27 Sep 2013

WiMAX Forum Advances in Industrial Markets

The WiMAX Forum is invigorating its involvement in industrial markets and building its WiMAX Advanced initiative. While many members of the WiMAX Forum are transitioning away from the traditional Service Provider mobile broadband wireless segment, the technology itself is making headway into industrial markets, demonstrating that there remains a large and enduring opportunity for WiMAX technology.

The WiMAX Forum invites you to learn more at WiMAX Africa 2013, which will be co-located with Informa Telecom & Media’s AfricaCom on Monday, November 11, 2013 at the Cape Town Convention Centre in Cape Town, South Africa. In its third year, this year’s event will focus specifically on supporting the African operator community developing and managing profitable growth of WiMAX network deployments. For more information and registration, please visit: WiMAX Africa 2013.

The WiMAX Forum successfully hosted its first WiMAX Aviation Event this month, which was collocated with the WiMAX Forum Member Conference in Washington, DC, USA. WiMAX Aviation 2013 drew more than 100 attendees from over 40 companies in North America, Europe, and Asia. Attendees were treated to a full two-day program with 28 organizations contributing speakers from WiMAX vendors, airlines, airport authorities, a variety of government representatives, and other groups:

•    Airbus
•    AT4 Wireless
•    ASRI
•    Bureau Veritas ADT
•    BWI Marshall
•    CelPlan Technologies
•    ENRI Japan
•    FAA
•    GCT Semiconductor
•    Gemtek
•    Harris Corporation
•    Hitachi
•    Honeywell
•    ICAO
•    ITRI
•    MWAA
•    NASA
•    NEC
•    Saab Sensis Corporation
•    SAIC
•    Selex ES
•    Sequans Communications
•    SESAR
•    SITA
•    Symantec Corporation
•    Thales Communications
•    UPS

Bringing together the key players of the Aviation Community and WiMAX ecosystem, this event fostered thoughtful discussions on a wide range of topics that included the big-picture vision and strategy for airport systems and more specifics, such as AeroMACS trial deployments and certification for AeroMACS equipment and devices.

“We couldn’t have been happier with the quality and candor of the technical and commercial discussion”, said Declan Byrne, President of the WiMAX Forum.  “We were particularly impressed by the participation of such important international figures, such as Nancy Graham, Director of the Air Navigation Bureau, International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), whose remarks made clear to participants the international support for this new market segment for WiMAX”.

AeroMACS is IEEE 802.16e (WiMAX) technology applied to create a new airport (surface) communication system that is robust, efficient, secure, safe, and flexible. Through this event and the WiMAX Forum Aviation Working Group activities, the Forum is facilitating the ability to certify WiMAX technology to apply AeroMACS to the airport surface.

Furthermore, WiMAX Aviation 2013 illustrated the tremendous potential and highlighted the interest in delivering broadband wireless services to the Aviation Industry, using WiMAX technology. To carry on progress and maintain the momentum that the event created, the WiMAX Forum will follow up with an Aviation Summit in Europe in 2014.

The WiGRID initiative is also building traction, and industries continue to choose WiMAX due to it being a mature, stable, and cost-efficient technology with better access to unlicensed or lightly licensed spectrum. WiGRID is optimized WIMAX technology based on IEEE 802.16e for utilities and industrial applications. This year, the WiMAX Forum Smart Grid Working Group modified its name to Smart Energy Working Group to encompass its widening focus on mining, oil & gas, and utilities. Specifically in Asia and Latin America, new trials and deployments are afoot to replace legacy smart meters. This will only grow in the next decade.

The WiMAX Forum will host two related events to further this initiative for the remainder of 2013. WiGRID 2013 will be held at EUTC in Amsterdam, Netherlands on October 23rd-25th, participating in an educational session called WiMAX – A Suitable Solution for Smart Grids and featuring Accenture, Cisco, and GE in the EUTC Pavilion. WiMAX Oil & Gas Event 2013 will be a pre-conference session at OilComm on Wednesday, November 6th to focus specifically on supporting the Oil & Gas community in deploying effective and affordable WiMAX networks to support their communication initiatives.

