WIOCC events schedule 2012

WIOCC will be attending the following events in 2012:

To set up a meeting, please contact us at info@wiocc.net.

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Interview with Chris Wood at East Africa Com, April 2011

Chris Wood, CEO of WIOCC, was interviewed by Larry Madowo of NTV Kenya during the East Africa Com event in Nairobi, Kenya on 5th and 6th April 2011. Below is a transcript of the interview:

Larry Madowo (NTV Kenya): The East Africa Com conference is happening right next to where we are at the KICC. There’s a lot of interesting people coming through for the next few days at the conference. Chris Wood is the CEO of WIOCC – the West Indian Ocean Cable Company – which is the majority shareholder in the EASSy fibre-optic cable… and he is with us.

What it is you’re here to talk about is the EASSy cable – how is that coming along?

CHRIS WOOD: It’s very good – we went live last year in August and we’ve had great sales since then. It’s been a very import cable for the Kenya market, but also for the rest of East Africa because it means there’s now diversity on the coast. Up until August last year there was only one cable serving most of Africa on the east side. In Kenya we had TEAMS as well, but now that EASSy is there we have a lot more diversity and a lot more service quality in the network.

LM: In fact the EASSy cable is slightly different from TEAMS and Seacom in terms of who’s in EASSy – explain that one.

CW: EASSy is owned by a number of telecoms operators around Africa. WIOCC is the largest shareholder, but there are other companies like Vodacom and TSA in South Africa, MTN Group, Orange–France Telecom. So its owned by the operators who actually use the cable, which means that the cost structure is very different from a private system which has to go out into the market and raise a lot of capital. Whereas we’ve actually distributed the cost of the system around 26 different carriers, which means that our cost bases are very low.

LM: So how much capacity have you sold so far?

CW: As WIOCC, we have sold about 400 STM1s – which is a lot of capacity. If you break it down into Gbps – another technical term – we’ve sold about 50Gbps of capacity, for delivery over a long period of time, not all delivered now – but delivered over the next 4 or 5 years.

LM: Put that in to context for us based on the capacity of the cable itself…

CW: It’s still only a very small fraction of the total capacity of the cable. The cable itself has about 4.7 Tbps of capacity ultimately, which is more capacity than you could possibly imagine. You could download something like 10,000 high-definition DVD full-length movies in 1 second…

LM: Wow!

CW:… if you used the entire cable just for that purpose, so it has an enormous amount of capacity and we’re only starting to use it. What we’ll do next year is to light another large chunk of  capacity in January next year. The EASSy cable will be upgraded and we’ll have a lot more capacity in the market from that point.

LM: So the fact that you’re upgrading – at least doubling the  capacity. Do you see there is a market for this?

CW: Absolutely. In fact we announced in December that we were going to more than double the capacity. We’ve now re-looked at that and we’re probably going to increase it by 2 or 3 times more than we originally thought we were going to have to do because demand has moved so fast.

LM: Who exactly are you selling capacity to?

CW: As WIOCC, we sell capacity to all of the major operators and ISPs in the Africa region on the east side. So one of our customers in Kenya, for example, is Orange Kenya; we are also selling to Uganda Telecom in Uganda, to Onatel in Burundi and UCom in Burundi. So we sell to a large number of the big carriers, and then they on-sell that to their own customers and use it for their own networks.

LM: How has this changed the internet landscape in the region – in your estimation?

CW: It’s enabled the prices to come down – and I know price is always the hottest topic.

LM:..right, because I was getting there…

CW: I’m sure you were! Prices have come down considerably in the last 2 years. If you look to what people were paying for a very slow internet connection 2 or 3 years ago, we’ve seen probably prices come down by 70 or 80% already and the speed is going up commensurately with that. We’ve probably seen a trebling in the individual speeds you can get at the home or on your dongles, and that’s all because the international capacity pricing has come down so much.

