AfricaCom is the biggest gathering on the continent for telecommunications vendors and customers.

The 2019 meeting, held last week in Cape Town, focused on 5G, spectrum and value-added services.

Kathy Gibson reports


The path to a connected Africa

For Africa to take part in the fourth industrial revolution (4IR), it’s vital that the continent is connected – and that it is connected in a smart way.

“If you want to drive the digital economy, you need to be aware of the technologies that we going to changes our lives,” says Paul Scanlan, chief technology officer of the Carrier Business Group at Huawei Technologies.

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Better network performance drives revenue growth

Improving network performance can lead to a better experience for telco customers which, in turn, can drive direct and significant revenue improvements.

MTN put this to the test with the Ericsson Customer Experience Programme (ECEP) in Rwanda and Ghana.

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Telcos and the opportunity for digitalisation

As well as providing the platform that lets customers digitalise their operations, telecommunications companies should be digitalising themselves.

This is particularly important in Africa where there are so many opportunities, but massive challenges too.

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Driving digital inclusion through communication

Inclusivity is a cornerstone of the digital economy.

John Senior, managing partner of Bain and Company, Africa, points out that the World Economic Forum believes the digital economy has the potential to reduce inequality – but only if everyone is included.

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ADC aims for pan-African data centre capacity

Africa Data Centres (ADC) has moved quickly to position itself as a pan-African data centre leader with a solid presence on the continent and plans underway to expand further.

When CEO Stephane Duproz joined ADC 18 months ago, he realised that the market was wide open and that the company was in a perfect position to set itself up as the leader in data centre installations.

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MTN, Huawei demo live 5G network

MTN and Huawei have demonstrated C-Band 5G running live on the MTN network.
C-band, the so-called “golden band” for 5G spectrum, is a valuable slice of spectrum and comprises a frequency range of around 3.3 – 3.8GHz. Many countries around the world are deploying this spectrum band to deliver their 5G services, making it highly valuable for mobile operators.

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Sentech debuts new broadband service

South African digital content services provider Sentech has launched a new broadband offering, Sentech Connect.

Sentech is well positioned to play a significant role in the implementation of SA Connect’s mandate and servicing of government with wireless broadband services,” says Sentech CEO, Mlamli Booi.

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Economic growth through digital connectivity

If we agree that digital connectivity is vital for economic growth, government and industry needs to work together on several fronts.

The licensing of spectrum is going to be a key driver for the future of telecommunications, but widespread connectivity and true economic impact will require more than simply that.

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5G and the drive to new economic models

Today, telecommunications is the foundation for all industries – and 5G is set to make it even more pervasive.

Dr Mohamed Madkour, vice-president: global wireless networks marketing and solutions at Huawei, points out that Africa is focused on the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) and building new economic models.

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Huawei debuts high-performance cloud

Huawei launched its public cloud in South Africa a year ago and pan-African customers are already consuming services from the facility.

To this end, the company is planning points of presence in Nigeria and Kenya to make access to the South African data centre easier.

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Government and its role in stimulating a digital economy

Government has a massive role to play in creating the environment where high-performing telecommunications infrastructures can help to develop business and society as a whole.

Paul Scanlan, chief technology officer of the Carrier Business Group at Huawei Technologies, points out that 4G and 5G both have the potential to drive a more inclusive digital society – but there are some challenges that need to be overcome.

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$20 feature phone sells out in Tanzania

A $20 smart feature phone, the Smart Kitochi, has been launched in Tanzania through a partnership between Vodacom, Azumi, KaiOS Technologies and MediaTek.

The feature phone is still a favourite in Africa, with about 122-million sold here every year out of a global 400-million.

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And the winners are …

All the stars were out for the 12th annual AfricaCom Awards ceremony. Recognising some of the technology, media and telecommunications industry elite, the awards have continued to grow in number and influence and this year was no exception.

There were two new awards this year – one recognising top women in innovation in Africa, and the other for government leadership.

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Angola Cables, Nokia trial Africa-US optical fibre link

Angola Cables and Nokia have announced that they have collaborated to provide a direct optical connection between Africa and North America.

The fibre-optic routing between Sangano in Angola and Boca Raton, Miami in the US has completed final acceptance trial.

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Africell debuts KaiOS-based 3G smart feature phone

Africell announced the launch of its first 3G smart feature phone, afriphone, powered by KaiOS, the mobile operating system for smart feature phones.

The new device will be the first KaiOS-powered device in The Gambia and Sierra Leone, and will also be made available in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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Next-generation video services from Simplestream

Simplestream has unveiled its upgraded App Platform, a fully customisable, end-to-end service proposition optimised for Africa’s telcos, broadcasters and content owners.

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Storage eases digital transformation

Huawei has launched a new storage solution to address the needs of customers moving into digital transformation.

Andy Xu, vice-president: intelligent storage product line at Huawei, says digital transformation is key to customers’ business development.

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Partnering brings Huawei Cloud to Africa

Huawei has strengthened its Huawei Cloud Partner Network (HCPN), launching the Partner Program 2.0 initiative which offers support in online and onsite training, market expansion, marketing activities and technical understanding.

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Ericsson highlights tech innovations

Ericsson is demonstrating how it is empowering an intelligent, sustainable and connected Africa, showcasing a range of new and relevant use cases at the event, as well as establish innovative partnerships geared towards unlocking new opportunities in the region.

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Orange partners to launch $28 smart feature phone

Orange is partnering with itel and KaiOS Technologies to launch a new 4G version of the Sanza Phone, “Sanza XL”.

From December 2019, this mobile phone with voice recognition functionalities will be on offer for around $28 US in seven countries in Africa and the Middle-East: Botswana, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Jordan, Mali and Senegal. Other Orange Group countries will follow in 2020.

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Hughes showcases Jupiter system

Hughes Network Systems welcomes AfricaCom 2019 attendees representing service providers, governments and enterprises to meet with its executives to learn about the many competitive advantages of its Jupiter platform–and why operators on six continents have successfully deployed it to power a wide range of services across more than 40 satellites.

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Nokia, Globalstar partner on 3GPP Band 53 spectrum

Globalstar has announced a partnership with Nokia.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) sweeping steadily across the African continent highlights the increasing need for solutions that are tailored for, and compatible with, the digital transformation journey of enterprises across many vertical domains.

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Angolan satellite services company signs up AMOS

Spacecom, operator of the AMOS satellite fleet, has announced that a leading Angolan satellite services company has signed a contract for C-Band HTS capacity on the newly-launched AMOS-17 communication satellite.

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