DESIGN AND IMPLEMENTATION OF A PTO/GSM RECHARGE VOUCHER GENERATOR (A CASE STUDY OF GLOBACOM)

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CHAPTER ONE

1.0       INTRODUCTION

            Advances in the area of wireless technologies have the potential of transforming communication initiatives especially in the developing countries of Africa that are characterized  by a dilapidated telecommunications Infrastructure. Through these technologies, it is now possible to bring wireless access to remote and disadvantaged communities. It is also significant that costs for wireless technologies continue to drop, making wireless connectivity increasingly affordable. Today, many in Africa are plugged-in and switched-on (Zachary 2004).

            The most documented form of wireless use in Africa is the mobile phone. Growth in mobile telephony in Africa has been rapid in the last eight years, since telecommunications sector reforms in most countries opened markets to competition as a result of the “Basic Telecommunication Services Agreement” the demand has overtaken that of fixed line services. For most of the new subscribers, their mobile phone is their first and only telephone. Most countries in Africa have at least two mobile networks, one of which is Government – owned. By the end of 2001, Africa had 104 mobile networks operational, serving over 14 million customers in addition to 10 million in south Africa (Warnock and sarkar, 2004), and they were almost 52million by the end of 2003 (ITU, 2004). By far, the majority of the systems in use are now based on digital GSM Standard.

            One notable observation is the considerable variation between different African countries’ adoption and use of these technologies, ranging from the fairly advanced status of South Africa to the relatively under-developed status of Somalia.

            This paper has not dwelt much on south Africa, even through there is a lot documented literature from this country, because it is not representative of the rest of the continent, especially sub-Saharan Africa where poverty in the norm. the developments in south Africa given nature and scope would constitute a more comprehensive study.

            Some examples from Africa show the surge in the mobile sector growth in Cameroon has, in a  way, compensated for the disappointing performance of Cameroon Telecommunications company (CAMTEL). The mobile phone accounts for more than 4% of teledensity and the fixed lines for less than 0.7% in the country which has a population of 16million (Nzepa,2004). In Ethiopia, the current demand for mobile lines is five times that of the fixed line waiting list. The number of subscribers improved in 2002 following the expansion of the network and introduction of the prepaid service (Adam, 2004). In Kenya, the combined connections for the two cellular operators had increased from 15;000 to 2.1 million by the end of 2003. This difference represents a growth rate of 27.8% per year (Mureithi, 2004) and is much higher than the 3.5%rate of the fixed line operator. There are currently 6.8% subscribers as of June 2005. The mobile network is now over ten times the size of the fixed network in subscriber numbers.

            In essence, it reconfirms the changing consumers preference for cellular. In Uganda, mobile phone subscribers grew from 12,000 in 1998 to 711,313 in 2003. Conversely, fixed lines grew by 5% from 56,196 to 64,856 lines in the same period (Gamurorwa, 2004)

            In view of the facts that mobile phones are the most visible form of wireless use in Africa, Chapter two discusses the literature review  on the various ways in which mobile phones are deployed in Africa with a Specific Focus on network deployment, user – driven practice and complementary services.

DESIGN AND IMPLEMENTATION OF A PTO/GSM RECHARGE VOUCHER GENERATOR (A CASE STUDY OF GLOBACOM)