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Old October 27th, 2007, 08:37 PM   #41
Matthias Offodile
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Gabon goes WiMax

26 September 2007, ITWeb.co.za

Gabon-based communication provider International Business News (IBN) Corporate has begun rolling out a countrywide WiMax network.

The company hopes to cover most major cities and high-density areas with the WiMax network by 2010, says Michael Mockey, a spokesman for IBN Corporate.

The company launched WiMax services in the capital Libreville, in April, he says.

“Other major cities, like Port-Gentil, will receive WiMax services by 2008 and Franceville by 2009 and 2010.”

Tens of thousands of subscribers are utilising the WiMax technologies in Libreville already, most notably businesses and home users, says Mockey. Thousands more are expected to benefit from this solution, he adds.

US-based Redline Communications, in conjunction with French-based systems integrator Radiall Systems, will roll-out Redline Communications' WiMax solution, RedMAX.

Redline says its RedMAX system is the world's first WiMax Forum certified solution.

Simon Wilder, Redline Communications sales director for Europe and Africa, says Radiall is present in Gabon and will roll-out the technology. "Any technical issues will be serviced by this company."

Space to expand

The RedMAX products will allow IBN Corporate to expand its network over time and introduce new WiMax devices to its network. It will provide the open architecture required to effectively integrate WiMax with other communication technologies, according to a company press release.

“As WiMax solutions evolve, the company will be able to adapt, integrate and upgrade its platform, which will create a cost-effective investment,” explains Wilder.

Radiall Systems also incorporated Redline's RedCONNEX broadband wireless infrastructure products to provide backhaul connections to each of the RedMAX base stations.

The solution will create opportunity for IBN Corporate to realise return on its investment in the network through subscriber returns, adds Wilder.

Mockey notes that a progressive regulatory environment and government policies have created growth in Gabon's wireless broadband arena.

“The regulatory body and government are doing their best to open up spectrum licences to ISPs to bring broadband-based Internet to the country,” he says.
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Old October 27th, 2007, 08:46 PM   #42
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Nigeria: Country Makes Progress in ICT

Leadership (Abuja)

25 October 2007
Posted to the web 25 October 2007


The Minister of Information and Communications, Mr. John Odey, said Nigeria has made "progress" in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

A statement by the ministry in Abuja, quoted the minister as saying that Nigeria's achievements had been acknowledged globally.

According to the statement, the minister spoke at a radio communication conference in Geneva.

"We have, in place, a National Communications Act 2003 that has given legal backing for a strong independent regulator for the telecommunications industry,"
he said.

He said a frequency management council, which includes stakeholders in frequency spectrum utilisation, had been put in place.

"This council has developed a frequency spectrum management policy with necessary regulations for the country".

"An investor friendly environment has been established such that the investment to the industry has grown tremendously from 2002 to date," he said.

According to him, the market potentials had increased from 500,000 in 2002, to more than 40 million as at today.

He said Nigeria had been acclaimed as one of the fastest growing mobile markets in the world.

"A disaster monitoring satellite, as well as a communications satellite, have been launched.

"We have embarked on a comprehensive Rural Telephony Scheme, to ensure that the under-served and unreached areas are included in the information society.

"A National Information, Communications and Education Project (NICEP) has also been embarked upon, "
he said.

According to Odey, a national internet exchange Point was being established to improve Internet penetration, just as the Computer-for-All-Nigerians Initiative (CANI) was in place.

He said that an Africa regional office of the digital solidarity fund had been established in Abuja, in fulfillment of a pledge by Nigeria during the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) process.

"Initiatives in e-health and tele-medicine are being encouraged, while Wire Nigeria (WIN) and State Accelerated Broadband Initiative (SABI) projects, to improve on broadband availability, are in place," he said.

He also said Nigeria, as a member of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), recognises the need to have an efficient and vibrant union, where member nations have equal rights and opportunities.

According to him, Nigeria believed that it was absolutely necessary for ITU to expand its mandate, to ensure that issues assigned to it were well covered.
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Old October 29th, 2007, 07:32 AM   #43
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Africa waiting for net revolution

More than a third of Africa's citizens should have access to broadband internet by 2012, a conference of technology leaders is set to hear.

Fewer than four out of 100 Africans currently use the internet, and broadband penetration is below 1%.

The barriers to broadband access are key talking points at the Connect Africa meeting in Kigali, in Rwanda.

Dr Hamadoun Toure, head of the International Telecommunication Union has called for "immediate action".

The conference features representations from organisations such as the World Bank, World Health Organization and United Nations, as well as high-profile technology leaders such as Intel's chairman Craig Barrett.

The attendees were all invited to make financial commitments to improving technology and telecoms in the continent. More than $3bn has been pledged so far.

Dr Toure said that despite the bleak picture of access issues in Africa there was plenty of opportunity.

He told the BBC News website: "If you have just 1% of broadband access today you have 99% of opportunity.

"The good news is that Africa has had the highest growth in mobile use globally - twice the global average over the past three years.

"For the first time economic indicators are positive from Africa."

In Rwanda, access to the net is limited and high-speed connections are rare, the BBC's Digital Planet programme was told by officials and users in the country.

