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Fixed broadband reaches 1bn

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The markets and technologies which will drive continued rapid broadband growth over the next decade have today been revealed by Broadband Forum and Point Topic in a new report which predicts there will be 1.2 billion fixed broadband subscribers by 2025.

Following the announcement last October that there are now one billion global fixed broadband subscribers, this report is Point Topic’s first worldwide broadband subscribers forecast providing the details behind that milestone, addressing the period between Q3 2018 and Q4 2025.

According to the research, the current trends of booming deep-fibre deployment and accelerating broadband penetration in developing markets will be the engine of broadband growth through 2025. The forecast states that some variant of fibre –Fibre-To-The-Home (FTTH), Fibre-To-The-Premises (FTTP) or Fibre-To-The-Building (FTTB) – will be used by 59% of fixed broadband subscribers globally by 2025. The report also examines the impact of superfast 5G, predicting that fixed mobile convergence will mean that the next one billion subscribers could blend wireless and fixed subscriptions.

“With 5G on the horizon and new Internet of Things devices and Over the Top services increasingly becoming a part of subscribers’ everyday lives, this new analysis looks at how the fixed broadband market and the technologies within it are evolving to meet this demand,” said Oliver Johnson, CEO at Point Topic. “As we look towards the next billion broadband subscriptions, fixed lines will continue to play a significant role. We expect to see more convergence between fixed and mobile lines as consumers look for a seamless, high-quality connectivity experience that is available anywhere, anytime.”

Overall, 89% of the predicted 1.2 billion subscribers in 2025 will come from the current top 30 broadband markets, defined in Point Topic’s Q2 2018 report. Fixed broadband adoption in these top 30 markets is expected to grow by 22% between 2018 and 2025, with developing economies in countries such as Indonesia, Thailand and Mexico likely to see the highest growth in this period. Global adoption, including the rest of the world, is forecast to grow by 24%.

Between 2018 and 2025, fiber-based connections (FTTH/P/B) are expected to grow by 51% and FTTC/VDSL by 28%. In the same period, ADSL-based connections are forecast to drop by 39%.  At the same time it is expected that pricing dependent growth in the satellite market and alternative offerings like TV White Space will extend the global broadband footprint.

Whereas broadband-capable device proliferation and connectivity, catalysed by key enablers such as Broadband Forum’s TR-069 protocol, paved the way to surpassing one billion deployments worldwide last October, emerging drivers such as 5G, meshed Wi-Fi, and new advanced services will be key to continued growth. Broadband Forum is well ahead of this curve, already preparing operators’ networks for the next billion connections. Ongoing projects include work with 3GPP to develop a converged 5G networkBroadband Quality Experience Delivered (Broadband QED) initiative, and User ServicesPlatform (USP) which enables operators to manage connected home devices.

Additionally, Broadband Forum has published new standards for the modularization of the Dynamic Bandwidth Assignment (DBA) function in optical access systems and the industry’s first Wi-Fi performance test standard. Its equipment conformance and interoperability certification testing is also ongoing, with this work being critical as networks scale toaccommodate more than a billion subscribers.

“Following the significant achievement of one billion broadband subscribers worldwide, the global broadband market is continuing to evolve and find new ways to grow in both scale and quality,” said Geoff Burke, CMO of Broadband Forum. “As 5G enters the picture, the fixed network will not only provide the backbone for the 5G services, but new services created from wireless-wireline convergence will also continue to drive fixed broadband proliferation and adoption.Broadband Forum is on the forefront of this transformation, championing the initiatives that will continue to improve the broadband experiences of the future.”

For more information about Broadband Forum’s work, visit: https://www.broadband-forum.org/

To see the full Point Topic Report, please see: http://point-topic.com/free-analysis/broadband-next-billion/.

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AppDate: uKheshe bring banking to the masses

In his apps roundup, SEAN BACHER highlights uKheshe, FNB’s banking app with its will feature, Split Payments, Momentum Safety Alert and Fleetonomy.

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uKheshe micro transaction platform

Financial inclusion took another step forward as local start-up, uKheshe, South Africa’s cheapest and most convenient QR cash card and micro transaction platform, won the 2019 Global Fintech Hackcelerator @ Southern Africa competition. 

“The issue of financial inclusion is a global one and the more we can do to uplift the unbanked and under banked, the healthier their respective economies will become,” says Clayton Hayward, co-founder, uKheshe.

While 1.2 billion people have opened a financial account since 2011, there is still an estimated 1.7 billion adults worldwide (or 31% of adults) who don’t have a basic transaction account.  Globally, two-thirds of adults without an account cite a lack of money as a key reason, which implies that financial services aren’t yet affordable or designed to fit low-income users.

