ECOBAND NOW SELLING ACROSS WEST AFRICA

Telecoms

Connectivity solutions provider Ecoband.net is now selling across Africa and acting as agents for RAD and Ceragon Networks, as well as IP Planet. Recent clients include: Africanus (in both Congo and Ghana), Busy Internet in Accra, FirstNet in Benin, Millicom (Ghana), Netcom (Togo), Sobiex Informatique (Benin), Third Rail (Ghana), Togo Telecom and Ghana’s Volta River Authority.

So what’s changed in connectivity terms in Ghana? According to Ecoband’s Alex Sulzberger:"The new SAT 3 connection. At least three people have signed up for an E1 and everybody is screaming for it". An E1 from Ghana Telecom using the new SAT3 capacity costs US$15,000 a month, approximately 60% of what it costs to buy equivalent satellite bandwidth. Ghana Telecom is responsible for the Accra-Lisbon section and that piece costs US$12,000 of the the total price, the balance being international costs. Customers are pleased that this new bandwidth option is available but are complaining at the time it takes to get it installed. As one put it:"GT is too bureaucratic and I doubt that will change with the new management." Prices have already fallen so the early-adopters, as always, may not get the best deals.

Ecoband’s Sulzberger also predicts that there will be a consolidation in the ISP market as has happened in several other African countries. The days of easy entry into the market are over. New entrants would need long pockets to make a success of it and all those we spoke to say that there is precious little new growth.