Africa’s Carriers’ Carrier at Capacity Africa 2016

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 or


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

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.

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.”

WIOCC CEO Chris Wood invited to join executive panel

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.


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

WIOCC at Capacity Africa in Dar es Salaam

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

WIOCC’s Mike Last interviewed on Capacity TV

The increasing demand for diverse international connectivity and WIOCC’s collaboration in Europe with Viatel are the topics of a Capacity TV interview between Mike Last, Marketing and International Business Development Director for WIOCC, and Capacity magazine Editor Alex Hawkes.

Viatel interview 2

The interview can be viewed using the link above and can currently be accessed from the Capacity magazine Home Page –

Customising customers’ needs

“Elevating Africa to New Heights” was one of the key topics in the June 2014 edition of leading industry magazine, Global Telecoms Business. Chris Wood, WIOCC’s CEO, was interviewed for this issue, expounding upon how WIOCC is playing a unique role in increasing and improving connectivity to the African continent.

In the interview, Chris outlined how WIOCC is able to meets carriers’ demands for additional capacity and diversity through significant investments in expanding and enhancing its submarine and terrestrial fibre network capacity.

To find out more on how WIOCC works with its customers to meet their needs, read the full article titled “Increased connectivity and rapid growth in demand elevate Africa to new heights”.

WIOCC CEO Chris Wood among 100 most powerful people in global telecommunications and nominated for AfricaCom Awards 2013

Chris Wood, WIOCC CEOChris Wood, CEO of award-winning Africa’s carriers’ carrier WIOCC, has again been named as one of the 100 most powerful people in the global telecommunications industry.

In the 6th annual GTB Power 100 listing, Chris ascended 14 places in the rankings to 65. He is one of only four executives from African businesses to appear in this Global Telecoms Business magazine-compiled list, which identifies the 100 most powerful people in the global telecommunications industry.

Chris is credited with masterminding impressive growth over the last 12 months at the Africa-focused international capacity wholesaler, where revenues rose by 40% and profits increased by more than 100%.

The publication highlighted that ‘Wood’s vision for improving the reach, quality and affordability of Africa’s international connectivity includes strategic investments, key partnerships, technical excellence and an absolute commitment to customer service.’

He was also acknowledged for ‘establishing WIOCC as the number one supplier of diversity-rich, high-capacity, end-to-end managed circuits into and out of Africa’.

WIOCC CEO shortlisted for AfricaCom Awards 2013

Further to his recognition by Global Telecoms Business, WIOCC’s CEO has also been shortlisted for the AfricaCom awards 2013 in the ‘Industry personality of the year’ category. Chris was nominated in October 2013 for the award based on his achievements over the past years.

Chris has led WIOCC since inception, building it quickly into a profitable, award-winning business with a unique, pan-African network footprint.

Under his stewardship, WIOCC is transforming how businesses operate and how individuals go about their daily lives in Africa. The resulting improvements in availability and affordability of broadband capabilities have been extremely beneficial in:

  • enabling African and international telecommunications service providers to roll out ever-more-advanced services into African markets
  • offering businesses opportunities to make operational savings, deliver improved capabilities and address new markets. Greater capacity and network reach are also supporting the development of a community of internet-based businesses across eastern and southern Africa.
  • allowing high-capacity links to be created between education and research establishments, helping to speed up research and shorten development times of new products and services
  • improving access to information, news, entertainment, education, social networking and a growing range of eGovernment services – improving quality of life for millions across the African continent