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Technology & Communications News

CSIR launches new centre to support 21st century industries in South Africa

By: Rebecca Campbell     5th March 2021 The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) officially launched its new Photonics Prototyping Facility (PPF) on Friday. The new facility is funded by the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) and is the fifth DSI-funded facility at the CSIR.  Photonics is usually associated... 

Concor, partner awarded MeerKAT/SKA radio telescope construction contract

By: Rebecca Campbell     5th March 2021 South African contractor Concor, in partnership with OptiPower, has been awarded a R212-million contract for the structural foundations and associated infrastructure for 24 additional dishes for South Africa’s MeerKAT radio telescope array. MeerKAT currently has 64 dishes. The partners have also... 

Privacy concerns alienate half of global citizens’ adoption of government digital services

By: Natasha Odendaal     4th March 2021 Concerns around privacy and security risks are risking the participation of more than half the global population in governments’ various digital services drive. A new survey by EY found that 53% of the respondents believe that privacy and security risks around how their data is shared outweigh... 

MTN Nigeria posts increases across the board during FY20

By: Natasha Odendaal     1st March 2021 Telecommunications group MTN Nigeria has posted increases across the board during the year ended December 31, 2020. The West African operations achieved a 9.7% increase in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (Ebitda) to N685.7-billion, however, the Ebitda margin declined... 

MTN says Nigeria operating licence renewal at advanced stage

By: Reuters     1st March 2021 MTN Nigeria is at an advanced stage in renewing its operating spectrum and licence in Nigeria for another ten years from September, the local unit of South Africa's MTN said on Sunday. The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has approved the renewal of the 900 MHz and 1 800 MHz bands due to... 

MTN eyes $65m deal for Syrian business

By: Reuters     1st March 2021 MTN Group remains committed to negotiating a $65-million sale of its 75% stake in its Syrian unit, the South African mobile operator said on Sunday, despite the business being placed under judicial guardianship last week. MTN Syria was placed under guardianship by a court in Damascus over alleged... 

Cell C claws back subscribers, earnings

By: Natasha Odendaal     26th February 2021 Cell C has clawed back some of its customers, increasing its subscriber base to 12.5-million as at the end of November 2020, after recording a decline to 11.8-million by June last year. While revenue for the six months to November 30, 2020, declined 8% to R7.12-billion, from R7.72-billion in... 

Blue Label posts 43% higher H1 earnings a share

By: Natasha Odendaal     26th February 2021 JSE-listed Blue Label Telecoms posted a 43% surge in earnings per share to 49.92c apiece during the six months ended November 30, 2020. The increase was attributed to the disposal of the group's 47.56% interest in Blue Label Mexico and a partial recoupment of losses by the retail division of the... 

New technologies can reinvigorate traditional production in developing countries

By: Schalk Burger     26th February 2021 New technologies can reinvigorate traditional production sectors and speed up industrialisation and economic structural transformation, says United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) technology and logistics division director Shamika Sirimanne. She adds that developing countries... 

IFC invests in Liquid Telecom bond

By: Natasha Odendaal     25th February 2021 The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has invested into a Liquid Telecommunications subsidiary’s bond issue. IFC, playing an anchor role, subscribed to 16% of the bond, equivalent to $100-million, which was listed on Ireland's main stock exchange, Euronext Dublin on February 25. The... 

UK, Australia sign first-of-its-type space sector partnership agreement

By: Rebecca Campbell     24th February 2021 In what has been described as the first such agreement in the world, the UK and Australia on Tuesday created a partnership to greatly strengthen space cooperation between the two countries in most, if not all, its dimensions. The agreement has been designated the Space Bridge. The two countries... 

Government commits to improving infrastructure spending 

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     24th February 2021 The 2021 Budget, presented by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni on February 24, outlines that R93.1-billion has been earmarked for economic regulation and infrastructure, from consolidated government expenditure of R2.02-trillion each year over the medium term. To boost infrastructure spending,... 

SALT doubles grid-tied solar system, supported by year-long test

By: Schalk Burger     22nd February 2021 The Southern African Large Telescope (SALT), in the Northern Cape, has added a new 53 kW solar installation to its grid-tied 40 kVA solar rooftop system. This follows after a system installed on the workshops of the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) provided one year of operational... 

