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Africa Telecoms Union Partners Ericsson On New Spectrum to Expand Africa’s ICT Space

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Africa Telecoms Union Partners Ericsson On New Spectrum to Expand Africa’s ICT Space, SiliconNigeria

African Countries and telecommunications stakeholders have launched the first set of ATU spectrum recommendations that focus on transforming Africa into a knowledge economy through the development of technologies that boost connectivity and innovation.

 The spectrum recommendations are as a result of a Memorandum of Understanding signed between Ericsson and ATU to help fast-track the roll out of technology across the continent.

In Africa today, a limited amount of Spectrum is allocated to the mobile industry as well as other sectors of communication to facilitate the transmission of wireless signals.

The launched spectrum recommendations outline the importance of awarding the radio spectrum in countries across Africa in a timely, predictable and cost-effective fashion so as to support affordable, high-quality delivery of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) services and spur smart technology initiatives. The recommendations also establish the idea that licensing should be technology-neutral and allow for service innovations.

The new spectrum recommendations further encourage African countries to enable spectrum sharing by giving licensees the right to share their spectrum voluntarily through various means such as trading and national roaming agreements.

Additionally, African countries through the recommendations, are urged to adopt a licensing approach aimed at promoting the right mix of low, mid and high radio band spectrum to ensure that all communications service providers (CSPs) have access to spectrum amounts and type that allows for the development of a variety of use cases and caters to enterprise and customer demands.

Speaking during the launch Ceremony, the ATU Secretary General Mr. John OMO reiterated the importance of the recommendations saying, “The launch of these recommendations is a joint effort aimed at expediting the rollout of ICT driven technologies for the development of digital economies in Africa.” Mr. John OMO’s sentiments were also shared by the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications of Cameroon, Mrs. LIBOM LI LIKENG born MENDOMO AWOUMVELE Minette who officiated the launch event where she affirmed that the new measures compliment African countries’ continued growth in mobile broadband.

The recommendations come at a time when Africa is looking to harness ICT driven innovation, with a rapid rise in usage of technology and smartphones. The November 2020 Ericsson Mobility Report projects that by 2026, mobile broadband subscriptions in Sub-Saharan Africa will increase to up to 76 percent.

Fadi Pharaon, President of Ericsson Middle East Africa, said, “Fostering agility and innovation from next generation ICT infrastructure is important for Africa’s growth and sustainability.” He went ahead to reiterate the importance of spectrum management strategies highlighted in the recommendations saying that they can be considered as opportunities to accelerate Africa’s digitalization and set #AfricaInMotion.

Following the launch of the recommendations, ATU will work with countries and all the stakeholders across the continent to support the implementation process. The  aim is for African countries to release the recommended spectrum and license it to the national telecommunications operators in a cost-effective manner. This would enable the  customer service providers (CSPs) to serve the demands of increasing communication needs and prepare them to deliver new technologies such as 5G, which look to revolutionize industries, enterprise, and consumers alike.

The harmonized and globally aligned frameworks as envisaged by ATU and Ericsson will assist African countries in spectrum management activities that will accelerate the cost-efficient rollout of ICT.

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Africa Region

African Messaging App Ayoba Hits 5.5m Users, Launches Voice and Video Calling as well as Web Access

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African Messaging App Ayoba Hits 5.5m Users Launches Voice and Video Calling as well as Web Access, SiliconNigeria

Ayoba, the African messaging app, has announced the launch of a new version of its android app (0.38) which offers users access to voice and video calling. This comes as the app celebrates its second birthday on the 4th of May 2021 with a user base of 5.5 million monthly users and an award for Best Mobile application late last year.

The updated app is already live and in use, and is quickly proving popular, with thousands of calls going out across the world every day.  

Voice and Video calling requested by users

‘Users have been asking us to support VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) calls pretty much since day one,’  says Nolan Wolff, Head of ayoba. ‘And we are extremely pleased to be able to answer their call with this new release. All that’s required is for both parties to upgrade to the latest version of the Android app. This is available immediately from the Google Play Store and our website at ayoba.me.’

Web access with ayoba lite

Ayoba has also launched ‘ayoba lite’, allowing users to message contacts from within a standard web browser, either from their desktop or a compatible smartphone. Ayoba lite is designed as a ‘space saver’ for users who are short on memory space on their device and prefer not to download the app.  ‘Ayoba lite has been built as a progressive web app (PWA),’ explains Wolff.  ‘This allows us to provide much the same core functionality as our full-featured Android app but contained within a standard web browser. This makes ayoba accessible to a very broad audience and we expect to reach an entirely untapped market segment. The initial Beta version of the PWA is independent of the Android app but it will evolve to allow a user to easily switch between platforms.’  Ayoba lite can be accessed  on web.ayoba.me

A very happy 2nd birthday

‘5.5 million users is an immense milestone for a two year old application,’ says Olivier Prentout, Head of Consumer Marketing at ayoba.  ‘It’s crazy to think that two years have gone by since we launched in Cameroon as our first territory and initial partnership with MTN.  The app has changed so much, adding channels, music, games, micro-apps, MTN MoMo in some territories and more.  Localisation has been a key focus for us and we are very proud that users can access the app in 22 languages.’  Prentout continues,  ‘We have over 130 content channels in 7 languages including Arabic, Dari, Pashto, IsiZulu, English, Kinyarwanda and French to name a few.  There is something for everyone.  Help is available to all users with our in app How To channel or via our virtual assistant Aya’.

The two years have indeed been very busy, and also very rewarding, culminating in the achievement of the Africa Digital Award for Best Mobile Application in November 2020, in a voting process involving both industry judges and the public.   

