WIOCC CEO Chris Wood Bullish About Africa’s International Bandwidth Growth

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London – Africa’s international bandwidth markets are experiencing another growth bump with the roll-out of LTE moving ahead apace. Whereas the minimum unit to buy was an E1, it’s now an STM1. Russell Southwood spoke to Chris Wood, CEO of WIOCC about how he sees the market.

WIOCC’s Chris Wood told me that he was building out metronets in Johannesburg: ”We’re buying (dark fibre) from DFA and we’ll launch 39 PoPs around that. This is exactly what we want to be doing. We’re not making money from it but driving traffic onto our core assets.”

The amount of capacity used by his consortium’s members and its customers has doubled in volume in the last 12 months and he thinks that this kind of growth will continue over the next 5 years.

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Chris Wood, CEO of WIOCC

“This growth is driven in the final instance by local access networks. The higher the broadband speeds, the more people will use them. The big content players have all come to the continent to build their business here: Netflix, Amazon, Facebook and Google. AT&T, Sprint and Verizon all want to bring Africa into the mainstream of their networks. 4G plays into that. 5G is coming. Most end-users are accessing content on mobile devices and the price of handsets has come down. High capacity demand (also) comes with Fibre-To-The-Home. The difference is dramatic. In Kenya you’ve got four players doing this: Wananchi, FON, Jamii and Liquid Telecom. Most housing estates of a certain level – professionals – are fibre connected. I have 27 mbps coming into my house and can stream TV, both locally and internationally.” The impact of 4G and FTTH is that operators are now buying STM16s and not STM4s or STM1s.

The above might sound very uplifting but what about a smaller and more challenging market like Somalia? ”We went live there in February 2014. Volumes have been doubling every 6 months. We’ve just sold an STM16 and there’s about 10 Gbps in service in Mogadishu and that will probably double between now and the end of the year. There are metronets around Mogadishu and all the mobile networks are 3G. People are getting online at an affordable level.”

One impact of the rise in volumes sold has been a pattern of falling prices. The most dramatic illustration of this is at wholesale level (STM16-STM64), prices in South Africa have fallen to US$5 per mbps. Sadly, some of us are old enough to remember when such bandwidth used to cost thousands of dollars per Mbps. It is a sign of Africa’s online growth that prices are falling and volumes growing. It’s not easy for cable operators but great news for Africa’s Internet users. Obviously prices remain higher in harder to reach countries like DRC, particularly its eastern half. I met a colleague from Goma this week who told me that mobile operators there had actually put up retail mobile internet access prices. As Sci-Fi writer William Gibson says: “The future’s already here, it’s just unevenly distributed.”

But the dramatic fall in prices – particularly in South Africa – makes Wood skeptical of the new international fibre projects recently announced: ”With these low South Africa rates, you’re already below build costs. EASSy will add 2 Tbps next year for a few million dollars. (The fibre projects) from Africa One and Liquid Telecom don’t make a whole lot of sense. It’s a $200 million system that needs to recover it’s money over a 3-4 year period. I can’t see that being possible in Africa over that time. You can buy an IRU on any system at very competitive rates. If they get built, cable prices will go down faster and it’s more than the market can soak up.”

In addition to these two new cables, the Angola Cables project from Angola to Brazil (with a Miami link) was confirmed at ITW, the long awaited phase two extension of ACE to South Africa is happening and there will be an upgrade on WACS.

He’s also clear that there should be a solution to the spate of international cable outages there have been: “We all need to buy from every system. Big operators can easily swop capacity.”And the saddest story? Eritrea: ”It’s a sad case. We have tried over the years to get them to join WIOCC. It’s the only country without international fibre. Other routes also made offers and they were not taken up. They need to take advantage of them as no-one will build to their door otherwise.”

Africa TMT leaders discuss strategies for regional growth

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SONY DSCChris Wood, CEO of Africa’s carriers’ carrier WIOCC, will discuss strategies for driving sustainable growth and meeting the huge demand for new infrastructure and services in Africa at TMT Finance & Investment Africa, which takes place on 14th June at the Millennium Hotel in Mayfair, London.

