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8 - 12 November 2021
Virtual Event

Telcos of Tomorrow: The Evolution of African Telecoms

Exploring the biggest trends in Africa’s evolving telecoms sector to keep telcos at the centre of its digital transformation journey

African telecoms is going through a seismic shift, and has been for many years. More than a decade ago the market started to change around the continent’s telcos, driven by shifting consumer behaviour and demands, they were confronted with a simple choice - adapt or be left behind.

About the topic

African telecoms is going through a seismic shift, and has been for many years. More than a decade ago the market started to change around the continent’s telcos, driven by shifting consumer behaviour and demands, they were confronted with a simple choice - adapt or be left behind. 

Much of the strategy created and implemented across the telecommunications industry has been aimed at diversifying their offering beyond being a ‘connectivity pipe’ to maintain revenue streams and profit. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has further illustrated the critical importance of the continent’s telcos and proved a catalyst for closer partnership with government, regulators, and promisingly, enterprise. A question remains around whether this progress and collaboration will continue into the future. 

The pandemic has also helped highlight some of the enduring challenges that have stymied the industry - infrastructure, and the risks of having communities without internet, the inefficiencies of the spectrum licencing process, and the skills gap. We’ll explore these themes and more on the new Telcos of Tomorrow stream, alongside the emerging business models and new technologies shaping African telecommunications.




Key sessions include:

Thrive or Survive? Modern business models for the 21st century telco

  • Market-led: Adapting to ever-evolving markets, changing customer demands while catering for a new generation of tech-savvy users - from decreasing airtime and data margins to the monetization of disruptive technologies like 4G & 5G, and IoT

  • Future of fintech: The growth of media, eCommerce, digital health, fintech, and the importance of intelligent industry partnerships for new market and sector entry

  • Investment: How Africa’s telco C-Suite are juggling the competing investment demands of infrastructure & network optimisation, and tech & product innovation against regulatory constraints and the ever-present pressure for cashflow

Exploring Africa’s post-COVID telecoms landscape

  • Changing sector: The threat of the COVID-19 pandemic is yet to pass, but examining the pivotal services telecoms provided throughout the outbreak will help predict how the sector will look into the future

  • Future of work (& play): The role telcos will play in providing digital services for the new ways of working and communicating remotely - video conferencing & streaming, alongside gaming and social network

  • Gov x Telco: Governments relied heavily on telecoms connectivity, product roll-outs and price cuts during the pandemic - could the value they bought shape a new blueprint for closer partnership? Which new regulation is here to stay?

OTT Services - African telcos and the battle for media supremacy

  • What's the deal? Growing broadband penetration and disposable incomes of Africa’s middle class is driving an ‘over-the-top’ boom - originally seen as a threat, increasingly telcos are launching their own products

  • Threats: Revenue declines, free messaging and call services, increased network congestion, rising infrastructure costs, and a dearth of clear existing regulation are all significant threats to telcos bottom line

  • Opportunity knocks: 4G & 5G rollouts and improved networks, development of telco OTT platforms and content, and bespoke partnerships all present growth potential

  • Pioneers: Exploring Africa’s first telco-led OTT service launches over the past 18 months

Enhancing service provider competitiveness through the power of AI

  • Industry integration: Looking at industry examples of how AI is being integrated for African service providers - to drive intelligent management of fluctuating network demands, adapting to a changing market, and flexibility to supply chains

  • Managing change: The successful integration of AI is much more than just the nuts and bolts of the technology, it requires educated, skilled operators, something Africa currently lacks - how is the workforce of the future being prepared for the shift?

The rise of Africa’s SuperApps - Telcos new ‘one-stop-shop’

  • 360⁰ Service: Building the SuperApp as a ‘one-stop-shop where customers access media, eCommerce, digital health and mobile money services in one place, and the importance of intelligent industry partnerships for new market and sector entry

  • Interoperability: Small & medium-sized businesses look set to gain as much as any from the superapp, with improved potential to borrow, lend and transact cross-border

  • Competition: Telcos aren't alone, mobility/logistics and financial service companies are also launching superapps - what competition, and learnings, do these present?

Challenging the Traditional Telco Mindset


AfricaCom welcomed MTN's Group Head of Digital Services Manny Teixeira as keynote speaker at both the Visions of Africa and Digital Entertainment streams of the 2016 event, together with a discussion segment at the AHUB powered by Ericsson.