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MTN goes LTE in Uganda

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MTN Uganda plans to deploy Long Term Evolution (LTE) network in Uganda during the coming months, which will make it the first to offer this technology in East Africa.

Popularly known as 4G, LTE is a ‚’standard for wireless communication of high-speed data for mobile phones and data terminals’. A 4G system provides mobile ultra-broadband internet access.

MTN Uganda has announced the network infrastructure upgrade plan to provide its customers with world-class data access and speed of up to 100Mbps. With the upgraded data speed, an MTN data customer will enjoy faster access to the Internet and superior quality live streaming and video chatting, to mention a few benefits.

As good news to the largest mobile subscriber base in Uganda, MTN will over the next few months rollout the 4G network leading the way by introducing the latest technologies to Ugandans.

Over the last two years, MTN Uganda has made major investments in the Uganda. MTN Uganda launched the first mobile money service in Uganda with tremendous success, introduced 3G+, expanded its distribution foot print, and greatly enhanced the core, radio capacity and infrastructure technology. Furthermore, it extended its fibre network by laying optical fibre and built regional switching centres in the North, East, West and Central regions.

In 2013 alone, MTN Uganda plans to invest USD 70 million added to another USD 80 million spent in 2012. This investment has been mainly in expanding the network infrastructure to support the mobile subscriber growth as well as rollout new innovative products and digital solutions.

‚”MTN remains committed to the development of the ICT sector and the Ugandan economy. LTE becomes the new standard determining the level of technology development and offering substantially faster data speed than other technologies‚” says Mazen Mrou√©, MTN Uganda Chief Executive Officer.

The rise of MTN 3G+ has given more than one million Ugandans internet access for the first time with widest network coverage, wide range of devices and affordable tariffs.

The World Bank estimates that in Africa a 10 percent rise in broadband penetration is linked to a 1.3 percent increase in economic growth.

In terms of network infrastructure, MTN Uganda has deployed close to 2,800km of fibre backbones achieved with multiple layers and rings to protect customer experience across all national regions and provide dedicated business solutions to SMEs and Corporate Enterprises.

MTN Uganda has over the last 6 months rolled out 81 new Base Transmission Sites to new coverage areas while commissioning another batch of capacity sites to enhance the quality of network services. MTN has a total of 1 100 sites at the end of 2012.

‚”The continuous CAPEX investment by MTN is aimed at providing our customers with the best possible user experience across the country. We would like to ensure consistently reliable network quality for all existing customers and also to enable many more new subscribers to enjoy the Mobile Technology,‚” Says Rami Farah, MTN Uganda Chief Technical Officer.

Over the past couple of years MTN has also made backhaul links expansion and enhancements to the Mombasa submarine cables (EASSY and TEAMS). This has enabled connectivity with the rest of the world while providing better connectivity and high level redundancy for voice and data services.

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Africa gets broadband boost

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ITU and Nexpedience, a supplier of proprietary point-to-multipoint broadband infrastructure, are partnering to bring broadband access to Africa.

Under the terms of the deal, Nexpedience will provide 180 new Expedience base stations worth USD 1 million, to be deployed in six nations across the continent. The first nation to benefit from the new infrastructure is Burundi, with deployments also planned for Djibouti, Burkina Faso, Mali, Rwanda and Swaziland.

Designed to withstand extreme meteorological conditions and capable of providing up to 32 kilometres of sector coverage, Nexpedience’s base stations have been specifically designed for rural deployment.

ITU’s Wireless Broadband Network in Africa project aims to develop and implement wireless broadband connectivity and applications that will provide free or low-cost digital access for schools, hospitals, and under-served populations in rural and remote areas Africa-wide.

At the signing of the agreement in Geneva, Brahima Sanou, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT) emphasized the need to make developing countries part of the global broadband revolution: ‚”This partnership represents another important element in ITU’s efforts to bring broadband technology to the world even in the poorest nations. I am confident that this new partnership will accelerate broadband uptake right across the African continent, bringing the power of high-speed connectivity to users everywhere, from big cities to small villages.‚”

Kiriako Vergos, CEO of Nexpedience said: ‚”Giving access to broadband technology to underserved populations in Africa is of great importance to us. There are enormous benefits to be derived from a ‚’broadband-seed’ deployment strategy, and we decided to partner with ITU because we know that the organization has the team in place to get it done.‚”

ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun Tour√© said the new agreement is a ‚”major step forward in getting Africa connected‚”. Dr Tour√© led the establishment of the Broadband Commission for Digital Development in 2010, which has the aim of putting broadband at the heart of the global development agenda.

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Nokia backs tech hubs for developing world

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Nokia, AppCampus and infoDev are collaborating with mobile innovation hubs across Africa, Asia and Latin America to act as scouts for local talent.

Nokia, AppCampus and infoDev, a global innovation program of the World Bank, have announced a collaboration with mobile innovation hubs across Africa, Asia and Latin America – a move that will empower these hubs to act as scouts and agents for local talent, fast-tracking their access to AppCampus funding.

AppCampus was established in 2012 as a mobile application accelerator program managed by Aalto University in Finland. With an 18 million euro joint investment between Microsoft and Nokia, the aim is to foster mobile application development on Windows Phone and any other Nokia platform.

The announcement earmarks part of that investment fund for twenty six awards per annum for the best mobile innovation ideas to be made via the mobile innovation hub network, starting with infoDev’s mobile application labs in South Africa, Kenya, Armenia and Vietnam, as well as mobile application laboratories in Egypt (TIEC), Nigeria (CC Hub) and Mexico. The value of each award ranges from 20,000 Euro (US$ 26,000) to 70,000 Euro (US$ 90,000) depending on the complexity of the solution or business model behind the idea.

‚”By working jointly with the mobile innovation hubs, we are able to connect more effectively with local developers in emerging markets and provide support in terms of funding, especially for locally relevant innovations,‚” says Pekka Sivonen, Head of AppCampus. ‚”Although the criteria to access the AppCampus funding remains the same, with ideas needing to be original, competitive and scalable, the advantage is faster processing and the mentorship provided by these innovation hubs.‚”

The hubs and mLabs will be responsible for scouting talent and vetting ideas to be submitted to the global pool. infoDev’s mLabs foster regional entrepreneurship, employment and competitiveness by providing open spaces where developers can find training, mentoring, technical expertise and access to financing. In a short time, mLab-supported startups have brought over 120 commercial apps to market The best new entries from this network will compete against each other each quarter for the available awards.

‚”Nokia, working closely with infoDev, has supported the establishment and operation of a number of mLabs across emerging markets in support of local developers,‚” says Jussi Hinkkanen, vice president corporate relations for Nokia Middle East and Africa. ‚”The AppCampus collaboration showcases our commitment to strengthening the growing mLab network around the world and infoDev’s vision of supporting emerging market entrepreneurs in conquering local, regional and global markets‚”.

The official launch of the program took place during the mobile stream at the Global Forum on Innovation & Technology Entrepreneurship in East London, South Africa, organized by infoDev and the South African Department of Science & Technology. A key theme of the Forum is how innovation can lead to high-growth entrepreneurship which creates sustainable jobs. Valerie D’Costa, infoDev’s Program Manager says, ‚”The AppCampus initiative fits with the philosophy of infoDev of supporting innovative entrepreneurs from developing countries. We want to support those who can excel with some level of mentorship, skills training and seed financing. We provide potential job-creators better access to markets, which is what we are all about.‚”

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