Africa well positioned for leap to 4G LTE
MOBILE| Nov. 22, 2013, 9:32 a.m.
With its capacity for innovation, Africa’s mobile network sector is well positioned to drive the explosion in service offerings on the back of 4G LTE implementations. This is the view of Sherry Zameer, Africa and Middle East Head of telecommunication solutions for Gemalto, world leader in digital security. Zameer’s comments follow the AfricaCom conference held in Cape Town last week, which was attended by some 8000 delegates from over 100 different countries.
“Africa is largely unrestricted by legacy platforms and onerous regulations, and so has the capacity to leapfrog standard 3G migrations, to embrace LTE and all the benefits of better quality service and content possibilities that the next generation platform provides,” Zameer continued.
While LTE penetration stands at less than 0.003 percent of the market in Africa, Rwanda, for example, is poised to implement LTE from the get go.
Spectrum is an Issue
“Successful LTE implementations in Africa will depend on how well the issue of spectrum is addressed and how well wireless services (radio) work with LTE to deliver the quality of service required,” Zameer added.
“Africa has a track record of innovation and being first to market in many instances (e.g. M-Pesa and dynamic tariffing) and I expect that the implementation of 4G LTE will be no different,” he said.
While the continent is poised to take telecoms growth to a whole new level, questions among attendees at the conference remain as to how generate profits on new service options, once LTE is deployed
“This will prove to be pivotal,” Zameer said.
Profitable engagement with outside stakeholders - key
With LTE, comes greater opportunity for customer engagement via mobile marketing platforms as well as business-to-business transactions via machine to machine (m2m). The latter involves the development of sophisticated ecosystems and reliance on a number of stakeholders other than the Mobile Network Operator (MNO) itself.
“For MNO’s the question really is how to leverage these new content opportunities and different take-to market-models, as they fall outside of the traditional delivery of voice and data services,” Zameer said.
Data and payments on growth path
Data is still a key driver in the sector with estimates of prepaid bundles being around $6 for voice and $20 for data. This means that there is still appetite for data driven applications.
Because most Africans do not have access to banking services or bank cards, Zameer believes mobile payments will continue to be a key driver for transactional services, and with that mobile security. "Both will drive growth in the sector,” he added.
Gemalto has won a number of innovation awards for its LTE- related platforms. Its LinqUs Advanced OTA platform enables networks to smoothly transition to LTE during an evolutionary period of mixed network technologies. The company has also been the leading global technology behind many high-profile commercial LTE deployments, including Verizon and MetroPCS, the first two operators in North America to migrate to LTE.
“With billions of connected devices forecast to be deployed in the near future, the wireless ecosystem is changing. This creates new opportunities for mobile network operators to act as service providers for a diverse range of applications such as NFC, Machine-to-Machine (M2M), or streaming multimedia content,” Zameer said.
MORE MOBILE NEWS
President Jonathan commends operators on National Mobile Health Insurance collaborationNigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has commended telecoms operators for their collaborative efforts in putting Nigerians on the National Mobile Health Insurance programme platform. Read More
Vodafone Ghana Fixed Broadband customers get bundle extensionVodafone Ghana says it will soon be offering a one-week validity extension to all fixed broadband users in the country. Read More
Airtel, UNAIDS partnerThe Chief Executive Officer, Airtel Nigeria, Segun Ogunsanya, has explained that the partnership of the telco with the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) will allow ample opportunity to further promote its Touching Lives initiative aimed at positively impacting on Nigerians, especially in the area of quality healthcare ... Read More
GSMA: mobile phone gender gap emergesA new GSMA report says over 1.7 billion women in low- and middle-income countries do not own mobile phones. Read More
French phone maker Archos debuts in NigeriaFrench mobile devices major, Archos Societe Anonymes, at the weekend in Lagos, launched its range products and connected objects, promising to redefine the service offering in the country. Read More
Glo’s smart plan gives enhanced voice, value to customersGlobacom subscribers on the postpaid platform will enjoy up to 5,000 free Short Messaging Service (SMS), up to 50GB data and up to 50 hours of free voice calls in a new and unprecedented Smart Postpaid Plan launched by the company in Lagos. Read More
Airtel Kenya launches UnlimiNET bundles for unlimited connectionsAirtel Kenya has announced the introduction of a flexible and affordable bundled tariff dubbed UnlimiNET. Read More
African Android growth makes strong headway for mobile internet accessAfrica is poised to become a hotbed for mobile growth and commerce in the coming years, according to Opera Mediaworks’ State of Mobile Advertising report released today. Read More
Orange rolls out Wi-Fi in Bungoma CountyIntegrated telecommunications solutions provider Orange has rolled out Wi-Fi in Bungoma County. The Wi-Fi solution, which is in its first phase, covers the county headquarters in Bungoma and the town. Read More
Tigo Senegal invests over US$220 000 to deploy 3G+ networkMobile operator Tigo Senegal says it has invested more than 110 million FCFA (about US$220 000) to deploy and expand the 3G+ network in various areas of this West African country. Read More
FEATURED STORY2bn priced out of internet access
A new report from the Alliance for Affordable Internet shows that the price of broadband remains prohibitive for billions in developing and emerging countries, with women and rural dwellers hardest hit.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHVillagers get solar training at Barefoot College
The Botswana Human Resource Development Council (HRDC) has seconded seven semi-illiterate mostly Ngwatle villagers for a six month solar electrification training course at the famed Barefoot College in India.