTE networks, they obviously still need to provide backward compatibility to maintain the continuity of their services. They need multimode devices that support 2G, 3G and 4G in the chipset and make it seamless for the consumer. That’s what Qualcomm has focused on, so, in terms of our business and chipsets, we’re sitting in a very good position to help enable these services. In the case of Africa, mobile data services are still relatively new and still in its early growth stages. 4G LTE services are most common in areas where 3G services are very mature. I therefore expect we’ll continue to see 3G mobile broadband services across the continent for quite some time.

FGF – It will only support our efforts, as we are one of the few OEMs to offer all our products LTE-ready. SD – Arieso’s solution supports LTE as well as UMTS and GSM, so we expect to see even more operators deploying the LTE option. One of our unique abilities is to give the operator insight into how the subscriber experiences the interaction between the technology layers, and we expect this will be critical to operators. We know that the most valuable customers are likely to adopt LTE devices first, and we know that, especially in early deployments, the experience they get will depend as much on the 3G layer and its interaction with LTE as it will on the LTE layer itself. Operators will obviously want to give their best customers the best experience. YDigital uses pull strategies of mobile advertising instead of pushing intrusive messages out to consumers on an extremely personal device. Through the use of mobile web and application advertising, users are enticed to click on specific ad placements. There is no collection of user data unless consent is given by the user. We work closely with our clients to ensure that campaigns are industry and country compliant. NB – Syniverse has been leading the industry through the transition to LTE, and we will continue to support operators rolling out LTE networks in 2013. In Africa, this will hold particular importance as the race to deliver high-speed service to subscribers intensifies in 2013. In particular, we have created an LTE roaming testing environment that allows operators to conduct end-to-end LTE roaming trials via Syniverse’s IPX network. Our trials enable testing of authentication and signalling on LTE networks as well as critical LTE roaming functions, such as real-time intelligence and wholesale clearing and settlement. We now have trials complete or under way with seven operators around the globe, bringing them closer to launching LTE roaming to subscribers. In addition to LTE, Africa’s operators are increasingly turning to Wi-Fi to give subscribers better access to mobile services. Syniverse is supporting these efforts with our Wi-Fi product portfolio, which includes clearing and settlement, as well as solutions that help operators leverage Wi-Fi to deliver better quality voice and messaging service in areas where traditional network coverage is low.

AZ – 2013 looks set to be another fiercely competitive year in the mobile industry, with the pace of technological development and change of recent years showing no sign of slowing down. Naturally for us at RIM, it is one of – if not the most – significant years in our history, with the launch of our brand new BlackBerry® 10 platform on 30 January. BlackBerry 10 represents our biggest innovation since the company was founded and we believe that it will have as profound an effect on the next 10 years of mobile as our technology has had on the last 10 years.


HO – LTE will have a significant impact on the growth of our business with users experiencing more convenient, super-fast connectivity.

The expected decrease in data costs will result in a surge in mobile Internet traffic. The demand for localised content will increase and so will the need for advertisers looking for innovative ways to reach mass markets. We are extremely excited about the effects that LTE networks will have on our business and the ecosystem as a whole.

AS – We believe that the further growth of the Mobile VAS (MVAS) industry would primarily come from deeper penetration of mobile services through the rollout of LTE services. LTE networks are capable of providing data speeds that are 10 times faster than the thirdgeneration (3G) networks to deliver rich content to smart mobile devices.

SG – There has been significant buzz around LTE, and because of this, expectations are very high. However, there is a conflict between the promises of this new technology and the cost-effective reality of LTE, particularly when it comes to accessing rural markets. Initial LTE rollouts will be in urban areas in 2013 and we don’t foresee a huge amount of LTE content going over satellite in 2013. That said, we do embrace this buzz and the increased bandwidth that this technology offers as a further enabler of economic growth for the region, and are closely tying mobile operators’ plans on leveraging this technology into our plans.

