22 04 Guest Editorial Howard Wilcox Senior Analyst Juniper Research, UK
The latest local and global telecoms news.
An exclusive interview with Valerie Layan, EMEA Vice President for Wireless Solutions, Alcatel-Lucent
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Africa Telecoms presents statistics and data relating to 4G, LTE and WiMAX. 2 AFRICA TELECOMS Issue 10 2010
ISSUE 10 2010
38 4G - From Grey to Crystal Clear
Will 4G be the service that breaks fulfillmentâ€™s back?
WiMax or TD-LTE In Africa - Not an either/or choice
FOR AFRICA TELECOMS
Executive Editor Mohammed Khan firstname.lastname@example.org Managing Editor Bradley Shaw email@example.com Sales Director Sarah Theron firstname.lastname@example.org
The journey towards 4G
Fourth Generation networks are some way off, but in the interim, two technologies are competing for their day in the sun. Which is due to win?
Will the promise of 4G wireless connect the continent?
With Thomas Erikson, Chief Executive Officer of CDMA Certification Forum
70 Job Listing
A list of the latest telecoms positions from across Africa
72 Last Word
Don’t Panic - Share and Enjoy
Design Team: Alexander Flemming email@example.com Hayley Davis firstname.lastname@example.org Gretha Hanekom email@example.com Sub-Editor Niki Sampson Printing Tandym Press Contributors: Lesley Stones, Brett Haggard, Steven Ambrose, Mohammed Khan, Austen Mascranghe, Fabricio Martinez, Andrew Gavin, Daniel Levy. Africa Telecoms and Africa Telecoms Online are published by: 3i Publishing Unit 9 & 10, Planet Art 2, 32 Jamieson Street, Cape Town 8001 T: +27 21 426 5590 E: firstname.lastname@example.org www.3ipublishing.co.za www.africatelecomsonline.com BPA Worldwide Business Publication Audit, Membership Applied for – October 2009.
Issue 10 2010 AFRICA TELECOMS 3
“ We are forecasting that globally by 2015 LTE subscribers will exceed 300 million ”
Howard Wilcox Senior Analyst, Juniper Research, UK
LTE: The Future of Mobile Broadband LTE is a global standard which is the natural development route for GSM/HSPA mobile network operators and is also the next generation mobile broadband system for many CDMA operators. The overall aim of LTE is to improve the capacity of the 3GPP system to cope with ever-increasing volumes of data traffic in the longer term – over 10 years. From the start, the LTE specification has stipulated spectrum flexibility. Therefore, as well as operating in scalable spectrum allocations, LTE is able to use both paired and unpaired spectrum depending on the local regulatory situation in the country. Recently, there has been significant progress in respect of TD-LTE (unpaired spectrum). In October 2009, China submitted TD-LTE specifications to the ITU for approval as a 4G standard – the next step from its current TD-SCDMA standard. If ratified, it will be officially recognised by the ITU as a 4G technology in late 2010. Since China’s announcement, there has been interest in TD-LTE from both India and Russia, and most of the LTE system vendors have announced TD-LTE products. This means that LTE is firmly on the map for developing countries. One of the most significant aspects of these developments is that LTE in its TD-LTE form becomes a much closer alternative to WiMAX which also operates in TDD.
More than 100 network operators worldwide have committed their future to LTE. Whilst the majority of these are in developed countries, Vodacom and Cell C in South Africa, and several Middle Eastern nations including Libya have also nailed their colours to the LTE mast. Vodacom demonstrated its live LTE network in Midrand in June. This was a landmark development as the first such demonstration in Africa. Peak downlink speeds of over 70 Mbps and 30 Mbps on the uplink were achieved: this is sufficient for full HD video streaming, although actual speeds for users will vary. The network equipment used came from Nokia Siemens Networks. That’s the good news. The bad news is that LTE rollout is dependent on spectrum availability. In mid-2010 the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) withdrew the invitations to apply for spectrum licences in the 2.6 GHz and 3.5 GHz bands due to technological issues and a review of the auction process. Revised timescales will be published, but in the meantime LTE is some way off fruition. Juniper Research’s report entitled “4G LTE Hardware Opportunities: Subscribers, End User Devices & Vendor Strategies 2010 – 2015” evaluates the LTE opportunity. We are forecasting that globally by 2015 LTE subscribers will exceed 300 million. The top three regions (North America, Western Europe and Far East and China) will together account for 90% of LTE subscribers by 2015. AT
Key LTE objectives: 1. Significantly increased peak data rates, up to 100 Mbps with 20 MHz bandwidth in the downlink and uplink peak data rates up to 50 Mbps. 2. Faster cell edge performance 3. Reduced latency for better user experience 4. Scalable bandwidth up to 20 MHz 5. Works with GSM/EDGE/UMTS systems and utilises existing 2G and 3G spectrum and new spectrum 6. Reduced CAPEX/OPEX via simple architecture, re-use of existing sites and multivendor sourcing 7. Operation in both TDD (unpaired) and FDD (paired) spectrum modes 8. Wide range of terminals – in addition to mobile phones and laptops, many further devices, such as netbooks, tablets, gaming devices and cameras, will employ LTE embedded modules 9. Mobility up to 350kph 10. Developing Countries
4 AFRICA TELECOMS Issue 10 2010
declares war against illegal bypass The National Communications Authority (NCA) is collaborating with the security agencies and the judiciary to develop procedures to arrest and prosecute fraudsters engaged in illegal international bypass. The Director-General of the NCA, Mr Paarock Van Percy, disclosed this in an interview with the Daily Graphic in Guadalajara, Mexico, on the side-lines of the ongoing 18th Plenipotentiary Conference of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). The collaboration, he said, was expected to help curb the illegal bypass operations on the international gateway traffic. . According to Mr Van Percy, the Electronic Communication Act, 2008 (Act 775) identified such actions as an offence punishable upon summary conviction by a fine or a term of imprisonment. The Minister of Communications, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, is leading a government delegation, including Mr Ohene Agyekum, Ghana's Ambassador to the United States of America (USA), Professor Mike Ocquaye, a former Minister of Communications and present Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr Twumasi Appiah, Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Communications, Mr Fritz Baffour, the Member of Parliament for South Ablekuma and member of the Communications Select Committee and senior officials from the Ministry of Communications, to the conference. Within the last three months, the government has been able to bag about $14 million by implementing the International Gateway Monitoring project. Mr Van Percy explained that the termination of international inbound calls through illegal gateway operators was done by the use of 'SIM boxes', a device that maps a call to a SIM card (in the SIM box) using the Internet and specialised Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology. "This enables incoming international calls to terminate as local calls, thus bypassing the international gateway operators duly licensed for carrying and terminating international calls," he said, adding that "SIM boxes are, therefore, used to perpetrate bypass fraud.â€? Mr Van Percy said this illegal practice was evidenced by the fact that even though the call originated from outside Ghana, a Ghanaian telephone number was reflected on the receiverâ€™s phone when the call was received. "The consequence of this is that these illegal bypass operators, usually small international carriers who seek to maximise earnings by avoiding the payment of the set international termination rates,
"This enables incoming international calls to terminate as local calls, thus bypassing the international gateway operators duly licensed for carrying and terminating international calls" succeed in robbing licensed operators and the Government of Ghana of international call proceeds," he added. Mr Van Percy said that practice had been in operation for quite some time now "but the good news is that as part of the implementation of the International Gateway Monitoring project, such calls are promptly detected and information passed to the operators to block such SIM Cards". On the NCA's regulatory powers over service operators, he said the object of the NCA was to regulate the provision of communications services in Ghana. "The NCA is mandated to grant authorisations and licences for the operation of all public communications services in the country; these include cellular networks and other such mobile communication services. The authority is also empowered to allocate and regulate the use of frequencies," he said. Mr Van Percy said part of that mandate also required the NCA to ensure fair competition among licencees, operators of communication networks and service providers of public communications. AT
>>117 Wimax Deployments in Africa in 43 Countries>>
6 AFRICA TELECOMS
NEWS Google announces TV content partners According to Telecompaper Google announced a number of content partners for Google TV, its software platform for bringing web content to the TV set. Partners include Turner Broadcasting and its websites for TBS, TNT, CNN, Cartoon Network and Adult Swim; NBC Universal with the CNBC Real-Time application to track stocks and access news feeds; the HBO GO on-demand service; the NBA Game Time application to follow basketball
scores and catch up on game highlights. Amazon Video On Demand with access to over 75,000 titles for rental or purchase; and Netflix for streaming films and TV series. Others include news sites like The New York Times and USA Today; music sites such as Vevo, Pandora and Napster; Twitter; and online networks like blip.tv. Google TV is expected to launch shortly on devices such as a set-top box from Logitech and Sony connected TVs.
ASA finds ‘4Gs' ambiguous The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld complaints about Cell C's new "4GS" advertising campaign. Complaints from both competitors and consumers were that the "4GS" logo is dishonest and misleading and that consumers will mistake it to be reference to the "4G" standard network, a level up from the existing 3G standard, especially so as the "s" in "4GS" is extremely small. Cell C submitted that the "4Gs" stand for "4 Great Service" and "4 Great Speed", in line with its "revamp" of its service delivery. Interestingly, it also argues the converse: That the term could be interpreted to mean that it offers the best data network currently in South Africa. These statements, although reasonable, are found to be ambiguous. While it is true that Cell C has a notice on its website indicating what "4GS" stand for, this is of no consequence to either its print or television advertising. "Advertising in one medium cannot be relied on to clear up ambiguity created in another," says Corné Koch, Communications Manager of the ASA. The Directorate further rejected substantiation provided for the claims; "They are supposedly building the first 4GS network in the Southern Hemisphere" and "Cell C are building a 4GS network that is apparently the most advanced in the Southern Hemisphere". These claims, together with the unqualified and ambiguous "4GS" must be withdrawn with immediate effect on receipt of the ruling," adds Koch. AT
>> Polish operator Mobyland jumped straight from 2G to LTE >>
AFRICA TELECOMS 7
NEWS ITU Secretary-General & Deputy Secretary-General Elected by Plenipotentiary Conference
ITU Members express overwhelming confidence in incumbents Touré and Zhao
Dr Hamadoun Touré
MR Houlin Zhao
Secretary-General of ITU
Deputy Secretary-General of ITU
Member States of the International Telecommunication Union today elected Dr Hamadoun Touré of Mali as SecretaryGeneral of ITU for a second four-year term. The election took place in Guadalajara, Mexico during the morning Plenary session of the 18th ITU Plenipotentiary Conference. Dr Touré won the position with 151 votes, with 157 countries present and voting. He contested the position unopposed. Addressing the conference after the vote, Dr Touré told close to 1,500 conference participants from around the world that he will “put a special emphasis on broadband access as well as continuing to ensure that cybersecurity is high on everyone’s agenda.” Dr Touré has also pledged to ensure that small island developing states and land-locked countries get special attention. ICTs and telecommunications are at the very heart of the Knowledge Societies we are now building, said Dr Touré. His dream, he said, is to ensure that every citizen on the planet can “connect to, use, create and share information, in a safe and affordable manner.” He will encourage more private sector involvement through public-private partnerships, both within
ITU and in the field. Dr Touré was first elected to the post of ITU SecretaryGeneral by ITU’s 2006 Plenipotentiary Conference in Antalya, Turkey. Since taking office, he has placed particular emphasis on building trust and security in ICT networks, harnessing the power of ICTs to help mitigate climate change, strengthening ITU’s work in emergency communications, and fostering a global vision of ‘broadband inclusion for all’. During the same morning Plenary session, Houlin Zhao of China was re-elected Deputy Secretary-General with 155 votes. No candidate was running against him. In his short address to delegates following his re-election, Mr Zhao thanked ITU Members and, in particular, the People's Republic of China, for placing renewed confidence in him. He said he appreciated the full confidence and respect that the Secretary-General has shown him over the past four years, and promised to continue to do his utmost to assist the Secretary-General and maintain the excellent working relationship they already enjoy during his next four-year term, with a view to strengthening the ITU’s leading role in global ICT development. AT
>>Neither WiMAX, 802.16e, nor the current LTE standard, revision 8, meet basic preliminary objectives for 4G as set out by the ITU >>
8 AFRICA TELECOMS
Vodafone Ghana inks outsourcing deal with Eaton Towers African tower company Eaton Towers has signed a 10-year contract to take over the operations and co-location management of 750 telecommunication towers for Vodafone Ghana. Over the life of the contract Eaton expects to invest up to US$ 80 million on upgrading and improving the existing towers and on improving Vodafone's
coverage in Ghana. The agreement also enables Eaton to sell co-location and shared-infrastructure facilities to other mobile operators, generating future revenues from separate longterm contracts. By outsourcing the management of its towers, Vodafone Ghana will benefit from cost savings and significantly reduced capital
ZTE to Deploy
GMS/UMTS Network for Reliance in India "Under the agreement, ZTE will build and supply 2G and 3G equipment for eight of Reliance’s network circles, out of a total 13."
