Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Carrier netural data centres gaining ground says TCL

Data Centre pricing specialists TCL (Tariff Consultancy Ltd) in a revised edition of its Data Centre Africa report, last published in 2012, has found new space being provided in Nigeria and South Africa means that these two account for 60 percent of total Data Centre space in Africa.

TCL forecasts that Data Centre space will amount to 107,000 square metres in Africa at the start of 2015, and is predicted to grow by 7 percent per annum over the 5 years to 2020.

New Carrier Neutral Data Centre space is being created for the first time since 2012 with new high specification facilities in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and Tunisia, with higher pricing and high-density applications. It also finds that the average size of African Data Centre facility has risen from 563 m2 in 2012 to 725 m2 in 2014, but the average size remains smaller than in Europe or in North America.

TCL also finds that the new high quality facility space is creating higher average rack space pricing – with average pricing now costing USD 748 per rack per month across Africa, as of the start of 2015.

Providers such as IS and Telkom are expanding their geographical Data Centre coverage through acquisition, with Telkom in the process of acquiring ICT provider BCX which has its own Data Centre footprint.

Operator-owned Data Centres accounts for almost half of all raised floor space in Africa, but space for the Carrier Neutral Data Centre sector is now quickly increasing from a relatively low base.

TCL finds that Africa average rack space pricing can range from USD 663 per rack per month, as in Ghana, up to USD 885 per rack per month in Tunisia. But within each Country Market there is also a wide range of pricing, with rack space pricing ranging from USD 500 - 1,100 per month. Lower rack space pricing is typically now available in markets like South Africa, where there are now multiple Data Centre providers and facilities present, offering different tiers of service, power and services which can be adapted to specific customer needs.

here for more information on this study.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Most admired and valuable African brand is...MTN

The 2014 Brand Africa 100 results were announced on Friday at the Nairobi Stock Exchange in Kenya. Non-African Coca-Cola toppled Nokia as the most admired brand, while African MTN moved up a notch.

Thebe Ikalafeng, Chairman, Brand Africa and Brand Finance Africa said: 'Despite a challenging environment for emerging African and non-African brands seeking a share of the lucrative African market, MTN remains the pre-eminent global Africa benchmark and inspiration, with consistent brand leadership and a special place as a pioneering enabler brand for African businesses and consumers'.

The survey was carried out in eight countries, namely Ghana and Nigeria (West Africa); Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda (East Africa); DRC (Central Africa) and Mozambique and South Africa (Southern Africa). 

Of these, MTN is only active in four of them, namely Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda. This begs the question as to whether the MTN is particularly strong in these four countries, so allowing it to dominate the whole group, or whether the compilers have weighted the results from the four nations. Either way there is a concern regarding methodology of the study.  

However, MTN is the dominant telco group in Africa. 'Africa & Middle East Telecom-Week' has found that it is the largest group by subscriber numbers with some 157.25 million at the end of the first quarter of 2014, and enjoyed a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 8% in the period 1Q 2012 - 1Q 2014.

Its nearest rival is Vodafone/com with 127.38 million (6 percent CAGR), and the recently enlarged Etisalat / Maroc Telecom with 91.76 million ( 9 percent CAGR). Orange is fourth with 91.71 million, whilst Bharti Airtel is fifth with 80.53 million, but a reasonable CAGR for 1Q12 - 1Q14 of 9 percent.

To learn more about the African telecoms market, download the Africa & Middle East Mobile Factbook 2Q 2014.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Which mobile operators are most affected by the Islamic State?

In Iraq the GSMA coverage maps show Zain as having the superior coverage in the area currently held by rebel forces. It had good coverage of the three transport corridors running westwards from Bagdad to the borders with Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. 

It is the only operator to cover the north-south route from Al Nkheeb to the Rutba - Ramadi highway, and the road from Al Qa'im to Rutba, which runs parallel to the Syrian border.

Mobile Coverage map of Iran & Syria showing area of IS influence September 2014 
Source: GSMA coverage maps, industry sources c. Blycroft 2014

Asiacell has a similar coverage profile for the two northern-most east-west routes, but does not provide coverage south of the Bagdad - Rutba highway. Its coverage in the area controlled by the self-proclaimed Islamic State is therefore roughly half of Zain's. Korek, as befits the third ranked operator by subscribers, covers just the three east-west highways, but with a lower density than either of its rivals.

All three networks cover the northeastern (Kurdistan) and eastern regions, although the GSMA maps suggest that Asiacell offers the better coverage in both areas. In the north-east, Zain and Korek both offer a lower level of service, although both offer roughly similar geograpical coverage. In the east Asiacell and Zain offer broadly similar, comprehensive coverage, whilst Korek has the smaller network.

In Syria it is MTN that is most affected, with the IS area of influence having strong network coverage, with the SyriaTel nertwork less affected, having only two areas affected. There have been no reports of IS targeting communications passing through its areas of control, and it must assumed that fibre continues to connect areas east and west of the notional corridor controlled by IS.

MTN Syria was reported to be close to concluding a deal with the Syrian government to gain a 20-year mobile phone licence, according to the Syria Report.