4. Will the effectiveness/non-effectiveness of regulators in Africa affect your business in 2013? And why?

MVDB – The primary challenge in building out high-speed mobile networks is the availability of the necessary spectrum, particularly for

LTE, and this is an area where many national regulators have dragged their feet. This needs to be addressed with urgency. Another area which could benefit from positive regulatory intervention is the need to eliminate the numerous national barriers to landing submarine cable capacity in many countries, especially on the west coast of Africa. We have gone from famine to feast in terms of the amount of submarine fibre which is now (and about to be) available up the west coast, but cost-effective delivery of this capacity is still hampered in a number of countries by the high costs associated with landing and backhauling the capacity within a number of coastal countries.

CW – Regulation certainly has a significant part to play in the ongoing development of Africa’s communications markets in Africa.

The award of new mobile or unified licences creates potential new WIOCC (West Indian Ocean Cable Company) customers or extends the communications requirements of existing customers. Regulators can have a significant influence on the success (or otherwise) of competition and, therefore, on the climate for investment (including investment in networks). When applied effectively, regulation creates an environment that encourages investment. However, too much competition can damage markets and result in investment being stifled.

JM – In many of the markets across Africa, regulators have been both progressive and forward-thinking in their policies and approaches to

mobile. They clearly see it as an economic enabler, which translates to economic growth and improved quality of life for Africa’s citizens. To this end, it’s important to have sensible regulatory and spectrum policies that enable this growth. Effective spectrum management and reduction of administrative barriers to network expansion will be key enablers of mobile broadband in Africa. The Africa Telecommunications Union (ATU) has been a leader in facilitating regional discussions aimed at harmonising policies and regulations. The ATU’s work in creating a comprehensive plan to utilise spectrum resources will benefit Africa and everyone helping to grow Africa’s mobile industry.

FGF – As an OEM, we are affected both positively and negatively by what regulators decide on. However, I think great strides have been made to improve conditions for all across Africa. I think it will continue to support us in achieving our objectives.

SD – 2012 was interesting for regulators taking serious action against network operators who delivered bad service to their customers and

holding them to account until they fixed it. African regulators are continuing to put pressure (and fines) on operators to improve network quality. We support this as the correct direction for the industry to evolve and have been discussing the need for a focus on customer experience in recent news announcements.


NB – Syniverse expects little impact to its business due to regulators, as our role is to provide solutions to mobile service providers that

help them overcome any mobile challenge. If regulatory requirements change, we will use our expertise to support the needs of Africa’s mobile community.

AZ – BlackBerry 10 will introduce the shift from mobile communication to true mobile computing. We have redesigned, re-engineered and re-invented BlackBerry to create a new, unique mobile experience. This new platform has been designed from the ground up, based on careful study of how consumers interact with their devices, the work and personal activities that fill their days, and their drive to be connected and get things done. BlackBerry 10 features such as BlackBerry® Flow and BlackBerry® Hub offer a game-changing user experience that enables easier and more powerful collaboration. BlackBerry Flow is a new feature that allows seamless navigation across open applications and the BlackBerry Hub, where one can see work and personal emails, messages, social media activity and more. The enhanced BlackBerry® Balance™ technology is designed for the new world of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) computing, where users want a seamless experience whether they are using their device for work or personal purposes.

HO – YDigital uses pull strategies of mobile advertising instead of pushing intrusive messages out to consumers on an extremely personal

device. Through the use of Mobile web and Application advertising, users are enticed to click on specific ad placements. There is no collection of user data unless consent is given by the user. We work closely with our clients to ensure that campaigns are industry- and country-compliant.

AS – These are a mix of regulatory issues and legal environment, underdeveloped telecom infrastructure and high taxation which cause

challenges in deploying services, like in any other emerging markets. The effectiveness of regulators towards improving these issues will not only benefit the VAS players, but the entire ecosystem.

SG – We see regulators placing increased pressure on mobile operators to meet their licence obligations, and, in particular, obligations

relating to rural areas. We are also interested to see how regulators and operators will plan traffic flows across enlarged coverage areas subsequent to the network rollouts, and, in particular, the impact of this on the necessity to keep local content within-country. In anticipation, our solutions will continue to evolve to support these obligations through new designs, including Intelsat EpicNG, which we announced in 2012.

