Mobile broadband data is king to telcos

The amount of data generated by business technology systems, digital cameras and mobile phones has grown over the past several years.

The growing trend towards mobile data and mobile broadband in Africa is being pushed by consumers who are constantly snapping photos, accessing the Internet, and sending email on their smartphones. On the other side enterprises are giving the broadband platform a pull as they seek business analysis information from the market .

Participants at the ongoing Capacity Africa 2011 conference at Nairobi's Intercontinental hotel had mixed reactions as to the capacity of African telecom operators to handle the data growth on their networks.

"Mobile value added services will be costly in Africa especially because inland distribution of fiber optic cables is still a challenge", says Vitalis Olunga, CEO Vital Networks and the chair of GSM Africa.

Ravindran Mahalingam, Hutchinson Global Communication's General Manager for Europe Middle East and Africa, says global mobile connectivity depends on competitive Internet prices and affordable infrastructure back haul. He says Africa is not ready compared to India, "Companies are wasting resources trying to shift from mobile voice to mobile data."

Telcos are fast to profit by moving, storing, analyzing and virtualising data especially with the growth of data per device. Longer battery life on emerging devices will extend the amount of time spent streaming and viewing a video from the broadband networks.

To telcos, mobile data is king; though Frederic Salmon, the Regional VP Africa, Belgacom ICS says the success and failure in the future telecom landscape will be determined not by what you deliver to customers but how you deliver it.

"Safaricom are set for 4G network, the company will ensure that device evolution is in sync with the network evolution", says Evans Nyaga, Head of Enterprise Business, Safaricom Ltd.

Capacity Africa 2011 conference enters its second and last day today (21st Sept 2011) with discussions on the evolution of content and data in Africa. A close look at revenue opportunities presented by the growing uptake of data services.

Read more about networking in Computerworld's Networking Topic Center.

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Peter Nalika

Computerworld (US)
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