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ICT firm Qualcomm picks Nairobi as hub

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 15 – Qualcomm, a leading developer of advanced wireless technologies, products and services, has launched a new business centre in Nairobi to strengthen its presence in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Located at Purshottam Place in Westlands, the centre will serve as a hub for Qualcomm’s business operations in East and Central Africa.

Director of Business Development in East Africa Billy Owino said the new centre will provide high-speed mobile broadband 3G networks, while creating solutions that make wireless services more personal, affordable and accessible.

“Integrating all the different components of these devices really helps bring the phone and tablet prices down, which translates to them being more affordable for a greater section of the population,” he said.

The new centre will support a variety of Qualcomm partners that are driving the region’s fast growing mobile market including device manufacturers, network operators, retailers, distributors and local mobile application developers.

Qualcomm has 175 offices in 75 countries all over the world, including branches in South Africa and Nigeria, and Owino said that the new Nairobi office allows the company to maintain close proximity to the people, governments and important industry events that are driving the regional telecommunications industry forward and contributing to the region’s economic development.

“One of our biggest goals is to make sure that it’s not just users in the urban areas who get to enjoy wireless, but to ensure that people in rural settings also have access to our 3G services, so that the student or the doctor in the village can look up important information on their mobile devices whenever they wish to,” he said.

Africa is the fastest-growing mobile market in the world and is the second largest after Asia and industry analyst firm Pyramid Research projects that revenue from mobile data services will account for almost half of all telecommunications revenue in Kenya by 2016.

The firm estimates that mobile data revenue will increase from an estimate US $457 million in 2011 to US $751 million by 2016.

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According to the Global System for Mobil Communications (GSM) Association, the number of smart phone subscribers in Africa has grown almost 20 percent each year for the past five years.

“Kenya is continuing its rapid transition to 3G mobile broadband and businesses and consumers are turning to their mobile phones for a wider range of activities, such as downloading music and videos, social networking, finance and more,” Owino said.

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