"Not many students are able to connect to the internet at the same time," said Marie-Josee Ufitamahoro, a student at Kigali institute of technology.

"For example, a class of 40 students requires each pupil to be connected, so what we need is bigger bandwidth so we can share ideas with other students in other parts of the world."

Albert Butare, Rwanda's state minister for telecommunications and energy, said the issue of bandwidth was critical.

"It's what governs the speed of the internet, the quality of the connection, whether or not you can do video conferencing," he said.

"If you are talking about telemedicine or distance learning, you need images and clear audio."

Dr Toure said the conference needed to take action on regulatory issues in some African countries, which often tie down the roll-out of net access. "The heads of state present will give assurances to the private sector on the availability of competition and the creation of a proper regulatory environment for them in which to evolve," he said. "The private sector from outside Africa and inside will make fruitful partnerships."

One of the biggest problems facing internet development in Africa is a lack of interconnectivity. More than 70% of internet traffic within Africa is routed outside the continent, driving up costs for business and consumers.

"This is a serious problem and will be discussed," said Dr Toure.

But he said Africa should not be looking for special treatment from the technology private sector.

"Africa has to create the opportunities; Africa doesn't need charity," he said.

"We need to make sure we have a good environment that will attract private sector investment. There's nothing wrong with making profits in Africa."

The International Telecommunications Union says more than $8bn was invested in telecommunications infrastructure across Africa in 2005.

Dr Toure said the challenge for the ITU, technology leaders and companies was to help Africa meet its Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

In the technology sphere, that means easy access to information and communication technology for more than half of the continent's population within eight years.

By Darren Waters
Technology editor, BBC News website

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Old November 9th, 2007, 12:57 AM   #44
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Algeria: Country Explores Space to Meet ICT Needs


Algeria has allocated 82 billions DZD ($1,10 billions) for its 2006-2020 space programme to develop satellite based techniques to combat desertification threats and limit climate change effects, announced Mr Boujemaa Haichour; the minister of posts and ICT.

For this purpose, 30 Algerian researchers are to be enrolled in Toulouse (France) for training on the Alsat2 project which will be launched in the end of 2008 and later in 2009.

Algeria, underlines Mr Azzedine Oussedik, the general manager of Algerian Space Agency, started in 2002 to invest in satellite technology. Alsat-1 was the first satellite. It was launched in 2002 in cooperation with the British Space Center at the University of Surrey and that cost $11 million.

In parallel, the Arzew Space Research Centre (in the west of Algeria) was set up to provide theoretical and practical courses. It is also the basis of the Alsat-2 project production platform dedicated to earth detection and climate change.

However, in the medium and long term, argues Mr Ouseddik, Algeria will explore the impact of communications and telecommunications satellite technologies and its possibilities following the huge explosion of mobile communications in the country.

It is generally noticed that the mobile telephony has dramatically increased with 23 million users for a population of 33 million, whereas land line telephony faces many difficulties to catch up. For this reason, Algérie Telecom; the public operator has concluded a partnership agreement with the Swedish Ericsson AB to modernise the land lines network.

The director general of Algérie Telecom, Mr Slimane Kheireddine, affirms that the accord enables Algeria to set up multiple national network services to reinforce and grow existing projects with Ericsson.
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According to Kheireddine, Ericsson has always been a reliable partner of Algeria in the communications field, and it has contributed in the development of Algeria's communications and telecommunications infrastructure throughout the country.

In another development, the Algerian Authority for posts and telecommunications is preparing to adopt a new number system with ten digits to face the numbers shortage and saturation status. The new plan that is being proposed by the French Arcom company, and is expected to increase the number of subscribers both for mobile phones and land line telephones.

The ten digit number system is expected to be implemented in February 2008 for mobile lines and in July 2009 for land lines and will operate until 2015 before reaching another peak of saturation, reveals the French Arcom company's study.
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Old November 9th, 2007, 05:05 AM   #45
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Old December 5th, 2007, 08:41 AM   #46
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Kenya launches e-Learning in schools

Story by NATION Correspondent
Publication Date: 12/5/2007
Kenya has become the third African country to launch e-learning facilities in secondary schools.

The programme by Intel, and whose only other beneficiaries are South Africa and Nigeria, was launched at Kamiti Secondary School in the outskirts of Nairobi.

The programme enables students to be taught through information communication technology (ICT) and is a collaboration between the Ministry of Education and several local and multinational ICT companies.

In a speech read by permanent secretary Karega Mutahi, Education minister George Saitoti said the project was in line with the Government’s commitment to empowering Kenyans with ICT capabilities.

“With the realisation of the key role that ICT plays in national development, it has become necessary to integrate it in all sectors of the economy,” he said.
The project involves the use of computers and wireless connectivity for all types of class work.

Quality of education

The teacher uses a laptop to which the students connect from their low- cost laptops known as classmates.

In the new classroom, the blackboard has been replaced with a touch screen and students send their work to the teacher through wireless connectivity.

Prof Saitoti said the Government was committed to ensuring that the quality of education in the country was raised through the use of ICT.

He said the Government would continue to partner with the private sector and development partners to achieve this.

Prof Mutahi welcomed the initiative and asked the students and teachers to exploit it fully since it would be used as a model for future projects.

