Welcome to the Com World Series Blog. As producers of the leading telecoms, media and ICT events for developing markets, we focus on news & views that affect everyone operating in the telecoms ecosystem in Africa, the Middle East and Eurasia.

29 Sep 2015

"Telecoms in Africa can help make a significant difference to people’s lives” Interview of Tony Dolton, CEO Unitel Angola

Tony Dolton is CEO of Unitel in Angola.  He will be joining a keynote panel discussion on the second day of the event on how LTE is changing the digital landscape, alongside representatives of other operators such as Vodacom and MTC in Namibia.
He answers a few questions on the market ahead of the event.

AfricaCom: What is your Unitel's position in Africa’s market?
Tony Dolton: Unitel is the number one telecom operator in Angola, with over 11M  subscribers and a market share in excess of 80%. We aim to be among the largest independently owned operators in Africa, and to do so we believe in innovation and technological differentiation, combined with unrivalled quality of service. The 450 Mbps LTE downlink speed demonstration we carried out recently together with our investment in national and metropolitan fibre networks is evidence of our willingness and commitment to be at the forefront of technology in Africa.
Unitel’s goal is to enable the development of businesses and people based on high quality and high-speed connectivity.

A. What do you think will be this year’s most game-changing development in Africa’s telecom?
TD: Not so much game changing but the continued evolution of Big data together with more highly accessible broadband capacity at higher speeds will allow more innovation and greater opportunity for Africa.

A. What services will enable telecom operators to generate revenue from data?
TD: With higher speeds and bandwidth and more reliable services, the Mobile Telecoms operators in Africa have the opportunity to reach into the more traditional fixed line services in the Enterprise area and to develop new revenue streams such as VPN’s or Closed User Groups, as well as M2M, ICT and traditional data services. To offer affordable Enterprise services in areas of low fixed coverage should be the objective of all Mobile operators.
In the consumer segment, the Mobile operators still have some way to go to get customers using data and this can be achieved by providing the right pricing, affordable but good quality devices and the content that will drive usage. However to grow this area we must also provide the support to help educate potential customers of the value that data services can bring to their personal and business lives.  We strongly believe that there is much that can be learnt from the OTT suppliers in providing content as a service rather than content in terms of Mega Bytes or Giga Bytes.

A. What will be the impact of the digital transition on the telecoms and media sector?
TD: The big impact is of course the convergence of content and delivery and the need to be “connected always” which implies significant additional investments into the network infrastructure.  To make this affordable from a cost perspective the Mobile operators need to focus on greater efficiency and better delivery services.

A. What are the regulatory requirements for improving affordable access to broadband?
TD: Although in Angola there are no specific regulatory requirements for improving affordable access to broadband, similar to a significant number of countries, the Government has approved and published in 2011 the White Book for the sector. Herein it is clear that generalized access to broadband is an immediate challenge and necessary to reduce the asymmetry of Angola compared to other countries with a more consolidated stage of socioeconomic development.

A. How can telecom and digital brands create more value for African consumers?
TD: Mobile operators in Africa have a significant opportunity, through engagement with our customers to fully understand how we can enable them to connect, grow, learn and to develop their communities, businesses and relationships. 
Africa is a hugely culturally diverse, colorful and challenging continent that struggles in the provision of many of the basic services, such as good health and good education. The telecoms sector can help make a significant difference to people’s lives:
- through providing local and relevant information everywhere -  national music, sports and local content
- by providing services that can help in people daily lives, such as as mobile money, e-learning, m-health, school and university connectivity, virtual classrooms for remote areas and support for SME activity (agriculture, fishery, small technological businesses, etc.)

A. How can operators support innovation within their organizations and in the wider ecosystem?
TD: Innovation is at the heart of our organization and it is our aim to not only promote innovation in our own business but also promote innovation with our products and services to inspire our customers.  Whilst we all have a responsibility to create a culture of innovation we have set up a small dedicated team who are responsible for the promotion and encouragement of innovation across the organization and they also work with universities and small local start-up businesses in Angola to develop new ideas and concepts

A. How can the communications needs of enterprises be met in order to sustain economic growth in the region?
TD: There is an insatiable thirst for higher speeds and bigger bandwidths and the development and growth of the ICT sector is critical to the continued development of the continent.  This includes the continued expansion of the cable interconnection in and out of Africa, to drive down the cost of delivery.  To meet this increasing demand we must invest not just in our networks but also in the people of Africa.  We must insist that our product suppliers localize expertise in the continent, that we develop the ability to train locally and that the universities are doing the right courses for ICT.  The development of ICT skills and abilities is one of our greatest challenges at the moment.  

