Telecommunications firms operating in Nigeria and other African countries are stepping up investments in cross-border Internet infrastructure in view of the rising demand for enterprise communications services, industry analysts have said. This new development, according to them, has become imperative considering that Africa is gradually becoming an economic hub. In view of this huge market opportunity, according to industry analysts, many global and regional companies are expanding their presence across the continent, and thus seeking better and efficient communications services to link offices and processes. Enterprise communication services refer to sophisticated, high-value telecommunication and IT services for corporate clients.
The suite of products in the area of global transmission and IP services include submarine capacity, global leased circuits, ethernet and backhauls, global and regional IP transit, managed internet, and bandwidth on demand. Global telecom service revenue is expected to reach $2.1 trillion by 2015. Research company, Frost & Sullivan, says enterprise the telecom market currently accounts for about 35 percent of the overall telecoms market. Compared to the retail market, the enterprise market has incrementally grown in its contribution to the overall pie since CY2011. “Sub-Saharan African countries overall have shown considerable resilience to financial shocks during the global financial crisis,” Moody’s Investors Service analysts said.
According to him, these businesses would require innovative solutions that could assist in minimising the cost and complexity of communications in Africa. “There is growing interest in the ability to offer a single management contract governing multiple territories, taking away much of the worry for large corporate customers looking to manage their communications in a fast-growing but demanding environment”, he added.
Analysts say telecoms operators see this fresh opportunity, which has necessitated huge investments in cross-border terrestrial networks as well as regional telecoms agreements all aimed towards accelerating the growth of Internet and mobile data services across the continent. India’s Bharti Airtel has deployed an integrated fibre and satellite network with 42 Points of Presence (PoP) spread across 17 African countries. The network will offer African businesses a variety of integrated telecom applications and solutions.
“Africa is also emerging as an economic hub and we are uniquely poised to connect the continent to the rest of the world and fully serve the growing bandwidth demand”, Ajay Chitkara, chief executive officer, Bharti Airel, said in a press statement. On the other hand, MainOne cable has plugged into West Africa’s internet highway by virtue of the massive investments in its cross-border network. The goal is providing seamless integration of businesses with offices in Nigeria and Ghana. The undersea company said this move would promote trade relations and boost economic growth of the sub-region. “West Africa’s real GDP growth was 6.2% in 2011.
The growth is largely driven by Ghana and Nigeria that share similar language, culture and practice.“They have similar business opportunities with great potentials for regional integration of businesses”, said Funke Opeke, CEO, MainOne while commenting on the project recently. The company has extended its operations to Togo by virtue of an interconnection through Ghana and is currently servicing the Republic of Benin from Nigeria. According to MainOne cable company, plans are already underway to extend services to landlocked areas such as Republic of Burkina Faso and Senegal. Vodacom Business currently manages one of the largest pan-African networks.