To find out more about uKheshe click here

FNB’s banking app with will feature

First National Bank now lets its customers draw up their own wills via the FNB Online Banking platform at no cost. To date, the bank has seen a significant increase in the number of clients who drafted their own wills online, with over 52 000 clients already accessing the functionality.

Approximately 80% of South Africans don’t have a valid will in place; and many people believe that it’s a need only when they get older, or later in life. 

“Whilst the digital process is simple and easy to use, the solution also helps with a dedicated client support centre should clients need further assistance or advice regarding the drafting of their wills,” says Johan Strydom, Growth Head, FNB Wealth and Investments. “The solution aims to simplify the process and allows customers to easily draft a will online anytime and at any place, at no cost. In addition, FNB will keep your original will in safe custody at no extra cost.”

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Available the FNB app which can be be downloaded here.

Split Payments

PayFast has launched Split Payments, a South African-first that instantly splits a portion of an online payment with a third party. The service is designed to facilitate fast, safe payments for platform-based businesses, including online marketplaces.

For those who run a marketplace that brings together multiple sellers or merchants looking for new sales channels, Split Payments addresses payment headaches with a simple API integration.

Consumers are used to engaging with large global transactional platforms such as AirBnB, Uber, and Amazon. The benefits and extended reach of these types of platforms are catching on locally, and organisations like estate agency groups and even community marketplaces are setting up digital trading platforms.

The app allows businesses to instantly split out commission, membership or listing fees, when a payment is made via one of its supported payment methods.

For each online payment received  the business can determine what the split is, either a fixed amount, a percentage, or a combination of both. Custom recurring payment integration, such as subscriptions payments, can also be split automatically.

Platform: iOS and Android

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Download Split Payments here

Read more about Momentum’s new Safety Alert app and Fleetonomy.

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Why 4G is still a thing

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Even with the 5G era already upon us, investment in 4G/LTE networks is still vitally important for operators in sub-Saharan Africa and must remain a core focus of network construction for the immediate future. This is according to David Chen, Vice-President, Huawei Southern Africa. 

“Currently, the mobile broadband penetration rate in Africa is only 47%, while 4G penetration rate is merely 10%,” Chen said.

“Insufficient coverage causes LTE users to fall back to the 2G or 3G networks, resulting in significant decline in user experience. It also leads to congestion on the 2G and 3G networks and makes it difficult to release spectrum used by 2G and 3G.”

Chen said that LTE and 5G complement each other and are evolving in parallel. In the next few years, 5G will mainly be used in more industrial communications.

LTE will remain the primary choice for global mobile communications through 2025. It will form the basic layer of national networks, especially when it comes to the mobile broadband access.

“It will take a long time for 5G to provide nationwide continuous coverage. Before that, enhanced LTE networks can guarantee optimal user experience for 5G users, including services such as VR, AR, and cloud gaming,” said Chen.

He said that it is important for operators to invest in 4G to secure future growth, as it is estimated that there will be an additional 80 million LTE users in sub-Saharan Africa by 2025.

Driven by this growth, LTE traffic in sub-Saharan Africa will increase by a factor of 8.8. By 2025, about 80% of all data traffic in the region will be over an LTE network.

LTE will also be the main source of future revenue for operators.

“According to GSMA Intelligence, 2G and 3G users in sub-Saharan Africa will gradually migrate to 4G,” said Chen. “By 2025, the proportion of 2G users will drop from 46% to 12%.”

Part of the reason for the migration to 4G is because the ecosystem is mature.

“The price of feature phones supporting VoLTE in the sub-Saharan Africa market has been as low as $25,” Chen said.

Since 5G equipment is already available, there is an opportunity for operators to build out their 4G networks while ensuring that they can evolve to 5G in future.

Chen offered the following tips to operators to ensure they are ready for 5G:

  • All future equipment installations should be 5G ready, allowing easy upgrades to 5G through software updates.
  • Software should support multi-standard spectrum sharing to improve spectrum efficiency, and to allow the smooth migration of 2G and 3G users.
  • Networks must support 4G and 5G coordination, in terms of spectrum, operation and maintenance. This will ensure that users have a consistent experience as we enter the 5G era.
  • The value of existing ICT infrastructure, such as base station sites, must be maximised to avoid overlapping services and wasted resources. This would mean boosting the capacity and coverage of every station for optimum efficiency.
  • Carriers should explore the business case for all possible 5G innovations when building 4G networks, and not just embrace 5G for its own sake. This will mean building business models around IoT, video, live broadcast, augmented reality, and virtual reality.
  • It is important that operators build partnerships with providers that can support the ongoing spectrum evolution with fast site upgrades and large-capacity solutions. The idea is to maximise the value of 4G networks, and smoothly evolve to 5G without unnecessary infrastructure investment.

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