expenditure. Eaton will assume responsibility for all operational aspects of the passive infrastructure, including health and safety, security and power provision. Upgrades to the existing sites will include new power generation equipment and advanced management systems aimed at reducing diesel consumption and other costs. AT
ZTE Corporation China’s leading provider of telecommunications equipment and network solutions, announced it has won the contract to deploy the new GSM/ UMTS project for India’s Reliance Communications. Under the agreement, ZTE will build and supply 2G and 3G equipment for eight of Reliance’s network circles, out of a total 13. “The collaboration between ZTE and Reliance is a key milestone for ZTE in India for 2010,” a key ZTE spokesperson said, “For this project, we will deploy a solution able to seamlessly accommodate 2G and 3G networks on the same platform, which is also capable of evolving into future 4G network.” AT
>>Wimax has covered 81,347,832 POPS in Africa>>
AFRICA TELECOMS 9
NEWS Global Internet Traffic
Growth Remains Strong in 2010
New data from TeleGeography’s Global Internet Geography study reveal that international Internet traffic grew 62 percent in 2010. While down slightly from the 74 percent growth recorded in 2009, it is well in line with previous years. Growth rates varied significantly by region. The regions experiencing the fastest growth in international Internet traffic between mid-year 2009 and mid-year 2010 were Eastern Europe and India/South Asia, where average traffic growth exceeded 100 percent, and the Middle East, where traffic rose just under 100 percent. Even relatively "mature" markets are still growing rapidly: western European international Internet traffic increased 66 percent, and the U.S. and Canada’s international Internet traffic climbed 54 percent. "Carriers must add enormous amounts of new capacity each year to accommodate such traffic growth," said TeleGeography Research Director Alan Mauldin. In 2010, carriers added 13.2 Tbps of new international capacity, up from 9.4 Tbps in 2009, and 6 Tbps in 2008. "Thanks to these large increases in new bandwidth, traffic growth has not overwhelmed operators’ networks, and overall network utilization levels have remained stable," said Mauldin. While the pace of network expansion is fastest in developing markets, a vast gulf exists between the amount of international Internet bandwidth available to developing countries and developed markets. For example, at mid-year 2010, the country of Austria–with a population of just over 8 million, had access to more international Internet capacity than the 1 billion inhabitants of Africa, combined. AT
Signs Deals to Manage Bharti's Africa Operations The U.S. International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) has signed a deal with India’s top mobile phone firm Bharti Airtel to supply information technology services to manage its new African operations. According to the deal, IBM will help Bharti to consolidate Bharti’s IT operations across 16 countries in Africa into one integrated system, and monitor its data center over the next ten years. Bharti said the cooperation with the international giant will help it boost its subscriber base to more than 100 million before 2012, from the current 36 million. AT
>>The next generation of mobile broadband, should be going commercial and high definition could by then be a reality on devices>>
10 AFRICA TELECOMS
NEWS Roxtec seals deal with Network Rail on national communications upgrade Bury based international safety seal manufacturer Roxtec has secured a deal to provide its product to Network Rail’s massive £1.7bn Railway Communications System project. Roxtec’s G frame will be used to seal cables from a range of hazards in the RCS cabinet. Roxtec’s UK managing director Graham O’Hare said Roxtec will be a key component in the project as the product will help protect the equipment in case of fire, flooding, explosion and rodents. The RCS is a single, communications network, covering every public railway line in Britain along 14,000k of track. The RCS will deploy Global System for Mobile Communications - Railway (GSM-R) mobile phone technology to enable direct and continuous digital communication between train drivers and signallers across the entire network plus a host of other safety-related features. “This is a terrific deal for Roxtec as it enables us to combine our experience of both the telecom and rail sectors,” said Mr O’Hare. “We have unrivalled expertise in sealing enclosures, cabinets and shelters.The RCS is one of the biggest projects
currently being undertaken in the communications industry and shows our ability to provide innovative product to the latest cutting edge technology. In this case we are helping to ensure critical communication links remain intact.” Mr O’Hare said Roxtec has already started to supply the project which is due to become functional across Britain by 2014. He added Roxtec is keen to work with mechanical, electrical and instrumentation engineers wanting solutions for sealing cables and pipes at the point they enter a wall, cabinet or structure. AT
"The RCS is one of the biggest projects currently being undertaken in the communications industry and shows our ability to provide innovative product to the latest cutting edge technology."
AT&T launches first LTE-ready device AT&T is introducing its first LTE-ready device ahead of a planned launch of the 4G services in early 2011. The AT&T USBConnect Adrenaline from LG will be AT&T's first LTE-upgradeable device. The device works on the current 3G network and can be upgraded with software once the LTE network is rolled out. The Adrenaline is equipped with an internal antenna, plug and play functionality and multiple OS support, as well as built-in GPS for enterprise applications, a multi-color LED status indicator and a microSD memory card slot supporting cards up to 32 GB. AT&T is also launching the AT&T USBConnect Shockwave from Sierra Wireless, it's first LaptopConnect device to run HSPA+. AT&T expects to upgrade to HSPA+ by the end of 2010. The Shockwave will be offered free with a two-year contract, and the Adrenaline will sell for US$ 49.99 with a two-year service agreement. AT
>>ntel Capital has invested $1.6 billion Clearwire, $43 million in Japan, $26 million in Sweden, $15 million in Malaysia to promote Wimax>>
Issue 10 AFRICA TELECOMS 11
NEWS Key themes emerging from this year's Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies include: · User experience and interaction. New styles of user interaction will drive new usage patterns, giving organizations opportunities to innovate how information and transactions are delivered to customers and employees. This includes devices such as media tablets and 3D flat-panel TVs and displays, and interaction styles such as gesture recognition and tangible user interfaces. · Augmented reality, context and the real-world Web. The migration of the Web phenomenon — and technology in general — beyond the desktop and into the context of people's everyday lives is creating new opportunities for personalized and contextually aware information access. Augmented reality is a hot topic in the mobile space, with platforms and services on iPhone and Android platforms, and it represents the next generation as location-aware applications move toward the plateau. Other elements such as 4G standard, sensor networks and context delivery architecture are evolving more slowly, but will play a key role in expanding the impact of IT in the physical world. · Data-driven decisions. The quantity and variety of digital data continue to explode, along with the opportunities to analyze and gain insight from new sources such as location information and social media. The techniques themselves, such as predictive analytics, are relatively well established in many cases; the value resides in applying them in new applications such as social analytics and sentiment analysis. · Cloud-computing implications. The adoption and impact of cloud computing continues to expand. In Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, cloud computing overall appears just topping the peak, and private cloud computing is still rising. Cloud/Web platforms are featured, along with mobile application stores, to acknowledge the growing interest in platforms for application development and delivery. · Value from the periphery. A number of technologies, such as mobile robots and 3D printing, are not yet widely used, but they can already provide significant value when used appropriately.
>> LTE supports handover and roaming with the 3GGP mobile networks. However, these services are not easy to achieve with WiMax >>
12 AFRICA TELECOMS Issue 10
NEWS Gartner's 2010 Hype Cycle Special Report
Evaluates Maturity of 1,800 Technologies Hype Cycle Research Provides a Cross-Industry Perspective on Potentially Transformative Technologies Media tablets, private cloud computing, and 3D flat-panel TVs and displays are some of the technologies that have moved into the Peak of Inflated Expectations, according to the 2010 Emerging Technologies Hype Cycle by Gartner, Inc. Gartner has examined the maturity of 1,800 technologies and trends in 75 technology, topic, and industry areas. Each of the 75 individual Hype Cycle reports provides a snapshot of a key area of IT or business. Senior executives, CIOs, strategists, business developers and technology planners should consider these technologies when developing emerging business and technology portfolios. The "Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies" is the longest-running annual Hype Cycle, providing a cross-industry perspective on the technologies and trends that IT managers should consider in developing emerging-technology portfolios (see Figure 1). "The Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies features technologies that are the focus of attention in the IT industry because of particularly high levels of hype, or those that may not be broadly acknowledged but which we believe have the potential for significant impact," said Jackie Fenn, Vice President and Gartner Fellow. "High-impact technologies at the Peak of Inflated Expectations during 2010 include private cloud computing, augmented reality, media tablets (such as the iPad), wireless power, 3D flat-panel TVs and displays, and activity streams, while cloud computing and cloud/Web platforms have tipped over the peak and will soon experience disillusionment among enterprise users," Ms. Fenn said. Transformational technologies that will hit the mainstream in less than five years include media tablets, cloud computing and cloud/Web platforms. Longer term, beyond the five-year horizon, 3D printing, context delivery
architectures, mobile robots, autonomous vehicles, terahertz waves and human augmentation will be transformational across a range of industries, according to Gartner. "The Hype Cycle reports are a convenient way to look at a set of relevant technologies and trends," said Ms. Fenn. "Many Gartner clients draw from multiple Hype Cycles, augmented with industry- or company-specific topics to create their own Hype Cycles and Priority Matrices as part of their annual technology planning. Technology providers use Hype Cycles as a way to understand the likely market reaction to their products and services, while investors watch for technologies that are on the rise in a Hype Cycle to try to catch them before they move into mainstream adoption." Gartner introduced the idea of the Hype Cycle in 1995 as a commentary on the common pattern of human response to technology. Since then, the use of Hype Cycles has expanded both within Gartner and by its clients, as a graphical way to track multiple technologies within an IT domain or technology portfolio. Gartner's Hype Cycle characterizes the typical progression of an emerging technology, from over-enthusiasm through a period of disillusionment to an eventual understanding of the technology's relevance and role in a market or domain. Each phase is characterized by distinct indicators of market, investment and adoption activities. AT
"The Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies features technologies that are the focus of attention in the IT industry because of particularly high levels of hype, or those that may not be broadly acknowledged but which we believe have the potential for significant impact"
>>WiMax could be a good option for emerging countries as the CAPEX of WiMax is lower than the CAPEX of LTE>>
Issue 10 AFRICA TELECOMS 13
NEOTEL Unveils refocused consumer offering
Neotel, South Africa’s first converged telecommunications operator, has unveiled a refocused consumer offering that offers ordinary South Africans improved access to affordable voice and entry level broadband data products. The company has also enhanced some of its existing packages and announced measures to improve customer service, while reaffirming its commitment to the consumer market. Neotel’s revised offerings are based on customer feedback and market research and follow a comprehensive review of all the systems and processes that ultimately impact on retail customers. “Neotel takes its commitments to the consumer market extremely seriously,” says Neotel MD and CEO Ajay Pandey. “We’ve been listening to what our customers and the market have been telling us and we’ve taken heed of the feedback. For the past several months we’ve been working hard to refocus our consumer business and enhance the customer’s service experience,” he says. Following the launch of Neotel’s pre-paid offer in August the company has also introduced smaller denomination recharge vouchers (R25, R50, R100 and R200) that will make it more affordable for customers. Billing issues, a common source of frustration for customers, will soon be a thing of the past as a result of a new best-of-breed billing system that has dramatically improved billing accuracy and information. Customers have already begun experiencing quicker turnarounds in query and complaint resolution following a total overhaul of the systems and processes in the customer call centre. This has included an upgrade to the CRM system as well as the establishment of a dedicated complaints team to address escalations and identify root causes of service failures to prevent recurrences. “This is an ongoing process and we are confident we are moving in the right direction,” says Pandey. “There remains a significant portion of the population who need entry-level products. We see a gap for differentiated, affordably priced voice and data offerings, and we believe we are best placed to satisfy this demand as we continue to grow our network,” he says.AT
A new home phone at a reduced price of R399
The salient features of the revised offer, several of which challenge industry conventions, include: • Identical voice tariffs across all prepaid and post-paid packages – an industry first • Availability of prepaid options for both voice as well as high speed data services • Free Neotel to Neotel calls between 18h00 to 07h00 daily, all day on weekends and public holidays • An affordable entry-level high speed data service (R99 p/m; free 500MB Data; free 500 SMS p/m) • A new home phone at a reduced price of R399 • Increase in bundled minutes and data allowance of additional 500 MB on most existing packages, resulting in significant savings for consumers
>> LTE deployments require lower power consumption than Wimax Deployments>>
14 AFRICA TELECOMS Issue 10
Cisco Cius With the tablet market hotting up by the day, Cisco systems has now enetered the fray with its Cisco Cius, the first tablet of its kind aimed at the business and enterprise market. According to reports, the Cius will bring the next wave of collaborative experiences to the business user. It is claimed that the device will fundamentally change the manner in which workers, managers and executives go about their day. The focus of the Cius is to increase productivity and bring about a new paradigm for enterprise solutions. The Cius will run on an Intel Atom 1.6 GHz processor with a 7 in thin-film transistor (TFT) liquid crystal display with backlight system. Weighing at a lightweight 0.52 KG and less than an inch thick, the tablet allows for easy portability and mobility. The Cius has a front (720 x 480 pixels at 30 fps) and a rear camera (5 megapixels with 8X digital zoom) and a battery life of approx. 8 hrs. with typical
The main attributes of Cisco Cius™ include: • Seven-inch tablet design built to bring mobility to the business user with a choice of wired Gigabit Ethernet connectivity through HD media station, IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi connectivity, or 3G (4G planned) cellular service • Contact-based user experience that provides simple access to people with a flexible choice of communication methods • HD video (H.264/AVC, 720p [1280x720] @ 30fps [frames per second]) and interoperability with the Cisco TelePresence solution • Virtual Desktop Integration for centralized data center business applications • Integrated suites of collaborative applications: Cisco Quad, Cisco WebEx™, Cisco Unified Presence, instant messaging, email, and Cisco Unified Communications Manager voice and video telephony features • Support for a wide range of applications through the Google Android Market • Expanding Android applications for business by linking Cisco Collaboration APIs through an SDK
business use. The tablet has 1 GB RAM and 32 GB eMMC flash memory. It is expected to run on Android 2.2 (Froyo). Accessories for the device include base stations for enhanced capabilities that the Cius docks into. As yet, there has been no release date for the African market, but with a global release between Q4 2010 and Q1 2011, we hope that Africa will not be far behind. The price tag is estimated to be around US$ 1,000. AT
"It is claimed that the device will fundamentally change the manner in which workers, managers and executives go about their day. The focus of the Cius is to increase productivity and bring about a new paradigm for enterprise solutions."
