Telecommunications

Rwanda to build 4G network with South Korean’s Telecom KT Corporation

Rwanda’s government is to build high-speed 4G internet, to cover entire country with partnership of South Korea’s KT Corporation, within three years. KT Corp will spend about $140 million in the LTE broadband joint venture network, which will cover 95% of the country. Today only 8% of the country has internet access although 1,865 miles (3,000km) of fiber optic cable(s) have laid since ’09. A 95% rate of broadband penetration can possibly add 10%-13% to the country’s GDP.

Youth and ICT minister Jean Philbert Nsengimana, said: “This agreement with KT marks a major milestone in Rwanda’s drive to become a modern, knowledge-based economy – and by expanding our information infrastructure, we will create jobs, support social progress and propel economic growth.”

Chief executive of the Rwanda Development Board Clare Akamanzi,, added: “Rwanda’s citizens and businesses must have access to the tools that will enable them to seize the opportunities of the digital age – and none is more important than fast, reliable and accessible broadband. “We are pleased to partner with KT in this unique initiative to make available high-speed broadband to all Rwandans.”.

This is welcome news, especially as a user of the internet, who has recently visited Rwanda where the internet speeds need improvement (According to Internet World Stats, Africa still has the world’s lowest internet penetration rate at 15.6%). President Paul Kagame is clearly moving the country in the right direction when it comes to technology and the importance that it brings to economic development. Although up to a dozen countries in Africa operate 4G networks, Rwanda’s 4G network will be the first that is truly built from the ground up with help from one of the world leaders in internet connectivity, South Korea.

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IBM to open reseach center in Kenya

IBM, one of the worlds most known and successful companies, will open a research center in Nairobi, Kenya.  The opening of the research lab is aimed at saving billions for Kenya by developing technology to improve delivery of public services. It will be the first of its research labs on the African continent. IBM president Ginni Rometty met with Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki to mark the announcement. The laboratory, IBM Research – Africa, is being launched in a partnership between IBM and the Kenyan Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology (ICT).

While IBM did not say how much it would invest, Robert Morris, vice president for services research, said on Monday it would be a “significant” amount. Globally, IBM ploughs about $6.5 billion per year research and development. Kenya will contribute $2 million annually over five years, information and communication permanent secretary Bitange Ndemo said, with copyrights for resulting works being shared. Kenya, Rwanda and

IBM President and CEO Ginni Rometty (left) meets with Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki to commemorate the announcement of IBM’s first research lab in Africa, Aug. 13, 2012.

other countries in east Africa have vibrant ICT sectors, typified by successful mobile phone-based money transfer services, bill payment services and mobile banking. Ndemo said while it was hard to quantify the savings from the resulting research, automating various government services would save billions of dollars. “There are several registries, which if we completely automated, our estimate is that we can plough back to the Exchequer up to $10 billion by simply creating efficiency through higher productivity,” Ndemo said. IBM, which has a presence in more than 20 countries on the continent, said the single biggest challenge facing African cities was improving services such as water and transportation. In Africa, IBM, a bellwether for the IT industry because of its worldwide reach and breadth of businesses, already provides network support for telecoms firms and commercial banks, among others.

The facility is expected to drive Kenya’s transition to a modern services economy through research into age-old problems like traffic congestion, low agricultural productivity and slow public service delivery.  The research facility becomes the 12th in the world after those in Australia, Brazil, China, India, Ireland, Japan, Switzerland and the US. IBM laboratories have been credited for many innovations in information technology, including the invention of relational database, disk storage and DRAM memory. The company has won five Nobel prizes. The initiative is part of IBM’s strategy to grow its dominance in Kenya and the region. Some of the research areas that the IBM research center will cover include next generation public sector, smarter cities and human capacity development by boosting the innovation and engaging entrepreneurs.

