Important issues, often not discussed, that I only have partial answers for. Ideas welcome.

Africa

Why are most African cables running at 10% capacity when users are so short of bandwidth?

Why did growth go from phenomenal to almost negligible across most of the continent early in 2016?

How many billions do the giant multinationals extract from African countries every year?

Is Massive MIMO Ready for Africa? Click read more for partial answers.

Why are most African cables running at 10% capacity when users are so short of bandwidth?

I was startled to hear that the African cables are all but empty but have confirmed that with people in the industry. Prices are down but still 5-10X similar in Europe. Going underseas isn't cheap, but the construction cost can't explain most of the difference.  Some is incumbents using their part ownership for protection. Some is the cartel-like pricing. (Today's telcos understand how to signal without the illegal meetings and agreements. I have no evidence of anything illegal.) 

Why did growth go from phenomenal to almost negligible across most of the continent early in 2016?

In 2014, I estimated Africa would have more than 320M Internet users, the population of the United States, in ~2017, Cheap smartphones are connecting the world. Cisco helped me and provided data. Not quite yet. One factor is the decline in oil prices clobbered Nigeria and others. 10-20M SIMs were voided as governments demanded certification for security reasons. That's not enough to explain the falloff, especially as many in South Asia and Latin America are still booming. 

How many billions do the giant multinationals extract from African countries every year?

Google, Facebook, and others provide important services, but their impact on the cash flow of Africa is large. Follow the money. Google, Facebook, and most of the others pay almost no local taxes, hire few locally, and knock out potential local competition because of their size and market power. Something's wrong if 25% of cab fares in Nigeria go to Uber in California. Perfectly fine cab services have developed in several Asian countries and would in most of Africa if protected. Not merely does Uber save on taxes, they've already covered the cost of the software and systems in the U.S. The effective cost of bringing African countries into Uber's system is very small, giving them a huge advantage over local developers.

The American giants are no more or less moral than giants elsewhere. MTN Nigeria has shown an African multinational can be as effective a tax avoider as Americans, but the web is dominated by the U.S.

Is Massive MIMO Ready for Africa?

Paulraj told me in 2014 Massive MIMO would more than triple capacity and be the right choice many places. Africa needs capacity for much higher user caps and MM us probably the cheapest way to get it, The equipment is shipping now. India, China, and Japan are deploying rapidly.

 

Latest

April 18

“My three biggest customers are marching to 7 and 5 nanometers.” Lip-Bu Tan. Moore’s Law ain’t dead yet.

Eric Xu, current Huawei Chairman, said consumers would find no “material difference between 4G & 5G.” Dozens of top engineers agree the "5G Revolution" is hokum, including  DT CTO Bruno Jacobfeuerborn, FT/Orange SVP Arnaud Vamparys, and BT CEO Gavin Patterson.
     Politicians and marketers pushed b_______. What’s coming for 5-10 years is good for telco capacity but otherwise disappointing. Unfortunately. 
     On the other hand, mmWave & Massive MIMO are improving at a ferocious rate, advancing telco capacity enormously. Massive MIMO has made it practical to use 3.5 GHz frequencies, a second remarkable booster. The "5G Revolution" is dead; Long Live the real 5G and advanced wireless!
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U.S. attacks on Huawei and ZTE look to be an historic disaster.


China’s logical response is to invest to become independent of the U.S. They already have $100B on the table for memory chips and are rumored to add another $100B. Huawei/HiSilicon already holds their own against Qualcomm and everyone else in the world. 
    Zeng Xuezhong of Spreadtrum, world #3 mobile chipmaker, confirms: China will “speed up the chip R&D investment that is self-controlled and self-researched. We must never forget to make it bigger and stronger.”
     U.S. warships patrolling China’s seas inspire security fears. So does Trump’s threat to a country on China’s border."Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, [for] fire, fury and frankly power, the likes of which the world has never seen before.”
     China would be stupid not to have domestic capacity just in case. The Chinese leadership is not stupid.
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The year's best wireless conference is next week. Ted Rappaport, Sandeep Rangan and colleagues bring the world's best engineers to the Brooklyn 5G Conference Summit. This year, Paulraj, Onoe, Fettweis, Katabi, and their peers are coming. Do not miss the webcast, http://bit.ly/2HuOKqW .

April 10

A special report: Who Are The Three Billion? The Color Of The Net Has Changed http://bit.ly/netcolor
1/3rd wireless only, 2/3rds in Global South, 75% not native English speakers.