He, however, noted that lack of electricity in rural areas and high cost of ICT equipment had slowed down the development of the sector.

The initiative comes at a time when the Government has announced plans to set up digital villages in every constituency and boost the number of people with access to the Internet from 2.7 million to 6 million.
The African Renaissance.
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Old December 5th, 2007, 01:59 PM   #47
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Huge IT potential in Morocco

DUBAI: Bahrain is positioned to be a major technology partner for Morocco with major reforms and increased opportunities for investments and partnerships.

Research group IDC has said the telecommunications sector in particular offers huge potential for suppliers and telecom operators as well as for local enterprises looking to outsource information technology.

"Morocco is increasingly positioning itself as a key telecommunication partner for companies across the region, providing both a strong Arabic-speaking outsourcing destination, as well as sustaining major growth and investment opportunities," Moroccan Federation of Information Technologies, Telecommunications and Offshoring (Apebi) chairman Bachir Rachdi said.

Globally the telecommunications sector almost quadrupled in value between 1998 and 2006, growing from $873 million to $3.23 billion last year.

Morocco has seen particularly strong infrastructure growth, currently supporting over 400,000 ADSL connections, making it the most connected broadband country in Africa, even ahead of South Africa.

"Morocco initiated market liberalisation relatively early which has created major benefits in the first phase for suppliers and telecommunication partners," IDC Middle East and Africa vice-president and regional managing director Jyoti Lalchandani said.

"We're now seeing that the results of this investment have created wider social and economic benefits, particularly as Morocco becomes a major outsourcing partner for companies in the GCC."

Morocco's strength as an information and communications technology (ICT) outsourcing centre stems from the rapid expansion of the industry and its use of advanced global networks.

The Moroccan IT market expanded from $403.88 million in 2001 to $638.69m last year, representing an average annual growth rate of 9.6 per cent.

With more than 1,500 ICT firms employing over 42,000 people, the country is now firmly established as one of the leading suppliers of IT services in the Middle East.

Meanwhile, IDC's meeting in at Emirates Towers Dubai yesterday on 'Agenda for a Shrinking Globe, Seizing Opportunities in a Connected World', brought together representatives from government, telecommunications, utility and transport companies to meet senior representatives from Apebi.

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Old December 5th, 2007, 04:20 PM   #48
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Hey, we'll be calling soon
Ben Kelly Finweek

TELKOM MAY YET HAVE a rival in the home telephone services market early next year when Neotel finally launches its consumer voice and data services

TELKOM MAY YET HAVE a rival in the home telephone services market to contend with early next year when Neotel finally launches its consumer voice and data services.

Angus Hey, executive head of products and strategy at Neotel, speaking at the MyBroadband conference, said the company is actively piloting its consumer services and expects to begin offering them in Gauteng, Cape Town and Durban in first quarter 2008.

Pricing is a closely guarded secret, if you're wondering. However, consumers may soon see the fruits of a qualitatively superior and efficient service. Hey says that the company is already piloting two services, both having a voice and data component to them.

The basic service has a voice and a data component running at peak speeds of around 150Kbps. That makes it faster than dial-up but slower than any current broadband offering. Neotel's second offering that it's piloting is a high speed Internet and voice service, which will have peak speeds of between 2,4Mbps and 3,1Mbps, making it faster than most of the current broadband offerings.

Feedback from the pilots, says Hey, already shows the potential uptake when Neotel launches its products. Users were seeing average speeds in the 300Kbps to 700Kbps range. That's fast to you and me.

Both services will run off a CDMA EDVO RevA wireless system, a high-speed system similar to the 3G/HSDPA systems that cellular operators use. The advantage that Neotel will have over all other providers is that voice and data will be delivered across the same link. So there's no incremental cost to deliver data services.

That's a welcome and viable alternative to Telkom, which has monopolised market access and pricing for many years. With this service it seems that Neotel might be on the right wavelength.

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Old December 13th, 2007, 04:14 PM   #49
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Here is a good example of why deregulation is necessary for good ICT. This is the case of Ethiopia.


Internet in Ethiopia - Is Ethiopia Off-line or Wired to the Rim?

Samuel Kinde
November 2007

First Impressions - What Meets the Eyes

Few things in Ethiopia cause as much frustration and despair than the ongoing and deteriorating dismal state of Internet connectivity in the country. Given how the country continues to struggle with fundamental issues of development for its 80 million people, this lack of progress - and in some cases complete reversal of earlier growth - tests the hope of the most optimist observers and stake-holders.
In a test carried over 4 weeks time in July 2007, the average speed of Internet connectivity in the country had dropped to as low as 5 KBps. Photo: MediaETHIOPIA.