LM: So give us a sense of how much for example – I don’t know in what sort of bandwidth/capacity you sell to these operators – how much it costs them for a certain unit of it. just for more of a technical aspect

CW: We sell large chunks of units – 155Mbps is our standard unit of capacity that we sell to the operators, and we’ll sell that from Nairobi to London for around $30,000 a month. That’s a far greater reduction than what was in the market less than a year ago, when prices were up to $60 – 70,000 a month. So we’ve reduced prices considerably.

LM: Based on how much you sell to these operators – do you believe the end consumer – somebody like me, I’m using a dongle over here – the costs that I pay for the internet; have they come down considerably? Is it fair?

CW: It has come down considerably but what you have to remember is that the operators who sell you the dongle have a lot of other costs in their network. They have to get the capacity out into the country. They have all their wireless networks that they have to maintain. They have fibre networks that they have to maintain. So there is a large additional cost that they have within their network. It’s not just the cost of the international capacity, but it’s certainly one big factor that’s come down.

LM: What is the redundancy set-up like for EASSy.

CW: EASSy has redundancy between its own landing stations, so if we lose Mombasa we have terrestrial capacity between Mombasa and Dar es Salaam, so we can take the traffic out through that way. On the network itself, we have what is called a ‘collapsed loop’ – we have two fibre pairs which back each other up on the actual cable itself. Which is unique on the east coast of Africa – no other system has that. So if we have a cut on a landing in Dar es Salaam, it doesn’t affect the rest of the system.

LM: How come you’ve not had that many cuts compared to others, because I believe that your business is prone to cuts – it happens?

CW: Fibre cuts do happen. We’ve not yet had a cut on the cable other than one cut off the Madagascar coast on the trunk cable that goes to Madagascar – which was repaired within 5 days and that only affected Madagascar traffic. We’ve had no other cuts on the EASSy cable apart from that. So you could say we’ve been lucky, but we’ve also built the cable in the right way in the most safe areas of the sea to ensure we don’t have cuts.

LM: We’ve just grabbed you from  East Africa Com conference right next door. What is your sense of the conference?

CW: Its excellent. The conference itself is one of the key conferences for the industry in this region. There’s a lot of operators there that I want to talk to. We’ve just met up with one of our other partners in Kenya, called FON. They’re building a network terrestrially in Kenya. They’ve put 200km of fibre into the Nairobi area and they’re lighting their network soon. So we’re having great discussions with them about how we’re going to jointly attack the market.

LM: Alright, so there’s obviously a lot of contracts inside here…

CW: Absolutely, yes.

LM: Chris Wood, CEO WIOCC, thanks for dropping by.

CW: Thank you

With thanks to Larry Madowo and NTV Kenya for permission to publish this interview.

WIOCC at East Africa Com ’11

This week’s 7th annual East Africa Com congress in Nairobi, Kenya, offered an insightful picture of the many opportunities in the region’s changing telecommunications markets. A diverse gathering of telecommunications industry thought leaders shared their expertise and insights on the key opportunities in the market. The mood was enthusiastic and positive about growth opportunities for an economy that will benefit from further competition and investment going forwards.

Representatives included mobile, fixed, satellite and WiMAX operators, Carriers, ISPs, MVNOs, regulators, ministers, solutions and technology providers, investors and consultants, ensuring a truly 360 degree perspective of the market. Attendees pooled their different perspectives, ideas and experiences to set strategies around convergence, broadband, bandwidth, LTE, value added services, telecoms fraud and connecting rural areas.

Conference discussions were led by a panel of 45+ speakers representing leaders of the region’s most dynamic operators including Norman Moyo, CEO of WIOCC shareholder Zantel, who spoke on ‘strategies to leverage greater network capacity & drive access to communications’. Other WIOCC shareholders present at the event included Onatel Burundi, Botswana Telecom, Dalkom Somalia and Djibouti Telecom.

Gillian Koech (WIOCC) & Nemaisa Kiereini (Telkom Orange) greet visitors to the stand

Over the two days, the event attracted over 80 visitors to the WIOCC/TKL booth, where our enthusiastic team including Chris Wood (WIOCC CEO), Ryan Sher(WIOCC COO), James Wekesa (WIOCC CCO), Winnie Karisa (PA to CEO & Marketing), and Gillian Koech (Marketing), together with Nemaisa Kiereini from Telkom Orange, met with representatives from a variety African and international operators.

