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Airtel reiterates commitment to customers in Uganda

Posted on 15 May 2013 by Chancy Namadzunda

Bharti Airtel (“Airtel”), a leading global telecommunications services provider with operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa, today reiterated its commitment to Uganda and said it will “continue to make investments and offer world-class and affordable services to customers in the country”.

Airtel’s proposed acquisition of Warid Telecom has received approvals from the Uganda Communications Commission. With this, Airtel will further consolidate its position as the second largest mobile operator in Uganda with a combined customer base of over 7.2 million and market share of over 39%.

Warid customers will be able to retain their existing mobile numbers and continue to enjoy benefits such as remaining balances in their SIM and existing services. In addition, Warid customers will benefit from Airtel’s ‘One Network’ across 20 countries and get access to innovative products and roaming benefits on successful completion of integration.

Airtel Uganda Managing Director Mr. V.G. Somasekhar said, “We welcome Warid customers to the Airtel global network and assure them of a world-class experience. This acquisition will create a superior and wider network and we will invest more in key areas such as technological innovation and customer service.

“Further, the existing Warid customer will also be enjoying all Airtel services such as the widest 3G coverage, Blackberry services and superior roaming serviceson successful completion of integration. During this transition, I want to reassure Warid customers of our commitment to providing world-class, affordable services to customers in Uganda. They should also be assured of the security and continuity of Warid Pesa services during this period”.

He added: “After the successful completion of integration, Warid customers will begin to enjoy benefits of the 0ne network with lower roaming rates across Africa and South Asia that other Airtel Customers have been enjoying. It’s a great beginning to a journey with our loyal Uganda customers and for the economy as a whole.”

With presence across 17 African countries, Airtel is the largest telecom service provider across the Continent in terms of geographical reach and had over 62 million customers at the end of quarter ended December 31, 2012. Globally, Airtel is ranked as the 4th largest mobile services provider in terms of customer base.

Bharti Airtel Limited is a leading global telecommunications company with operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa. Headquartered in New Delhi, India, the company ranks amongst the top 4 mobile service providers globally in terms of subscribers.

In India, the company’s product offerings include 2G, 3G and 4G wireless services, mobile commerce, fixed line services, high speed DSL broadband, IPTV, DTH, enterprise services including national & international long distance services to carriers. In the rest of the geographies, it offers 2G, 3G wireless services and mobile commerce. Bharti Airtel had over 271 million customers across its operations at the end of March 2013.

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IBM Report: Technology Holds the Key to Economic and Social Reform in Accra, Ghana

Posted on 12 April 2013 by Africa Business

Cloud computing, Big Data and mobile technologies can help transform Accra into a smarter city – improving lives and bolstering the West African hub’s continued rise to prosperity

 

Joe Mensah, Country General Manager, IBM Ghana (left) presents an IBM Smarter Cities report on Accra, Ghana to the city's Mayor, Alfred Vanderpujie. (PRNewsFoto/IBM)

 

ACCRA, Ghana, April 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced the launch of a report entitled “A Vision for Smarter Growth: an IBM Smarter Cities Report on Accra, Ghana” that highlights how the rapidly emerging West African city should turn to technology to transform its key urban systems. Based on the opinions of local experts from across public and private sectors and civil society, the report identifies city services, transportation, and energy as essential for Accra‘s urban reform.

According to the International Monetary Fund, Ghana is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, driven by an emerging oil and gas industry, a growing base of consumers and significant foreign investment. Its capital, Accra, is one of Africa‘s fastest emerging cities. According to Mastercard’s African Cities Growth Index, Accra is ranked Africa‘s top city in terms of economic potential over the next five years. Accra has also experienced significant demographic growth, the city’s population expanding by over 1 million people – a 35 percent increase in the past decade, placing increasing strain on the city’s resources.

“As Ghana’s capital, Accra is emerging as one of Africa‘s economic success stories,” said Alfred Vanderpujie, Mayor of Accra. “But such growth is not sustainable in the long term if we do not act now to put in place the systems and processes of the future. Technology is clearly one of the fundamental building blocks for creating a smarter and better functioning Accra.”

The publication of the IBM report follows the launch of the Ghana government’s National Urban Policy Framework and Action Plan, which is aimed at improving infrastructure and raising revenue in Ghana‘s cities to reduce poverty and tackle urban growth challenges.

