Gilat Telecom to offer Ugandan internet customers more for less
By Omondi Julius Odera, Kampala, Uganda
Ugandans are set to enjoy affordable high quality and improved internet services following the entry of Gilat Satcom Telecom into Uganda’s Telco industry.
The entry of Gilat Telecom Uganda, which is fully owned by the international corporatation of Gilat Satcom, brings to over 16 the number of registered ISP firms in Uganda. In an exclusive interview with Biztechafica.com, Gilat Satcom's Vice President Sales Dan Kamhi highlighted the company’s current undertakings in Uganda and Africa. The firm boasts of immense capacity and unrivalled service delivery anchored with cyber security as well as value added technologies for clients.
Initially Gilat Telecom Uganda's main focus has been providing wholesale capacity with the main service providers. However, a desire to have a more local presence in the country has seen the company move into the retail sector with an aim of providing the best possible broadband service to end users. Gilat Satcom offers both fiber and satellite internet services, and has a presence in over 30 countries in Africa. Uganda is the third country in Africa where the firm is establishing a physical presence after Nigeria and Ghana. According to Dan, currently the Telecom market in Africa is congested, the market is shrinking and therefore Gilat decided to change its strategy and approach to the African market. “We are currently focusing on a client-based approach with services and products that are refined to meet the clients need,” added Dan.
Gilat has been operational in Uganda for barely two months (from May 2016) and have already made its intention known in the market with its quick capturing of over 60 clients in Uganda – in addition to thousands across Africa. Gilat Satcom is a shareholder in WIOCC, owners of the East African Submarine System (EASSy), and in the West Africa Cable System (WACS). These undersea cables combined with Gilat Satcom’s networks on-land means it can offer clients fully secured lines. “Our lines are already secured from London compared to other service providers who buy from other fiber cable providers in the country. We are able to control the service from end to end and therefore our clients are protected from any cyber attacks,” explained Dan. Gilat Satcom also brings international customer service experience to Ugandan clients.
Internet pricing has always been a thorny issue in the Ugandan Telecom industry. According to Dan, Gilat has no intention of setting up a price war or breaking the market forces. However, they intend to ride on their unrivalled capacity and ownership of a dedicated fiber cable which they believe will allow them to offer more for the same market price. Dan explained, “We will maintain the market price but will provide more value added services for our clients because we believe that quality service and proper customer care is key to long term success than the more aggressive path of price cuts.” Additionally, Dan is optimistic that the market will trim internet prices downwards after their entry in the sector and predict that, internet prices will be slashed by 10 to 15 percent over the next year or so.
Currently some of the value added services that Gilat Satcom clients in Uganda are enjoying include security from cyber-attacks as well as traffic management. Based on their pool of clientele which includes government, hotels, and financial institutions these two main value added services are vital to the success of their clients’ businesses. For instance, traffic management enables a client to control effective usage of the capacity that he is assigned hence help define priorities.