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Keynotes

An honest, plain-speaking panel discussion was the perfect opening to the second day of AfricaCom. Panellists from MTN, Orange, Intel, Google, Facebook and Mozilla discussed the increasing opportunities for digital services in Africa.

Operator billing was a key focus. Surely win-win – but what is holding it up? Putting the customer at the heart of the strategy – if there is not an easy way to pay, the digital ecosystem will fail. The panel agreed on the need to pull together to encourage the development and distribution of content and services with a local flavour.

  • LTE
  • The LTE stream was opened by Irene Charnley, group CEO of Smile. She presented her experience as the first operator to launch 4G services in Africa. She emphasised Smile’s strategy of highlighting the customer experience and making it the main focus of all aspects of the business. Smile’s subscribers benefit from the high speed delivery of innovative content over LTE networks, and a transparent system to prevent bill shock following data usage.

    Panel speakers identified key challenges preventing the mass take-up of LTE in Africa – device availability, spectrum allocation, Volte not yet available.

  • Cloud
  • The Open Data Centre Alliance evening reception kick-started two days of content on Cloud and Big Data, in a musical evening with great networking. The jam-packed morning sessions of Cloud @ AfricaCom featured some of Africa’s leading telcos including Telkom, Vodacom, and Safaricom together with Amazon Web Services discussing the future of telco Cloud in the region.

  • CEM
  • Customer Experience Management stream focused on interaction, new means of creating proximity and communicating with the customer through email, chat, voice, video calls, social media etc. Ways of converting issues into opportunities to provide excellent services were discussed also with intelligence provided on what can be done in CEM to turn it into a distinguishing quality and value adding characteristic for the telco.

  • Mobile Money
  • Mobile Money at AfricaCom got off to a philosophical start focusing on what exactly mobile money is and should be, offering a tentative conclusion that “Mobile money is emotional – it should be quick and easy, turning each individual into an agent, into an ATM”. The debate also covered interoperability and customer service, as well as regulation and cross-border transactions.

  • AfricApps
  • AfricApps delivered a major developer workshop looking at the future of the Cloud and Google’s role in this. Led by Daniel Acton, technical account manager at Google, this looked in detail at the potential opportunities presented by the Android Platform for sub-Saharan mobile app developers.

  • AfricaCast
  • Africa’s major broadcast conference reached its peak today with major highlights including a presentation from the CEO of the SABC, Lulama Mokhobo. Contributing presentations included two major presentations from Google; firstly from Brett StClair, discussing the role of YouTube in Africa, secondly from Arno Hart, project manager at TENET discussing the future of the Google white spaces trial in Africa.

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