14 Sep 2012

Read this week's Hot Stories in Africa and Middle East

Hot Stories in Emerging Markets

Etisalat joins Pan-Africa mHealth initiative

40Mbps uncapped DSL guaranteed for SA

African ICT ministers seek scheme funding, mull space agency

VMK preps Africa-designed Elikia smartphone with $170 price, fast track for apps. VMK Founder Verone Mankou will be speaking at AfricaCom in November.

WACS: business beyond South Africa’s borders

Blog Spot
Interview with Rob Sussman, CEO of mobile money brand ZunguZ & speaker at AfricaCom

Infrastructure Sharing

Picture of the week
Are you ready for the digital revolution?

The Com World Series team concentrates on emerging markets in Africa, the Middle East and Eurasia 24/7 – 365 days of the year. You can follow the news with us by joining our online communities.

13 Sep 2012

Interview with Rob Sussman, Joint CEO, ZunguZ

We are delighted to welcome ZunguZ as participants at AfricaCom 2012.  Their Joint CEO, Rob Sussman, will be participating at the pre-show Mobile Money Lab on Tuesday 13th November.  Below are some of his thoughts on the opportunities in both the mobile money and wider telecoms markets in Africa.

Rob Sussman, ZunguZ
What is ZunguZ’s position in the market and how do you see it develop in the coming year?
ZunguZ is unique is that it intercepts the Low Banked, under banked and unbanked at the point of purchase, offering them a full suite of banking like services that were previously accessible only to the privileged few.
ZunguZ penetrates on the same markets where user growth and adoption is aligned to the uptake in mobile banking and social internet related services

What changes are you expecting in Africa’s telecoms/media/ICT market?
With the migration to smart phone technology in emerging markets we will see a new segment of consumers and consumer related services meet at new points of engagement

How are consumers’ needs evolving and what needs to be done to address them effectively?
The consumer is more informed and able to research and be influenced by their personal trusted network prior to engaging with a merchant or committing to a purchase thereof

What are the opportunities in the mobile money market in Africa? What new types of services and partnerships are likely to emerge?
There is a big focus on mobile money in emerging markets, ZunguZ focuses on mobilising existing currencies and does not create and does not create a new form of mobile money or voucher.  ZunguZ focuses firmly on leveraging on existing banking relationships, existing banking services, existing mobile networks, and existing social networks to provide an agnostic platform which places people at the centre of existing and new innovative financial services and merchant services. With this we will see new relationships being formed between banks and mobile operators

What does it take to be a successful start-up/entrepreneur in Africa?
The most important thing is to understand the culture of people in the various regions, the technology is the same all over the world.  Also, to address the challenges when one faces when doing business in Africa an entrepreneur must be more innovative, more agile and more dynamic in order to springboard mature markets

What are your expectations for this year’s AfricaCom?
To network with the industry leaders, position our platform with the correct partners and cement new strategic partnerships

10 Sep 2012

Mobile Gaming Bends Norms in the Middle East

Video games are becoming more and more popular these days, especially as enhanced graphics and other simulations have transformed the traditional gamer stereotype of nerds and shut-ins into mainstream Facebook and mobile phone users. Yet while games have begun to resemble interactive movies, the Middle East has been making a name for itself for its rapid advances in the less technically impressive realms of mobile and online gaming; on top of that, it has been doing that with the support of users outside of the traditional market of young male techies.

Angry Birds has, for better or worse, become a critical part of everyday lingo, spilling over into the mainstream from the vocabularies of vidiots and aficionados like Pac Man and Mario before it. Unlike Pac Man and Mario, this popularization is due to the cosmopolitan nature of addicting games, online puzzles, and social networking via games. Their appeal today has extended to demographics that might be hesitant to call themselves gamers, being older and less computer savvy.

In response to this trend, Nazara and other companies have invested heavily in the region, and the rapidly expanding market has encouraged a wide range of companies to develop Arabic language and regionally themed games for users interested in a homegrown feel. (Read: They are tired of killing the Arab and/or Muslim terrorists that are bad guys in practically every first person shooter.) Other companies like Yalla Games Cafe are catering to a wide audience with social and puzzle games that are more adept at rapidly growing, non-traditional markets.

One of the most prominent of these markets are women gamers, and developers are eager to explore this niche, although to date the market has been dominated by male developers in spite of its gender-diverse consumer base. Older women especially have are likely to get involved with gaming these days, it seems, playing anything from games designed specifically for women, like Hawwa Style, or more traditionally popular games like RPG's and shooters.

