Friday, November 14, 2008

ECONET to increase subscriber base by 2.5million

SOUTH African based network services provider Econet Wireless International is targeting a subscriber base of 2,5 million mobile subscribers in 2009, starting with 1,2 million in February.

The company, founded by Zimbabwean-born businessman Strive Masiyiwa is confident of meeting its target.

“Econet is targeting a subscriber base of 1,2m by February 2009 and at least 2,5 million thereafter. Econet is definitely set to beat expectations in the case of an economic turnaround given the large market share that they command as well as its positive growth orientation,” said the company.

“Despite the dismal financial performance, the company exhibits very strong recovery and growth potential. Management is bullish about company prospects.”

The company said it will also focus more on innovation and move towards 3rd Generation (3G) services.

The company recently released its half year result where revenue was down significantly by 30,2 percent to US$7,0m in Zimbabwe, where it has its largest base, as a result of sub-economic tariffs.

Mutual and Federal

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Partner with Google, don’t compete- Gartner

Mutual and Federal
Google’s influence and market power with key telecommunications industry stakeholders is having a significant impact on the industry, according to Gartner, Inc.

“The communications industry ‘ecosystem’ ‹ encompassing regulators, Internet service providers, advertising, and media customers and service providers ‹ finds itself in Google’s crosshairs, not because Google necessarily wants to compete with telecom service providers or content developers, but because it finds their business process to be an impediment to innovation and change,” said Alex Winogradoff, research vice president at Gartner.

Mr Winogradoff said Google will continue to be a market disruptor and disintermediator, especially in the communications market. “Carriers should selectively partner with Google rather than trying to compete, especially in areas where they don’t have differentiated and core assets,” he said.
“However, carriers should also find common ground with Google (for example, on network neutrality) and, if necessary, look for creative ways to oppose Google on issues critical to their survival.”

Gartner said that coming late to the operating-system and mobile markets has not been a problem for Google and that its Android and Open Handset Alliance (OHA) activities have already had a profound effect on the mobile industry. In addition to disrupting the traditional telecom ecosystem, Google’s
actions are diluting the market potential and the service providers’ ability to profitably monetise their investments in new markets (such as entertainment and software as a service (SaaS) applications).

Gartner has highlighted six critical actions by Google that have already had, or will have, the greatest impact on the telecom industry. These include:

700MHz Auctions ‹ Google pressured the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to set aside the “C” Block (22MHz to 11MHz in the uplink and 11MHz in the downlink within the U.S. 700MHz spectrum auctions) as an open-access spectrum. All winning “C” Block bidders would be required to provide open
access to applications (which cannot be blocked) and devices (which cannot be locked). Google’s primary motivation was to encourage the development of open broadband network platforms to ensure they will be able to deliver bandwidth-intense over-the-air services and applications.

Formation of OHA and the Android Open Mobile-Device Platform ‹ On 5 November 2007, several technology and wireless companies jointly announced the formation of the OHA and the development of Android, a new software platform for mobile devices that includes an operating system (OS), middleware and key applications based on the Linux OS and open-source principles. This was
quickly followed on 12 November 2007 with a preliminary release of the Android SDK, as part of Google’s $10 million developer challenge.
This will help ensure that application and access openness is maintained on the mobile Internet as effectively as on the wired network to enable Google’s ad model to spread as successfully as it has on the wired Internet; to open up the “closed” mobile industry ecosystem to Google’s applications; and to enable Google to exert a strong influence over the development of the next-generation mobile OS.

Fuelling the Network Neutrality Debate ‹ Since the US regulator (FCC) adopted four network neutrality principles designed “to encourage broadband deployment and preserve and promote the open and interconnected nature of the public internet,” Google and other web-centric companies have been
lobbying the US Congress to codify these rules in favour of something called nondiscrimination in network design between the public and private internet.
In short, Google wants regulation to ensure that the public internet remains free from potential discrimination and content blocking but also wants equality between the public and private internet at no cost to customers or web companies (in essence, no quality of service).

Looking to Own Both Static and Dynamic Location Information ‹ Google has been investing heavily to develop the world’s most complete storehouse of geographic and mapping data supported by innovative applications that can detect mobile devices. Google wants to be “the most-trusted source” and the best at matching up unique geographic location-based data so it can take
advantage of just-in-time advertising opportunities derived from location-aware applications and bypass device manufacturers and carriers as the gatekeepers of location data.

