Road still tough for Africom
Africom, a converged communication service provider which also integrates data, voice, and video over broadband as well mobility into a single solution, is gradually experiencing a tapering off in market share.
The company is facing hard times, and ever since 2011 when boardroom shakeups disestablished the operation crippling its expansion funding Africom has not got back on its feet.
An industry paper by POTRAZ for the quarter ended March shows that Africom has been lagging behind the competition. The paper highlighted that total incoming equipped international internet bandwidth capacity for the industry increased by 29.3% to reach 98,000Mbps from 76,060Mbps recorded in the previous quarter.
Africom instead recorded a 46.2 % decline in equipped international incoming bandwidth. Reports suggest that Africom failed to pay bandwidth costs to a Mozambique (Mobitel) company which is its supplier. The company, however, attributes the failure to foreign currency shortages in the economy.
Interestingly the company is operating in a similar environment with other competitors who have been able to sustain incoming bandwidth capacity. Even before the current cash crisis, Africom’s capital expenditure has slowed down in line with its shrinking financial performance.
The sector leader Liquid, however, enjoys leverage on regional exposure to springboard its growth as it is able to tap resources. The Econet Wireless controlled company is Africa’s largest in terms of fiber optic coverage.
With a market share of 3.5% Internet Access Providers (IAP) revenues, the company came 5th and the highest Liquid Telecoms at 47.7% the least was Aptics at 0.0%.
Since 2010 it has been said that no money was invested in the company since 2011 maybe that why there is a slow rise in the company. Whereas Liquid Telecoms is doing great, this year it managed to walk away with 3 Capacity Africa Awards among them was Best Terrestrial Rural Connectivity Project. Liquid’s managerial status is stable and they provide more and better services ( Carrier wholesale, Channel/re-seller, Enterprise, and Retail) to Africom.
Africom should add/improve their network coverage areas even though they are covering major towns and cities it seems like there is no Africom anymore, the company should indulge into promotions (rural Connectivity) and campaigns e.g. free wifi zones, double up its bundles, market their products and revise their tariffs.
They should invest more in new and more network equipment so that they offer more network speed with affordable bandwidth to its customers.