wins Best Cost Efficiency Solution for Africa award
By Prince Osuagwu, who was in Cape Town, South Africa
Even with the sonorous renditions of South Africaâ€™s music star, Yvonne Chaka Chaka and the pathetic touch of the lyrics which actually dwelled on helping UNICEF achieve its charity cause, AfricaCom awards nightÂ was still a tension soaked night for shortlisted companies.
Chaka Chaka who electrified the event with an impromptu song to raise money for charity, was the Special Guest at the award night and presently, a UNICEF Ambassador.
The organisers had tried hard to douse the tension by introducing a light cocktail and networking session, before introducing host of the night comedian David Kau.
Yet, on the faces of many Chief Executives of many shortlisted companies, there were still anxiety over who would take the night.
For the second year, the AfricaCom Awards has been held at the end of the opening day of the Africa Com Conference and Exihibition, at the Cape Town international convention centre, to celebrate the achievements of Africaâ€™s telecommunications players.
This yearâ€™s AfricaCom Awards marks the second edition of the award. Held at the grand Ballroom of the conference centre, the ceremony witnessed the cream of Africaâ€™s leading service providers and vendors who either have come to witness the prestigious ceremony or had their companies innovative ideas short-listed for awards.
The 2009 edition had ten companies short-listed for the 10 categories, and global powers rubbed shoulders with home-grown African talent in the list of winners. Over 3200 telecoms executives from 110 countries came for the event.
But not long after the awards kicked off that Nigeriaâ€™s flag went up, with Helios Towers, a Nigeria colocation and infrastructure sharing company, grabbing Best cost efficiency solution for Africa, with itsÂ Co-Location/Infrastructure Sharing product.
The organisers, noted that due to infrastructural challenges in African countries resulting in every operator havingÂ to build towers, provide power, provide security, provide access road and manage these amongst other critical issues associated with operating a viable telecoms network, it became necessary to adopt cost saving solutions toÂ help operators reduce cost, achieve faster and cheaper roll out, manage Opex better and pass savings to subscribers in form of lower call rates.
Justifying the award, organisers said it was at this critical time, that Helios Towers came to pioneer fully managed co-location and infrastructure sharing service provisioning in Nigeria to assist operators in low cost service roll out while allowing them to concentrate on customer services and marketing and network performance.
Helios Towers later confirmed that it currently has a site portfolio of overÂ 1,000 sites across the states and cities of Nigeria and was presently finalizing its 2010 roll-out plan to increase its portfolio to 2,000 by 3rdÂ quarter of 2010
Other winners that night, included, New Entrant of the Year: Dark Fibre Africa, for their Optical Fibre Ducting Infrastructure; Best Network Improvement, which went to Microcom DRC & the WiMAX Network in Democratic Rep.of Congo; Best New Services, to Comviva, with Virtual Phone; Green Telecoms Award: Win Afrique for their use of solar, wind & green energy solutions; Best Solution for Rural Services: MTN Uganda for the GOOGLE SMS/Application Labaratory; Best Marketing Campaign: Vodacom Mozambique with the Tudobom brand campaign; Telecoms Innovation of the Year: Comviva with Virtual Phone; Best Pan African Initiative: Seacom with the East African submarine cables; and Changing Lives Award which went to Emtel Mauritius for connecting the people of Agalega Islands to the world.
Organisers stated that the winning entries covered an impressively broad spectrum of networks, services and solutions, cutting across all sections of the African telecommunications industry.Â The independent panel of Judges, said that winners were decided on the most inspiring examples of telecoms innovation and progress on the continent.
The AfricaCom Awards panel included Vitalis Olunga, Chairman, GSMA Africa, William Hearmon, Chairman, African CDMA Forum, Brahima Sanou, Head of the Regional Office for Africa, ITU, Thecla Mbongue, Analyst, Informa Telecoms & Media, Matthew Reed, Editor, Middle East & Africa Wireless Analyst, ITM, Michele Scanlon, Founder & Principal Analyst, Green Giraffe, Guy Zibi, Principal, AfricaNext Investment Research, Twanda Chihota, among others.