Concor partnership wins major MeerKAT/SKA radio telescope construction contract

By: Rebecca Campbell     22nd February 2021 South African contractor Concor, in partnership with OptiPower, has been awarded a R212-million contract for the structural foundations and associated infrastructure for 24 additional dishes for South Africa’s MeerKAT radio telescope array. MeerKAT currently has 64 dishes. The partners have also... 

Icasa postpones announcement of spectrum bidders to March

By: Natasha Odendaal     22nd February 2021 The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) has postponed the announcement of the spectrum Invitation to Apply (ITA) bidders until March 23. The authority initially planned to announce the qualified bidders of the International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) ITA on February 22. 

Covid accelerated some digitalisation, future workplaces still emerging

By: Schalk Burger     22nd February 2021 While the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted and further digitalised businesses and work, the work space and workforce of the future in each industry and in each company are still emerging, civil engineering multinational Stefanutti Stocks group information technology director Kevin Wilson said during a... 

Engineering approach to knee surgery using soft-tissue as blueprint achieving global acclaim

By: Schalk Burger     19th February 2021 A knee-surgery technique developed by local orthopaedic surgeon Professor Ponky Firer that uses a patient’s soft tissues as a blueprint for surgery, is gaining world acclaim and has led to patient satisfaction rates that are higher than global averages while restoring mobility and quality of life... 

CSIR, Colombia 4IR centre team up on AI and IoT

By: Schalk Burger     19th February 2021 Industrial research organisation the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) on February 19 announced that it has partnered with the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (C4IR) of Colombia operator Corporación Ruta N Medellin (C4IR.CO) to unlock the potential of artificial... 

Perseverance gets Nasa to Mars again

By: Rebecca Campbell     19th February 2021 Late on Thursday night, South African time, the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (Nasa’s) latest Mars rover, Perseverance, successfully landed on the Red Planet. It touched down, as planned, in the 45 km-wide Jezero Crater, which lies on the western edge of a giant impact basin... 

Photo taken in Perseverance mission control at Nasa JPL shortly after the rover landed on Mars, with the first images it transmitted from the Red Planet displayed on the large viewscreen
Photo by JPL
Photo taken in Perseverance mission control at Nasa JPL shortly after the rover landed on Mars, with the first images it transmitted from the Red Planet displayed on the large viewscreen

Storage high on the agenda for emerging economies

19th February 2021 Energy storage coupled with renewable energy ensures less intermittent supply of power, thereby solving balancing and system reliability issues, the Africa Energy Indaba stated in a January press release. 

SHAKING UP THE INDUSTRY 
Energy storage technologies are viewed as a potential game-changer for widespread adoption of renewable energy generation throughout Africa
SHAKING UP THE INDUSTRY Energy storage technologies are viewed as a potential game-changer for widespread adoption of renewable energy generation throughout Africa

SKA Observatory officially comes into being

By: Rebecca Campbell     19th February 2021 The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Observatory (SKAO) is now active, following the first meeting of the SKAO Council on February 4. The current members of the SKAO are Australia, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, South Africa and the UK. The SKA instrument will be co-hosted by South Africa and... 

New compounds, approaches could lead to elimination of malaria by 2030

By: Schalk Burger     19th February 2021 Two new therapeutic chemical compounds and new community-based approaches to combating malaria, driven partly by lockdowns to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, have reinforced internationally agreed objectives that malaria can be eliminated by 2030, says social benefit organisation Goodbye Malaria... 

Business gears up to support mass-vaccination campaign despite variant setback

By: Donna Slater     19th February 2021 While government’s belated, yet accelerating, efforts to secure enough doses of an effective Covid-19 vaccine to begin a phased mass vaccination roll-out gathers momentum, several business organisations are finalising their plans to support the endeavour – one that is seen as crucial for creating... 

Business gears up to support mass-vaccination campaign despite variant setback

IBM commits to net zero greenhouse-gas emissions by 2030

By: Schalk Burger     18th February 2021 Information technology multinational IBM has committed to achieving net-zero greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions by 2030, and aims to procure 75% of its electricity needs from renewable sources by 2025 and 90% by 2030. The company aims to reduce its GHG emissions by 65% by 2025 against the baseline... 

Spectrum licensing may be slower than hoped - Webber Wentzel 

By: Schalk Burger     18th February 2021 The release of radio frequency spectrum for various telecommunications, industrial and commercial uses may take longer than hoped for, given the challenges to ensure equitable access and to enable digital transformation and growth in the economy, says law firm Webber Wentzel senior associate Karl... 

