A view of the African telecommunications market - moving towards solutions

Jim Machi : Industry Insight
Jim Machi

A view of the African telecommunications market - moving towards solutions

(This blog is the 3rd in a 3 part series.)

According to Wireless Intelligence Q3 2012 data, Africa is the world’s fastest growing region for mobile, as 3G passes the 10% mark for all wireless subscriptions on the continent.  And there is a huge upside as Wireless Intelligence also reports that African mobile penetration is just 33%, so the upside is tremendous.  There are even LTE rollouts in some countries.  This is important since as seen in other parts of the world, 3G or better is a tipping-point since this represents mobile on-ramp technology due to the speed of the 3G connection.  Therefore, it is expected that internet subscriptions and internet access speeds will increase.  And as I said before, with that comes video usage.

But voice is still a money-maker and on the wholesale voice side, Africa is also surging, expecting a 17% CAGR through 2016 according to Ovum Research.  The minutes would also surpass North America by 2016, so this represents a significant amount of minutes.  These minutes show that subscribers have both the economic means and reasons to place originating calls, which is a great sign for the region.  One implication of the fiber coming into the continent is that the TDM voice minutes will start to shift to VoIP as has happened in other parts of the world.

We are also starting to see value-added services being deployed more frequently in Africa.  Some operators in Asia report that value-added services represent up to 20% of their total revenues, so adding value-added services is an important ARPU strategy.  A quick glance at the Dialogic Solution Showcase shows the likes of Kirusa, Crealog, Apliman, Centile, Pharos, Molo and Seamless, among others, with deployed value-added services in Africa, ranging from mobile payment, messaging and mobile  PBX.  This brings “value” to the mobile subscribers of some sort, which in turn increases revenue to the mobile operators.

In short, the African telecommunications market continues to move forward in promising ways.  Even though there are aspects of the market in general that lag other parts of the world, the market is bright.  I look forward to continuing to work with our African partners and customers to insure Dialogic plays a key role.

And exactly how will Dialogic play a key role?  Dialogic has field-proven solutions that can help the market continue its transition forward as outlined above.

- Capacity Maximization:  The Award-winning Dialogic® I-Gate™ Session Bandwidth Optimization products maximize voice and VoIP capacity on both core, edge and backhaul networks.  These have been deployed in multiple countries in Africa.  One example outlined in this press release is by Airtel regarding portions of their network in Africa.

- Wholesale voice:  Whether on a TDM or VoIP network, or somewhere in-between, Dialogic has been on the forefront of supporting the interconnect carriers.  Our softswitches support IPX (the GSMA VoIP interconnect standard) as this market transtions to VoIP and our BorderNet™ Session Border Controllers will protect your IP network and allow access to clouds or enterprises.  For more information, please read the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Session Border Controllers (Dialogic is a Visionary) and the Miercom performance report.

- Value-added Services:  As the market moves to software and IP based solutions, and as VAS solutions transition as they support faster connections from 3G, our PowerMedia™ software media server includes all that you need to insure your solutions is seamless from one network to another.  Support for all the key voice services have been rolled out on the African continent and as video and HD Voice support become important, you’ll be glad to know we already support that.  Please read the Tolly performance report for more information on the incredible scalability that we’ve been able to achieve in a software based media server.  Additionally, our DSI signaling software (Sigtran and Diameter) will insure your mobile connectivity is seamless, and rock-solid, as you transition to VoIP and even LTE.

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