“Further investment in broadband infrastructure is crucial to enabling the realisation of the continent’s economic potential. This investment should be directed towards increasing the reach and reliability of terrestrial fibre; building more local Data Centres, Points of Presence (PoPs) and local metropolitan networks; and capacity-boosting technology upgrades for existing submarine cables”, commented WIOCC CEO Chris Wood.

Consistently named one of the 100 most powerful people in global telecoms, Chris Wood will be part of an expert panel of Telecom, Media and Tech leaders which also includes:

⦁ Cynthia Gordon, EVP and CEO Africa Division at Millicom
⦁ Hakam Kanafani, Chief Adviser & Member of the Board at Türk Telekom and Oger  Telecom, and
⦁ David Williams, CEO of Avanti Communications Group.

The expert panel will be chaired by Coleago Consulting director Scott McKenzie and is set to discuss a range of topics including:

Assessing regional opportunities for investment, joint ventures and         partnerships
⦁ Accelerating innovation and increasing profitability
⦁ Investing in infrastructure, new licences and technology
⦁ Working with key stakeholders, Governments and financiers

WIOCC CEO Chris Wood invited to join executive panel

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Chris Wood, CEO of Africa’s carriers’ carrier WIOCC, will be part of a top-level panel discussing what is, can and needs to be done to help unlock the potential in Africa at International Telecoms Week (8th-11th May 2016 in Chicago) – which is expected to attract more than 6,000 professionals from 150 countries, and is the largest meeting point for the global wholesale telecoms community.

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Consistently named as one of the 100 most powerful people in the global telecoms industry, Chris Wood will address the topical ‘Upgrade vs. New Build’ issue and provide expert insight and comment within the Unlocking Potential in Africa: Keeping up with data traffic’ session – which takes place between 8:30-10:30am on Tuesday 10th May at the Hyatt Regency & Swissôtel, in Swiss Tower, Gold Level, Alpine 2.

The expert panel – which will be chaired by Balancing Act CEO Russell Southwood and also include Funke Opeke from MainOne, Chris George from Google, Mike van den Bergh from PCCW Global and Willem Marais from Liquid Telecom – will discuss a range of topics including:

1. Data Traffic Pattern/Trends across Africa
⦁ Consumption by Region and a review of the factors driving usage trends
⦁ An insight into data traffic trajectories and comparison to other markets internationally.
2. Connectivity Landscape across Africa
⦁ How are fibre deployment strategies affecting data uptake?
⦁ How are businesses dealing with investment challenges of implementing fibre?
⦁ Impact of 4G/LTE networks across Africa
⦁ Impact of cheaper satellite connectivity solutions
3. Insight into Data Center Market and Content Trends Across Africa
⦁ Analysis of the current environment, key trends, business issues, opportunities and future developments in the market.

4. Overview of the key data center players across Africa

5. The impact on content uptake and the opportunities for content distribution

Connect with WIOCC at ITW 2016

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WIOCC ITW EMAIL FOOTER 2016

WIOCC, Africa carriers’ carrier, will be present at International Telecoms Week (ITW) in Chicago. ITW will take place from Sunday 8th May – Wednesday 11th May, 2016 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Chicago, IL. Attended by over 6000 professionals from 150 countries across the world, the event is the largest meeting point for the global wholesale telecoms community.

Chris Wood, WIOCC CEO, will lead a team representing its Kenya, South Africa and UK offices. The team will comprise Sam Ndungu -CFO; James Wekesa – CCO; Ryan Sher – COO; Mike Last – VP, Marketing & International Business Development; Hitesh Desai – Director, Southern Africa Sales; Rob Irvin – Director, Bid Management & Product; Darren Bedford – Director, Africa Business Development; Jason Tutty – Director, Operations; Rebecca Kariuki – Pricing & Sale Support Manager; Martin Mutiiria – Director, Africa-Sales: Hillary Tarus – Service Delivery Manager and Winnie Karisa – Marketing Assistant.

