Operators Jostle for Position in Africa

Editor's note for the Middle East & Africa 2016 edition of Via Satellite.

Africa remains a continent where satellite solutions can have a key impact in a number of verticals going forward. What is particularly interesting is what impact LEO as well as MEO and GEO operators can have here. It seems like every operator sees a niche in the market, but whether it can sustain all this capacity remains to be seen.

This year we take another look at the broadcast market in the region with a key interview with the Wananchi Group and how they see the opportunities for their satellite-based TV services going forward. With a number of Africa’s Millennials accessing content through the cell phones, and terrestrial broadband infrastructure still relatively lacking, the opportunity for satellite in broadcasting remains tough to gage. There is no doubt there are emerging middle classes willing to pay for content, but the question, is whether this represents a huge opportunity for satellite.

But Africa is more than just broadcast. Communities want to get online to boost education, health as well as businesses and economies. This is where High Throughput Satellites (HTS) come in. In our second feature in this issue, Helen Jameson talks to a number of players about the impact of HTS in Africa and how operators’ business plans make sense in this data-centric era.

Overall, it really is all about data. While broadcast markets offer hope and potential, if operators are going to be successful in Africa, it will be down to connectivity and a new wave of verticals. At this stage the jury is still out in terms of how lucrative these verticals will be. But, the satellite industry has bet heavily on the potential here. We all have to hope that this plays favorably for the all concerned.

As usual, this annual edition of Via Satellite Middle East & Africa is distributed at the AfricaCom 2016 event; we wish all attendees a very successful show at Cape Town. VS

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