Neolectum - Mobile applications - Broadband technology - Satellite communications - Smartphone - Cellphone - Wireless-

Sectors and markets


Africa • Energy sources • March 2015

Samsung Electronics Africa takes a ‘What If I Can’ step forward

The energy stored from shopper footfall will contribute towards benefiting underprivileged communities in Africa

Samsung Electronics Africa took a bold step forward on Saturday, 7 March, with the launch of the new brand campaign called ‘What If I Can’.

The initiative is an attempt at shifting the mindsets of normal people to believing they can contribute towards the greater good because they have the power in their everyday routine to change people’s lives and circumstances.

‘What If I Can’ is all about the power of a human step. To display this strong message, Samsung collaborated with a UK-based company called Pavegen by laying a 68-tile walkway, situated in Sandton City Johannesburg.

These tiles have the ability to collect kinetic motion and store this as energy. In addition, the walkway consists of an interactive data screen displaying a leaderboard of real-time footfall data and providing an immediate visual payback.

Sandton City’s main passage receives a monthly footfall rate of over two million footsteps. The energy stored from shopper footfall will contribute towards benefiting underprivileged communities in Africa, aiming to prove that even the smallest action of movement can make a huge difference to standards of living across the world.

To extend participation beyond the Sandton City walkway, Samsung has created a simple step-counting mobile application allowing thousands of ordinary citizens across Africa to power solutions that benefit the less fortunate by simply walking. This application can be downloaded from the Google Play Store and is available on all android devices.

The Campaign runs from March until the end of May. Participants across Africa will compete against each other to take the most steps and Samsung will match every contribution with a further 1000 steps. The country generating the most steps at the end of the first part of the campaign will earn a Samsung Solar Powered Internet School for a deserving community in that country.

Ntutule Tshenye, Director of Public Affairs and Corporate Citizenship at Samsung Electronics Africa, is the face of this brave new approach by the brand to take on very real problems such as connectivity to power the internet for under-served areas across Africa.

“Education relevance and internet connectivity are imperatives to contribute towards future socio-economic growth in Africa,” says Ntutule. “We feel that a consumer facing campaign such as ‘What If I Can’ is both complementary and even gives credit to our innovate solutions such as Solar Powered Internet Schools and Solar Powered Digital Villages that work to empower people by delivering revolutionary solutions designed to overcome local challenges and take communities into the future,” he says.

During the first 20 days of the campaign, the steps taken by participants will be accumulated to reach at least 400 million steps. This will contribute to the installation of a Samsung Solar Power Generator at the recently launched Revolutionary Britehouse Got-Game Digital Hub at the Sunrise Secondary School in Diepsloot.

“Britehouse Got Game is a place of unlimited possibilities, dictated by communities’ own requirements”, says Britehouse CEO, Scott Gibson. “There is no limit to Britehouse GOT-GAME’s potential or what it can bring to the community. Because it is replicable, it reduces the cost, time, and effort needed to make an immediate difference.”

The ‘What If I Can’ campaign is less of a campaign and more of a brand endorsed movement. Samsung is on a mission to raise awareness and use innovation and technology to overcome region-specific problems. This time, we are not only empowering communities to become healthier, better educated and effectively connected, we are also empowering ordinary people to make a difference in the lives of the less fortunate around them. • 3/15


Video and TV • MWC 2014

SPB TV Unveils International Growth Strategy and New Interactive Video Content Technologies

Exhibition stand innovations included new interactive football match voting, user engagement and information delivery

SPB TV, already one of the world’s major innovators in end-to-end OTT TV, IPTV and mobile solutions for video content delivery to multiscreen devices, used this week’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona as the launch pad for further international growth, revealing unique new developments for its fast-growing customer base.

SPB TV is headquartered in Switzerland, with R&D headquarters in Russia and group affiliates in Asia and South America. It has built its reputation largely around breakthrough TV solutions across Russia and Eastern Europe, and has provided its technology to the three largest mobile operators in Russia: MTS, Beeline and Megafon. During Mobile World Congress, SPB TV announced further developments in Kazakhstan and Armenia, but with a growing presence in Brazil, Singapore, Dubai and Thailand, SPB TV is looking to become established and recognised as a truly global player.