Spectrum licensing may be slower than hoped - Webber Wentzel
Webber Wentzel senior associate Karl Blom briefly summarises key aspects of radio frequency spectrum licensing in South Africa. Video editing: Darlene Creamer.

Paratus, Telecom Namibia to land Equiano cable

By: Natasha Odendaal     17th February 2021 Pan African network operator Paratus and broadband solutions and backbone infrastructure provider Telecom Namibia have signed an agreement to land the subsea cable, Equiano, in Namibia. Google’s subsea cable project, announced in 2019, will connect Africa with Europe, running along the west coast... 

Blue Label to report increase in half-year earnings

By: Creamer Media Reporter      17th February 2021 JSE-listed Blue Label Telecoms expects a more than 20% increase in earnings for the six months ended November 30. The group’s basic earnings a share are set to increase 41% to 45% year-on-year to a range between 49.23c and 50.62c apiece for the first six months of the year. 

MTN, MasterCard partnership enables mobile e-commerce payments

By: Schalk Burger     16th February 2021 Payment technology multinational MasterCard and telecommunications services multinational MTN on February 16 announced that MTN customers in 16 African countries will be able to make e-commerce payments safely and securely using a MasterCard virtual payment solution linked to MTN's mobile money... 

KZN Premier launches R252m science, technology academy

By: Yvonne Silaule     15th February 2021 KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala on February 15 officially opened the R252-million Anton Lembede Mathematics, Sciences and Technology Academy, in Durban. The academy comprises 20 classrooms, one specialist classroom, a library, three computer laboratories and an administration block. 

Drone cinematography programme launched to boost skills

By: Donna Slater     15th February 2021 As part of its Human Capital Development programme, provincial State entity and film industry support organisation, the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Film Commission has launched the Drone Technology Training programme. Since 2014, when the KZN Film Commission says the use of drones in filmmaking became... 

MTN commits to net zero emissions by 2040

By: Creamer Media Reporter      15th February 2021 Telecommunications group MTN has set ambitions of achieving net zero emissions by 2040, setting science-based targets to achieve a 47% average reduction in absolute emissions for scope 1, 2 and 3. MTN said its greenhouse gas (GHG) emission-reduction targets are in line with the information and... 

South Africa risks more inequality if it does not digitalise, says the WEF

By: Marleny Arnoldi     15th February 2021 The World Economic Forum (WEF) in its latest 'Global Risks Report 2021' finds that Covid-19 has not only claimed millions of lives, but also risks widened long-standing health, economic and digital disparities. The WEF, together with report collaborators professional services firms Marsh... 

Broadband critical to small business success

By: Natasha Odendaal     15th February 2021 As the Covid-19 pandemic and resultant restrictions necessitate a move online for citizens and businesses, broadband is playing an essential role that should be embraced. With the emergence of new technologies, new advanced instruments and tools for online engagement, networking and businesses... 

Speedy spectrum allocation is the low-hanging, confidence-building fruit

By: Natasha Odendaal     15th February 2021 The swift allocation of high-demand spectrum is the “low-hanging” fruit toward international investor confidence and growth, said RMB Corporate and Investment banking division telecoms, media and technology sector head Thobeka Tubela. However, like in many countries worldwide, South Africa’s... 

Vox’s fibre initiatives get capex funding boost

By: Natasha Odendaal     15th February 2021 The deployment of fibre infrastructure by Vox subsidiary Frogfoot has been boosted by access to debt facilities to fund their fibre ambitions. The addition capital expenditure (capex) boost from mandated lead arranger Investec will enable Vox to continue to provide communities with fast and... 

Adapt IT appoints independent expert to assess Huge Group offer

By: Natasha Odendaal     15th February 2021 JSE-listed technology company Adapt IT Holdings has issued a further cautionary while a newly appointed independent expert reviews Huge Group’s buy-out offer. Adapt IT has appointed Nodus Capital TS to determine whether or not the consideration offered by Huge Group for Adapt IT shares is fair... 

WEF recognises local SharkSafe tech innovation

By: Schalk Burger     12th February 2021 The SharkSafe Barrier, developed by Stellenbosch University (SU) research commercialisation company Innovus, was recognised by the World Economic Forum (WEF) digital platform UpLink as one of the top ocean innovators and was chosen as one of eleven innovations that have the potential to address... 

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