Galileo Tanzania the national distributor of the GALILEO electronic distribution services to the travel industry in Tanzania has signed up a US$1M deal with Africa Online to connect all Galileo users through a state of the art TCP/IP network service.

Galileo Tanzania is engaged in the business of providing and supporting a Computer Reservation System that serves travel agencies by providing flight schedule and fare information and related services, which enables them to make reservations and issue related tickets. It is responsible for the marketing and delivery of its products and services within Tanzania.

The deal that sees Africa Online provide managed connectivity services to all Galileo’s customers i.e. travel agencies all across Tanzania replaces X.25 data connectivity provided originally by SITA. The move to an IP platform is in line with Galileo’s vision to adopt a more versatile communications protocol that not only enhances productivity but also allows a richer and value added offering to travel agents countrywide to combine ticketing and booking operations on a platform that will also provide Internet and email access.

Africa Online have managed to provide the services through its fully licensed broadband wireless access network that utilises OFDM technology provided by Alvarion – the world’s largest pure play provider of wireless broadband networking infrastructure to carriers, ISPs and private network operators.

Africa Online has invested in one of the widest broadband wireless networks in the country covering the major urban centres of Tanzania. Speaking at the launch of the service, Suhayl Esmailjee, Managing Director of Africa Online Tanzania said “Galileo put across very stringent requirements in terms of network availability and response times. Ticketing and booking is crucial to Galileo and the unavailability of connectivity translates into direct loss of revenue. We responded to Galileo and delivered the required services using our state of the art network and geographical reach in the country.”

Also speaking at the event, Mr. Mohamed Alli, Manager Galileo Tanzania said “we recognize the changing needs of our customers and the advancement in technology. Galileo Tanzania has therefore made this strategic investment to meet the demands of the new age travel agent in bettering efficiencies so that we may delight our customers.”

The Internet platform is becoming a lot more reliable in sub-Saharan Africa with players like Africa Online now offering managed services to global customers. This also provides huge cost benefits to the likes of Galileo who are using legacy network services that do not have the advantages of IP. The shift to IP is taking place all across as the advantages far outweigh other modes of connectivity.

Africa Online is a Pan African Internet Service provider with operations in 9 countries in Africa i.e. Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia* and Zimbabwe.

Africa Online offers Internet access solutions and value added services i.e. consumer connectivity, leased lines & frame relay access services, satellite services, virtual private networks (VPNs), security solutions, data hosting and warehousing solutions. Also offered are web design, development and hosting services. Africa Online is the leading pan-African service provider in sub-Saharan Africa.

* Joint venture with UUNET SA