For more details on the AfricaCom programme download the brochure here.

18 Sep 2015

Getting the next billion connected - Interview of John Bernard, Mozilla

John Bernard has been leading the global marketing team at Mozilla since 2012.
This year he is joining AfricaCom to be part of a keynote panel discussion on targeting underserved communities.
He shares his views on the market ahead of the event.


AfricaCom: What is Firefox’s position in Africa’s market?
John Bernard: We have a strategy for Firefox OS targeting emerging markets and delivering a smartphone experience for consumers buying their first smartphone under $100. Africa, with the number of new connections every year and the huge appetite for accessing the Web represents a number of strategic markets for Mozilla.

A: What do you think will be this year’s most game-changing development in Africa’s telecoms?
JB: An Operator or company who can help solve the issue of providing a network to the most remote parts of Africa will be something for attendees to sit up and take notice of. This is a growing area of connecting communities within the region.

A: How can telecom and digital brands create more value for African consumers?
JB: Firefox OS offers a customised and easy to use experience appropriate to consumers at the entry-level smartphone segment, as has been seen with the demand of the KLIF device launched this year with Orange. Firefox OS leverages the power of the Web, to scale the user experience and, as an open source project, any individual or organisation can extend and adapt the platform. Orange put the mobile internet within reach of millions more people, otherwise not previously addressed, with the launch of the KLIF with a new breakthrough digital offer across its significant African footprint.

A: How can operators support innovation within their organisations and in the wider ecosystem?
JB: We announced this year partnering with Orange, to bring Firefox OS to Africa and the Middle East as part of a new digital offer. This was achieved in collaboration with ALCATEL ONETOUCH expanding mobile internet access with the 3.5-inch Orange KLIF Smartphone, launched in 13 African countries to date. Here, Orange are seen to support innovation by providing an affordable, easy-to-use first-time smartphone experience with the ability to surf the web, use email, and communicate within the continent.
The Orange Klif digital offer started from under US$40, inclusive of data, voice and text bundle and sets a new benchmark in price that acted as a major catalyst for smartphone and data adoption across the region.

A: In your opinion what are the most interesting debates to expect at AfricaCom this year?
JB: As mentioned, solving the issue of providing a network to the most remote parts of Africa will be an interesting topic, what role IoT plays and finally who will be the big content winner: local apps or the big-named global content providers.

Top sessions John recommends at AfricaCom 2015:

-       Innovation Leadership Panel: How to support a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in digital Africa? (day 1 keynote)
-       Transforming operators’ models to succeed in the digital economy (day 2 keynote)
-       Targeting underserved communities: strategies to deliver digital communications across Africa  (day 3 keynote)

For more information on the Vision for Africa keynotes check the AfricaCom programme here.

7 Sep 2015

AfricaCom Awards: Entry deadline extended to Friday 11th September

Owing to a number of requests from industry partners and AfricaCom supporters the entry deadline to the AfricaCom Awards has been extended to Friday 11 September, to allow ample time for the community and new interested parties to submit entries comfortably.

The Awards takes place on Wednesday 18th November in the event evening at Cape Town’s Waterfront Lookout – a truly amazing setting and for many the climax of the whole event. Those who attended in 2014will no doubt remember the stylish theme and comfortable setting for what was a great occasion paying homage to the leading innovations in African telecoms and ICT.  This year stands to be even more impressive with a unique theme and surprise entertainment to compliment the festivities.

Check the 14 awards categories available to showcase your company’s achievements in 2015:
·         Best Network Improvement 
·         Excellence in Customer Experience Management
·         Breakthrough LTE Development
·         Best Cost Efficiency Solution for Africa
·         Best Connectivity Solution for Africa
·         VSAT innovation for Africa
·         Best Marketing Campaign
·         Best Mobile Money Service
·         Best App for Africa
·         Best Device for Africa
·         Most Innovative Service
·         Best Pan African Service
·         Changing Lives Award
·         CEO of the year award

If you have any questions or want to explore some of the commercial opportunities at the AfricaCom Awards, contact the team:
Sponsorship or table options: becky.lyons@informa.com
Categories and submissions: adam.thompson@informa.comGemma.white@informa.com

