By Staff Writer
Africa is enormous, not just by landmass but in the potential it represents to all industries and technology is at the centre of opportunities the continent can offer.
For now, Africa is heavily dependent on mobile networks to deliver the connectivity that its hundreds of millions of citizens and companies need.
But having vast broadband network has the potential to improve banking, education, healthcare, and quality of lives, plus attract investors, resulting in poverty reduction.
By some estimates, a 10-percentage point increase in broadband penetration in low- and middle-income countries can result in a 1.38% increase in economic growth.
But the African continent still lags in broadband penetration.
Huawei is seeing opportunities that the continent of Africa represents and is keen to partner with African governments, operators and private companies to advance economic and social development on the continent through enhancing mobile broadband.
Speaking at the GSMA Mobile 360 Africa which started in Dar es Salaam today, Dr. Mohamed Madkour, Huawei’s VP of wireless networks marketing & head of Global Demand Generation, outlined Huawei’s plans.
He said Huawei is committed to creating value for communities by collaborating with operators to support them maximize network assets and deploy wireless broadband to the home to enhance Mobile Broadband (MBB) penetration.
Extending MBB coverage across African countries will help to alleviate poverty, improve healthcare and education, and expand financial inclusion.
The GSMA predicts that over the next five years there will be 720 million smartphones in use and up to 60% MBB connections in African markets. The enhanced connectivity will result in an increase in national competitiveness, innovation capacity and overall productivity.
The main challenges the industry faces in expanding coverage in both rural and urban areas include high CAPEX, difficulties in site acquisition, high infrastructure cost and long return on Investment.
To seize the growth opportunities in Africa, Huawei’s approach is to support operators through optimizing total cost of operations, shortening ROI and enhancing site efficiency.
“Beside optimum network solution for different deployment scenarios in Africa, we identified three business and industry alliances,” Dr. Madkour said. “Number one, content aggregation, for example, video cloud, game cloud and music cloud. Number two, site ecosystem alliance. Number three, fiber to the home alliance.”
Rapid deployment of home broadband and indoor digital business will improve coverage and the user experience by utilizing operators’ mobility resources like 4G, 4.5G and the coming 5G.
“We are very optimistic in terms of opportunities in Africa despite all of the challenges that have been mentioned. So telcos just need to take actions and deploy the right business solutions in order to capture those opportunities,” Mohamed said.