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My vision for Africa

CEO of Alcatel Lucent, Michel Combes.

For me, Africa is at the heart of tomorrow, it is an important region in the world, it is definitely a growing region and a clear focus market for us. In the big picture, Africa is among Alcatel Lucent’s most promising markets – with ultra-broadband access and IP networking being very important for the development of the continent. These technologies are what the African market needs in the years to come and also what service providers and operators in Africa are already requesting from us. Our Global “Shift Plan” strategy perfectly focuses on those technologies that meet the connectivity challenges of the African continent.  We see that the continent has various connectivity needs, crucial for its social and economic development.

Increasing the availability of ultra-broadband services is essential for Africa’s future development. Becoming digital is an important catalyst for change, for development and innovation. The content’s infrastructure will need greater capacity to deliver high-quality ultra-broadband connectivity to support added-value services for end users in both urban and remote areas. Thanks to the investments over the last years and also thanks to Alcatel Lucents submarine technology, Africa is now connected to the rest of the world through thousands of kilometres of submarine networks systems (indeed, most of them deployed by Alcatel Lucent). Many African countries are connected to the terrestrial backbones and to the regional hubs, but still rural areas lack connectivity.  The focus of development and Alcatel-Lucent’s strategy for Africa will continue to be the accelerated development of ultra-broadband access networks in Africa, bringing connectivity to users with technologies including LTE, DSL, GPON, Small Cells and WiFi. In today’s world, innovation has no borders and as a result, African countries cannot remain locked out. The globalization of the economy and the growth of the digital world have enhanced worldwide communications. In Africa and around the world, Alcatel Lucent collaborates with governments, regulators, operators, but also with investors to promote investment in the telecommunications sector and in particular for the development of the internet and ultra–broadband technologies. wAt Alcatel-Lucent in the past year, we have seen tremendous growth in FTTX, VDSL, IP, DWDM technologies as well as several LTE networks with established mobile and fixed wireless broadband operators. LTE is becoming increasingly popular in Africa as this technology offers an excellent alternative to fixed broadband (which is not widely available in this region, overall, with some exceptions). Service providers in Africa are eager to tap into the newest generation of technologies like 4G LTE to begin to reap the benefits of today’s ultra-broadband networks. We see Africa as a tremendous market in the next years and beyond. Currently transport networks and ultra-broadband access networks are being deployed. In the next two years we expect even more LTE/4G projects as well as IMS and IP core transformation projects.

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