>> LTE is the >>natural Mobileupgrade Bankingpath Clients for forecast GSM, andtofor grow thisfrom reason 55 million LTE will users be onetough in 2009 cookie to 894 for million Wimax in 2015>> to beat>>
Issue 10 AFRICA TELECOMS 15
EVENTS CALENDAR EVENT
10 17-18 30
africacom GSMA MOBILE asia congress gsm 3g middle east telco world summit
3.9 g: 3G to 4g
Management World Asia 2011
6th Annual Digital Broadcasting Switchover Forum South Africa
GSMA MOBILE world congress
World mar 01-02 Management Middle East 2011
5th Annual e-Gov Africa Forum
AITEC Banking & Mobile Money COMESA 2011 HR4ICT11
21-23 28 29-30 31
prepaid cards africa 2011 Eurasia Com mobile money world africa
16 AFRICA TELECOMS Issue 10 2010
Cape Town South Africa
Caroline Wiezien +44 207 017 5605
Informa Telecoms & Media www.comworldseries.com
GSMA Hong Kong
Veronika Pete +44 207 017 5818
Cape Town South Africa
Patricia Chong +65 6391 2555
Informa Telecoms & Media www.comworldseries.com/me
2011 Magenta Global
TM Forum Singapore
Rumana Bukht +44 208 600 3800
Rumana Bukht +44 208 600 3800
Helen Moroney +44 148 088 0774
Rumana Bukht +44 208 600 3800
Johannesburg South Africa
Tatum Willis +27 11 516 4059
Tatum Willis +27 11 516 4059
Istanbul Turkey Johannesburg South Africa
november 2010 - september 2011 DATE
east africa com
Veronika Pete +44 207 017 5818
Informa Telecoms & Media
African Outsourcing Summit 2010
AITEC Banking & Mobile Money west africa 2011
Management World 2011
Helen Moroney +44 148 088 0774
AITEC Africa www.aitecafrica.com
TM Forum http://www.tmforum.org
Johannesburg South Africa
Tatum Willis +27 11 516 4059
Veronika Pete +44 207 017 5818
Submarine Networks World Africa 2011
Johannesburg South Africa
Tatum Willis +27 11 516 4059
Johannesburg South Africa
Management World Africa 2011
Johannesburg South Africa
media world aug 01-04 social africa 2011
Johannesburg South Africa
Tatum Willis +27 11 516 4059
Johannesburg South Africa
Tatum Willis +27 11 516 4059
05-08 06-07 20-21
satcom 2011 africa West & Central Africa Com
The internet show africa 2011
sep 20-21 nigeria com 26-29 28-29
Informa Telecoms & Media www.comworldseries.com
TM Forum http://www.tmforum.org
telecoms world africa 2011
Cape Town South Africa
Tatum Willis +27 11 516 4059
AITEC Banking & Mobile Money southern africa 2011
Johannesburg South Africa
Helen Moroney +44 148 088 0774
If you would like Africa Telecoms to add an event to the calendar, please contact Mr. Bradley Shaw at: email@example.com
Issue 10 2010 AFRICA TELECOMS 17
There’s always something new and exciting in the digital consumer world - Africa Telecoms takes a look at what’s hot this month. H Uncool HH Poor HHH Average HHHH Excellent
HHHHH Died and gone to heaven
iPhone 4 Price: 16 GB: R 8, 600 32 GB: R 10, 900 Rating: HHHHH NEED TO KNOW • Available in either 16 or 32GB sizes • Amazing Retina display • True multi-tasking • HD video recording The resemblance between the new iPhone and its predecessor is minimal. The handset itself feels heavier, and the curved, sleek feel of the iPhone 3GS is replaced with a heavier, sharper-edged stainless steel and glass affair housing the Retina Display, a backlit LED that is by far the best we’ve seen thus far on a mobile device. With a 960 x 640 resolution you’re effectively getting more screen real estate without needing a physically bigger screen and we’re pleased to report not a single discernible pixel in sight. There’s video calling (called Face Time) – allowing you to keep in face-to-face contact with loved ones when away. There’s HD video-recording too, and the end result is smooth and crisply high quality. There’s also a 5MP camera for taking still snaps, with tap-to-focus functionality and LED flash as well as geo-tagging. There’s a faster processor (a 1 GHz Apple A4 processor in fact) as well as 512MB of RAM and the battery life is vastly improved. There are more connectivity options, there’s multi-tasking and there’s push e-mail - with the iPhone, you get everything you need, and everything you didn’t know you needed, too.
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Acer Aspire TimelineX 5820TG Notebook Price: R 11, 000 Rating: HHHH NEED TO KNOW • Thin and lightweight notebook with excellent battery life • Features an HD-ready glossy 15.6” LED screen • Powered by an Intel Core i5 processor It’s fair to say that a lot of consumers want notebooks that last a long time between charges. The Acer Timeline X 5820TG, is arguably one of the best thin-and-light models available. The biggest departure from last year’s Timeline X design is to be seen in Acer’s choice of hardware: this new model favours Intel’s newest mid-range darling, the Core i5 processor. The 5820TG boasts one of the faster i5s, too, the Core i5 450M. It’s clocked at a respectable 2.4GHz, so it’s easily capable of handling most tasks thrown at it with ease. The rest of the specifications are: 4GB of RAM, a 640GB hard drive and Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit. The 5820TG ATI’s Mobility Radeon HD5650 graphics card – so it’s more than capable of handling games, even graphically-demanding ones In all, the 5820TG is a very capable notebook. Its excellent hardware is fast enough for pleasant everyday use and, best of all, long battery life is not sacrificed to get it. At this price, it offers excellent value for money and comes highly recommended.
Sony PlayStation Move Starter Kit iRiver Story eReader
Price: R 700 - Starter Kit
Price: R 3, 000 Rating: HHHH
R 550 - Standalone Controller R 350 - Standalone EyeToy Camera
NEED TO KNOW • 6” screen • Supports all major e-book formats • E-Ink technology • Full QWERTY keyboard
NEED TO KNOW • Sony’s answer to the Wii’s motion controller • Get active while you play games on PS3 • Includes a Move controller, PlayStation Eye camera and Starter Disc
Compact, lightweight and supremely portable, the iRiver Story is the Kindle alternative, only better. Why? It comes down to better file support: it supports all e-book formats (including those freely available on the Internet), which are basically computer files that can be displayed on an e-reader. While almost all e-readers support HTML, text, MP3 and JPG files, the Kindle only supports the .azw format (which can be bought only from Amazon) in addition to these, and not the ePub format that has become the e-book standard. The iRiver Story makes use of a black-and-white E-Ink display, which conserves power making it more readable than backlit screens. Since it is capable of 7, 000 page turns, you should get a lot of reading time between charges with the iRiver. You’ll need this battery life, as the built-in 2GB of memory is expandable to 32GB using SD and miniSD cards, which equates to a lot of books. The iRiver can also play MP3 music files and has built-in speakers, along with a 3.5mm headphone jack, handy if you enjoy audio books.
Sony has finally released its answer to Nintendo’s motion control system. It’s called Move, and it’s a big improvement on Nintendo’s Wii remote in every way, with better sensitivity and accuracy. Best of all, it feels very comfortable in your hand thanks to its ergonomic, rounded edges. The Starter Kit consists of the PlayStation Eye camera, one Move controller and a ‘starter disc’ that contains instructions on how to get going, as well as a collection of game demos that show off the Move controller’s capabilities. The PlayStation Eye camera is used to track the Move controller’s motions, which are then translated into on-screen actions. There is also a device called a ‘gyroscope’ inside the controller that tells the PS3 how it is being held, which is how the PS3 knows whether you’re pointing it up or down. Sony has had a good few years to perfect its technology, and it shows. The Move controller looks, feels and plays way better than Nintendo’s Wii remote, which more than justifies the fouryear wait.
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Logitech Universal Harmony 650 Remote Price: R 1, 200 Rating: HHHH NEED TO KNOW • Replaces up to 5 remotes • Supports 5 000+ brands • Simple online setup • One-click activity buttons Having a home entertainment system is all about relaxing. You get home after a busy day at the office, plonk down on the couch and reach for the remote to start channel-surfing. But juggling all the different remotes and settings on your TV, amplifiers and speakers and everything else can be stressful – which is the last thing you need. What you do need is the Logitech Harmony 650. This is the one device that will truly simplify your life and de-clutter the lounge by replacing all remotes with just one that can control up to five of your home entertainment gadgets. What’s more, you can configure it so that you get right to your movie, music or favourite channel in just one click. Basically, the Harmony 650 consolidates all the actions needed to enjoy your home entertainment setup. So how does it work? Simple – the remote needs to be hooked up to your Internet-connected computer via USB to configure all your equipment. It’s quick and painless. Bottom line: if you’re looking for a gadget that’s all about simplifying your life, or you’ve lost one of the remotes in your home entertainment arsenal, you might as well ditch them all and get one of these. It won’t be long before you consider it worth every cent spent.
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Apple iPod Touch 4G Price: From R 2, 200 Rating: HHHHH NEED TO KNOW: • Retina display • HD video recording • Game Centre • 8/32/64GB variations The iPod Touch is an incredibly good-looking portable media player (music, photos and video) that doubles as an Internet device capable of web browsing, offering access to all the applications that make Apple gadgets so popular. All of this is tied together with the brilliant touch-screen experience that Apple fans can’t seem to get enough of. The latest iPod Touch has the same display qualities as the new iPhone 4 and it also runs the same A4 Apple processor which makes it capable of high-powered tasks like recording 720p HD video and burning through apps and games with ease. Speaking of games, much fuss has been made about Game Center on the iPod Touch – a fast processor, gorgeous display and a three-axis gyroscope with multi-touch support make for an incredible hands-on gaming experience, and with access to thousands of apps and games in the App Store. A lot of hype has been made about the iPod Touch having a camera (two, in fact) - one rear camera that shoots 720p video and stills at 1280 x 720 and a second camera around the front, a VGA camera similar to the iPhone’s. this rear camera is perfect for on-the-spot snaps and the video chat facility that Apple calls FaceTime. Overall, it’s a lust-worthy gadget – Apple really know how to keep their fans happy and spending.
Canon Selphy CP-780 Printer Bundle Price: R 1, 200 Rating: HHHH NEED TO KNOW • User-friendly, ultra-compact photo printer • Print from camera or memory card • Auto Red-Eye & Image Correction • Variety of print sizes The Canon Selphy CP-780 is a portable photo printer that’s aimed at the family market, so it’s easy for everyone to use, from gadget-crazy kids to techno-phobic oumas, and because it doesn’t require a PC to work, its functionality is straightforward. The 2.5” LCD display comes in handy when not hooked up to a PC and the smartly-labeled control buttons will take any user through the simple editing and special-effects options right through to printing in a variety of sizes. The Selphy CP-780’s best selling points are its three media slots for SD cards, CompactFlash, MultiMediaCards and memory sticks as well as PictBridge support. It doesn’t use Inkjet printing technology. It uses something much, much better – dye sublimation print technology, which uses heat to transfer ink onto the print material, in layers, ending with a final clear overlay, which makes prints look vibrant and crisp, and protects them from water and smudging. As such, you can see why this print process is preferable when printing photographs: you want something that’s vivid, bright and sharp; you also want it to be smudge-proof and this is something no Inkjet printer can produce. This printer has a lot going for it – portability, foolproof easeof-use and superb quality photo prints, and with an attractive price tag like this, we’re confident it will practically sell itself.
Samsung Galaxy Tab Price: R 8, 000 Rating: HHHH NEED TO KNOW • 7” tablet PC • Android ‘Froyo’ operating system • Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and HSDPA networking • Doubles as a mobile phone With their easy-to–use, touch-based user interface, more than 10-hour battery life and ability to connect users to important information online, tablet computers are being hailed as the next big thing in personal computing. It’s a 7” device, which means a small sacrifice in screen real estate, but a significant improvement in portability. There’s little sacrifice in screen quality and the Tab has a 1 024 x 600-pixel resolution. That means it has the perfect resolution for watching videos in 16:9 aspect ratio without impacting the web browsing, e-mail and applications experience. The 1GHz processor used in the Galaxy Tab is just as competent as the processor used in the iPad – meaning the same bang in a smaller package. A smaller package, with more connectivity options – with built-in Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and 3G modules, while only some iPad models have the latter. There’s also Adobe Flash support, which means the browsing experience will be phenomenal. On the memory front, the Galaxy Tab is available with 16GB or 32GB of storage and has a built-in SD card slot, making it easy to add capacity as needed. We like that the Galaxy Tab includes both a 3-megapixel rear camera with LED flash, as well as a 1.3-megapixel front-facing one. The iPad has no built-in camera. This makes the Tab perfect for video-conferencing and capturing 720p video, adding quite a bit to the device’s usefulness. The Galaxy Tab is a fantastic competitor to the iPad and sure to do well in South Africa.
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LTE THOUGHT LEADERSHIP
the definitive first step to 4G networks
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Valérie Layan, EMEA Vice President for Wireless Solutions at AlcatelLucent, believes that it’s LTE and not WiMAX that will champion the move towards 4G networks. Africa Telecoms caught up with her to more deeply explore what some of the reasons for this are.
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support VoIP services and low latency and bandwidth hungry applications like Video), enable service-aware management of quality of service (QoS) and also provide seamless compatibility with legacy networks and high-quality user terminals suitable for worldwide use. So, formally speaking, Layan says that neither the first LTE networks becoming available nor current WiMAX 16e networks can be considered 4G networks. “And this is the reason we say that the term 4G is being misused. “So, from a standards perspective neither first LTE networks nor current WiMAX (802.16e) networks are 4G. Definition unclear “However, if you look at it from the ValérieLayan, EMEA Vice President perspective technology evolution things for Wireless Solutions, Alcatelhave moved from amplitude modulation Lucent says that broadly speaking, (1G) to frequency & time modulation the definition of 4G depends on the (2G/GSM) to Code division multiple target audience that it is targeted at. access (3G/CDMA/WCDMA) and now “The term 4G is generally used to the fourth generation of modulation/ to differentiate next generation multiplexing that is based on orthogonal networks from current networks frequency division (4G/OFDMA),” based on 3G or 3G+ (HSPA+) she says. technologies or in other words to Also, from an end-user perspective designate “beyond third generation both LTE and WiMAX represent a (3G)” technologies,” Layan says step function and provide significantly At a most basic level, the ITU’s Valérie Layan greater quality of experience compared definition of IMT-advanced details EMEA Vice President for Wireless Solutions to 3G. that 4G technology should deliver Alcatel-Lucent “Both standard LTE and WiMAX more than 100Mbps data rates in 16e represent a step function and mobile contexts, more than 1Gbps in static or nomadic mode contexts, and end-end IP transmissions. provide significantly greater quality of experience compared to 3G, hence, stakeholders (operators, device & infrastructure Additionally, 4G should deliver a lower cost per bit on vendors, press) name both technologies as “4G,” but, they’re standard data connections and allow for VoIP services to not yet 4G,” she says. function without (enabled by low latency connections), be “LTE provides a great step towards-LTE advanced, supportive of service-aware management of quality of service whereas it’s uncertain whether WiMAX 16m will make it to and in the interests of allowing customers to transition to implementation,” she adds. this newer technology as it suits them, also provide seamless “LTE is the best route for operators to follow because it’s compatibility with legacy networks and high-quality user part of the same family as existing 3GPP (GSM, WCDMA, terminals suitable for worldwide use. HSPA, HSPA+) and 3GPP2 (CDMA, CDMA1x, “Out of all of the technologies that are part of ITU’s IMT EVDO) networks. radio standards (IMT-advanced and 802.16m) only two are “A great deal of work has already been done on eligible to be called 4G, namely LTE-advanced and WiMAX standardization to ensure the smoothest possible evolution from 16m,” Layan says. 3GPP/3GPP2 networks towards LTE and interworking between “And the reality is, these technologies will not be deployed in the next couple of years, if at all, as is the case with WiMAX networks based on these technologies,” she says. “WiMAX on the other hand is an IEEE standard, and 16m,” she says. interworking with 2G/3G networks has to be done via special Features of what a 4G technology should deliver mechanisms, where the WiMAX access network is used as a commonly include: “trusted non-3GPP access.”” Greater speeds, multi Mbps (vs. Kbps) average speeds in “There isn’t as precise a definition for interworking mobile or stationary usage scenarios, provide full mobility, mechanisms for WiMAX and that causes challenges,” she says. be All-IP (to deliver a lower cost/bit, and in particular ith the seemingly insatiable hunger for higher speed data connections, driven by the fast approaching cloud computing trend, not to mention the foregone conclusion that voice traffic will simply become another form of data traffic in the foreseeable future, the race is on for technology vendors and cellular networks to build networks that eclipse the performance of current 3G and HSPAbased networks. As such, the current hot-button is 4G mobile networks - a term that still conjures up the possibility of true convergence.