“Cities across Africa are facing the dual challenge of rapid urban and economic growth,” said Joe Mensah , Country General Manager of IBM Ghana. “IBM’s approach is to enter a dialogue with key stakeholders and experts on the ground to understand the challenges and explore where technology can be successfully applied to transform the systems on which our cities depend. The scale of Accra and its challenges creates a manageable environment for implementing smarter systems that could really improve lives and business.”

Transforming City Services
Rising numbers of residents place increased strain on existing resources and require more effective delivery of city services such as water, sanitation, refuse, public safety, education and healthcare. The Government of Ghana sees improved revenue collection as key to Accra‘s transformation and its ability to fund investment across all of the city’s systems – a key part of the country’s Urban Policy Framework and Action Plan:

“We estimate that Accra loses up to 50 percent of its current revenues to fraud or underpayment by residents,” said Lydia Sackey , Metro Director of Budget, Accra Metropolitan Assembly. “Revenue generation is key to improving city services in Accra. Quite simply, if we don’t raise enough revenue, we are not able to perform our functions and produce enough services for people in the city.”

The IBM report highlights how mobile payment systems could help make the process of paying taxes easier for Accra‘s residents in the future. Hosting city services in the cloud would translate to more transparent and cost-effective municipal service delivery and an online platform for cataloguing property values could lead to a substantial increase in property tax revenues.  Big Data analytics could help city authorities more easily identify cases of tax under payment or fraud.

The Transportation Headache
Like all African cities which are currently experiencing rapid rates of urbanization, transportation is one of Accra‘s key challenges with growing numbers of citizens and vehicles placing increasing pressure on the city’s road networks. With 90 percent of all transport in Accra by road, traffic jams have a negative effect on many other areas such as business, emergency response, the environment, education and healthcare.

The IBM report lists a number of areas where technology can help. While the long-term goal should be the construction of a modern mass public transit system, instrumented, interconnected and intelligent technologies can help in the meantime to form the basis of a smarter transportation system. Smart and networked traffic lights could help to ease the flow of traffic through the city. Cameras and social media technologies could help monitor the road network and provide intelligence to decision makers. By using Big Data technologies to analyze mobile phone data, city officials could gain a clearer view of how people move around within the city and how the existing transportation systems could be enhanced.

The Energy to Grow
Ghana has grown so fast in recent years that electricity supply has become a serious problem and Accra regularly suffers from load-shedding and blackouts. The IBM report highlights energy source diversification from Ghana‘s current 77 percent reliance on hydro-electricity as key to improving supply as well as establishing new commercial enterprises.  For example, telco provider Airtel is piloting the use of wind and solar power as a backup to grid power for its mobile stations in Ghana – an alternative to the costly and environmentally unfriendly generators that businesses rely on.

“Telecommunications sites that are near grid power will always use grid power and in Ghana that comes to about 70 percent of sites. But even those that are on grid power still have generators to back them up because of the grid’s lack of reliability,” said Philip Sowah , CEO of Airtel Ghana.

Smart meters can help monitor and manage electricity distribution and smart grids can help energy providers anticipate and isolate problems limiting impact on lives and business. By building a smarter energy system, Accra can help lay the groundwork for future investment and economic growth.

Laying the Foundations for Smarter Cities Across Africa
In addition to working alongside leaders in Accra, IBM is actively engaged in dialogue with cities across Africa to help public and private sectors address urban challenges and opportunities. In 2012, an IBM Smarter Cities Challenge team was deployed in Nairobi, Kenya to advise on technology solutions to resolve Nairobi‘s traffic challenges; while another team spent a month in the city of Tshwane, South Africa developing a crowdsourcing solution to improve the city’s water management system and enable citizens to report water leaks. Further teams will be deployed in other African cities this year. IBM’s new Africa Research Lab is also developing pilot solutions to optimize traffic management, public safety and government services.

 

SOURCE IBM

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Nokia and Airtel partner to deliver consumer value across Africa

Posted on 05 April 2013 by Chancy Namadzunda

By Chancy Namadzunda

Nokia and Airtel announced a broad partnership agreement across Africa to drive closer collaboration and deliver increased consumer value. The agreement, which incorporates areas such as the provision of Nokia Life services, Xpress Browser and Nokia Store Operator Billing for purchases from Nokia Store in key countries, makes it easier and more cost effective for Airtel subscribers to access a range of value adding services.