A case in point is the state of access to the web over the past several years through the numerous Internet cafes that have popped in most major parts of the country. In a test carried over 4 weeks time in July 2007, the average speed of Internet connectivity in the country had dropped to as low as 5 KBps. This is in par with the speed of most 4200 Baud modems the rest of the world was using in the early 90s - almost a century ago in Internet time. Even the handful of Internet cafes that billed their services as broadband of 128 KBps in the new business corridor of Bole Medhane Alem - Kazanchis Road could not manage connectivity speeds better than average of 7-8 KBps. In general, the only time the connectivity speed becomes bearable is usually after 8:00 PM when fewer people log-on lightning up the load on a strained and inadequate infrastructure. As of the fourth quarter of 2007, the number of individual and commercial Internet subscribers in the country stands at a dismal 15-20,000, with an estimated 300 or so Internet cafes serving a population of 80 million plus. This amounts to only 0.025% of the whole population having a regular Internet account. It has to be noted that there is virtually no growth of the individual and commercial subscriber base as these numbers are essentially the same as those dating as far back as the years 1999 and 2000. To add despair to frustration, Internet service is down as much as 10-20% of the time. In a test carried over the same period in July 2007, Internet service was down almost 20% of the time with typical blackout lasting 12-24 hours.
Further reading- http://www.ethiopians.com/Engineerin...vember2007.htm

"Carpe diem", The world is my oyster!
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Old December 13th, 2007, 05:42 PM   #50
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Absolutely true. My family had internet connection at home but they ended up removing it. It just wasn't worth it. It was VERY expensive with very little connection.
Something needs to happen fast. We could benefit so much from deregulation.
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Old December 17th, 2007, 01:08 AM   #51
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Living with confusion
Russell Southwood Balancingact-Africa

15 December, 2007
African operators find themselves pulled in new directions

Once it was simple. There was the Government incumbent and all the other operators were against it. Then the incumbents ceased to be the incumbents and some of the new mobile operators found themselves taking on that mantle. With new power comes new responsibilities. Or does it?

Once it was all about voice. Now there’s all this fancy convergence talk and anything you can think of sending down a phone connection will be sent. Increasingly operators are being pulled in new directions. Three news items this week touched on some of the things that are pulling operators into looking at where their company’s activities begin and end.

The pull towards content provision: This week France Telecom signed a “multiyear agreement” with MGM to be allowed to offer the studio’s movies to its video-on-demand customers. According to the reports, Orange is counting on video-on-demand as a new source of income for its fixed line business as its calling revenues go down.

Cote d’Ivoire Telecom became the next of Orange’s African subsidiaries to start rolling out its “livebox” product that offers voice, Internet and television. But all is not easy in the new world of telco as content provider. In Senegal, Orange had to reach a content agreement with the more-or-less monopoly supplier of French-language, satellite pay TV content. As a result, it has to peg the price of its offer to that of its satellite content provider. Mauritius Telecom, despite having 15,000 people sign up for its “livebox” service again found itself talking unsuccessfully to what will probably become its competitor about getting content.

In this context, having a large parent company sign global content deals makes a great deal of sense. But what if you’re not part of a global company? How do you sort out content to stay in the game? Or do you simply say, we’ll sit out this one out and stick to what we know? Deals between Vodacom and DStv may be easy in the short-term on a reseller basis but when it goes beyond this, who ends up getting the lion’s share of the revenues?

Content is beset with a whole new range of problems that no-one in the African telco business seems to have thought their way through. Rights holders like Hollywood are not known for their generosity and too many of the available rights are still being given on a monopoly or duopoly basis. The court battles in Senegal over whether a third TV channel had the right to show Prison Break illustrate how far the market still has to develop.

The pull towards infrastructure: At least three African countries – Kenya, South Africa and Uganda – have Governments that are in the advanced stages of putting together public interest companies to roll out national fibre infrastructure. Although the mobile operators bandy about the size of sums they are going to invest in infrastructure, they haven’t really worked out whether as the new incumbents they should be building infrastructure or not.

It is one thing for MTN and Vodacom to announce infrastructure build-outs in South Africa but are they really going to extend the same principle to all of the countries they operate in? Mmm…Maybe. MTN is certainly putting down fibre in Ghana in order to overcome the historic inadequacies of both the network it acquired and that provided by the incumbent Ghana Telecom.

Nevertheless an exchange at a regulators meeting in West Africa exemplifies the problem. Two of the large mobile operators chains had representatives on a panel who were asked why were they not rolling out cross-border links, given their networks were almost touching each other in several countries. Their responses were almost identical: we don’t think there’s enough traffic to justify it and therefore it is the Government’s responsibility. Nobody had thought that the private sector might create its own “carriers’ carrier” to act as a trusted transit operator to solve this problem.

However, if the private sector operators sit on the sidelines of this discussion, they can hardly complain when Government decides to take the initiative and start taking responsibility through public interest backbone companies. The international fibres which everyone has shouted long and hard for will be here in 2009 and without regional connectivity, their impact will be frittered way. So the private sector really has to find a way to “put up or shut up”.

All of which makes even stranger the announcement by Namibia’s power utility Nampower that it has granted a large contract that will connect several different power grids in South Africa. The line will connect the electricity networks of Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Mozambique and South Africa to create an alternative route for power imports and exports to and from neighbouring countries.

Slipped rather quietly into the announcement was the fact that the transmission line would be fitted with a fibre-optical ground wire which will, apart from providing essential transmission communication, “expand NamPower's communication capacity”.

Is any private sector company talking to Nampower about using this capacity or indeed increasing this available capacity for private operator’s voice and data traffic? Not as far as we know….So are operators interested in solving these problems either individually or together? Mmmm…That’s a bit difficult to tell.

