Telecoms developments in Africa – February 2017

February 9th, 2017, Published in Articles: EngineerIT


Project increases access to broadband

The African Development Bank Group approved a loan of €31,4-million and a grant of €12,5-million to the Republic of Niger to finance the national component of the Trans-Saharan fibre-optic backbone (DTS) project. The project will increase access to broadband services to Nigeria and Chad. The 1510 km long optic fibre will connect Chad with Niger, and connect Niger to Algeria and Nigeria, and strengthen its interconnections with Burkina Faso and Benin. By 2020, at the completion of the project, the penetration rate of internet services should have doubled, from 15% to 30% of the Nigerian population. ICTs could account for 5% of GDP, compared with 2,5% current. The project includes the establishment of pilot data centres, the installation of electronic management platforms and the implementation of the Integrated Systems for the Management of Electronic Identification of Persons.

New areas in Lagos get internet solution

MainOne has extended coverage for its SME-in-a-Box bundled connectivity solution across new areas in Lagos. It has added Yaba, Surulere, Victoria Island, Ikoyi and Marina to areas that benefit from the new internet solution targeted at SMEs, already available in Ikeja and Apapa. The coverage extension enables the company to deliver fibre-optic based unlimited connectivity. The network extension is in response to a successful pilot in Ikeja and Apapa in 2016 and the growing demand for the service across Lagos. The availability of the service in the new areas means that more small businesses can benefit from the unlimited fibre to the office solution. The SME-in-a-Box service also offers voice and cloud solutions. The simple plug-and-play service can drive business productivity and profitability.

News and entertainment TV platform in Ghana

Mega-Choice Digital Network, an associate company of Crystal TV, launched its new Direct-to-Home TV service in Ghana. It is a ten-year contract with Eutelsat Communications for capacity connected to the African service area of the Eutelsat 16A satellite to support the launch of Mega-Choice that will feature well-known national and international channel brands. Mega-Choice will leverage the satellite to extend to other West African markets in phase 2. The new platform begins with a mix of free-to-air and pay channels and a strong accent on news and entertainment. Relying on the experience of Eutelsat, Mega-Choice Digital Network can now offer better broadcasting services to its clients across sub-Saharan Africa, enriching the Eutelsat 16A satellite neighbourhood with quality content.

Mobile marketplace to digitise agricultural sector

Mastercard launched a digital platform that connects smallholder farmers, agents, buyers and banks in East Africa, called 2KUZE. The platform enables farmers to buy, sell and receive payments for agricultural goods via their feature phones. It brings the benefits and security of mobile commerce and payments to farmers in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. 2KUZE is being launched in partnership with Cafédirect Producers Foundation, which works with 300 000 smallholder farmers globally. Currently, 2000 small-scale farmers in Nandi Hills, Kenya are using the solution to sell their produce and working with farmer-friendly agents to ensure they reach their buyers. The platform provides price transparency, direct access to buyers and empowerment of farmer-friendly agents.

Managed WiFi services for Africa businesses

Liquid Telecom is helping African businesses deploy and manage high-performance WiFi for their customers, through a partnership with GlobalReach Technology. The managed WiFi services are available to businesses seeking enterprise-grade WiFi without procuring and managing a wireless LAN service. The service enables businesses offering WiFi to their guests to connect and engage with customers through a branded guest WiFi experience. It offers analytics on user demographics and engagement, enabling businesses to tailor service to customer needs and behaviours. The service combines connectivity from Liquid Telecom with hardware from Ruckus Wireless and a cloud-based platform from GlobalReach, which provides authentication, authorisation and accounting, and customisable captive portals.

SMEs in Nanyuki to get high-speed internet

Safaricom has launched its high-speed internet dubbed “Fibre for Business” in Nanyuki, Kenya, targeting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the region. The internet is delivered through fibre technology, and Nanyuki becomes the seventh town in which SMEs can enjoy fast, reliable and affordable connectivity after Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Eldoret, Malindi and Machakos. Besides Fibre for Business, other propositions targetted at the SMEs include Easy50 (data bundle option) and Ready Business. The Ready Business platform bundles together various technology and advisory services to empower entrepreneurs to tackle challenges of a rapidly changing business landscape.

Licences for more 4G mobile in Egypt

National Telecom Regulatory Authority (NTRA) signed 4G mobile network licences with three service providers in Egypt. Telecom Egypt at a cost of EGP 7,08-billion, permitting the company to provide 4G services using the new frequencies and provide 2G and 3G services through national roaming with the existing licencees. Etisalat Misr obtained the 4G licence for mobile broadband networks worth $535,5-million and $11,262-million for the provision of the virtual fixed-line service. The company now has total frequencies of  40 MHz allocated. Vodafone Egypt got its licence for $335-million and has total frequencies of 42,5 MHz allocated. Orange Egypt got the 4G mobile broadband networks for $484-million. NTRA approved the regulatory framework of the Egyptian telecoms market to enable all companies to provide the same services to the end-user and enhance free competition between mobile operators.

Transmission speed reaches 1,2 Tbps in Algeria

Ooredoo Algeria and Nokia have achieved a ground-breaking transmission speed of 1,2 Tbps over optical fibre in Africa’s first field trial of innovative optical communications technology. The trial was conducted between Algiers and Ain Defla, a distance exceeding 200 km. Commercial deployment of the technology will allow Ooredoo Algeria to offer high capacity-based solutions to subscribers. This will be one of the first commercial deployments of Nokia’s technology, which allows service providers to maximise the performance and flexibility of optical fibre. The trial also utilised 1830 PSS 500 G dense wavelength division multiplexing muxponder, which carries up to five 100 G services per line card.