Lastly, the Forum is progressing with WiMAX Advanced, a transition technology to promote WiMAX technology and TD-LTE coexistence as the Service Provider mobile broadband wireless segment begins to introduce TD-LTE alongside WiMAX.

The WiMAX Forum is making strong and steady progress in the industrial market segments. This growth establishes that it is a valuable solution for broadband distribution for many countries across the globe and bringing people from different organizations together to discuss opportunities, challenges, and strategies involved in operating profitable WiMAX networks in each market.

For more information on WiMAX technology or to become a member of the WiMAX Forum, please contact Raul Rigo at Raul.Rigo@WiMAXForum.org. You may reach Raul by phone at +1 (305) 382-7590. For more information on upcoming WiMAX Forum events, please visit: www.WiMAXForum.org/events.

About the WiMAX Forum®
The WiMAX Forum® is an industry-led, not-for-profit organization that certifies and promotes the compatibility and interoperability of broadband wireless products based upon IEEE Standard 802.16. The WiMAX Forum’s primary goal is to accelerate the adoption, deployment and expansion of WiMAX technologies across the globe while facilitating roaming agreements, sharing best practices within our membership and certifying products. WiMAX Forum Certified® products are interoperable and support broadband fixed, nomadic, portable and mobile services. The WiMAX Forum works closely with service providers and regulators to ensure that WiMAX Forum Certified systems meet customer and government requirements. For more information, visit www.wimaxforum.org.

Meet WiMAX Forum (Workshop Sponsor) at AfricaCom - Get your Free Ticket to the WiMAX Africa 2013 Summit - here

26 Sep 2013

Smile Communications talks LTE in Africa...

Irene Charnley
Irene Charnley, CEO of Smile Communications talks LTE to the Africa Com team…

We caught up with Irene Charnley ahead of the AfricaCom Conference and Exhibition, taking place at the CTICC in Cape Town, South Africa – 12-14 November to find out a bit more about her experiences and focus at the event.

AfricaCom: How is Smile Telecoms positioned in Africa and how do you see it evolve in the next year?

Irene Charnley: Smile is an African ICT pioneer, having launched the continent’s first 4G LTE services in Tanzania, followed by further launches in Uganda and Nigeria. Smile owns network, service and spectrum licenses which allow it to build and operate wireless broadband services in Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania and Democratic Republic of the Congo (the DRC) – markets which currently have very limited broadband infrastructure, and which cover a combined market population of more than 300 million people. Smile’s group headquarters are located in South Africa, where it also has network and service licenses. In the event that it is awarded spectrum, South Africa will become the fifth market within which Smile will provide industry-leading 4G LTE services.
The next 12 months are likely to see continued growth in ICT access across the continent, combined with ever-increasing demand for high-speed, high quality and reliable broadband services as markets and services continue to mature. Increased competition and innovation amongst high-quality service providers and content and application providers will place additional pressure on legacy systems. This and other factors will add to the pressure on large legacy networks as consumer loyalty continues to decline and as the demand for high-quality and reliable services to support these new applications becomes increasingly difficult to ignore. 

AfricaCom: What is most affecting profitability for operators in Africa and how are you working to improve it?

Irene Charnley: There are a number of factors which limit operator profitability in Africa:
First, infrastructure challenges remain – including power supply (which is often non-existent, inconsistent or comparatively expensive) and the poor quality and unreliability of fiber networks and backhaul systems. Smile continues to work with its vendors and partners (including governments and regulatory agencies) to address these issues wherever possible.
 Second, backhauling costs remain unnecessarily high, in part due to limited fibre availability and the unwillingness of some providers to lease and/or sell existing fibre capacity. Market pricing for bandwidth remains excessively aligned to voice- as opposed to data services, and the lack of special concessions and incentives for broadband equipment limit operators’ ability to invest in infrastructure.
 Third, the high rental costs of shared sites limit the extent to which existing infrastructure can be used at maximum cost-efficiency. Many operators also face significant structural limits to their efficiency, resulting from their continued commitment to outdated 2G and 3G legacy infrastructure. In many cases, these legacy commitments also constitute a limiting factor to the efficient use of frequency spectrum. Smile has made a strategic commitment to the exclusive use of 4G LTE, significantly improving the quality of its services and the cost-effectiveness of its infrastructure and operations.
Finally, operator profitability is affected by high human resource costs, resulting primarily from the comparatively small pool of local 4G LTE expertise. Smile is addressing this challenge by focusing on securing and retaining high-quality expertise, designing its systems to maximise productivity and engaging in aggressive local talent recruitment and development.

