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Technology & Communications News

EPWP biometric system goes live

By: Natasha Odendaal     5th December 2018 Gauteng’s new biometric identification system for the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) has gone live at the Helen Joseph Hospital, in Johannesburg, kicking off the first part of a province-wide deployment. The “cutting edge” biometric and facial recognition system is expected, over the next... 

HySA strategy bears fruit with multiple projects nearing commercialisation 

By: Nadine James     5th December 2018 The Hydrogen South Africa (HySA) strategy has produced multiple inventions and pilot projects that are nearing commercialisation, Department of Science and Technology Hydrogen and Energy chief director Dr Rebecca Maserumule told attendees of the thirtieth International Partnership for Hydrogen... 

Science body pushes for better human genetics ethics guidelines in South Africa

By: News24Wire      4th December 2018 The Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) has released a study it says is aimed at creating a more certain regulatory environment for government departments on matters relating to human genetics and the human genome. The authors of the study, titled Human Genetics and Genomics in South... 

South African telescope confirms new evidence of white dwarf cannibalising its companion star

By: News24Wire      4th December 2018 Work by researchers operating the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) in the Northern Cape has confirmed that a white dwarf star is cannibalising its companion star. The find has led astronomers to change their view on how massive radiation bursts occur on white dwarf stars. The star,... 

South African telescope confirms new evidence of white dwarf cannibalising its companion star
Photo by Marleny Arnoldi
Southern African Large Telescope

Nigerian court adjourns case between MTN and central bank to December 12 – judge

By: Reuters     4th December 2018 A Lagos judge on Tuesday adjourned a hearing in an $8.1-billion dispute between South African telecoms firm MTN Group and Nigeria's central bank until December 12 after lawyers said they wanted to report back on settlement talks. The central bank has accused the firm of illegally sending... 

Airbus unveils first base for its very high altitude UAV

By: Rebecca Campbell     3rd December 2018 Europe-based global aerospace and defence company Airbus Defence and Space announced in Australia on Monday that it had opened the first operational launch site for its Zephyr “High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite” (Haps) at the Western Australian town of Wyndham. The Zephyr is a very high... 

Airbus unveils first base for its very high altitude UAV
Photo by Airbus
An artist’s impression of a Zephyr S flying in the stratosphere

Chinese brands driving Q3 smartphone growth

By: Natasha Odendaal     3rd December 2018 Chinese brands Huawei and Xiaomi are driving the growth of global smartphone sales, despite sales for most mobile phone manufacturers, including Samsung, declining, research and advisory company Gartner said on Monday. During the third quarter of this year, global smartphone sales to end-users... 

DST hosts hydrogen fuel cell technology conference

By: Nadine James     3rd December 2018 Global stakeholders in the multibillion-dollar fuel cell industry will meet in Pretoria this week for the thirtieth Steering Committee Meeting of the International Partnership for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells in the Economy (IPHE). The Department of Science and Technology (DST) will host the meeting... 

Nigerian court to hear MTN and attorney general case on Feb 7 – registrar

By: Reuters     3rd December 2018 A Lagos court hearing concerning a dispute between South African telecoms firm MTN Group and Nigeria's attorney general over a $2-billion tax demand will take place on Feb. 7, a registrar said on Monday. MTN faces a $2-billion tax demand from the country's attorney general, a claim which the... 

Vodacom helps govt cut operational spend; develops apps for public service efficiency

By: Marleny Arnoldi     30th November 2018 Mobile operator Vodacom has assisted government in reducing some of its operational expenditure by around 56% in participating national and provincial public institutions over the last two years, through the company’s mobile communication services transversal (RT15) communications contract. The... 

Vodacom helps govt cut operational spend; develops apps for public service efficiency
Vodacom business chief sales officer Mickey Mashale

International nuclear school for Africa successfully held in South Africa for second time

By: Rebecca Campbell     30th November 2018 The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has reported that its second South Africa-IAEA Nuclear Energy Management (NEM) School, held in Johannesburg earlier this month, was attended by 23 young professionals from 13 African countries. The School was organised in conjunction with the... 

Western Cape govt partners with Liquid Telecom to expand WiFi access across province

By: African News Agency      30th November 2018 Western Cape Premier Helen Zille will oversee the signing of a deal with Liquid Telecom for a partnership on an expanded public WiFi network, the provincial government said. The expanded service will see a total of 1 600 public WiFi hotspot sites operate across the province with an increased data... 

Digital disruption to bring core engineering skills to fore

By: Schalk Burger     30th November 2018 Far from posing a threat to engineering as a profession, local engineering experts believe that the digital transformation of industries and of society is amplifying the importance of the core competencies of engineering disciplines and bringing them to the fore. Defining and solving complex... 

