Telkom subsidiary BCX is targeting off-grid internet users after forging a partnership with smart satellite service, Twoobii.
BCX yesterday announced the Twoobii partnership ahead of the ongoing AfricaCom conference in Cape Town.
The Telkom unit believes the partnership deal will bring benefits to South Africans using its Skylink VSAT Access.
Skylink VSAT Access is a satellite-based access solution that offers data and voice-capable services. The solution offers speeds from 2Mbps up to 20Mbps that can be easily deployed and is targeted at users that require reliable and robust connectivity.
It is suitable for users with remote branches that are off the grid and are not able to connect to the typical access solutions.
The deal comes as South Africa braces for a shake-up in the satellite connectivity space, with new entrants looking to set up shop in the local market.
According to latest reports, Elon Musk’s SpaceX satellite service Starlink will imminently go live in South Africa after the company opened pre-orders in the country.
However, the satellite industry in SA has been thriving in the absence of Starlink, with companies like Q-KON leading the charge.
Data connectivity boost
Twoobii is a high-throughput satellite connectivity service, powered by Intelsat platforms and managed by satellite engineering enterprise Q-KON.
In a statement issued ahead of AfricaCom, BCX says while conference attendees are focused on connectivity and infrastructure at AfricaCom − said to be the largest digital infrastructure event in Africa − businesses, merchants and consumers will learn they can benefit from seamless voice and data connectivity through Skylink VSAT Access.
“Important to note is that this service is optimised for off-grid users with no access to mainstream LTE, fibre and microwave networks, and those who need a solution to the continuing load-shedding disruptions,” says the Telkom unit.
BCX notes it selected Twoobii to ensure it can offer rapid deployment and immediate service activation upon installation, as well as independence from third-party or terrestrial infrastructure.
With satellite uptime availability at 99.5%, it adds, Skylink VSAT Access is a dependable offering for use either in day-to-day operations, or during emergencies when other systems have been degraded or disrupted.
Skylink’s 100%, all-Africa signal coverage and support of both voice and point-of-sale services is a solution for a wide range of industries, including retail, says BCX.
Engineering support will be provided by Q-KON Africa, using end-to-end access.
BCX believes its full-service model represents the future of smart satellite services in South Africa.
“We are delighted to have partnered with Q-KON Africa and to be able to utilise their Twoobii solution,” says Neo Phukubje, BCX managing executive for wireless solutions.
“This next-generation platform and access to high-throughput satellites ensure we can deliver the connectivity, speed and value our customers expect, including equipment repair and replacement, support services and uncapped internet over satellite access.
“Skylink has been engineered as the ideal backup to existing terrestrial services and is almost infinitely scalable, to allow businesses to connect multiple remote branches into their networks. Compatibility with SD-WAN, Layer 2, Layer 3 and VPNS makes Skylink highly beneficial as an underlay to SD-WAN, SD-WAN Express and the public cloud. Not only does Skylink offer low contention, but the fact that all business traffic lands in South Africa makes it a robust and reliable business broadband solution, no matter where branches are located.”
“The success of our partnership with BCX underlines the suitability of our Twoobii Smart Satellite Services as a white-label solution for satellite connectivity providers,” says Hendrik Bezuidenhout, account director of key accounts for Q-KON Africa and Twoobii.
“By leveraging the power of Twoobii in this way, BCX can now deliver an exceptional B2B offering under their Skylink VSAT Access brand. The success of BCX has been built on their multi-vendor model, and Q-KON Africa is delighted to be able to add to their continued growth as they recruit more corporate and enterprise customers.”
Of late, BCX, a problem child for Telkom, has been forging strategic alliances to turn profitable.
Telkom CEO Serame Taukobong recently said he is planning to rebuild BCX, which has continued to suffer losses in recent years.
BCX remains under pressure, with Taukobong saying this is due to the lingering impact of the lockdown and the global supply chain constraints and shortage of semiconductor chips.
In the current reporting period, BCX’s revenue declined by 2.6%, a situation the CEO said his team will soon turn around.
The company recently signed an exclusive deal with Alibaba Cloud to bring the Chinese company’s services to the South African market.