Light Reading

Africa's Wireless Gold Rush

Ray Le Maistre
LR Mobile News Analysis
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief

The annual AfricaCom trade show opened its doors in Cape Town, South Africa, Tuesday morning, accompanied by a slew of news announcements (mostly regarding wireless deployments) from the likes of Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), Alvarion Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq: ALVR), Bluwan S.A. , Ceragon Networks Ltd. (Nasdaq: CRNT) and many more.

It's no surprise to find multiple network expansion investments, given the rate of mobile growth in the region: According to a new report issued by the GSM Association (GSMA) , sub-Saharan Africa is "the fastest-growing mobile market in the world," with an average annual growth rate of 44 percent since 2000. The region now has 475 million mobile connections, compared with 12.3 million fixed lines.

As a result of that growth, network operators are investing in their access, backhaul and transport infrastructure. Here's a snapshot of what's going on:

  • Togo Cellulaire is expanding its 2G, 3G and backhaul capacity with base station, microwave and router equipment from Alcatel-Lucent. The vendor is also supplying its 100Gbit/s optical gear to a consortium of Angolan network operators that is building a long-distance data transport link to the West African Cable System (WACS).

  • Somaliland service provider Somcable is to provide high-speed broadband access services to customers in The Horn of Africa region using Bluwan's Fibre Through The Air (FTTA) system in a deal valued by the vendor at more than US$3 million. The Bluwan gear will be deployed by systems integration partner Globecomm Systems Inc. The deployment is part of a network revamp by Somcable, which has also deployed Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) routers and replaced legacy Alcatel-Lucent transport equipment with packet-optical gear from Optelian . (See Globecomm, Bluwan Team for Wireless Broadband.)

  • Mozambique Cellular (mcel) is expanding its backhaul network with microwave equipment from Ceragon in a deal valued at $6.5 million.

  • Alvarion has unveiled a new wireless access product, the BreezeCOMPACT High Power unit, designed to provide mobile data coverage inside buildings. The product supports Long Term Evolution Time Division Duplex (LTE TDD) as well as mobile WiMax (802.16e). Alvarion also announced it has been chosen by BusyInternet, an ISP in Ghana, to supply its 4Motion mobile WiMax radio access equipment for a network rollout in Accra. In addition, Zimbabwean operator uMAX has completed the rollout of a mobile WiMax network in Harare using the vendor's base station gear.

  • Mobile small-cells specialist PureWave Networks Inc. has won a contract to provide mobile WiMax base stations to Unique Solutions in Gambia.
  • Guineanet, an ISP in Equatorial Guinea, has expanded its mobile data network using dual-mode base station technology (supporting WiMax and LTE) from Airspan Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: AIRN).

    — Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

    (0)  | 
    Comment  | 
    Print  | 
  • Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
    Educational Resources
    sponsor supplied content
    Educational Resources Archive
    From The Founder
    The comms industry is rallying to the cause of open, independent interoperability testing.
    Flash Poll
    Live Streaming Video
    CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
    Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
    LRTV Interviews
    BT Updates on Plans

    10|2|15   |   03:16   |   (2) comments

    Peter Bell, CIO at Openreach, the access network division at UK incumbent BT, provides an update on the operator's trials and how Openreach is planning to deploy the broadband technology in its street cabinets.
    Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
    Sonus Shakes Up SD-WAN

    10|2|15   |   7:22   |   (0) comments

    Sonus CTO Kevin Riley sat down with Light Reading to discuss the trajectory of the company, its SDN ambitions and why Sonus is taking a market-disruptive approve to SD-WAN.
    LRTV Interviews
    CityFibre's Gigabit Vision

    10|1|15   |   03:18   |   (1) comment

    Mark Collins, director of Strategy & Public Affairs at competitive UK city network operator CityFibre, talks about his company's plans to help build Gigabit Cities.
    Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
    Automate, Scale & Create With Juniper's vCPE Solution

    10|1|15   |   6:34   |   (0) comments

    Join Kireeti Kompella, Juniper Networks CTO, and Steve Saunders, Light Reading Founder and CEO, as they discuss Juniper Networks' approach to NFV showcased with a turnkey vCPE solution, which demonstrates how service providers can use automation to rapidly deploy services.
    LRTV Interviews
    Gigabit Europe: Day 1 Takeaways

    9|29|15   |   05:47   |   (5) comments

    Light Reading's Ray Le Maistre and Iain Morris sup a beer and discuss some of the key takeaways from the first day of Gigabit Europe 2015.
    LRTV Interviews
    Gigabit in Europe

    9|29|15   |   04:24   |   (0) comments

    At the Gigabit Europe 2015 event in Munich, Heavy Reading's Graham Finnie talks about the availability of gigabit broadband in Europe.
    Women in Comms Introduction Videos
    AT&T's Band of Women

    9|28|15   |   4:36   |   (0) comments

    Brooks McCorcle, the president of AT&T's partner solutions divisions and a mathematician by trade, shares stats on AT&T's diversity and advice on how to create your own band of women at work.
    Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
    Metaswitch's New CEO Martin Lund Discusses His Role

    9|25|15   |   11:36   |   (0) comments

    Technology industry veteran Martin Lund joins Metaswitch Networks this week as the company's new CEO. In this interview, Lund discusses his new role and the industry's progress with Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders. Lund believes that the industry disruption caused by SDN and NFV is creating opportunities for companies like Metaswitch – network software providers ...
    It's All About That App

    9|23|15   |   02:15   |   (2) comments

    The long-range goal of service providers is to deliver app-specific network performance and that is showing up in technical developments today.
    Women in Comms Introduction Videos
    Verizon's Healthy Approach to WiC

    9|22|15   |   2:30   |   (2) comments

    If you think there are too few women in comms, you should see the healthcare industry. Nancy Green, Verizon's healthcare global lead, shares ideas on what we can do about it.
    LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
    UBBF 2015 Highlights

    9|22|15   |     |   (0) comments

    Drilling down deeper into the transformation process will provide network operators with a practical look at building new businesses around a digital virtualized network architecture, and lay out some of the transition steps required, particularly in the struggle to enable more dynamic and focused enterprise network services.
    Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
    ActiveVideo's Cloud Virtualization Technology

    9|22|15   |   7:23   |   (0) comments

    ActiveVideo's CMO, Murali Nemani, discusses how virtualized CPE functions can deliver applications from the cloud to various devices at home.
    Upcoming Live Events
    October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
    November 5, 2015, Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
    November 17, 2015, Santa Clara, California
    December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
    December 2, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
    All Upcoming Live Events
    Communication service providers realize that an ICT transformation is critical to their long-term survival, but most haven't yet committed to making it happen.
    Hot Topics
    Are Sports Next for Netflix?
    Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 9/28/2015
    Google Gives Huawei a US Device Boost
    Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 9/29/2015
    Following the Bouncing Capex Ball
    Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 9/29/2015
    Verizon's Go90 Is Live – Will Anyone Watch?
    Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 10/1/2015
    Good News for NFV Interoperability
    Steve Saunders, CEO and founder, Light Reading, 9/29/2015
    Like Us on Facebook
    Twitter Feed
    Webinar Archive
    BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
    With so many new and exciting communications technologies now under development, it's easy to get caught up in the industry's escalating hype cycle. That's why the ...
    Last week saw a big day in the 15-year history of Light Reading when Editor-in-Chief Ray Le Maistre and I were invited to interview the Deputy Chairman and Rotating ...
    Cats with Phones
    Hold My Calls, Indefinitely Click Here