5 min read
In the next five years, it’s predicted that Internet use on mobile phones within Africa will experience unprecedented growth, doubling the rate of the rest of the world. While the use of Internet on mobile phones increases exponentially, so too does the need for the network behind it.“In most of the countries in Africa there is no strong fixed line network. The mobile is the number one medium for people to connect,” says Daniel Jaeger, Alcatel-Lucent's Vice-President for Africa.

A lot of development has happened on this continent over the last years, but at the same time there’s still a lot to come. Telecommunications is a vital part of that.

Daniel Jaeger
Vice-President for Africa, Alcatel-Lucent
Creating a data revolution
Smile & Alcatel-Lucent
Over the last century Dar Es Salaam, the bustling capital of Tanzania, has transformed from a sleepy fishing town into a thriving metropolis of over four million people – who for the last two years have had access to lightning-fast Internet access on their phones and at home (otherwise known as 4G LTE). This has not only allowed the country’s economy to grow, it’s already quickly bringing significant change to lives across the continent and creating a new blueprint for digital inclusion to the world. “The hunger for data in Africa is enormous, it’s immense and every day we’re surprised at how much data people use,” says Tom Allen, Chief Operating Officer of Smile Communications.

In Tanzania, for every 1 landline subscriber there’s 166 mobile phone subscribers.

Since 2012 Alcatel-Lucent has been working with Smile to introduce and develop the 4G LTE network throughout Tanzania. “Networks are now fundamental. Being able to actually exchange information in a way that is quick and efficient – that’s a data world,” states Allen.

Alcatel-Lucent believed in us and the 4G technology they supplied does better than we could have imagined.

Tom Allen
Chief Operating Officer of Smile Communications
It’s a sentiment echoed at the top of Alcatel-Lucent too. Michel Combes, Alcatel-Lucent’s CEO, is emphatic in reiterating the significance of Africa to Alcatel-Lucent’s growth and the pride of the company to take such a key role in developing opportunities across the continent. “Our Global 'Shift Plan' strategy perfectly focuses on those technologies that meet the connectivity challenges of the African continent,” says Combes.

Creating a data revolution

Every success has its network

What we are doing is much more than just installing a mast or selling a cable. It has an impact on the people in this country. It gets a different kind of meaning.

Daniel Jaeger
Vice-President for Africa, Alcatel-Lucent
Power to the people
4,000 miles away from Tanzania and with a population of almost 24 million, the West African country of the Ivory Coast will soon experience a surge in 4G LTE technology. “A study of the World Bank claims that a 10% growth in the number of Internet users in sub-Saharan Africa will generate a GDP increase of more than 1.3%,” states Chris Kilala, Chief Technology Officer for YooMee Africa. YooMee is aiming to change the game for broadband connectivity in Africa and bring the quality of Internet services to the level of that in Europe or the US. The company’s Group Sales and Marketing Manager Emmanuel Forson believes that together with Alcatel-Lucent’s technology they can “reduce the digital divide in Africa, contributing to the emerging progress of the continent”, a sentiment that is echoed throughout Alcatel-Lucent.

A study of the World Bank claims that a 10% growth in the number of Internet users in sub-Saharan Africa will generate a GDP increase of more than 1.3%.

A vision for Africa
So what is next for Africa? Already 4G LTE and Ultra-Broadband networks have enabled a positive change – politically, economically and socially. Moving forward the goals are clear. “For me Africa is at the heart of tomorrow," says Michel Combes. “Becoming digital is an important catalyst for change. The focus of development will continue to bring connectivity to users by working with local, regional and international partners to literally help ‘connect’ the African people."
Beyond Africa to New Zealand
Ultra-Broadband is the most transformative technology since electricity, and one of the most promising assets for governments seeking to boost their economies and social development in an open digital world. It creates opportunities for people to unleash their skills by enriching the way they innovate, do business and share knowledge.

See the pivotal role Alcatel-Lucent has played in New Zealand where 75% of New Zealanders will have ultra-fast broadband by 2020: New Zealand Ultra-Fast Broadband Plan

Read More.