“SPB TV is at the very heart of the video revolution that is so dramatically affecting peoples’ lives and also those of the vendors and operators that make it all possible,” said Kirill Filippov, SPB TV General Director. “Our ability to deliver end-to-end TV, to support any device and to constantly create innovative and unique new services that build brand loyalty and revenue, is truly world class. We are proving it day after day with a growing number of customers and we see Mobile World Congress as a real showcase for the future.”

SPB TV was launched in 2007 and the company has always invested heavily in innovation – with 80 percent of its staff working in research and development. The SPB TV mobile TV app – the company’s own OTT TV service – is available across all mobile platforms and is used by more than 30 million people worldwide.

SPB TV has pioneered many unique customer services and in Barcelona it unveiled new interactive TV services around live football – engaging viewers and allowing them to vote for their best players or teams and to receive additional on-screen information about players, goals and other background information while the game is in progress.

In addition to the football package, SPB TV showed how their clients can access behavioural preference data, to allow them to modify and target their marketing, as a core part of SPB’s recommendation system and targeted advertising. Other innovations on display at the stand included: a special interface for smart TVs, iOS and Android mobile devices, voting and targeted advertising applications and unique statistical data demonstrating the connection quality for end-users in real-time.

“We are focused on promising markets and as such our expertise and quality technologies allow us to target these regions. In addition to the Latin American market, Southeast Asia is a big focus of growth for us at the moment. We are looking to develop our reach in this region, and plan to expand in to Sri-Lanka, Thailand and Malaysia,” said Mr Filippov.

SPB TV exhibited at this week’s Mobile World Congress from 24-27 February.

“This year, Mobile World Congress provided us with a unique opportunity to negotiate and reach preliminary agreements with mobile network operators, which use OTT technology and want to broaden their pay-TV subscriber base, including new subscribers who were not previously their clients,” highlighted SPB TV General Director Kirill Filippov. • 27-2-14

Africa • Social Venture Prizes • Nov 13

Orange announces winners of thmarkete Orange African Social Venture Prize 

Orange announced the three winners of the Orange African Social Venture Prize during the AfricaCom Awards ceremony held in Cape Town last night The three winners will receive financial assistance along with management and technical support from Orange specialists. The first prize winner will also benefit from a patent application

This prize, which has enjoyed considerable success since its launch in 2011, aims to support the development of entrepreneurs and start-ups offering solutions that use information and communication technologies (ICT) to meet the needs of people living in Africa.

Over 450 candidates responded to the call for projects, which ran from May to September 2013, clearly demonstrating the underlying entrepreneurial vitality that exists on the African continent. Proposed projects spanned a variety of fields such as healthcare, agriculture, education, energy, industry and commerce illustrating the high potential of telecommunications for development in Africa.

The panel of judges, consisting of Orange specialists, the media and institutions that promote development, chose three prizewinners from among 12 nominated projects that were presented on Orange's pan-African web portal.

The awards ceremony was held yesterday in Cape Town, South Africa, during the AfricaCom Awards, an annual event that recognizes the most significant innovations and achievements of the telecommunications industry in Africa.

The winning projects are:

In addition to funding of up to 25,000 euros, Orange will provide support to the three projects for six months through its local subsidiaries as well as expert advice from business and telecoms professionals. This year, for the first time, Orange will also provide a patent application for the first prize winner in the country of deployment.

Finally, a "favourite project" was also selected by visitors of the Group's web portal StarAfrica. Over 24,000 visitors voted for the Kenyan project "Dukalangu". This online shop offers customers a wide range of products at competitive prices. The site also provides Kenyan entrepreneurs and designers with an excellent development opportunity by enabling them to market and sell their products online.

"Entrepreneurs in Africa have always shown an ability to harness technology for the development of lasting, socially-responsible innovations that stimulate growth. Through this prize, Orange is proud to be able to contribute to this dynamic, particularly by providing active support to the prize-winners,” said Marc Rennard, Orange’s Senior Executive Vice President for Africa, the Middle East and Asia. “This year’s jury was impressed by the overall quality of the projects submitted. We can clearly see that technology is a relevant tool for driving social development, and this gives us an added stimulus in our commitment to Africa.” 

Orange operates in 20 countries in Africa and the Middle East and has a total of over 84 million customers. To contribute to the social and economic development of these countries, the Group has put together the "Orange for Development" programme, which is based on three central themes:

It is to meet this last goal, which is aligned with both its innovation strategy as well as its Corporate Social Responsibility policy, that the Group decided to launch the Orange African Social Venture Prize in 2011. • Source: APO (14/11/13) is Orange's pan-African web portal, which combines content from all sub-Saharan countries in its six channels – news, soccer, more sports, music, education and jobs – with a special focus on young talent. The portal is also the online store that provides expatriate communities with access to innovative communications services that allows them to stay in touch with their contacts.