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"We see WiMAX business opportunities for regional or small scale networks in the future and not for large scale deployment"
For these reasons, it’s not surprising that Alcatel-Lucent has decided to focus its research and development on LTE. “Alcatel-Lucent believes that LTE is the next step for most wireless operators (2G/3G, CDMA, WIMAX). In terms of interoperability with existing networks LTE is the natural evolution path for all GSM/WCDMA/HSPA and CDMA/ CDMA1x/EVDO networks,” Layan explains.
LTE the clear focus area
Alcatel-Lucent’s belief is that LTE will be the dominant global technology choice for mobile service providers and will be unmatched in terms of performance, economies of scale, feature capabilities, device and applications ecosystem and delivering what today’s mobile users are demanding. The adoption of the LTE technology is already gaining traction across the United States, Scandinavia and Japan. Both Verizon Wireless and AT&T are moving forward with their 4G/LTE networks in the US, with Verizon Wireless promising to launch the next-generation technology in 38 major metropolitan areas by Q4 2010, covering a population of more than 110 million, and AT&T by the summer of 2011, with 70-75 million population covered by the end of that year. This clearly demonstrates the momentum around LTE technology and the scale of deployments. “We have completed the transfer of our R & D budget to support activities in LTE and we have decreased the team working on WiMAXwhile increasing the team working on LTE,” she says. “We are however maintaining a team of appropriate size so that we are able to continue to support our existing WIMAX customers with maintenance services and hold true to our business commitments,” she adds. “Alcatel-Lucent will continue to support its existing WiMAX customers over the next few years under a multi-year maintenance plan. We also will continue partnering with them on a scenario to transition their network to LTE at a later stage,
should they express the wish to do so,” she says. Layan says that the company is still supporting the rampup of more than 17 active commercial WiMAX networks, with over 200 000 subscribers supported on Alcatel-Lucent’s WiMAX equipment to date. “We will also continue partnering with customers on a scenario to transition their network to LTE at a later stage, should they express the wish to do so,” she says. This is strongly in-line with what Layan says about LTE being the next logical step. “LTE is poised to deliver an unprecedented “always-on” quality of experience over traditional and new wireless devices, while supporting greater network scalability and agility. These new strengths will help operators further increase wireless data usage and revenues and explore new business models with media, content providers, Web partners and advertisers — all while containing costs,” comments Layan. “Furthermore, LTE holds all the critical ingredients for success: economy of scale as the first truly worldwide wireless standard, high-performance technology building-blocks (all-IP, OFDM), sound frequency spectrum regulation, and massive support from Tier-1 operators. This is why we Alcatel-Lucent took the decision to focus our efforts on LTE for newgeneration networks,” Layan says.
WiMAX not dead in the water
“We see WiMAX business opportunities for regional or small scale networks in the future and not for large scale deployment,” Layan says. “And this is evidenced by an increasing number of WiMAX operators moving their plans to LTE, or expressing interest in migrating to LTE at a point in time, as well as the growing interest for LTE in countries where WiMAX was seen as a de facto choice not so long ago. “It confirms that we took the right decision two years ago,” she adds.
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Even though WiMAX has a head start with regards to network deployments and the overall maturity of the ecosystem, Layan says that Alcatel-Lucent sees LTE catching up at a very fast pace. “According to GSA last report (issued at the end of Aug 2010), there are 132 operators in 56 countries investing in LTE with 101 commercial LTE network commitments in 41 countries. “Even if the first large scale network commercial launches are not expected before the end of this and next year, this clearly demonstrates the momentum around LTE technology,” she says. By contrast, the most recent figures from the WiMAX Forum indicate there are 592 networks deployed in 148 countries. “That said however, one should also consider that it includes a number of WiMAX 16d networks that were deployed years ago and that a large number of these networks are small scale/ local networks that can hardly compete with a mobile network in terms of size and expenditure,” she says.
Not an easy transition
Making the step shift change from 2.5G/3G to 4G networks, will not be easy since Layan says implementing LTE means significant changes in the architecture of mobile networks. “In particular, an all-IP transformation is required and a new air interface is introduced,” Layan explains. “Wireless is moving toward broadband and multimedia and this creates new and exciting business opportunities for service providers, but also comes with a set of challenges for them. “Network IP transformation should be carefully planned and managed at all steps, taking into account all the aspects to achieve performance and cost-efficiency objectives and enable
service provider to transform their business models. “It requires knowledge and experience,” she says, “and very few mobile service providers are familiar with IP transformation that wire line networks experienced some 5 to 10 years ago.” Thanks to the company’s in-house IP and wireless capabilities, Layan says Alcatel-Lucent’s customers can build on its High Leverage Network (HLN) architecture which addresses the dual challenge of simultaneously scaling and managing network capacity to meet increasing bandwidth demands while delivering differentiated, revenue-generating services at a lower overall cost. “Alcatel-Lucent has the equipment, services, experience and vision to help operators successfully achieve their deployment or network evolution to LTE,” she says.
Partner of choice
“We see our role as the end-to-end LTE solution partner of mobile service providers worldwide,” Layan says. “We have the industry’s most comprehensive offer with an unmatched combination of wireless and IP expertise (we are leader in IP) and LTE leadership (with high performance, scalable and cost-efficient network), a proven network and business transformation experience with a full set of professional services and a rich and open ecosystem of devices, applications and content,” she says. According to Layan, this holistic approach and preintegration of a complete network solution with rich ecosystem brings unmatched values to service providers. Layan says that the company recently conducted a study with Bell Labs to quantify the additional benefits of our endto-end LTE approach versus the “siloed” approach used when
REGULATING LTE Beyond infrastructure, regulatory issues play a key role in the evolution to LTE. The first challenge faced by regulators is to release wideband spectrum (nx20 MHz) In the frequency bands used worldwide by the LTE industry (2.6 GHz FDD/TDD, 700/800 MHz, 2.3 GHz TDD). This spectrum is often already carrying telecommunications services for national authorities (state and military), or analog TV (800 MHz Digital dividend). A further challenge that regulators must overcome is the definition of efficient rules combining social development objectives, technical constraints, and sustainable business casesfor the operators. Typically, regulators must find the right timetable and level for population coverage obligations in urban and rural areas, and take into considering their particular national context (demography, topology, wireless penetration). Beyond frequency allocation and regulation, telecom ministers
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have the huge challenge – together with other government agencies (Economy, Education, Health) to actively contribute to social and industrial development through broadband Internet adoption. The action of telecom authorities spans from incentive policy to increase PC and internet penetration, to partnerships between global and local stakeholders, universities and state organizations to foster a local ecosystem enabling local e-services (e-government, e-learning, e-health.) and productivity gain of local enterprises.
"A further challenge that regulators must overcome is the definition of efficient rules combining social development objectives"
overlaying a legacy network with LTE. “Our end-to-end approach resulted in a 70% higher NPV (Net present Value) with incremental cost savings and incremental revenue growth for the operator. “On the end-user front, this is all about having the enriched quality of experience they have been waiting for and consumers are excited by the faster speed and remaining connected to a broadband network while on-the-go. “Businesses are also seeing the value of wireless multimedia for increased efficiency in business processes,” she says. “With speeds in excess of 10 times what 3G delivers today and to five times better latency than today’s networks, LTE promises to bring the wireless experience closer to a wired broadband desktop experience, enabling real-time applications like voice, video, and gaming to be delivered to the mass market over a pure wireless IP network,” she says. Layan says this panacea requires the combination of an LTEoptimized network, devices and innovative applications from service providers. “And the Alcatel-Lucent end-to-end LTE solution brings together solutions and services that ensure they will be able to deliver on all those aspects,” she says. “Alcatel-Lucent’s market leading end-to-end LTE solution resonates with wireless operators, as is evidenced by the successful conclusion of 50 trials and 7 contracts across the
globe,” she says. “Beyond Macro LTE Radio Access and packet core network, we are convinced that a tight integration with IMS is critical to delivering advanced communication services, including VoIP,” she says. “Another key domain for Alcatel-Lucent is LTE small cells, which are poised to play an increasing role in new-generation wireless networks, as we believe that metro cells and Femto cells will be increasingly important to increase traffic density and complement LTE macro layer,” she says. Alcatel-Lucent has established itself as the leading end-toend Femto/Small Cell vendor, currently holding more than 20 ongoing trials and 14 commercial deployment agreements with operators around the world (as-of October ’10).
Viable for emerging markets
The broad perception in the market is that LTE is a technology for well-evolved countries that have been through the throes of 3G and HSPA and are now looking for even better performance in the mobile realm. As such, popular opinion is that LTE is still some way away from being viable for emerging markets, such as Africa that are only now moving forward with 3G rollouts.Layan says however that this perception is incorrect “Product wise, LTE roll-outs are totally realistic in Africa in Issue 10 2010 AFRICA TELECOMS 27
“In some countries where 3G is either unavailable or scarcely available, such as Algeria, leapfrogging from 2G to LTE can make a lot of sense,” the short-term,” she says. “This is confirmed by the increasing interest of African wireless operators to discuss and test Alcatel-Lucent LTE solutions, looking to confirm the performance, maturity and total cost of ownership the wireless broadband technology can offer. “Two pre-requisites exist however,” she adds. “This first relates to regulation around LTE, including the awarding of new frequency spectrum (typically in 2.6 GHz, 800 MHz bands) to operators or them being granted permission by the regulator to re-use 2G/3G spectrum for LTE (for example, 1800 MHz). “The second is that a sound ecosystem of devices, applications and contents matching African market segments develops. “Alcatel-Lucent is very active – through the ‘ng Connect’ program (gathering 47 partners as of Sept. 2010) – to accelerate the LTE ecosystem’s development,” she says.
Africa ready for LTE
Layan furthermore believes that African countries are well positioned to leapfrog from 2.5G technologies to 4G technologies using LTE as an intermediary step. “In some countries where 3G is either unavailable or scarcely available, such as Algeria, leapfrogging from 2G to LTE can make a lot of sense,” she says. “LTE ideally complements 2G by offering broadband Internet access on connected laptops or fixed residential gateways, while 2G continues to absorb the voice and data services on featured handsets and smartphones. “From an infrastructure standpoint,” she says, “introducing LTE on a 2G network is not only feasible, but offers real synergies.” For instance, she says, the 1800 MHz spectrum usually used for 2G operations can be partly re-used to operate LTE. Getting back to regulation, she says however that the African market can take comfort in the fact that its regulators are on the right track when it comes to spectrum allocation and that they have a sound understanding of the benefits of allocating spectrum correctly. “Even if regulation differs across Africa in terms of frequency allocated for LTE and the timetable they envisage for this, those regulators I met with are very aware of the opportunities brought by LTE and the right choices to unleash LTE in Africa while leveraging the global LTE ecosystem and economies of scale. “LTE in undoubtedly relevant for markets like Africa,” she concludes. AT 28 AFRICA TELECOMS Issue 10 2010
By Fabricio Martinez, Services Director, AIRCOM International
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An Important Link in the African Mobile Broadband Upgrade Chain or an Unnecessary and Expensive Obstacle?
frica remains a key growth market for mobile broadband with Governments across the continent acknowledging the significant role the technology will play in boosting ICT growth. All countries across Africa are therefore focused on delivering nationwide broadband connectivity, creating widespread social inclusion that is proven to drive GDP. There are currently more than 500 million mobile connections in Africa as mobile handsets continue to play an integral role in the lives of African people, not only revolutionising communications, but facilitating wider services like payment functionality and providing access to health and banking services – often for the first time. When combining this with the widespread absence of fixed line infrastructure, it is clear that mobile broadband services hold the key to bridging the digital divide in Africa. It is therefore important that African mobile operators take a measured and intelligent approach to mobile broadband deployment and maximise the significant opportunity available to them. For some operators, this will mean embracing HSPA technology, for others it could mean bypassing the technology altogether and moving straight to LTE. Africa – a significant growth opportunity for HSPA
The African mobile data market continues to expand aggressively. According to Pyramid Research, mobile broadband is the fastest growing segment of the Africa & Middle East telecom market, with subscribers expected to quadruple from 8.9m in 2009 to 37.9m in 2014. Furthermore, data card adoption is growing as robustly in Africa and the Middle East as it is anywhere else in the world. It is therefore unsurprising that HSPA technology is starting to generate real traction in Africa. South Africa in particular has the most advanced existing infrastructure, supporting the greatest number of live HSPA connections in Africa today. North African countries such as Egypt, Libya and Morocco also have a burgeoning market for HSPA technology, with strong growth anticipated over the next few years. In West Africa, Nigeria and Kenya will also be key areas for HSPA growth now that the relevant spectrum has been allocated to support commercial deployment. Other markets set to deploy 3G technology in Africa include Tanzania, Namibia and Botswana.
HSPA+ - particularly compelling for Africa
These factors create a clear window of opportunity for HSPA and in particular HSPA+ in Africa. Both technologies benefit from a clear upgrade path from 2G technology and a vast global ecosystem delivering choice in available devices while driving down prices. Perhaps even more significant, however, is the ability for mobile operators to deploy HSPA and HSPA+ technologies using spectrum available today. As HSPA+ is a software upgrade from HSPA, it is logical that it will prove a compelling option for the majority of Africa. HSPA+ is capable of peak data speeds of 21Mbps. Recent reports from the USA stated that T-Mobile’s existing HSPA+ network was delivering typical download speeds of between 5Mbps and 8Mbps, putting it on a par with Clearwire’s existing WiMAX “4G” network. HSPA+ can be further upgraded to deliver 42Mbps by adopting HSPA+ dual carrier technology. Cell C in South Africa has indicated that it will deploy this dual carrier technology over the next 6-8 months. Another important consideration is that HSPA+ has a clear upgrade path to LTE by upgrading software radios within the network. HSPA+ therefore can be positioned to African operators as a future-proofed technology that will enable them to maximise existing available resources today while enabling them to take a step closer to LTE – a compelling short to medium term solution which some African countries with existing 3G infrastructure will find difficult to ignore.