“Nokia’s commitment to Africa goes beyond the provision of quality mobile phones,” says Olivier Mas, Head of Solution Sales, Nokia Middle East Africa. “Our focus is on bringing real consumer value through relevant content and services and by igniting the local ecosystem to do the same. Partnerships are a critical part of this strategy and we are pleased to be working closely with Airtel Africa to deliver on our consumer promise.”

A key part of the agreement is the provision of Nokia Life services, already available in Nigeria and launching in Kenya this month. The services, which are delivered as richly formatted SMS messages, bring relevant, timely and personalized information to consumers at a far lower cost than other sources. Information is customized and designed to meet basic needs in areas such as education, agriculture, healthcare, livelihood and even spirituality.

The content brings real benefits, such as information for expectant mothers in rural areas who may not have regular access to clinics or pre-natal care. Since its launch in India, Nokia Life has expanded to several countries and has been experienced by more than 95 million people in 18 local languages. The potential for Nokia Life in Africa is enormous and, following on the success of Nigeria, Nokia and Airtel are pleased to now extend this to the East African market, starting with Kenya.

Andre Beyers, Chief Marketing Officer for Airtel Africa, is committed to the partnership. He says, “There are huge opportunities throughout Africa to transform how people communicate and how communities interact.

Delivering on that opportunity through mobile communications for everyone is our focus.  This alliance underlines our commitment to the growth of Africa’s communications sector and contributes towards bridging the digital divide on the continent. Partnering with world class organizations on such a large scale will galvanize the sector in Africa and be a catalyst for growth”.

Airtel is also pleased to announce the upcoming availability of integrated billing solutions for Nokia Store in both Nigeria and Kenya. Customers will shortly be able to download top local and global paid content, including apps and games, from Nokia’s immensely popular mobile application store and pay for their downloads as part of their monthly mobile phone bills or have the amount deducted from their pre-paid balance. Another advantage is that customers will pay for this content in local currency.

This is also great news for developers whereby paid for apps can soon be enjoyed by a broader base of consumers through operator billing, in addition to the existing credit card purchase mechanism. The third area of collaboration is around the provision of Nokia Xpress Browser for Airtel customers in Nigeria and Kenya, delivering a faster, smarter and more affordable way to access the internet. Xpress Browser is Nokia’s cloud-based platform for delivering a better internet experience on a number of mobile devices, including the new Asha range.

The cloud-acceleration technology compresses information by up to 90% to increase download speeds, reduce data costs and render pages in a format specially designed for mobile phones. As many African consumers will experience the internet for the first time from their mobile phone, the customised Nokia Xpress Browser is a valuable tool for Airtel subscribers in Kenya and Nigeria, whether they are seeking basic information, running their small business, or using social media to stay in touch.

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Seizing the Digital Growth Opportunities in a better Connected East Africa

Posted on 04 April 2013 by Africa Business

East Africa Com
21-22 May 2013
Safari Park Hotel,
Nairobi, Kenya
Visit the website: www.comworldseries.com/eafrica


East Africa Com Conference and Exhibition is taking place at the Safari Park Hotel, in Kenya on 21-22 of May 2013. The theme for 2013 is “Seizing the Digital Growth Opportunities in a better Connected East Africa”.

East Africa Com is the region’s leading digital event and attracts over 600+ telecommunications professionals to network and do business. Hear from 40+ visionary speakers delivering you the latest business knowledge, co-located with an exhibition featuring world class vendors showcasing the technology of tomorrow.

Come and hear from 40+ industry leading speakers
AfriApps * AfricaOnline * Airtel Africa * Bozza.Mobi * Brudan * Callkey Networks * Canar Telecom  * Crowdpesa.Com * Dotsavvy * Eat Out Kenya * Eutelsat * Eziki TV * Google * iHub Kenya * International Finance Corporation (World Bank Group) * Jamii Telecommunications Ltd * KolaStudios * Kopo Kopo Inc * MicroClinic Technologies and Ogra Foundation * Mobile Marketing Association * Mprep * Orange Kenya * Safaricom * Sprout * Viadeo * Vodacom * Wananchi Group * Whive * Zilojo and many more….

