• Vodacom to Connect 250 000 Homes

    Vodacom plans to connect 250 000 homes and businesses to fibre broadband over the next three years.

    The company announced that it has signed on Alcatel-Lucent to build a ‘gigabit passive optical networking (GPON) solution’ in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban.

    Vodacom says the mobile network says it plans to reach about 150 000 homes and 100 000 business within the next three years.

    To read the article titled, “Vodacom plans connecting 150 000 homes to fibre,” click here.

    Fin 24
  • Wi-Fi Hotspots for the Disadvantaged

    The technological advancement in South Africa in terms of the digital device has made Telkom payphones review their public phones and introduce the Wi-Fi hot spots at a radius of 10 metres.

    In 1994, only 15 percent of South Africans had access to telephony, thus payphones were of more help to the citizens.

    The major reason for this project to be launched is to help citizens that are disadvantaged in terms of internet access.

    To read the article titled, “Telkom's Wi-Fi hotspots to benefit disadvantaged citizens,” click here.

    SABC News
  • Google’s Low Cost Smartphone Announced

    Google has announced that it is working on a low-cost smartphone aimed at emerging markets as part of an initiative called Android One.

    Google senior vice president, Sundar Pichai, points out that the Android-powered handset will be built with a basic set of features including FM radio, have a screen slightly smaller than five inches (12.7 centimetres) and be priced at R1 000).

    Pichai states the Android One initiative sets out to work with smartphone makers and others in the ‘ecosystem’ to pool resources and standardise hardware platforms to provide ‘turnkey solutions’ for making handsets, according to Pichai.

    To read the article titled, “Google’s low-cost phone for emerging market,” click here.

    IOL News
  • Free Wi-Fi at South African Taxis

    The South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO) has announced that it will be providing free wi-fi to commuters in taxis and around taxi ranks.

    According to reports, while the project has been spearheaded by the taxi association, it is being implemented through a collaboration between Telkom.

    Telkom will be providing the connections and Wi-Taxi South Africa will be responsible for the infrastructure.

    Meanwhile, SANTACO chief executive officer, Nkululeko Buthelezi, says that taxis will not increase their fares, and that the wi-fi was simply a ‘value-add’ included in the normal fee.

    To read the article titled, “Plan for free wi-fi on all taxis,” click here.

    IOL News
  • ICASA Reviews Proposed New Call Termination Rates

    The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) says it has started the process of reviewing its proposed new call termination rates.
    ICASA spokesperson, Paseka Malekathe, says in order to do the process in a transparent and fair manner, questionnaires will be sent to every licensee to seek information for the review.
    ICASA, which was given six months by the court to amend its regulations, has given the licensees are required to submit responses to ICASA by 13 June 2014.
    To read the article titled, “ICASA reviews proposed new call termination rates,” click here.

    SABC News
  • SA Has A 'Right' to Cheap Data

    According to Duncan Alfreds, data cost remains a barrier to many South Africans accessing the Internet and reducing that cost should be the priority, an industry insider insists.

    In his article titled ‘SA has a 'right' to cheap data’, Alfreds echoes Kevin Hurwitza, chief executive officer’s view that, "Access to cost-effective data should be a basic right to consumers, not a luxury."

    He argues that despite South Africa having the potential of six million cable broadband connections, there are only around 800 000 ADSL subscribers, adding that most South Africans who access the Internet, do so on mobile phones.

    To read the article titled, “SA has a 'right' to cheap data,” click here.

    News 24
  • Education 'Key' to Open Wi-Fi Networks

    South African cities are engaged in the process of rolling out public Wi-Fi hotpots in an effort to make high speed mobile data freely available.
    According to a security consultant at Fortinet, Jonas Thulin, states that the new service though, could be used by criminals to entrap users who are unused to the environment.
    "While access for all is a commendable goal, there are security risks in extending free and low-cost Wi-Fi access in public places," explains Thulin.
    The cities of Tshwane and Cape Town are in the process of rolling our Wi-Fi access points for residents, and Thulin said that newbie users had be educated about the risks of an open network.
    To read the article titled, “Education 'key' to open Wi-Fi networks,” click here.

