East Africa Com set for April

Informa Telecoms & Medias  East Africa Com (formerly called
GSM>3G East Africa) event takes place from 8 9 April in Dar es
Salaam, Tanzania. The event has been moved from its previous location
in Nairobi for the first time in four years, due to the uncertain
political situation in Kenya.
The event will focus on the specific issues in the East Africa region
and broaden its scope to include the whole telecoms value chain,
including mobile operators (GSM and CDMA), fixed-line operators,
Internet Service Providers (ISPs), as well as regulators, investors and
telecom solutions providers. The event is supported by the GSM
Association, the UMTS Forum and the Dotmobi Advisory Group.
According to Informa, the event promises to be the scene of lively
debates among the regions telecommunications leaders and international
delegates active in the market. In the past year, a number of large
international telecommunications groups have not only invested in the
region, but also started new operations in some of its countries.
In Uganda, competition is intensifying as two new mobile licensees,
Warid Telecom, and HiTs Telecom, are launching services. Both are
backed by Middle Eastern investors, and will compete with the three
established operators, MTN, Celtel and Uganda Telecom.
In the host country, Tanzania, the five mobile operators are going
face-to-face with ISPs to reach data users with 3G services. The
markets leaders will present their strategies at the conference, with
Dietlof Mare, CEO of Vodacom Tanzania giving a keynote presentation,
and Bashir Arafeh representing Celtel in the same session as Head of
East Africa at group level, and Managing Director for the Tanzanian
In neighbouring Kenya, the regions leading market, France Telecom
Group has acquired a majority stake in Telkom, thus consolidating its
position on the continent with this first move into East Africa. A new
team has been appointed at the helm of the incumbent to draw from the
groups experience in convergent services and deliver both fixed-line
services and new mobile ones.
Mobile subscriptions grew by 67% in Eastern Africa over the 12 months
to September 2007. The sub-region recorded the highest growth in Africa
over that period. In comparison, the continents growth rate was 44%.
Informa Telecoms & Media forecasts 54 million subscriptions by 2012
in Eastern Africa, a 73% growth since end of 2007.
Voice remains the major telecommunications service used in Eastern
Africa but the data segment is also in expansion, fuelled by converged
licensing frameworks and the deployment of technologies other than GSM.
Mainly used by incumbent fixed line companies such as Telkom Kenya,
Sudani or TTCL (Tanzania), CDMA networks cover most markets.
WCDMA/HSDPA was pioneered in 1Q07 by Vodacom in Tanzania and then
launched in November 2007 in Uganda by Uganda Telecom. As at end of
2007, WiMAX was available in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda. As in
the mobile voice industry, the ISP market is undergoing consolidations.
In 2007, South African groups Telkom and Mweb (Naspers) acquired
respectively Africa Online and Afsat. Africa Online is present in 8
markets, including 3 East African countries, while Afsat has
subsidiaries in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Nigeria.
East Africa is dominated by three of the continents most dynamic
markets (Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda), and by the presence of Africas
two largest telecom groups: Celtel International (part of Zain, the new
brand for MTC), and MTN. Overall there are 37 fixed and mobile
operators in the region, plus over 20 ISPs.