Gearing Up for AfricaCom in Cape Town, 9-11 November

Posted: November 4th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments »

In less than a week’s time, AfricaCom (taking place 9-11 November) kicks off in Cape Town, South Africa, and Comptel will be there at stand D9 (opposite the coffee point!).

The organizers, Informa, are claiming that this year a record 4,200+ attendees from more than 1,500+ companies have registered—up 70% from last year.

From a biased perspective, I would like to think that holding this event in beautiful Cape Town (which IS Nice!), has something to do with this increase, but in reality, I suspect it is more a reflection of the rapid growth of the telecoms sector in Africa.

The temptation is to say growth = money for events…but I believe this cynically oversimplifies the value operators get from an event like this.

Growth has also meant increasing competition with everybody wanting a slice of the pie, so I suspect operators are primarily attending to find answers about how to generate and manage new revenue streams and cut costs in order to ensure future growth.

African operators need to grow their revenues from services (e.g. data and VAS) in the face of declining voice and SMS margins. For operators with OSS heavily geared towards simple voice and SMS services, an increasingly complex service portfolio brings many new challenges with respect to designing, launching and managing them. Comptel has seen a lot of interest this year from African operators in its catalog solutions for helping them get new services to market more quickly and cheaply, and managing the increasing service complexity.

There is also a non-growth-related challenge that needs mentioning, and that is one introduced by the legislation being enacted across Africa requiring operators to identify subscribers prior to their SIMs being activated. This shatters the current operating model of simply bulk pre-provisioning SIMs and introduces the challenge of only activating them after subscribers have been identified. It also presents operators with the ‘opportunity’ to leverage a closer relationship with what was previously a largely ‘anonymous’ subscriber base using ‘one-size-fits-all’ packages. Comptel has also seen a lot of interest in its dynamic SIM management solution, which helps operators comply with the legislation, cut costs from SIM wastage and leverage the legislation to actually get additional revenue streams.

So here’s to problem-solving at AfricaCom. Hope to see you ‘here’.


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