In The Spotlight
The West Africa Cable System (WACS), a submarine fiber-optic line that carries data between the UK and the west coast of Africa, tore about 24 miles from Britain in roughly the same spot that the cable broke in January due to heavy-rains over the Congo river resulting in a short circuit. South Africans are now confronting slow and unreliable Internet. The timing could not be worse as the country enters a lockdown period of 21 days to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Over the years, Africa has made great strides in enhancing its telecommunications infrastructure, whether through successful landings of submarine cables or through the satellites industry that has seen enormous growth in the past couple of years. Several African countries have successfully launched satellites into orbit, which reflects the upward trend that this industry is taking in the second largest continent in the world.
The world has long waited for 2020 to see the new network generation 5G finally commercially deployed globally. However, best-laid plans of mice and men often go astray.
The Somali operator, Hormuud Telecom was established in 2002, in Mogadishu, Somalia. The company started with 250 shareholders, ten customer service centers, and a few thousand customers. At that time, the company only offered voice and SMS services. Seventeen years later, Hormuud Telecom has attracted well over 4 million subscribers, 12,000 shareholders, and over 800 customer service centers in both urban and rural Somalia. Today, its mobile networks cover more than 80% of the land area in South and Central Somalia and it offers a diversified portfolio that answers corporate, personal, and business needs.
Working towards implementing digital transformation in all Arab countries, the AICTO has prepared a thorough agenda on top of which are strategies aiming to promote innovation in the region. Telecom Review spoke to Eng. Mohamed Ben Amor, Secretary-General of the Arab ICT Organization (AICTO), who further explained the role of the AICTO in achieving digital economy, detailed the technology trends that have a great impact on the region such as IoT, AI/data analysis and 5G and whether Arab countries are ready to adopt 5G.
The Telecommunications Standardization Bureau (TSB) of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) works on developing international telecom standards. It currently includes 11 study groups which are dedicated to developing standards which range from fiber optics, all the way to the application layer. Some of their study groups are technical in nature, while others are more regulatory in nature such as managing telephone numbers internationally, managing the secure use of IoT-powered devices on 5G networks, managing economic and policy issues, tariffs, international roaming and internet connectivity charges.
CommScope is a global leader in providing wired and wireless solutions and innovations to the telecommunications industry. CommScope and the recently acquired ARRIS and Ruckus Networks are shaping the communications networks of the future. The combined company will provide greater technology and solutions with broader access to new and growing markets. During GITEX Technology Week, Telecom Review managed to secure an exclusive interview with Femi Oshiga, vice president of service providers in the Middle East & Africa.