Pan-African telecoms enabler SEACOM has announced that it has grown its South African base of channel partners servicing the business market to more than 65 companies of all sizes, up from 20 in October last year. In addition, the telecom operator and its channel partners have been processing orders from business customers at a rate of around 60 a month since it formally launched its full set of business offerings to the market.
“Our growth rate is exceeding the aggressive targets we set for ourselves when we soft-launched the SEACOM Business division in January 2015,” says Grant Parker, head of SEACOM Business. “We’ve 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. Customers are looking for a killer experience at the end of the line – the right performance and reliability at the right price,” says Kevin South, SEACOM Business channel manager.
SEACOM is currently pushing around 50% of its business through channel partners. The company plans to retain its focus on developing channel partners as it looks for more growth in South Africa and steps up its business strategy in other parts of the continent.
“We remain deeply committed to channel partners because they extend the reach for our brand and services, while allowing us to remain lean and focused,” says Parker. “Our current focus is on streamlining their experience with us, for example, by introducing powerful self-service tools that empower them to serve their customers faster and better.”
SEACOM’s key offerings for the business segment include Fibre Internet Access (FIA) with options ranging from 25Mbps up to 1Gbps. The company is leveraging its abundant and scalable capacity on its undersea cable system and continent-wide IP-MPLS network as well as the capabilities of its Cloud services such as Security, Back-up, Mail & Archiving, CRM & Virtual Hosting to enable businesses in South Africa and East Africa to smoothly transition to the cloud.
Says Kevin South: “Our strategy of diversifying our business from bringing low-cost data transmission infrastructure to other service providers in Africa towards offering a full portfolio of services to the business market is paying off. We’re seeing great adoption of our fibre connectivity as well as of our private and outsourced network solutions.”
To date, SEACOM has fibred up 35 nodes and is looking to work with its connectivity partners to reach more corners of the market. Cloud enablement forms an important part of SEACOM’s business strategy, with the company’s network interconnecting directly to various cloud CDN providers & OTT players. Connectivity is no longer the inhibitor to cloud, adds South.
“We are actively building the New Age Telco of tomorrow, with emphasis around automation of systems and process, SDN (Software Defined Network) and NFV (Network Function Virtualization). These are our building blocks for streamlined acquisition of Internet based products & services for business customers, channel partners and ultimately consumers alike.”
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. “These markets are ready for the sort of disruption we can bring,” says Parker. “We’re excited about the opportunity to bring focused, affordable services to companies on Africa’s east coast.”