AfricaCom: How is LTE changing the market and why is it important for Smile to be a leader in the field? 

Irene Charnley: In a sector which has been driven by innovation, LTE represents the next generation of technology, and therefore the future of the ICT sector as a whole. LTE allows for the more effective use of frequency spectrum, more product innovation and faster implementation, more stable and reliable services at higher data speeds, improved urban coverage and greater operational cost-efficiencies. LTE is the first standard which can truly live up to the promise of high-speed broadband services.

AfricaCom: What strategies are you putting in place to maximise revenues from data services?

Irene Charnley: Smile’s strategy is based on providing an unparalleled customer experience through excellent speed, quality, and reliability, coupled with products and services that are easy to use.. The simultaneous presence of all of these qualities is strongly correlated with increased consumer demand for data services. In addition, the capabilities and efficiencies of its dedicated 4G LTE infrastructure allow Smile to implement innovations rapidly and to increase the cost-efficiency of its services. 

AfricaCom: What services will have the biggest impact on the African telecoms market in the future?

Irene Charnley: Broadband penetration is in its infancy. As penetration grows, network effects, economies of scale and critical mass will all facilitate the development of the African content ecosystem. Services and applications that have been designed by local developers to meet local customer needs to create, access and share content will ultimately have the most profound impact, both on the African telecoms market and on Africa as a whole. 

AfricaCom: What are your expectations from taking part in AfricaCom this year?

Irene Charnley: The rapid pace of ICT evolution and the unique challenges and opportunities which exist in the African market make it particularly necessary to learn from one’s peers. We expect AfricaCom to showcase innovation and enable information-sharing.



Irene Charnley will be speaking at 12:10 on Day 2 at the LTE@AfricaCom session “LTE launch case study: operator perspective on deploying & launching LTE services in Africa”. 

Register here: http://africa.comworldseries.com/register/

24 Sep 2013

Middle East Com: See you next year | 22-23 September 2014

See you next year... Share your thoughts on #MECOM @allaboutcom
Packed ConferenceThe 2nd day of Middle East Com 2013 opened with a panel discussion on Government Initiatives Encouraging ICT across the Middle East. Dr Nagwa Elshenawi, Director of Information Center and Advisor to minister for Strategic Planning, Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, Egypt followed the discussion with a presentation detailing the correlation between broadband penetration and economic growth and outlined Egypt’s strategy for encouraging ICT.
The opening session was followed by detailed discussion on the opportunities for telcos to increase their share of enterprise telecom and ICT budgets; and an insight into the role of the regulator in fostering innovation throughout the region.
The afternoon sessions focussed on Digital Services, led by stream sponsor Altran, with discussions on Arabic content, mHealth, mobile money and M2M; and a continuation of the MVNOs Middle East event.  Presentations from Samatel, the Ministry of ICT in Tunisia, Jawraa and Omantel were among those raising the interest levels in MVNOs in the region and intensifying the focus on the opportunities available.
Delegates were also offered focussed tutorials by Ericsson and Tellabs, detailing Managed Services and Backhaul in LTE.
The buzz continued in the exhibition as delegates and visitors met with product developers and enjoyed positive and rewarding speed networking sessions, with operator participants representing...
Etisalat * Du * STC * Mobily * Ooredoo * Bravo* Zain* Tunisiana * Omantel * Nawras * Jawwal * Wataniya * Renna * Touch * Alfa * Tishknet * MCI * Vodafone * Orange * Green Networks * Expresso * Virgin * Sudatel * Viva * Jawraa * PTCL
What our attendees said about this year's show:    
“It was a perfect platform to host the event. Speed Networking was the best as it gave us the opportunity to have quick introductions to many operators and assess their immediate needs.”
Lokesh Abichandani, Sales Director, Technotree UAE
Speed Networking Day 1
“Very well positioned in terms of content of the conference, variety of vendors and clients, topped with an excellent services from the Informa team. Sign me up for 2014!”
Rana Rizwan, IT Program Manager, Bravo Telecom Saudi Arabia
Sponsors of Middle East Com
Mahindra Comviva, Altran, Comverse, Ericsson, Comza, Tellabs, BICS, EMC and Lumata
See You Next Year!         
To get involved early for the 2014 show,          
please visit our website: http://www.me.comworldseries.com/
22-23 September 2014
Sofitel Dubai, The Palm Resort & Spa
Palm Jumeirah,
East Crescent Road
P.O. Box: 55558
Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Amazon Web Services - the sky's the limit for Cloud in Africa..

