In Brief:African mobile penetration reaches 46% - GSMA 

More than 500 million people across Africa are now subscribed to mobile services as the continent continues to migrate rapidly to mobile broadband networks. The report which was published at the GSMA Mobile 360 – Africa event being held in Tanzania, 26 – 28 July and highlights the increasing contribution of Africa’s mobile industry to the regional economy, including employment and public funding, and mobile’s role as a platform for digital and financial inclusion. There were 557 million unique mobile subscribers across Africa at the end of 2015, equivalent to 46 percent of the continent’s population, making Africa the second-largest – but least penetrated – mobile market in the world. Africa’s three largest markets – Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa – together accounted for around a third of the total subscriber base.

***The GSMA has announced the launch of an infrastructure sharing initiative between Tanzanian mobile network operators (MNOs) Airtel, Millicom (Tigo) and Vodacom, in order to expand mobile broadband network coverage in the East African nation. The trio have committed to launch six 3G pilot sites across the country to test the sustainable provision of mobile broadband services to 13 million underserved people in rural areas. According to the GSMA, 69% of Tanzanians live in rural regions, and while operators have so far been able to deploy 2G networks to up to 85% of the population, only around 35% of are able to access 3G networks in the country.

***TIM Brasil, Brazil’s second largest mobile operator by subscribers, has revealed plans to boost connectivity in Rio de Janeiro through a BRL14 billion (USD4.3 billion) three-year investment programme covering the period 2016-2018. According to chief technology officer, the project will encompass a number of ‘innovative solutions’, including Brazil’s first commercial voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) network, 1800MHz/2600MHz carrier aggregation (CA), cloud RAN functionality, Huawei-built key event assurance monitoring technology and the widespread deployment of the cellco’s patented sustainable ‘Biosite’ cell sites, which have been designed to reduce ‘visual pollution’ in built-up urban areas. TIM Brasil notes that, by year-end it will have 1,100 active 3G base transceiver stations (BTS) and 1,250 4G towers in Rio de Janeiro alone.

***Safaricom, the largest integrated telecommunication service provider in East Africa, is improving services for more than 25 million subscribers in Kenya thanks to Nokia's Customer Experience Management on Demand. With help from Nokia, Safaricom now uses big data technology to derive real time insights from network, customer and revenue touchpoints. With the insights, Safaricom is better able to provide proactive customer care, resolve network issues and prioritize capital expenditures.

***Ofcom orders Openreach to become a "distinct company, with its own Board” and says telecoms providers will have greater access rights to physical infrastructure from July 31.

•***French Guyana invites tenders for subsea cable
•TEAMS upgrades fibre-optic subsea cable
•C&W Networks deploys PoP at Cologix Florida data centre
•TelOne announces $25m FTTH project in Zimbabwe
•Gilat Satcom launches Ugandan ISP
•DE-CIX’s New York and Madrid IXPs in growth spurts
•DYXnet establishes 10Gbps Greater China backbone