At the moment, it is plain that Africa is experiencing heightened demand for connectivity options to see through the ever-increasing digital divide between urban and rural areas. While existing service providers are mustering campaigns and bolstering product offerings in bridging this gap, they are still facing setbacks of backhauling data streams of all types, and this is an issue that must be looked into.
Rolling out connectivity options in rural setups is still expensive. For instance, rollout strategies are hampered by operational expenses and high capital, which are worsened by low population densities in some areas. Often, service providers have to see the return of investment (ROI) based on high average revenue per user (ARPU). Current times dictate that ROI can be achieved in a decade or so instead of the desired 3-5 years. This means that the cost of delivering connectivity surpasses expected profits that can be realized under that same conditions.
As a result, wireless technology has thrived as operators focus on deployment to remote areas. It is a strategy for development of the telecoms industry in Africa as a whole. It is also the duty of vendors to help carriers in bridging the aforementioned gap for a wider rollout of connectivity for the African population, with emphasis in 4G.
“Such wireless connectivity has a lot to offer to the dynamic and active players in Africa. It enables internet service providers (ISPs) to serve more effectively the rural areas, as well as provide more capacity to the bandwidth-hungry urban areas.
“These innovative solutions are a cost-effective alternative to the cabled infrastructure which can be troublesome at times – for various reasons – in most African countries. In addition to being ideal for the harsh African terrain, the advantage of a wireless network is that it can be quickly re-deployed, as opposed to a cabled infrastrastructure that cannot be easily moved to another location,” says Kamal Mokrani, Global Vice President of Infinet Wireless.
For instance, wireless networks have enabled small business in rented premises relocate to new offices in a timely manner.
It is apparent that there is considerable space for the growth of wireless technologies in Africa, with the main benefit being speed and scalability. Installation is almost four times cheaper than fibre-based networks and take much less time. Scaling up is also as simple as integrating another device into the existing network.