GSMA has launched a new Innovation Fund for Rural Connectivity, aimed at expanding digital inclusion through innovative new technology solutions.
UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) is backing the initiative. GSMA will manage the rural connectivity program.
The innovation fund will provide grants up to £300,000 and is open to eligible companies who can deploy connectivity solutions in partnership with telecom operator MTN Uganda in Uganda and Vodafone Ghana in Ghana, GSMA said.
Funded projects will test innovative ways to deploy mobile broadband networks in rural areas, looking to demonstrate commercially sustainable models that can be scaled and replicated in similar environments.
“The Innovation Fund for Rural Connectivity will drive partnerships aimed at developing new ways of using mobile technologies to close coverage gaps in rural areas so that more citizens have access to life-enhancing mobile services,” John Giusti, chief regulatory officer of GSMA, said.
GSMA says projects eligible for funding will test innovative ways to deploy mobile broadband networks in rural areas, in partnership with a mobile operator, and projects will need to demonstrate commercially sustainable models.



Patricia-Obo-Nai-Director of Fixed Business and Customer Operations at Vodafone Ghana, Patricia Obo-Nai has charged organisations to consider a blend of technology and human interactions in order to deliver great customer experience.

Speaking on the topic “Technology and Customer Experience: Impact on business growth and economic transformation,” Patricia said: "Robots are delivering important transactional activities in a more efficient way. Machines will deliver the efficiencies we want but human interactions will deliver the feel, touch and emotions that machines are unable to deliver. Some customers still want a human touch and your business must be setup in a way that still allows you to deliver that human experience because again it’s what the customer wants.’’

"While the future may be bleak, I see it as an opportunity that the industry needs to embrace to win, so technology is key. At Vodafone, agents who are no longer doing the transactional things are retrained to deliver the more complex pieces that the customer will request. So the agents are not losing their jobs, on the contrary." She added.

The Vodafone Customer Experience Summit is one of the key activities Vodafone listed as part of its Customer Experience Week celebration.

The telecommunications giant lined up a series of activities to appreciate its customers and recognise deserving customer-facing employees throughout the week. Vodafone’s management team led by the CEO, Yolanda Cuba presented gifts to loyal customers and also spent time at the Vodafone retail shops to engage and appreciate customers.



MTN Logo
MTN Ghana has organized a capacity building workshop for the Judiciary in Accra. The workshop which was organized in collaboration with e-Crime bureau was dubbed: “Capacity Building Workshop for Judiciary on Mobile Fraud and Prosecution.”
The workshop was also aimed at enriching the experience of the Judges to help them stamp out the viral fraud undermining the mobile money business in the country.
In an interview with Mr Eli Hini, the General Manager of MTN Mobile Money Limited, he said, as a company they want to foster a stronger bond between them and the judiciary in order to help safe guard the system.
According to him, it is important cog in the machinery of the criminal justice system to confront the canker of the mobile money fraud and have it stopped.
This he said, MTN wants to have speedy and effective prosecution of the criminals. It is in this regards, we are bringing the judiciary on board in order to enlighten them with the requisite information and also by schooling them on the modus operandi of these perpetrators.
Speaking at the workshop, His Lordship, Justice L.L. Mensah- Justice of the Court of Appeal, commended MTN Ghana for taking a judicious step to organize such a workshop for the Judiciary.
Mr. Mensah said the prosecution of the criminals must be commensurate with the speed with which they siphon off monies from their victims.
“In other words, as I would touch hereafter the prosecution must be fast, and effective in order to leave no room to the perpetrators of the cyber fraud that both the MTN and the Judiciary mean business,” he emphasized.
According to him, when it comes to the prosecution, the Judiciary cannot prosecute without effective or speedy investigation by the police.
Dr. Herbert Gustav Yankson, Chief Superintendent of Police and the Head of Cybercrime Unit also added that the fraudsters use some form of intrusion and malicious software to manipulate their way through and so there is a need to educate the judiciary so as to empower them in disseminating appropriate punishment to those found guilty.
“In fighting cybercrime and especially mobile money fraud, because of privacy of data, we need the court to give us an order to be able to obtain the data that we need to investigate such cases so letting them understand what goes into the investigations and the need for some quick response is key and that is why letting them appreciate the challenges that we are facing and letting them understand is key,” he added.
He said that there is a need to create awareness and sensitize the general public so as to reduce cases of fraud.
“About 60 to 70% of all the cybercrime cases are related to fraud… and so if 70% of the cases are based on fraud, then awareness is key. Meaning that if we all empower ourselves with knowledge. If we all become aware and sensitize the general public then we can reduce the cases by 70% and which is a big achievement,” He said.
The Business Operations Manager e-Crime Bureau, Mr. Philip Danquah Debrah, noted that as industry player there was the need for MTN to bring all the players to understand the invasive nature of the mobile money fraud.
It is in this regard, e-Crime Bureau, stepped in to help combat the menace. This he said, they had some programs with MTN last year by training the police and the media.
"This time, we have decided to focus on the Judiciary to help them understand the modus operandi of the criminals, when it comes to mobile money fraud".
According to him, they have gathered a lot of intelligence as to how the criminals operate. Mr. Debrah was hopeful that, the training would go a long way to ensure the effective prosecution of these mobile money fraudsters in the country.