Orange is one of the world’s leading telecommunications operators with sales of 43.5 billion euros in 2012 and has 166,000 employees worldwide at 30 September 2013, including 102,000 employees in France. Present in 32 countries, the Group has a total customer base of more than 232 million customers at 30 September 2013, including 175 million mobile customers and 15 million fixed broadband customers worldwide. Orange is also a leading provider of global IT and telecommunication services to multinational companies, under the brand Orange Business Services.


October 2013

Internet: Facts and Figures 2013

In the developing world, 31% of the population is online, compared with 77% in the developed world.

●90% of the 1.1 billion households not connected to the Internet are in the developing world.

● In Africa, 16% of people are using the Internet – only half the penetration rate of Asia and the Pacific.

●Between 2009 and 2013, Internet penetration in households has grown fastest in Africa, with annual growth of 27%, followed by 15% annual growth in Asia and the Pacific, the Arab States and the CIS.

●The gender gap is more pronounced in the developing world, where 16% fewer women than men use the Internet, compared with only 2% fewer women than men in the developed world. A recent report from Intel suggests that women are 43% less likely to have access to the internet in sub-Saharan Africa, 33% in South Asia, and 34% in Middle East and North Africa.

● In Africa, less than 10% of fixed (wired) broadband subscriptions offer speeds of at least 2 Mbit/s. This is also the case of several countries in Asia and the Pacific, the Americas and some Arab States.

● Over the past five years, fixed-broadband prices as a share of GNI per capita dropped by 82%. By 2012, fixed- broadband prices represented 1.7% of monthly GNI p.c. in developed countries. In developing countries, fixed- broadband services remain expensive, accounting for 30.1% of average monthly incomes. 

Source: ITU report ICT Facts and Figures 2013 et al

The Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) is a global coalition committed to driving down the cost of internet access in less developed countries. A4AI focuses on creating the conditions for open, efficient and competitive broadband markets via policy and regulatory reform. Through a combination of advocacy, research and knowledge-sharing, the Alliance aims to facilitate the achievement of the UN Broadband Commission target of entry-level broadband services priced at less than 5% of average monthly income. In doing so, A4AI will help to connect the two-thirds of people in developing countries who cannot access the internet. • A4AI members are drawn from both developed and less developed countries and include public, private and not-for-profit organizations. The World Wide Web Foundation, founded by Web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee, initiated the Alliance. Global sponsors are Google, Omidyar Networks, USAID and the UK DFID and the Alliance has more than 30 members. 

Kenya • June 2013

Telkom Kenya signs tower management partnership with Eaton Towers

The fifteen-year tower management and leasing deal is focused on both the maintenance of existing sites by Eaton Towers and the building of new sites

Integrated telecommunications services provider, Telkom Kenya, which operates Orange's mobile and fixed-line telecommunications services in Kenya, announced today that it has signed an agreement with Eaton Towers for the management of its passive network infrastructure.

The fifteen-year tower management and leasing deal is focused on both the maintenance of existing sites by Eaton Towers and the building of new sites. This will help reduce operating costs and capital expenditure, while improving network coverage and quality, as well as reducing Orange's overall carbon footprint. 

Telkom Kenya will retain ownership of its existing portfolio of over 1,000 towers while Eaton Towers will invest in passive infrastructure upgrades and build new towers to provide Telkom Kenya with improved coverage and network quality.

In parallel, the partnership will create a solid platform that will allow Telkom Kenya to focus on developing value-added services such as innovative data offers as well as an enhanced customer care experience. 

"We are confident that our agreement with Eaton Towers is a step in the right direction," said Mickael Ghossein, CEO of Telkom Kenya.

"The partnership will place us in a strong position to expand our network and develop innovative new services, in particular in rural areas, helping us achieve our ambition to provide the Kenyan population with excellent nation-wide coverage and relevant offers. Through this partnership, we will be able to reduce our operational costs and, at the same time, minimise the environmental impact of our network by reducing the use of diesel fuel." 