5. What single topic will be the most relevant for you in 2013?

MVDB – Delivering cost-effective terrestrial capacity to landlocked countries in Africa. CW – Availability of low-cost, smart mobile handsets – one of the key enablers for broadband growth in Africa – will have a significant

impact on demand for international capacity during 2013. Much of the discussion at last year’s Mobile World Congress was around lowcost smartphones – with price points of US$50-70 predicted to be possible within two years. However, the cost of smartphones is coming down very fast, and we are already seeing these price levels in some African markets.

JM – Smartphone affordability is a significant priority for Qualcomm. Bringing mobile Internet services to the masses requires devices that

are financially within the reach of most consumers. This is why our company created the Qualcomm Reference Design (QRD) programme. QRD provides mobile device OEMs with all the innovation and unsurpassed technical excellence they expect from Qualcomm – but in a completely integrated and tested package. This enables OEMs to develop new devices and bring them to market much more rapidly and cost-efficiently than if they started from scratch, and this efficiency helps bring down the cost to consumers. Through QRD and other programmes, we’ve rolled up our sleeves and are working overtime to find new ways to help our partners’ efforts to extend the mobile Internet to every corner of the continent. It’s an ambitious goal but want to help make it a reality.


FGF – Data prices drop, consumers will want to go out and buy smart devices to access information. We need to be ready as a company to support this.

SD – Our focus will remain the same – helping network operators around the world become customer-centric, and deliver great experiences to their customers in a cost-effective manner.

NB –

In 2013, the single most important topic for Syniverse – and for our customers across Africa – will be real-time experience management. Mobile technology has accelerated customer analytics by light years, and the customer experience can now be measured anywhere, anytime if solutions that are able to turn massive quantities of subscriber data into relevant customer information are in place. As a result, real-time intelligence is revolutionising the way mobile service providers and companies connect with consumers, and we see this as an area of vital importance in Africa in order to meet increasingly high consumer demands. The winners in this revolution will be those providers and brands that are able to rapidly and proactively resolve issues, as well as create personalised offerings to cater to each customer as a “market of one”. Syniverse offers a suite of Real-Time Intelligence solutions that help operators globally address these needs. Today, more than 100 mobile service providers use these tools for improved customer insight and service. We expect the interest and adoption in these services to grow exponentially over the coming year as safeguarding the customer experience becomes the major priority for operators in Africa.

HVR – In 10 years, 100 million people have been newly “banked” using mobile technology. However, mobile financial services are far

from reaching their potential. Only a handful of deployments have enjoyed mass adoption. According to a recent industry survey, the number of subscribers that remain active can be as high as 99.7% and as low as 0.2%. The mobile money market in Africa is polarised between the phenomenal and the mediocre. Activation has remained polarised for a number of reasons – but two are critical. Standards were not addressed at the outset, limiting the utility of services. If services are not interoperable and do not evolve to meet the needs of consumers, then they simply will not be adopted. Secondly, the Visa study suggests that the adoption of a mobile financial service is determined by how deeply a mobile money provider understands its customers and tailors the service to the needs of consumers and mobile money agents – from service menus to marketing and education. For example, the study found that the specific vernacular used is critical. The words “safe keeping” rather than “saving” money resonates with consumers and will drive them to adopt. Driving consumer adoption and ongoing use is the single biggest challenge facing the mobile financial services industry in Africa and this will be our core area of focus in 2013.

AZ – Africa is one of the world’s fastest-growing mobile markets and a strategically important region for our business. We are proud of the success of BlackBerry in Africa and our continued leadership in the biggest smartphone markets on the continent. According to GfK Retail and Technology (October 2012), BlackBerry still holds a leading smartphone position in South Africa and Nigeria. While we continue to service our loyal customers, we look forward to introducing BlackBerry 10 to Africa.

HO – Integration of mobile into the overall marketing mix. AS – There will be a steep uptake of use of mobile banking. 2013 could be the year that Africa really breaks through in terms of mobile

money. The region provides a unique proposition where we have both numbers and potential of volume transactions and mobile money could really take off in a big way.