The WIOCC team is ready to listen and work with existing and potential customers and partner on their requirements for seamless, scalable connectivity to Africa, within Africa and from Africa to the rest of the world. WIOCC is uniquely focused on the needs of carriers and ISPs, establishing true two-way dialogue and tailoring the individual customer solutions that result in successful long-term relationships.” Mike Last VP, Marketing & International Business Development.

Meetings are being scheduled with existing and prospective customers. To arrange a meeting with the team, please contact winnie.karisa@wiocc.net

 

Meet WIOCC at Capacity Middle East, 2016

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WIOCC, Africa’s Carriers’ Carrier will be present and participating at Capacity Middle East 2016 taking place in Grand Hyatt Hotel, Dubai from Tuesday 1st  – Thursday 3rd March, 2016. Chris Wood – WIOCC CEO and Mike Last –  VP, International Business Development will represent WIOCC at the conference.

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Chris  Wood will also share his expertise in a panel session about ‘Commercialising your submarine network: Understanding the revenue streams that will add value to your business’ on the third day (3rd March, 2016) at 10:00 am.

Chris and Mike will have meetings with some of the attendees to discuss more about WIOCC as a Partner in Africa for:

  • High quality WIOCC IP Transit Services
  • Technical and commercial flexibility
  • Access to the most extensive fibre-optic network in Africa
  • Tailored end- to- end solutions

To book a meeting with Chris or Mike please contact winnie.karisa@wiocc.net

 

WIOCC Establishes Peering Internet Exchange Services

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Mauritius, 22nd February, 2016 – Africa’s carriers’ carrier WIOCC  has established remote peering internet exchange points (IXPs) in Virginia (Equinix Ashburn), New York (NYIIX), Amsterdam (AMS-IX) and Frankfurt (DE-CIX ), giving its customers enhanced access to the global internet while also enhancing WIOCC’s network connectivity redundancy.

 

WIOCC IP SDH & Ethernet Network FEB 2016

“WIOCC is a truly customer-focussed organisation, committed to providing enhanced products and services to meet our customers’ evolving needs. By establishing these IXPs, we have made it even easier for our customers to do business around the world”, explained WIOCC COO Ryan Sher.

WIOCC now has direct connection to over 1,100 more networks through Equinix’s Ashburn Virginia Internet Exchange, an additional 700 networks on AMS-IX (Amsterdam Internet Exchange), over 650 on DE-CIX (Deutscher Commercial Internet Exchange in Frankfurt) and more than 160 on NYIIX (New York International Internet eXchange).

“These IXPs make even more bandwidth available to WIOCC’s international carrier and ISP customers, who can also now access a wider pool of content providers and services that rely on high-speed, low-cost connectivity”, concluded WIOCC’s Ryan Sher.

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Mike Last named one of “50 CMOs to watch” in Global Telecommunications Business

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Mike Last, WIOCC’s Chief Marketing Officer, has been acclaimed as one of the telecommunications industry’s “50 Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) to watch”, in the latest issue of Global Telecoms Business (GTB) magazine.

Mike_Last_WIOCCResponsible for all external and internal marketing, Mike joined WIOCC as employee number two in 2008 and is one of only two executives from Africa-based companies in this prestigious, 50-strong list compiled following nominations by work colleagues, readers and GTB staff.

His marketing expertise transformed this fledgling organisation into an internationally recognised, multi-award-winning capacity and network services wholesaler, widely regarded as the #1 supplier of high-performance bandwidth solutions in Africa.

Mike built WIOCC’s marketing capability from scratch and his home-grown teams now clearly communicate consistent messages through world-class marketing materials and initiatives. He also looks after WIOCC’s communications with shareholders across Africa, and WIOCC is  now referred to as “Africa’s carriers’ carrier”.