The conference will focus on the following areas:

-      Digital Transformation

-      Broadband & LTE

-      Connecting East Africa

-      Customer Experience Management

-      Digital Services

-      Mobile Money

-      Mobile Marketing in East Africa

-      APPGIG

Download the agenda for more information: www.comworldseries.com/eafrica

Admission to the Conference

-      Free for all regional Operators & Regulators (FREE Until 7 May)

-      Regional Non Operators need to pay $999 (Early Bird Rate expires on 16th April)

-      International Operators need to pay $999 (Early Bird Rate expires on 16th April)

-      International Non Operators need to pay $1,999 (Early Bird Rate expires on 16th April)

Remember to quote your VIP Code: EAF13/MP when registering.

Join our Online Communities:
Twitter:  @AllAboutCom using #EastAfricaCom
Linkedin: East Africa Com Telecoms Group
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/comworldseries
Face book: www.facebook.com/AllAboutCom
Blog:  www.comworldseries.blogspot.com

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Airtel appoints Charity Chanda Lumpa as MD for Zambia operations

Posted on 29 March 2013 by Chancy Namadzunda

Bharti Airtel, a leading telecommunications services provider with operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa, today announced the appointment of Ms. Charity Chanda Lumpa as Managing Director (MD) of Airtel’s operation in Zambia with effect from May 1st 2013.

Speaking on the appointment, George Sokota, Chairman of Airtel’s operation in Zambia said, “I am delighted at Charity’s appointment, which is in line with Airtel’s stated philosophy of promoting local talent in Africa. She has an exceptional track record of accomplishments at top management level in private, public and international organizations and I am confident that with her rich experience she will grow the organization from strength to strength.”

Jayant Khosla, CEO (Airtel Africa Anglophone Region), added, “Airtel is extremely pleased at the appointment of its first lady Managing Director in Africa. It has been our endeavour to consciously promote diversity within the employee base and provide opportunities to women employees, particularly in leadership positions. I firmly believe in the continued growth of our Zambian operation and I’m confident that
this exceptional team will continue to deliver innovative and best-in-class mobile services for all our stakeholders under her leadership.”

Lumpa, a Zambian national, holds an MBA in Finance. She is back in her home country after a six-month stint in Lome, Togo, where she was the Head of Ecobank Group Credit Administration. Prior to her current appointment, she acted as Managing Director for Ecobank in Zambia. Before joining the banking industry, Charity was the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Zambia National Tourist Board (ZNTB).

Great talent continues to be the source of competitive advantage for Airtel Africa. David Ssegawa, Chief Human Resources Office, Airtel Africa said in order to drive sustainable business growth in all our markets, it is key that the company consciously  build a robust and diverse  pipeline of African leaders  who will take this business to the next level.
“Over the last two and a half years, we have built our talent strategy around three key pillars, namely; the aggressive search for and recruitment  of top African talent into very senior roles at both the Head-quarters and Country operations, the design and delivery of world-class Leadership development programmes  in collaboration with best-in-class institutions like Havard and INSEAD; and the creation of a winning culture in an exciting place where people are  engaged and inspired  to realize their full potential,” he said.

Ssegawa adds “Our recent appointment of a Nigerian CEO & MD for Nigeria and the appointment of the first lady Zambian MD for our Zambia business are key milestones alongside our people agenda for Africa.”

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A piece by Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank, to set the scene for the BRICS summit in Durban on 26-27 March

Posted on 26 March 2013 by The African Press Organization

A Win-Win in Infrastructure – The Durban BRICS Summit

DURBAN, South-Africa, March 26, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ A piece by Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank (http://www.afdb.org), to set the scene for the BRICS summit in Durban on 26-27 March

***

A Win-Win in Infrastructure – The Durban BRICS Summit

The new world order comes to Durban this week – for the fifth BRICS Summit, and the first in Africa. Dilma Rousseff, Vladimir Putin, Manmohan Singh, Xi Jinping and Jacob Zuma represent a changing world, as gravity and power gradually shift from North to South, and West to East. Between them, they preside over nearly half of the world’s population, and nearly a quarter of its GDP.

As well as Heads of Government, the BRICS business community will also come together in Durban, and all this under the gaze of the world’s media. It is clear that all will pursue themes within themes. In engaging in enlightened shared interest, they will look, too, to their own individual countries’ interest. By coming to Durban, they also draw focus on Africa. In looking at a host of issues – from the world’s hotspots to its backwaters, from green jobs to blue-sky thinking – they will, above all, focus on two: trade and investment.