Digital disruption to bring core engineering skills to fore

Virtual, augmented reality now part of construction processes

By: Schalk Burger     30th November 2018 Virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and building information modelling (BIM) in construction and consulting engineering are important elements of a fully integrated approach to project delivery, says multinational engineering consultancy Aecom Buildings and Places digital project... 

MTN Rwanda signs deal for 50bn franc loan for network upgrade

By: Reuters     29th November 2018 MTN Rwanda, the biggest telecoms operator in the East African nation, has signed a 50-billion franc ($56.20-million) loan with eight local banks, whose proceeds will be used to expand and modernise its network. The company, which had close to 4.5-million subscribers in September, is owned by... 

PIC raises stake in MTN to 23.6%

By: Reuters     28th November 2018 South African State-owned pension fund, the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), has raised its stake in mobile phone operator MTN Group to nearly 24%, regulatory filings showed on Wednesday, a bet on the company in the middle of $10.1-billion dispute with Nigeria. The PIC, which has more than... 

Tracing a falling star

By: Rebecca Campbell     28th November 2018 International cooperation involving researchers at South Africa’s University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) and Madagascar’s University of Antananarivo (UA), supported by an Italian laboratory, has successfully described, classified and traced the history of an meteorite that fell in the area of the... 

Tracing a falling star
Photo by University of the Witwatersrand
A fragment of the Benenitra meteorite

Etion falls into the red in H1

By: Natasha Odendaal     28th November 2018 JSE-listed Etion, previously called Ansys, on Wednesday posted a significant triple-digit slide in earnings for the six months ended September 30, mainly as a result of the costs of its latest acquisition, LawTrust. The diversified digital technology solutions provider reported a 108.6% plunge in... 

Huge to report double-digit growth in H1 earnings

By: Natasha Odendaal     27th November 2018 JSE-listed Huge Group on Tuesday reported expectations of a 55% to 70% rise in earnings per share (EPS) to between 26.5c and 29.07c for the six months ended August 31, against the EPS of 17.1c apiece in the comparative period last year. Headline earnings per share (HEPS) are expected to increase... 

MTN executive exits said to intensify amid Nigeria crisis

By: Bloomberg     27th November 2018 MTN Group is set to lose another high-ranking executive over the next few months, according to people familiar with the matter, as Africa’s largest wireless carrier by sales fights more than $10-billion of claims in its largest market of Nigeria. Chief Innovation Officer Herman Singh is expected... 

MTN executive exits said to intensify amid Nigeria crisis

MTN South Africa reaches 90% LTE coverage 

By: Natasha Odendaal     27th November 2018 Telecommunications giant MTN South Africa’s long-term evolution (LTE)/fourth-generation (4G) technology now covers 90% of South Africa after the company deployed its 11 000th LTE site in Qatywa, in rural Eastern Cape. MTN South Africa’s coverage had reached 88% by August and the deployment of the... 

MTN South Africa reaches 90% LTE coverage
MTN South Africa CEO Godfrey Motsa discusses the milestone of achieving 90% 4G coverage in a short period of time. Camerawork and Editing: Nicholas Boyd.

Telkom enables data transfer and rollover

By: Natasha Odendaal     26th November 2018 Telkom on Wednesday enabled data transfer and the rollover of unused data, effectively becoming the first mobile operator to implement the End-user Subscriber Service Charter Regulations tabled earlier this year. The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa), in May, gazetted... 

Nonprofit manufacturing institute opens in KwaZulu-Natal to support industrialisation of Africa 

By: Simone Liedtke     26th November 2018 South Africa’s newest manufacturing institute and academic research hub – the Toyota Wessels Institute for Manufacturing Studies (TWIMS) – was officially launched on Monday. TWIMS is incorporated as a nonprofit organisation and was established with funding from the Toyota South Africa Educational... 

Nonprofit manufacturing institute opens in KwaZulu-Natal to support industrialisation of Africa
Photo by Simone Liedtke
Toyota South Africa Motors chairperson and Toyota Europe president and CEO Dr Johan van Zyl, Toyota South Africa Educational Trust member Elisabeth Bradley, Trade and Industry Minister Dr Rob Davies and GIBS dean Professor Nicola Kleyn

Altron’s Altech Radio Holdings rebrands as Altron Nexus

By: Natasha Odendaal     23rd November 2018 JSE-listed information and communications technology (ICT) giant Allied Electronics (Altron) subsidiary Altech Radio Holdings has been rebranded as Altron Nexus. This follows on the parent company’s brand repositioning, which unites all its businesses under one brand identity. 

