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MTN launches 5G network in Zambia

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Pan-African mobile operator, MTN, has officially launched its 5G network in Zambia, after beginning a test run in January, making the country the third in Africa after previous launches South Africa in June 2020 and in Nigeria in September 2022.

The 5G services which will run commercially in six Zambian cities, according to MTN Group’s President and CEO, Ralph Mupita, will help transform businesses and livelihoods in the southern African nation.

“5G can transform business and livelihoods beyond simple connectivity, with the potential to unlock many new use cases. In Zambia, we see great opportunities across many sectors, and in the mining industry in particular,” Mupita said at the launch on Friday.

MTN Zambia CEO, Bart Hofker, said the 5G services had been activated to cover about 65% of the population in the cities of Lusaka, Kitwe and Ndola, and parts of Chingola, Solwezi and Kalumbila, which translates into about 15% of the overall population of the country.

“We plan to reach 100% 5G coverage in Lusaka, Kitwe and Ndola by the middle of 2023, while gradually expanding the 5G network to other locations,” Hofker said.

MTN’s 5G is a fifth-generation mobile network technology which offers faster speeds, lower latency, better security and stability and the ability to handle high-volume connections and mobile data. It can connect virtually everything, including machines, vehicles and robots,” he added.

The launching of the network in Lusaka, the country’s capital, was witnessed by Zambian President, Hakainde Hichilema, along with top government ministers and representatives of the telecoms regulator and the Central Bank governor

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Applications open for 2024 Africa’s Business Heroes competition

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Applications are now open for the 2024 cohort of the Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) Prize Competition in continuation of its sixth annual continental search for 10 entrepreneurs who strive to make a positive impact in their local communities.

Zahra Baitie, Head of Partnerships & Programs, Africa’s Business Heroes, who made the announcement, said since its inception in 2019, ABH had spotlighted and supported some of Africa’s brightest entrepreneurial minds, noting that this year’s edition would be no different.

In a statement on Monday, Baitie noted that the ABH top 10 finalists also known as “Heroes” have, over the last five years, created 123,000 direct and indirect jobs in Africa, while serving over 37.5 million customers in Africa and beyond and have raised over $153 million.

“As ABH enters its sixth year, it is calling on entrepreneurs across Africa to pitch on the biggest entrepreneurial stage in the continent,” he said.

Applications are open to entrepreneurs from all 54 countries, from all business sectors, of all ages and genders.

“Along with invaluable benefits such as training, exposure and networking opportunities, the top 10 finalists will also compete for their share of $1.5 million in grant money.

“Over the past five years, we’ve had the privilege of witnessing the incredible growth of our Heroes. Many of our Heroes have leveraged the grant funds to expand their geographic footprint, hire talent, grow their operations and invest in new products and services.

”It’s been heart-warming to see our Heroes collaborate with each other and to tap into the ABH network of judges and experts.

“We are motivated to continue to play our part in supporting the African entrepreneurial ecosystem. We are calling on all eligible African entrepreneurs who are creating positive impact to join us in this journey!”

Baitie added that applications for the ABH 2024 are open from until May 19, with the top 50 finalists to be announced in July.

The final winners will be unveiled at the Grand Finale in November, Baitie concluded.

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MainOne lands optic submarine cable in Nigeria’s Akwa Ibom State

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Data centre and connectivity solutions provider, MainOne, has landed Africa’s first ever
optic submarine cable in Nigeria’s Akwa Ibom State.

MainOne, a subsidiary of Equinix Company, announced the feat of the first and only submarine cable system in Nigeria outside of Lagos.

According to the Regional Business Head at MainOne, Abayomi Adebanjo, the collaboration between the company and the state marks a significant “milestone in enhancing broadband connectivity and driving economic development in the South-South, South-East and North-Central regions of Nigeria.”

The optic cable known as 2Africa, Adebanjo said, spans 45,000km in length and will be one of the world’s largest subsea cable projects which will interconnect Europe, Asia, and Africa, with a design capacity of up to 180Tbps.

“The significance of 2Africa lies in its capacity to address critical internet needs and enhance reliability across vast expanses of Africa,” he said.

“Furthermore, 2Africa serves as a catalyst for the advancement of 4G, 5G and fixed broadband accessibility, extending its impact to billions of people.

“With a commitment to consistently deploy financial capital and project resources towards infrastructure investments, MainOne is dedicated to improving internet capacity and driving various aspects of development, including economic growth, digital transformation, healthcare, security, agriculture, and increased state revenue in South-South Nigeria.

“Akwa Ibom’s selection as a landing site underscores its strategic importance in Nigeria’s digital transformation journey and by offering cable diversity and resiliency, 2Africa contributes significantly to the country’s digital infrastructure resilience and MainOne’s role as the landing partner solidifies this endeavour,” he stated.

He added that MainOne will facilitate the establishment of a terrestrial metro fiber network in the state and the entire South-South Nigeria, seamlessly connecting enterprises and people in the region to the submarine cable system.

“By hosting the submarine cable system landing and the fiber cable interconnection, Akwa Ibom State, the South-South Region and Nigeria will unlock numerous economic and social benefits, fostering innovation, entrepreneurship, job creation, and improved public service delivery,” Adebanjo said.

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