Alan Harper, Chief Executive of Eaton Towers, said: "We are delighted to be working in partnership with Telkom Kenya as the first infrastructure tower company to operate in Kenya. This agreement extends our successful relationship with the Orange Group in Africa and brings significant benefits to all parties. Eaton Towers' expertise in tower management and its commitment to top-quality service will allow Telkom Kenya to expand and improve its network while optimizing costs." 

The agreement represents an important step forward in Orange's efforts to improve efficiency and control operating costs across its footprint in Africa. Sharing passive infrastructure is a key part of this strategy and similar deals have already been struck in Uganda, Cameroon and Côte d'Ivoire. • 14/6/13 

Established in 1999, as Kenya’s national telecommunications provider, Telkom Kenya provides integrated telecommunications solutions with a wide and growing range of voice and data services as well as network facilities. Telkom Kenya has shareholding in both the East African Marine System (TEAMs) and the Eastern Africa Submarine System (EaSSy) and has over 4,000 terrestrial fibre infrastructure that run across the country. The company, therefore, has the largest footprint within Kenya and has further interconnected to the wider Eastern Africa region. Moreover, the commissioning of France Telecom’s Lower Indian Ocean Network II (LION II) has bolstered the company’s infrastructure capacity. • With fixed network, wireless, mobile and internet services, Telkom Kenya is the only truly integrated telecommunication solutions provider in the country. Orange Mobile, Orange Fixed Plus and Orange Broadband are Telkom Kenya’s GSM, wireless and internet services provided under its commercial brand, Orange. The national and only fixed line service, Telkom Fixed, is provided under the Telkom Kenya brand.Telkom Kenya also has a broad business portfolio offered under the brand name Orange Business Services and continues to be a major provider within the country and region for wholesale traffic (carrier to carrier), enabled by its vast fibre optic infrastructure.Telkom Kenya became a part of one of the world’s leading telecommunications operators, the France Telecom Group, in 2008, following the Group’s purchase of a majority share capacity from the Government of Kenya. This partnership saw the launch of the Orange brand in Kenya, complete with a new approach to serving customers; placing people at the centre by making our services straightforward, simple and more enriching, while maintaining a sustainable and responsible business model that could be adapted to the requirements of a fast-paced and changing eco-system.

France Telecom-Orange is one of the world’s leading telecommunications operators with sales of 43.5 billion euros in 2012 and has 170,000 employees worldwide at 31 March 2013, including 104 000 employees in France. Present in 32 countries, the Group has a total customer base close to 230 million customers at 31 March 2013, including 172 million mobile customers and 15 million broadband internet (ADSL, fibre) customers worldwide. Orange is one of the main European operators for mobile and broadband internet services and, under the brand Orange Business Services, is one of the world leaders in providing telecommunication services to multinational companies.With its industrial project, "conquests 2015", Orange is simultaneously addressing its employees, customers and shareholders, as well as the society in which the company operates, through a concrete set of action plans. These commitments are expressed through a new vision of human resources for employees; through the deployment of a network infrastructure upon which the Group will build its future growth; through the Group's ambition to offer a superior customer experience thanks in particular to improved quality of service; and through the acceleration of international development.

Eaton Towers is a leading African tower company. Based in London, Eaton is a truly independent pan-African infrastructure–sharing company owning and managing towers across Africa. Eaton Towers is the first independent tower company in Kenya, adding more than 1,000 towers to a total of more than 2,500 towers in Ghana, Uganda and South Africa and now also Kenya. • Eaton is backed by Capital International, one of the largest and most successful investors in emerging markets and by DPI, the specialist African-focused fund.

Africa • January 2013

Orange launches Orange Horizons to seek out new business opportunities outside its operator footprint 

The first of these projects has already been launched in South Africa

Orange has launched a new subsidiary called Orange Horizons that aims to seek out new business opportunities in countries where the Group is not already present as a mass-market telecommunications provider. These projects, which will leverage the global reputation of the Orange brand and existing Group assets, aim to provide a new source of revenue for the Group and improve customer loyalty across its footprint without the need for significant investment. Such projects could include the launch of online stores selling telecoms-related equipment or airtime; the introduction of flexible travel solutions; or the launch of a virtual mobile operator (MVNO) activity.

The first of these projects has already been launched in South Africa under the Orange Horizons banner. This comprises two websites: firstly an e-commerce website has been launched to sell telecoms-related devices and accessories. This is combined with a country website, which provides online content specifically tailored for a South African audience including news feeds, sports news and audiovisual content.

