In the past Africa and South Africa have lagged behind Europe and the US in terms of network speeds. Fast forward to now, and a better picture is emerging, showing that we are fast closing the gap when it comes to 3G and 4G connectivity.
A slew of research papers in recent years from Europe and the United States (US) have shown that Africa, including South Africa (SA), have lagged behind in network quality and data speeds when compared to networks in developed economies. But a better picture is emerging where SA is fast narrowing the gap and is doing much better against the best in the world when it comes to 3G and 4G mobile networks coverage.
For instance, a comparison of the results of recent tests done by PC Magazine, a leading global technology magazine, testing data speeds of the top four cellphone network providers in 30 cities in the US, shows that SA has better upload and download speeds on 3G than the US and is almost on par in terms of 4G download speeds.
This is a clear demonstration that the hundreds of billions of rands that have been invested by the local cellphone network providers in broadband infrastructure over the last 20 years are yielding positive results.
The latest results also show that Vodacom SA’s 35 million customers benefit from superior 3G and 4G download speeds than their counterparts in the US.
Andries Delport, Vodacom’s Chief Technology Officer at Vodacom commented:
“This is testament to the fact that our network investment efforts are paying off. We have always maintained that our networks are our key point of differentiation, and as such, it is in our interest to invest in them to increase data speeds, reduce dropped-called rates and deliver the best service to our customers. This year alone we invested R12.9 billion in our networks in South Africa, targeted primarily at expanding our 2G, 3G and 4G coverage, enhancing our network performance and improving customer experience.”
“If we factor in inflation, we have invested R142 billion in our network infrastructure in SA since our inception. By enhancing access to voice and data, our network and service offerings are helping to transform lives and stimulate economic growth in these emerging markets.”
A 2009 World Bank study found that low-income and middle-income countries experienced a 1.38 percentage point increase in GDP for each 10 percent increase in broadband penetration.
In South Africa, Vodacom’s 2G network now covers 99% of the country’s population, wider than any other service provider. Vodacom’s 3G network covers around 98.9% and 4G close to 70% of the population, well ahead of its competitors.
“Vodacom is committed to ensuring that we continue to extend our network coverage in South Africa. In particular our strategy includes doing a lot more to extend coverage in the remotest parts of SA but in order to do this, we need additional spectrum. There is no doubt that greater access to spectrum will give South Africans faster speeds, wider access to LTE coverage and, inevitably, lower data pricing,” Delport says.
CES: So long, and thanks for all the beer!
Last week, the Las Vegas expo showed off its fun side with state-of-the-art technologies for enjoying beer, writes BRYAN TURNER
From craft beer-making machines to robots that pour beer, CES had more beer than usual in Las Vegas last week. And even free beer if you found the right stand. Stampede’s saloon-style booth offered beer to visitors who tried out its latest drones, virtual reality, and other gaming products. No beer tech, though.
Here are some of the beer technologies that stood out:
LG HomeBrew – Craft beer made at home
LG’s HomeBrew craft beer-making machine, debuted at CES 2019, brings the brewing process home thanks to single-use capsules, a self-cleaning feature, and an algorithm optimised for fermentation.
Like a Nespresso coffee machine, the beer maker uses capsules, which contain malt, yeast, hop oil and flavouring. At the press of a button, LG HomeBrew automates the whole procedure from fermentation and carbonation to ageing. A companion app lets users check HomeBrew’s status at any time during the process, from their handsets.
The beer machine not only offers a simple way to make craft
Designed with discerning beer lovers in mind, HomeBrew allows for in-home production of batches of more than 4 litres of beer in a variety of styles. The following five distinctive, flavoured beers are available now:
- Hoppy American IPA
- Golden American Pale Ale
- Full-bodied English Stout
- Zesty Belgian-style Witbier
- Dry Czech Pilsner
The only catch? It takes about two weeks to make, depending on the beer type.
“LG HomeBrew is the culmination of years of home appliance and water purification technologies that we’ve developed over the decades,” said Dan Song, president of LG Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company. “Homebrewing has grown at an explosive pace, but there are still many beer lovers who haven’t taken the jump because of the barriers to entry, like complexity, and these are the consumers we think will be attracted to LG HomeBrew.”
Click here to read about the party speaker that holds beer and robots that pour beer.
CES: Alienware gets Legend-ary
At CES in Las Vegas last week, Dell’s Alienware released a family of high-end, thin, light, and affordable machines for both amateur and professional gamers – and a new identity.
Alienware marked CES 2019 as a brand milestone with the debut of a new design identity, Alienware Legend. It aims to set a new bar of excellence for what gamers want most – performance and function. Alienware says it evaluated multiple concepts and chose one that was the biggest and boldest departure from its current look.
Alienware Legend, says the company, stays true to the brand’s core design tenets, taking cues from its deep roots in sci-fi culture and its early industrial designs, to distinguish the brand from the rest of the industry. The new Legend design is optimised with cutting-edge thermal cooling technology to achieve and sustain overclocking power, improved AlienFX lighting, and ultra-thin screen borders. It also unveiled a new “three-knuckle hinge” design that reduces the overall dimension while creating a stronger assembly, all combining to yield a better gaming experience.
“We’re excited to come to this year’s CES with some truly groundbreaking products, next-gen software and strategic partnerships that will bring more people to experience PC gaming and advance the industry,” said Frank Azor, vice president and general manager of Alienware. “The legend design answers the call for more and better from our gaming community, and the new G Series laptops will make PC gaming even more accessible to those looking for high-performance gaming at a cost they can appreciate.”
Click here to read about Alienware Legend in action with the Area-51m and m-series laptops