Amazon Web Services (AWS) are speaking at the prestigious Africa Com Cloud event ..

We caught up Attila Narin who will be speaking in November and posed a few questions on the AWS perspective on the cloud landscape ...

Attila Narin, Senior Manager, Amazon Web Services
What are the biggest challenges Cloud Computing is faced with in the immediate future?
There are no reasons why businesses shouldn’t move to the cloud in order to gain the benefits of agility, flexibility and cost savings that cloud computing brings. When speaking to customers about why they aren’t already in the cloud we sometimes run into the psychology of control. In a traditional environment, when there are problems, they’re used to walking down the hall to a physical box where their technology is running.  There’s a certain comfort, for some people, in knowing you can see the technology hardware in case there is a problem.  Relinquishing that control and ability to see the physical hardware is understandably hard for some.

What about the African landscape for Cloud, what are the specifics there?

We are seeing rapid adoption of the cloud and AWS has companies of every size and in virtually every industry. AWS is fuelling a hotbed of innovation in many sectors of business. We see fast growing start-ups, such as Spotify, using AWS to quickly grow and compete on a global scale to Aviva, the UK’s largest insurance company, using AWS for calculating insurance premiums over to Germany where established enterprise software vendors such as SAP have certified the AWS platform for use with SAP software. In South Africa, AWS has a number of customers running a variety of workloads. For example, Nedbank, together with partner Entersekt, is running a mobile banking application on AWS to help improve the security of the retail banking experience. On the one hand, AWS provides technology that enables South African customers to serve their local customers; on the other hand, AWS enables South African customers to go global within minutes to serve a global audience.

How does AWS work with telcos in the sphere of Cloud services?

Telcos around the globe are working with AWS to take advantage of the scale and the global reach of the cloud, the ability to innovate, and to tap into additional revenue streams. For example, Vodafone Hutchison in Australia provides mobile services to more than 6 million customers. They provide live, interactive mobile television service, known as Mobile TV, through the Cricket Live Australia application. The application lets fans to watch live cricket games and check live scores on their Android and iOS smartphones and tablets. Other examples include data analytics and many Telcos are leveraging AWS for this - for example, Nokia Solutions and Networks in Finland. Telcos have also partnered with AWS to provide managed services on top of AWS, such as eircom based in Ireland.

What are the future plans of AWS in the Cloud arena?

One thing that is clear for us is the cloud will be driven by customers. At AWS we spend a lot of time listening to customers and releasing new services and features based on this feedback. Last year alone we announced 159 significant services and features so you can expect this to continue in the future. I’d also tell you that customers care about cost and we’re going to continue to work to lower our costs and pass the savings to our customers.  We’ve reduced prices 37 times over the last seven years with no competitive pressure to do so.  This is a very different business than traditional IT and we think we’re quite good at running high volume – low margin businesses. 

Hear Attila Narin speak at Cloud @ Africa Com on 12-13th November 2013.

Attila is technical at heart and loves innovation, building systems, learning about new technologies and working with customers on the technical and business aspects of cloud computing. He has been with Amazon since October 2004 and currently leads the Solutions Architecture team at Amazon Web Services that is helping European companies move to the cloud. Before joining the AWS Business Development organization, he was one of the key members of the Amazon EC2 Team, managing the design and delivery of several of the currently available Amazon EC2 features. Prior to joining Amazon, Attila held several software development and leadership roles at Microsoft and served on Bill Gates’ Executive Strategy Team building innovative prototypes. Attila holds a Computer Science degree from the University of Florida.  