The lab will explore three “key research areas,” according to the release, including the “next generation public sector,” creating “smarter cities” with a focus on water and transportation and the development of human capacity. The lab will leverage IBM’s existing big data technologies, advanced analytics, and cloud computing technology as part of the “next generation public sector” initiative. The lab will also, in conjunction with academia and the public and private sectors, create Intelligence Operation Centers in African cities to improve water and transportation throughout the continent.

In addition, IBM Research Africa will also be home to a Resident Scientist Program to recruit top R&D talent throughout the continent. The Ideal candidates will be pre- and post-doctoral researchers in either academia or the private sector. They will be given one-year tenure with the opportunity for renewal and will have access to IBM’s talent both at IBM Research Africa and throughout the company’s global research laboratory network.

Great opportunity for the Kenya to develop software sector. Past few years as reported and highlighted on here, big names such as Google, Microsoft, Qualcomm have began to establish a presence on the African continent. Whether setting up office or expanding distribution channels, the moves have been aimed for long term success.  This further proves the growing African market, especially in IT, telecommunications and software development.

LG’s 3D smartphone to hit South Africa in June 2011

South Korean electronic giant LG, will soon release 3D smart phones beginning in South Africa June of this year.

South Africa is gearing up for the arrival of what’s expected to be the world’s first mainstream 3D mobile phone in June this year. LG Electronics officially unveiled the LG Optimus 3D smartphone at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. “South African consumers can expect to be 3D mobile from June this year and we think they’ll be pleased with what this smartphone is able to offer in terms of a full 3D experience,” said Dr. Michelle Potgieter, Marketing Director of LG Electronics South Africa. According to LG, the Optimus 3D showcases LG’s unique “tri-dual” configuration – dual-core, dual-channel and dual-memory. The phone manufacturer said the Optimus 3D offers the world’s first full 3D experience and introduces the world’s first dual-core, dual-channel and dual-memory architecture. LG said the tri-dual configuration allows for simultaneous and fast transfer of data between the dual-core and dual-memory. “Users can browse web pages, multitask between programmes, play games at a higher frame rate and enjoy movies more smoothly and for longer than ever before,” LG said. Another major feature is the 5 megapixel dual lens camera, which allows for recording, viewing and sharing of 3D content with friends directly onto video sharing site YouTube.LG has promised a selectable interface between 2D and 3D and users can also view their 3D content on their phone’s 4.3 inch screen without the use of glasses.“With the new LG Optimus 3D anyone anywhere in the globe can film 3D videos, upload them to YouTube and share them with all their friends. We’re excited to see the artistic videos our community captures and shares with this new stylish and innovative mobile technology,” added Potgieter.

3D is now being integrated in numerous electronics from tv’s, smart phones and hand-held game systems.  Having and showing off such technology in Africa is logical since the middle class is growing rapidly and the consumer base is expanding with unlimited potential.
Here is video description about the phone.

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Microsoft launches Windows 7 for mobile market(s) in South Africa

Windows 7 phone

Microsoft announced it is back in the mobile market – and means business in Africa.

The company yesterday launched its much-anticipated Windows Phone 7 mobile operating system in South Africa, hailing it as a “fresh start for the smartphone” and promising a new user experience that will shake up the marketplace.

Nazeer Suliman, the consumer and online lead for Microsoft South Africa, said: “The new phone is critical to Microsoft’s efforts to make new gains in the huge smartphone market, which despite the success of the iPhone and Android, is still relatively untapped globally. It also represents a new approach towards integrating products and services from across the company into the phone to create a richer experience and greater productivity.”

He added: “The goal for Windows Phone 7 is an ambitious one: to deliver a phone that integrates the things people really want to do and puts those things right in front of them.

“Windows Phone 7 breaks the current smartphone convention to help people quickly and easily find and consume data, information and services from the Web and applications. People want one device they can access their work e-mail on and then put in their bag and go to the party, and they want it to be easy to use. That is exactly what we are delivering.”