SG – Hybrid network equilibrium is a hot topic for us in 2013: How do you best match fibre, microwave and satellite to address the needs

of different areas? We are in favour of hybrid solutions which encompass all three, and mobile operators will need to allocate resources to each to provide cost-effective and reliable solutions for their customers. Fibre is reaching places where satellite used to be the only option. Satellite also continues to support inland penetration, which is extremely exciting as the continent seeks to achieve fast improvements in connectivity through the development of game-changing solutions. AT




LTE is currently being deployed and built-out in all regions and will reach around 1.6 billion subscriptions in 2018.

Africa Telecoms chats with Lars Linden, Head of sub-Saharan Africa, Ericsson Globally, the telecoms industry has been facing rough trading conditions, but Africa seems to be growing from strength to strength. Is there a specific reason for this? Communication is a universal need. This, alongside evolving user demands and rapid developments in technology, drive continued growth in the global telecommunications industry. However, a few key factors distinguish demand on the African continent: We have a very young population – about 60% are under 25 years old; limited fixed infrastructure (at) less than 2% fixed penetration; and the potential as a lagging adopter to embrace best practice and leapfrog mistakes of more mature markets. According to the Q3 Ericsson Financials, the company saw a decline in sales compared to the same period in the previous financial year. Can the same be said for Africa, or is Ericsson’s Africa division still seeing an increase in sales year on year? On P.9 of the quarterly report for our regional sales overview, you can see that for sub-Saharan Africa the sales increased year on year. It is driven by 3G rollouts and upgrades across the region. However, 2G rollouts still represent the largest share of global services as well as network revenues. Subscriber and data growth continues, although data grows from a low level. REGIONAL SALES OVERVIEW THIRD QUARTER 2012 Growth SEK b. Sub-Saharan Africa


Global Services

Support Solutions










NET SALES BY REGION BY QUARTER 2011 & 2012 Isolated quarters, SEK million Sub-Saharan Africa















Ericsson specifically mentions in these results that the decrease can partly be attributed to a decrease in CDMA equipment sales. Is Ericsson going to continue supporting this ecosystem? The CDMA market is transitioning as operators are deploying 4G


LTE business along with their existing CDMA network. We have had an excellent record of delivering Ericsson LTE solutions to our CDMA-installed base and we are working with our customers to support both CDMA and LTE networks simultaneously. We are delivering on CDMA technology advancements like 1x Advanced, HD Voice, EV-DO Rev B and DO Advanced. In addition, we support CDMA in Ericsson’s RBS 6000 for Sprint Network Vision, so we can consolidate multiple technologies within a single RBS to lower the operator’s operating expenses. Also, we are delivering a number of capabilities to help our CDMA operators leverage their CDMA investment to effectively inter-work and co-exist with the LTE network (including VoLTE). In summary, we are committed to supporting our installed CDMA base to enhance their network as they transition to 4G LTE. At the beginning of 2012 Ericsson Labs completed a consumer trends report. Has this report been commissioned for 2013? And can you give us a sneak preview in terms of the content of the 2013 report? Ericsson ConsumerLab has identified the hottest consumer trends for 2013 and beyond. For more than 15 years, ConsumerLab has conducted research into people’s values, behaviour and ways of using ICT products and services. The 2013 consumer trends report highlights the 10 trending topics in 2013. Some of the trends include how Cloud-reliance reshapes device needs and how city-dwellers are relentlessly going mobile. Ericsson is still working in the 2G space in Africa and continues to see a growth in revenue from 3G. Is the company preparing for a jump in revenue from LTE and the number of LTE installations in Africa? LTE is currently being deployed and built-out in all regions and will reach around 1.6 billion subscriptions in 2018. Ericsson has the largest deployment of LTE networks globally and we continue to anticipate growth across the world and also in Africa as newer devices and services boost demand. Different maturity levels between regions are reflected in their radio technology mix. Less mature regions such as the Middle East and Africa are dominated by 2G technologies such as GSM/EDGE, while more mature regions like Western Europe are dominated