23 Sep 2013

Middle East Com opened today at the Sofitel Dubai, The Palm Resort in Dubai...

***Join us for day 2 ***  Share your thoughts on #MECOM @allaboutcom
The 18th annual Middle East Com opened today with a packed conference room at the Sofitel Hotel, The Palm, in Dubai. Dr Alkahtani Saad Zafer, Member of UN Broadband Commission for Global Digital Development, gave the keynote presentation, detailing the role of governments and private sector in promoting ICT infrastructure in their respective countries.  
The plenary session continued with an interview between Scott Gegenheimer, CEO of Zain Group and Informa Telecoms and Media’s Chief Research Officer  Mark Newman, discussing Scott’s plans for revitalising the Zain Group.
Packed ConferenceThe operator panel discussion focussed on an issue pertinent to all network operators in the region – how operators are redefining offerings to take the consumer experience to the next level.  With input from Google and Facebook following the panel, the session encompassed the on-going  developments around the relationship between OTT players and telcos.
The afternoon sessions focussed on LTE, Customer Experience Management and MVNOs.
With outstanding networking sessions and a focus on building relationships, the event continues to draw the region’s telecoms leaders and innovators.  As Hany Moneim, Head of Customer Care at Vodafone Egypt commented “The event has really exceeded all my expectations by far. The level of organization, content, facilities was awesome. Well done and keep up being the best!”
Speed Networking Day 1We look forward to another information-packed day and further networking opportunities tomorrow, with a focus on Regulation, Government ICT initiatives, M2M, MHealth, Mobile Money and more about MVNOs in the Middle East.
Make sure to join us for Day 2
There is an outstanding speaker line-up for day 2 of the event as well -  
make sure to join us tomorrow! 
Venue Information: 
Sofitel Dubai, The Palm Resort & Spa
Palm Jumeirah,
East Crescent Road
P.O. Box: 55558
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Directions to the venue: visit  http://www.sofitel.com/gb/hotel-6541-sofitel-dubai-the-palm-resort-spa-opening-july-2013/presentation.shtml  
Day 2:
Registration: Opens 8:00
Conference: 9.00am – 5:30pm
Exhibition: 9.00am – 5:30pm
Hear from our Day 1 Attendees
“Middle East Com 2013 continues to be quite the experience. The attendance is positive with key decision makers gracing the event. I endeavor to make the most out of each interaction. Looking forward to success.” Thank you”
Raymond Jumah, New Products and Innovations Manager, ComzAfrica Ltd. Kenya
“In the fast changing world of today’s telecoms, an event like this plays a key role. Efficient networking and ideas sharing are a must if you want success”
Alfonso Martinez, CEO, Altran UAE
“I was very impressed about the big attention that this event has in the region. We met several interesting people across all parts of the telecommunication industry”
Christian Wagner, Head of Marketing, Kathrein Germany
  “Speed Networking proved to be an excellent tool for us to build a contact database to work from, since we are new in this geographical market. We met relevant people from the operators we have targeted, and they are interesting”
Claes Hiort, VP Regional business Development, Netadmin Systems Sweden
  “A great event for networking in the telecoms industry”
William Yuan, Export Manager, Fengtan Co. ltd. China
Sponsors of Middle East Com
Mahindra Comviva, Altran, Comverse, Ericsson, Comza, Tellabs, BICS, EMC and Lumata

Infoma's Digital Africa Survey - Take part and win a US$150 Amazon voucher

Informa Telecoms & media are pleased to announce the annual Digital Services in Africa survey.  Giving a state-of-the-nation snapshot of the Digital landscape in Africa straight from the horse's mouth..

The survey contains 22 short questions, which should take less than 15 minutes to complete so please take the time to submit your input and help us reflect the realities of Digital Africa.


Completing the survey, and submitting your contact details at the end, will enter you in a draw to win a US$150 Amazon voucher.

The survey results will be strictly confidential and anonymous.

Thank you for your time.


Matthew Reed
Principal Analyst, Middle East & Africa
Informa Telecoms & Media