Connectivity critical for Nigeria's ICT sector, says SES chief
Connectivity is vital for any country to fully optimise the huge potential of cyberspace. SES Sales Manager for West Africa, Joy Nma Emenike, says the company will leverage partnerships in Nigeria to close the digital divide.
By Kokumo Goodie, Lagos, Nigeria
As a firm with focus on the provision of satellite services, why are you in Nigeria?
We have seen the challenge in Nigeria today. We have seen the country’s strategy in broadband plan to ensure that connectivity gets to any part of the country. What we are looking for in Nigeria is to leverage existing partnerships and make sure we support users within the country to have access to the internet wherever they are. We have those living in rural areas. These people are challenged concerning how to get other competitive products. How do they determine the prices of their products? How do they market them?
We have hospitals in remote communities, where you find that some doctors may not have the resources to travel to get necessary information they need in their bid to provide value to their patients. We help take our services to these areas. We know that Nigeria has this need to take connectivity to every corner so that people there can enjoy the benefits.
What solutions do you have to solve Nigeria’s particular needs?
We have different platforms for our satellites. We have platform services for broadband operators. We have equipment stationed with one satellite dish which is able to give connectivity to people living in that community. So you do not need to have one satellite per flat or building; you can have one central satellite that has a big antennae and be able to distribute connectivity to the homes of people living in that area. This also we do with our local partners. We are already dealing with a lot of television broadcasters. Almost all of them are working with us to make sure they take the services to the people.
Affordability is an important point here because if the solutions are too expensive, buyers would be scared off. How affordable are they?
We know that connectivity today has evolved. This has given rise to low-cost solutions, considering the standard of people that need these solutions. We have tailored our solutions in such a way that all classes of people are able to buy them. We have our Ku-band solution, which is very effective. We have designed a secure and reliable solutions based on our Ku-band platform for this group of people living in under-served and un-served areas so that they can enjoy the benefits that come with connectivity within these places.
The industry is becoming increasingly competitive. How are you addressing the issue of competition?
We all know that SES is one of the leaders globally. Those who want value go for the best irrespective of the cost. But this does not, in any way, mean we give unreasonable prices because we have quality products. We first of all sell value to the customers so that they understand that we have the right technology to give them what they want. We have been able to close a lot of deals where our competitors offered lower prices. The customers went ahead to work with us because they knew we had the right technology. So, for us, selling value is vital.
What specific services does SES offer?
SES is a global tech operator, which has been in existence for 30 years. We have our head office in Luxembourg. Part of what has helped SES is leadership—when it comes to satellite connectivity provision. We have global presence across Europe, America, Asia and Africa. Bringing it down to Africa is part SES’ strategy. We have three offices in Africa. We have our main office in South Africa. We have an office in Accra, Ghana, which is looking after the West Africa, and Ethiopia, which caters for the East Africa.
These locations are geared towards bringing the rest of the world to Africa as well as taking Africa to the rest of the world. Our connectivity does not have any limitation. We do not have coverage issues with regard to connectivity solutions. In Nigeria or West Africa, we have partnerships, which are meant to take SES business or value to every nook and cranny. In Lagos, we have Computer Warehouse as our teleport partner. We also have a number of other partnerships. With the synergy and strategy we have with these partners, we have been able to deploy many of our projects with regard to e-learning, e-commerce, e-health and data services. The telecoms are also partnering with us to provide quality and better data and port services across the region and country.