Posts filed under ‘South Africa’
Al Jazeera Mobile delivers global news headlines and updates to South African subscribers via SMS messages. As an alternative to conventional international news channels, with a news focus on key stories from the Southern hemisphere, Al Jazeera Mobile is well positioned to enter the dynamic South African market. Al Jazeera’s English-language television news channel is already broadcast to over 140 million homes globally, which includes 25 million households in Africa. The total number of mobile subscribers in South Africa is set to increase from 49 million in 2008 to 55.3 million in 2010, making the country a priority market for Al Jazeera Mobile. Mobile users are now able to choose from Al Jazeera Mobile’s Politics, Sports, Economics and Breaking News services for key updates straight to their mobile phones or PDA’s.
MTN Ghana (formerly Spacefon Areeba) launched its 3.5G service in Ghana on 28 January using high speed downlink packet access (HSDPA) technology. MTN says its new network will offer a range of data-oriented services and provide for more efficient delivery of existing services such as voice, SMS, MMS, and mobile internet access. Local press were given the opportunity to experience the benefits of 3.5G in a specially-constructed phone booth. Going forward, MTN Ghana plans to roll out more HSDPA-enabled phone booths in the capital Accra. In December 2008 Kuwait-based telecoms group Zain launched a 3.5G network in Ghana, having invested more than USD420 million in the country to realise the speedy deployment of the technology – a first for sub-Saharan Africa, excluding South Africa.
Vodacom South Africa and Research In Motion (RIM) today announced the availability of the BlackBerry Storm smartphone in the South African market. The BlackBerry Storm will be available from Vodacom on January 29th.
Delivering the renowned functionality of the BlackBerry solution, the BlackBerry Storm brings entertainment, information and communications to the tips of your fingers.
The stylish smartphone boasts exceptional performance, a stunning display and rich features including 3G (HSDPA) network support, integrated GPS, desktop-style web pages, advanced multimedia, a first class phone, camera and the industry’s most robust messaging capabilities – designed to give users an incredibly fast and powerful mobile experience.
“The BlackBerry Storm is a next-generation smartphone designed to meet the communication and multimedia needs of the most demanding customers. With its renowned communications capabilities, rich multimedia features and stylish design, the BlackBerry Storm allows customers to make the most of their time on the go with a fashionable and lifestyle-friendly smartphone,” says Shameel Joosub, Managing Director, Vodacom South Africa.
The BlackBerry Storm smartphone features the unique and innovative SurePress touch-screen, which depresses ever so slightly to aid in typing and navigation and to give users an experience they can actually feel. Through the revolutionary SurePress touch-screen, the virtual keyboard on the BlackBerry Storm responds like a physical keyboard and supports single-touch, multi-touch and gestures for intuitive and efficient navigation as well as easy and precise typing.
“The ‘clickable’ SurePress touch-screen is a remarkable innovation that dramatically enhances the touch interface and user experience. We are very pleased to introduce the first touch-screen BlackBerry smartphone together with Vodacom in South Africa,” said Mark Guibert, Vice President, Corporate Marketing, RIM.
The BlackBerry Storm also features a built-in accelerometer, which automatically switches the display as the user rotates the handset for use in landscape or portrait. When in portrait mode, users can type out a quick instant message or dial a number using either RIM’s SureType keyboard layout or a 12-key multi-tap keyboard. When the handset is rotated to landscape, the user is presented with a full QWERTY keyboard.
The BlackBerry Storm smartphone brings images to life with stunning clarity through its gorgeous 3.25-inch, high resolution (480×360-pixels at 184 ppi), colour display. A multimedia powerhouse, the BlackBerry Storm smartphone has rich media player that handles a number of music formats. It can even be synchronised with iTunes so customers can enjoy their music on the move*, or synced wirelessly via Bluetooth to the BlackBerry Remote Stereo Gateway to enjoy songs through a home stereo. It also comes standard with a premium stereo headset. The built-in speaker and stereo headset both deliver music with excellent sound quality. The BlackBerry Storm also has 1GB of onboard memory storage, comes standard with an 8GB microSD/SDHD memory card and supports up to 16 GB of storage per memory card.
BlackBerry Storm users can also find their way in unfamiliar surroundings thanks to built-in GPS and Vodafone SatNav which comes preloaded. Vodafone SatNave enables users to find an address and track their location simply and easily. It can also display the route on a 3D map, together with audible step-by-step directions. The 3.2 MP digital camera with autofocus, a powerful flash and video recording rounds out the smartphone’s rich multimedia capabilities.