The pull towards energy provision: Recently MTN revealed the scale of money it was spending on generator fuel in Nigeria. Taken over a year, it was US$65 million. Try to imagine that if that is calculated on the basis of 5,000 base stations for one country, what the total cost looks like for all mobile operators across the continent.

Unlike the pull towards infrastructure described above, this is straightforwardly a short-term, bottom-line issue. If the operators could find a way of using generators just for redundancy, then the amount paid in this direction would drop substantially.

So what can the operators do? Well, there’s the high road and the low road. The low road is finding base station equipment that will not eat as much fuel. This week Vodafone Germany announced that it was the first operator to put in Ericsson’s new BTS that will make “an important contribution to cutting carbon-dioxide emissions” by lowering energy use. Compatible with all its base stations since 1995, it claims to save between 10-20 per cent of energy consumption “depending on the network traffic pattern.”

During periods of low network traffic, the feature effectively puts those parts of the network that are not being used in standby mode - overcoming the traditional practice of having radio equipment continually turned on, which can result in energy being wasted.

The high road is self-provisioning power transmission, either through an operator consortium JV or by one operator taking the initiative. The energy industry takes a long-time to respond to demand, sometimes as long as 10-15 years. So why not set up a small-scale power generation and transmission company that can address those base stations nearest to each other? Small-scale providers can generate power at scale: 40% of Holland’s energy needs come from small-scale providers. Then it is a case of delivering this power and possibly distributing it to a small number of other paying customers.

Is it in the immortal words of Telkom SA’s new CEO Reuben September (talking about his mobile strategy) is it a case of “everything that is feasible is desirable”? Where do you draw the line in terms of what a company needs to be able to do in order to thrive? For without addressing these kinds pulls on company time and resources, all of Africa’s operators will continue to operate below their full potential.

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Old December 17th, 2007, 01:11 AM   #52
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The Wiki way of doing things

The Wiki way of doing things
Adele Shevel Business Times

Information junkies can look forward to the launch this month of local versions of Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia.

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales was in South Africa in November to present a seminar to students at Cida City Campus on how to administer the website.

He is in the process of launching different language versions of the encyclopedia in developing countries.

All South Africa’s 11 official languages are Wiki projects — although most are modestly represented at this stage. Venda Wiki has 33 articles and Zulu has just passed 100. The intention is to get more people involved in the development and to raise awareness of the facility.

The Afrikaans website has 8000 articles.

Elsewhere, all the European languages are “going strong”, while Japanese is in the top five and Chinese is the 11th-biggest site.

The problems and challenges of Wiki include helping languages of the developing world, said Wales. In terms of people having access, in some places literacy is a big problem.

Wikipedia is available in more than 200 languages, and more than 150 of them have at least 1000 articles each.

Wales uses 1000 articles as a benchmark for a functioning active language website.

The English Wikipedia site has two million articles.

“There you’re dealing with a very large community trying to maintain the polite and kind and loving nature of the Wiki community.”

He described the Wikipedia process of inviting submissions and editing from the public as “somewhere between random anarchy and top-down hierarchy”.

The English site has more than 1000 administrators, who are elected by “the community”.

“If you are doing good work and people respect you and you are following the Wiki way of doing things, people will notice and you’ll eventually be nominated. We discourage people from self-nominating.”

Originally from the southern state of Alabama, Wales explained that southern US culture has an emphasis on friendliness and politeness.

Wales now lives in San Franc isco, though he travels frequently around the world.

It might be his “home-grown” attitude that drives his view that most people are basically decent. “Very few people are actually troublemakers and it’s not difficult to exclude them.”

Those who do follow the “Wiki way of doing things”, and are committed to the service, can get noticed and nominated to help administer it.

“The Wiki way is about quality writing, paying attention to sources, neutrality, mediating conflict and trying to find a middle ground.”

There’s a Wiki rule, for example, about assuming good faith. If you disagree with something someone has written, don’t jump to the worst conclusion. Assume they were trying to do good but misunderstood something.

“A lot of that makes for a good Wiki,” said Wales.

Wales is a great advocate of the Internet, which he sees as a very social environment .

The best Internet technology gets out of your way so you can talk to people, he said. In the beginning, however, the worst elements tended to dominate.

Imagine a bar where the owner has no ability to throw people out — it’s likely to become an ugly, raucous environment and “nice people” will leave, Wales explained.

There came the realisation that communities needed tools to police themselves, to remove inflammatory comments.

Wikipedia has its critics, and some professors and teachers warn against using it as a source. As do encyclopedia companies, many of which have been suffering declining sales for years.

While there might be those who reject the Wikipedia notion, Wales counters by saying that people once told others not to listen to rock ’n roll — to little effect.

Wikipedia gets its funding from donations — mainly from the US, but also from 50 other countries around the world.

Wales, who used to be a futures and options trader, has more projects on the agenda. The next is nothing less than a search engine to compete with Google.

Wikipedia has, like Google, become part of the vernacular.

Wales was recently in a slum in Delhi, where he ran into a young man who said he had used Wikipedia to help him pass his 11th grade exams. Another had used it to find good lines for picking up girls.

Where would you find that in an average encyclopedia?

