Weekly Review June 16-22

Every week, we read dozens of articles on our favorite industry trends and relate them to our investment thesis. We pick the most popular trend from the week and share the top articles along with our thoughts.

This week, we’re featuring news on smartphones and telecoms and other ICT headlines.

Huwaei To Set Up Global Network Operations Centre in Nigeria” on IT News Africa
Huwaei is setting up its third Global Network Operations Centre in Nigeria to head African and European networks. This will provide opportunities to Nigerians to increase their expertise and find opportunities in the industry. It’s hopeful that spin-off innovation in the realms of mobile technology and mobile banking partnerships with telecoms will follow.

In Five Years, Most Africans Will Have Smartphones” by Jon Evans on TechCrunch
Evans at TechCrunch says that smartphone adoption will follow the same adoption rates at basic feature phones, meaning that over 50% of Africans will have smartphones in five years. However, this ignores the difference between dumb phones and feature phones in the market. Research shows that over 75% of phones in Africa now are dumb phones, whereas about 20% are feature phones and less than 5% are smartphones. In five years, the mobile phone market will look different than it does now, but it’s more likely that most users in Africa will have data-enabled feature phones; a smartphone majority in Africa in five years is overly optimistic.

The affordable African smartphone battle begins: Samsung’s Galaxy Pocket vs Huwaei’s Ideos X1” by Nmachi Jidenma on The Next Web
Most agree that mobile is the future of the web in Africa, based on the promise of falling prices. Kenya’s sub $100 Huwaei Ideos X1 Android is a prime example of an affordable smartphone success story with 45% of the smartphone market. Samsung is looking to compete and grab 20% of the smartphone market and earn $10 billion in sales from Africa by 2015. Although smartphones account for about 5% of phones in use in Africa, the competitiveness today bodes well for market growth in the future.

Ethiopia: Government to Ban Skype, Other Online Tools” on All Africa
Unfortunately, it’s not all good news in Africa this week on the ICT front. The Ethiopian government has introduced legislation to ban Skype in an effort to protect the state-owned telecom against low-cost online alternatives. Similarly, G Talk and Viber, other mobile communication applications, have already been banned.

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