2 Nov 2012

Winner of APO Invitation to AfricaCom 2012 Revealed

African Press Organization (APO) announced that ICT journalist John Churu (left) from Botswana won APO invitation to participate in the AfricaCom 2012, the premier Pan-African communications event, taking place in Cape Town, South Africa, from 13 to 15 November 2012.
APO will offer transport, accommodation and perdiem for Churu to travel to Cape Town and cover the entire event.
For three years, Churu has been Botswana Bureau Chief for Biztechafrica.com has written extensively on ICT issues.
“We are delighted for John and hope that this experience at the AfricaCom 2012 will benefit not only him, but also Biztechafrica.com and its readers”, said Eloïne Barry, APO Executive Director.
Churu has written for the Sunday Tribune and Mmegi Newspapers in Botswana. He is a member of the Botswana Editors’ Forum.
More information about AfricaCom 2012: http://africa.comworldseries.com

Source: Aïssatou Diallo, sec.sg@apo-opa.org 

1 Nov 2012

Accenture: “Operators should become “supermarkets” of services”

Fernando Usera, Senior Executive, Accenture 
Fernando Usera, Senior Executive of Accenture will be speaking at AfricaCom on Wednesday 14 November. His presentation will be on “bursting the customer relationship myth” at 12:00, at the Customer Experience Management session.

What is your company’s position in the market and how do you see it develop in the coming year?
As organisations look to improve their performance, they want service providers that follow proven approaches to solving immediate business challenges. Those that can help them define and deliver next-generation innovations. Accenture is a global leader in the communications sector, having worked with 19 of the top 20 communications industry companies globally. In Africa, we have well established relationships with major telecommunications, having supported their rapid business growth and market penetration through our well-honed consulting, technology and outsourcing capabilities.

Concerning Africa, the trends that we see shaping the industry include increased challenges in connecting with digital consumers, driving revenue, quickly developing and launching innovative products and services, and jump-starting the delivery of profitable services. This will precipitate a need for solutions that improve customer loyalty, growth and profitability and in turn, enhance market share and marketplace differentiation. Benefits our clients can enjoy include increased growth, improved operations and enhanced performance.

What changes are you expecting in Africa’s telecoms/media/ICT market?
We expect much tougher competition between the different players. All providers face huge expectations about their growth and this should encourage an interesting commercial battle.

Media companies should hurry to get to know their customers better, personalize their offers and leverage all available channels (especially mobile). Telecommunication providers should aim to generate new revenue streams, becoming “supermarkets” of services that leverage their customer base and distribution channels.

Over-the-top telecommunication providers will try to push the others to act as infrastructure managers. One of the most relevant battles will be providing the right technology and telecommunications services in corporate business and SME’s, where all ICT companies will try to dominate.

How are consumers’ needs evolving and what needs to be done to address them effectively?
Consumers are becoming increasingly demanding and companies that are able to successfully manage the customer experience will succeed. Quality issues should be resolved in a way that allows consumers to opt for other services. Mobility will be a key factor in this scenario as the cellular phone becomes a personal tool to access a world of new possibilities.

In Africa, the youth is an important demographic as they are eager to use new technologies. We see a move away from consumers simply accepting services from their providers to a model where they will select appropriate services on demand, forcing providers to ensure that their services are really attractive.

What should operators focus on in order to increase revenues?
Operators should become “supermarkets” of services. They should allow consumers to customize the screens on their devices, selecting the services that they want, when they want.

In the business segment, they should act as consultants on their telecommunications services, allowing their clients to become more competitive.

Also, operators should be more agile, able to understand that the new revenue streams do not necessarily have the operational margins that traditional business once did.

What are your expectations for this year’s AfricaCom?
Accenture looks forward to meeting our key stakeholders at this global African event. It provides an opportunity for us to learn more about the market’s expectations and how we as a service provider can shape our thinking to accommodate market demand and keep up with the latest trends.

We look forward to engage in meaningful conversations and find solutions that will suit our clients’ needs.

Accenture is a proud sponsor of AfricaCom, taking place 13-15 November- find out more, visit www.comworldseries.com/africa

30 Oct 2012

In the African mobile jungle, content is king

Arun Nagar, CEO and Managing
Director for Spice VAS Africa

Arun Nagar is the CEO and Managing Director for Spice VAS Africa. Today he shares his thoughts on Africa's mobile market.

Africa’s mobile market is not only the fastest-growing in the world; it’s also the most challenging for operators and service providers: low revenues per customer, high levels of churn and 96% of the population on prepaid tariff plans.