A current headache is that Wikipedia has not freely been accessible in China for the past two years. Wales is planning talks with officials in China about the situation, but no meeting has yet been set.

“We won’t compromise on the censorship, and can’t. I’ve been very critical of Google for having accepted the censorship. I think it’s very similar to the arguments we had about what responsible companies needed to do about apartheid South Africa.

“I think reasonable people can differ. If a company says it will engage and be a positive force for change, that’s reasonable. But if a company says that, then we’ll put their feet to the fire and say: what are you doing to change things?”

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Old December 19th, 2007, 01:04 PM   #53
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For those of you who don't know what Mxit is, here's some info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mxit

Right Timing for NokNok
Stephen Whitford Intrinsic Media

19 December, 2007

MTN talks about their what the new IM client will offer and why NokNok will be able to take on Mxit

Brian Seligmann, MTN Senior Manager: Data Bearers, says it was the right time for MTN to launch its new instant messaging product (IM), NokNok as the technology was simply not able to provide an acceptable user experience for the mass market until now.

“Up until now we were not able to get a clean user interface, there was not enough handset penetration into the market and the packet data network was not ready,” he says.

MTN first began trialling IM services in August 2005, according to Seligmann, but felt that the average end user was not ready for the product back then. It was not a consumer friendly solution, he says.

So what can consumers expect from NokNok? NokNok was developed from a proprietary solution with ‘significant development’ on top of that. Error messages thrown up in early use of the product reference Colibra which means MTN is probably using a solution from IM vendor, Colibra.

NokNok has a PC suite and a client for the phone. The solution only offers chatting options on a one-to-one or group basis, although Seligmann says picture sharing will soon be on the cards.

“The product is in its infancy and we’re working on a lot of things. The user interface is significantly friendlier than other IM clients and the PC client is ‘clean’ and easy to use,” he says. “You can set up chat rooms on the PC client and if a user is not registered, they are sent an SMS to invite them to NokNok and any messages you send to them or offline users will be delivered by SMS. This will be free until 1 March 2008.”

Whether it will be free to use for the foreseeable future remains to be seen. Seligmann was cagey on this issue saying charging strategies could change. Until March it will be free. Vodacom has taken a similar stance on its IM client Meep, saying that it would be free until the end of January 2008. For now the two products are not interoperable. Seligmann could not comment on whether this would happen in future although various sources in both networks have confirmed it is something both parties are actively exploring.

“It will be competitively priced and the client will always be free,” he says. Whether that is ‘free to download’ or ‘without subscription’ remains to be seen.

Eleven handsets are currently certified for NokNok although others may operate as they use the same operating system. This will be scaled up to 30 handsets by the end of December. The first handsets are the Nokia 5200, 6230i, 6233, 6280, 6288, 6300, N73, N95, N80; Sony Ericsson W810i and the Motorola V360. see http://im.mtn.co.za/download.

“We’ve chosen the most popular handsets of our user base and this represents around 1.5 to 2 million subscribers or 15 percent of the total base. In addition, users with Wap 2.0 enabled phones can access it through the WAP site, opening it to a much larger base,” he says.

On the PC side, MTN is asking a lot of users as the client requires users to download a Dotnetfix which is 22.4 MB in size. The client itself on the PC is another 3.21 MB download.

Seligmann says MTN only sent out an MMS advertising NokNok to users who were identified as having MMS enabled phones and likely to use the service as a soft launch and thousands of people are signing up daily. However, he declined to give actual figures.

He claims that NokNok will not cannibalise SMS revenues saying they are different products. “SMS is a messaging product while IM allows you to have a conversation. They are used for different purposes. Furthermore, the SMS and IM user bases are different. IM does not cannibalise SMS revenue nearly as much as one might expect,” he says.

Logic would say otherwise as does a source at a competing network who has confirmed that IM has made significant inroads into SMS revenues for all the operators. Given that many younger users who were chatting on SMS prior to IM have now moved away from SMS and into IM, Seligmann’s argument is hardly water tight even if it does have some merit.

Commenting on why users may want to move away from Mxit, Seligmann only had praise for the small IM company from Stellenbosch. “Mxit had to educate the market on their own and has legitimised mobile IM. However, there is more to be done and more value that can be added,” he says.

He cites the network’s advantage of no bandwidth constraints, an intimate knowledge of its base, knowledge of all the handsets and the financial backing to do what it needs to make the product a success as key reasons why NokNok should become a large player in the IM space.

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Old December 19th, 2007, 09:27 PM   #54
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[bold]The pull towards energy provision: Recently MTN revealed the scale of money it was spending on generator fuel in Nigeria. Taken over a year, it was US$65 million. Try to imagine that if that is calculated on the basis of 5,000 base stations for one country, what the total cost looks like for all mobile operators across the continent.

Unlike the pull towards infrastructure described above, this is straightforwardly a short-term, bottom-line issue. If the operators could find a way of using generators just for redundancy, then the amount paid in this direction would drop substantially.[/bold]

If MTN knows so well that's the condition over there is that bad it should pull out because I hate to hear about the wrong way SA takes issue with Nigeria on the ground to offend.

