What were the highlights of the past year in the African ICT industry?
Read on as we have selected the most important events that defined the industry, from the impact of digital media on the South African elections to appointments, product launches and company deals.
10. South Africa map and Street View finally updated by Google
South Africa is now definitely on the map! Google updated its South Africa maps with new details on cities and towns including Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Pretoria, Port Elizabeth and East London, as well as a couple of additional features such as finding businesses and checking driving directions, all through Google Maps via any browser or mobile handset.
Furthermore, Google introduced SA Street View in the country, a popular feature of Google Maps worldwide, featuring photos across the cities previously stated. Read more on http://www.itnewsafrica.com/?p=3285 and http://www.itnewsafrica.com/?p=3090
9. Vodafone versus the labour movement forces
In the midst of the financial crisis, Vodafone Ghana announced that it would lay off 950 employees by November 2009 through a compulsory redundancy package and commence a new organizational structure on December 1, 2009. This really upset the Trade Union Congress (TUC) in Ghana, saying the decision contradicts labour relations laws of the country.
This isn’t the first labour movement “war” for Vodafone in Africa. In South Africa, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) disagreed with the Vodacom-Vodafone transaction, reported to be against the public interest. Read more on http://www.itnewsafrica.com/?p=3004
8. Safaricom, Kenya’s innovation engine in 2009
2009 was the year of innovation for the Kenyan ICT industry. Safaricom launched Kenya’s first mobile internet portal in June 2009, a service that enables Safaricom subscribers to get fast access to both local and international content on their mobile phones.
Also, Kenya became the first African country to offer mobile based international money transfer through Safaricom’s money transfer service, M-PESA. The service was tested by money transfer agents Western Union, Provident Capital Transfers and KenTv. Read more on http://www.itnewsafrica.com/?p=2817 and http://www.itnewsafrica.com/?p=3283
7. The death of South Africa’s communication minister
South Africa’s Minister of Communications, Dr. Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri, died on 6th April 2009 at a Pretoria hospital, at the age of 71. She held senior positions in the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) and the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). Read more on http://www.itnewsafrica.com/?p=2497.
6. Lower interconnect fees from MTN SA and Vodacom
In October 2009, telecom operators MTN South Africa and Vodacom both reached an agreement to lower interconnect fees by 19% between networks and agreed to pursue negotiations with Cell C and other operators. Read more on http://www.itnewsafrica.com/?p=3279
5. Michael Jackson’s death, the biggest challenge for search engines
The news of pop icon Michael Jackson’s death gave us a chance to find an answer to the question: what happens when almost everybody searches for the same information online? The night before Jackson’s death, Google news pages were inaccessible for about 25 minutes and the search engine itself suspected an attack on its platform.
The story got an unprecedented number of mobile searches on all major search engines, with five of Google’s top 20 searches having to do with Michael Jackson. The issue raised concerns on global network’s capacities to meet the increasing demand for real-time online information. Read more on http://www.itnewsafrica.com/?p=2832
4. Head of Google South Africa’s resignation
Stafford Masie, Chief Executive of Google South Africa, resigned from his position at the company in March 2009, citing personal reasons. Masie joined Google in 2007, after working as the South African country manager of Novell. Read more on http://www.itnewsafrica.com/?p=2329
3. Political parties bet on Digital media in 2009
Ever since Obama won the American presidential elections with a little help from search engines, online social networks, blogs and tweeter, South African parties ANC, DA and COPE counted on Google, Facebook, Twitter and Mxit to make their campaigns heard all over the Internet, in an effort to address younger supporters. However, South African internet users seemed much more interested in sport than politics and searches for Indian Pemier League (IPL), the cricket tournament which relocated to South Africa, exceeded those for all the political parties combined. Read more on http://www.itnewsafrica.com/?p=2552, http://www.itnewsafrica.com/?p=2536 and http://www.itnewsafrica.com/?p=2369.
2. Windows 7 in South Africa
Anticipation for Windows Vista’s successor, Windows 7, finally came to a head in October 2009, when South Africans could finally see the efficiency and simplicity of the latest operating system from software giant Windows. http://www.itnewsafrica.com/?p=3276
1. Launch of Seacom and submarine fibre optic cables across Africa
The long-awaited Seacom cable linking south and east Africa to global networks via India and Europe went live in July last year, with backhauls linking Johannesburg, Nairobi and Kampala with coastal landing stations. Said to be an historic day for Africa, that marks the dawn of a new era for communications between the continent and the rest of the world, Seacom launch opened the way to affordable, high quality broadband capacity and experience to African economies. Read more on http://www.itnewsafrica.com/?p=2938
September 2009 and May 2010 are the two dates for the landing of submarine cables from the United Kingdom to the coast of Nigeria, with Nigerian carriers Globacom and MainOne behind the project. Globacom’s submarine cable, Glo One Submarine, already landed in September, while MainOne says its submarine cable will land the shores of Nigeria in May 2010 and that it will be commercially launched in June 2010. Read more on http://www.itnewsafrica.com/?p=2886
Publisher’s pick: The collapse of MTN-Barthi Deal
The disapproval of the South African government ended what could have become the biggest ICT deal of the decade. The MTN-Bharti deal collapsed following statements from the South African Communications Minister, Siphiwe Nyanda, who told media he would prefer MTN to remain a South African firm with local management in control. The two companies subsequently decided to call off their merger discussions. Read more on http://www.itnewsafrica.com/?p=3195, http://www.itnewsafrica.com/?p=3194
By Denisa Oosthuizen
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