Important issues, often not discussed, that I only have partial answers for. Ideas welcome.

Africa

Why are most African cables running at 10% capacity when users are so short of bandwidth?

Why did growth go from phenomenal to almost negligible across most of the continent early in 2016?

How many billions do the giant multinationals extract from African countries every year?

Is Massive MIMO Ready for Africa? Click read more for partial answers.

Why are most African cables running at 10% capacity when users are so short of bandwidth?

I was startled to hear that the African cables are all but empty but have confirmed that with people in the industry. Prices are down but still 5-10X similar in Europe. Going underseas isn't cheap, but the construction cost can't explain most of the difference.  Some is incumbents using their part ownership for protection. Some is the cartel-like pricing. (Today's telcos understand how to signal without the illegal meetings and agreements. I have no evidence of anything illegal.) 

Why did growth go from phenomenal to almost negligible across most of the continent early in 2016?

In 2014, I estimated Africa would have more than 320M Internet users, the population of the United States, in ~2017, Cheap smartphones are connecting the world. Cisco helped me and provided data. Not quite yet. One factor is the decline in oil prices clobbered Nigeria and others. 10-20M SIMs were voided as governments demanded certification for security reasons. That's not enough to explain the falloff, especially as many in South Asia and Latin America are still booming. 

How many billions do the giant multinationals extract from African countries every year?

Google, Facebook, and others provide important services, but their impact on the cash flow of Africa is large. Follow the money. Google, Facebook, and most of the others pay almost no local taxes, hire few locally, and knock out potential local competition because of their size and market power. Something's wrong if 25% of cab fares in Nigeria go to Uber in California. Perfectly fine cab services have developed in several Asian countries and would in most of Africa if protected. Not merely does Uber save on taxes, they've already covered the cost of the software and systems in the U.S. The effective cost of bringing African countries into Uber's system is very small, giving them a huge advantage over local developers.

The American giants are no more or less moral than giants elsewhere. MTN Nigeria has shown an African multinational can be as effective a tax avoider as Americans, but the web is dominated by the U.S.

Is Massive MIMO Ready for Africa?

Paulraj told me in 2014 Massive MIMO would more than triple capacity and be the right choice many places. Africa needs capacity for much higher user caps and MM us probably the cheapest way to get it, The equipment is shipping now. India, China, and Japan are deploying rapidly.

 

Latest issue

 

Oct 16

CTO Seizo Inoe of NTT last year thought 2022 for mobile 5G. Now it’s 2019 for Verizon’s large network. and Qualcomm’s phone chips. The tech is moving faster than believed by anyone except the “father of millimeter wave,” Ted Rappaport.

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