A similar e-commerce initiative has also been opened in Italy (, where the brand already enjoys a strong reputation. These two existing online stores already offer state-of-the-art telecoms and electronic equipment, and will soon also offer a variety of telecoms services including airtime for Orange customers visiting from other countries.  

The Group’s footprint currently covers around 10% of the world's population, leaving 6.2 billion people who could potentially become customers through Orange Horizons activities! The Group plans to launch business ventures in several other countries in 2013 in Europe and Africa, and will also look at opportunities in South America in order to leverage existing content-related assets such as starMedia (a South American internet portal) for example. 

A wide-range of business projects will be investigated depending on the specific potential within each country. These include:

the power of the Orange brand

Orange Horizons aims to provide a new source of revenue for the Group, while improving its global visibility and reputation outside its traditional footprint. Many of these projects will also help improve customer loyalty in countries in which Orange is already present. To achieve this, Orange Horizons aims to leverage the power of the Orange brand as well as the Group's considerable assets as one of the world's leading telecoms providers.  

The Orange brand, which is ranked among the top 50 global brands in 2012 according to the annual Millward Brown “BrandZ” survey, is already widely known across the world. The brand is particularly well known for mobile, fixed and internet services in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, and globally through the B2B services delivered by Orange Business Services. This reputation has been reinforced in recent years through major pan-continental sponsorship deals such as the Euro 2012 and the Orange Africa Cup of Nations football tournaments. Orange Horizons aims to harness the untapped market potential within these "Orange influence zones" and translate it into business opportunities. 

In addition to the brand, the Group enjoys considerable assets that will enable it to launch specific business projects outside its footprint without any need for significant investments. These assets include the Group's global buying power for telecoms devices and accessories; its expertise in setting up shops or online stores; as well as its R&D and marketing know-how. This will enable it to focus projects on specific zones of influence based on partnerships with content providers, sponsorship activities and the flow of Orange customers travelling between countries. 

During an interview on the launch of Orange Horizons, Elie Girard, Senior Executive Vice President of Strategy and International Development, said: “Orange Horizons is a very exciting project that fits perfectly in the Group’s overall Conquests 2015 strategy. Due to traditional migratory flows or cultural and professional ties, there are many countries where Orange is already very well-known despite not having an operational presence. We think there is strong potential to create a new source of revenues in these countries by leveraging awareness of the brand to propose very simple mass-market offers.” • 16-1-13

(1) Côte d'Ivoire, Mali, Morocco, Niger, Tunisia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.Distributed by the African Press Organization on behalf of France Télécom-Orange. 

France Telecom-Orange is one of the world’s leading telecommunications operators with sales of 45.3 billion euros for 2011 and has 170,000 employees worldwide at 30 September 2012, including 105,000 employees in France. Present in 32 countries, the Group has a total customer base of 227 million customers at 30 September 2012, including 169 million mobile customers and 15 million broadband internet (ADSL, fibre) customers worldwide. Orange is one of the main European operators for mobile and broadband internet services and, under the brand Orange Business Services, is one of the world leaders in providing telecommunication services to multinational companies. With its industrial project, "conquests 2015", Orange is simultaneously addressing its employees, customers and shareholders, as well as the society in which the company operates, through a concrete set of action plans. These commitments are expressed through a new vision of human resources for employees; through the deployment of a network infrastructure upon which the Group will build its future growth; through the Group's ambition to offer a superior customer experience thanks in particular to improved quality of service; and through the acceleration of international development.

TOP - Cover -

ID technology • Nov 2014

VFS TasHeel International to process Saudi Visas as mandated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Nigeria

New Visa Services Centre will also include biometric facilities in Nigeria

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, has mandated VFS TasHeel International with managing and administrating the Saudi Arabian visa application process from Nigeria, which will also combine mandatory enrolment process of fingerprint collection and photo capture for all applicants.

VFS TasHeel said it will begin processing Saudi visas of various categories except for Hajj and Umrah. However, pilgrims who have applied for Saudi visas are required to do biometric enrollment at the VFS TasHeel centre.

VFS TasHeel is a joint venture between the global visa processing leader, VFS Global (A division of Kuoni Travel Group, Switzerland) and TasHeel, Saudi Arabia.

Chargee D'affairs of the Embassy of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia to Nigeria, Sa'ad Abdallah Alnofeai, stated, “The newly inaugurated Visa Services Centersin Nigeria will serve people who desire to visit the KSA in addition to providing them with vital information about the Kingdom.”

