By Mark Kawalya
Pan-African telecommunications firm SEACOM announced plans to acquire selected infrastructural assets from Africell, a company that exited the Ugandan telecom market in 2021.
The firm will take ownership of Africell’s 760 kilometers of fiber that runs within Uganda’s capital, Kampala and surrounding areas, office space for its staff along with a 250-square-meter data center.
The move is a noteworthy step for SEACOM and is a demonstration of the company’s efforts to provide competitive end-to-end network connectivity and ICT solutions across the Central African region.
“East Africa has been an important market for SEACOM ever since we first arrived on the shores of Mombasa in 2009,” explained Tejpal Bedi, Managing Director and Regional Head of Sales for SEACOM ENEA. “By officially establishing ourselves in Uganda through proprietary facilities and resources, we are prioritizing widespread connectivity and opening up opportunities to work with businesses in search of quality Internet services.”
The move follows the firm’s recent acquisition of the metro fiber network from Hirani Telecom, a Kenyan internet service provider. By acquiring established infrastructure, SEACOM, will be able to further expand into East Africa, boosting its capabilities to provide seamless integration of its services across the different markets of Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. This will decrease the firm’s reliance on last-mile service providers for connectivity solutions. Some of these solutions include cloud connectivity, hosting services, wireless and fiber internet access.
“The acquisition goes hand in hand with our five-year strategy of expanding operations in the region,” Tej added. “As such, we are very excited about having a greater local presence.”
SEACOM has been a wholesale service provider in Uganda since it commenced operations in 2009, before pivoting to corporate solutions in 2018. The telecom firm has established a wide footprint in Uganda’s financial services sector with clients in both government and non-governmental agencies along with the education, hospitality and technology sectors.
While Uganda is dominated by a strong small business ecosystem, the country also has a thriving private sector with thousands of medium-to-large-sized businesses based in Kampala and the central region. The internet penetration rate has also grown significantly, with connectivity prices that are competitive when compared to other many countries within the region.
“SEACOM is responding to the needs of the market. Customers are starting to buy more bandwidth. Businesses are making use of the cloud-like never before, using enterprise resource planning, Office 365, and customer relationship management (CRM) solutions that serve not just to fill gaps, but aid in driving digital transformation. The growth of the Internet in the region follows the demands of these businesses, and it’s up to us to facilitate that,” concluded Tej.