Widespread support for HSPA and HSPA+ in Africa
The presence and involvement of large African mobile operators and their ongoing investment in fibre and backhaul capabilities will alter the mobile landscape in Africa. Operators including MTN and Bharti are funding an off shore pipeline to deliver a mobile broadband network backbone. This will be placed along the west coast of Africa and support the delivery of mobile broadband services across the continent.
There are currently more than 500 million mobile connections in Africa as mobile handsets continue to play an integral role in the lives of African people
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Recent acquisitions now mean that the big players in Africa such as MTN, Bharti, Etisalat and Globacom have operations across several African markets and are targeting further expansion. These operators bring investment, expertise and key learnings from recent HSPA and HSPA+ deployments in the Middle East and have started applying them to Africa. These large operator groups have the necessary size and scale to shape the future of mobile broadband deployments across Africa. Not only can they command better economies of scale in terms of building and delivering the infrastructure for the lowest possible price, they already own the majority of existing sites and will ensure technology choices are consistent with their other deployments across other territories â€“ not least to capture roaming revenues. Most existing sites were erected in Africa with future technology upgrades in mind. The presence of single RAN nodes on most existing sites will ensure a straight forward upgrade path from 2G to HSPA/ HSPA+ to LTE in many African markets. It is highly likely that large African operators already pursuing 3G technology will take advantage of these cost efficiencies and drive take up of HSPA+ in the short to medium term before moving to LTE.
Must HSPA come first? What about the LTE leapfrogging effect?
With many global operators currently contemplating their migration to LTE technology, it is reasonable to ask why African operators without existing 3G infrastructure are contemplating HSPA deployment when it could make sense to go straight from 2G to LTE. It is conceivable that African operators could maintain their existing 2G network for voice and messaging and deploy LTE as their means to deliver mobile broadband. The presence of software defined radios and single RAN technology in existing 2G networks means that up scaling 2G infrastructure to LTE is a possibility. In addition to this, African
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operators continue to invest in fibre to deliver optical backhaul capabilities to support the provision of LTE making the concept look even more viable. The biggest barrier to LTE in Africa is time to market. With the absence of devices and a lot of the required spectrum, African operators could face a long wait before LTE becomes a commercial reality. This is why African countries with existing 3G infrastructure will continue to pursue HSPA and HSPA+. Operators in these countries are preoccupied with taking advantage of the wide number of available, cost effective HSPA enabled devices to claim the biggest possible market share before the arrival of LTE. The challenge facing mobile operators without 3G infrastructure however is very different. They will be focused on differentiating themselves by building the best performing mobile broadband network possible that leverages existing sites and enables mobile broadband services across rural and urban areas. The presence of software defined radios and single RAN technology means existing 2G infrastructure can be upgraded to deliver LTE cost effectively. Furthermore, operators choosing to move from 2G to LTE can forgo the expense of running three networks (2G, 3G, LTE) simultaneously and the spectrum that could have been allocated for HSPA and HSPA+ deployment can be allocated to support LTE, removing the need for further expensive spectrum auctions. For a majority of African operators, the presence of existing 3G infrastructure and anticipated growth of HSPA and HSPA+ means waiting for LTE technology to mature simply isnâ€™t an option. For others, moving directly from 2G to LTE at a time that is economically right for them could deliver significant cost savings and deliver real differentiation. Every African operator faces its own challenges and each one will have to intelligently define its own migration path to LTE. AT
hen discussing the impact of 4G on Operational Support Systems (OSS), the focus is usually on charging and billing. This is appropriate as these are areas which network operators have to change as they move from circuit-switched to (eventually) all-IP packet-switched networks, and of course there is no point in deploying the technology if you don’t get paid for it. The good news is that these changes are relatively well defined by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) and the issues currently well publicized by industry analysts and solution vendors. So the billing half of the equation seems relatively well addressed – but what about fulfillment? It is here that potentially unforeseen impacts on the operator’s OSS stack lurk, which if ignored, could turn out to represent the proverbial ‘straw that breaks the camels back’. As a mobile broadband technology offering higher speed and quality, 4G itself is unlikely to be a differentiator for long, and will over time suffer commoditization and margin erosion. So to maximize their revenues, operators will need to offer additional services that will exploit 4G connectivity and help to differentiate their offering. Of course, there is much debate about whether operators can really benefit from a share in the revenues of next generation IP services – or whether they are destined to become ‘dumb bit-pipes’ and see so-called ‘over-the-top’ providers take the premium revenue. Africa, it can be argued, is different in this regard because, in many cases, the operator controls the relationship with consumers who lack permanent addresses or bank accounts - but who
34 AFRICA TELECOMS Issue 10 2010
be the that Breaks Fulfillment’s Back? do have mobile numbers and a pre-paid balance held by the operator. This effect can already be seen in the rise of mobile banking and payments in Africa with operators effectively acting as banks. Furthermore, African operators are well positioned to use high speed connectivity to deliver services that address some of the continent’s unique developmental challenges, including education (with virtual classrooms), healthcare (remote consultations), economic development (mobile banking and payments) and even security (remote monitoring). So African operators are well positioned to capitalize on a share of the services delivered over 4G because they have a unique relationship with the customer from a payment perspective, and they will offer services that address compelling needs and not just discretionary spending on ‘infotainment’. However, if African operators embrace this opportunity, it will lead to an explosion in the number and complexity of services and products which they and their new partners will offer. The risk of this increased service eco-system complexity, if not planned for, is a corresponding increase in both the cost and time required to design, build, package and deliver new service and product bundles to market, and an increased overhead in managing increasing numbers of products and services. This increase in costs clearly reduces the possible ROI from 4G deployment, and African operators can ill afford an increase to their cost base in markets already suffering from low ARPUs and the threat of increasing competition and price wars.
A longer time-to-market for new 4G services is also likely to be detrimental as their target African market could well be relatively small due to the high relative cost of advanced mobile devices and services as a proportion of GDP per capita. So ‘first mover advantage’ will be critical in maximizing revenue and margins in what are likely to be, at least initially, small and niche markets. So what actions should operators take to ensure that launching that ‘latest shiny service’ does not become the ‘final straw’ for their fulfillment stack? Firstly, operators need to carefully consider how they will provision their new services. Given that the African market is still heavily dominated by GSM and pre-paid subscribers, provisioning is often relatively simple, with a focus on bulk pre-provisioning of SIMs and services, and a reliance on manual processes to integrate other provisioning activities. It will be tempting to shoe-horn the first few 4G services into the existing GSM-centric processes and platforms because it initially seems ‘simple enough’ to do. But this approach is unlikely to stand up to the challenge of launching more complex future services and will be unsustainable in the long term. Another temptation will be to implement new servicespecific (sometimes referred to as ‘silo’) solutions as ‘quick wins’. But this will further increase the complexity of the OSS environment thereby reducing business agility, and should therefore also be avoided. Rather, operators need to take a long term view, ensuring that a fully automated, multi-technology and multi-service provisioning platform is put in place.
BY Andrew Gavin MEA Business Development Comptel Corporation South Africa
Secondly, operators need to consider product and service management solutions (catalogs) to help them manage their growing portfolios, build new services more rapidly (often through federation rather than integration), and orchestrate the delivery of products across a number of their own, and third party, platforms. By implementing an architecture that stores the product composition centrally, operators can enable rapid product assembly and delivery while leveraging their existing provisioning platform(s). Thirdly, operators need to consider how they will keep track of which services and packages a subscriber has. Subscriber data will be spread across even more platforms and network databases as 4G services are rolled out. Typically, CRMs do not maintain a full record of a subscriber’s services, tariffs and policies - so operators should consider implementing a centralized repository for all subscriber and service information. Without this, management of subscribers and services will become increasingly costly and time-consuming, and likely adversely affect the customer experience. So, while African operators are well positioned to capitalize on 4G networks and services, they also need to plan for a corresponding increase in service and product complexities. Failure to do so will risk an escalation in costs and timeto-market for launching new services and products. Finally, while much is rightly made of charging and billing for next generation services, operators should not ignore the potential impacts on fulfillment even though the changes may seem trivial or the potential problems are not immediately obvious. AT
Issue 10 2010 AFRICA TELECOMS 35
AFRICA TELECOM STATS The purpose of this page is to give readers of Africa Telecoms a brief overview as to the growth and statistics related to the Telecoms and ICT markets in Africa. What we will be doing on an annual basis is relooking at the statistics, this way over time Africa Telecoms will have a basis for tracking developments and growth in the Africa Market. Each Edition of Africa Telecoms will be focused on a specific area. This month we focus on 4G Technologies; to this end we have tried to include a range of related statistics relevant
to the International Telecoms Market, considering that 4G Technologies are still in their infancy the information is fairly general. I trust that you will find this information of value and interest, should you have comments on this page or statistics that you think would be relevant that we have not included (or that you have access to and would be of interest to our readership) the Africa Telecoms team would appreciate an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
HSPA subs are forcasted to increase by 2219% in the next 5 years Informa Telecoms & Media 2010
Africa subscription forecast by technology 900
800 700 600 500 400 300 200 100 0 2010
3.5G (HSPA, EV-DO Rev. A)
3G (WCDMA, EV-DO)
2G AND 2.5G (GSM, GPRS, EDGE, 1xRTT)
Africa Country share of HSPA subscriptions, 2015
Africa Country share of HSPA subscriptions, 2010
Informa Telecoms & Media 2010
Informa Telecoms & Media 2010
Others 21% Kenya 7%
South Africa 21%
South Africa 40% Kenya 7%
Egypt 20% Morocco 6%
Nigeria 19% Informa Telecoms & Media 2010
FORECAST FOR 3G SPLIT WCDMA - only HSPA 1x EV-DO
20,995,400 9,768,400 2,936,700
37,896,100 23,019,500 5,168,800
60,713,100 48,002,900 9,075,000
86,090,500 89,396,400 14,671,100
109,151,300 149,570,000 21,734,400
125,168,000 223,755,000 29,884,200
36 AFRICA TELECOMS Issue 10 2010
Mobile WiMAX Subscribers
Eastern Europe, Russia
Middle East, Africa
Senza Fili Consulting 2010
Data revenues by operator, 1Q-2010 Informa Telecoms & Media 2010
DATA REVENUES (US$ MILLION) 50
40 VODACOM, South Africa
20 0 2009
3G subscriptions by country, 2Q-2009 - 2Q-2010 Informa Telecoms & Media 2010
MTN, South Africa
3G subscriptions by technology, 2Q-2009 - 2Q-2010
Informa Telecoms & Media 2010
10 5 0
2Q - 09
2Q-10 Issue 10 2010 AFRICA TELECOMS 37
4G FROM GREY TO CRYSTAL CLEAR by Lesley Stones
ou’d think by the time a global technology reached its fourth iteration, the standards would have become pretty much, well….standard. Not in the telecoms business, however, where life would be very dull indeed if everyone agreed which technologies to use. Half your competitive edge comes from picking the right technology and beating unfortunate rivals that make the wrong decision.
38 AFRICA TELECOMS Issue 10 2010
So it’s no surprise that the next generation of 4G communications is still as nebulous as a radio wave itself
WHAT IS IT?
4G technology is essentially a mobile broadband system with the built-in ability to handle enhanced multimedia services. Interest in 4G is largely fuelled by the rocketing demand for 3G wireless broadband, which is giving people mobile access
G to the content they have on their desktop PC, and giving people in developing countries their first ever internet access. The problem is that 3G lacks the carrying capacity, data speeds and economies of scale needed to cope with such explosive demand. So operators are preparing for 4G networks that will dramatically boost data speeds and capacity to handle the heavy loads created as users shift their landline internet habits into the mobile world, says Motorola Senior Vice President
Bruce Brda. Most importantly, 4G networks will have the network architecture required to drive down the cost per bit, to ensure operators can afford to meet the heavy demands. Video consumption is a prime example of data traffic that is outstripping revenue, Brda says. Thanks to flat-rate 3G data tariffs, users are watching YouTube and movies at a rate that has astonished mobile operators. Recent research by Nielson reckoned that more than 15 million Americans watched videos Issue 10 2010 AFRICA TELECOMS 39
4G technology is essentially a mobile broadband system with the built-in ability to handle enhanced multimedia services.
on mobile devices in 2009 – a 70% year-on-year increase. “The internet has taught us that video is going to be one of the prime applications going forward,” said Brda. “Networks that are optimised for video performance will do the best.”
IMPLICATIONS FOR MOBILE TELEPHONY AND MOBILE INTERNET
The cheaper costs of 4G will also make other applications more feasible, including e-readers, machine-to-machine communications and mobile TV. Cheaper costs coupled with enhanced data speeds will drive a wider audience for broadband, making it an essential part of economic growth, Brda believes. “Governments are beginning to view broadband as an essential utility. They support broadband because it can be an engine for economic growth, education opportunities and lowers the cost of delivering key government services.” The European Union estimates that greater broadband access will create a million European jobs and boost the economy by 850 billion Euros between 2006 and 2015. The affects could be even more dramatic in Africa, where broadband access would not just be an incremental improvement to existing services, but would give millions of people entirely new opportunities. While 3G supports a wide variety of mobile voice and data applications such as music, video, mobile games and social networking, the idea behind 4G is to support similar services
40 AFRICA TELECOMS Issue 10 2010
at faster speeds, says Qualcomm vice president James Munn. But there is a lot of exaggerated talk and misunderstanding. “For example, some people are talking about 4G providing mobile data speeds that you can’t even get now using a landline connection. There is also a mistaken belief that mobile operators will walk into work one day, switch off their 3G network and switch on 4G. If this were true, what would happen to consumers with 3G phones? You would wake up one day and have no mobile service,” Munn says. The reality is that the fastest mobile network in the world right now — Telstra’s Next G network in Australia — is based on 3G HSPA+ technology. This is the same technology used by MTN and Cell C in South Africa for their high-speed 3G services. Mobile operators in various regions of Africa will look to implement 4G networks sometime in the future, Munn says. “While they’re making these plans, though, they’ll continue to use and upgrade their existing networks, making them faster and faster using the latest 3G technologies. This is good for consumers because it means they don’t need to wait for 4G to begin enjoying high-speed mobile services.”
