The Australian Digital Media Industry Continues its Transformation

May 29th, 2017, by

With the rise of digital platforms, the media industry has had to change and the transformation continues in 2017. In newspaper and book publishing, TV and radio broadcasting, film, music, and other forms of media, we see that the national walls that protect local organisations within traditional models are crumbling. In other words, it is no longer an issue of local market share. It is now about international market share. Over-The-Top providers have also had an enormous impact on the traditional media, as well as the telcos.

There are a number of sub-sectors which make up the overall digital media entertainment market and in 2017 many of these are demonstrating enormous growth. This highly competitive market is flourishing on the back of improved mobile and broadband infrastructure and consumers continuing to embrace entertainment services such as gaming, social media, video streaming and music.

The smartphone market has slowed from its boom years to a more modest growth.  Although Samsung and Apple remain the leading smartphone suppliers globally, their market share is being eroded by lower-priced phones from China.

Wearable technology has also become a thriving industry, with an ever-broadening range of possible uses and devices. With wearable devices still making their mark on the consumer market, the industry is looking at the potential of wearables in the enterprise sector – for example, being hands-free devices, smart glasses are ideal in the blue-collar business. A major threat to the smartphone and wearables business however arises from the limitations of the mobile broadband infrastructure. The mobile industry can develop all of these new applications and services, but if the infrastructure cannot handle the capacity, there will be little use for them.

Social media developments are fascinating and exciting. They show the great potential of the new communication and information tools that are becoming available thanks to the internet, Web 2.0, email, broadband infrastructure and mobile phones and tablets. However, for these new social media tools to succeed, they need to be fully and totally integrated into our daily communication.

Popular Australian social media sites have come and gone over the last five or so years as users trend to new features that allow them to experiment and connect. Services include Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Wikipedia, Foursquare and LinkedIn Instagram, Pinterest and many others. The battle however is still far from over, with companies trying to build viable business models around their ever increasing customer data bases. Increased use of mobile broadband through mobile devices is driving consumer uptake, with many businesses now also investing in social media and also expecting a return.

As broadband speed and capacity increases we are seeing a whole new range of gaming applications entering the market over the next decade. Not needing a console has increased access and created distinctions between console vs. casual gamers. Games are now integrated with other online services such as music and movies. The video and computer games industry in Australia continues to grow strongly. Much of the growth in digital has come from a jump year-on-year in mobile game downloads.

Online gaming and gambling can take players from outside the boundaries of their home countries where these online activities may or may not be sanctioned by the authorities. The global market is an expanding one where virtual online gaming and virtual online gambling is a growth market. There is a decline in the number of Australians who are gambling – but an explosion in sports betting, especially via online.

The Australian mobile media provider market has seen some changes over the last few years as company mergers and acquisitions bring consolidation to the industry. The major mobile media players are becoming digital media providers as they provide access to their services via mobile devices.

For detailed information, table of contents and pricing see: Australia – Digital Media – Apps and Services

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Mobile subscribers grow at a moderate pace in Afghanistan

May 27th, 2017, by

Afghanistan continues to be confronted by the challenges. The political and civil stability of the country is a dark cloud hanging over the country; and is a particular threat to the effectiveness of the telecommunications network and the viability of the telecommunications sector.

By 2017 despite the positive signs of a civil society taking shape, the country was still suffering from the ongoing conflict and multiple difficulties in administering the nation. After many years of war and civil strife, an encouraging aspect of the country’s efforts to rebuild has been the considerable success evident in the creating of a functional telecommunications sector virtually from nothing.

Internet penetration in Afghanistan remains very low although has increased significantly over the past five years, increasing from 3% in 2011 to 13% in 2016. Penetration is predicted to increase to over 15% by 2018. Fixed broadband penetration remains very low in Afghanistan at less than 0.1%

Afghanistan has a highly competitive mobile market that continues to flourish despite the background of the ongoing conflict throughout the country. The mobile sector has been boosted by the absence of effective fixed-line alternatives. There are five mobile operators competing in Afghanistan’s telecom sector. Between them they claimed a total of more than 25 million subscribers, with an overall mobile penetration of 80% The market is predicted to grow moderately over the next five years to 2021 increasing to reach penetration of between 86% and 95%.

By 2017, there were over two million 3G mobile broadband subscribers in the country. In mid 2016 the MCIT reduced the cost of international bandwidth by 20%, in a move to lay the groundwork for the introduction of 4G services in the future.

For detailed information, table of contents and pricing see: Afghanistan – Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband – Statistics and Analyses

 

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Dutch Smart City Delegation back in Australia

May 26th, 2017, by

It will be the third time in six months that a Dutch Smart City Mission will visit Australia. This time the visit will coincide with next week’s Smart Communities Conference in Adelaide, organised by the Australian Smart Communities Association (ASCA).

The first visit took place in November last year when Queen Maxima of the Netherlands was the esteemed guest of the Australian Dutch Smart City Summit in Sydney, together with the Hon Henk Kamp, Minister for Economic Affairs of the Netherlands; Senator the Hon James McGrath, Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister; Mrs Lucy Turnbull, Chief Commissioner of the Greater Sydney Commission (GSC); as well as several mayors and other government and industry dignitaries.

