Alcatel-Lucent: Daniel Jaeger's 2014 Trends

With the growing number of affordable smartphones and other mobile computing devices in Africa, more and more people in the region are using them for social networking, Internet browsing and e-mail, online gaming and video viewing applications.

Then, services providers will have to adapt to meet their subscribers’ expectations and it will also represent opportunities for new entrants. Hence we foresee an acceleration of ultra fast broadband technologies deployment in Africa in the next year with adoption of 4G/LTE technology by both wireless broadband and local loop services providers and mobile operators. Key players need to translate wireless breakthrough innovation into operational excellence in the field. Experience on Wireless and IP.

In brief: I would say Ultra broadband bigger and better!

1. Broadband in all ways and more than ever: LTE comes stronger than expected in emerging markets. Smart operators exploit the market niche for data services with LTE. In parallel, the build-out of terrestrial fiber will continue, on long distance (bringing the connectivity from the submarine cables in-land), but also in high-density/highly affluent areas with fiber closer to the user. At the same time, where there is copper, copper rules: New technologies allow to get a lot of broadband out of this copper, with a very interesting business case.

2. More Sharing: Each operator having its own network is not the only model anymore. This has various motivators in sharing cost, but is also encouraged in many ways, like for example by some of the regulators or governments. Examples show that this is one of the ways to really accelerate the rollout of broadband to low viability areas.

3. Making great use of the network and the devices. Many services like telemedicine, e-learning, e-payment/ money transfer to name only a few of them - have been around theoretically for long time, on limited scale. But only now, with the networks being built and with devices such as tablets becoming slowly but surely affordable, such services can really go towards mass deployment, with real impact. Businesspeople, developers, NGO’s etc. are riding this wave well.

Daniel Jaeger is the Vice President for Africa at Alcatel-Lucent.

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