Preloaded with an incredible selection of applications that were custom-built for use on BlackBerry smartphones, the BlackBerry Storm enables users to simply and easily keep web community pages current, continue instant message chats or even add pictures directly to Facebook.
Preloaded applications include:
Facebook for BlackBerry Smartphones
Windows Live Messenger for BlackBerry Smartphones
Yahoo Messenger for BlackBerry Smartphones
Flickr Photo Uploader for BlackBerry Smartphones
Vodafone SatNav, powered by Telmap SatNav technology
The BlackBerry Storm smartphone will be available to both Vodacom’s Prepaid and Contract customers from participating Vodacom outlets, across South Africa.
Starting as low as R59.00 per month for the BlackBerry Internet Service (Prepaid and Contract) and R98.00 for BlackBerry Enterprise Service (excluding device), customers get unlimited email, unlimited Internet browsing, as well as unlimited use of pre-loaded data applications (for accessing sites and services such as Vodafone SatNav, Yahoo! Messenger, Windows Live Messenger, Flickr and Facebook from the handset) without incurring any additional data charges. These pre-loaded data applications are available in conjunction with all personal and corporate BlackBerry service options for the BlackBerry Storm.
South Africa’s Vodacom Group has reported a 13.7% year-on-year increase in revenues for the nine months to the end of December 2008. Sales climbed to ZAR40.5 billion (USD4.1 billion) on the back of a 14.3% rise in group subscriber numbers to 37.8 million. In its home market customer numbers were up 4.8% during the final three months of 2008 to 26.5 million, while Vodacom’s international operations in Tanzania, DR Congo, Mozambique and Lesotho saw customer numbers jump 8% quarter-on-quarter to 11.3 million. Vodacom Group CEO Pieter Uys commented: ‘Expanding our African footprint beyond South Africa is one of the pillars of Vodacom’s growth strategy. I’m pleased to say that this quarter we reached an important milestone, with 30% of our total customer base now coming from our operations in Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho and Mozambique.’
The South African market broke through the 100% penetration barrier during Q3 08 to finish the quarter on 101.8%. The total market reached 44.51m customers. Annual growth slowed from 24.2% for the 12 months ending 30th September 2007 to 10.7% for the subsequent 12 months, the lowest rate since Q2 02. However, this rate was the same as that recorded in Q2 08, and in real terms annual growth rose quarter-on-quarter, from 4.18m to 4.30m.
Vodacom remains the market leader in South Africa, and it reversed two quarters of net losses with a quarterly gain of 0.32m connections in Q3 08. However, this was the lowest figure in the market – the fourth time in a row it has picked up this dubious honour. Moreover, its third-quarter gain was not enough to compensate for the previous losses, with a resultant year-on-year decline of 24k. It finished Q3 with 22.48m and 50.5% market share, down from 56.0% a year earlier.
India’s Tata Communications has increased its stake in South Africa’s second national operator (SNO) Neotel by 30%, acquiring shares from government-backed entities Eskom and Transnet. Tata Communications and its local operating arm Tata Africa Holdings now have a majority shareholding in the SNO. ‘We will support Neotel’s efforts to provide global quality telecom services in South Africa,’ said N. Srinath, the managing director and CEO of Tata Communications. Ajay Pandey, MD and CEO of Neotel, commented: ‘This transaction further allows Neotel to leverage on Tata Communications’ proven and vast global network of tried and tested technologies in countries such as India with similar telecoms landscape to South Africa.’
Separately, South African cellular operator Vodacom is reportedly lining up to participate in a ZAR2 billion (USD197 million) 5,000km national fibre-optic cable project involving Neotel and rival mobile firm MTN which was announced last week. Vodacom is thought likely to join the partnership once fixed line operator Telkom has divested its 50% stake. One source close to the deal told local newspaper Business Day: ‘Vodacom will join in the collaboration. It can’t at the moment because it has Telkom as a shareholder, but they are going through the divorce.’ Vodacom had been planning to deploy its own national fibre network, but joining with Neotel and MTN will offer significant savings on rollout costs.
MTN is buying a 69.38 percent stake in Verizon South Africa, a unit of U.S.-based Verizon Communciations, for an undisclosed amount to help it better compete with rivals such as Dimension Data in the corporate communications market.
Verizon Business South Africa provides telecommunications to corporate customers in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia and Kenya.
South African technology firm Altech had initially objected to the deal on grounds it would give MTN too much control of the local communications market, but withdrew its opposition on Wednesday. The Competition Tribunal said on Thursday it had approved the deal without conditions.