Services include the dissemination of visa information, application guidance, application processing, biometric enrollment and passport delivery. The Centre is open for extended hours during peak season for speeding up the visa procedures.

“The new Visa Services Centers is packed with convenience and comes with dedicated service counters and a reception area, all to enhance the experience and add value to the process of visa application. We are pleased to be fulfilling the role assigned to us by the Saudi MoFA, which is to facilitate a smooth, streamlined visa application process for travelers to the kingdom. We at VFS TasHeel seek to provide these services through our efficient, customer-friendly approach, acting as a trusted mediator between visa applicants and the Saudi mission.” said Madhan Gopalakrishnan, CEO, VFS TASHEEL International.”

Visa Services Centre in Nigeria is now operational and located at three places:

Africa • Business communications • Nov 13

SatADSL to unveil new range of satellite services for African enterprises

The new services are offered thanks to the new Service Delivery Platform developed under SatFinAfrica, and ARTES 3-4 Satcom Application project co-funded by the European Space Agency-ESA

Belgium-based satellite service provider, SatADSL is set to launch its new range of services for professional users at the AFRICACOM Conference, slated for tomorrow at Cape Town Convention Centre.

The new services will allow to provide high quality communications and Internet connectivity with guaranteed performances to corporate offices, bank agencies, mining sites and all similar medium-size exploitations in Sub-Saharan Africa where terrestrial communication services are either not available, unreliable or too expensive. 

The new services are offered thanks to the new Service Delivery Platform developed under SatFinAfrica, and ARTES 3-4 Satcom Application project co-funded by the European Space Agency-ESA*.

The new Service Delivery Platform provides SatADSL with complete control over the definition and enforcement of its service profiles and   paves the way for building tailor-made services.

The new platform provides to SatADSL the flexibility that is required to serve the complex requirements of the African telecom operators and ISPs who are offering the service locally and are willing to propose various options that meet their customer specific requirements and budget.

Speaking ahead of the conference, SatADSL Chief Technology Officer Fulvio Sansone said “the new Service Delivery Platform is a cornerstone in the company development”.  

"Companies in Sub-Saharan Africa are often confronted to limited coverage and reliability of terrestrial telecommunications means. Especially outside of urban and coastal areas where the population is less dense, telecommunication links may not be as reliable as needed by professional users.

That is where SatADSL comes in with specialised, but at the same time affordable, services for the professional market. This market segment requires customised services, often with guaranteed data rates. SatADSL is now in a position to offer a complete range of services and become a one-stop-shop for its customers for services from low-cost transaction-based or back-up to unlimited services” he said.

The new services have been successfully demonstrated and are now being launched commercially all over Sub-Saharan Africa in cooperation with SatADSL local partners.

They allow medium-size offices and corporate branches to get connectivity, Internet access and voice over IP with guaranteed performances wherever they are located. Using the same low-cost, self-installable, Sat3Play hardware, users will be able to choose among a wide range of Unlimited, Contended Services, as well as the previously available Fair Usage Policy based Services. 

SatADSL delivers and manage customer’s mission-critical communications with end to end solutions, integrated technologies and flexible service options. SatADSL is a premium partner of SES and Newtec respectively leading satellite operator and equipment manufacturer. SatADSL is already offering reliable and low-cost satellite networking solutions and operates close to 1000 terminals across Sub-Saharan Africa. • Source: APO (11-11-13)

* The view expressed herein is independent of ESA’s official opinion.

* Banking on sats in Africa

World Wide Web Foundation • October 2013

Alliance for Affordable Internet launches to stimulate global policy reform to lower access costs to users

Global sponsors Google, Omidyar Network, UK DFID and USAID joined by a host of governments, tech companies and civil society organisations from developed and developing countries in launch of new initiative, backed by Web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee  

Today, a diverse group of private and public sector players came together to launch the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI), a coalition to lead policy and regulatory reform and spur action to drive down artificially high internet prices in developing countries. By advocating for open, competitive and innovative broadband markets, A4AI aims to help access prices fall to below 5% of monthly income worldwide, a target set by the UN Broadband Commission.

Reaching this goal can help to connect the two-thirds of the world that is presently not connected to the internet (source: ITU) and make universal access a reality.

