Archive for March, 2010

Phone firms shift focus to post growth | Daily Nation | Jevans Nyabiage

Mobile phones are slowly starting to replace personal computers in sub-Saharan Africa, where a PC is still quite expensive.

Mobile phone service operators are betting on data to grow their revenues as income from voice nears saturation.

Telecom research firm, Frost & Sullivan says data services is the next kid on the block for mobile phone firms if they have to register continued growth.

This, the firm says, is because mobile phones are no longer seen as a tool for basic phone calls and text messages only.

The just-released annual results for operator MTN confirm the growing role of data services for African mobile firms.

The group reported that approximately 15 per cent of its revenue last year came from data.

Frost & Sullivan’s ICT analyst Silvia Venter says this is an indication that the days of data consisting only of basic SMSs and accounting for less than 10 per cent of an operator’s revenue are gone.

She says mobile phones are slowly starting to replace personal computers in sub-Saharan Africa, where a PC is still quite expensive.

In Kenya, Safaricom recently said it is shifting its over-reliance on voice which is reaching saturation with new frontiers like data and value added services, which it bets to grow its future revenues.

Other operators

According to chief commercial officer Peter Arina, over the past three years the firm has invested about Sh7.5 billion in a bid to establish a cross-section of technologies aimed at positioning the firm as a serious data player.

Although there are no public figures on the uptake of data for the other operators, their aggressive marketing for the same points to the ongoing battle.

Telkom Kenya bets on its fixed line to increase data solutions while Zain Kenya recently signed agreements with 45 telecoms operators around the globe to allow it expand international roaming coverage for data services.

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Kato Mivule | March 1st 2010

An interesting development as Ugandan maps become digitized. Google is surely becoming a force in the Information Technology Revolution in Africa…

Uganda:  Google Launches Maps | AllAfrica| Sylvia Nankya |24 February 2010
Kampala — Detailed maps of Kampala and Entebbe are now accessible on Google Maps through any web browser. The maps can also be accessed on data enabled mobile handsets. They come with both a satellite and a terrain view of the cities. Kenya and South Africa were the first beneficiaries of the Project which has now extended to 29 cities across Africa. “Google Maps isn’t just a searchable digitised maps helping you to find a local place, service or product – it is about making information with a geographical dimension available to everyone” Rachel Payne Country Manager Google Uganda said recently. Google believes that more accurate local information can greatly improve the breadth of information available about a given area and in turn can help efforts to bolster tourism and business investment. Businesses can also benefit

Google Map of Entebbe

from the Street View technology by embedding Google maps directly into their site for free, helping them to promote a chain of hotels or raise awareness about a local library or restaurant, Payne said. She added that the service will give tourists a taste of the variety that Uganda offers, and a chance to research their holidays in advance. The map data includes a substantial amount of user generated content provided via Google Map Maker. The Map Maker allows users to locate, draw, label and provide attributes for local map features, such as roads, parks, or rivers, turning local users into “citizen cartographers.” Payne allays fears that the maps could pose a security threat to the cities. “The Information we are using on Google is approved and available to every citizen, she said.

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