WIOCC shortlisted for multiple awards at AfricaCom 2016

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Africa’s carriers’ carrier, WIOCC is in the running for a hat-trick of awards at this year’s AfricaCom Awards, which will be announced in Cape Town on the 16th November.

africacomawardslogoblack2013An experienced panel of judges drawn from across the telecoms industry shortlisted WIOCC’s ‘Connecting and extending connectivity in Somalia’ entry for the Changing Lives Award, as well as its ‘WIOCC’s Johannesburg Metropolitan Area Network: overcoming the high cost of local loop delivery’ entry in the Best Connectivity Solution category, and also its ‘Further enhancing WIOCC’s unique pan-African network‘ entry for the Best Network Improvement Award.

“WIOCC continues to push the boundaries in order to meet the ever more complex requirements of Africa’s wholesale markets. It is always a pleasure to have our work recognised by independent third-parties, but for me the ultimate reward is to see customers coming back to us year after year for solutions to their evolving communications needs – including the provision of end-to-end network solutions to an ever-growing list of locations in Africa”, commented WIOCC CEO Chris Wood.

WIOCC CEO Chris Wood one of the 100 most powerful people in global telecoms

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Chris Wood, CEO of Africa’s carriers’ carrier WIOCC, has once again been identified as one of the 100 most powerful people in the global telecommunications industry.

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Chris Wood, WIOCC CEO

This year’s GTB Power 100 cited Chris’ vision of making an enduring contribution to communications in Africa, while also acknowledging WIOCC’s progress in extending access to international connectivity to many new locations through the construction of WIOCC metropolitan area networks and the continued partnership with Dalkom in Somalia.

He has led WIOCC since start-up in 2008, building the capacity wholesaler into the leading supplier of seamless, end-to-end managed service solutions into, out of and within Africa. WIOCC now carries almost half of all the traffic on EASSy and seamlessly links more than 55,000km of African terrestrial fibre to 40,000km of submarine fibre-optic cable, offering carriers affordable, reliable connectivity to over 500 locations across 30 African countries – and more than 700 cities in 70 countries globally.

Chris continues to evolve WIOCC’s capabilities in alignment with changing industry needs and end-user demands: from pure point-to-point bandwidth in the early days, to the seamless protection and support for more complex network solutions that carriers and ISPs are increasingly delivering today – with support from WIOCC.

Chris commented, “Whilst I am delighted to again be selected for inclusion in the GTB Power 100, this is very much a reflection of the individual efforts put in throughout the year by the entire WIOCC team. A key element of our Mission is to set the standard by which performance is measured in the industry, and each of us in WIOCC will continue our efforts to make this so”.

The Power 100 list is compiled from nominations made by readers of Global Telecoms Business, including CEOs, CFOs and other senior executives of the world’s major operators, telecom vendors and industry organisations.

Q&A with Bill Boyle of Capacity Media : Chris Wood, CEO, WIOCC

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Chris Wood, CEO of WIOCC speaks to Capacity Media about demand challenges, point-to-point bandwidth and how it has created Africa’s largest metropolitan area network (MAN).

What are the main challenges of operating in the African market and how are you looking to tackle those challenges?

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Chris Wood, CEO, WIOCC

As Africa’s carriers’ carrier, WIOCC now transports almost half of all the traffic on the EASSy submarine cable and is the leading supplier of wholesale bandwidth for Africa. We see our main challenge as keeping ahead of the demand. Our market is evolving considerably in terms of what carriers and ISPs want: from pure point-to-point bandwidth in the early days; to point-to-point bandwidth with partial redundancy; and now they are increasingly looking for seamless protection and support for the more complex network solutions they are delivering for their customers into multiple countries in the region.

We have to stay relevant to our customers by providing the advanced connectivity solutions that this dynamic market demands. To do this WIOCC continues to invest in building its highly scalable and cost-effective core infrastructure, technology and human capital, as well as enhancing and extending its network and service capabilities.

What have been the highlights and key developments for your company in the region in the past year?
WIOCC continues to develop its seamless, end-to-end managed services capabilities to meet the evolving demands of Africa’s wholesale markets. The main highlight this year has been the creation of Africa’s largest metropolitan area network (MAN) in Johannesburg, S. Africa, which comprises three core PoPs and over 39 aggregation and customer-provided PoPs. Additional infrastructure investments that will further extend WIOCC’s national coverage are in the pipeline. The Johannesburg MAN offers carriers the opportunity to connect directly to hundreds of customer locations across the business districts of Johannesburg and Pretoria over WIOCC’s network and is expected to go live by the end of October.

Earlier in the year, WIOCC gave its customers enhanced access to the global internet, while also enhancing WIOCC’s network connectivity redundancy, by establishing new remote peering internet exchange points in Virginia, New York, Amsterdam and Frankfurt.

What are your strategic priorities as well as expansion plans for the region in 2017?
WIOCC’s mission is to make an enduring contribution to communications in Africa. Our focus moving forward is very much on continuing to invest in growing and extending our network and capabilities to help customers overcome complex connectivity challenges in Africa via seamless, end-to-end, managed connectivity solutions into, within and out of the continent.

What major trends do you see occurring in the African market this year and how do you plan to capitalise on those?
In the wholesale market, WIOCC expects to see continued demand for seamless connectivity to the internet in Europe (much of it protected via delivery on multiple cable systems), as well as growth in the provision of high-quality local IP Transit services.