I think Nigeria has some good relationship with other better countries like the USA, UK other than the SA giving it the worse images even there are such. Africans find it hard to co-operate.
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Old December 20th, 2007, 03:30 PM   #55
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I don't understand what you're trying to say?
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Old December 31st, 2007, 03:01 AM   #56
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SA Third Biggest Market for Mobile Advertiser

SA mobile users generate a startling 122m impressions in October.

South Africa is Admob’s (www.admob.com) third largest market globally, generating 122 032 699 page impressions in October 2007, according to a recently released report by the mobile advertising giant.

The figure is quite startling when you think that South Africa has over 40 million active SIM cards (and around 25 million subscribers) and was outstripped only by India with 188 587 985 impressions and the United States with 688 299 299 impressions.

Considering India has 160 million cellphone subscribers (six times more than SA) and there are well over 200 million cellphone subscribers in the United States (eight times more than SA), the figure is impressive. Western Europe, which has over 400 million subscribers, created 170 896 207 impressions, yet only the UK came close to SA’s stats with over 113 million impressions.

Admob’s stats reveal some further startling information. Of the 122 million plus impressions created by from South African users, Nokia phones produced 33.2 percent of the impressions followed by Samsung phones with 28.3 percent, Motorola (19.4 percent), Sony Ericsson (11.7 percent) and LG with (2 percent). Nokia has traditionally dominated the market in South Africa, but when it comes to consumers using their phones to access the mobile web, Nokia is far from dominant.

The Indian market, however, is clearly dominated by Nokia, with Nokia phones producing 65.8 percent of the impressions in that country. Motorola dominates the US market and surprisingly, Sony Ericson was by far the dominant phone in the UK.

The cellphone making the most impressions for Admob in South Africa? The Motorola V360. Not surprisingly, it’s currently MTN’s cheapest contract phone at R29 on a MyCall 100 contract package. Next is the Samsung E250, followed by the Nokia N70.

To get an idea of technology penetration of the phones that created impressions locally, 95.8 percent were capable of playing polyphonic ringtones, 43.2 percent supported video streaming, 70 percent could download video clips and 95.1 percent support WAP push messages.

This in contrast to the UK where only 70.3 percent of phones making the impressions were capable of playing polyphonic ringtones, while 57.1 percent supported video streaming, 73.9 percent were able to download video clips and only 78.3 percent supported WAP push messages.

Jason Spero, Admob Vice President of Marketing, says unfortunately Admob cannot release exactly how many unique users created the impressions. He also can’t reveal whether local users were looking at local sites or international sites. “While we have this data, it is not something we are tracking at the moment,” he says.

In terms of what content is most popular, Spero says community sites including including profiles, photo sharing, voting, chat play a big role. Sport is also popular with sites like CricInfo, ESPN, Goal.com getting good traffic. Weather sites are also popular, he adds.

Riaan Groenewald, Multimedia Solutions Operational Director, says the startling thing about the stats apart from how well South Africa performs is that the majority of companies in South Africa do not have Mobi websites.

“The mobi domain was launched in October last year launched for cellphones and has seen more than 600 000 registered domain names since its inception,” he says.

While a mobi domain is similar to the co.za, .com and .org domains, the intention behind their creation was to have customised websites for optimal viewing on a cellphone. A mobi site can also be viewed on a PC web browser.

And yet South African mobile web surfers may well be browsing on international sites given the lack of options from local sites, Groenewald says.

Spero sites low PC penetration, data plan simplicity and data rates as the key reasons for South Africa’ strong showing compared to other markets and the fact that cellphones like the V360 are so accessible to the average man on the street.

Admob’s November stats are expected to be released mid-December.

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Old January 14th, 2008, 01:11 PM   #57
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Mobile broadband users may not have to wait much longer for 3.6 Mbps HSDPA.

Commercial 3.6 Mbps HSDPA services are already available on 103 HSDPA networks worldwide, which translate into 62% of all 3G/HSDPA networks.

35 of these networks support speeds of up to 7.2 Mbps. 51 operators have further committed to HSUPA – High Speed Uplink Packet Access - and 26 networks have commercially launched HSUPA services in 22 countries.

Unfortunately the lack of backhaul capacity in SA – currently supplied to both Vodacom and MTN by Telkom – has slowed the two mobile providers down.

Both mobile companies, which were of the first companies in the world to launch HSDPA, are however planning HSDPA offerings ‘soon’.

MTN already has a fully operational fiber network in the Rosebank and Sandton areas and is investing in further fixed line infrastructure to alleviate the problems it experiences with the current transmission network.

MTN has indicated that its current 3G network is fully 3.6 Mbps capable, and it is only waiting for adequate backhaul bandwidth before the service will officially be launched.

Vodacom is also laying fiber as part of its plans to serve its bandwidth needs and extend its current service offerings.

While Vodacom understandably did not want to reveal an exact launch date for 3.6 Mbps HSDPA, the company did say that consumers can expect it ‘soon’.

“Vodacom’s plans to offer a HSDPA 3.6 service to customers are on track and will be made available soon. The delay in offering HSDPA 3.6 and HSUPA as commercial services is primarily due to the availability of enough backhaul capacity required to offer high-speed data services,” Vodacom’s Dot Field said.