Donald Kaberuka

The relationship between Africa and the BRICS has grown dramatically, with trade levels increasing ten-fold in ten years, to a value of some US $340 billion a year. And Africa itself is the lynchpin of the trade triangle with Asia and South America. Africa-China trade last year was 20 times what it had been at the turn of the century.

All five of these huge countries and economies had to begin at the beginning, by addressing the infrastructure gap: ensuring the road, rail, ports and energy to power and empower their societies.

The BRICS also bring to the table the experience and the expertise of their development trajectories. They bring knowledge and investment in entering the global supply and value chains – from agribusiness, to IT, to South African companies at work north of the Limpopo.

The BRICS countries are already part of the African infrastructure solution. We see this in everything from Brazilian road and rail investment through Vale in Mozambique, to Indian telecommunications investment through Bharti Airtel in Chad, to Chinese investment through its Railway Engineering Cooperation Group and Sinohydro in road, rail and health infrastructure in the DRC. We could say the same many times over, with different examples in different countries.

The time has come for an idea which was first floated two years ago, and which can take the relationship to the next level: channeling the significant surplus into high return infrastructure projects – a win-win proposition. The priority projects are already identified in the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) (http://bit.ly/zBD2bt), and many of them are now at bankable level. In this period of low interest globally, there are investments which are attractive.

Sixty percent of the African Development Bank’s annual loans and grants of US $5 billion are for infrastructure. With a leveraging power of one to six, we are able to mobilize additional resources. But the funding gap for African infrastructure is large, and this is still a drop in the ocean. We know the priorities spelt out in the PIDA, and in the private sector-led Infrastructure Consortium for Africa, which the Bank also manages.

And Africa itself is mobilizing internal resources. In 2013, the Bank plans to launch an African Infrastructure Facility that will combine sovereign and non-sovereign resources – both domestic and international – to invest in carrying Africa over the threshold of its infrastructural and developmental doorway.

Donald Kaberuka, President, African Development Bank

Distributed by the African Press Organization on behalf of the African Development Bank.

SOURCE

African Development Bank (AfDB)

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Airtel déploie les services téléphoniques Haute-définition en Afrique

Posted on 06 March 2013 by Africa Business

Bharti Airtel Limited (http://www.airtel.com) est l’une des plus grandes sociétés de télécommunications dans le monde avec des opérations dans 20 pays en Afrique et en Asie. Basée à New Delhi, en Inde, la société fait partie des quatre plus grands opérateurs de téléphonie mobile au monde en termes du nombre d’abonnés. En Inde, elle offre des services variés, notamment des services mobiles 2G et 3G, des offres lignes fixes et du haut débit ADSL, l’IPTV et le DTH, des solutions pour entreprises et services nationaux et internationaux de longue distance aux opérateurs de téléphonie. Sur les autres marchés, elle fournit des services mobiles 2G et 3G. Bharti Airtel comptait plus de 262 millions d’abonnés sur l’ensemble de ses marchés à la fin du mois de Janvier 2012. 

 

L’innovation offre une qualité audio limpide et permettra d’améliorer l’expérience utilisateur sur les réseaux mobiles d’Airtel

NAIROBI, Kenya, mars 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/

•     Des services vocaux de qualité supérieure sont disponibles pour les clients situés au Kenya, au Rwanda, au Malawi et au Nigeria

•    La téléphonie mobile haute-définition vient s’ajouter à la gamme de services de qualité que propose la société et propulsera l’expérience utilisateur au niveau suivant

Bharti Airtel («Airtel»), un fournisseur de services de télécommunications de premier plan avec des opérations dans 20 pays à travers l’Asie et l’Afrique, a annoncé le lancement de la téléphonie mobile haute-définition (HD) pour ses abonnés au Kenya, au Nigeria, au Malawi et au Rwanda. Cette annonce est juste la pointe visible de l’iceberg, étant donné que la société Airtel a pour l’ambition de rendre la téléphonie mobile HD disponible dans toutes ses opérations à travers le continent.

La téléphonie mobile HD est la plus importante amélioration dans les communications vocales au cours des deux dernières décennies. L’innovation offre une qualité audio limpide et permettra d’améliorer l’expérience utilisateur sur les réseaux mobiles d’Airtel. «Les sondages confirment que les clients accordent une grande importance à la téléphonie mobile HD», explique André Beyers, le directeur du marketing d’Airtel Afrique. «Ce nouveau service permettra d’enrichir l’expérience utilisateur pour les abonnés d’Airtel».