SA leading other emerging economies in key areas of additive manufacturing

By: Rebecca Campbell     23rd November 2018 South Africa is one of the leaders in Additive Manufacturing (AM) among emerging and developing countries, Dr Jorge Vicente Lopes da Silva tells "Engineering News". Lopes da Silva is an AM researcher at the Brazilian Federal Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation's Renato Archer... 

UCT growing bricks of any shape from urine

By: Schalk Burger     23rd November 2018 The University of Cape Town (UCT) Civil Engineering Department has developed a process to grow bricks that can be any shape using sand, bacteria and human urine. The bricks are made of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) – the same substance as limestone, coral reefs, egg- and seashells – and sand cemented... 

UCT growing bricks of any shape from urine
GROWING BRICKS Sand, bacteria, fertiliser and urine produce calcium carbonate bricks in any shape

South Africa improves broadband pricing ranking

By: Natasha Odendaal     23rd November 2018 South Africa’s ranking in’s yearly benchmark of broadband pricing has improved to 93 – out of 195 countries – from a ranking of 102 in 2017. Thirty-six South African broadband packages were measured, showing an average package cost a month of R782.19, or $55.25, in 2018, down from... 

Cryptocurrencies gaining traction

By: Schalk Burger     23rd November 2018 Cryptocurrencies, which are blockchain-enabled and digitally encrypted representations of financial value, are gaining more prominence among the general populace and have moved beyond solely speculative assets, a survey commissioned by cryptocurrency trading platform Luno says. Luno South Africa... 

Cryptocurrencies gaining traction
MARIUS REITZ Cryptocurrencies are suitable for use in a digital economy

Ramaphosa merges Ministries in Cabinet reshuffle 

By: Sashnee Moodley     22nd November 2018 President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Thursday in his much anticipated Cabinet reshuffle the merging of the Telecommunications and Postal Services Ministry with the Communications Ministry, under the leadership of Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams. The merger will take place after the 2019... 

Ramaphosa merges Ministries in Cabinet reshuffle
President Cyril Ramaphosa

Cell C turns to Blue Label, banks to refinance onerous debt

By: Bloomberg     22nd November 2018 Cell C said it’s refinanced R1.4-billion ($100-million) of debt on better terms with loans from its biggest shareholder and a consortium of banks as the South African wireless carrier considers a listing in 2020. South Africa’s third-largest operator is also in talks with vendors including Huawei... 

Icasa starts inquiry into the mobile broadband market

By: Natasha Odendaal     20th November 2018 The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) has launched an inquiry into the mobile broadband market as part of its efforts and interventions to reduce the high cost of communication in the country. The notice of intention, published last week, is the third intervention by... 

South Africa is making strides in physics, but lags in gender equality

By: Kim Cloete     20th November 2018 South Africa is making strides in the field of physics, as well as steady progress in developing and appointing black researchers in the field, but is lagging way behind in gender equality, a study has shown. “Over the period 2005 to 2015, the impact of South African physics publications has... 

South Africa marks ten years of collaboration with CERN

By: Kim Cloete     20th November 2018 South Africa this week celebrated its ten-year collaboration with CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, best known for major breakthroughs such as the discovery of the Higgs-Boson particle in 2012. South Africa’s science community, together with the ambassadors from the French and... 

ACSA, Wits Access Management System challenge winner announced

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     16th November 2018 Team Authentic8 was on Friday declared the winner of the Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) and University of the Witwatersrand's (Wits') Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct’s security access management hackathon, also called the Access Management System Challenge. The announcement was... 

ACSA, Wits Access Management System challenge winner announced

MTN, Cell C secure extension on new end-user regulations deadline

By: Natasha Odendaal     16th November 2018 Mobile operators Cell C and MTN South Africa have reached an agreement with the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) over the implementation of the End-User and Subscriber Service Charter Regulations. The terms of the settlement set a new date of February 28, 2019, for the... 

IoT tools can be used to improve water management

By: Natasha Odendaal     16th November 2018 The Internet of Things (IoT) can help preserve scare resources, as pollution and climate change results in greater pressure on water supply and increasing human population and urbanisation leads to a higher demand, Apex Innovation MD Brynn Williams says. “The consequence [of this trend] is higher... 

Aerospace technology could help uplift Africa in many sectors, Airbus claims

By: Rebecca Campbell     16th November 2018 Giant Europe-based aerospace group Airbus has affirmed that aerospace technologies can play a key role in dealing with many of the socioeconomic challenges confronting Africa. It did so in a report, which it called a White Paper, that was released at the end of last month. at a special event in... 

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