Weekly digest for 16 July 2021


This week’s main story is from a new report issued by the Internet Society on progress towards the goal of 80% of African internet traffic accessed in Africa by 2020. IXPs generate cost savings by reducing the cost of international connectivity and lowering the latency of internet traffic by up to 98%, improving the user experience. South Africa is the only country to have reached the 80% target, with Kenya and Nigeria close behind at 70%. The common feature of the three countries is that their IXPs have at least 50 members. This is the cut-off point: countries with IXPs that have fewer than 50 members are struggling to reach the 80% target compared to countries that have more than 50 members. In Africa, 35 countries have at least one IXP. The focus of IXPs outside of the top 3 should be the target of 50 members to achieve the goal of 80% of traffic accessed from within Africa.

  • Cameroon: Like several other countries in Africa, Cameroon MNOs are pleading for the government to relax the requirement to link SIM registration to national ID cards. The rollout of ID cards is the primary bottleneck with low penetration and reports of widespread fraud.
  • Tanzania: Tanzania has now joined the East African bloc’s One Network Area (ONA). ONA wavies excise duties on incoming voice traffic and puts a retail price cap on outgoing services.
  • South Africa: The recent riots resulted hundreds of base stations being vandalized. MTN says it lost over 100 base stations alone. Millions of calls to operator call centres went unanswered and MNO retail stores in Kwa-Zulu Natal and Gauteng were closed.
  • Dijibouti: There are only two telecom monopolies left in Africa: Dijibouti and Eritrea. Dijibouti is slowly liberalizing its telecom market by allowing private sector investment in the incumbent. However, progress towards allowing competition still seems a long way off.
  • Wireless Wholesale networks: the telecom company managing Red Compartida, the wireless wholesale network in Mexico, has filed for bankruptcy. Often seen as a model that should be copied in Africa, Altan Redes’ bankruptcy shows that a different business model for wireless wholesale networks needs to be developed.