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A year of little real progress in ICT

A year of little real progress in ICT

South Africa Connect, South Africa’s broadband policy, was published in December 2013, ushering in 2014 with great promise. The policy called for, among other things, the removal of policies that constrain competition and the roll-out of broadband. It singled out service-based competition

We are destined to be cyborgs

We are destined to be cyborgs

Neil Harbisson is an extraordinary person. Though he was born completely colour blind, he found a way to see colour using an electronic eye that is now permanently grafted to his skull. In 2004, he became the first person to be officially recognised by a government as a cyborg — a being that is part man

Makro goes online locker, stock and barrel

Makro goes online locker, stock and barrel

Makro announced last week that it had entered into a partnership with Sasol to build e-commerce “lockers” on the fuel retailer’s forecourts. The lockers are not a new idea, having been pioneered in the US, UK and elsewhere by retailers such as Amazon and the Walmart-owned Asda, but it is

What operators should really do about OTTs

What operators should <i>really</i> do about OTTs

For some time now, the ongoing debate between over-the-top providers on one side and network operators on the other returns like a comet in an elliptical orbit. Each time it returns, the stakes appear to be higher as this “comet” gets closer and threatens to crash into planet ICT. MTN South Africa

Bringing women back to programming

Bringing women back to programming

In the 1960s, computer programming was still viewed as a lucrative career choice for many young women. Cosmopolitan magazine at the time even ran an article entitled “The Computer Girls”, which depicted the field as a better opportunity for women than many other industries. The job was seen as

Telkom to face big challenge in fixed lines

Telkom to face big challenge in fixed lines

In the past 20 years, Telkom has lost almost every aspect of the absolute monopoly it once held over South African telecommunications. First, it lost its supremacy over voice communication as cellular rivals challenged it for dominance and won. Today, the cellular operators carry the vast majority of

Africa’s MNOs are dazed and confused

Africa’s MNOs are dazed and confused

The business logic is clear; only the timing remains to be settled. Everything in telecommunications, including voice, will soon be data. In a world where everything is data, there will be two types of companies. And they will not be mobile operators. There will be content companies and there will be data

Operators have a point on OTTs, but…

Operators have a point on OTTs, but…

South Africa’s mobile operators argue that so-called over-the-top (OTT) service providers, and especially WhatsApp, are skimming their voice revenues. They claim the business model used by these OTT providers – companies such as Google, Facebook and, yes, WhatsApp – is unfair. European

Why mobile money is so tough to crack

Why mobile money is so tough to crack

“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” So reads the opening line of Leon Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. The novel comes to mind when looking at the prospects that confront mobile money. Success stories have many similarities, but failed efforts fail for their own

Emojis: it’s not all talk :)

Emojis: it’s not all talk :)

Have you heard of the world’s fastest growing language? It was born just 20 years ago, and already hundreds of millions (possibly billions) of people use it to communicate every day. You’ve probably used it today without even thinking. I’m talking about Emoji. These expressive little symbols have slowly

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