1 Sep 2015

"Embracing rather than fighting OTT services will be a game changer" Interview of Evans Muhanga, CMO, Zamtel

Evans Muhanga is the Chief Marketing Officer for Zambia Telecommunications (Zamtel) a landline and mobile telephony company with 1.6million customers. He has over 10 years’ experience in the telecommunications industry having worked for Celtel Zambia (now Airtel) and Celtel/Zain Sierra Leone previously.
Evans will be joining a panel discussion on identifying new revenue opportunities for fixed and mobile operators beyond voice at AfricaCom on Wednesday 18th November, alongside representatives of Telkom South Africa, Lumata, Malawi Telecommunications, Rekindle Learning and Airtel Africa.
He answers a few questions on the market ahead of the event.

What is your company’s position in Zambia’s market? 
Zamtel is a private company, wholly owned by the Government of Zambia.  Zamtel plays in the mobile, fixed and internet market.  We are the sole provider of fixed line services in Zambia, and number 2 in the internet market.  From the mobile market point of view, we are the third player, with a market share of almost 15%.

What do you think will be this year’s most game-changing development in Africa’s telecoms? 

We believe embracing rather than fighting OTT services will be a game changer.  In addition, telecom operators adopting triple and quad play services will be in the fore-front of changing the African telecom space.  Mobile Money will continue to make an impact, with more operators providing this service across the continent, and also having more than one player in a specific market. 

What services will enable telecom operators to generate revenue from data? 
The challenge facing Africa today is a low internet penetration rate – 27.5% as at December 2014 compared to a world average of 42.4%.  As a first step, operators need to improve this penetration, by making access to internet easy and affordable.  This in itself will result in improved revenues for operators.  In addition, by adopting OTT players, triple and quad play services and the advent of “internet of everything” will help operators gain more revenue. 

What will be the impact of the digital transition on the telecoms and media sector? 
The digital transition is more of a positive impact on the consumer, as this will enable growth of the media sector in providing more high quality services and diverse content.  This however comes with  a cost, to both the consumer and provider. 

What are the regulatory requirements for improving affordable access to broadband? 

Whilst price is a key factor in the provision of broadband services, service availability also plays a key role.  For the regulator, it is not normally their brief to dictate prices of products and services.  The operator will play a bigger role in providing affordable access by ensuring that the continued trend of reducing wholesale bandwidth costs are passed on to the consumer.  Regulators also need to coordinate and control the “digging” of areas when it comes to laying cables.  The current trend, especially in Zambia, is that anyone digs anywhere, resulting in cables appearing everywhere.  Unlike first world countries, a duct is already in the ground, provided by the council or regulator, and is rented by operators to physically lay their cable.

How can telecom and digital brands create more value for African consumers?
By working closely together, for you to deliver any type of digital brands, you need the telecom infrastructure to ride on.  All that is needed is a business model that is a win/win for both the digital and telecom businesses.  For the consumer, its results in better experience and a variety of content.
How can operators support innovation within their organisations and in the wider ecosystem? 
If the operator has the resources to support the IT and Technical departments to specifically look at development and innovative ideas, or investing in R&D as well as liaising with customer services, then they can develop solutions in-house.  However, operators have to work with third party VAS and development players. 

How can the communications needs of enterprises be met in order to sustain economic growth in the region? 
Each customer’s requirements are unique and as such operators must be flexible when it comes to meeting customer demands.

For more information of the New Revenue Streams session at AfricaCom, check the brochure here.

21 Aug 2015

Digital music landscape will be unrecognisable in a year’s time, says Spinlet’s Nkiru Balonwu ahead of Africacom

Nkiru Balonwu is CEO of the Spinlet Group, a digital media distribution company, focusing on Africa-centric content. She will be joining the digital music panel at AfricaCom on 17th November, alongside representatives of Orange, Millicom, Deezer, Africori, Unitel and Baziks Entertainment.
Here she shares with us some thoughts on Africa’s digital music market.

What is your Spinlet's position in Africa’s digital market?
Spinlet is a leading music distribution service in Africa. With over 1.7m app registrations to date and 10,000 daily unique visits to our website, our company’s reputation as the continent’s premier streaming and downloads platform continues to grow. Our service has always been a streaming and downloads hybrid and we are glad to see the model being adopted by some of the larger companies in our space.