SETTING THE STANDARD
It falls to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to set the standards, but it’s been a work in progress for years. In October 2009 the ITU declared that 4G would revolutionise
mobile communications, and began to assess six technology submissions aiming to be categorised as 4G mobile wireless broadband, known as IMT-Advanced. The submissions were made to the ITU’s Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R) Working Party 5D after a request issued in March 2008. The six proposals include Long-Term Evolution (LTE) Release 10, LTE-Advanced and IEEE 802.16m, or mobile WiMax. They are being assessed against ITU-R requirements in a rigorous year-long process supported by 14 independent evaluation groups around the world. The evaluation groups represent all stakeholders, including equipment manufacturers, technology developers, network operators, service providers, user organisations, research institutions and national administrations. Stephen Blust, AT&T’s Director of Radio Standards and Chairman of Working Party 5D, said: “In 2002 when the strategic vision for 4G was laid out in anticipation of the longer term future needs of the marketplace, it established a new level of expectation for the capabilities and performance of global mobile wireless broadband systems that many thought was something that could not be reached in this decade.” Detailed performance requirements set out by the working group in 2008 raised the bar for mobile wireless, Blust said. “It is gratifying to note that stakeholders in the mobile wireless industry have risen to the challenge. We have every expectation that with these proposals the vision can indeed be achieved in the near term.” However, there is still no ultimate definition for 4G technologies. So far the ITU has confirmed that 4G will be an all-IP (Internet Protocol) based solution and must offer peak data rates of 100Mbps for high mobility applications such as mobile access, and 1Gbps for low mobility applications such as local wireless access.
4G/LTE – CURRENT DEPLOYMENTS
In June this year the ITU confirmed that LTE-Advanced and IEEE 802.16m mobile WiMax meet its 4G requirements, although other specifications may only be finalised by March 2011. A reader comment posted to Sprint’s community forum described the problem neatly: “Everyone is waiting for them to define 4G, but they really have not. The reason being it is very complex. Here is a basic ideology of it: most industry leaders look for 4G to be a ubiquitous network. A network that will probably engulf open wireless architecture and smart phones that can detect, authorise, register and connect onto any network.” That user-friendly philosophy relies on many companies with different technologies to reach some agreements on functionality for 4G to prosper. So far only about 30% of the 4G specifications have been set out. The remaining 70% still to be resolved are more challenging aspects such as horizontal handoff, latency issues, package losses, billing accountability, security schemes and quality of service. So years after they first started talking, no final decision has been reached on inter-carrier conformity and common processing features that will make the systems work.
South Africa’s Cell C also suffered a roasting when it described its new HSPA+ network as 4G, then had to recant. Cell C’s initial press statement claimed to offer 4G services using its 900MHz frequency band. Analysts argued those claims were false, as it was impossible to roll out 4G when no standard has been ratified. Vodacom CEO Pieter Uys joked an urban legend was doing the rounds that a 4G network was being built. But neither Vodacom nor MTN really found it funny, and complained to the Advertising Standards Authority that Cell C was misleading consumers, as its network did not even satisfy the elements of 4G that had been established. Its newest networks offer data speeds of up to 21.6 Mbps – well short of the ITU’s desired 100Mbps. Cell C now dubs its network 4Gs, with CEO Lars Reichelt saying 4Gs stands for 4 Great Speed and 4 Great Service. It has deployed 1,600 HSPA+ 900 sites and expects to cover 34% of the population by the end of 2010, and 67% by mid-2011. Cell C promises customers a low latency, high capacity network that can evolve quickly as new standards are released. The lower frequency of 900 MHz compared to 2100 MHz offers deeper and wider coverage with better penetration indoors. That means fewer base stations are needed to cover an area and provide enhanced indoor coverage, Reichelt said.
"But neither Vodacom nor MTN really found it funny, and complained to the Advertising Standards Authority that Cell C was misleading consumers"
Issue 10 2010 AFRICA TELECOMS 41
"Operators are preparing for 4G networks that will dramatically boost data speeds and capacity to handle the heavy loads created as users shift their landline internet habits into the mobile world." - Bruce Brda,Motorola Senior Vice President
DOES IT REALLY MATTER?
Not to Sprint, which launched a WiMax 802.16e network earlier this year and touted it as 4G. T-Mobile then hailed its new HSPA+ network as 4G, drawing heavy criticism from rival AT&T. Meanwhile, Verizon, AT&T and several other carriers are converting their networks to LTE technology, while TeliaSonera already operates LTE networks in Stockholm and Oslo. Kenya’s Safaricom is also planning to roll out LTE. Although LTE is often marketed as 4G, the first release was actually a 3.9G as it fails to fully comply with 4G requirements. LTE is not backwards-compatible with 3G systems, although LTE Advanced will be backwards compatible with LTE and uses the same frequencies. Its main advantages are high throughput, low latency, an improved end-user experience and a simple architecture for lower operating costs. Motorola’s Brda doesn’t support the quest to ratify one defined standard, and advocates having both LTE and WiMax 802.16e exist side by side to serve the different needs of 42 AFRICA TELECOMS Issue 9 2010
operators around the world. “The 4G decision isn’t really a technology decision at all — it’s a business decision for operators,” Brda says. He thinks operators should define the needs they are trying to fulfill with mobile broadband and adopt whichever solution does it best, without getting tangled in a technology debate. “The LTE customer base already knows who they are, while the WiMax customer base also knows who they are,” he says. “LTE will be the natural upgrade path from today’s networks by mobile operators. WiMax will be a factor in any other decision, namely greenfield operators or those operators that want a time-to-market advantage. Both technologies are viable.” Mobile WiMax now has hundreds of deployments in more than 145 countries and is filling a business need for a variety of different players, many of which are not traditional mobile operators. Malaysia’s REDTone is using mobile WiMax to take broadband access to underserved communities, while Unwired in Fiji is using it to deliver educational resources to remote areas. In the end, the 4G world should be characterised by a combination of solutions to meet end user demands for data services, Brda says. But that means the mobile industry must abandon its technology debates. “The reality is we will connect more people at a faster pace with more than one viable solution,” Brda says. “Operators need to do what they do best: use the most appropriate technology to solve their business problems.” Operators in South Africa are waiting for the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) to hold an auction for the 2,6GHz and 3,5GHz spectrum they need for mobile broadband networks based on technologies such as WiMax or LTE. Icasa has warned that no company already holding spectrum in those bands can bid for more, prompting Vodacom to sell its 24% stake in WBS, the parent company of iBurst. Vodacom had bought into iBurst specifically to gain access to its 2,6GHz spectrum, and has invested about R100m in building 100 WiMax base stations. Once 4G networks are commonplace, they will help the ITU achieve its goal of seeing more than half the world’s population gain access to broadband networks by 2015, and having access to high-speed networks as a basic civil right. In September ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun Touré challenged political leaders to meet those goals when he spoke at the Broadband Commission for Digital Development. “Broadband is the next tipping point, the next truly transformational technology. It can generate jobs, drive growth and productivity, and underpin long-term economic competitiveness,” he said. A report drawn up by the commission says: “In the 21st
Once 4G networks are commonplace, they will help the ITU achieve its goal of seeing more than half the world’s population gain access to broadband networks by 2015.
century, affordable, ubiquitous broadband networks will be as critical to social and economic prosperity as networks like transport, water and power. Broadband will serve as tomorrow’s fountain of innovation. What price will be paid in the brave new world of digital opportunity by those who fail to embrace broadband inclusion for their citizens?”
SO WHAT IS THE REALITY FOR AFRICA?
There are huge disparities in global broadband affordability, with nations that can least afford it paying the most, relative to their income. Subscribers in the UK, US, Canada or Australia pay under 1% of their average national monthly income for fast broadband. Yet in many of the least developed countries, such as Ethiopia, Malawi or Niger, even the slowest broadband connection costs many times the average monthly salary. 44 AFRICA TELECOMS Issue 10 2010
That naturally has a direct impact on take-up, so while fixed broadband penetration stands at around 30% in Western Europe and the US, it is under 1% in the world’s poorest nations. The ITU says mobile broadband will be the access technology of choice for developing nations, where fixed line infrastructure is sparse and expensive to roll out. To help achieve that, it is urging governments not to limit market competition nor tax broadband services too heavily, and to make ample spectrum available to support mobile broadband growth. “The new realities and opportunities for digital development must be firmly fixed in the minds of world leaders as a leadership imperative,” the ITU says, urging leaders to drive a ‘broadband boom’ to create affordable and accessible 4G resources for all. They also benefit the bottom line. AT
TD-LTE in Africa
not an either/or choice
or the past two years or so, there has been a debate raging in the industry which has created a “WiMAX vs. LTE” perception. This “either-or” narrative is a common phenomenon which makes it easier to understand the market from a technological standpoint, but it’s not necessarily helpful for service operators in Africa. As broadband penetration continues to expand in Africa, operators will be evaluating all the broadband technology options. The truth behind the hype is that a multitechnology approach is the most attractive and viable way to grow markets. All operators want is a platform that meets their current requirements with the flexibility to accommodate future technologies, so their investment is protected. And the evolution of 4G provides opportunities for operators in markets where both 3G and DSL are already present as well as underserved markets. Whether it is Wi-Fi, HSPA, WiMAX or LTE, the ideal technology is largely determined by the requirements of the operators, existing or greenfield, who will choose based on their spectrum, their business model and their time to market.
46 AFRICA TELECOMS Issue 10 2010
By Daniel Levy, General Manager for Alvarion in Africa
A major driver for African operators when selecting a wireless broadband technology will be spectrum availability and the cost of acquiring spectrum. Traditionally broadband wireless deployments have benefitted greatly from higher frequency bands (2.3 GHz, 2.5 GHz and 3.5 GHz) due to the cost economics associated with them. LTE technology is evolving in the market with two flavors: FDD LTE is targeted mainly by mobile operators that have deployed current 3G networks using cellular FDD frequency bands, and TD-LTE is being targeted for wireless broadband applications in China and India. However, since 3.5 GHz does not support LTE, an ISP with a license in that band will use WiMAX and then upgrade to WiMAX2 (16m). Operators with 2.3 GHz and 2.5 GHz spectrum could build a WiMAX network today and then decide in the future whether to migrate to TD-LTE or continue with WiMAX.
DSL operators in markets where the quality of existing copper infrastructure is very poor, or where the penetration is very slow due to the high cost of deploying new wired
infrastructure in Africa are also looking to deploy licensed wireless broadband networks to increase their markets. These operators or ISPs are not prepared to wait for the technology to be ready for them – instead they are looking for mature technologies, which provide excellent value (best cost per megabyte), wide choice (large and growing ecosystem of vendors and equipment) and good support systems (large skills resource available globally).
Business case and data offload
If an operator’s business case is mostly for iPhone and mobile phones then FDD LTE will suit it best in the future given the ability to overlay on existing 3G networks. If however data will be the main application and blanket country-wide coverage is not required then WiMAX would be more suitable. Just as no-one would ever think of deploying a 3G network without having a GSM layer, it doesn’t make sense to deploy a stand-alone LTE network. An LTE network is a natural evolution of GSM and 3G operators. But this is not an answer to challengers or ISPs who are targeting to provide data only services. A small scale LTE network of 10 or 20 BSTs is not viable given the high cost economics associated with it.
The 4G WiMAX way
WiMAX – and wireless broadband - is an established technology in Africa with over 120 commercial networks providing fixed and nomadic broadband services operating across the continent. As of August 2010, the WiMAX Forum recognizes 593 deployments in 149 countries, providing coverage to more than 620 million people worldwide. Flexibility and freedom of choice are cornerstones in today’s market. As is the ability to expand networks as demand increases. This is a key differentiator for WiMAX in Africa. In addition, WiMAX broadband networks complement existing wired infrastructure by extending their reach into areas that were not economically feasible before, in terms of broadband access. Wireless network infrastructure helps overcome many challenges, such as: • Limited or lack of wired reach • Time consuming deployment • Limited flexibility for changes and rerouting • High deployment costs (CAPEX) • High operating costs (OPEX).
Choice of technology: TD-LTE versus WiMAX
WiMAX and TDD flavor of LTE i.e. TD-LTE actually have many similarities as they are both OFDMA-based and they use the same duplexing technique. Both of these technologies operate in TDD spectrum. The similarities will enable migration, which some service providers are demanding in order to have freedom of choice in the future. WiMAX will continue to be a preferred technology for 4G wireless broadband for many types of service providers. This is due to: • Maturity of available solutions • Vibrant ecosystem, including devices • Low IPR costs associated with the technology The ability to migrate from WiMAX should also be seen as a point of strength for the technology. Operators want to take advantage of the spectrum available today and can achieve a significant return on investment with WiMAX. There is no doubt that WiMAX will continue to strengthen and grow while the other technologies begin to mature. The prospects for TD-LTE appear to be very positive today, and migration is possible. WiMAX is also continuing to evolve its own development path to WiMAX 2 with advanced features and functionalities. Depending on the business model, applications and timeline, operators may have a tendency to prefer one flavor of TDD technology versus another. Eventually both technologies will coexist as they are driven from two separate ecosystems and the demand for broadband services continues to grow around the world. The bottom line for service providers in Africa is that they can quickly and cost-effectively provide broadband today with WiMAX, with full confidence that regardless of how the market develops, their investment will be protected. AT
Issue 10 2010 AFRICA TELECOMS 49
The journey towards
50 AFRICA TELECOMS Issue 10 2010
BY Brett Haggard
4G Fourth generation networks are some way off, but in the interim, two technologies are competing for their day in the sun. Which is due to win?
hile the argument continues to rage on between fourth generation mobile network pundits favouring long-term evolution (LTE) or WiMAX as the technology that will drive the future of their wireless networks, too few commentators, vendors and market experts consider that there are scenarios in which the two technologies can comfortably coexist. A fourth generation network, according to the International Telecommunication Union is capable of delivering data rates in excess of 100Mbps data rates in mobile contexts and in excess of 1Gbps in static or nomadic (fixed-mobile) contexts. Presently LTE seems to be the technology thatâ€™s favoured by the worldâ€™s cellular operators, since it provides a good stepping stone between both CDMA and GSM based mobile networks
by brett haggard Issue 10 2010 AFRICA TELECOMS 51
and LTE-advanced – the only standard that currently conform to the ITU’s definition of a fourth generation network. WiMAX on the other hand is receiving encouraging traction with telecoms operators – mobile and fixed – that have very little existing infrastructure, but an overwhelming demand for high-data rate Internet connectivity. While it is still very conceivable that the two technologies will ultimately end up duking it out for dominance, it’s unlikely that one will fall at the hands of another. That’s because the technologies are fundamentally different and have their own benefits and drawbacks that in turn make them suitable to overcoming various challenges or in other cases, non-viable routes to follow. In order to explain this thoroughly however, we’ll need to take a closer look at each technology.
What’s the fuss with WiMAX?