The phones are expected to be available to the general public by early December on most of the major mobile networks. Initially two HTC models will be available – the HTC 7 Mozart and the HTC 7 Trophy (which will be exclusive to Vodacom) – and they will be joined by models from Samsung and LG early in the new year.

“We see Windows Phone 7 as an entirely fresh mobile experience. The range of phones reflect HTC’s strength in design and innovation, and will offer tremendous value for local mobile customers,” said Quinton Leigh, managing director of Leaf, HTC’s representative in sub-Saharan Africa.

Mapula Bodibe, MTN’s general manager for consumer marketing, said the Windows 7 Phone was a welcome addition to the operator’s smartphone line-up.

“A significant number of South African consumers are tech-savvy and early adopters of technology, with the support of our world-class internet network, this phone is certain to make a few waves in a marketplace that has been dominated by several other players,” said Bodibe.

The Windows 7 phone helps users get more done in fewer steps, thanks to a unique ‘hub and tile’ interface. The tiles offer people quick and easy access to their most valuable information as well as real-time updates from the web such as news, appointments or friends’ status. Users can also create their own tiles from whatever content they choose, such as web sites, photos and music.

The phone features ‘hubs’ for categories such as people, music and video, photos and Office. These hubs are never more than a few screens away, no matter how deep the user navigates within the phone.

The people hub, for example, pulls in Facebook status updates from friends as well as providing the more obvious contact information and phone numbers. Users can take actions like responding to updates or sending a text message right from the people hub, rather than having to find and launch a particular app.

“We think people want to get updates from their social networks, they want to get contact information, they want to get e-mails from a variety of different places, they want to share music — but they want control over it,” said Suliman.

As people use their phones, they’ll discover lots of thoughtfully designed features and perks. Holding down the camera shutter button, for example, lets the user take a picture even if the phone is locked – as Suliman says, “unlocking your phone can sometimes mean the difference between missing the moment or not.”

The phones also come with a mobile version of Internet Explorer and include support for editing Microsoft Office documents. They also have strong social media integration, with Facebook photos, music and contacts are pulled into the phone and distributed appropriately.

Microsoft now playing catch up to Apple and Android based phones in Africa.  The hurdle will be high to overcome since Microsoft was in the first place reluctant to embrace open source unlike Google and Apple. Google as of late has really been on the offensive in introducing its products.

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Google And Grameen Foundation Launch Program To Provide Internet Access Quick And Cheap

Google has teamed up with the Grameen Foundation to bring and provide quick and cheap internet access to those in need in Uganda.
The Grameen Foundation (a micro-credit bank) and Google have launched AppLab, a range of applications available via SMS (Short Message Service), in Uganda. This initiative allows those without Internet to access information quickly and cheaply. This service will soon b

e introduced to other African countries.

Henceforth, high-tech phones are not the only ones to provide access to the Google search engine. June 29, The Grameen Foundation microcredit bank, MTN (mobile phone company) and Google launched Google SMS, a range of applications available via sms, under their AppLab (Application Laboratory) project. For now, the service is only available in Uganda, but it should soon be introduced to other countries.

The application is simple: the user sends an SMS with a question (to Google SMS Tips) or a keyword (to Google SMS search) and receives an answer that best matches their search. The service replaces online search engines, while the computer is replaced by a mobile phone. A farmer can, therefore, receive forecasts, market prices, advice on how to grow crops through biological methods, on his/her mobile phone, among others.

AppLab also provides information services in the health area; locating the nearest clinic, information on HIV and malaria, answers to adolescent puberty-related questions.

Google Trader, a virtual marketplace service, can also be accessed: this service allows sellers of agricultural products and commodities to locate and communicate with buyers. The phone service is expected to cut travel costs, while making information that has so far been inaccessible available to certain populations, especially in rural areas where electricity and Internet access is often poor.