Where do you see your company in 5 years’ time?
At Spinlet, we have always put a premium on research and looking at the things we can do to improve our product. We have also focused on developing relationships within the industry and expanding our rich and diverse music catalogue. In 5 years’ time, I fully expect our footprint to span the entire continent, hosting content from almost every country, being the go-to service for all things African.

What do you think will be this year’s most game-changing development in Africa’s digital market? The coming of Apple Music will certainly have an interesting ripple effect, especially after the Android version of the service goes live. Everyone else will be compelled to look at their product differentiation and value creation strategies. That level of competition typically results in high-level innovation and I expect the digital music landscape to be unrecognisable in a year’s time.
What are the best strategies to monetise content services in African markets?
I think the key to succesful monetisation is providing the easiest access and easiest payment method possible for the users in the target demographic. There is a slight balancing act to be done, however, because of the number of potential customers increases as you go towards the lower end of Africa’s social demographics. The content most likely to do well is content that can be consumed easily on lower end mobile devices and paid for without necessarily having a bank account. This is the reason that RBTs/CBTs have done so well. The challenge is to apply this to content that requires smartphones and bandwidth, like videos. Apart from infrastructure, I think the payments will be the lynchpin. Once we resolve that issue across the continent, monetisation will become more of a marketing function than a prodcut innovation one.

How can digital brands create more value for African consumers? For me, the best way to create value is by focusing on any one of more of the following three things - solving problems; affordability and usability, and improving outcomes.
  • Solving problems: What is the problem that a digital brand is trying to remedy? Digital intervention has to fill a gap or improve on the existing means of doing so. So taxi apps, for example, are increasingly popular because of the extra convenience they provide. Music apps are popular because they provide a ready distribution network and incentives not to support piracy.
  • Affordability and Usability: The product being sold by the brand must be easy to use and affordable by a large enough section of society. This means that apart from the average incomes in the regions being targeted by the brands, devices on which the product will be used are also an important consideration.
  • Outcomes: When consumers purchase a good or service, it’s not the actual commodity they are seeking, but an outcome that they believe will be derived from use of the commodity. The question to ask is “What is the consumer trying to achieve?” Taking Spinlet’s customers, for instance, they aren’t just interested in music. They aren’t just ‘music lovers.’ If that was all they were, or all they wanted was more music, they might as well use any download site. However, we believe that Spinlet users are looking for more than music. There’s a lifestyle they aspire to. They want to discover new artists, and connect and interact with the names they already know. The Spinlet website gives consumers access to artists all over the continent. For the artists that license their content on the Spinlet platform, the outcomes they are seeking are [1] guaranteed and documented revenue when their music is streamed or downloaded, [2] greater publicity, and [3] a further reach for their music and a bigger stage to perform on. Spinlet delivers all of the above.
What types of partnerships should telecom operators and content brands develop?
The answer to this question becomes a little more complex as more telecom operators are now also in the music distribution business. I suspect that this would ordinarily raise competition/antitrust issues outside Africa but that’s probably a different conversation. I think telcos have created value by providing alternative revenue streams for the artists. I think, however, that they erode most of this value with the revenue splits they offer. The ideal partnerships between telcos and content brands (which would include labels, artists and distributors like Spinlet) would be those that promote all parties concerned, support the local industry and leave the content owners with a much healthier share of the earnings than are currently obtainable.

In your opinion what are the most interesting debates to expect at AfricaCom this year?
I probably have a bias towards media distribution, so I’m particularly looking forward to the debate on business models for operators in digital entertainment, as well as the session on pricing and revenue strategies. Given the level of development of the infrastructure across the continent and the raging issue of taking payments conveniently, I expect these sessions to generate very robust engagement. I’m also keen to hear opinions on developing local content and the various conversations on the evolution of mobile money.

For more information of the digital music panel, part of the Digital Entertainment stream at AfricaCom, chech the brochure here.

19 Aug 2015

NigeriaCom: The Largest Telco Event in West Africa is Embracing the Developer Community

If you are an app developer or founder of a tech startup, chances are high NigeriaCom is not on your list of tech events to attend yet. Being the largest annual meeting for the telco & ICT industry in West Africa, it should though.

Having a profound understanding of the underlying physical infrastructure, the regulatory framework, the industry’s dynamics and technology trends is essential for every internet based company’s success.

