Mobile price wars are a common feature in a highly competitive market. In such an environment, service innovation becomes the key enabler for differentiation and growth. Africa’s service providers are taking advantage of advanced technology, new infrastructure and increased bandwidth to develop and offer customers differentiated and profitable new services.
That’s according to Jacobus Liebenberg, Nokia Siemens Networks Senior principal for Business and Operations Transformation. Liebenberg made the opening remarks during the final day of the TM Forum Management World Africa hosted in Sandton, Johannesburg, South Africa.
ITNewsAfrica conducted a Q&A interview with Greg Cress, Nokia Siemens Networks Head of Global Strategy, Applications and Entertainment Solutions to get his view on Africa’s vibrant mobile market.
Is mobile technology turning Africa into a competitive market?
Absolutely, it is one of the most exciting industries to be involved in because it’s an enabler of user freedom, of cultural freedom and it is an uplifting technology for the African economy.
There’s no limit to what mobile devices can do and will do in future. It’s just a matter of time before we see the economic benefits coming from the deployment of mobile communications and technology.
Why do you think there’s an increase in African ICT investment opportunities?
Africa is an emerging market, for example if you consider the Asian market about 40 years ago, the various governments started making key decisions around investing in the basic services such as Education. That has now translated into a new drive around technology and skills based economies. We’re seeing a similar pattern happening across Africa.
This is enabled by the investment in infrastructure, mobile devices and communications technologies.
The model of flying in and out of an African country is no longer sustainable. As a result, regional hubs are being established for various companies.
Why is it important for service providers to move their brands to mobile?
It is about becoming more visible where consumers spend most of their time. As a brand,, most service providers are not as visible as they could be. There’s been a complete change of ownership of where applications are being used and accessed from.
How can mobile operators and service providers assist with developing more localised content and applications?
I think Africa should not isolate itself from the world in terms of being a global player. That’s what the Internet, mobile communications and social media have managed to do. They are creating user freedom.
There’s no shortage of talent in the African continent to develop the applications. Africans need to obtain the right skills to learn to develop their own applications.
The mobile device itself is probably the most important educational tool available in the current technology market.
What is your prediction on the future of mobility in Africa?
My key prediction is that much of the current communication services will come from the Internet. My vision is to have an African operator that is able to offer their services to any potential user or subscriber across the globe and not only be limited to the subscriber that owns the operators sim card.