WIOCC will be attending further events over the coming months, including Satcom Africa, ITW and Submarine Networks World Africa. Please email us at info@wiocc.net with your questions, requirements or to arrange a meeting at any of these events.

Meet WIOCC & Telkom Kenya Orange at East Africa Com ’11

The 7th annual East Africa Com returns to Nairobi on April 5th & 6th. The conference will take place at the Kenyatta Convention Centre, and is designed to deliver  market insight, practical solutions and best-practice benchmarks. 

The core of the event for WIOCC/Telkom Kenya Orange is networking, so we are preparing speed networking sessions for visitors to our exhibition stand, to ensure you are able to meet key people from both two companies. WIOCC’s team will be led by Chris Wood, WIOCC CEO, and will include James Wekesa (CCO), Winnie Karisa (PA to CEO & Marketing) and Gillian Koech (Marketing).

From Telkom Kenya Orange, Nemaisa Kiereini (Products & Marketing) and Robert Mutai will be ready to answer all your questions about Telkom Kenya Orange’s portfolio and the relationship between our two companies.

Visit the WIOCC/Telkom Kenya Orange exhibition stand to find out more about our network, our service offerings and what we can do for your business.  This is a great place for you to exchange ideas and to get your questions answered face-to-face.

For more information or to arrange a meeting/speed networking session, please email us at: info@wiocc.net

WIOCC conference programme for H1 2011

Chris Wood on the WIOCC stand

If you would like to meet members of the WIOCC team face-to-face, there will be plenty of opportunity throughout 2011. Below is a list of the conferences and exhibitions at which we will be present during the first half of 2011 – with more events to follow in the second half of the year:

  • March 22: Innovation Africa Digital Summit, Mombasa, Kenya – James Wekesa will be attending, and participating in an International Infrastructure panel.
  • March 28-30: IIR 6th Annual Broadband Summit, Jo’burg, S. Africa. Hitesh Desai and Marcel Bhatti, from our S. Africa Sales office, will be at the summit.
  • April 5-6: East Africa Com, Nairobi, Kenya. WIOCC will be sharing a stand with Telkom Kenya Orange and many of the WIOCC team will be attending the event, including CEO Chris Wood.
  • May 23-25: ITW, Washington DC, USA. The WIOCC stand will occupy the same place as at last year’s event, and we are arranging meetings at our bilateral table. Chris Wood (CEO), Ryan Sher (COO), Mike Last (Marketing & International Business Director) and Winnie Karisa will be present. On the 24th: Chris Wood will be participating in the Africa panel at the associated conference.
  • May 30 – June 2: SatCom Africa, Jo’burg, S. Africa. Hitesh Desai and Marcel Bhatti will be attending the event.

To set up a meeting or obtain further information on attendance at any of these events, please contact us at info@wiocc.net

Your opportunity to meet WIOCC

WIOCC will be attending a number of events over the next couple of months. If you’d like to discuss anything with us, please either contact us at info@wiocc.net to arrange a meeting, or just come along to the WIOCC stand.

James Wekesa, WIOCC CCO

Satcom Africa 2010 will take place between April 12th and 15th at the Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa. 

WIOCC’s Commercial team, consisting of James Wekesa and Dickson Mbando, will be manning the WIOCC stand (#51) throughout the event. James will also be participating in the “Fibre and Satellite – Friend or Foe” panel discussion on Day Two of the conference (April 14th) at 12:30.

Ryan Sher, WIOCC CTO

East Africa Com 2010 will be at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre in Nairobi, Kenya on April 27th and 28th. Ryan Sher, WIOCC’s CTO, will be participating in the “International Connectivity” panel session, and the WIOCC stand (#14) will again be manned throughout the event.

ITW 2010 will take place at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, Washington DC, USA between May 24th and 26th. We are in the process of arranging meetings at the event – please get in touch at info@wiocc.net if you’d like to set something up with us.