ICT Policy



City Profiles

On MXit, 4G, Ethiopian bloggers, rural Uganda, Sudan

November 12, 2011  »  Broadband & MobileNo Comment

MXit’s new CEO, Alan Knott-Craig

  • The average user spends 45 hours each month using the service, yet MXit is still working on improving their platform. To reach a slightly older demographic and to increase UX, the company plans to release an app for smart devices in April 2012. Additionally, the company will focus on African markets. Knott-Craig even goes as far to say that Africa has more mobile innovators than America, but lacks media exposure.

Many individuals have multiple mobile subscriptions

  • TechZim reminds us be careful when analyzing mobile penetration statistics. Mobile owners with dual, triple, or quad SIM cards skew mobile penetration data that is based purely on number of subscriptions divided by total population.

Does Africa have 4G?

  • The widely-circulated article on African 4G for 2012 is based on a quote from the head of Ericsson, SSA stating that Africa currently lacks 4G service. However, YooMee, launched this year in Cameroon, claims 4G service. The discrepancy? YooMee appears to use WiMAX, but Ericsson is referring to LTE networks. Wikipedia has a decent explanation of the 3G/4G nuances.

Ethiopian Blogosphere

  • Thanks to efforts to encourage online discussion, the number of Ethiopian bloggers has grown substantially in the past few months. Still, the authors of an effort to catalog the Ethiopian bloggers claim fewer than 100 bloggers located in Ethiopia who are blogging in English.

Challenges in rural Uganda

  • 87% of Ugandans live in rural communities. In many rural villages, nearly everyone has a mobile phone. However, most residents don’t know a thing about the Internet. Although 1% of telcoms’ gross profits head to efforts to increase global access, vandalism still plagues rural infrastructure development. Airtel, for one, claims the cost of running a generator is 10x higher than a year ago. Higher operating costs translate to higher call tariffs.

Smartphones in Sudan

  • Mobile use is on the rise in Sudan, although rural areas are still a few years behind in terms of adoption. Perhaps the statistics cited in this article should be taken with a grain of salt (see TechZim post above), but the voice of this article is superbly positive. No longer do people need to visit an Internet cafe to use the Web.

Calculating actual broadband speeds

  • Playing with numbers to find why a South African download from a South African server can reach 26Mbit/s but a download from USA will only reach 1.7 Mbit/s. TCP window size and latency both contribute to throughput (capacity per packet). Maximum throughput can be increased by using a download manager (easy) or by increasing the TCP window size (a bit tricky).

And, in honor of its 20th anniversary, the first ping to Sub-Saharan Africa:

rain:/home/randy> ping is alive
rain:/home/randy> date
Tue Nov 12 00:44:47 PST 1991

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