READERS’RESONSES :

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

ISSUE 310 – THE AFRICAN ISP IS DEAD ! LONG LIVE THE AFRICAN ISP !

I read your article "The African ISP is dead! Long live the African ISP!" with great interest because we at the Tanzania Internet Service Providers Association (TISPA) are currently debating the exact same scenario. Your article was amazingly accurate and very indicative of the current position of African ISPs.

We, at TISPA, are at a point we need to clarify our policy with regards to who is is we are serving and protecting. In a nut shell, our situation here is as follows:

- (The incumbent telco) TTCL is offering DSL services that are transfer rate capped. They also allow2 ISPs (raha and Africa Online) to use their infrastructure to offer the sameservice. While this is a good policy, the fact that they then compete with their own resellers is sad and dumb.

- Cellular operators are now offering CDMA, GPRS, 3G etc - that's a blow but we need to get more creative and strategic as articulated well in your article.

But the blow comes when we find out that a local mobile operator is rumoured to have plans to deploy not only 3G but Wi-Max on all its towers country wide.

This is by far the biggest incursion into the traditional ISP realm and we are wondering what to do. The licenses allows them as it is technology independent. Therefore we may not have a legal position.

Furthermore, they know that they will have a hard time with TISPA and have attempted to become members!! Can you imagine?! Furthermore, our constitution was in line with the old licensing regime. In any case, we have not accepted (their membership requests). But what can we do?

Suhail Sheriff
Tanzanian ISP Association (TISPA)