    News 24
  • Massive Increase in SA Smartphone Purchases

    The numbers from South Africa's largest mobile phone retailer show that a massive shift is happening in the smartphone market.

    The shift from feature phones to smartphones in South Africa is happening faster than anyone could have imagined just a few months ago.

    Sales figures from the country’s largest mobile phone retailer, PEP stores, reveal a radical transformation in the phone-buying habits of the low- and middle-income segments of South Africa’s population.

    PEP’s overall numbers, however, are equally startling. In the year to the end of June 2014, it sold no less than 6.7-million pre-paid phones – half of all phones sold on pre-paid deals in South Africa during that period, according to John Edwards, cellular executive at PEP.

    The biggest surprise in its numbers, however, lurk in the smartphone sales figures.

    In the half-year to December 2013, 1 percent of prepaid phones sold were smartphones. For the full year, by the end of June 2014, that number had shot up to 7 percent, implying a rise to 13 percent in the first six months of 2014.

    But that is not where it ends. In one month alone – March 2014 – the smartphone contribution was at 23 percent, thanks to special offers and new low-cost handsets.

    “We’re forecasting that number to rise to 30 percent in the last quarter of the year,” said Edwards. “It’s driven by handset subsidies from the networks, but I suspect that if you took away the subsidies, the volumes wouldn’t be significantly lower.”

    WhatsApp appeal

    Edwards believes that smartphone demand has also been driven by the massive uptake of WhatsApp, the instant messaging app that is now accessible on many feature phones as well as all entry-level smartphones.

    The obvious devices, sub-R500 Android phones like the MTN Steppa and Huawei Ascend Y220, made a big contribution. However, PEP also made a massive impact by introducing a WhatsApp-specific feature phone: the AG Whutz-Zappa, at a cost of R399.

    Thanks to a funky name and a WhatsApp shortcut button, it has captured the imagination of the low-income segment that aspires to instant messaging services.

    A camera, MP3 player and WAP browser means it’s got the basics, but it is also, no doubt, a stepping stone towards owning a basic smartphone – which will come down to the same price in the next year or so.

    Rethinking data pricing

    That is good and bad news for the mobile operators, who are struggling with strategies to cope with declining voice revenues.

    “On the Android phones we sold, the average revenue per user (ARPU) is three times as much as on feature phones,” says Edwards. “There’s clearly a swing at the low end, from consumers who are desperate for access to Android devices and definitely to instant messaging.

    “But that is only part of it. My gut feel is, if you put the tool in people’s hands, they will use it. Before I saw the ARPUs, I assumed it was all about WhatsApp. Clearly, the data wave is coming.”

    That also means, however, that the operators will have to rethink their data pricing strategy. The network that is cheapest for voice calls, Cell C, is the most expensive for ad hoc use of data, at R2 per Megabyte.

    “A PEP customer buys, on average, a R15 voucher,” says Edwards. “These guys live hand to mouth. You can’t give them bill-shock. If they lose R15 for an app running in background, they’re going to dump the phone.” –

       - Arthur Goldstuck is the founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Follow him on Twitter @art2gee. This article first appeared on the Mail&Guardian.

  • ICASA Challenged Over Call Rates

    Cellphone network operators, MTN and Vodacom, will continue to challenge the introduction of new asymmetrical call termination rates in the Johannesburg High Court.

    However, Kate Hofmeyer, for Cell C, believed that if MTN and Vodacom were granted interim relief through the court suspending the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa’s (ICASA) 2014 regulations, this would result in the market being unregulated.

    Call termination rates are rates that mobile operators have to pay one another for calls to other networks.

    To read the article titled, “Unregulated cell environment dangerous – ICASA,” click here

    Fin 24
  • Mobile Data on the Increase in SA

    According to a report, mobile data traffic in South Africa is expected to have a compound annual growth of 53 percent in the next five years.

    The Cisco Visual Networking Index Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast for 2013 to 2018, points out that mobile data traffic will reach an annual run rate of two exabytes (one quintillion bytes) by 2018.

    The report also states that 60 percent of mobile connections in South Africa will be ‘smart’ connections by 2018, up from 20 percent in 2013.

    To read the article titled, “Mobile data in South Africa to boom in next five years,” click here.

    Times Live
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