A4AI’s 30+ members reach across boundaries of geography, industry, and organisation type and include governments, companies, and civil society organisations from both developed and developing countries. Members share a belief that that policy reform, underpinned by robust research and genuine knowledge-sharing, is one of the best ways to unlock rapid gains in internet penetration rates.

The Alliance was initiated by the World Wide Web Foundation, and its honorary chairperson is DrBitangeNdemo, the immediate former Permanent Secretary of Kenya’s Ministry of Information and Communications, who is widely regarded as the father of Broadband in Kenya.

A4AI has a strong focus on action and announced the following plans today at the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation’s Annual Forum in Abuja, Nigeria, witnessed by communications ministers, policy makers and industry leaders from around the globe:

● The Alliance will begin in-country engagements with three to four States by the end of 2013, expanding to at least twelve countries by the end of 2015.

● Members have committed to a set of policy best practices (enclosed) that will guide advocacy work at the international level. Key policy levers to drive prices down include allowing innovative allocation of spectrum, promoting infrastructure sharing, and increasing transparency and public participation in regulatory decisions.

●A4AI will produce an annual ‘Affordability Report’, with the first edition being unveiled in December 2013. 

Commenting, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the Web and founder of the World Wide Web Foundation said:  

“The reason for the Alliance is simple – the majority of the world’s people are still not online, usually because they can’t afford to be. In Mozambique, for example, a recent study showed that using just 1GB of data can cost well over two months wages for the average citizen. 

“The result of high prices is a widening digital divide that slows progress in vital areas such as health, education and science. Yet with the advent of affordable smartphones, new undersea cables and innovations in wireless spectrum usage, there is simply no good reason for the digital divide to continue. The real bottleneck now is anti-competitive policies and regulations that keep prices unaffordable. The Alliance is about removing that barrier and helping as many as possible get online at reasonable cost.” 

DrBitangeNdemo, honorary chairperson of A4AI, added: 

“In Kenya, we saw the number of internet users more than double in a single year after we liberalised markets. Now we need to spark the same revolution on broadband costs and access, not only in my country but around the world. To achieve this, we will use our combined voices, leadership and expertise to press for fair, competitive and socially responsible markets.” 

Quotes from Global Sponsors of A4AI 

Jennifer Haroon, Access Principal at Google, said:  

“Nearly two out of every three people don’t have access to the Internet - this is a massive challenge that can’t easily be solved by a single solution or player. The world needs technical innovation and vision to bring more people online, but we also need a strong policy foundation that allows new ideas to flourish. By working alongside Alliance partners, we can help lay the groundwork needed to drive innovation and bring the power of the Internet to more people." 

Ory Okolloh, director of investments, Omidyar Network, added: 

"The lack of affordable internet access in emerging markets is a key barrier to large-scale innovation, which in turn stifles social and economic advancement. Omidyar Network is delighted to help lead the formation of the Alliance for Affordable Internet to address this problem. The Alliance has the potential to help millions of people in the developing world come online, unlocking opportunities for them to access information and services that can meaningfully improve their lives." 

Dr. Rajiv Shah, administrator of USAID said: 

“The growing digital divide is a global issue that can only be tackled collaboratively, and we are thrilled to be working with the diverse and committed group of the Alliance for Affordable Internet to enable even the most remote and impoverished communities to access the wealth of knowledge and connection that exists in the digital world.” 

Professor Tim Unwin, Secretary General, Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation:  

"In a world where information sharing and communication is increasingly dominated by the internet, it is essential that everyone should have access to it at prices they can afford.  The rapid expansion of all types of ICTs is nevertheless currently leading to ever-greater inequalities in the world, and so the creation of the Alliance for Affordable Internet is timely and important. By working together in carefully crafted partnerships, we can seek to redress this balance and turn rhetoric into reality." • 10/13

Africa + Middle East • January 2013

Orange and Baidu partner exclusively on an enhanced mobile browser for customers in Africa and the Middle East

Exclusive partnership to help drive mobile data adoption in markets where Orange is seeing an increased demand for mobile data and smartphones Baidu signs its first global operator agreement with Orange, on an exclusive basis,  to co-develop an enhanced mobile browser designed for emerging markets The new browser, available in Arabic, English, and a French version in development, will be pre-installed and available via download on Android devices across Orange’s African footprint in 2013 Demand for smartphones and the mobile web is on the rise across Africa & the Middle East – in Egypt, Orange has seen demand for Android devices double in the second half of 2012 • The Orange-Baidu browser will provide a more affordable and richer browsing experience for customers across AMEA due to its enhanced data compression capabilities (up to 90% of compression), and one-click access to web-based apps and internet services

Orange has signed a strategic partnership – on an exclusive basis – with Baidu, the Chinese internet company, to develop a co-branded internet browser for smartphone customers in Africa, the Middle East and Asia (AMEA). The partnership marks the first time Baidu has signed such an agreement with a global operator, and supports Orange and Baidu’s aim to make the mobile web available for all in emerging markets. 