La téléphonie mobile HD permet des appels vocaux de haute qualité car le service réduit le bruit de fond souvent entendu lors d’un appel normal. Les clients d’Airtel sur les réseaux 3G connaîtront une amélioration significative de leurs communications vocales étant donné que le nouveau service leur permettra de mieux entendre même lorsqu’ils sont dans des endroits bruyants.

Pour profiter au maximum des avantages de cette nouvelle technologie, l’appelant et l’appelé doivent avoir un téléphone portable compatible avec la téléphonie mobile HD. Cependant, si l’un des utilisateurs n’a pas un téléphone compatible avec la téléphonie HD, l’amélioration de la qualité des appels est toutefois perçue.

La téléphonie mobile HD basée sur le G.722.2 exploite neuf débits binaires différents et offre des appels vocaux de haute qualité. Par rapport au codec vocal à bande étroite, l’algorithme de compression du G.722.2 double la bande passante de la voix et produit de meilleurs résultats.

Après des années d’essais, la téléphonie mobile HD a été lancée en 2009 et elle est maintenant disponible dans 35 pays à travers le monde. Selon les résultats d’une enquête récente, 96% des clients sont satisfaits des appels vocaux HD, d’où la rapide commercialisation de ce service à travers le monde.

Airtel est l’un des premiers opérateurs à lancer la téléphonie mobile HD en Afrique. La société de télécommunications a pour objectif de faire de ce service une réalité sur le continent. D’autres lancements auront lieu en 2013.

SOURCE

Bharti Airtel Limited

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Airtel rolls out mobile HD voice service in Africa

Posted on 06 March 2013 by Africa Business

Bharti Airtel Limited (http://www.airtel.com) is a leading global telecommunications company with operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa. Headquartered in New Delhi, India, the company ranks amongst the top 4 mobile service providers globally in terms of subscribers. In India, the company’s product offerings include 2G, 3G and 4G wireless services, mobile commerce, fixed line services, high speed DSL broadband, IPTV, DTH, enterprise services including national & international long distance services to carriers. In the rest of the geographies, it offers 2G, 3G wireless services and mobile commerce. Bharti Airtel had over 262 million customers across its operations at the end of January 2013.

 

Mobile HD voice offers crystal clear audio quality and will enhance user experience on Airtel mobile networks

NAIROBI, Kenya, March, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/

•    High quality voice services to be available to consumers in Kenya, Rwanda, Malawi and Nigeria

•    Will complement the company’s state-of-the-art high speed data networks and take user experience to the next level

Bharti Airtel (“Airtel”), a leading telecommunications services provider with operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa, has announced the launch of the mobile HD voice service for its subscribers in Africa. The development comes as the first step in Airtel’s ambition to make mobile HD voice accessible in all its operations across the continent.

HD voice is the most significant improvement in voice communications in the past two decades. Mobile HD voice offers crystal clear audio quality and will enhance user experience on Airtel mobile networks. “Surveys confirm that customers place a high value on HD Voice”, explains Andre Beyers, the Chief Marketing Officer, Airtel Africa. “The new service will enrich end-user experience for Airtel subscribers”.

Mobile HD Voice enables high-quality voice calls because it reduces background noise often heard on a regular call. Airtel customers on 3G networks will experience a significant improvement in their voice communications as the new service will enable them to hear better in noisy environments.

To enjoy the maximum benefits of this new technology, both the calling and the called party need an HD-Voice compatible mobile phone. However, improvements in call quality are also perceived when using an HD voice-enabled phone to call a non-HD Voice phone.

Mobile HD Voice based on AMR (Adaptive Multi Rate) Wideband technology (W-AMR) operates with nine different bit rates, providing high-quality voice calls. Compared to the current narrowband speech codec, the W-AMR speech-compression algorithm doubles voice bandwidth and produces better results.

After years of trials, HD Voice services were launched in 2009 and they are now available in 35 countries around the world. According to the results of a recent survey, 96% of customers are satisfied with HD Voice calls, hence the rapid pace of commercialization of the services across the globe.

Airtel becomes the third operator to launch a mobile HD voice service in Africa. The telecommunications company aims to make HD voice a reality on the continent. Further launches will be scheduled in 2013.