Promoting “White Space” Spectrum Development ‹ Known as “white space” in the US and “interleaved spectrum” in the UK, this is the underutilised 800MHz spectrum that can be used to broadcast TV through the airwaves but also has highly favourable propagation characteristics for wireless broadband. A powerful industry lobby backed by Google, Microsoft, Philips, Dell, HP,
Skype and others (known as the Wireless Innovation Alliance) has been urging the FCC to develop rules to unlock the potential of TV white spaces.
Google’s interest in white spaces is another effort to ensure that there are viable broadband options available for their services. The spectrum, which will likely be released as an open spectrum in 2010, would become another means for bypassing the carrier access network.

Engaging in Business via Google’s “Cloud” and SaaS Offerings ‹ Google is looking to engage organisations by getting them hooked on using Google’s applications and cloud computing infrastructure. Making it easy for users to download Google applications and giving them free space on Google’s cloud infrastructure will give Google great marketing insight to help it develop a
presence within the small-and- midsize business (SMB) market initially, with eventual migration to larger organisations where organisations will come to Google for all their back-office SaaS needs. The impact on carriers looking to generate revenue from the SaaS business model within the SMB market will require carriers to clearly differentiate their applications from Google or partner with it.

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MTN partners with for corporate news

Hollard Pay-As-You-Drive, Africa’s leading ICT news and information website, is proud to announce the imminent launch of MTN’s new home online.

MTN’s press office on will carry news from all of its operations throughout Africa and the Middle East, making it one of the most comprehensive sources of news and information about the telecom giant.

The new virtual press office will contain MTN news, group contacts, multimedia and regular competitions.

Samuel Mungadze, online editor of, said interest in Africa’s most comprehensive news portal by global brands like RIM (producer of the Blackberry), Dell and MTN Group, is growing and is a very positive development. “Our online platform continues to be seen as a credible source for African ICT news. This status allows us to provide our clients with unrivaled exposure to a quality African audience.”

The Virtual Press office is expected to go live in mid November 2008 on

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Vodacom launches multi-million data centre

VODACOM has launched a new R100-million data centre, which has the capacity to host about 20 000 dedicated client servers or 650 000 virtual machines.

The Johannesburg-based 1000 square metre centre will allow companies to do away with their own costly data centres.

According to Wally Beelders, the Executive Director of Vodacom Business, the company has developed a world-class hosting facility that will allow its clients to focus on their core business.

“IT operations are a crucial aspect of any company’s operations. One of the main concerns is business continuity; companies rely on their information systems to run their operations,” said Beelders.

“If a system becomes unavailable, company operations may be impaired or stopped completely. Our new data centre will ensure that a company can continue to run without having to worry about their IT infrastructure,” added the company executive.

Beelders added that all companies will be able to benefit from the range of hosting services now available due to the new data centre, regardless of their size.

“The Vodacom Business Data Centre caters for large corporates with vast IT infrastructure needs, to small businesses, including Small Medium Micro Enterprises (SMME) and Small Office Home Office (SoHo) businesses which need cost-effective hosting services.”

The cost of setting up and running your own data centre infrastructure with back-up generators, UPS, air cooling, building management systems and the associated services is prohibitive.

“By making use of our data centre, clients will benefit from a safe and cost-effective data centre environment including back-up services that ensure the highest level of availability and network performance.”

Vodacom Business says its data centre will operate at any time of the day, seven days a week.
Mxolisi Ncube , Johannesburg

Hollard Pay-As-You-Drive

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Undersea cable connection to link up Africa with World

ALTHOUGH cable connections across many African countries are in a poor state of repair or non-existent, the continent is slowly being connected to the global community through five undersea cable projects, three of which are due for completion in 2009.

The African cell-phone sector is the fastest growing in the world, with subscription growth between 2007 and 2008 at 41% annually. Cell phones currently account for 90% of telephone subscribers in Africa. At the beginning of 2008, there were 300 million mobile subscribers on the continent.

