SEACOM, a pan-Africa telecommunications service provider has unveiled a mega-regional expansion strategy for Uganda and East Africa as a way of easing internet access, speed and affordability.
The strategy is specifically intended to provide cloud technology to equip small to medium enterprises with cost-effective, simple-to-integrate business tools that rapidly extend their services to the end-user or last consumer.
Speaking during the unveiling event that was held at Serena Hotel Kampala on Thursday, Mr Tejpal Bedi – SEACOM Managing Director for East Africa, noted that the regional expansion strategy has been boosted by acquiring critical fibre infrastructure assets to propel their service offering in Uganda. He noted that the regional expansion strategy is a testament to SEACOM’s commitment to providing competitive end-to-end connectivity and Information Communication Technology solutions across the region.
“East Africa and Uganda have been an important market for SEACOM ever since we first arrived on the shores of Mombasa in 2009. By officially establishing ourselves in Uganda through proprietary facilities and resources, we are prioritizing widespread connectivity and opening up opportunities to work with businesses in search of quality communication services.”
Mr Bedi added that SEACOM is responding to the needs of the market.
He noted that since customers are starting to buy more bandwidth, businesses are making use of the cloud-like never before, using enterprise resource planning, Office 365, and customer relationship management (CRM) solutions that serve not just to fill gaps but aid in driving digital transformation and strengthening internal and external capabilities.
“The growth of the Internet in the region follows the demands of these businesses, and it’s up to us to facilitate that. The result is lower prices, improved reactions, and an overall better experience for our customers,” he said.
Mr Bedi added: “The acquisition goes hand in hand with our five-year strategy into expanding operations in the region,” Tej added. “As such, we are very excited about having a greater local presence.”
SEACOM Group Chief Executive Officer Mr Oliver Fortuin also stated that the regional expansion strategy would see SEACOM Uganda make significant strides in offering added value to their clients by improving on their current physical network.
“As part of the regional expansion, we will increase our fibre footprint within the Ugandan capital city of Kampala and surrounding towns,” he stated at the event.
According to Mr Fortuin, SEACOM has provided wholesale solutions to Uganda since its inception in 2009 and corporate solutions since 2018.
“The leading service provider enjoys a large footprint in Uganda’s financial services sector (FSI) and works with government and non-governmental organisations, including those in the education, technology and hospitality sectors.”
Minister of State for National Guidance under Ministry of Information Communication Technology (ICT), Kabbyanga Godfrey Baluku welcomed the strategy and said Telecoms have played a greater role in; electronic transactions, facilitating electronic commerce and fostered courier services that deliver goods bought electronically.
Mr Baluku also disclosed that during the closure of schools, children’s education was encouraged through e-learning by television and the internet.
“Therefore, the expansion of SEACOM’s fibre into the Ugandan market comes when the government and the population need it the most. Over the last two years, the COVID-19 pandemic provided a period of crisis that unveiled the need to expand the digital network in Uganda to enable the services to continue uninterrupted. Our Government has committed to improving internet connectivity and the provision of other technological interventions. That is why the regional expansion strategy by SEACOM is timely. I want to thank our partners at the Uganda Investment Authority for their excellent work in initiating and supporting measures that enhance investment in Uganda.”
The minister further noted that from an ICT perspective, Uganda’s vision is to be the region’s top ICT-enabled country and to realize this digital transformation, youth have to develop and use their ICT skills to drive the country forward.
“We strongly believe that ICT is a critical part of Uganda’s socio-economic development and a significant enabler of job creation, business growth, innovation, export, and efficient public service delivery.”
Mr Joseph Kiggundu – Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) Director in charge of One-Stop Center who represented Mr Robert Mukiza – Executive Director, UIA said SEACOM has taken gigantic strides since it launched Africa’s first broadband submarine cable system along the continent’s Eastern and Southern coasts in 2009 to this day and is the preferred partner for African businesses, network carriers, and service providers.
“On behalf of the Uganda Investment Authority, I am happy to state that we are very excited about the regional expansion strategy that SEACOM is currently undertaking to expand its ICT services further and footprint in Uganda. Thank you – SEACOM – for choosing to invest in Uganda. You have made a very wise decision, and you will not regret it,”Mr Kiggundu said.
The acquisition of established infrastructure will allow for further expansion into East Africa, enabling SEACOM to provide seamless integration of its services for clients across Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania, and decreasing the reliance on third-party last-mile providers to deliver connectivity solutions – solutions that include wireless and fibre Internet access, cloud connectivity, as well as hosting facilities, such as email and security, such as distributed denial of service (DDoS) protection software.
Meanwhile, SEACOM has so far spent over Shs7.2 trillion on asset values (laying fibres and other things) and according to Mr Fortuin more is going to be spent to ensure better services to their clients.
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