 

SOURCE

Bharti Airtel Limited

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Journalist, vendor wins in Timaitha Valentines Promotion

Posted on 20 February 2013 by Chancy Namadzunda

By Chancy Namadzunda

Yvonnie Sundu, a journalist working with the Malawi’s Nation Publications Limited  and Market Sweets vendor Mike Chimtele won K100 000 each during the Timaitha Valentine Days Promotion special draw which was conducted last week.

Speaking during the presentation of cheqeu and a seven draw of the promotion at the company’s head office, Airtel Malawi’s Interconnection, International and Roaming Manager Arthur Kapolo said this shows that anyone can stand a chance of winning in the promotion.

“What came out of the parade was that some of our subscribers thought the car had been won and that we were on our way to deliver it to the winner which is not the case, the car is still open to anyone.

“For a Mr Chimtele, we are happy that he has won such amount of money which we are sure that one day he come back and tell us how successful his business is following the boost as well as for Miss Sundu, we are sure that her life will be transformed,” he said.

In an interview, Chimtele said the money has come at the right time when he was dreaming of expanding his business.

“It has been my dream for one day to have a better business, I have been looking for a day I will grow up and employ some people and for sure, this is the genesis and, my dream will be a reality,” he said.

Airtel has invested over K30m in the promotion.

To enter the promotion, customers send an SMS written WINA to 50002 to register their names and then answer to trivia questions with each earning them 20 points which enhance their winning chances.

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Microsoft Introduces the 4Afrika Initiative to Help Improve the Continent’s Global Competitiveness

Posted on 05 February 2013 by The African Press Organization

 

Efforts focus on accelerating adoption of smart devices, empowering small and medium businesses, and up-leveling skills development to ignite African innovation for the Continent and for the world

REDMOND, WA, February 5, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ Microsoft Corporation (http://www.microsoft.com) today introduced the Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative (http://microsoft4afrika.com/english), a new effort through which the company will actively engage in Africa’s economic development to improve its global competitiveness. By 2016, the Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative plans to help place tens of millions of smart devices in the hands of African youth, bring 1 million African small and medium enterprises (SMEs) online, up-skill 100,000 members of Africa’s existing workforce, and help an additional 100,000 recent graduates develop skills for employability, 75 percent of which Microsoft will help place in jobs. (For web-based video content in English, with reporter commentary or without, please click here (http://microsoft4afrika.com/english). French, Arabic and Portuguese video content will be available later today)

“The world has recognized the promise of Africa, and Microsoft wants to invest in that promise. We want to empower African youth, entrepreneurs, developers and business and civic leaders to turn great ideas into a reality that can help their community, their country, the Continent, and beyond,” said Fernando de Sousa, General Manager, Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative. “The Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative is built on the dual beliefs that technology can accelerate growth for Africa, and Africa can also accelerate technology for the world.”

As a first critical step toward increasing the adoption of smart devices, Microsoft and Huawei are introducing the Huawei 4Afrika – a full functionality Windows Phone 8 which will come pre-loaded with select applications designed for Africa. The phone will initially be available in Angola, Egypt, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria and South Africa later this month.

The Huawei 4Afrika phone, which is the first in what will be a series of smart devices designed “4Afrika,” will be targeted toward university students, developers and first-time smart phone users to ensure they have affordable access to best-in-class technology to enable them to connect, collaborate, and access markets and opportunities online. (See related release (http://www.huaweidevice.com/worldwide/newsIndex.do?method=view&newsId=264&directoryId=5024&pageType=news) and blog (http://blogs.windows.com/windows_phone/b/windowsphone/archive/2013/02/04/huawei-unveils-a-new-windows-phone-for-africa.aspx).

To improve technology access, Microsoft also announced the deployment of a pilot project with the Kenyan Ministry of Information and Communications and Kenyan Internet Service Provider, Indigo Telecom Ltd., to deliver low-cost, high-speed, wireless broadband and create new opportunities for commerce, education, healthcare, and delivery of government services across Kenya. The deployment is called “Mawingu,” which is Kiswahili for cloud. It is the first deployment of solar-powered base stations together with TV white spaces, a technology partially developed by Microsoft Research, to deliver high-speed Internet access to areas currently lacking even basic electricity. Microsoft hopes to implement similar pilots in East and Southern Africa in the coming months to further explore the commercial feasibility of white space technologies. These pilots will be used to encourage other African countries to accelerate legislation that would enable this white spaces technology to deliver on the promise of universal access for the African Continent. (See related release (http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/news/Press/2013/Feb13/02-04WhitespacesPR.aspx), blog (http://blogs.technet.com/b/microsoft_on_the_issues/archive/2013/02/04/bringing-low-cost-off-the-grid-broadband-access-to-rural-kenya.aspx) and video (http://www.microsoft.com/africa/4afrika/white_spaces_project.aspx).