by HSPA. Today, LTE is growing very strongly, particularly in North America, while Africa is dominated by GSM/EDGE. This is expected to continue, driven by a demand for low-cost telephones. However, the region is diverse, so there will be large differences between highly-developed areas and less-developed areas. We recently announced the commercial launch of two Ericsson networks in southern Africa and anticipate a growth in the demand for LTE deployments in the near future. In a recent study, Ericsson reported that it does not expect the majority of connections in the Middle East and Africa to be LTE until 2018. Why do you think this is the case? Uptake of new technologies are broadly constrained by demand economics, compelling services and devices, as well as regulatory and macro-economic feasibility. To put this into perspective: while 2G penetration today is ~75%, 3G penetration is still ~20%. A major partnership was announced between Airtel and Ericsson in November 2012. Could you give a brief outline of the partnership and its purpose? The purpose of the programme was transforming Airtel Africa’s networks to meet current and future consumer demands. The agreement covered an end-to-end network transformation and modernisation of networks in 16 African countries. It involved the upgrade of existing 2G and 3G mobile broadband access and core networks, radio transport, data charging and consumer-services platforms and systems, securing increased network capacity and availability, and preparing the networks for the delivery of next-generation services. This transformation programme follows the 2011 announcement of an ongoing five-year, multi-country managed services agreement, wherein Ericsson would manage and optimise Airtel’s mobile networks across Africa. Ericsson is currently embroiled in a patent dispute with Samsung. Do you think the litigious behaviour in the telecoms sector currently is a hindrance to innovation? And what do you think the solution to these patent disputes is for all parties currently embroiled in them? No, we do not think it is a hindrance to innovation. Ericsson does not comment on the specific litigation cases of others. In general, these cases highlight the importance of patents and licensing programmes. Patents are an integral part of the commercial ecosystems that can be built on standardised technology; GSM/ WCDMA is a good example. In that ecosystem, companies that contribute to the development of the technology commit to licence their essential patents on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms. In return for this, they get a fair and reasonable royalty. The FRAND regime also ensures that new players can enter the market, get access to the technology and compete with innovative telecom products. Patents are very important to Ericsson – our substantial R&D efforts over the years mean we now hold around 30,000 patents worldwide. Ericsson is the number one patent holder in mobile telecom. The possibility of getting a fair return on patents through licensing is important to ensure new investments in innovation and the continued success of open standardisation. Ericsson has been pushing the idea of the “connected society” for some time now. How do you feel Africa is doing in connecting all of these communities? And what could operators and regulators be doing better to achieve the goal of a “connected society”?

The digital revolution has brought the world together, connecting people and their tools to a dynamic global network. In the coming years, ICT infrastructure performance will increase rapidly, fuelled by technology advances. This will bring new opportunities for people and business to create, learn, sustain and innovate, leading to a positive impact on our world. Ericsson calls this new emerging society “The Networked Society”. African governments and regulators, alongside operators, have all been involved in shaping the extraordinary mobile world with its amazing infrastructure in which we live today. This present infrastructure forms the foundation of the “smart societies” we are creating for tomorrow. Government policies and national regulations determine the societal benefits that can be reaped from ICT. They must be responsive to the constantly changing and converging market and business conditions in the ICT sector, meaning that policy and regulatory frameworks must also continue to evolve to reflect these new realities. Issues that must be handled include market liberalisation and competition, radio spectrum management and availability, network access regulation, digital content and intellectual property rights, privacy and information management and different aspect of cybersecurity. Ericsson works across most, if not all, markets in sub-Saharan Africa. What do you feel is the biggest challenge facing the region at the moment? If there’s one major thing holding Africa back it is infrastructure. However, as the continent continues to harness its abundant natural resources and burgeoning workforce, money should become available to spend on ICT, transportation and power grids. This will enable more growth and a virtuous circle would be set in motion. This is what happened in Asia a generation ago. What is Ericsson’s position on the WiMAX/LTE debate? And are either of them 4G technologies? What do you think constitutes a 4G technology? The Wimax-LTE debate has to a very large extent faded away. It is apparent that LTE has the big momentum and will be the longterm choice of technology. The term 4G is not a formal definition of technology capabilities but it relates in practice to the ITU-defined “IMT-Advanced”, which defines a number of capabilities. From 3GPP release 10, LTE fulfills IMT-advanced requirements, hence LTE is an IMT-Advanced-capable technology and can thus be labelled a 4G technology. Further, it should be noticed that, since 3GPP release 11, HSPA also fulfills the IMT-Advanced requirements, and hence HSPA also supports a strong 4G migration path. IEEE802.16e (Wimax) does not support the IMT-Advanced requirements, but the evolved standard IEEE802.16m does. However, the current weak industry momentum on Wimax makes it questionable if this technology standard will make it into products. African operators have thus far not embraced OTT services to their full potential. If you had to guess, why do you think this is the case? Many operators do promote third-party services such as Mxit, WhatsApp, etc, and the practice of blocking VoIP services such as Skype is less prevalent than a few years ago. However, the low penetration of data services means operators and OTT players can collaborate a lot more to improve the value proposition of their offerings. AT Issue 27 AFRICA TELECOMS 67


