Market Overview

Smart Africa unveils One Area Network Open Waves initiative


Today marks the signing of an MOU between Smart Africa and Global Voice Group, a renowned provider of revenue assurance, telecom management and regulatory compliance systems.

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PRWEB) February 12, 2018

In its resolution, the 24th Ordinary Summit of the African Union welcomed Smart Africa's One Africa Network Initiative "aimed at reducing the costs of electronic communications within regions and ultimately across the continent" and further recommended Member States "to adopt and roll-out this initiative in furtherance of Africa's socio-economic integration."

The 30th Ordinary Summit of the African Union launched Africa's Single African Air Transport Market (Open Skies) and the launch of the Continental Free Trade Area is imminent.

Following in the same vision, "Africa Open Waves" is a new initiative that seeks to support the above-mentioned continental integration efforts while accelerating the implementation of the One Africa Network. The initiative will be delivered through the establishment of One Africa Network Traffic Exchange and Financial Settlements Platform (ARTEF) in partnership with Global Voice Group.

Today, 9th February 2018, marks the signing of an MOU between Smart Africa and Global Voice Group (GVG), a renowned provider of revenue assurance, telecom management and regulatory compliance systems.

*Strategic Objectives*

ARTEF will:

  • Assert the sovereignty of African nations to oversee their own voice, data and financial transactions traffic and reclaim associated benefits;
  • Support the open-sky with an open waves policy;
  • Boost intra-African trade and socio-economic transformation agenda;
  • Support and promote African continental integration efforts, especially the free movement of people, goods and services across the continent;
  • Protect African borders from telecom fraud and grey traffic while tackling the associated economic and security threats that such traffic represents; and
  • Improve the quality of service and affordability of communications within Africa.

Above all, by offering a transparent and technologically-controlled ecosystem, the ARTEF will protect Africa's $3.6 billion trade in cross-border telecoms traffic from erosion by fraud, benefiting our mobile network operators, subscribers, and governments alike.

For the African subscribers, the ARTEF implementation means improved quality of service, as traffic is exchanged via regional nodes within the region, instead of being routed via carriers that take traffic all the way to Europe, and back down to Africa. The platform also protects these subscribers against the unlawful interception of their calls and SMS, and the unlawful use of their data to benefit non-African agencies. Overall, they will also benefit from lower cost of regional and roaming calls by virtue of the certification of OAN traffic.

For governments, it means increased transparency over traffic flows and stimulation of the digital economy through lower costs of communications and data analytics.

Mobile network operators benefit through easier traffic exchange, and the reassurance that their traffic is routed with high quality, at lower cost, and where their revenues are protected against fraud.

According to Mr. Patrice Baker, President and Chief Executive Officer of Global Voice Group, "The ARTEF is a revolution in not only traffic exchange within the One Africa Network – lowering costs and improving quality – but a significant milestone in Smart Africa's bold vision to stimulate economic growth by breaking down the barriers to communications on our continent. Lower call costs encourage business communications, stimulate innovation, and drive collaborations that can now take place across borders, bringing Africa's brightest minds and ideas from the furthest corners, to the digital table."

*ARTEF Platform*

The Platform will have the following essential characteristics:

  • 3 fully redundant regional nodes
  • Capacity to handle 100% of intra-African and roaming traffic for voice and SMS
  • Capacity to expand and manage data exchanges and cross border mobile money transfers.

*Expected Benefits*

  • Subscribers: Improved quality of service, security and affordability
  • Mobile network operators: Easier traffic exchange, reconciliation, billing, settlements and savings of costs associated with collection and account receivables.
  • Governments and regulatory authorities: Transparency over traffic flows, enforcement of operators' accountability, stimulation of the digital economy through lower costs of communications and data analytics.

The Smart Africa's Initiative Open Waves Initiative supported by the ARTEF is geared towards connecting, innovating and transforming the continent into a knowledge economy, thereby driving global competitiveness and job creation. The initiative also aims at enabling Member States to become more competitive, agile, open and innovative smart economies with the most favorable business climates that attract large-scale investments, reward entrepreneurship and enable fast growth and exports, and leveraging ICT innovations to transform African nations into smart societies.

Dr. Hamadoun Toure, Executive Director of Smart Africa concludes: "The One Africa Network Open Waves initiative comes to support and help accelerate the African Union's continental integration efforts, such as the Free Movement of People, Goods and Services, the Continental Free Trade Area and Africa's Open Skies initiative. By keeping Africa's traffic in Africa, the ARTEF platform will enhance the affordability and security of communications across the continent while cutting the costs that operators incur to interconnect and carry voice, SMS and later on data and financial services traffic among African countries".

*About Smart Africa*

SMART Africa is a bold and innovative commitment to accelerate sustainable socio-economic development on the continent, ushering Africa into a knowledge economy through affordable access to Broadband and usage of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT).

The Smart Africa Manifesto aims to put ICT at the center of national socio-economic development agenda of member countries; improve access to ICT especially broadband; to improve accountability, efficiency and openness through ICT promoting the introduction of advanced technologies in telecommunication; to put Private Sector first; and to leverage ICT to promote sustainable development.

Founded in 2013, the Smart Africa is headquartered in Kigali. Smart Africa is made of 22 African countries adhering to the Smart Africa Manifesto. Its founding members include the African Union (AU Commission, NEPAD Agency, specialized institutions and Regional Economic Communities), International Telecommunications Union (ITU), World Bank, African Development Bank (AfDB), UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), GSM Alliance (GSMA), ICANN, African Telecommunications Union (ATU) and the Private Sector.

*About Global Voice Group*

Celebrating its 20th birthday this year and present in more than 20 countries, Global Voice Group (GVG) has rapidly grown to become a prominent provider of world-class IT solutions to governments and regulatory authorities. We work with governments and state agencies across a number of critical areas, including: telecom regulatory oversight, digital financial services oversight, data analytics for national security, electronic control of taxes, revenue mobilization, and overall governance optimization through Big Data technologies.

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