About to run to the airport to take that sweet, sweet direct Air Uganda flight to Zanzibar, but couldn't resist blogging my friend Joe Powell's recent piece in The Independent.
Its simply an intrepid piece of journalism, helping us answer questions about how 'open access' SEACOM
actually is. In my interview
executives, they maintained that wholesale prices would be identical for Infocom
and other providers. Joe's piece shows that the feeling in the telecom
industry is that this is simply not the case.
Is Infocom's control of the SEACOM cable in Uganda fair?
Infocom's grip over Uganda's use of SEACOM cable is further strengthened as they have been appointed the hub provider for the country, what is known as the 'backhold provider'. This means that companies seeking to buy bandwidth will have to negotiate with Infocom, currently the only company to have a contract with SEACOM.
What thinks the competition?
Infocom has been fortunate that rivals such as MTN and UTL have invested in an alternative submarine cable EASSY, which is running behind schedule and will not go live for at least a year. Both MTN and UTL have a superior fibre and copper network countrywide buy without a deal with SEACOM are in danger of being left behind..
The third submarine cable, TEAMS, has docked at Mombasa and is now undergoing final testing. TEAMS has significant investment from the Kenyan government. Sources have confirmed that telecom companies in Uganda are now scrambling to buy bandwidth from SEACOM and TEAMS directly, with one senior executive telling The Independent anonymously that there is no way they would tolerate working through Infocom.
Labels: east africa, technology policy