MainOne ups investment in distribution networks to West African countries

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

Nigerian submarine cable company, Main One Cable says it has stepped up investment in distribution networks in the face of a dearth of commercially reasonable alternatives.

The company announced last weekend a major expansion programmes into other cities in the country and West Africa, with an additional investment of $15 million within its two years of operations in Nigeria. Main One, which will clock two years in July, further disclosed that it has already begun to stretch its infrastructure towards Togo with an interconnection through Ghana, and is presently servicing the Republic of Benin from Nigeria.

Funke Opeke, chief executive officer of the company told journalists in Lagos, weekend that the underwater cable company plans extension of its services to landlocked areas including the Republic of Burkina Faso, Niger, among others, further adding that presently, the customer base of the company in the country is nearing 200.

The CEO explained that the landing of the submarine cable in July 2010, has so far brought down bandwidth cost and increase accessibilities’ of Nigeria to the Internet, adding that the company, was determined to service the country’s huge market and those of neighbouring countries with broadband services.

According to her, many people had discovered the need for a fast and cheap Internet access amid the desire to use different kinds of applications.

“People know they want better access to Internet. They want it faster, cheaper, and they want to be able to drive new kinds of applications and access different types of content,” she said. She argued that the fresh investment became imperative in view of the increasing demand for the company’s broadband services.

Opeke said the company had started investing in distribution infrastructure as well as building its own networks in the face of a dearth of commercially reasonable alternatives.

To her, “The biggest challenge that we see is getting the capacity we have in this big pipe that we brought into Nigeria and Ghana across the region to reach the people and businesses where they need the service. But looking back two years now, we were totally unproven in the market and the viability of our services was something yet to be experienced, which was subject to speculation. But we can confidently say today that our services have proven to be extremely reliable and highly available.”

She explained that the firm successfully launched last year its IP service, which today, she claims makes them the largest wholesale provider in Internet connectivity into West Africa.

Explaining the new value proposition of the company, the Content Delivery Network Solution, MainOne’s head of sales, Bolanle Ogundogba said the new offering is in partnership with Tata Communications.

“Today, they have a product offering and we bought into it because we have the highway, which is the submarine cables to provide real connectivity that will provide access for the kind of content that you desire.

For instance, the Olympics coming up, we want to be able to stream it live from there to Nigeria and avoid having it recorded and play here. The product has been developed and is coming for launch next month.”

In his own contribution, Babatunde Dada, Chief Finance Officer, Main One Cable said though the investment cost MainOne and its partners about $240 million, we have expended about $15 million within the last two years of operation, especially in the areas of creating access and expanding reach across Nigeria and others West African countries.