MTN has become the first mobile operator in Uganda and one of the very first in the region, to successfully launch Long Term Evolution (LTE) network.
LTE is the latest technology in the world with the fastest Internet speeds of up to 100Mbps.
‚”We are happy to claim another first in Uganda with this announcement as MTN Uganda successfully launches its LTE network, offering world-class Internet services to our customers. What is even more pleasing is that we’ve done this ahead of many other advanced economies around the world,‚” says Ernst Fonternel, MTN Uganda’s Chief Marketing Officer.
The launch of LTE represents a major stride in mobile connectivity capabilities in Uganda. The service offers almost triple the speed of any existing mobile connection available commercially in Uganda and in the region.
For the customer this means you can quickly download large files, stream music videos and HD movies without buffering and upload pictures without delay. These services will significantly transform the way you interact with the world.
‚”The higher LTE speeds will give our customers lower latency, which translates into a much more stable user experience. The technology’s impressive speeds create endless possibilities for the user including instantaneous music and picture downloads,‚” says Fonternel.
‚”Our challenge isn’t keeping ahead of the other operators. It’s keeping ahead of the tidal wave of data demand both in our country and in the region. Last year we launched our 21.6Mbps data network and last month we rolled out our 42Mbps data network and now LTE. In all these innovations, we have been the first, and our intention is to continue pushing boundaries so that our customers enjoy world-class Internet.‚”
MTN’s LTE service will initially be available in greater Kampala, with other towns to follow. There are currently 20 locations that have been fully integrated onto the LTE network. Furthermore, LTE-capable dongles will be on sale at selected MTN outlets.
Fonternel says that the commercial launch of LTE is part of a bigger network transformation plan that MTN has been undertaking over the past few years in order to give its customers World-class services.
Over the last two years, MTN has made major investments to its data infrastructure in Uganda, expanded the mobile distribution footprint, and greatly enhanced the mobile core, radio capacity and network infrastructure.
MTN Uganda launched the first Mobile Money service in Uganda with tremendous success. It was recently ranked 2nd in the world-wide sample for the number of active Mobile Money accounts as per the GSM Association’s 2012 Survey.
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Africa gets broadband boost
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.
Nokia backs tech hubs for developing world
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.‚”