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Tag Archives: Africa

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On the puzzle of figuring how many Internet users

The Economist is a plum. In all honesty, I was thrilled we were mentioned. I wish they had gone to people with real data on Africa like RIA, rather than those who simply speculate, but still, a thoughtful piece. While the claim re radio may hold true for Africa, it definitely is incorrect for the […]

Ali Mazrui: Scholar of Africa

Professor Ali Mazrui, originally of Makarere University in East Africa, has passed away. Eulogies are coming out fast and furious, among them this: There is one crucial similarity between prophets on the one hand and public intellectuals on the other. Both seek to define the terms of the debate in an argument. But the terms […]

Extending a chameleon concept/rule to mobile networks

Net neutrality sticks in one’s mind. Alliteration helps. The guy who cooked up the term ran for Lieutenant Governor nomination in New York and lost, but not too badly. Guess that helps explain its inherent openness to multiple meaning imposition. Net neutrality has an extraordinary range of meanings, not all consistent with each other. Just […]

Digital famine is Africa’s own creation

Africa

Africa lags far behind in every front of ICT indicators, according to the latest report of ITU. Subsequently a recent study of Analysis Mason said, “Every African country has international fibre connectivity, but lack of competition at the national level is keeping prices high.” The study has detected that 35 of the 48 Sub-Saharan countries […]

Study on mobile use by the BOP in Africa

Two new infoDev-led studies provide insight into the use of mobile phones at the BOP in Kenya and another in 12 countries in Africa including South Africa The Kenya study (carried out by iHub Research and Research Solutions Africa) found that over 60% of the Kenyan BOP owns a mobile phone. However only 25% of them […]

Access network operators subsidizing our broadband use?

For two days, I’ve been immersed in debates around WCIT, here in Accra at the African preparatory meeting. The delegate from Egypt, who had control of the text, was the most committed advocate of imposing a form of accounting-rate regime on data flows. According to him, the data are a burden on the network, they […]

No Budget Telecom Network model in Africa?

> Bhairti Airtel may revise low-cost strategy in Africa > > In Telecom.paper 29-02-2012 > > [Mobile World Congress 2012] > Bharti Airtel may devise a new strategy for the African market, following what it termed an unexpected response to its low-cost model developed in India. According to the Daily Nation, the mobile company told […]

Good bye Europe; hello emerging markets

The pendulum swings again. It was around 10 years ago that the great retreat was in full swing, with US and European telcos retreating from emerging markets (and even masking their investments as France Telecom did by making Mauritius Telecom the holding company for its African operations). Now they’re unloading European businesses to go where […]

On mobiles and development: Three reasons why Steve Song is off the mark

First, you must read Steve Song’s self-described rant. He is a thought leader. Will do anyone good to read his thoughts. What follows is my response: This could be the beginning of a good brawl, so let me first thank Steve for starting the debate right, with some facts wrong and slightly in rant territory. […]

Airtel innovating m-based transactions in Africa, not Asia

Curious why they are not using simple m payments. Also curious why Africa? Standard Chartered Bank and MasterCard have developed a solution that will allow people in the East African nation to make online purchases with their cellphones, obviating the need for a credit or debit card. The service, called PayOnline, will soon be expanded […]

Not just more than voice, more than communication too

Interesting piece in the Guardian on mobile more than voice. What I found most interesting was the emphasis placed by the Community Knowledge Worker on things other than communication, such as the reliable weather information and the cooperatization. To register, a farmer must provide exhaustive details about his farm, household and income, as well as […]

The future of m apps

I’ve been thinking about m applications for two full days. Not the normal crowd I hang with, regulators, ministry officials, operators; but people who are starting new companies and various people helping them. People working on energy startups, agri-market incubators, and, yes, also ICT entrepreneurs. Two ideas that came up: Most people who think about […]

Bharti moves its business model to Africa

The shoe is yet to drop in terms of South-Asia-like retail prices, but Bharti is beginning to move out its famed outsourcing model to Africa. The story emphasizes IBM, but one has to be understanding of the US-centric NYT. I.B.M. will supply the computing technology and services for an upgraded cellphone network across 16 nations […]

CHAKULA features an e-interview with LIRNEasia’s CEO

CHAKULA is a newsletter produced by the Association for Progressive Communications (APC). Named after the Swahili word for ‘food’, it aims to mobilise African civil society around ICT policy for sustainable development and social justice issues. The latest issue features an e-interview with LIRNEasia’s CEO Rohan Samarajiva, but it is not the only reason why […]

Debating the wisdom of Bharti’s acquisition of Zain’s African operations

In the end, it comes down to the Budget Telecom Network Model. The recent Bharti 10.7 billion USD offer for Zain has depressed share prices and generated a big debate. But it really boils down to this: The trick for Bharti, which pioneered low-cost telecoms in India, will be to bring down Zain’s high cost […]

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