february 25-28 MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS Barcelona, SPAIN



Helen Moroney: +44 148 088 0774






Denise Duffy: +44 20 3377 3136



Helen Moroney: +44 148 088 0774


Denise Duffy: +44 20 3377 3136



Denise Duffy: +44 20 3377 3136



Johannesburg, SOUTH AFRICA

Tarryn Volkwyn: +27 (0)11 516 4000


Tarryn Volkwyn: +27 (0)11 516 4000



Tarryn Volkwyn: +27 (0)11 516 4000


Tarryn Volkwyn: +27 (0)11 516 4000



Denise Duffy: +44 20 3377 3136



Denise Duffy: +44 20 3377 3136



september 11-12 AITEC BANKING & MOBILE MONEY COMESA 2013 Nairobi, KENYA

Helen Moroney: +44 148 088 0774


Denise Duffy: +44 20 3377 3136


october 01-02 MNVO AFRICA Cape Town, SOUTH AFRICA

Tarryn Volkwyn: +27 (0)11 516 4000


Tarryn Volkwyn: +27 (0)11 516 4000


Tarryn Volkwyn: +27 (0)11 516 4000

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


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Tarryn Volkwyn: +27 (0)11 516 4000 Issue 27 AFRICA TELECOMS 69

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Market Related Cost To Company

Permanent senior level position at Telecommunications in the Telecommunication industry.

Permanent skilled level position at PRogressive International in the Telecommunication industry.

Permanent skilled level position at Silburn & Drake in the Telecommunication industry.

CJ Ref# 1466786

CJ Ref# 1471430

CJ Ref# 1469034

Fibre Technician

Finance & Administration Supervisor

General Manager Carrier Services Voice

South Africa (Gauteng)

South Africa (Gauteng)

South Africa (Gauteng)

Market Related Cost To Company

R19,000 - R30,000 Per Month Cost To Company

Market Related Cost To Company

Permanent skilled level position at Silburn & Drake in the Telecommunication industry.

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

Permanent management level position in the Telecommunication industry.

CJ Ref# 1469084

CJ Ref# 1469130

CJ Ref# 1471184

Global Account Manager / Sales Executive

Insurance Administrator

Java Developer

South Africa (Western Cape)

South Africa (Gauteng)

South Africa (Gauteng)

R8,000 - R8,500 Per Month Basic Plus Commission

Market Related Cost To Company

Market Related Cost To Company

Permanent skilled level position at a client of Your Move Personnel in the Telecommunication industry.

Permanent skilled level position in the Telecommunication industry.

Permanent position in the Telecommunication industry.