In essence, the challenges and opportunities of the telecom & ICT industry can be summarized with four questions:

  • Penetration: How quickly is internet usage in Nigeria going to move from a current internet penetration of 30% to 80% and beyond? 
  • Pricing: At which pace will the costs of running a mobile phone decrease from the present 5% to about 2-3% of monthly income, known as a tipping point for massive mobile internet usage growth?
  • Investments: How rapidly has the Nigerian telecom & ICT industry evolved into an attractive, transparent space for domestic and foreign investors?
  • Collaboration: How fast will industry leaders join forces across the entire stack, bottom up from the physical infrastructure to API centric tech ventures?

NigeriaCom will be hosted between 14th -15th September 2015 in Lagos at the Orienal Hotel, for the seventh consecutive time, and during the next weeks we will discuss those topics highlighted above in a series of blog posts counting down to the event.

While a series of panels will deepen your understanding of the telco & ICT industry, the Entrepreneur’s Hub will expose you to potential mentors, partners, customers and investors. With an average of 43% C-level attendees (54% total operator attendance), the Entrepreneur’s Hub is an ideal meeting place for start-ups to showcase in front of recognised ICT leaders.

To find out more about NigeriaCom and the Entrepreneur's Hub, visit the website: www.comworldseries.com/nigeria 

18 Aug 2015

Souhail Haddaji du Vice President Program Management (former VP Product Development)

Souhail Haddaji, Vice President, Product Development at Du, has some highly insightful views on digital transformation and customer-centricity throughout the Middle East. Ahead of his speaking session at the upcoming Middle East Com Telco & ICT Leadership Summit he gives us his thoughts on the future of the digital industry.


How would you qualify the impact of the digital disruption?

I would say it is a matter of survival because, as with every industrial revolution, firms which adapt to changing economic and societal conditions grow and prosper. Others which fail to do so merely survive or, in extreme cases, simply cease to exist.

The profound societal and economic changes induced by digitization of our connected lives are of similar magnitude, and therefore they will probably trigger an impact of comparable scale on people, firms and societies in general.

Talking about telcos specifically, they are today at a crossroads for several reasons:

  • OTTs are threating telcos’ traditional value chain positioning (Ovum estimated this impact to be – $ 386 billion between 2012 and 2018) 
  • The age of the customer: Empowered by technology, with instant access to any information they need and supported by their social network, customers have taken the lead in the buyer-seller relationship. Customers today know better than their service providers about their products, reputation, latest competition’s offers and promotions. In the past decade, telcos built highly effective customer acquisition machines. But, the implications induced by the age of customer and market maturity, require telcos to shift gear towards customer centricity by putting customers at heart of the organization.
  • Core services maturity: Mobile voice, SMS and fixed broadband markets have matured and competition has increased severely, leading to margin squeeze and pressure on the income statement.
  • Inadequacy of IT capabilities for the digital age: Telcos built highly effective acquisition machines based on complex and often siloed IT systems, to manage various customer-facing and back-office functions (CRM, billing, fulfillment, assurance…etc.). The problem is that these systems, often integrated in complex ways, are not optimized to meet digital challenges, such as personalization, real-time customer responses and omnichannel capabilities.

How are other industries dealing with digital disruption?

At the end of 2014, we completed research with INSEAD regarding customer-centricity and the impact of digital disruption in the banking industry. It revealed that a few years ago, banks’ boards started to raise some fundamental questions that need to be addressed by CXOs in response to the coming digital disruption:

  • Should they redirect investment into new independent digital ventures, or should they keep allocating resources to old business as well? 
  • How to move organizations from siloed product-centric structures to customer-centric ones?
  • With increasing ROCE pressure from shareholders, what are the next generation of productivity improvements for product portfolios, sales channels and contact centers?
  • Is the branch obsolete in an omnichannel world? How to shift retail network focus from transactional business to a more customer advisory value creation role?
  • What CIO vision is required to support the digital ambition? What are the consequences for legacy systems? What transformational paths should be followed?
  • What is the appropriate organizational model to support the digital journey? What is the appropriate governance model to steer the digital transformation and ensure adequacy between resource allocation and business value throughput?

Telcos need to fundamentally rethink their strategic assumptions in a similar way, in order to handle the potent dynamics blurring the boundaries of their industry.

They need to address, simultaneously and in coherence, two transformational challenges: the customer centricity and the digital imperatives. Addressing one without the other will result in an incomplete organization, partially equipped to deal with the strategic imperatives brought by the digital disruption.

From where should telcos start this journey to become digital operators?