To help empower African SMEs, Microsoft announced a new online hub through which African SMEs will have access to free, relevant products and services from Microsoft and other partners. The hub will aggregate the available services which can help them expand their business locally, find new business opportunities outside their immediate geography, and help increase their overall competitiveness. As a “welcome offer,” Microsoft will provide free domain registration for the period of one year and free tools for qualifying SMEs interested in creating a professional web presence. The hub is expected to open in April initially in South Africa and Morocco and will expand to other African markets over time.

To accelerate capacity building and skills development, Microsoft has established the Afrika Academy, an education platform leveraging both online and offline learning tools, to help Africans develop both technical and business skills for entrepreneurship and improved employability. Training through the Afrika Academy will be made available starting in March at no cost to recent higher education graduates, government leaders, and the Microsoft partner community. One of the first offline training sessions will take place with Microsoft managed partners in Ivory Coast in the coming months, focusing on capacity building in both business and technical skills for our partners in francophone West Africa.

The 4Afrika Initiative will be tightly connected to Microsoft’s network of more than 10,000 existing partners in Africa today, a network it has built over 20 years of investing and operating in the Continent. The 4Afrika Initiative will leverage these existing partnerships and create new ones across both the public and private sectors to help advance common goals and to create value for Africans. Together with our partners, Microsoft has initiated various other efforts in recent months as part of the Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative, including:

•    AppFactory (South Africa (https://www.facebook.com/TheAppFactory?fref=ts) and Egypt): Microsoft is hiring 30 paid student interns to staff the AppFactory – centers to which the public can submit requests for Africa-relevant Windows applications (Windows 8 or Windows Phone). These requests are being crowd-sourced for voting, and the most popular ideas are assigned development resources to get the app built and launched into the Windows Store. Already, 73 Windows apps and 39 Windows Phone apps have been built by the AppFactory teams, and at full capacity, the teams plan to contribute around 90 new apps to the Windows Store per month.

•    Nokia and Windows Phone user training (Kenya and Nigeria): Microsoft has established agreements with Safaricom in Kenya and Bharti Airtel in Nigeria to accelerate local adoption of the Nokia Lumia 510 and Nokia Lumia 620 Windows Phones. In these markets, more than 90 percent of phones sold are feature phones, so through these agreements, Microsoft is funding in-store training for consumers who purchase these Nokia Lumia models on how the data plan works and its benefits, to help make these smartphones better understood and therefore more desirable for consumers.

•    Female empowerment portal (North Africa): This portal targeted at North African women will launch in March as an offshoot of the MasrWorks (http://masrworks.com/Intro/Welcome.aspx) IT skills portal. It is designed to empower young women to play a leadership role in their communities, build their skills and self-esteem and introduce new models for self-employment. It will provide IT skills training and also softer skills training on topics including leadership, self-confidence and interviewing, as well as the mentorship needed to build a long-term career in technology. The mentorship will be provided via a sustained engagement between Microsoft, our partners, a local NGO, and the beneficiaries to support them in career building and to plan their role in society as female leaders.

“We believe there has never been a better time to invest in Africa and that access to technology — particularly cloud services and smart devices — can and will serve as a great accelerator for African competitiveness,” said Jean-Philippe Courtois, President of Microsoft International. “The launch of Windows 8 and many other new products in the coming months represent a New Era for Microsoft Corporation, which we believe will redefine the technology industry globally. These additional investments under the 4Afrika banner will help define our company’s New Era in Africa.”

Simultaneous launch events to kick off this New Era in Africa are being held today in five locations spanning the Continent: Cairo, Egypt; Abidjan, Ivory Coast; Lagos, Nigeria; Nairobi, Kenya; and Johannesburg, South Africa. In all locations except for Egypt, Microsoft is also hosting separate developer workshops in the coming weeks to facilitate and accelerate the development of new and innovative Windows applications for Africa, by Africans.

 

SOURCE

Microsoft Corporation

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