 

WIOCC shortlisted for multiple awards

WIOCC has been shortlisted in the Best African Wholesaler and Best African Project categories at the upcoming Global Carrier Awards, which will be announced at Capacity Europe in Paris on 3rd November.

Elsewhere, the AfricaCom Awards judges have shortlisted WIOCC’s entry, ‘Improved connectivity transforming Somalia’, for the prestigious Changing Lives Award. All the AfricaCom Award winners will be announced at AfricaCom in Cape Town on 18th November.

WIOCC at Capacity Africa in Dar es Salaam

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WIOCC, Africa’s Carrier’s Carrier will be attending and participating at Capacity Africa 2015 taking place in Hyatt Regency Hotel, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on Tuesday 8th – Wednesday 9th September, 2015.  Delegates attending this year’s conference will meet with over 400+ senior executives from 130+ major players and regional start-ups from 65+ countries representing the entire African wholesale industry from across the continent and beyond.

WIOCC will be represented at the event by Ryan Sher – Chief Operations Officer, James Wekesa – Chief Commercial Officer, Hitesh Desai – Director, Sales Southern Africa, Darren Bedford – Director, Africa Business Development and Martin Mutiiria – Director, Africa-Sales.

Ryan Sher will also be an expert panelist in a discussion session about “A Pan-African, inclusive vision for enabling connectivity throughout the continent” on the first day (8th September, 2015) at 10.10 am.

Ryan Sher, WIOCC COO

Ryan Sher, WIOCC COO

The discussion is expected to focus on:

  • The economics of expanding networks into rural and landlocked Africa
  • Current network developments (4G-LTE) and trends in consumer uptake
  • Examples of successful case studies of connectivity at affordable prices vs. where improvements are most needed
  • Is Africa on the brink of a fibre revolution? Spotlight on terrestrial fibre network roll outs and FTTH
  • Analysis of alternative forms of connectivity and multi-layered approaches
  • Which government and non-government initiatives (NGOs and USFs) are helping to resolve connectivity deprivation?

The WIOCC event team is lining up a full set of meetings with existing and prospective customers to discuss how WIOCC can support them in Africa.

To arrange a meeting with WIOCC please contact winnie.karisa@wiocc.net.

WIOCC’s Business Update: H1 2015

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Bunsiess Update iconWIOCC publishes a business update capturing progress made in the company for its customers. This issue of the business update is on topical news relating to WIOCC’s international and Africa connectivity. Some of the updates covered in this issue are:

Bringing high-speed, international connectivity to Somalia

Individuals and businesses in Somalia, and international organisations wanting to do business with or in the country, can now benefit from reliable, direct, high-capacity fibre-optic connectivity to the global internet. This became possible when WIOCC, working in partnership with local operator Dalkom Somalia, fundamentally changed the international connectivity landscape of one of the last ‘corners’ of Africa previously without direct fibre-optic connectivity and helped create a vital platform for sustainable economic growth…….

WIOCC grows its African network

Delivering uncompromisingly high levels of customer service and satisfaction to its expanding customer base of national and international carriers and ISPs, is a cornerstone of WIOCC’s offering. By building more PoPs (Points of Presence) at key customer-driven locations within Africa, WIOCC is able to provide additional, highly cost-effective protection to customers against service interruptions along its traffic routes. Across the continent, including new locations such as Maseru in Lesotho, WIOCC now operates 23 PoPs – either solely or in partnership with its shareholders…..

Customer-led IP transit services

WIOCC has developed its IP Transit service especially for ISPs, Content Providers and other service operators who need dedicated access to the internet (IPv4 & IPv6), providing a high-quality and efficient way of achieving congestion-free internet connectivity.

It offers connectivity to the entire global internet content through access to WIOCC’s BGP routing table, including partnerships with Tier-1 operators, as well as private and public transit-free peering agreements with major global IP networks – both on a national and international level……..

You can read the full publication on Business Update May 2015

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