By now, the market has evolved to the point where operators cannot be content to just focus on new customers – that is, people who have never owned a mobile phone before. Today, they need to attract new customers, hold on to existing customers, and offer compelling products and services.

Africa’s fastest-growing mobile services company, Spice VAS Africa has a simple recipe for success: have deep local understanding of various markets, tailor your product offering accordingly, and then attract and retain customers through a combination of great content and innovative value-added services.

Arun Nagar the CEO and Managing Director of Spice believes the company’s focus on content will revolutionise the Africa mobile industry for operators and mobile users alike. He says the African mobile market is “rich with opportunity” for operators to lock in customer loyalty and market share with great content, and the penetration rates Spice has achieved in Africa in the past five years – up to 25% in some markets - talks to the success of this approach.

Of course, when we talk about content in Africa, we generally mean music. Today, Spice VAS Africa is one of the leading VAS content owners in Africa in terms of the number of record labels signed exclusively with the company, the overall number of artists and the different ways it can deliver content to the end user.

Spice, one of the biggest VAS platform providers on the continent, has already signed some of the continent’s top music labels to bolster a compelling line-up of mobile offerings. What this means is that African mobile users are starting to experience something of a revolution in their mobile music experience, with functionalities that allow users to create personalised playlists on any phone, effectively turning even the cheapest phones into veritable iPods.

Spice has 43 services live in 19 networks across 12 countries in Africa and growing. In its newest market, South Africa, Spice has only been operating for six months, but has already signed deals with music labels like Universal, EMI, Soul Candi, Ghetto Ruff, Vonk Musiek, Real Musiek and Select Musiek.
Across Africa, it boasts tie-ups with some 560 artists, including Mi Casa, HHP, Rose Muhando and many more.

Spice is headquartered in Singapore, but has grown its operations across Africa rapidly in the past two years on the back of a product suite that includes voice and infotainment products and managed services.

Spice is a proud sponsor of Africa Com, taking place in November - find out more, visit www.comworldseries.com/africa

29 Oct 2012

Mobile Congestion: Is there a Crisis?

Lately, service providers have been facing an influx of subscribers who’ve been unable to complete phone calls or send text messages, or have experienced extremely slow data speeds, all the while having to deal with relatively small data caps! This poor mobile experience is partly due to the network congestion issues in the service provider’s mobile data networks. I think it’s safe to say we’ve all experienced this one way or another by now. And if you think it’s getting worse, it is!

Sometimes it’s hard to visualize data (especially if you’re on a bad network!). Here at Dialogic, we thought it would be interesting and cool to create an Infographic that illustrates just how serious the mobile congestion problem is:

Optimization Delivers Increased Network Capacity[Source: Dialogic.com

So just how serious is this problem?
Well, smartphones represent 82% of the global handset traffic even though they represent only 12% of total global handsets in use today. By 2014, smartphones will be 50% of all handsets shipped!
So just imagine what this all means for the next two years. You guessed it: mind-boggling unprecedented mobile data traffic growth! In fact, smartphone traffic in 2016 will be 50x greater than it was in 2011. Tablets alone will generate almost as much traffic in 2016 as the entire global mobile network in 2012!

Mobile subscribers deserve to be happy
Subscribers aren’t the only ones being negatively affected by the bandwidth crunch. Service providers are facing a growing gap between the revenue they earn per user and the bandwidth a user consumes.
What does this mean? That we’ll just all have to live with congestion? Be frustrated all the time?

No it doesn’t. The mobile industry understands this and there are a number of solutions that have been proposed, ranging from Wi-Fi offloading to data capping to building more advanced networks. 
However, optimization products remain key to resolving the mobile congestion crisis!

Adding relatively inexpensive optimization infrastructure products in backhaul, edge or core networks can free up bandwidth by 30%, which increases capacity by 43%!  

So this means Network optimization is an extremely efficient and cost effective mechanism to support growing bandwidth needs while also positioning service providers to get the most value from their current infrastructure and increase their revenue streams.
If you want to learn more, please go here to download our new whitepaper on Network Optimization.

About Dialogic

Dialogic Corporation (Dialogic) is a leading provider of world-class, innovative technologies based on open standards that enable innovative mobile, video, IP, and TDM solutions for Network Service Providers and Enterprise Communication Networks. Dialogic's customers and partners rely on its leading-edge, flexible components to rapidly deploy value-added solutions around the world.

Dialogic will be at Africa Com in November - you can visit them at Stand F05c