A follow-up visit took place in March, when the delegation visited all the cities that have signed MoUs with the Dutch-led Global Smart Communities and Cities Coalition (GSC3).

Since that time significant effort has gone into building collaboration links between smart cities in the Netherlands and the GSC3 smart cities in Australia (Adelaide, Canberra, Bendigo, Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Sydney (GSC), Ipswich and Moreton Bay).

The upcoming visit will further strengthen the links between both countries, with plans for meetings with the participating cities.

Businesses in both Australia and the Netherlands are critical in assisting in the collaboration projects between Australian and Dutch cities. This is particularly interesting for businesses that operate internationally and a range of meetings are planned to explore these business opportunities.

The Dutch Government is hosting a networking reception in Adelaide on Sunday 28th May. GSC3 will also participate in the Smart City Mayors Meeting hosted by the Lord Mayor of Adelaide, the Hon Martin Haese.

Apart from Adelaide the delegation will this time also visit Sydney and Brisbane.

But also R&D collaboration will be explored. During the same period the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions will meet with potential R&D partners in Australia.

The next international activity will be the Australian Smart City Mission to the Netherlands. Last November the Dutch Government invited the Australian Government to lead such a mission. It will take place from 19-22 November and coincides with the Global Smart City Conference in Barcelona, which takes place in the week prior to the mission.

Paul Budde

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Rwandan government commits to smart city investment

May 26th, 2017, by

The Rwandan telecom market continues to develop strongly, buttressed by sustained GDP growth which has seen the country develop one the fastest-growing economies in the world. Supported by significant foreign aid, this growth has been helped by prudent fiscal and monetary policies which have create a business-friendly environment conducive to investment.

Nevertheless, poverty remains widespread. There is little economic diversity, with up to 99% of the population engaged in agriculture and in the mineral and agro-processing sectors. The financial services sector is also underdeveloped: with banks focussed on government borrowing there is little attention paid to the support of small businesses, and most of the population has little or no access to conventional banking services. In turn, this has made Rwanda one of the more successful markets on the continent for mobile banking and payment services.

Although the country was slow to liberalise the mobile sector, allowing South Africa’s MTN a monopoly until 2006 when the fixed-line incumbent, Rwandatel (since acquired by Liquid Telecom) became the second mobile operator, there is effective competition among the three current operators, each of which provides wide geographic coverage. The launch of services from Tigo in 2009 sparked renewed subscriber growth, though competition has eroded mobile services revenue and ARPU since then.

Rwanda’s internet and broadband sector has suffered from limited fixed-line infrastructure and high prices, but developments in the fixed network market are improving connectivity and reliability. The operators are rolling out national fibre-optic backbone networks which also allow them to connect to the international submarine fibre-optic cables on the African east coast. These cables have given the entire region fibre-based international bandwidth for the first time and brought to an end its dependency on satellites. During 2017 Liquid Telecom has continued to expand its FttP services across Kigali and a number of other towns.

Interest from investors in the country’s ICT sector remains strong. A deal with Korea Telecom has developed a wholesale LTE operator, Korea Telecom Rwanda Networks, which provides retail services to a number of fixed-line operators as well as to the mobile network operators. The number of subscribers on LTE infrastructure increased 200% in 2016, year-on-year.

This report contains an overview and analysis of Rwanda’s telecommunications market, profiles of the major players in all market sectors, relevant statistics and analysis, and scenario forecasts to 2021 for the country’s mobile market.

For detailed information, table of contents and pricing see: Rwanda – Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband – Statistics and Analyses

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Cameroon anticipating SAIL submarine cable link with Brazil

May 25th, 2017, by

The ICT sector in Cameroon contributes only about 3.5% of GDP, which is low for the region. The sector requires considerable development for the country to make better use of the digital economy. To this end the government has in train its ‘Cameroon Digital 2020’ program, aimed at improving connectivity nationally. A large number of small ICT projects form part of the overall program. The country will greatly benefit from the SAIL submarine cable providing a direct link to Brazil, and so onto other countries in the Americas. The cable, expected to be ready for service in late 2018, will improve international bandwidth and lead to further reductions in access prices for consumers.

Cameroon was for many years one of the few countries in Africa with only two competing mobile operators, MTN Cameroon and Orange Cameroon. After some delays, Nextell Cameroon majority-owned by Viettel) launched a third network in late 2014, including the country’s first 3G mobile service. The operator has grown swiftly, signing up more than three million subscribers and claiming a 16% market share. Competition in 3G followed in early 2015 when both MTN and Orange launched services. Mobile broadband based on LTE was established at the end of 2015 and this has been the catalyst for a fast-developing mobile broadband sector. The investment programs among operators over the next few years will considerably boost mobile broadband services in rural areas of the country, many of which are underserved by fixed-line infrastructure.

Fixed-line penetration in the country is extremely low, and the privatisation of Camtel’s fixed-line business has failed several times. Given these condition, fixed-line services are relatively insignificant in terms of internet connectivity.

Further development is quickening in mobile banking and commerce, with both the MTN Money and Orange Money platforms making considerable progress in facilitating services for customers, the number of which approaches six million.

For detailed information, table of contents and pricing see: Cameroon – Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband – Statistics and Analyses

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