For telcos to navigate through this turbulent and stormy weather, they have to focus on the right compass…their customers! They represent their strongest competitive advantage and greatest challenge at the same time.

Telcos need to develop a healthy obsession with their customers: deeply understanding their needs, their aspirations, what interactions frustrate them most and what delights them. Only when armed with these insights can they build customer-centric propositions, delivered through consistent and omnichannel-enabled customer experience. Two dimensions should form the pinnacle of telcos’ customers centricity: customer intimacy and customer experience excellence. 

Read the full interview with Souhail here.

To find out more about Middle East Com Telco & ICT Leadership Summit, or to register, visit the website: www.comworldseries.com/me 

This academic research paper by Souhail Haddaji was originally published by TMForum and MIT on 8th June 2015

Join Start-Ups, Investors, Incubators, Entrepreneurs & Operators at the Ericsson AHUB

Calling all tech start-ups, incubators, entrepreneurs, investors, operators and developers... AfricaCom 2015 brings you its latest invitation only, grassroots, community driven feature, the Ericsson AHUB, the destination for Africa's leading tech entrepreneur, developer, venture capital, operator and vendor communities.

In partnership with Africa's leading incubators, accelerators, and innovation hubs, the Ericsson AHUB will showcase talent, facilitate partnerships and encourage investment and innovation, in a sector which has an abundance of ICT tech skills, but little industry support.

See why our partners are involved in the Ericsson AHUB

In a slick setting, alongside AfricaCom at the CTICC in Cape Town, you will:
  • Gain insights from presentations on how to be a successful tech innovator in Africa
  • Learn from incubator case studies
  • Hear panel discussions focussed on funding models and how to build a business case to gain finance
  • Understand how incubators, accelerators, venture builders and co-working areas support start-ups
As well as gaining invaluable insight into how technology innovation is being developed, funded and nurtured in Africa, you will also be able to:
  • Join pre-arranged 1-to-1 meetings with entrepreneurs and potential investors
  • Be involved with pitch to win funding
  • Mix with the African start-up and investor scene
  • Join the pre-arranged speed networking service to plug you into the tech ecosystem

The Ericsson AHUB will attract hundreds of key players from the tech start-up community. Make sure you are one of them by applying for a place at this unique get together! 

We look forward to seeing you in Cape Town!

Kind regards,

The Ericsson AHUB Team

7 Aug 2015

Time for long-term strategic thinking!

Time for long-term strategic thinking! The move to digital is shaping Africa’s economy, enabling it to become a world leader in tech and service innovation.

This year the Vision for Africa keynotes are looking at the future of digital Africa, from technology evolution to new services, investment, business transformation and sustainable strategies. In a bid to compare and contrast differing visions, industry heavyweights will swap ideas with market shakers and up-and-coming innovators.

The objective: to give you the most forward-thinking perspectives on the potential of digital Africa, so you can seize the opportunities in the world’s most exciting market. 


Christian de Faria
Airtel Africa

Luke Mckend
Country Director, SA

Elisabeth Medou
Orange Cameroun

Bright Simons

Nina Triantis
Global Head Telecoms & Media
Standard Bank

Ime Archibong
Director of Product Partnerships

Diego Camberos
General Manager
Tigo Senegal

Suraya Hamdulay
Executive Head: Group Sustainability

Day 1 - Tuesday 17th November

Innovating for Africa's Digital Future
8.50 Welcome by Informa Telecoms & Media

9.00 Innovation Leadership Panel: How to support a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in digital Africa?
  • Building an African way of promoting innovation: what best practice can be learnt from the Silicon Valley and other entrepreneur cultures and how to adapt them to local culture and needs?
  • Operators & Innovation: Is a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship possible in a large historic company? What should relations between operators and tech start-ups look like?
  • How to support the start-up ecosystem in Africa? Examining the role of incubator hub, investors and other stakeholders
Moderator: Larry Madowo, Technology Editor & Anchor, NTV Kenya
Dr Jackie Chimhanzi, Senior Strategist, Industrial Development Corporation (IDC)
Christian de Faria, CEO, Airtel Africa
Markku Mäkeläinen, Director, Global Operator Partnerships, Facebook
Marc Rennard, EVP Africa Middle East & Asia, Orange Group
Bright Simons, President, mPedigree

  9.30 What does Digital Africa mean? Technology evolution for a connected world
Fredrik Jejdling, President of Sub Saharan Africa Ericsson

