When I wrote to you in December I told you we had signed a capacity purchase agreement with FibreCo for the Johannesburg-Cape Town route. It‘s part of our strategy of focused investment and infrastructure enhancement in the emerging economies in the Middle East and Africa. As anchor tenants on this stretch of FibreCo network, we will own our network infrastructure in South Africa, enabling us to build bespoke optical transmission solutions.
Today I’m excited to be able to tell you that FibreCo has broken ground and started construction.
FibreCo is a joint venture among Cell C, Convergence Partners and Internet Solutions. BT is one of its three anchor tenants.
As their press release of 2 May says, “FibreCo expects to start offering services on selected routes from early 2013, with the link between Johannesburg and Cape Town anticipated to be operational in the latter half of 2013.
Keith Matthews, general manager of BT Sub-Sahara Africa, said at the ground-breaking, “In February we announced a series of initiatives aimed at doubling our business across Turkey, the Middle East and Africa. BT’s capacity purchase agreement with FibreCo will allow our clients in South Africa to gain access to a richer portfolio of innovative services thus leveraging BT’s network breadth and depth. The playing field in the South African telecommunications market is starting to level out and this is good news for the industry.”
It’s good news our GTM customers, too:
If you are an international carrier, this means we will be able to offer you seamless global capacity directly into Johannesburg at a very competitive cost level. With that capacity, you can offer your customers end-to-end connectivity into one of the most important business centres in Africa. This will significantly improve your service position for B-ends and for A-ends located in Johannesburg. The infrastructure will also link to cable systems, extending access to surrounding countries and the wider world.
If you are a provider serving the Johannesburg region, it means cost-effective and efficient capacity to send long-haul traffic out and to deliver content and cloud-based services (like video and rich applications) in to your customers.
If you are a Johannesburg-based African hub provider, our new infrastructure will offer you the ability to extend your network and link to other global growth markets. It will increase the benefits of competition. It is a logical step to boost the economic advantages for the African continent, which needs more intra-continental and national fibre coverage.
In other BT news, in May at Telecoms World Africa, Joy Fletcher, director of business development for GTM in Sub Saharan Africa, presented “Delivering the broadband future in Africa through fixed network optimisation”. She and our colleague Mark Amoss, general manager for international voice business in GTM, joined a panel on “How to ensure mass penetration of mobile broadband into Africa”.
People who heard them speak and talked to them afterward appreciated the way they talked about the realities of the African market. Joy and Mark understand that it is too soon for some operators to talk about long-term strategy. They have immediate issues to address first. For example, everyone agrees that fixed network optimisation is necessary but not everyone knows what it means in practical terms: how to start and what to do.
Another practical angle is the fact that fixed network optimisation on fibre and copper are critical for the achievement of African government goals for delivering broadband to rural areas.
BT Advise for Communications (BTAC), GTM’s professional services and consulting unit, can help service providers now by sharing BT experience of what to do tactically. Later, when they are ready, BTAC can help them develop their strategy for the future.
Also in May BT sponsored the Sportech 2012 Conference in Doha, with over 90 attendees (including Manchester City FC and Qatar Foundation) to discuss the hosting of global sports events. Looking toward the World Cup 2022 in Qatar, BT presented its capabilities to support the delivery of major sporting events worldwide and to help wholesale customers deliver event news to their end customers. Tim Boden, technical director of the BT London 2012 Programme, presented an in-depth case study of those BT capabilities. For further information about BT support for sports events, please contact us.
Elsewhere in this issue of Global Telecom News you can learn about managed voice services from BT Advise in the article “Rise to the challenge of declining voice revenues”.
You can also meet Andrew Bullock, regional director for BT Advise in Europe and Latin America, in “Talking telcos with BT Advise”.
Our managing director writes in “Business insights from Beatriz” about some of the BT achievements in our 2011-12 fiscal year, our Global IP Exchange and our Wi-Fi capabilities.
In “Let’s talk Voice”, Mike Bygate, GTM business development manager, points out how many different types of service providers are using our Global IP Exchange to meet their varied business needs.
Read Spotlight on BT products and services to see how you can “Seize the SMS revenue and margin opportunity with SMS Hubbing”.
Learn about our new portfolio of BT Assure managed security services in “Rethink the Risk”.
If you would like more information about any of these subjects, please contact me. I would be delighted to hear from you.
As head of BT’s Global Telecoms Markets (GTM) operation in Middle East & Africa (MEA), Will Bruce leads the regional sales team to address the needs of carriers, licensed operators, service providers and mobile operators and to deliver on GTM’s mission to customers in MEA.
Will has a wide understanding of the MEA wholesale market, having worked directly with regional customers for 10+ years.
Since joining BT as a finance manager in 1987, Will has held a variety of positions ranging across business development, commercial and sales in both the retail and wholesale divisions. Previous to BT, Will spent seven years with Reuters focusing on the MEA and Asia regions.
Will is a member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.