Shuttleworth

So You Think You Can Innovate

In an admission that will do nothing to increase my non-existent tough-guy street cred, I have to say that I thoroughly enjoy watching the television series So You Think You Can Dance.  My wife and I watched season 7 of the American series this yea

The Importance of Being Local

I’m a big fan of Huawei‘s website.  Like any good company they publish information intended for their clients, mobile operators.  Reading their publications from the perspective of a mobile operator makes perfect sense but reading it as a consumer has quite a different flavour.

Use Universal Service Funds to Pay for Civil Society Participation in Telecom Regulation

Image courtesy of sp3ccylad on FlickrNot quite a level playing field.

Telecommunications markets are notoriously difficult to regulate effectively.  Telecom operators wield a great deal of power thanks to their wealth and the effectively hold they have on their markets whether through landlines or spectrum licenses and they don’t hesitate to use all means at their disposal to ensure that regulator doesn’t do anything to interfere with their market.

Open Access, Africa, and Yochai Benkler

Since the announcement of the EASSy undersea cable in 2005, Open Access has been a term of significant debate in the development of undersea cable initiatives and in the general strategic development of communication infrastructure in Africa.  Yet, it is a term that is variously understood and often abused especially by the marketing departments of undersea cable initiatives.  There is not an African undersea cable initiative that doesn’t claim to be Open Access but all operate on different ownership and pricing models.

Facebook Zero Helps Ideas Multiply at the Bottom of the Pyramid

I am still frankly gobstopped by Facebook’s announcement.  I vaguely caught the news of Facebook Zero but assumed it was just another mobile interface to Facebook.  It was only when I read Erik Hersman’s post about it that I got the whole story.  Not only have they launched a very lightweight mobile interface to Facebook but they have done something only a company the size of Facebook could… they’ve made it free.

Africa’s 5G Future

Anyone living in Africa and  interested in the future of affordable access will have spent some time trying to make sense of the complex evolving web of technology, regulatory policy, cultural issues, literacy, affordability etc that make up the ecology of communication infrastructure.  Fortunately the market has sorted out a big chunk of that out for us.  The future is mobile.  Even your mother knows that the future is mobile.  And mobile phones are evolving at a pace that no one dreamt of.

Why SMS in Africa?

Erik Hersman recently tweeted “I’d like to hear more on whether we should build SMS or internet services in Africa?”  This had the serendipitous effect of breaking a bit of a blogger’s block for me.

SMS Interconnect Fees

An interesting offshoot of my investigation in to Fair Mobile statistics was the discovery that some African operators charge an interconnect fee for SMS messages.

Fair Mobile – Some data

Here is a first stab at putting together an index that relates the cost of mobile services to income at the bottom of the pyramid in Africa. I found some ILO data on minimum wage that covers 24 African countries and a I found a couple more by googling. Here are the assumptions that I’ve made so far.

Fair Mobile – A Start

Katrin Verclas and I and a few others have been kicking around the notion of Fair Mobile for some time now.  The essence of Fair Mobile is the idea of developing some metrics for equitable, competitive mobile markets that deliver optimal value for money to mobile users, particularly in developing countries.  It has taken me far too long to get going with this but I am finally finding some steam.  So why bother with this?

WGSDIA – Lobby For Cheaper SMS Charges

This entry is part of a series, What Google Should Do In Africa»

This third  “What Google Should Do In Africa” post could be subtitled “Grow some balls”.  Why, oh why, is it that Google, so unafraid to tackle telco and broadcast market behemoths in the United States, behaves like a timid NGO in Africa?

WGSDIA – Launch Google Voice in Africa

This entry is part of a series, What Google Should Do In Africa»

This the second installment in a series of posts in which I have the hubris to reflect upon What Google Should Do In Africa (#WGSDIA). There is some context for this post in the preface to the series.

WGSDIA – Support Open Spectrum

This entry is part of a series, What Google Should Do In Africa»

This the first installment of a series of posts in which I have the hubris to reflect upon What Google Should Do In Africa (#WGSDIA).  There is some context for this post in the preface to the series.

What Google Should Do In Africa – Preface

This entry is part of a series, What Google Should Do In Africa»

africa_googleThis is an introduction to a series of posts on what I think Google ought to be doing in Africa,  that is to say what I think they ought to be doing outside of their core business of selling advertising.  Why pick on Google?  For a few reasons:

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