Tag Archives: seacom

Operating as a new-age telco for Africa through strategic system decisions

Key to being a new-age telco is listening to what customers are saying. Worldwide, we are functioning in an age where customers are increasingly knowledgeable around technology and connectivity, with people in touch with what they need and want, which includes superior customer service. Despite its pivotal role in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the connectivity sphere is no different from any other business sector when it comes to profitability challenges and a hyper-competitive environment. Yet, as with any industry, engaging with customers, listening and orientating business decisions towards their empowerment, returns dividends for all parties.

As one of the leading private telcos operating on the African continent, SEACOM has adopted this approach to better serve local business customers with an appetite for high-quality connectivity – and the emerging technologies that hinge on it.

The African context

There’s no question that Africa is playing catch-up in the arena of telecoms, with longstanding infrastructure barriers to overcome, along with government attitudes that have been slow to warm to sector privatisation. That has changed, though, over the past decade or so, with governments in countries like Kenya, South Africa and Ethiopia prioritising ICT development and access to broadband Internet as a key enabler of socio-economic upliftment for their nations.

With such positive developments and receptiveness to private investment, telcos are operating in a local environment rich in opportunity. As a result, providers’ strategy and moves regarding their own growth and investment decisions, can tap into this enthusiasm. Even better is to have measures in place already to meet demand as it emerges.

Cloud comes to the continent, with localised providers

For example, on 6 March this year, enterprise-grade Microsoft data centres finally launched in Johannesburg and Cape Town as Africa’s first Azure cloud regions. With media reports citing AWS plans for similar South African facilities in the first half of 2020, SEACOM took preparatory steps by expanding its national and continental footprint so that businesses in South Africa, and elsewhere on the continent, could enjoy the benefits of access to leading public cloud providers that now have local physical presences.

This “setting up shop” in Africa, of course, has helped to mitigate the security, territorial, latency and general compliance concerns that discouraged cloud adoption in the region in the past. And even for African businesses outside South Africa, connecting to data centres on the continent will still be faster and provide a more seamless experience than relying on computing power that is generated half a world away.

Connectivity expanding beyond metros

In a move that reflects the general trend in African telecoms towards the consolidation of fibre assets, SEACOM acquired South African connectivity provider FibreCo Telecommunications towards the end of 2018. FibreCo owned and operated a national open access dark fibre network which ran along South Africa’s highest-traffic transmission routes and connected over 60 points of presence across the country, including key data centres. The acquisition therefore further enabled SEACOM to scale and upgrade its “African Ring” by connecting its East and West coast submarine assets with a robust network of trans-South African fibre.

The result is an end-to-end fibre that connects the SEACOM subsea cable system (which runs along the east coast of Africa and lands in Mtunzini, on the east coast of South Africa) to the WACS cable (which falls at Yzerfontein, on the west coast of the country). This ensures fully redundant high-speed ring protection around the African continent – a benefit that SEACOM can pass on to African business customers demanding standard-setting reliability no matter what.

For the record, SEACOM is the only African carrier to cover all five of the largest exchange points in Europe (London, Frankfort, Stockholm, Amsterdam and Marseille), in addition to Mumbai.

A further point to note is that with providers starting to look beyond saturated metros for new markets, lighting up additional fibre across South Africa also creates a platform to deliver affordable, high-speed Internet connectivity and cloud services to traditionally-underserved mid-tier cities and towns along the new routes. This is as true for home users as business customers, and the trend is set to reflect across Africa, with fibre rollout naturally progressing from main centres to secondary cities, and then on to more remote areas as investors make back their initial outlay.

Infrastructure improving across Africa

SEACOM’s system upgrades are not confined to South Africa either. In the greater African region, SEACOM has added seven other PoPs to enable more African businesses to connect to cloud facilities worldwide, as well as to the new continent-based Microsoft Azure data centres, and their soon-to-debut equivalents from other major cloud providers. The move has been accompanied by an upgrade of backhaul to include additional separate and resilient routes.

In preparation for higher demand and expanded services to business customers in the region, SEACOM has plans for new open-access PoPs coming to Nairobi, Kenya and Kampala, Uganda. These will provide a direct on-ramp to the SEACOM network. Before that, though, SEACOM has extended its presence in the brand-new icolo data centre in Mombasa, which offers both IP/MPLS and transmission services.

The significance of the full-service Mombasa PoP for the telecoms industry is that it is Kenya’s first open-access data centre. Rare in the region, in comparison to operator-owned data centres, this carrier-neutral facility (in addition to the impending Nairobi and Kampala centres) encourages competition in the local ICT sphere, helping to increase cloud-based service offerings for customers while driving down costs. 

Convenience is king

As we’re seeing, strengthening regional systems is necessary for the evolution of the market at a technical level, particularly with the increased demand for data owing to the growth in fibre-based connectivity and emergence of technologies such as 5G.

