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AfricaCom 2018: Why Africa's Telcos Need to Spread Their Wings

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CAPE TOWN -- AfricaCom 2018 -- It has happened across the rest of the world and now it's happening in Africa: The greatest threat to the continent's mobile operators is not each other, but their own business models and the growing group of online, digital applications specialists that are offering services 'over the top' (OTT).

That was the key takeaway from a Day 1 panel discussion, entitled 'Re-calibrating African telco strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution,' at AfricaCom that included speakers from some of the continent's leading communications services and technology companies, including Liquid Telecom, MTN, Sudatel, Millicom and Ericsson.

The 'Re-calibrating African telco strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution' panel in action.
The 'Re-calibrating African telco strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution' panel in action.

Hind Elbashir, Group Chief Strategy Officer at Sudatel, noted that the network operators are still focusing on a narrow business strategy that is all about connectivity, while Web services companies are now swooping into Africa with streaming TV and cloud service offers that are meeting the expanding demands of the continent's consumer and enterprise users.

"The OTTs have spread their wings, while we are continuing to compete in a very small place," she noted.

Nicolas Blixell, Vice President, Ericsson Middle East & Africa (center) makes a point during the panel discussion while Rob Shuter, Group President and CEO, MTN Group (left) and Hind Elbashir, Group Chief Strategy Officer at Sudatel (right) listen intently.
Nicolas Blixell, Vice President, Ericsson Middle East & Africa (center) makes a point during the panel discussion while Rob Shuter, Group President and CEO, MTN Group (left) and Hind Elbashir, Group Chief Strategy Officer at Sudatel (right) listen intently.

For the full story, see this article from our sister publication Telecoms.com: Telco’s competitors aren’t other telcos anymore.

— The staff, Connecting Africa

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