The 11th Annual Connecting West Africa event opened in Dakar, Senegal today. A full conference room with delegates from across the region gathered to listen to presentations and debates with operators and suppliers on how to prepare networks for the growing data demand.
Maty Sene of host operator Sonatel gave a presentation on operators’ strategies to develop profitable data-ready networks. He predicted that the proportion of data revenue will go from 10% to 40% by 2018, making it crucial for operators to embrace innovation in order to maximise those revenues. Mark Pritchard from Microsoft said West Africa was ‘blessed in terms of submarine cable landings”, making “broadband internet connectivity at super fast speed a reality”. Samba Sene of the Orange Technocentre in Abidjan and Yann Le Guen of Yoomee Cote d’Ivoire addressed the LTE opportunity for the region. Dominique Baron of Horus Telecom looked at how to serve rural areas more effectively and Lare Atcha of Intelsat looked at new satellite technologies. The debates covered commercial strategies, cost-efficiency, quality of service challenges, LTE deployments and technologies to ensure operators maximise the revenue opportunity from data.
The event was of course focused on networking and sharing experiences, with a busy exhibition, a speed networking session and networking drinks.
The second day of the event will include more interactive sessions to discuss various aspects of cost-efficiency (power management, infrastructure sharing, outsourcing), the role of regulators and governments in promoting broadband access in the region, and value-added services.Thank you to our sponsors (Intelsat, Horus Telecom & Utilities), our host operator Sonatel and all exhibitors.