However, strategic decisions around network expansion also provide a better experience for customers, from services to support. And the importance of convenience and flexibility for customers can never be understated. One case of this is digitally-enabled and automated self-service, providing customers with the power to manage their account at a time and location convenient to them.

A further example of convenience that pleases the customer is a diversity of services from the same provider, turning them into a one-stop-shop for all their solution requirements – from connectivity to cloud. There will always be a space for specialist providers of all manner of services, but right now organisations in Africa, from SMEs right up to large multi-national corporates, place value in any ICT company that simplifies their cloud migration. For example, SEACOM’s PoPs are key to its direct access offerings, which bypass the public Internet in connecting company networks to digital business solutions, whether stemming from data centres in Africa, or cloud providers located in Europe.

SEACOM’s subsea cable system, which connects East Africa to South Africa, Europe and Asia, offers a fibre express route that carries terabytes of capacity, with speeds ranging from 50 Mbps to 100 Gbps.

Forgetting for a second the global cloud providers, the opportunity for African businesses to leverage dedicated enterprise-standard services to connect directly and reliably to the local data centres will enable more companies on the continent to embrace the cloud in a compliant manner, and enhance their digital transformation. In addition to laying the foundation for explorations of artificial intelligence and edge computing in years to come – enabled by the elimination of lag inherent to long-distance data transfer – in the near future, locally-delivered Azure cloud services will be joined by popular everyday business tools like Office 365 and Dynamics 365.

New-age business is customer first, always

New-age business is at its core about putting customers first, and making every decision by considering their needs. When that comes to telcos, that may even mean partnering with competitors in the development of a new product or system, if necessary. Furthermore, for ICT companies promising greater fluidity in operations for their customers, pace-slowing rigidity is to be avoided in their operations at all costs. Customer experience should always be as easy and enjoyable as possible instead of introducing resistance.

Investment and development of systems in the region should similarly be orientated towards the business user. On one level, such a future-minded, outward-looking approach helps to position SEACOM and other telcos as a partner to businesses across Africa, by thoroughly equipping them for competitive performance in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. However, aside from reputational (and hopefully profit!) advantages for the telecoms industry, there are more far-reaching repercussions too.

Access to faster and more powerful processing on the African continent supports the development of African solutions, and reliable fibre-driven connectivity allows these homegrown solutions to reach markets worldwide. This way, African businesses are gaining access to new opportunities and appear as substantial social and economic contributors at a global level, shattering negative perceptions of the continent. It’s a fundamental shift that advances in connectivity systems in the region are making a reality.


SEACOM launched Africa’s first broadband submarine cable system along the continent’s Eastern and Southern coasts in 2009.

Today SEACOM is the preferred partner for African businesses, network carriers, and service providers.

Through its ownership of Africa’s most extensive ICT data infrastructure – including multiple subsea cables and a resilient, continent-wide IP-MPLS network – SEACOM provides a full suite of flexible, scalable and high-quality communications and cloud solutions that enable the growth of the continent’s economy.

SEACOM is privately owned and operated, allowing the company the agility to rapidly tailor-make and deploy new services, commercial models, and infrastructure in response to customer requirements. Without the red tape or hidden costs often prevalent in this industry.

For more information, visit www.seacom.co.za

Media Relations

Shannon Barnard
Account Manager for SEACOM at Clockwork Media (Johannesburg, South Africa)
Clockwork Media |Shannon.barnard@clockworkmedia.co.za |+27 11 463 0366 | 

Image credit: Internet Society / Nyani Quarmyne / Panos Pictures

SEACOM sets up 8 POPs, targets more clients

Internet provider SEACOM has scaled its regional presence in Africa upwards, adding eight new points of presence across the continent. This move is expected to enable more African businesses to connect to cloud facilities and data centers across the world, such as Microsoft Azure data centers in South Africa.

One new point of presence is Mombasa’s iColo data centre, which is the first fully open data centre in Kenya – any network operator or business can take advantage of the limitless network and data support solutions that the facility has to offer such as premium IP/MPLS.

SEACOM says it in the process of setting up more open access data centres in the East African capitals of Nairobi and Kampala. These facilities are expected to increase competition among carriers and mobile network operators (MNOs) with the end data/network user standing to reap the benefits of lowered costs and improved connection speeds of up to 100 mbps and 100gbps, speeds that SEACOM’s infrastructure has already achieved.

SEACOM is also establishing a new point of presence in South Africa with Teraco.

 “This new facility is a key location, catering specifically to content providers and enterprise customers. It will also serve as an important data recovery site for many operators,” Robert Marston, Global Head of Product at SEACOM said in a statement.

SEACOM recently acquired South Africa’s Fibre Co Telecommunications as part of its expansion strategy. SEACOM also covers crucial Europe exchange points such as London, Frankfort, Stockholm, Amsterdam and Marseille, as well as Mumbai in Asia.