Meeting the needs of local people

To implement the project, Grameen Foundation has been working with local partners to help identify the needs of the population. Before the service, adapted to specific local populations, is launched, a preliminary study is conducted to ensure that the needs of the local populations are met. In Uganda, the Grameen Foundation has been working with local agencies since 2007. The Busoga Rural Open Source Development Initiative (BRODSI), among others, provided data on the needs of farmers and helped develop solutions proposed by AppLab.

Grameen Foundation is also involved in assisting the development of village phone operators for the benefit of users who cannot read, do not speak English or own a laptop computer. The service includes the possibility to rent a mobile telephone or even ask for help to send and receive SMS.

The service, since its inception, has continued to grow. When a request is unknown to the search engine, it is directed to a service which processes and relays information to the Google SMS database. SMS use is expanding in Africa and signify a niche market for operators who wish to reach less accessible areas. A few months ago, mobile phone operators across sub-Saharan Africa launched banking services via SMS.

Google has so far done a good job reaching out to various organization and groups on not just promoting its policies, but also expanding the knowledge base about computing and software development in Africa.  This is just a continuation of those goals and practicees that eventually pay off as more and more people use the internet, especially through Android platforms whether through smart phones, Google TV and web search.

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Information Technology Spending In Africa To Grow By 10% In 2011

Africa will spend more on Information Technology this year than in 2010.

Forecast by global research firm International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that the information technology (IT) market in Africa, the Middle East and Turkey will surpass $60 billion this year, up 12.8 percent from last year.

IDC said like last year, the growth would continue to be led by the recovery in IT hardware spending, which would grow 14.2 percent. It also predicts spending on packaged software and IT services would gain momentum and grow 12 percent and 9.2 percent respectively.

IDC said IT spending in Africa will increased by 10 percent to $25 billion this year. It added that SA had recovered well with 8.7 percent growth last year and an expected 7.5 percent this year.

Growth in Egypt will continue to be rapid at more than 15 percent while spending in the rest of Africa will grow 12 percent to exceed $10 billion this year.

Jyoti Lalchandani, Vice President and Regional Managing Director for IDC in the Middle East and Africa, said: “This year IT markets in the Middle East, Turkey and Africa will continue to build on the post-downturn rebound in spending experienced in 2010. Investments to build out IT infrastructure will gain further momentum in most countries, particularly in the public sector.”

IDC also expects public sector IT spending in key countries in the Middle East and Africa will rise 14.3 percent this year to $2.6 billion.

Information technology services bring many advantages. Synchronization is way better and easier. Outcomes are positive thanks to innovations and new strategies. Many business techniques are put into practice to reach different goals. Many businesses are looking to improve their position and they even reach business process outsourcing to expand in a better way. A third party is in charge of tasks so they can focus on satisfying clients to the maximum levels. Customer satisfaction comes first.

If services and goods are great odds are customer will come back. The right equipment is required to improve overall performance. Thanks to much information technology services advances, applications are created and administrative costs are reduced a lot. One of the main purposes is to improve profits. Information technology management strategies are designed in such a way to bring good results. They deliver great plans that must be followed correctly. Over production is reduced and controlled.

The importance of information and technology has improved the ability to communicate. The information technology industry has come a great way and has made its mark on all the industries. This has also affected the types of education that students are getting these days. The advancement in technology has had a major impact on the type of education and also on the quality. There are special information technology courses that are developed to provide student knowledge about these things. Technology has always shown positive effects on the instructional process and has also changed it completely. The newer development in technology has defined the role of information technology better in the education and other industries.

Information technology has led to an unprecedented level of connectivity, with telecommunication devices and programs, allowing businesses to stay globally connected and lead a more mobile work lifestyle. This has opened up a greater variety of jobs to potential employees all over the world, because employees no longer need to spend their entire work day in an office in the city where they live. Information technology also gives smaller businesses access to a much wider pool of customers, making it easier for them to compete with larger businesses.  The more investments that are made in information technology, the more Africa will benefit economically in the long run.

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