New ICT solution for Zambia

By Nawa Mutumweno – Developing countries like Zambia encounter limitations in as far as the provision of a robust information communication technology (ICT) platform, making the conduct of business, especially with external markets a difficult task.

This is where reliable, efficient, effective and innovative 24/7 connectivity becomes a ‘must have’ in today’s competitive marketplace. When communication flows like clockwork, the conduct of business becomes an easy task and success is attainable.

There is ray of hope on the Zambian ICT horizon ushered in by the partnership between NSSLGlobal, a United Kingdom-based satellite communications company, and Telplus Communications Limited, a local firm and new entrant on the country’s telecommunications landscape.

The two organisations sealed a hand-in-glove deal in September 2014to breathe a new lease of life into the country’s ICT sector with planned coverage of remote and rural areas where GSM solutions have poor or non-existent coverage.

ICT-infrastructureOutlining the work of NSSLGlobal to Communications Africa in a recent interview, the company’s Business Development Manager, Global Government & Enterprise, Steve Tunks, said NSSLGlobal prides itself with having 13 offices and teleports around the world and together with its global partner network, providing outstanding service to all customers via its 24/7 technical helpdesk.

The service provision of NSSLGlobal cuts acrossthe mining, media, maritime (commercial and superyacht), government and financial sectors.Thus, the partnership will help fuse ICT solutions in areas where the innovations usage are minimal in the country and region.

“Africa is an interesting market to us with various opportunities in our line of business. Finding a strategic partner is not an easy task. We identified Telplus as a company we could work with and offer knowledge and technology transfer to help them grow their business,” said Steve Tunks.

“Zambia is landlocked in the midst of eight countries, thus it is strategically located and ideally stationed to expand throughout the SADC region. We are pleased to offer our expertise and contribute to the development of the ICT sector in the country and beyond,” he added.

Telplus Communications Limited chief executive officer, Chim Moore, said “The knowledge transfer from a top-notch satellite provider,is creating a lot of confidence in our employees to enable them deliver to our clients. The skills transfer that has already taken place is amazing.”

“Telplus are a one-stop-shop for single and multiple users. We want to reach places where mobile service providers have not penetrated. We would like to cover these areas. For instance, ICT can help in elections generally especially in areas where there is no GSM network, she elaborated.

The agreement which Telplus and NSSLGlobal signed in September 2014 culminated into the launch of Telplus Communications Limited on October 16 2014 in Lusaka. The launch was officiated by the Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications, Yamfwa Mukanga.

Mr. Tunks is optimistic that the knowledge and technology transfer will benefit Zambia and its neighbouring regions. NSSLGlobal’s strength stems from its wide network and wide range of product and its world-renowned status anchored on 24/7 back-up support.

Asked what attracted NSSLGlobal to the Zambian market, he said the political and financial stability was the key factor as these ingredients were vital in the transaction and success of any business undertaking.

In terms of expansion into the region, Mrs. Moore said Telplus was already supplying satellite communication to several defence forces that are deployed in UN peacekeeping missions. Apart from this, plans are afoot to extend its services to other sectors in the region in the near future.

“We have had various discussions with Government to outline our intention to roll out ICTs in rural areas. We can cover the gap and provide voice and data services immediately,” Mr. Tunks pointed out.

Mrs. Moore paid tribute to Government and the regulator, Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) for the wonderful support the company has enjoyed since its establishment.

“We are honoured to have partners like NSSLGlobal and Inmarsat. We really appreciate what they are doing for us as we roll out in Zambia and other countries in the region,”she enthused.

On future plans, Telplus is keenly following the construction of 650 health posts by Government throughout the country as it sees this as an opportunity for the delivery of ICT facilities.

And speaking at the launch, Mr. Mukanga reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to the development of the national broadband strategy with the aim of providing ICT services that are affordable on a competitive basis.

Headquartered in Surrey, England, NSSLGlobal is an independent service provider of satellite communications and IT support, committed to delivering high-quality voice and data services to customers anywhere in the world, regardless of location or terrain.

Along with NSSLGlobal’s world-class VSAT network, the company brings together the best-in-class satellite solutions from key market providers such as Inmarsat, Thuraya and Iridium, to offer options across C-, L-,Ka-, and Ku-Band networks.

Telplus is a Zambian firm established in 2013with the primary focus of providing satellite equipment solutions. This equipment allows uninterrupted and excellent connectivity via data and voice.

The company provides a wide variety of satellite equipment, from phones to broadband systems, in order to aid stronger, more reliable communication methods on the continent. Its mission is to be the most reliable and most sought after satellite communications solutions provider in the SADC region. It endeavours to provide reliable back up communication systems for voice and broadband solutions.

With the products coming in various packages to suit clients’ unique needs, the guaranteed, reliable and efficient communications solution will enhance activities across the entire economic spectrum of the Zambian economy.