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Chris Wood, WIOCC CEO

The chief executive of WIOCC, Africa’s self-styled “carrier’s carrier”, has ruled out any push into the retail market as the provider prepares a new two-pronged expansion drive across the continent.

Speaking exclusively to Capacity magazine, Chris Wood said: “We’ve got no aspirations or desire to move into the retail space; we’re purely in the wholesale space and aim to stay there as we are doing it extremely effectively.”

Instead, Wood will target terrestrial partnerships in the west and connectivity upgrades in the south and east. Spurred by the significant amount of capacity it owns on the recently launched West Africa Cable System (WACS), WIOCC is looking to broaden its predominantly eastern focussed grid of terrestrial fibre networks through partnerships with operators on the west coast. The group is also rolling out its own western terrestrial networks through a number of suppliers.

Elsewhere WIOCC is looking to expand connectivity from the EASSy cable, on which it owns a 30% stake, inland and is now doing business in Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Lesotho. The company is also working on opportunities in Swaziland, one of the few markets on Africa’s south eastern coast that has so far proven elusive for the company.

“In the next two to three years we are looking to consolidate our position as the leading African carrier’s carrier, add connectivity in west Africa and increase connectivity in eastern and southern Africa,” Wood added.

To cope with increasing bandwidth demand the EASSy cable is likely to be upgraded by as much as a terabit in the next 12 to 18 months, according to Wood. The upgrade would be the second in the cable’s recently history, with 160Gbps of capacity added in January 2012.

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