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The East African : March 17th 2014
The EastAfrican OUTLOOK MARCH 15-21,2014 e -AF R ICAN EA Cable firms to upgrade systems The upg≥ade will inc≥ease bandwith and dive≥sify se≥vice within the ≥egion By ESMOND SHAHONYA Special Correspondent cables terminating on the East African coast. The upgrade of The East African P Marine System (Teams) and the East African Submarine System (Eassy) cables will unleash more bandwidth for the region, which is now served by four submarine cables. “This upgrade will add 400Gbps of capacity throughout the system, using Alcatel-Lucent’s advanced coherent 100Gbit/s technology, and enable us to take a further step in offering our customers the ultrabroadband capacity needed for innovative services and applications,” said Chris Wood, Chairman of the Eassy management committee. Eassy, is a 10,000km submarine fibre-optic cable system deployed along the east and south coast of Africa to service the voice, data, video and internet needs of the region. It links South Africa with Sudan via landing points in Mozambique, Madagascar, the Comoros, Tanzania, Kenya, Somalia and Djibouti. The system has been in commercial service since July 2010. Last year, the system was success- fully upgraded to more than double its capacity using the 40Gbps technology to offer the most cost-effective and reliable solution for customers in East and southern Africa. The sale of capacity to ISPs and operators in the region has been on the increase as people embrace the better side of ultra-fast Inter- lans are underway to upgrade the systems of two undersea This growth in bandwidth uti- lisation represents 41.8 per cent of the total available capacity in Kenya. The growth in adoption of services leveraging on internet and connectivity are key in fueling the up-grade of submarine cables. Teams is also mulling plans of upgrading and diversifying service provision to accommodate their customers’ needs. Teams cable connects Kenya to the world on a point-to-point link from Mombasa to Fujairah, UAE, spanning 4,500km. The Teams under-sea cable is connected to major terrestrial backhaul providers, thus extending the gigabit submarine capacity to the rest of the East African countries through cross-border connectivity arrangements. The undersea cable has scalable equipment and the capacity can be increased up to 1.2Tbs. The upgrade of Teams will not Workers laying out fibre optic cable. Picture: File THE UNDERSEA CABLES TEAMS: Arrived on June 12, 2009 at Mombasa. Itd initial capacity of 120Gbs is upgradeable to 1.2 Tbps. Links Mombasa to UAE. Owned 15% by Etisalat (UAE); 85% by Teams (Kenya) Ltd EASSY arrived in Mombasa in March 2010 with 9 landing points net connectivity. In Kenya, statistics from the telecommunications regulator reveal a growing demand in bandwidth. The international Internet bandwidth available in the country stands at 862,834Mbps, ac- and links East African nations to global markets via Mutunzini and Port Sudan. Initial capacities vary with each landing point. The total design capacity is 4.72Tbps . Eassy is owned 16 African (92%) and international (8%) shareholders – all telecommunications operators and service providers. cording to the ICT statistics report for the first quarter of the financial year 2013/14. The used capacity has gone up to 360,900Mbps as compared with 356,874.95 Mbps posted during the previous quarter. only increase the capacity but also diversify in service delivery. New services like gigabit Ethernet, among others will be offered after the up-grade. The impending upgrades of Eas- sy and Teams come at a time when Seacom has upgraded its South African backhaul networks, linking its West and East coast cable stations. This was done through activation of multiple wavelengths between Johannesburg and Cape Town, coupled with upgrades of the network platforms that support its services to major cable interconnection hubs in Yzterfontein and Mtunzini. The growing adoption of MPLS & IP Transit services prompted Seacom to upgrade its IP/MPLS network across Africa, Europe and Asia. Seacom’s up-grade will allow the company to offer diversified services to service providers, ISPs and network operator customers. Ugandan outsou≥cing company ta≥gets data se≥vice in EA By RUSSELL SOUTHWOOD Special Correspondent WITH ENORMOUS pressure on margins, mobile operators are increasingly outsourcing parts of their operations, particularly network operations. By and large, these contracts go to international companies. NFT Consult, a Ugandan company that offers outsourced functions, has grown significantly through provision of service to international companies like mobile operators, banks and oil companies. NFT Consult’s founder Badru Ntege ran one of Uganda’s ISPs and his wife Elizabeth used to work for Uganda Telecom (UTL). They are now responsible for the