Mobile internet usage in Africa is increasing rapidly as Orange continues to deploy 3G networks and make more low-cost smartphones available, customers have been steadily moving from basic feature phones towards more low-cost Android smartphones. Orange, which has a mobile customer base in AMEA of nearly 80 million customers, has continued to see its smartphone user base in AMEA increasing, for example the demand for Android devices in Egypt has doubled in H2 2012.

The new Orange and Baidu browser offers a highly customisable but simple interface for customers in AMEA, enabling them to access web-based apps and internet services unique to Baidu and Orange, as well as services like Wikipedia, Facebook or Twitter, amongst others. Customers benefit from a new, feature rich user interface that provides one-click access to all of their preferred local and global services but also benefit from a browser that is much faster and more data efficient compared to other browsers, reducing the amount of data consumed by 30-90% depending on the types of services and files accessed.  

Orange and Baidu have already developed an Arabic and English browser is launching for Mobinil customers today, and both companies are now working to launch French versions of the browser for countries across Orange’s African & Middle East footprint.  

Marc Rennard, senior executive vice president for Orange activities across Africa and the Middle East, commented: “The appetite for mobile internet services is very strong in Africa, for example demand for Android devices in Egypt has doubled in the second half of this year. Price and access have been a barrier to entry, but partnering with innovative companies like Baidu provide unique solutions that give our customers affordable access to all the services they desire without compromising on features or ease-of-use. Building on the partnerships we’ve signed with major brands such as Wikipedia and Facebook in AMEA, we continue to innovate in Africa and honour our commitment to make the internet accessible to all customers across our footprint.” 

Hu Yong, general manager of Baidu’s International Business Unit, said: “Baidu's success has been built on developing technologies, products and services appropriate for China, the world's largest emerging market. We’re now bringing that experience to bear in other markets now enjoying rapid growth. Working with Orange in the Middle East and Africa, Baidu hopes to contribute meaningfully to the region’s growth by making the mobile internet easier than ever to use.” • 1/13

Africa • Niger •

November 2012

Orange and Altobridge bring first-time mobile connectivity to remote communities in Niger

Over 50 off-grid village communities have been connected across Niger, allowing an average of 1,200 people in each location to benefit from mobile telecoms services for the first time

Altobridge, a technology supplier to Orange Niger, has today announced the completion of its first phase of mobile connectivity deployments in remote regions of Niger to communities previously underserved by any form of telecommunications services.

The network rollout is entirely driven by sustainable energy sources and has already demonstrated the significant benefits of rural connectivity through the delivery of mobile health services, improved mechanisms for money transfer and significantly higher levels of trade within the newly connected communities.

So far, over 50 off-grid village communities have been connected across Niger, allowing an average of 1,200 people in each location to benefit from mobile telecoms services for the first time.

In such remote areas, network connection was previously limited due to the impracticality of terrestrial backhaul, the cost of fuel transportation and the high costs of deploying traditional tower structures.

As such, connectivity to the Orange network at each location is provided via solar-powered radio base stations, each with advanced satellite backhaul optimisation technology built-in.

Marc Ricau, Country Director for Orange's Africa and the Middle East division said, "What Orange Niger has achieved shows just what can be accomplished by combining advanced communications technology with green-energy to deliver affordable mobile connectivity to some of the world's most remote communities.

Mobile communications brings services and growth to these communities who previously had no other option but to travel huge distances to simply make a phone call.

Using renewable, low-cost energy sources to address this issue is a key part of our corporate environmental policy". Orange Niger chose Altobridge as a technology partner for these rural deployments.

Commenting on Orange Niger’s rural rollout, Mike Fitzgerald, CEO of Altobridge said, “the ability to connect remote communities and enterprises in a cost effective and sustainable manner is key to bridging the digital divide.

Proving that the Altobridge lite site™ and its positive business case holds true for rural Africa is an important milestone.” • 11/12

Bookmark and Share