Tata Communications is looking forward to expanding upon its success across Africa by offering additional value added services to its wide customer base and partners in the region, based on a proven, vertical approach.
The company’s rise to the top of the telecoms industry has been a remarkable one. The firm only began in its current form in 2002, but today an impressive 24 percent of the Internet’s routes are on the Tata network.
Part of the $103.3 billion Tata Group and after a period of acquisitions, Tata Communications has flourished to become the largest submarine cable system operator in the world. It is also the world’s largest voice provider – carrying over one billion minutes of traffic per week. Partly due to these milestones, the global Tier One IP provider is currently ranked in the top 5 in five continents, by internet routes.
These are significant achievements and continued plans for expansion across the African region underscore its highly innovative path to growth.
Radwan Moussalli, Senior Vice President for the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa at Tata Communications, said: “We’re now rolling out to Africa and Central Asia one of the successful strategies we adopted in 2008 in the Middle East. This will enable our partners and customers to effectively expand their infrastructure through enterprise offerings.”
“This includes the core services of connectivity, IP and voice, but on top of that value added services such as media and managed security services. In Africa we’ve begun to develop partnerships in key select countries. This is to enable our partners to provide complex enterprise solutions for key industries that are tailored to each individual customer’s needs.”
Moussalli continued, “I strongly believe selling plain vanilla connectivity is becoming a commodity business and will no longer sustain the market share nor the revenue expectations placed on us. This is the same across the board for the entire telecoms industry. Where the value comes in is when you develop a specific solution for certain verticals.”
It is for this reason that Tata Communications has been able to develop a range of scalable solutions for enterprise clients such as the airline and media and entertainment/broadcasting industries. Along with carefully selected partners in the region, the company has opened up these new verticals by offering a package that involves global connectivity layered with a managed service for proactive monitoring capabilities. The multifaceted nature of the airline industry and similarly complex customers such as governmental bodies, drives the need for a comprehensive solution that can easily scale based on the size of the organisation.
Tata Communications’ long term strategy is to go one step beyond the standard offering of local service providers – which Moussalli believes will set the company apart. He said: “Obviously it has always been our intention to continually enhance our strategies to meet complex consumer requirements, and we do this by making sure we create an open infrastructure, ecosystem and platform that is the best fit for the business and service provider in each of our regions.
“In the telecoms industry today, particularly where we see growth happening in the Mobile Network Operator (MNO) space, we see dynamic changes. We anticipate these changing market demands ahead of time and meet them with agility and flexibility through a diverse range of services built on our extensive global experience. This is perhaps the main ingredient to our success.”
Moussalli explained how in the Middle East, the company has effectively provided solutions for governments in the face of modern day concerns about security. Before, many of these bodies had poor connectivity and were run over the public internet; Tata Communications has been able to offer secure network, VoIP and related services that help alleviate these concerns.
Tata Communications is also well guarded against potentially negative market factors such as price erosion. This is where the company’s mobility services, coupled with the rate of technological proliferation play a notable role in offsetting this possible threat.
Moussalli said: “Mobility services, to include African operators, is another important global component for us, and where we have been the partner of choice for most of the MNOs. Specifically, this helps fuel the rapid growth of IP traffic, which accounts for most of the mobile data revenue for MNOs. Africa, in particular, has been one of the fastest growing regions worldwide for mobile devices, creating the need for MNO access to reliable, affordable IP transit to meet the increased demand of a data-hungry customer base.
“Most of them look to future proof the network; while some are still maturing their networks, we expect many to make the move to 3G and 4G/LTE soon. Our extensive global network experience positions us well to be able to help most MNOs; whether in the LTE area, VoIP, signalling or core mobility services.
“The mobility service for us in Africa, and globally, is essential. The end user increasingly uses platforms such as Facebook and Skype to communicate, so we are assisting the MNOs in various countries with innovative solutions, to reinvigorate revenue streams.”
Moussalli points out that the sheer volume of demand for data consumption in Africa is compensating for any potential fallout from price erosion. He added that many regional clients are still using outdated 2G technology, positioning Tata as a provider of choice for 4G/LTE, which has the added benefit of being able to carry higher capacity, along with differentiated value added services.
In line with its commitment to having the highest quality professional staff, Tata Communications also continues to invest in extensive employee learning and development programs, which are offered through the Tata Management Training Centre. This centre will remain a crucial tool going forward to support staff growth, which has traditionally increased by 15 to 20 percent each year in all Africa and Middle East regions.
Moussalli concluded: “The value is in the partnerships you create: they can target specific verticals where a complex solution can be provided, tailored effectively to meet individualised customer needs. For us, Africa is a key market and it will play a pivotal role in driving our growth going forward.”