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The ‘other side’ of lockdown live streaming

Inside Telecom Staff

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The ‘other side’ of lockdown live streaming

Live streaming has enjoyed the post-lockdown congratulatory phase where the industry relished in the glow of public approval for the way it has steered itself through the pandemic without missing a beat (almost). However, if this was in any way deserved, then we should also assume responsibility for a less sweet side effect.

Live streaming has now gained hold though the pandemic, as people confined to their homes for weeks on end – trying to deal with the boredom – found a whole new medium offering the illusion of meaningful interaction with someone/something other than the four walls of their living room. Initially, it may not sound too bad, and truthfully, it isn’t. There are educational streams which are very informative and useful.

However, one of the consequences of this new and up-to-date technological diversion has been to promote something known as ‘revenge shopping’ – a rather meaningless name such as that of ‘Black Friday’, which caught on a few years ago. It is an attempt, by the commercial powers in charge, to stir audiences into a buying frenzy.

According to the International Data Corporation, which took early notice of the phenomenon, e-commerce livestreaming is now being used to reconstruct consumer confidence. The concept is to use the medium to motivate the customer to return (excitably) to shopping, to make-up for all the lost retail therapy time they could have experienced during the lockdown.

The IDC says Chinese online players JD.com and KuaiShou have signed an agreement to cooperate on the “618” shopping holiday as a starting point for a strategic partnership.

JD.com has positioned itself in the ecommerce livestreaming field, while Taobao Live has also released many kinds of “618” livestreaming promotion methods and brought together a number of leading channels and influencers. The 618 ecommerce livestreaming has become an industrywide event, and everyone is looking forward to some revenge shopping”, IDC affirms.

IDC research shows that more than 23% of consumers are affected by KOL’s livestreaming marketing, not by their self-driven demand for products, which leads to unplanned consumption.This ratio is even higher among those under the age of 30,” says the IDC.

e-commerce livestreaming shortens the distance between business and customers, while extending sales communication time, making full use of users’ fragmented leisure time, and combining the host’s roles of advertising, sales, and channel as well as other roles, greatly improving sales efficiency,” affirms the IDC.

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NTRA classifies Orange Egypt as a leading telecommunications services provider

Ranine Awwad

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The National Telecom Regulatory Authority (NTRA) has ranked Orange Egypt as first in the speed in data services according to Benchmarking Report No. 11 issued in May 2020. Four telecom operators – Vodafone, Orange, Etisalat, and Telecom Egypt (WE) were evaluated based on international standards.

Orange Egypt outperformed in terms of the quality of data services in 51 areas with an average speed of 32 Mbps. On the other hand, the closest competitor reached an average speed of 28 Mbps in 22 regions.

The NTRA report shows that Orange Egypt provides distinctive data services in all areas of greater Cairo, new urban communities in East Cairo, and certain areas in West Cairo.

In fact, Orange has been working hard to provide the best services to its customers especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.

On July 5, 2020, Orange Egypt has announced its cooperation with Tabibi Clinics to provide healthcare support to Orange’s customers including tele-consultations, setting appointments for home visits by a doctor, or for clinic visits. The telecom operator customers will receive a 25% discount for Tabibi clinic services. Khalil Abdel-Khalek, Co-founder and CEO of Tabibi 24/7 said, “The Orange- Tabibi partnership enhances the role of technology in modernizing the performance of medical services,” according to Daily News Egypt. “This collaboration activates the role of telemedicine in developing the current situation to provide the best healthcare services for patients”, he said.

For football lovers, Orange Egypt has announced the launch of a new digital platform called “HareefLaLiga” which aims to provide LaLiga Football League fans with news and updates.

Furthermore, the telecom provider has also collaborated with Misr El Kheir foundation aiming to support irregular workers’ families during Ramadan. Disinfectants and sanitizers were distributed to thousands of families across 17 governorates including Aswan, Luxor, Halayeb, Qena, and Beni Suef.

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Iliad to collaborate with Open Fiber in Italy

Karim Hussami

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Iliad to collaborate with Open Fiber in Italy

Several companies are collaborating to take advantage of some markets in order to widen their business scope. This is certainly the case with the Italian connectivity market, which has inspired new interest amid the lockdown.

Iliad stormed its way into the Italian market by having a partnership with Open Fiber. “The collaboration with Iliad, which chose Open Fiber for its entry into the fixed market, is further confirmation of the validity of the neutral Open Fiber model,” said Elisabetta Ripa, CEO of Open Fiber.