The company recently reassured its users that it’s not possible for messages in the app to be read by anyone, or shared to any third parties. The app features peer-to-peer private messaging which are end-to-end encrypted.  A user’s contacts and location are only available to other users if explicitly shared by the account owner. Users can feel confident that their private data will remain private, and is treated with the utmost care and respect. More information can be found in ayoba’s comprehensive Privacy Policy at ayoba.me/privacy-policy.

In partnership with MTN, MTN customers are automatically allocated free data to use ayoba features. Allowances range from 50MB daily to unlimited usage, depending on the country (with the exception of Benin).  Free data allocations can be used for all activities available in the app – including messaging, browsing, gaming and listening to music, and customers can also download the app data free at www.ayoba.me. Users are advised that voice and video calls are excluded from the free data provisions.  


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Buhari Congratulates Ogunsanya On Appointment As Airtel Africa CEO

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Buhari Congratulates Ogunsanya On Appointment As Airtel Africa CEO, SiliconNigeria

The elevation of the Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer of Airtel Networks Limited, Mr. Segun Ogunsanya, to MD/CEO of Airtel Africa Plc, has received plaudits from President Muhammadu Buhari, who says the flag of Nigeria has been hoisted proudly across the African skyline once again. 

Congratulating Ogunsanya, the President says the appointment has once again proven that Nigeria has a surfeit of quality professionals, who can hold their own in any part of the continent, and even beyond. 

In a statement signed by special adviser to the President, Femi Adesina, President Buhari stated that, with the cognate experience of the new MD/CEO for Africa, which spans consulting, banking, fast moving consumer goods, and telecommunications, he would acquit himself creditably in his new role, and repeat the strides that made him position Airtel Nigeria as the second largest telecommunications company by revenue, serving over 50 million customers. 

He urged younger Nigerians to draw inspiration from Ogunsanya, saying with focus, dint of hard work, and resourcefulness, they would reach the peak of whatever careers they have chosen for themselves.  The new CEO, an electronics engineer and chartered accountant, joins the board of Airtel Africa Plc from October 1, 2021. 

“The reward for hard work is more work,” said President Buhari, as he wish Ogunsanya greater successes ahead. 

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Airtel Africa Appoints Olusegun Ogunsanya as CEO

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Airtel Africa Appoints Olusegun Ogunsanya as CEO, SiliconNigeria

Airtel Africa Plc, a leading provider of telecommunications and mobile money services, with a presence in 14 countries across Africa, announces Olusegun Ogunsanya, Managing Director and CEO Nigeria is to succeed Raghunath Mandava, as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer following Raghu Mandava’s informing the Board of his intention to retire.

Ogunsanya will join the Board of Airtel Africa plc with effect from 1 October2021.He joined Airtel Africa in 2012 as Managing Director and CEO Nigeria and has been responsible for the overall management of our operations in Nigeria, our largest market in Africa.  

Segun has more than 25 years’ business management experience in banking, consumer goods and telecoms. Before joining Airtel in 2012, Segun held leadership roles at Coca-Cola in Ghana, Nigeria, and Kenya (as MD and CEO).

He has also been the Managing Director of Nigerian Bottling Company Ltd (Coca-Cola Hellenic owned) and Group head of retail banking operations at Ecobank Transnational Inc, covering 28 countries in Africa. He is an electronics engineer and also a chartered accountant.

Raghu Mandava will be retiring as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, as a Director of Airtel Africa plc and as a member of the Market Disclosure Committee on 30 September2021. Arrangements have been made to ensure a smooth transition of responsibilities.

 Following his cessation of employment at Airtel Africa, Mr. Mandava will be available to advise the Chairman, the Airtel Africa Board and the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer for a 9-month period. An announcement naming Segun Ogunsanya’s successor as Managing Director and CEO Nigeria will be made soon.

Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman said:“We are delighted to appoint Segun Ogunsanya as the Group’s next Chief Executive Officer.  He has displayed significant drive and energy in turning around the Nigeria business by focusing on network modernisation, distribution, and operational efficiency. It is this commitment, together with his industry experience, strategic vision, constant customer focus and proven record of delivery that will enable him to continue to deliver our strategic objectives and to lead the Group in the next stages of its development.”

 On behalf of the Board I would like to thank Raghu Mandava for being instrumental in successfully leading and transforming Airtel Africa into a powerhouse telecommunications and mobile money company. Throughout that time, Raghu has worked tirelessly first to repair and then to strengthen Airtel Africa’s business and to champion our stakeholders. As we look forward to Segun assuming his new role in October 2021, we do so from a position of great strength as a result of Raghu’s highly effective stewardship. Raghu will retire from the Board with our very best wishes and sincere appreciation for everything he has achieved.”

Raghu Mandava said: “I am thankful to Airtel Africa for providing me and my team the opportunity to transform the business and fulfil our responsibility to the countries in which we operate. It has been a privilege to serve in the African continent and I cherish my time here. Airtel Africa is a remarkable business with fantastic people. Having been at Bharti Airtel for 13 years and at Airtel Africa for 5 years as Chief Executive Officer, I feel now is the right time to take a sabbatical.

The last five years have been an exhilarating journey where we have been able to turnaround and transform the business into a strong high growth and profitable company. We have been able to build the business with our unique management and problem solving approach to bring in substantial performance improvement. I am very proud of what we have achieved over the past 5 years in Africa, and I look forward to seeing the Company make even greater progress over the coming years.”

 Segun Ogunsanya said: “Having been part of the Airtel Africa journey for the past nine years, I am looking forward to taking up the role of Chief Executive Officer. On a personal note, as an African, I feel honoured to have the opportunity to lead a Group that continues to make a difference to millions of people, bridge the digital divide and expand financial inclusion. This is an exciting opportunity to position Airtel Africa for further success in a dynamic continent full of potential. I look forward to building on the achievements of the last five years during Raghu’s leadership.”

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