“Internet Solutions has been instrumental in delivering an aggressive product to market. This has allowed us to go to market aggressively in a very competitive landscape.” - Myron Salant, Director of Sales at Webafrica.
Bringing the rain down in Africa
Needing an alternative to fibre, Webafrica saw an opportunity to reach a significant number of customers in a short time by partnering with IS so it could offer super-fast, wireless connectivity over the Rain LTE-Advanced network – and live up to its promise of providing “Everything Web” to its customers.
Making online easy
Founded in August 1997, Webafrica is one of South Africa’s leading Internet service providers (ISPs). Focused initially on providing broadband services to customers, the business soon expanded to include a wider range of connectivity options and products, including capped and uncapped ADSL, VoIP, routers, modems, web hosting and domain management.
“Our tagline is Everything Web: from connecting to web hosting and design. Basically, offering as much as possible to make our customers as successful as we can,” says Myron Salant, Webafrica’s Director of Sales.
Knowing that customers would always drive ISPs to offer them more value, greater bandwidth and higher speeds, Webafrica was quick to advantage of the strong growth in fibre to the home (FttH) in South Africa and add fibre connectivity to its services. But it soon became clear that some customers didn’t want to rely on fibre contracts or cables to connect to the Internet, and another market opportunity opened up for Webafrica.
A fibre alternative for Everything Web
Central to any service Webafrica develops is a passion to bring the Internet to people in a way that works for them. For Webafrica, online should always be easy. To keep to its promise of offering “no-strings-attached Internet pleasure”, the company keeps things simple with contract-free connections, excellent support and user-friendly tools all the way. “We pride ourselves on customer service; it’s one of the main metrics we measure our business and our people on,” Salant explains.
Webafrica had identified three types of customers who were not able to access fibre or traditional Internet connectivity: those who lived just outside FttH coverage areas; who were renting homes or office premises and didn’t want to invest in a fixed asset such as fibre or DSL links; and those in multi-dwelling complexes that lacked the resources to cover a fibre investment.
These customers were not relying on cable networks for connectivity but rather on a mobile network, such as 3G, or, more likely, LTE. Not only could LTE be up to five times faster than a normal ADSL connection, but it was also much faster to install and did not rely on a telephone line or physical cables to provide connectivity.
With this in mind, Webafrica started looking for an alternative to DSL and fibre: a cost-effective, high-speed Internet service that would help the business to close this gap in the market. Because Webafrica didn’t own its own network – and didn’t want to – it needed to partner with a network provider that could deliver more than the traditional LTE services.
Greater reach in a shorter time
Having worked with Internet Solutions (IS) to obtain broadband services, Webafrica turned to IS to help find this alternative solution. “We have been with IS for a number of years and our relationships has always been stellar; we certainly view them as our partner rather than our supplier. We know that, much like our ethos, customer service lies at the centre of everything IS does,” Salant says.
IS knew that Rain was launching an LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) network in South Africa that would operate at three times the speed of normal LTE. IS quickly secured a partnership with Rain to deliver a next-generation mobile network that would connect customers across South Africa to the unlimited opportunities of the digital universe.
When Webafrica approached IS about a new LTE option, the IS team knew they had the perfect partner to drive connectivity using Rain’s network countrywide. “Rain’s coverage is so much bigger than what fibre covers and it allows us to reach a greater number of customers in a very short amount of time. This was a big priority for us,” Salant points out.
While Internet Solutions focused on delivering the Business Support Systems (BSS), Operational Support Systems (OSS) and Channel Program, Rain focused on providing a quality network so Webafrica could successfully bring this product to customers. “This really took away a large operational layer from our business, allowing to deliver products and services to customers quickly, rather than having them wait. This in turn resulted in greater customer happiness.”
Racy-fast LTE where customers want it – a market-first
By partnering with Internet Solutions and Rain, Webafrica could offer customers a reliable wireless Internet service that delivers true 4G speeds and is up to three times faster than regular LTE. People could now connect their homes and businesses to the Internet straight away, in a way that suits them, from a router to the nearest LTE tower on Rain’s fast-expanding network.
“Because our industry moves so quickly it is really important that IS listens to what we have to say,” Salant says. “This is such a competitive landscape and we need to stand out and be different. One of the ways we do this is by sharing ideas and feedback our customers provide with IS. IS has been instrumental in listening to our suggestions and implementing them, within reason, based on what our customers need.”
Webafrica was one of the first ISPs to take this product to market and, thanks to the “racy-fast” LTE-A network, it can continue offering a range of hassle-free connectivity options to customers that couldn’t be serviced before.
“Since we introduced LTE-A we have seen our revenue grow month-on-month. We have a lot of wonderful ideas in the pipeline and we see IS as a critical partner in helping us execute those,” Salant concludes.