In specific markets, the ability to cost-effectively terminate traffic directly to customer premises will become increasingly significant as a differentiator, as will the ability to meet customers’ demands for increasingly tailored, complex solutions. These are both areas in which WIOCC is continuing to invest.

What does your organisation hope to achieve by attending Capacity Africa 2016?
Capacity Africa is without doubt the leading event for the African wholesale telecoms industry, attracting very strong attendance from African and international carriers. We see Capacity Africa as a great environment for doing business, showcasing our capabilities and networking with existing and potential partners

Ends…

WIOCC Awarded Best East African Wholesale Carrier

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On 27th September, 2016 Africa’s carriers’ carrier, WIOCC, was named Best East African Wholesale Carrier at the inaugural Africa Carrier Awards at Capacity Africa in Kampala, Uganda.

capacity-awardThe award was accepted by Mike Last – VP, International Business Development at this week’s Capacity Africa

Mike Last commented, “WIOCC will continue to demonstrate its capability in the wholesale market, with it’s growing African and international client base a testament to the company’s ability to meet the evolving needs of the market”.

This award recognises WIOCC’s ability to deliver end-to-end connectivity solutions that are making, and will continue to make, an enduring contribution to Africa’s communication.

WIOCC shortlisted for multiple awards

awards-logoWIOCC has been shortlisted in the Best East African Wholesale Carrier, Best West African Wholesale Carrier and Best Southern African Wholesale Carrier categories at the upcoming Capacity Africa Awards, which will be announced at Capacity Africa 2016 in Kampala on 27th September.Capacity Africa will be celebrating excellence and innovation in African wholesale telecoms across the continent for the first time ever – Africa Carrier Awards.

Elsewhere, the  Global Carrier Awards judges have shortlisted WIOCC’s entry, Best African Wholesale Carrier in this year’s Global Carrier Awards, which will be presented on 8th November at Capacity Europe in Paris, France.

 

 

Africa’s Carriers’ Carrier at Capacity Africa 2016

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WIOCC, Africa’s Carriers’ Carrier will be present at Capacity Africa 2016 being held in Speke Resort & Conference Centre Kampala, Uganda on Tuesday 27th – Wednesday 28th September 2016. The event brings together 500+ senior-level professionals from 180+ organisations representing the entire African wholesale industry, delivering the ultimate platform to network with existing partners and establish new lucrative business partnerships within the continent.

WIOCC team will be led by WIOCC’s CEO, Chris Wood and joined by other executive team members and directors including; Ryan Sher – COO, James Wekesa – CCO, Mike Last – VP, International Business Development, Hitesh Desai – Director, Sales Southern Africa, Darren Bedford – Director, Africa Business Development, Martin Mutiiria – Director, Africa-Sales and Nikki Popoola – Director, Sales.

martin-imageMartin Mutiiria – Director, Africa-Sales will be an expert panelist in a discussion session on “The evolution of the African wholesale market – How to keep fit for survival” on the first day (27th September 2016) at 11.40 am. Lately, there has been a paradigm shift with enterprises becoming more active in the purchase of large volumes of data. WIOCC has proven over the years that they have managed to be purely on the wholesale market business and with the new Johannesburg metro coming up which will not target the enterprise space.

The discussion is expected to focus on:

  • How much longer can traditional wholesale survive in Africa?
  • Is it already approaching the end or is the panic much ado about nothing?
  • Is entering the enterprise sector the way forward, or is it in only going to spoil prices in another area?
  • Can wholesale learn anything from retail? Which strategies could be adopted?
  • Are terminations and managed services the future? Which promise success and how should carriers approach them?
  • How can local carriers compete with the big international wholesale players?
  • Does development need to happen on a technical level?

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 or marketing@wiocc.net.

WIOCC building Johannesburg metro network with 39 PoPs

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WIOCC is building a large forty PoP metro network for the South African city of Johannesburg.

Chris Wood, CEO of WIOCC, Johannesburg has told Capacity that WIOCC is building a large forty PoP (Point of Presence) metro network for the South African city of Johannesburg. This forty PoP metro network will give WIOCC access to thousands of buildings and bring them on-net and capable of delivering WIOCC’s international carrier business to their end customers doorsteps.

SOUTHThe Johannesburg metro network has three core PoPs and over 39 aggregation and customer provided (CPE) PoPs making it the largest metro network in Africa. The network covers all of the main business areas of the city. Wood said: “We are buying dark fibre from Dark Fibre Africa (DFA) and that is what the 39 PoPs are being built around. This is what we need to be doing for our customers and for their enterprise clients. We are not entering the enterprise space – we are driving traffic to our core assets and the enterprise nearer to their clients.”

The amount of capacity used by the WIOCC consortium’s members and customers has doubled in volume in the last 12 months and he thinks that this volume of growth will grow over the next few months, probably doubling every nine months for the foreseeable future.

Wood made it clear that this foray into metro networks was just the beginning and that they will be working on further metro networks in the near future.

Wood made it very clear that WIOCC is not targeting the enterprise space – rather they are enabling their customers to get there. “The market is changing considerably in terms of what our customers want. So therefore, our role now is changing – the industry in Africa is becoming a lot more complex – we have to take our customers deeper into Africa. Whereas in the past our customers were looking for point-to-point bandwidth; then point-to-point bandwidth with a bit of redundancy and now its seamless protection. Moving forward they are all building more complex network solutions for their enterprise customers.”

The Johannesburg metro network will be completed by the third quarter of this year.

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