Browsing: Opinion

Alan Knott-Craig

What must be done to fix Icasa

In the world of telecommunications, you get awful regulators and you get bloody awful regulators. Fortunately, SA has only had awful regulators. The US, Europe and other unfortunates have had bloody awful regulators. In the US, they destroyed one of the greatest companies in the world and issued hundreds of wireless licences with too little spectrum. In Europe, they managed almost to bankrupt credible telecoms operators with horrendously

Matthew French

Hype, er, visors

One of the things I love about the IT industry is the constant hype. There is always some new idea or silver bullet that will fix everything. The hype can provide endless hours of amusement and it can be great fun to watch the clash of the old with the new, the believers versus the Luddites. And of course it provides great mental exercise — deconstructing the hype, trying to understand it, trying to debunk it and trying to see where the hype is real.

Mark Pretorius

Innovation: quo vadis Africa?

South Africans are known for taking unnatural risks every day, they are resourceful and have a healthy can-do attitude. The country has shown a remarkable propensity for innovation on a grand scale in the past – the world’s first heart transplant in Cape Town in 1967, the development (and dismantling) of a nuclear weapons programme in the 1980s and Sasol’s commercialisation of oil-from-coal technologies are a few notable examples. But these are not likely to inspire young entrepreneurs to go out and change the world

Duncan McLeod

A new chapter opens for books

This week, Amazon.com’s Kindle e-book reader went on sale in SA and around the world. E-books are finally coming of age. Here’s why you’re going to want to buy one and why you may be better off delaying your purchase for a short while. If anyone has any doubts that the future of book publishing is electronic, consider this: where Amazon stocks both

Duncan McLeod

What if cell tariffs don’t drop?

Cellular operators were set to receive a grilling in parliament this week. Politicians want mobile interconnection fees to come down. But it’s far from clear if the basic cost of calls will also fall. Can politicians avoid the temptation of interfering further?

Matthew French

The joy, and pain, of documentation

When I was renting a piano for my daughter recently, I found an obvious spelling mistake in the lease agreement. This provided great amusement for the rental agent — he had been using the same contract for 20 years and I was the first person to point it out. Unfortunately for me, it was a bitter reminder about one of the key problems of documentation — nobody ever reads it

Gill Moodie

Vodacom plugs into The Grid

There’s a fascinating thing happening underground. If you’re over 35 you definitely won’t have heard of it. If you haven’t a clue how you surf the Net on your phone you won’t care. But if you’re a media player you really need to know.
With little fanfare, Vodacom has been growing a location-based social network called The Grid

Duncan McLeod

SA politicians play a dangerous game

Some commentators have speculated that the failure of talks between MTN and India’s Bharti Airtel points to a more protectionist approach by government. If so, it’s troubling. The country ought to be opening up to investors, not scaring them away

Justin Spratt

Can Cape Town become SA’s Silicon Valley?

Silicon Cape is a new initiative aimed at fostering technology innovation in the Western Cape. But will it fly? Cape Town already represents the technology hub of the Southern African region. And as one of SA’s most successful technology entrepreneurs, Yola.com founder Vinny Lingham, says

Dominic Cull

It takes two to termination tango

A flurry of initiatives aimed at achieving a reduction in mobile termination rates will provide interesting sidesdows, but beneath the politics of the moment, the real action remains an intimate dance between the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) and the mobile networks. The initial mobile termination rate, also known as interconnection rate, of 20c/minute was set between Vodacom and MTN on 8 August 1994. This was amended on 28 May 1999, shortly after it was announced by government that a third mobile cellular telecommunications licence would be issued.