Interview: Serge Kouakou

How can mobile number portability improve service quality in the telecoms sector?

SERGE KOUAKOU: Mobile number portability is the possibility for an individual to keep their telephone number irrespective of the operator they are affiliated with. Initially mobile numbers were associated with a specific operator. The aim of portability is to give consumers the opportunity to choose the costs and services that are most relevant to their usage. Consequently, mobile number portability will enhance market competitiveness, as operators now have to go the extra mile to satisfy their consumers. It will create a positive dynamic, provided consumer decisions are driven by quality rather than by price.

What changes can be expected with the deployment of fibre-optic technology?

KOUAKOU: The operators and the government have been investing significantly in fibre optics for years. This represents a tremendous opportunity for the country’s digital transformation on multiple levels. In fact, as fibre’s deployment gains momentum, new services emerge, such as triple play, which includes high-speed internet; conferencing via voice, video or text; and internet protocol television. In addition, businesses and organisations now have access to applications that are significantly increasing their productivity, helping them to become competitive in this global economy.

Lastly, the use of fibre-optic technology will also reduce maintenance costs associated with theft and equipment degradation. This allows operators to direct their investments towards providing better service.

How can ICT companies make a contribution to fighting against cybercrime?

KOUAKOU: The impact virtual world events have on the physical world is increasingly understood and apprehended by our institutions. Cyberdefence will become more important as the digital world develops in Côte d’Ivoire. Moreover, no companies are more suited than the mobile operators to help the government and other organisations in their fight against cybercrime. Beside the expertise gained from the significant investments carried out to secure their operations, telecoms operators have a better perspective on the entire spectrum and thus a better way of fighting the various threats.

Furthermore, since cybercrime can occur from anywhere in the world, it is better combated on a global scale. With their footprint in many countries and continents, operators have a broad reach, which is very useful. As a result, they can help in the fight against cybercrime not only through innovative solutions, but also by helping shape the regulatory environment. That is why some telecoms operators have made cyberdefence a key pillar of their strategy.

Which areas must be developed to allow for the process of digital transformation?

KOUAKOU: Much effort has been made to enhance the areas of connectivity and accessibility, and various sectors such as health and education are already reaping the benefits of this.

Moreover, if we consider that digital transformation is the use of digital technology to address traditional challenges, and enable new types of innovation and creativity in a particular domain rather than simply improve and support traditional methods, then we understand that connectivity is a constituent of the digital transformation process. Applications and IT services are required to complete the puzzle so that individuals and organisations can enjoy the full spectrum of digital transformation. We need a vibrant ecosystem to step in and propose the required services.

Furthermore, digital transformation increases productivity for organisations and individuals. Productivity gain is the key driver, and we understand that its benefits are worth more than any costs incurred. It is this productivity that will boost our local economies.