The moves that SEACOM is making to improve our infrastructure on the continent will benefit African companies with greater high-speed, reliable and secure connectivity to cloud services and other online tools. One of our major objectives is to add simplicity to cloud migrations wherever possible,” Marston added.

Image credit: Wendy Brooks on Unsplash

SEACOM – Sponsors of AfPIF since 2012

By Mark Tinka, Head of Engineering – SEACOM

The 9th African Peering and Interconnection Forum (AfPIF) will take place from 21 to 23 August 2018 in Cape Town. SEACOM has been a platinum sponsor since 2012, supporting the event with Internet connectivity, and is looking forward to playing this role again. The SEACOM team welcomes the opportunity to learn and develop, and to interact with like-minded individuals all working toward a greater goal. The AfPIF event allows us a space to do just that. It addresses the key interconnection, peering, and traffic exchange opportunities and challenges that our continent faces. This, in turn, provides attendees with both global and regional insights that will help grow Internet infrastructure and services in Africa.

SEACOM launched Africa’s first broadband submarine cable system along the eastern and southern coastlines in 2009, bringing with it a vast supply of high quality and affordable Internet bandwidth.  In 2011, SEACOM began offering IP/MPLS services to customers within and outside Africa. Since then, the business has grown significantly in key markets around Africa and Europe.

Today, SEACOM is the number one African-based service provider in the IP Transit market, both in terms of status and growth rate, as documented by Dyn, an Internet performance management company. This reflects the investment and effort the business has put into developing its IP/MPLS network, as well as the effective, affordable delivery of related services to its customers.

In addition, SEACOM has launched a connectivity services offering to the Enterprise Market in South Africa and Kenya – with a growth rate that has far surpassed the original targets  set for the business in 2015.  The SEACOM team has found that there is  a great deal of pent-up demand in the business market for high-speed fibre Internet access at an affordable cost.  SEACOM already has more than 170 channel partners serving its chosen markets, and are adding more than 100 direct customers on a monthly basis.

The services which SEACOM provides are what makes SEACOM’s sponsorship of the AfPIF so significant. The objectives of the forum align with those of the company – affordable, reliable, fast connectivity that can launch Africa into a new phase of economic development. Through this annual event, SEACOM is able to demonstrate its commitment to technical capacity building in less-developed regions, show its support for extending participation in the IETF to developing countries, and build contacts with technologists and regional leaders who share SEACOM’s passion for improved connectivity in the region. SEACOM looks forward to the potential of this year’s forum in transforming underserved African markets, and the future growth opportunities it may bring.

SEACOM seeks to increase connectivity numbers through direct to business services

SEACOM has stepped up its drive to connect more people and increase content in Africa, by launching a direct to business service in South Africa.

The Pan African fiber optic services provider is seeking to increase the level of content and number of users on its network, given that previously, it was primarily providing IP transit to ISPs and content providers in the region.

“Our growth rate is exceeding the aggressive targets we set for ourselves when we soft-launched the SEACOM Business division in January 2015. We’ve found that there is a great deal of pent-up demand in the business market for high-speed fiber Internet access at an affordable cost. We have more than 65 channel partners serving the market and are adding around 60 customers a month to our user base,” said Linda Carter – Head of Marketing, SEACOM.

Since 2009, SEACOM has been offering IP services within and outside Africa, growing local businesses as well as its footprint in Africa and Europe. SEACOM maintains that IP services remain a key part of the product portfolio and they expect continued growth.

This year, SEACOM is continuing its sponsorship of AfPIF, an event that helps the company engage with the tech community in Africa and contribute to the overall growth.

“SEACOM has enjoyed a fruitful relationship with ISOC AfPIF since we began sponsoring the event in 2012. We sponsor AfPIF and support it with Internet connectivity every year because it gives us an opportunity to connect personally with the Internet community within and outside Africa. It has really helped us get closer to our key users and partners. We look forward to continuing this mutually beneficial relationship into the future,” Carter added.

According to the business division brochure, SEACOM will be providing:

  • Internet Access Services- provides customers with high-speed access to the Internet through multiple global tier 1 providers, a mesh of subsea and terrestrial routes as well as optimized routing to many key African operators, service providers and content delivery networks;
  • Ethernet Services offer dedicated, transparent, EoMPLS layer-2 virtual private networking (VPN) connectivity across SEACOM’s network and onwards through SEACOM’s international partner networks;
  • Private Line Services give clients secure, dedicated, low-latency connectivity across multiple cable systems connecting Africa, Europe and Asia, as well as to key regional interconnection points in Africa;
  • Cloud Services – Hosted mail, online backup, end-point protection, virtual hosting and other cloud-based services provide customers with the ability to leverage the cloud to improve business processes and reduce costs.

The next step for SEACOM will be to ramp up the roll out of SEACOM Business solutions in Kenya, and to start looking at growth opportunities in Uganda, Mozambique, and Tanzania.