WiMAX is more formerly known as IEEE standard 802.16 and originates from the LAN/MAN subcommittee. That straight from the word ‘go’ should speak volumes about WiMAX’s roots and its intended use. Borne out of the almost ridiculous growth of the 802.11 wireless standard that is today responsible for the amazing number of WiFi hotspots we find in the workplace and public areas, such as parks, coffee shops and university campuses, not to mention modern homes, the basic idea behind WiMAX was to take the same tenets on which WLAN technology was built and extend it into the WAN environment. While more developed parts of the world could rely on
52 AFRICA TELECOMS Issue 10 2010
fibre-optic backhaul networks, WiMAX was envisaged as a technology that would provide a wireless alternative for telcos that had limited budgets and couldn’t hope to contend with the timeframes associated with installing fibre. The broader WiMAX standard has derivatives that are perfect for fixed last mile connectivity, derivatives that are ideal for providing backhaul for high-speed telco networks and even derivatives for more mobile applications – hence the reason it is touted as a possible competitor for LTE. And as mentioned, previously, WiMAX is currently the top choice for telcos and Internet service providers looking to provide high-speed Internet services where relatively little or no current infrastructure exists. The technology has undoubtedly been more successful than LTE, with numerous successful deployments of WiMAX being undertaken in both the developing and developed world (by contrast to LTE that is only now beginning to gain any traction). But WiMAX adoption hasn’t been without challenges.
What’s in a name?
The largest stumbling block WiMAX faces is not technological. Where the name WiMAX makes the technology easier for the average user to understand – inferring that it’s nothing more than WiFi taken to the max – WiFi’s numerous stability, security and performance related-issues kept it in the consumer market until recently.
While WiMAX has good provisions for all of these stumbling blocks, its close name association with WiFi has meant it hasn’t been taken quite as seriously as many of the vendors might have liked. Outside of these concerns, it’s also worthwhile noting that WiMAX makes use of regulated and leased spectrum, as opposed to WiFi, which operates inside open spectrum. Apart from this meaning that the spectrum assigned to WiMAX isn’t likely to interfere with, or be interfered with by other wireless devices, these networks are also professionally installed by experts and as such are more likely to deliver on its performance promises.
Long term evolution
As opposed to the IEEE standards process that was followed with WiMAX, LTE was developed by the 3rd generation partnership project (3GPP) – a body that consists of the numerous contributors and stakeholders responsible for the evolution and maintenance of the GSM standards. As such, LTE is part of the evolution from the circuitswitched GSM networks of old, through the early General Packet Radio Service (GPRS)-based (2.5G) networks and more recently, Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution, 3G, High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) and HSPA+ networks in operation across the world today. While LTE is a much younger technology than WiMAX, what makes LTE so attractive is that it exceeds the performance level of current HSPA+ networks, which have a theoretical down link data rate of 56 MB/s and that it is entirely
54 AFRICA TELECOMS Issue 10 2010
IP-based, from one end to the other. While WiMAX is a strong offering, LTE is the logical choice for existing mobile telcos because it builds logically on everything they have in place from an infrastructural point of view. In fact, the existing infrastructure vendors being used by the world’s mobile networks all have rollout plans that are able to predictably transition their customers from their current 3G infrastructure, through to HSPA+ and LTE. And quite possibly beyond.
And the winner is?
Looking at where the roots of each technology likes, predicting which technology will win is by no means cut and dried. In fact, even though the market is expecting either LTE or WiMAX to prevail, it’s unlikely one will unseat the other entirely. It’s plausible that the two will continue to coexist – LTE as the natural, higher speed evolution in the GSM realm and WiMAX as the solution to purpose-built networks designed to connect users’ homes and possibly even their notebook computers to the Internet. It’s also worthwhile noting that the two technologies are complementary enough to coexist in the same ecosystem, with WiMAX assisting with ever growing backhaul requirements of mobile network operators and LTE being used at the client end, for providing fast data service to mobile phones and computing devices. Of course, it’s also not outlandish to predict that a combination of LTE and WiMAX will be used on the client end – each playing to its strengths as a data delivery mechanism for mobile phone service and connecting personal computers to the Internet, respectively. It’s interesting to note however that the vendors in this industry have, instead of choosing a middle ground that would see both technologies being supported indefinitely, drawn battle lines and begun pursuing one or another technology. Whether or not this will see an ultimate leader developing in the coming years or not isn’t clear. It will almost certainly mean that things will remain interesting in this space for the foreseeable future. AT
The AvaBill Revolution
in the WiMax World
Austen Mascranghe General Manager Informatics International Limited Sri Lanka
he Telecommunication Industry of today is both competitive and challenging. Fast-evolving technology and never-ending customer demands are constantly testing the limits of existing systems while pushing telecom operators towards more and more innovation. The situation is identical when it comes to WiMax Technology as well and telecom operators today face many challenges when moving to WiMax Technology. One of the biggest challenges is to make sure a seamless integration between various “Eco System” components which would require high level of engineering / technical background and a properly defined business process. Thus to reduce the burden from telecom operators and to comply with such complicated business models, AvaBill BSS/ OSS Suite of Informatics International Limited has been “preintegrated” with many industry leading network and switch vendors. With the introduction of WiMax, the telecom operators are able to introduce new business models. Cross product / package discounting is one of those widely used new business models. Features of this nature would allow the telecom operators to offer different service types (eg: Data and VoIP)
56 AFRICA TELECOMS Issue 10 2010
with either postpaid or prepaid options. Another significant feature of WiMax is the’ Spectral Efficiency’ followed by the capability for the customer to utilize unlimited services/ applications due to ‘High Bandwidth’ and support of TCP/ IP. The AvaBill BSS/ OSS suite is already equipped with advanced requirements of this nature in the WiMax arena.
AvaBill BSS/OSS Suite
The AvaBill BSS/OSS suit is a convergent, end-to-end suite comprising of a range of Business & Operational Support systems. Among other products, the AvaBill Suite features; Customer Care & Billing (CCBS), On-line Mediation, On-line Provisioning, International Carrier Settlements & Reconciliation, Outside Plant Management, Trouble Tickets, Service Orders & Work Orders to name a handful
AvaBill’s Convergence with WiMax
Despite the global competition, AvaBill has emerged as the clear winner due to the rich functionality of the product and its acknowledged stability in the market. Following are some key reasons identified by the customers for selecting AvaBill as
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT Informatics International Limited
Founded in 1983, Informatics Group of Companies consists of seven operating companies with a work force of over 600 employees. Informatics International Limited the software arm of the group is one of the largest IS Organizations in Sri Lanka with SEI CMMi Level 3 and ISO 9001:2000 accreditation. IIL is a Software producer and exporter of international repute, providing innovative Solutions with quality Software Products and reliable Support Services. IIL has developed Software for Telecom, Insurance, Banking and Government Industries.
their preferred billing vendor when moving to WiMax; • Convergent Billing & Rating feature for WiMax Services: AvaBill is able to generate Convergent Bills for all services such as voice, data, video etc both in pre-paid, post-paid and hybrid scenarios. Furthermore the advanced rating requirements which would allow Telcom operators to increase ARPU are already built-in with the AvaBill BSS/ OSS suite. • Manage Data Services: AvaBill can handle some of the challenging attributes of WiMax such as Fair User Policy (FUP) and Quality of Service (QoS) based rating. It is conversant in managing services offered starting from Simple Internet Subscribers to Corporate Level Point to Point Links. • Manage Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and Digital TV Services: AvaBill can provision multiple network elements of VoIP & Digital TV to a single WiMAX subscription and manage the credit control or collection plan actions for all those services based on the subscriptions level policy. Rating / Billing can be done on a service level and specific features
Naleen Baddegama 0094 114 794 900/ext - 999 (Office) 0094 773 109 901 (Mobile) email@example.com (E-mail) www.informaticsint.com Iresh Perera 0094 114 794 900/ext - 980 (Office) 0094 777 674 985 (Mobile) firstname.lastname@example.org (E-mail) www.informaticsint.com
such as CUGs & Friends & Family etc are available based on the service Level. • Custom Implementation Services: Informatics provides an intensive onsite implementation service by flying in their staff. The experts help the Telcos to configure and setup AvaBill according to international best practices and to suit the local operations. • On & Off site and After Sales Support: Informatics provides onsite support from the date of the initial live operation, for each phase at a nominal fee followed by an excellent after sale support program. This comes with the pleasant surprise of the ‘Flexibility of Working According to the Local Time Zone of the Customer’.
"Despite the global competition, AvaBill has emerged as the clear winner due to the rich functionality of the product and its acknowledged stability in the market." Issue 10 2010 AFRICA TELECOMS 57
AfricaCom 2009, The Main Exhibition Hall, CTICC
58 AFRICA TELECOMS Issue 10 2010
AfricaCom African telecoms: a new phase of growth accelerates industry evolution
An innovative response required from across the industry
The telecoms industry in Africa represents opportunity for growth. This is especially clear in the mobile market where penetration remains low at 47% (as of June 2010), according to figures from Informa Telecoms & Media, and where due to multi-SIM activity, single user penetration is even lower at approximately 35%. Growth is not restricted to the cellular voice market. There are signs that demand for data services is also increasing. The construction of a series of new submarine cables is bringing profound change by increasing the amount of international capacity available to the coasts of East and West Africa, and crucially bringing down costs. There is evidence too of the rise in usage of mobile value-added services. Informa estimates the size of the non-voice market to have been worth US$4.8 billion in 2009, with this figure set to rise in 2010 to in excess of US$5.5 billion. Data revenues now represent 9% of total service revenues.
Regulators are encouraging initiatives to bridge the digital divide between urban and rural Africa. Mobile operators are transforming their business structures so as to focus more on what is core to operational delivery. In response, vendors across the value chain are beginning to showcase solutions to meet the challenges of Africaâ€™s telecoms landscape. It is likely that service providers become more innovative by launching dynamic tariff plans, segmenting the market to deepen their value offering or by building brand through entering into partnership with content providers. The use of data services is expected to continue to transform society, by connecting rural communities to ICT services, giving hundreds of millions of unbanked some financial muscle and providing a stronger technology infrastructure for the SME business segment. All in the ICT value chain have their part to play in this ongoing transformation.
Issue 10 2010 AFRICA TELECOMS 59
It is expected that this year’s AfricaCom will play a pivotal role in bringing the continent’s ICT value chain together to assist this ongoing market transformation. Business leaders join to set the way forward It is these market changes that will form the backdrop to discussions and learning at Africa’s largest annual congress and exhibition – the 13th annual AfricaCom taking place in Cape Town on 10-11 November 2010. 4,000+ decisionmakers from operators, solutions and technology providers serving across the continent will meet to collaborate in driving this new phase of growth. The strategic congress will gather a select 2,000 business leaders from the attendee list for a 2 day programme of discussions and idea sharing around the broad outline of “Driving the Next Stage of Growth in African Telecoms“. Sessions cover broad strategic answers to driving growth and predicting trends alongside more specific topics including: Efficiency and ROI Strategies; LTE; VAS; Marketing, Pricing and Loyalty; Mobile Money; Fibre Optics; Broadband Data Services; WiMAX; and Capacity & Wholesale.
Africa’s telecom leaders reveal their strategies and ideas Leading discussions at AfricaCom, are a panel of 100 of Africa’s most significant telecoms leaders. Speakers include 40+ CxO level operators, regional operator heads, regional analysts and international telecom solutions vendors. Presentations will form a mixture of strategy setting, experience and best practice sharing, market predictions and a presentation of the latest products and technologies available to improve services. The 100+ speaker line-up includes: • Ahmad Farroukh, Vice President, MTN West and Central Africa • Themba Khumalo, CEO, MTN Uganda • Serame Taukobong, Chief Marketing Officer, MTN South Africa • Marc Rennard, Executive Vice President for Africa, the Middle East & Asia, Orange Group • Nkateko Nyoka, Chief Officer - Regulatory & Stakeholder Relations, Vodacom Group • Wessel Van der Vyver, General Manger, Telecom Namibia International • Mickael Ghossein, CEO, Orange Telkom Kenya • Etienne Kouadio, Managing Director, Alink Telecom Cote D’Ivoire
60 AFRICA TELECOMS Issue 10 2010
• • • • • • • •
Jose dos Santos, CEO, Vodacom Mozambique Chiruyi Walingo, Chief Commercial Officer, Zain Tanzania Hussein Rifaii, Chairman & Managing Director, MDC Noel Herrity, CEO, Zantel Tanzania Serame Taukobong, Chief Marketing Officer, MTN South Africa Dr Angus Hay, Chief Technology Officer, Neotel South Africa Paul Edwards, Chairman, Starcomms Nigeria Nazar H Sahal, Information Technology Director, Expresso Telecom Group Ltd.
International vendors rise to the challenge Some of the world’s foremost solutions and technology providers have responded to market conditions and developed a portfolio and solutions and services that meet the challenges of Africa’s telecoms landscape. The 250 stand market place exhibition at AfricaCom will showcase the cream of these companies to the 4,000 attendees. This creates a unique opportunity for telcos from across Africa to see the full product offering in one place to help them make better technology decisions. It is expected that this year’s AfricaCom will play a pivotal role in bringing the continent’s ICT value chain together to assist this ongoing market transformation. Find out more and register to attend AfricaCom at: www.comworldseries.com/africa. AT
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with Thomas Erickson, Chief Executive Officer, CDMA Certification Forum (CCF) In this issue of Africa Telecoms, we are focusing on 4G Technologies, both Wimax and LTE. The evolution path for CDMA technologies is towards LTE. Is this correct? What are the plans of the CCF moving towards that point of convergence? Yes, that is correct. The CCF certifies any device that incorporates CDMA. We are extending that capability to include ensuring proper interworking and inter-technology handoff between CDMA and LTE. To avoid duplication of testing, the CCF is leaving certification of LTE specific functionality to the GCF.
What does the CCF contribute to the CDMA ecosystem?
The CCF is a forum of CDMA industry’s leaders that believe certification is a critical part of the before market process. We believe that by bringing to the market quality products that have been thoroughly tested and that all meet the same minimum requirements, we ensure consumers’ satisfaction and networks’ health thus making CDMA devices a symbol of quality. The objective of the CCF is to evolve its certification process so it always meets new industry standards and evolving technology.
What is the relationship between the CCF and the CTIA Certification Program, and more specifically the CTIA Certification Programs CDMA Working Group that you co-chair? The CTIA certification program administers a number of certification programs for operators in North America to meet the specific needs of their markets. To this end, the CTIA works with the CCF to ensure devices meet both global CCF certification requirements plus North American specific certification requirements. The CDMA Working Group that I
co-chair focuses specifically on certification of CDMA devices for the North American market.