contracts of around 2,500 people: 1,000 in Uganda, 600 in Tanzania, 400 in Rwanda, 100 in Burundi, and the rest scattered elsewhere. However, only 55 are directly employed by them. NFT Consult offers a range of services includ- ing customer support (mobile sales outlets and call centres), human resources and network support services. “Different people are looking for different needs. For example, we have managed the entire workforce of a company coming into the region. We helped them understand local employment regulations and how to manage people locally. We’ve now handed 70 per cent of those employees to them,” he said. So what’s the pitch to mobile operators? “It varies but it’s usually about giving them flexibility. For example, we manage the walk-in sales and service centres. One operator from who we took over this function had ‘waiting to be served’ times of 40 minutes. The ‘waiting to be served’ time has now come down to 10-15 minutes.” Mr Ntege believes 2,500 The number of people who have contracts managed by NFT Consult that the next area of expansion will be data services. He wants to put together field intelligence teams that can get fast and accurate data that operators can use to target their competitors. It is testing a solution that can either be a hosted service or be directly hosted in the enterprise customer: “The data request can be met within 24-48 hours and the data can be mapped using GPS on Google maps. We’re currently doing a proof of concept, mapping data on retail network. The data is collected live and sent to the company’s headquarters. A team of young developers in our incubator hub have developed it.” “We’re going to translate this data in a mean- ingful way, using client dashboards. As the market becomes more consumer-led, we’ll be making the data come alive. When operators currently conduct a survey, they get the results well after they can do anything about it in most cases: this is what we might call ‘lag data,’” he said. The company plans to double its revenues by 2015 and claims to be well on track to doing so. “The telcos are outsourcing everything so there’s a big opportunity there. I believe that we can double supply income from one operator alone.” Ten years ago this kind of outsourcing was a rarity in companies operating in Africa. But increasingly it is becoming the shape of the future as companies in markets where there are margin pressures look to find approaches that give them cost flexibility. Data is rarely used effectively by mobile companies at a very local level but things are going to change as competition between mobile operators intensifies. BRIEFS Toshiba emerges best seller of notebooks in EA Toshiba Gulf FZE, a subsidiary of the Toshiba Corporation, has emerged the best 2013 notebook seller in the region. International Data Corporation’s data shows the global manufacturer of advanced electronic and electrical products holds a 23 per cent market share systems in its Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Tanzania markets. “This growth reflects the investments Toshiba has made in the region with a steady availability of stock, a rebate programme for partners and smart marketing approach for high visibility, “said Manish Kewalramani, business development manager for East and West Africa. Tanzania to upgrade telecom infrasture Tanzania has allocated Tsh17.5 billion ($10.7 million) for the upgrade of the country’s rural telecom infrastructure, which will support mobile banking and expansion of banks. The announcement comes as more banks launch mobile banking platforms to tap into the 28 million mobile subscribers in the country. Bank of Africa (Tanzania) is the latest entrant in mobile banking with its B-Mobile platform that seeks to make banking facilities available through mobile phones. Man United to give club information through App 33 Manchester United fans to get details through phones. Pic: File Manchester United, the English Premier League football club, will make its club details available to African fans through a mobile platform. The club, in partnership with Bharti Airtel unveiled the application that is available for download from iOS and Android for free, with extra exclusive content available to Airtel subscribers for free. The content includes match highlights, live in-game updates and player profiles. Windows XP to get more exposed to virus attacks Computers running Windows XP will in April be rendered vulnerable to insecurity and harmful viruses as the Windows service comes to an end. But the end of service doesn’t mean XP will stop running, but over time security and performance will be severely affected, says Rotimi Olumide, Windows Group Lead for West, East, Central Africa and Indian Ocean Islands. Research by Microsoft has shown that Windows XP is five times as susceptible to viruses and attacks as Windows 8.1.
March 10th 2014
March 24th 2014