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Old January 22nd, 2008, 02:19 PM   #58
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Maroc Telecom achieved USD 3.5Bn consolidated turnover in 2007

Rabat, Jan. 21 - Moroccan telephony operator "Maroc Telecom" achieved a consolidated turnover of around USD 3.51Bn in 2007, i.e. a 21.7% increase compared to 2006 thanks, mainly, to the continuing growth of mobile activities both in Morocco and in the subsidiaries in Mauritania (Mauritel), Burkina Faso (Onatel), Gabon (Gabon Telecom) and Mobisud (France, Belgium), revealed, here Monday, Maroc Telecom in a press release.

The group activities in Morocco achieved in 2007 a turnover exceeding USD 3.08Bn, i.e. an 11% increase compared to 2006, while its net result jumped 20.3% to stand USD 2.1Bn, thanks to the combined effect of the customer base huge growth and the limited decrease of average revenue per user (ARPU).

The customer base maintained a sustained growth and reached 13.3 Mn customers in 2007 (+24.5%), the company said, noting that that ARPU stood at MAD 108.3, that is a 4.1% decrease.

In 2007, Maroc Telecom also saw its sales achieve USD 1.21Bn for fixed-line and internet activities (-5.5%), the press release added, noting that, as for foreign operations, the company achieved a USD 106Mn gross turnover in Mauritania, a USD 175.5Mn net turnover in Burkina Faso and a net turnover of USD 128.1Mn in Gabon.

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Old January 22nd, 2008, 04:42 PM   #59
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WISPs in South Africa

Massive growth for Wireless ISPs

22 January, 2008

Wireless Internet Service Providers have shown massive growth over the last year.

The Wireless Access Providers Association of South Africa (WAPA) recently conducted a study into the wireless fixed access provider (WISP) market.

The WAPA study showed significant growth in subscriber numbers, revenue and job creation. According to the survey, WISPs showed an 80% growth in subscriber numbers. The WISP market is estimated to be made up of 40% residential customers and 60% business customers.

The 32 WAPA members who partook in the survey grew their revenue by 26% to R 53 Million in 2007. There was also a 41% growth in the number of staff employed which is a positive sign that job creation goes hand in hand with a more liberalized telecoms market.

WAPA members also increased their involvement in social responsibility projects, and the number of projects grew by 42% to 192 over the last year.

WAPA estimates the total number of subscribers served by WISPs is around 40 000.

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Old January 24th, 2008, 11:57 PM   #60
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Telkom optimistic about ADSL growth

24 January, 2008
Telkom is on its way to meet its ADSL target of at least 700 000 subscribers by 2011

Current estimates indicate that Telkom is on its way to meeting its target of ADSL customers equating to 15-20% of Telkom’s fixed access lines by 2010/2011.

This view was expressed by Alphonzo Samuels, Group Executive for Wholesale Sales and Marketing Operations who said that in most developed countries, broadband penetration ranges from 25% to 50% of fixed lines.

Samuels continued: “Considering our current penetration of just over 7%, we are clearly still in the infancy stage of the broadband maturity curve, with plenty of room to grow.”

He said that his confidence is borne out by the latest demand trends in the marketplace, adding: “Our traditional ADSL customer base has been the high LSM groups. While the demand among these groups is still there, it is now also spreading to the middle to lower LSM levels.”

Samuels believes that the demand among these “non-traditional” customers is mainly influenced by both the growing use of the Internet in the education system and the value proposition that ADSL offers.

“With outcomes-based education, parents are forced to assist their children with research and, increasingly, schools expect the internet to be used as a research resource. This creates a momentum for ADSL,” said Samuels.

Growth is also expected to be stimulated by the commoditisation of ADSL, the Do Broadband offering, the Self-Install Option, ADSL port automation and wholesale services.

Added Samuels: “At this point, we are only selling high-speed internet and have yet to move into value-added services like IPTV, video-on-demand and interactive gaming - these services will stimulate demand for ADSL, especially in the younger market.”

He said that young people in particular fully understand the benefits of triple-play and they will be the ones who will push Telkom’s customer base to allow the Company to meet its targets.

He pointed out, however, that successfully climbing the ADSL growth curve is not without its challenges, saying that the main challenge is to try to build ahead of demand.

“Demand is starting to come from areas not historically pre-provisioned for ADSL, notably the traditional Black, Coloured and Indian ‘townships’. Although there has been some penetration in townships, this has mainly been around shopping centres and business parks,” explained Samuels.

The demand is also coming from the residential areas, where the Company does not have pre-existing infrastructure in place.

“An important step forward in matching supply with demand has been the creation of Telkom’s Broadband Register. Where there is demand but no infrastructure, the intelligence goes into the Broadband Register, which is fed into our build programme so that we are able to prioritise more effectively and efficiently,” said Samuels.

He explained that the build programme itself consists of two technology options. Where there is sufficient demand, we use fibre to the node, which puts an ADSL point of presence closer to customers. On the other hand, if there is sufficient demand but customers are outside the cable footprint, Telkom will deploy WiMAX technology.

“We will continue to seek various strategies aimed at increasing customer satisfaction in our efforts at seeking increased ADSL penetration,” concluded Samuels.

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