9.50 Vision for Digital Africa panel: How will new technology transform Africa?
  • What new technologies will have the biggest impact on African consumers and enterprises in the years to come?
  • How will new technologies affect the telecoms, media & ICT ecosystem?
  • How can operators use technology for competitive advantage?
Moderator: Abe Wakama, Founder &MD, IT News Africa
Paolo Campoli,  Head of MEA Global SP Sales and SP CTO, EMEA, Cisco
Jose Henriques, CEO, Movicel, Angola
Luke Mckend, Country Director, South Africa, Google
Elisabeth Medou, CEO, Orange Cameroun
10.20 What will Africa’s path towards 5G look like?
Li Peng, President of Eastern and Southern Africa, Huawei
Day 2 – Wednesday 18th November

New Digital Models
9.00 From hardware to software: a shift in how operators can view their networks
Paolo Campoli,  Head of Middle East & Africa Global SP Sales and SP CTO, EMEA, Cisco

9.20 Services, data and the digital transition: How is LTE changing the digital landscape?
  • Assessing the state of LTE rollout in Africa: how have the models worked and what level of coverage is needed?
  • Solving the spectrum issue: what is available and what remains to be done for telcos to access sufficient spectrum for LTE?
  • How will LTE access change digital service offerings: data, content, broadcasting
Moderator: Alex B. Dadson, Managing Director, Blue Management Group
Tony Dolton, CEO, Unitel, Angola
Miguel Geraldes, CEO, MTC, Namibia
Jannie Van Zyl, Executive Head: Innovation, Vodacom
9.50 Future-proofing networks & services for the digital economy

Willem Hendrickx, President for Europe, Middle-East & Africa, Alcatel-Lucent
  10.10 Transforming operators’ models to succeed in the digital economy
  • The big debate: should operators focus on being providers of connectivity or of digital services?
  • Exploring new revenue streams outside core services (IoT, enterprise services, financial services etc.): what services are most promising and how can operators make the shift successfully?
  • Assessing triple play opportunities: what does it mean for African markets?
  • Evolving partnerships for the new digital economy: finding a sustainable win-win situation with content, OTT and other partners
Asif Aziz, Group Marketing Director, Expresso Telecom Group
Richard Bell,  Chief Executive Officer, East Africa Capital Partners, and Vice Chairman, Wananchi Group
Arnauld Blondet, Innovation director for AMEA,  Orange Group
Diego Camberos , General Manager, Tigo Senegal
Dr. Harry Gombachika, Chief Executive Officer, Malawi Telecommunications Limited
Farhad Khan, Chief Commercial Officer, Airtel Africa
Day 3 – Thursday 19th November

Sustaining Profitability
9.00 Ministerial Keynote: Supporting growth in the telecommunications, media and ICT industry

9.20 Investment, consolidation and profitability: Changing the continent’s telecom landscape
  • Investing in telcos: what are operators’ investment priorities and what are investors looking for?
  • Addressing the need for consolidation in African markets: which markets, how to make it work?
  • Funding ICT infrastructure: what are the pros and cons of the various investment models?
Moderator: Siki Mgabadeli, Radio & TV Financial Journalist
Mike Peo, Head: Infrastructure, Energy, Telecoms, Nedbank Limited
Christophe Soulet, Executive Operations Director, Airtel Africa
Aniko Szigetvari, Head, Africa & Latin America TMT Group, International Finance Corporation
Nina Triantis, Global Head Telecoms & Media, Standard Bank
Keith Webb, Investment Banking Infrastructure Finance, Rand Merchant Bank

9.50 Communications with a difference: services for sustainable growth in the community
Speaker to be announced soon
  10.10 Targeting underserved communities: strategies to deliver digital communications across Africa
  • Examining which segments are still underserved: geographic segments (e.g. rural areas), customer segments (e.g. women)
  • Is there a commercial case to address low-end market & underserved customers with specific services?
  • How to build CSR strategies with a view to sustainable commercial objective?
  • What handsets and devices will help target new segments?
Moderator: Spiwe Chireka, Independent Telecommunications, Media and Technology (TMT) Consultant
Ime Archibong, Director of Product Partnerships, Facebook
Patrick Benon, CEO, Orange Botswana
John Bernard, Global Marketing Director, Mozilla
Aboubakar Haman, Legal & Regulatory Director Atlantique Telecom
Suraya Hamdulay, Executive Head: Group Sustainability, Vodacom