Tata Communications drives new investments into Africa

James Walker, VP Managed Network Services, TATA
ITNewsAfrica.com chatted with James Walker, VP Managed Network Services, Gaurav Anand, VP Business Development Middle East and Africa, Global Voice Solutions and Tony Rossabi, Senior VP Global Carrier Solutions from Tata Communications, about TATA’s strategy for Africa.

ITNewsAfrica.com: What is Tata Communication’s short-term strategy for Africa?

James Walker: Our main direction in the past couple of years was to enable carriers to sell advanced enterprise solutions to their markets. We are one of the largest wholesale suppliers to carriers on the African continent and we see a strong growth in enterprise requirements into Africa.
Tata has made significant investment in Neotel, South Africa’s second largest telecom operator and in the Eastern Africa in countries like Kenya and Tanzania. Our focus in the coming months is moving to the western and northern coasts in Nigeria, Ghana and Morocco, Egypt for brand new investments. Next in line is a focus on converged services to mobile operators to allowing them to become next generation carriers.
On a larger scale, we are very involved in markets which direct traffic to Africa, including India and Portugal, where majority of traffic terminates today. Also we have recently made a $240 million dollar investment in the Middle East. We are therefore meeting outbound requirements generated by African operators and we have a strong focus on all markets that lead traffic to Africa for outbound connectivity.

ITNewsAfrica.com: What is the company’s goal in terms of voice communications on the continent?

Gaurav Anand: In terms of voice communications, Tata acquired Teleglobe to further capitalize on providing high quality international and cross-border voice communications at lower costs to our database of 75 mobile operators. Beyond voice traffic solutions, our interest is helping operators with back-office solutions to simplify their operations and get them ready for the next generation networks.

James Walker: We are able to facilitate the transition to convergent, IP-based services. The next step in sustaining mobile growth and competitive services is through converged voice and data networks and an infrastructure upgrade to IP. In fact we are busy switching our very last TDM voice switch.

Gaurav Anand: Group operators understand that this shift to IPX services is critical as the mobile market is fast moving towards data applications. One of the challenges in emerging markets has always been the cost of infrastructure and IPX, besides being less expensive and easily to implement, provides operators with scalable global-class services that meet the current data demand.

ITNewsAfrica.com: What are the current trends in data demand by African enterprises?

Tony Rossabi: Data services are an integrated part of our enterprise business solutions. We clearly see a transformation towards managed applications and turn-key solution converged services, integrating data security, voice and fax services, telepresence facilities. Tata is actively focusing on VoIP services and network support in increasing operators’ network capacities. A major investment we had was providing voice services to Tanzanian operators via SEACOM.

By Denisa Oosthuizen