FCC to drive US 5G goals with more spectrum

Ajit Pai
Picture: Ajit Pai, Chairman of the US, FCC.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) outlined plans to free up more spectrum for 5G and Wi-Fi, as well as opening up rules for rural carriers to promote investment, as it looks drive US leadership in the next-generation of mobile technology.

In a blog post, chairman Ajit Pai (pictured) outlined the regulator’s spectrum proposal, which will be voted on later this month, with the announcement building on a speech he made last week at a White House summit on 5G.

In his presentation, he focused on the FCC’s plan to promote US superiority on 5G technology through its 5G FAST Plan, on which he provided more detail with this latest announcement.

5G leadership
Starting with 5G, Pai highlighted the regulator’s plans to hold two auctions for high-band mmWave spectrum in the 28GHz and 24GHz bands beginning on 14 November, but added it also wants to free up mid-band spectrum for 5G and other uses.

Therefore, it is proposing to make better use of the 3.5GHz, which will “make targeted changes to our rules to promote investment and innovation in this important band”.

“For example, by allowing providers to renew 3.5GHz licences, we will substantially increase their incentive to deploy 5G networks using this spectrum,” said Pai.

While 3.5GHz spectrum has not been touted as 5G-suitable, it does have the potential to deliver more capacity and speed compared with spectrum currently used in today’s mobile networks.

Wi-Fi opportunity
Turning to Wi-Fi, Pai said the technology was enabled by the FCC’s decision to make certain spectrum available for unlicensed use and, as it becomes more popular, “so has the demand for more unlicensed spectrum to accommodate this traffic”.

Wi-Fi currently runs on only two frequencies, 2.4GHz and 5GHz, but expanding its use to another band could alleviate congestion.

Therefore, the regulator is proposing to expand unlicensed use in the 6GHz band, which would “promote efficient use of the spectrum that may otherwise not be used at all”. Pai added that it could make more than 1GHz of new unlicensed spectrum available.

“This last point bears elaboration: this massive amount of spectrum could enable faster Wi-Fi connections and substantially expand the reach of internet access providers that use unlicensed spectrum, like small, competitive fixed wireless companies,” he said.

Pai added the move could also enable mobile broadband companies to supplement their licensed holdings for 5G.

Finally, Pai said the regulator will also vote on modernising rules governing rural carriers, with the view of removing regulations to allow them to invest in their networks.

He said the order, if approved, would enable rural companies to take “resources currently wasted on regulatory compliance and devote them to building stronger networks and delivering better services”.

Source: Mobile World Live