While Facebook fads and angry birds may come and go, it seems that mobile gaming is here to stay in the Middle East. Recently, Orange Telecom made a deal with Gameloft to develop mobile games on phones as a value-added feature of its services, and The Mobile Show just became the first expo in the Middle East dedicated to mobile phone apps in Dubai. Earlier this year Saudi Arabia hosted an all-female gaming convention for the first time in the Middle East.

It is difficult to say whether the internet and mobile are changing the way people in the Middle East spend their free time, but current trends suggest that young, educated men are not the only ones benefiting from the region's technology boom.

Source: Arabnet

Join our Mobile Gaming panel @ Digital Services Middle East on December 4th 2012

Register to attend today quoting your promotion code “Blog” – FREE for Middle Eastern Operators


About Digital Services Middle East: The only event identifying innovative digital services and business models

Digital services Middle East is a new launch event from the Com World Series – organisers of the continent’s leading telecoms, media & ICT conference & exhibition.

This conference-led event, with co-located exhibition, is the premier meeting place for those looking to join the digital services movement in the Middle East. The 2 day programme is led by the industry, for the industry - and the exhibition will attract global players displaying world-class solutions. No other event can be relied upon to attract the diverse digital services ecosystem with such quality learning & networking, a one-stop shop for seeing the future of digital services in the Middle East and forming all important business partnerships.

Enterprise connectivity services revenue in Africa will increase at a CAGR of 12% from 2012 to 2017

Operators are investing in the access networks that will make connectivity services more ubiquitous and affordable.

The market for enterprise connectivity services in Africa will grow from USD8.2 billion in 2012 to USD14.6 billion in 2017 at a CAGR of 12% from 2012 to 2017, as enterprises start to use sophisticated applications that have greater capacity requirements and are latency sensitive. Operators are investing in their access networks that will make connectivity services more ubiquitous and affordable.

Spending on connectivity services in Africa will grow as fibre and mobile broadband become more available

Business users in Africa are constrained by a lack of bandwidth in the access network, and face high prices for a limited selection of connectivity services. Operators are just starting to deploy fibre in access networks and many locations continue to rely on expensive satellite connectivity. Operators are investing in HSPA+ and LTE to increase the capacity and capabilities of their mobile networks, which will also help drive growth in demand for connectivity services.

Figure 1: Revenue for enterprise connectivity services, Africa, 2012–2017 [Source: Analysys Mason, 2012]

Businesses in Africa are looking to take advantage of applications that will improve productivity and reduce costs

As elsewhere, businesses in Africa want to run applications that will help them become more productive, as well as reduce their operational costs, such as:

• office applications: including software specific to a particular industry such as reservations systems, and business process tools such as customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems

voice and messaging communications: including applications such as VoIP and unified communications (UC) systems that enable person-to-person communication

• collaboration applications: software that enables users to share information in real-time, or near real-time

• IT services: applications such as security, antivirus and email in a hosted or managed environment, either on-site or in a data centre access via the 'cloud'.

Access technologies vary in their capabilities and suitability for the applications that businesses need

While some applications require only minimum amounts of bandwidth, most require high capacity, and the most advanced are also sensitive to latency. All these factors influence businesses when deciding which access technology to use. In addition, IT managers also consider the availability, flexibility, reliability and redundancy of the technology.

• Fibre is often the best access technology, because it can be a dedicated connection, and offers higher capacity than other access technologies. However, fibre in access networks is rare in Africa.

• Fixed broadband (for example, xDSL and WiMAX) is more common than fibre in Africa, but is still generally only available in urban centres, and does not offer the capacities of fibre.

• Mobile broadband (CDMA, HSPA/HSPA+, LTE) has broader geographic coverage than both fibre and fixed broadband, and is beginning to catch up with fixed broadband in terms of capacity with the advent of 3G and HSPA.

• Satellite is widely available, and is good for areas where population density is low (that is, much of Africa). The major downsides are that it is expensive, and has high latency, which makes it unsuitable for videoconferencing and other real-time applications.

Source: Analysys Mason, 2012

Register to attend Enterprise ICT Africa - Operators and Enterprise companies with operations in Africa (excluding telecoms companies and African regulators) may attend free of charge.

Please quote your promotion code: "Blog"


About Enterprise ICT Africa

Enterprise ICT Africa is co-located with Africa’s largest and most well respected communications conference and exhibition, AfricaCom. Attendees to Enterprise ICT Africa will benefit from valuable, relevant learning amongst a select group of 200 ICT decision-makers, alongside networking with the 7,000+ AfricaCom telcos and 250+ technology exhibitors. For value, no other Enterprise ICT event in Africa compares.