As part of AfricaCom 2023, Huawei this week hosted the Operations Transformation Forum Africa 2023 (OTF Africa 2023).
The forum brought together leading African operators, industry partners and organisations, and other top experts to discuss how the telecoms industry can use digital intelligence to unlock new opportunities.
Held under the theme, “Embrace Digital Intelligence, Explore the New Blue Ocean” discussions at the event focused on using innovative digital services to explore a new blue ocean for growth in the consumer and home markets by building unique advantages for carrier operators through advanced infrastructure and network convergence.
Operators also shared their own successful examples of reshaping O&M modes to improve user experience and O&M efficiency, create new business models with mobile money, and enhance infrastructure innovation.
“As the digital intelligence era is heading,” said Danwill Duan, President of Huawei Southern Africa Delivery & Service Business, “businesses must ramp up transformation and step into the intelligent era.”
There are, he said, several steps that organisations need to take to fully participate in this era.
“First, “organisations must start with a big blueprint and reengineer the business in small steps. Next, they should govern their transformation architecture to ensure revolution and innovation. Third, organisations should convert technologies into capabilities, to forge new solutions for business growth.”
As Jonathan Tullett, Associate Research Director, Services and Cloud, at IDC, pointed out; AI and 5G are the most impactful technologies operators can deploy, but are also the most challenging.
He further pointed out that organisations should focus on specific AI capabilities such as digital twins, large language models, full stack integration, segmentation, and customisation during the next phase of transformation.
Safaricom’s James Langat, meanwhile, explained how his telco’s strategic mission has evolved and how full-stack digital transformation can accelerate fintech and connection service growth.
“New technology has changed all of our lives and environments,” he said. “By 2025, Safaricom’s vison is to be a purpose-led technology company.”
Michel A. Hebert, Chief Executive Officer of TNM Malawi and Chairman, TNM Mpamba shared how his organisation improves the lives of ordinary Malawians.
“In the current era, innovation is key to digital transformation,” he said. “TNM Mpamba, through key partnerships and joint innovation with Huawei, has seen tremendous growth in bridging the financial inclusion gap for the people of Malawi and bringing financial services closer to the people.”
In his presenation, Dr. Licky Richard Erastus, Managing Director, MTC Namibia said, “A cloud-based platform will establish the foundation for converged services that are necessary for MTC to keep abreast of technology advances in its customer offerings.”
Huawei has sought to embody precisely this kind of transformation, particularly when it comes to helping operators use cloud technologies to advance their own transformations.
“Huawei distributed cloud is a better choice for carriers in both internal business transformation and to business growth,” said Sam Sun, Senior Director, Southern Africa Carrier IT Solution & Marketing Dept, Huawei. “Huawei is excited to work with our customers on this cloud transformation journey.”
As Robert Jorge, Chief Network Officer of Openserve South Africa pointed out, local operators also have to contend with load shedding, which reached record levels in 2023.
As such, he said, they’ve had to formulate highly strategic responses, including energy conservation through decommissioning, footprint optimisation via network modernisation, and green power through the rollout of renewable energy.
This need for an energy smart approach was echoed by Zoltan Miklos, General Manager, MTN South Africa.
“While MTN sees network connectivity and customer experience as our first priority,” he said, “we are building a green and reliable target network to achieve high energy efficiency and Intelligent O&M.”
Simon Liang, Vice President, Service and Software Solution & Marketing, Huawei pointed out, for carriers to achieve this evolution, they must practice F.A.S.T architecture which means in-depth collaboration within the service-network-cloud-intelligence paradigm to improve experience, create greater value, and explore the digital intelligence new blue ocean.
AfricaCom runs from 14 to 16 November in Cape Town, South Africa.