Therefore, the French provider of telecoms services struck a deal with Open Fiber, an Italian telecommunications company, giving Iliad access to Open Fiber’s infrastructure, or FTTH (Fiber to the x) network, to provide connectivity to 271 Italian cities by 2022.

Open Fiber had more than 8 million homes subscribe to an FTTH service, at the end of last year.

Iliad came to Italy as a mobile operator two years ago gaining over 5.5 million customers, yet it has since, been looking to establish its fixed-line access.

This extensive broadband agreement between the two companies, aims to reach a convergence, but how does it work? To sell an additional product or service to an existing customer rather than purchasing new customers in a single product line, which means a less expensive, more efficient process.

“Growing demand for fixed connectivity over the few past months has driven us to accelerate toward our debut in the fixed segment and the agreement with Open Fiber is the first step in that direction”, said Benedetto Levi, CEO of Iliad’s Italian operations, in a statement.

“Iliad has brought transparency, simplicity and clarity to the world of telephony by building a solid and trusting relationship with its users,” said Levi.

In addition, convergence produces something to meet individual requirements along with a customer service that can be more effective and efficient. Thus, the advantages that convergence gives increases customer loyalty and adds more importance to service providers.

Sky Italia announced a few days ago that it would offer broadband services to customers in 120 towns and cities, expanding its broadband mark in the Italian market.

With the Italian government advising Open Fiber to work with TIM (Telecom Italia) to generate a single network, the Italian telecommunication company continues to be a crucially important player in the industry. This factor increases pressure on TIM, which is lagging behind in an increasingly competitive Italian market.

Thus, convergence is a big step towards enhancing business but it is part of a long-term strategic plan that takes time to implement.  

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Loon: A balloon to help bridge the digital divide in Kenya

Inside Telecom Staff

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Loon A balloon to help bridge the digital divide in Kenya

Kenya has progressed with the deployment of 5G networks. However, a number of Kenyans remain unconnected especially those who are living in rural areas. According to the World Bank report issued in October 2019, 44% of Kenyans living in urban areas have access to the Internet. However, less than 20% of the population is connected. Alphabet’s Loon division comes to close the digital gap with its new project called Loon’s balloons which aims to extend connectivity for communities around the world. In partnership with Telekom Kenya, Loon delivers connectivity from balloons flying 20km up in the stratosphere.

On July 7, 2020, Loon’s balloon started delivering connectivity in Kenya following a commercial deal- the first of its kind in Africa- between Telekom Kenya and Loon. A crucial partnership for Kenyans digital rights as it helps them connect to the whole world especially amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to the New York Times, the balloons will provide a 4G LTE network connection to nearly the 31,000-square-mile area across central and western Kenya, including Nairobi.

Late April 2020, Loon launched the first loon balloon in partnership with Telekom Kenya aiming to provide services to network subscribers across the country. Loon’s Head of Engineering Salvatore Candido said in a blog post “Loon flights depart from one of two sites in Puerto Rico or Nevada. These balloons reach Kenya through a map built on a daily basis by software automation.” According to Candido, Loon’s balloons help to close the digital divide. “The importance of making it possible for everyone to have access to the Internet has never been so clear in our day to day lives,” he said.

According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) census report, only one in five Kenyans has access to the Internet. Sometimes, Kenyans living in rural areas have to travel physically to secure access to the internet. Loon balloons will help Kenyans to remain connected. The launch will enable Kenyans to enjoy internet access and utilize Kenyan government platforms – as many services including applying for a passport and paying for a trade license, have been digitized.

Loon’s CEO Alastair Westgarth said in a blog post published on July 7, 2020, that most Kenyans were connected to the Internet through a balloon without knowing it. “Since we began early tests, we’ve connected over 35,000 unique users, delivering OTT voice and video calling, streaming, web connectivity, and more,” he explained.

Project Loon was launched in 2013 and has been used for many emergencies such as connecting Peru after an earthquake in 2019. Loon has taken the most essential components of a cell tower and has designed them to be light enough to be carried by a balloon. These balloons are manufactured to cope with extreme weather conditions.

Loon balloons are made from a sheet of polyethylene and they last up to 100 days in the air before landing back on Earth. Polyethylene is the most popular type of plastic in the world but it needs 450 years to biodegrade. However, the company has thought about conserving the environment. Balloons are located through a GPS module and lands in sparsely populated areas so they can be collected for reuse and recycle.

Loon has been criticized for the deployment of the Loon balloons technology in Kenyan areas that have already developed infrastructures.

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