CJ Ref# 1469822

CJ Ref# 1469911

CJ Ref# 1461729

Junior / Mid-Level Java Developer

Junior Digital Designer

Marketing Manager

South Africa (Gauteng)

South Africa (Gauteng)

South Africa (Gauteng)

R10,000 - R30,000 Per Month Cost To Company Incl Benefits

Market Related Cost To Company

R550,000 - R600,000 Per Annum Cost To Company

Permanent skilled level position in the Telecommunication industry.

Permanent position in the Telecommunication industry.

Permanent management level position in the Telecommunication industry.

CJ Ref# 1461609

CJ Ref# 1469316

CJ Ref# 1470084

Mid-Level / Senior Java Developer

Mobile Developer

Oracle PL / SQL Developer

South Africa (Gauteng)

South Africa (Gauteng)

South Africa (Gauteng)

R30,000 - R60,000 Per Annum Cost To Company Incl Benefits

Market Related Cost To Company

Market Related Cost To Company

Permanent senior level position in the Telecommunication industry.

Permanent position in the Telecommunication industry.

Contract skilled level position in the Telecommunication industry.

CJ Ref# 1441810

CJ Ref# 1469294

CJ Ref# 870611

PHP Developer


Sales / Office Support

South Africa (Western Cape)

South Africa (Gauteng)

South Africa (Western Cape)

R15,000 - R30,000 Per Month Cost To Company

Market Related Cost To Company Neg

R6,000 - R8,000 Per Month Cost To Company

Permanent skilled level position at Swift Momentum in the Telecommunication industry.

Permanent skilled level position at MC2 in the Telecommunication industry.

Permanent skilled level position in the Telecommunication industry.

CJ Ref# 1466693

CJ Ref# 1469161

for more fmcg jobs visit

CJ Ref# 1469970


TECH SCREW-UPS 2012 Yes, there have been many but here are some of the more catastrophic examples we’ve picked from 2012 – and they really range from the sublime to the ridiculous. By Bradley Shaw


A company that always prides itself on its products “working” out of the box, this has to be the biggest blunder the tech company has ever made: the product – the iOS 6 Maps software – was nightmarishly bad. Entire city maps were completely wrong, giving incorrect street names and even showing places of interest in the wrong part of a city! This soon became the butt of many meme jokes, the best of which showed a man on a ledge outside an apartment block window, with a person on the inside saying: “This is not the way to McDonalds – Apple Maps has got it wrong!” Apart from this, Apple went on to apologise for the service, and eventually some top execs fell on their swords over this embarrassing blunder. Another prime example comes from our Australian brethren, where the police are depicted issuing a warning as Apple Maps is directing people looking for the town of Mildura, to the middle of the Murray Sunset National Park. The police are then shown offering the following notice: “Police are extremely concerned as there is no water supply within the Park and temperatures can reach as high as 46 degrees (about 114 degrees Fahrenheit), making this a potentially life-threatening issue.”

Fake it before you make it? Well, Intel tried this at the beginning of 2012 at CES. With a demonstration of what was supposed to be a graphic-intensive racing game powered by the new (well, new at the time) Ivy Bridge processor, it turned out to be merely a video clip of the game. We all know that videos are often used during presentations, so there’s no need to lie about it. But what’s worse is – don’t get caught doing it!



While we are on the topic of faking it, Nokia also got caught with their pants down during 2012. With the launch of the Lumia 920, the company decided to showcase its PureView technology by “shooting” a series of shots which were used in advertisements using the 920. It later came to light, however, that it was not the 920 that was used to shoot these images, but a professional camera! Although the camera on this device is really good, this massive faux pas on the part of Nokia’s marketing team certainly didn’t endear them to the public.

While Google announced its Nexus Q with much fanfare in June 2012, it would prove to be a video streaming product priced at US$300 – that didn’t work! Furthermore, it looked like a dung beetle from a kids cartoon; it wasn’t a pretty device at all. The mere fact that Google, of all companies, launched a product that didn’t work boggles the mind. But this is no lie or elaborate joke. Google eventually decided not to bother shipping the product and to let those that made it out of the warehouse go for free.



Africa Telecoms Issue 27  

Issue 27 for MWC, Barcelona