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.

 

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Angelina Jolie, Ashley Judd and dozens of others have exposed Harvey Weinstein. Every industry, including ours, has monsters like that, rarely stopped.
    I choose instead to highlight some women who are driving us forward. Nicola Palmer and Sanyogita Sangupta lead Verizon’s 5G effort, the most successful in the world. They will spend $billions and have already put hundreds of cells in the field  
     Verizon jumped ahead when almost all others held back. Charla Rath persuaded the FCC to offer gigahertz of mmWave spectrum three years before the official WRC plan. They supported the NYU work to make a more accurate channel model.
     With allies, VZ created their own 5G standard in 2015 because they didn’t want to wait for 3GPP.  The system commercial in 2018 and will do mobile in 2019 if the handsets are ready.  
     “The race is on” between Verizon and AT&T to be first in each market.10%-20% of people almost everywhere hate their broadband provider and likely to switch to mmWave. The U.S. build is going fast because the two giants expect to find a large market replacing landlines outside of their existing region.
     If they are first in a land grab.

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