Standard Bank confirms South African MVNO launch

Following rumours earlier this year that Standard Bank had plans to launch an MVNO, the South African bank has finally confirmed the not so secret news.

In a conversation with both MyBroadband, Standard Bank confirmed the imminent launch of a South African MVNO, but didn’t have much more to add..Standard Bank, which has around 12 million retail customers for its financial services in South Africa, will join more than 10 MVNOs already operating in the market, as well as MNOs Vodacom, MTN, Cell C and Telkom.

After the launch, Standard Bank will become the second major bank in South Africa to launch a mobile virtual network operator following the steps of FNB, which launched an MVNO way back in 2015. Earlier this year, Stephen Bailey, former Virgin Mobile South CEO and now MVNO CEO at Standard Bank Group, attended the MVNOs World Congress where he took part in an onsite interview.

“MVNOs currently hold only about 1% of the South African markets,” said when asked about the local market. “The number of MVNOs coming to market has accelerated greatly in the last 12 to 18 months. We’ve seen financial services businesses come into the market. Two banks in South Africa are launching an MVNO. One has launched, and one is about to launch. That’s some interesting developments. I think that like in many other markets the MVNO market will probably take about 10% subscribers in the market.

“I’m very bullish about growth prospects in South Africa for MVNOs. It’s a relatively untouched model in our markets. I think, what’s interesting for us as South Africans is our close proximity to Sub-Saharan Africa. And in Sub-Saharan Africa there’s only, that I know of, two MVNOs in Kenya. There’s no MVNOs in West Africa and only two, as I said, in East Africa.

“Looking into the crystal ball is not so easy. In terms of what excites me most about what the opportunities coming up is I think the rollout of eSIM [which] is very exciting for MVNOs. As MVNOs we offer new niche offerings to our customers. I think eSIM just makes it much easier and less expensive to acquire those customers because there’s no need now to distribute a physical SIM to those customers. I think it offers a whole lot of opportunities in digital channels, direct customer and marketing opportunities. So that’s one of the things that I’m particularly excited about in the coming five years.”

You can see the full interview below.

 

Ericsson and MTN claim African 5G first

Ericsson has teamed up with operator MTN to undertake what they claim is the first 5G technology and applications trial in Africa.

The main aim seems to be to find useful things to do with 5G in a continent where many countries would be grateful for a decent level of 4G penetration. This project has been in the pipeline for some time, with the two companies even going so far as to demonstrate their mutual commitment via the signing of an MoU at AfricaCom 2017.

Of course it wouldn’t be a 5G trial without some nice, juicy metrics, so strap yourself in and get ready for a data deluge. The 5G prototype radio trial achieved a throughput of no less than 20 Gbps and a latency of 5 ms. How do you like them apples? MTN has been looking into a bunch of 5G use cases and applications for the digital transformation of industries such as mining, transportation, agriculture, manufacturing, and utilities.

“Ericsson is the first to launch a 5G trial with MTN in Africa, supporting our strategy of delivering next-generation mobile broadband, cloud as well as providing support for massive Internet of Things deployment,” said Mahomed Essof, Country Manager, South Africa for Ericsson.

“With 5G, remote healthcare through connected robots could offer world-class surgery in the most remote parts of the continent and the world,” said Giovanni Chiarelli CTIO for MTN South Africa. “Self-driving cars could change the face of road safety, along with smart agriculture, smart mining and smart cities.

“There is no doubt that 5G will offer the consumer higher speeds and lower latencies but to achieve this, we need the capacity that comes with additional spectrum thus once again we call on the government to urgently release the much-needed spectrum that is required in South Africa, to lower the cost of data and drive growth and development for all South Africans.”

Orange targets South Africa with new IP and IPX PoP’s

Kicking off Telecoms.com’s week-long road trip in South Africa, we’re going to start with Orange’s efforts to improve connectivity in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

Orange has opened two large-capacity IP and IPX Points of Presence (PoP) in Cape Town and Johannesburg to enhance Internet and mobile connectivity in the region. The aim of the upgrades will be to offer faster connection speeds and improved reliability for wholesale customers.

“By connecting to this very large-capacity PoP, wholesale customers, regional operators and Internet Service Providers will benefit from cost-effective connections to a Tier 1 operator,” said Pierre-Louis de Guillebon, CEO, International Carriers at Orange

“Thanks to this Point of Presence that will bring content providers closer to Internet users, the customer experience is set to improve.”

The new facilities will build Orange’s presence in the region while also offering wholesale customers numerous benefits including increased capacity and availability, improved quality of service as content will be able to be hosted closer to customers and improved roaming.

While Orange has already has a presence in the African market on the whole, offering access to an IP and IPX PoP connection will give it a better opportunity to compete in the growing South African market. Prior to this announcement, Orange’s position in the African and Middle Eastern markets were held by existing IP and IPX PoPs in Amman and Abidjan.