Mobile subscribers in Africa are also now more evenly distributed. In 2000, South Africa accounted for more than half of all Africa’s mobile subscribers. By 2007, however, almost 85 per cent were in other countries.
“One of the reasons for the high growth rate of mobile subscribers is the lack of an affordable, efficient fixed line infrastructure. Wireless is thus the solution of choice and is making fixed line upgrade projects largely redundant. “Mobile network operators have stepped in, providing not only voice communication but, with the launch of third generation (3G) services in a number of mobile phone markets, playing a considerable role in internet service provision,” said Brian Paxton of Mbendi Information services.
While a number of satellite based services are already in operation above the continent, in September 2008 Google announced the successful launch of its new satellite, which can capture images from 423 miles above the Earth and travel at about 4.5 miles per second. Also in 2008, Google and a number of partners announced a Linux-based open development software platform for mobile phones which they expect will pry the telecom industry open and merge it with the Internet.
Broadband penetration has traditionally been low across the continent, with access being limited to urban areas. Access is, however, becoming more widely available, with the number of fixed broadband subscriptions passing the 2 million mark in early 2008.
“On the regulatory front, governments still own monopoly fixed line operators in most countries. However, for the most part there is
competition in the cell-phone sector, mostly with international network operators in partnership with local investors and entrepreneurs.
International players with major investment on the African continent include MTN, Vodacom, MTC (Zain), Vodafone, Orascom, France Telecom, MIC, Etisalat and Portugal Telecom,” Paxton said.

Hollard Pay-As-You-Drive

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South Africa: Information, computer industry loses 25% skilled personnel

Mutual and Federal
Analysts project that the Information and Computer Technology industry may suffer in 2009 due to a skills shortage, which is predicted to be as large as 25 percent.

The forecast setback is attributed in part to the fact that domestic supply is far below demand while deep skills are even scarcer than entry level skills. Players in the industry are thus taking measures to resist the problem.

Leading ICT company AdaptIT Holdings said it had taken steps to ensure that staff are highly valued, attracting the best in the industry to its fold and keeping them.
“The company values its staff and strives to ensure that each employee has a strong sense of purpose, identity and belonging in shaping our success as a company of the future,” chief executive officer Sbu Shabalala said.

Particularly in South Africa, 2008 has been a difficult year for most industries and the ICT industry has not been spared. “We needed to look inwards at our operational efficiency and internal alignment. Also, the effects of what is now a diversified service offering has come to our aid as far as coping under the difficult economic climate is concerned.

“Our strategy will always be to maintain relationships with our existing clients and this is definitely reflected in our results,” Shabalala said.

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Mobile marketing & Broadcasting ahead of 2010 World Cup

THE importance of mobile marketing and broadcasting ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup will feature prominently in the upcoming Soccerex 2008 that South Africa will host later this month.

FIFA and Soccerex have assembled a panel of industry leaders to highlight the importance of this during a panel entitled ‘Mobile Communications in Africa and Beyond: The Key to Reaching Fans at the 2010 FIFA World Cup’.

This will feature senior figures from FIFA, mobile phone giant Ericsson and Perform.

Heading up this panel will be Niclas Ericson (Director, TV Division, FIFA), who will outline the importance of fan communication via this media platform and the opportunities this poses ahead of 2010.

The next FIFA World Cup is expected to push forward interaction via many different communication technologies, including full match broadcasts on mobiles.

As a relatively new broadcasting medium, Niclas Ericson will reveal the world governing body of football’s stance on the activation of event mobile broadcasting rights.

Robin Berglund (Business Development Manager, Ericsson) will reveal how companies such as Ericsson remain innovative in this highly competitive market and where he feels mobile services and handsets can take fan interaction to new levels.

With Ericsson currently operating in over 1,000 networks in more than 140 countries, Berglund is highly knowledgeable on mobile global deployments in markets such as Africa.

He will divulge where he feels mobile services and handsets can provide the greatest influence on media and sports consumption and the related mobile marketing strategy.

Completing this panel of communication experts is Andrew Croker (Executive Chairman, Perform). Perform is a world leader in monetising sport and entertainment rights in digital media, they provide content to clients such as Orange, Nokia, Vodafone and T-Mobile. Recently, Perform were also awarded internet rights for over 500 2010 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Matches.

This conference panel will provide Soccerex delegates an expert consultation session on mobile marketing strategies, focusing on South Africa’s rapidly developing telecommunications market.

The three-day Soccerex, the world’s biggest football exhibition kicks off in Johannesburg on November 23.

Hollard Pay-As-You-Drive

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