Being an African focused magazine, how much work is the CCF doing in Africa? And can you specifically talk about any current projects in Africa that the CCF is working on?
The CCF has been working actively with operators across Africa since the first CDMA networks were launched. We have worked closely with the Africa CDMA Forum to identify challenges specific to Africa. A key challenge has been the broad availability of quality handsets. To address this challenge, the CCF has visited numerous operators and vendors across Africa to educate them on how the CCF certification process provides the most comprehensive test solution to ensure only the highest quality handsets reach their markets. However, the more price sensitive markets in Africa and other parts of the World require a more measured approach to quality, achieving a more affordable balance between the cost and quality of the device. To this end the CCF has recently launched a self-declaration process that gives vendors more control over the time and cost of certification testing. This enables vendors to deliver a higher quality device at an affordable price point.
CDMA networks have always had a smaller market penetration than GSM networks worldwide, with a move to more digital 3G and 4G networks and a convergence of GSM and CDMA technologies into LTE. How will this affect the CCF in the future? For as long as there are devices in the market incorporating CDMA technology, there will be a need for CCF certification testing.
Issue 10 2010 AFRICA TELECOMS 63
Do you believe that the Wimax technology will be in the same position as CDMA technologies (having a smaller market penetration) in the future? What is the CCF’s view on technologies options moving forward?
CDMA technologies have a clear evolution path towards LTE and converging on 3GPP. The CDMA ecosystem addresses mass-market demands in voice and data while WIMAX may have a more niche focus.
The CDMA ecosystem is an interesting one with Device Vendors and CDMA Operators having their own agendas and requirements. How does the CCF get involved in these relationships and how has the CCF improved the ecosystem?
These individual agendas and requirements are exactly what drive the high time and cost of qualifying devices for market. The CCF provides a venue for operators and vendors from around the world to gather and identify challenges in qualifying a device for market. By implementing a common certification solution, the CCF has demonstrated a five-fold reduction in time and cost to test and approve a device for market. To achieve even further savings, it is critical for operators and vendors operating across Africa to join the CCF now – to identify device quality challenges specific to the Africa market and work within the CCF to resolve those challenges.
The CDMA ecosystem has various organizations working on the development and cohesion like the CDMA Development Group (CDG) of various parties within the ecosystem. Does the CCF work with the likes of the CDG, in what capacities do you work
64 AFRICA TELECOMS Issue 10 2010
together and are there any other organizations that you work with?
The CCF works closely with organizations such as the CDG to ensure we’re all focused on identifying and solving the greatest challenges facing the industry. The CDG has a number of efforts (e.g. Global Handset Requirements for CDMA) to identify and define feature requirements that are essential to the successful adoption of CDMA world-wide. The CCF develops certification solutions to ensure devices meet industry standards used to implement those requirements.
The CCF has recently worked with the CDG and CTIA to successfully merge the now retired CDG 1, 2, 3 test process and the CTIA certification process into the CCF. This resulted in a single process for CDMA device certification world-wide. The CCF states there will be various efficiencies garnered from using the CCF certification program like, time to market and cost savings for vendors. a/ How is this achieved? b/ What are the benefits for CDMA Operators in using the CCF processes?
These efficiencies are achieved by operators and vendors agreeing on a common test plan and test process. This allows vendors to understand and master one set of certification requirements early in their device development process. With this knowledge, the vendor can ensure they will meet industry agreed upon quality requirements, greatly increasing the probability of hitting their market window. Meeting these quality requirements also reduces greatly the cost of customer support. Releasing quality products are a great way to ensure customers’ loyalty and positive brand recognition. Operators enjoy greater efficiencies in their acceptance
process. Devices entering their process are of a higher quality level resulting in as much as a 3-fold reduction in their acceptance test timeline. This frees their engineers to focus on more important tasks such as differentiating their services in a highly competitive market. Higher quality devices helps ensure customer access to their network and protection of their infrastructure investment. I invite you to visit our web site and hear advantages first-hand from Lou LaMedica, Director or Verizon Wireless’ Device Evaluation and Implementation Laboratory.
Earlier in the year, you were quoted as saying: “With LTE deployments augmenting CDMA2000 networks this year it’s important that multi-mode devices be tested and certified to perform optimally across both technologies. Critical to seamless 3G and 4G interoperability is the interworking between multimode devices and their radio access networks. The completion and validation of our test platform will allow the CCF to provide the only comprehensive testing and certification process for CDMA2000 1X and EV-DO devices incorporating LTE by the end of 2010.” Have you started testing Interoperability of devices between 3G and 4G LTE networks? Furthermore, have the results of these test been positive and what are the difficulties being faced by the manufacturers? The CCF is working to implement interworking certification solutions at the earliest opportunity. Test equipment vendors are presently working hard to deploy test solutions to support launching of multi-mode CDMA/LTE devices in the near future. Formal platform validation can begin as soon as these devices and test solutions become commercially available.
Finally, what are your thoughts of the development of CDMA into LTE in Africa specifically? Considering that many African operators are still deploying 3G networks, is there a case for these operators to leapfrog 3G and start deploying 4G networks now as opposed to 3G networks?
I don’t see a compelling case for operators to leapfrog 3G networks across Africa right now. LTE spectrum in the majority of the countries is yet to be auctioned and may be some time until the regulators of these markets are ready. In more than half of the SSA market 3G spectrum is yet to be auctioned. Internet penetration in the region is still below 10% while voice is still below 50%. CPE cost is also a very strong commercial consideration that for some time held up the adoption of 3G in CDMA and WCDMA flavors, though this is no longer the case. AT
A CDMA Certification Forum (CCF), held in China, 2008.
Issue 10 2010 AFRICA TELECOMS 65
BY Steven Ambrose
will the promise of 4G Wireless connect the continent 66 AFRICA TELECOMS Issue 10 2010
frica is an amazing continent, home to over a billion people, with 54 countries, and as of now fast approaching 600 million mobile phones. Africa is now the golden goose that will continue to deliver for the telecommunications industry. As most of the developed world reach mobile saturation and â€œsufferâ€? with high broadband internet penetration of over 70 % in most cases, Africa is just getting to grips with the ability to make a phone call, and receive an SMS, almost everywhere on the continent. Networks are struggling to cope with all this growth in basic telephony, on a continent which traditionally had a teledensity far below that of the developed world. In South Africa which has mobile penetration of over 100%, call quality often leaves much to be desired as a result of years of explosive growth. South Africa also boasts about the unique position of having more mobile broadband connections, utilising the mobile 3G network, than fixed line ADSL connections.
As we all know technology never stands still, and just as we get used to one level of technology another pops up offering vastly improved performance, and services we had never even though of, all at lower cost overall. How this relates to the mobile world is the promise of 4G. Fourth generation mobile technologies loosely considered to be LTE (Long Term Evolution) or WIMAX, in some technical circles, is the logical successor to the current 3G or Third Generation networks currently in service around the GSM world, and some countries in Africa. 3G networks ushered in real broadband for many people, mostly in the developing world, and in the developed world, offered a mobile and ubiquitous extension to their fixed connectivity. 3G networks were essentially another network layer on top of the GSM 2G networks which still offers voice, SMS, and low speed packet data network,s in most countries that utilise the GSM system. Fully Internet Protocol based networks utilising WIMAX and LTE are emerging for mobile communications, both voice and data, and with the exception of Japan, who have switched off their 2G networks, are slowly taking over from the older 2G based networks. Due to scale and consumer demand much of Africa will continue to rely on 2G technologies, for at least 10 more years, especially in the more rural areas. South African mobile networks only cover around 45% of the country with the more advanced 3G data networks, and much of this coverage is focused on large urban areas and strategically on some smaller cities around the country. Africa, per the GSMA, has an overall penetration, as of June 2010, of 52% per capita, of mobile devices compared to Europe with 130% penetration. This highlights the potential for growth of mobile technologies in Africa. The big question currently being asked is will Africa leapfrog the rest of the world, and go from 2G Voice dominated networks to 4G data dominated networks, and will this finally bridge the digital divide that has emerged between much of the developed world and Africa. According to the GSMA, (The GSMA represents the interests of the worldwide mobile communications industry spanning 219 countries, with nearly 800 of the worldâ€™s mobile operators, as well as more than 200 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem), one factor in the overall increase in mobile connections is the
Issue 10 2010 AFRICA TELECOMS 67
rapid adoption of Mobile Broadband. As of mid-2010 there were more than 287 million HSPA connections across 127 countries, with more than 14 million connections being added each month around the world, and itâ€™s expected that the industry will surpass 300 million HSPA connections in August 2010. This momentum is set to continue; today there are 162 live HSPA, 52 live HSPA+, and two live LTE networks, with planned deployments for a further 35 HSPA, 44 HSPA+ and 113 LTE networks. LTE is widely regarded as the de facto Mobile Broadband technology of the future that will be adopted by the vast majority of mobile operators globally and is expected to experience substantial growth over the next few years. Whilst the picture painted by the GSMA appears rosy, the business case for 4G or LTE in Africa is far less clear, much of the LTE development will occur in the developed nations of the world, where the growth of mobile connectivity has been largely driven by the explosion of smartphones, and other tablet devices, and imbedded mobile data connections in devices such as the Amazon Kindle and Tom Tom Navigation units. The needs of Africa are currently far less ambitious, at least for the medium term future. According the World Wide Worx digital participation curve, it will take the average user of the internet at least 5 years to become fully fledged net citizens, and even with the huge strides in usability of smart mobile devices this 5 year participation curve will still apply. How this all translates is that the mobile networks in much of Africa will remain firmly in the 2G or voice arena , at least for the next 5 years, and only once the critical mass of users start driving internet use and adoption, will the networks be able to make the business case for 4G networks. Technically most the infrastructure rolled out from now will be software configurable for the next generation of mobile communication, such as LTE, but the need for these advanced services will lag the technology for a long while. It is also clear from the research that underpins the Digital Participation Curve, that
68 AFRICA TELECOMS Issue 10 2010
the most advanced users of their mobile devices are those that already are experienced users, and by experience we mean at least 5 years usage of fixed internet and the services such as online banking, and shopping, all via traditional access to the internet on a laptop or desktop computer. Mobile broadband on LTE 4G networks is the future and it is still coming to Africa, unlike the promises of the Cell C network in South Africa which advertised their cutting edge 4Gs network recently, the Cell C network is HSPA+ which is still part of the 3G evolutionary path. Much of the network deployment will be 3G or 3.5G HSPA+ networks for now. Real 4G on LTE will take a few years longer, with deployment starting in the mature markets such as South Africa at first, and then migrating across the rest of the continent. The challenge will be to get sufficient fixed infrastructure using old fashioned cable, even if these are Fiber Optic cable, to each and every mobile tower that will offer 4G connectivity. The one great spin off of the development of mobile broadband in Africa will be that of creating the support infrastructure for effective mobile broadband, and this will actually result in bringing fixed line connectivity to much of Urban Africa, faster than 4G mobile broadband. The first glimmer of this is commercial fiber to the home in Kenya, way ahead of any similar initiatives in South Africa. The massive growth in international connectivity via all the new undersea fiber optic cables is also spurring on much of the development of terrestrial infrastructure. No matter how fast the potential 4G speeds are, and figures in excess of 100 Megabits per second have been bandied about, if the terrestrial infrastructure is not there to support this, then nothing can happen in any event. Mobile promises much and will eventually deliver on these promises, but Africa will not be the mobile connected continent that it is expected to be, Mobile 3G and 4G data connectivity will come, eventually, but well before this fixed connectivity in some form or another will explode, and assist Africa in its quest to become a connected continent. AT
THE LAST WORD
Share and Enjoy In the Hitchhikers Guide to the It might not be quite a dystopian Galaxy, the Sirius Cybernetics reality where machines govern our Corporation Complaints existence, but a future where our Department had as its slogan washing machines, fridges and “SHARE AND ENJOY.” Now microwaves can talk to us, keep us this would be a great slogan for a company and give us advice is not company that made products that far off. A typical morning could could in fact be shared and enjoyed, go as follows: but in the case of Sirius Cybernetics House (with a posh English Corporation (SCC), this was accent): “Good Morning Sir/ patently not the case. All their Madam, and what are we in the products were inherently flawed. mood for this morning? Tea, Ironically, this is the future for Coffee, or a spot of orange juice? mobile communications with the Surely not that nasty shake again?” development of 4G networks. House: “Shall I instruct the No true 4G network has yet been shower to start running?” implemented anywhere. Yet, this Computer/TV (with a US does not stop us from wondering accent): “Mornin’. Would you what to expect from the next care to hear today's headlines?” evolution of mobile and fixed Kitchen (with a French accent): technologies. "Yet, this does not stop us from “Your Alfalfa Goji berry soya high The main aspect of 4G that wondering what to expect from proteen meelk smoozie is ready” will be important to bear in mind Phone (SMS) reminder: “Out of the next evolution of mobile and is that it will allow anywhere, soya high protein milk” fixed technologies." anytime connectivity that genuinely Phone (SMS) reminder: allows us to share and enjoy. “Special Bogof (1.99) on high The implications of this are both protein soy milk at your local fascinating and frightening. The era of Peer-to-Peer Supersavers. Offer valid until 30/09/2020. connectivity will finally be fully realized and it will Kitchen: “ Les croissants. Zay are magnifique.” herald the era of Machine-to-Machine communication House: ““Traffic reports suggest that an accident is and connectivity. It will be the age of connected things. causing severe delays, it will be advisable to consider an For the first time, the general consumer will begin alternate route to work this morning” to notice every day machines and appliances coming House: “Your vehicle has undertaken its daily checks to life and becoming extensions of us as individuals and all systems are in order. Camera number 2 will need and communities. 4G devices will be embedded into a service soon.” everything from the cars we drive to the fridges in our Cupboard (with an Italian accent): “Bon Journo, the homes, and surely everything in between. weather eez not so bootifool today. Your mama, she say With Google’s recent announcement of its automated you must a dress warm today.” car, the company stated that “Our goal is to help prevent And so it goes on. But there is little doubt that we traffic accidents, free up people's time and reduce carbon are on the cusp of the next evolution of the telecoms emissions by fundamentally changing car use." The revolution. landscape of the science fiction novel is becoming ever Don't Panic. SHARE AND ENJOY. AT more real. THE AUTHOR | Bradley Shaw is the Managing Editor of Africa Telecoms Magazine 72 AFRICA TELECOMS Issue 10 2010
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