LONDON, May 4, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Based on its recent research on the Broadband Internet market, Frost Sullivan presents Sasatel (Dovetel Tanzania Limited) with the 2010 East Africa Frost Sullivan Award for Product Differentiation Excellence in recognition of its high-quality yet low-cost network service, good customer support services and innovative solutions that constantly exceed customer expectation.
Existing fixed-line networks in Tanzania do not offer sufficient coverage. Poor funding from both public and private sectors aggravates the lack of infrastructure. However, making large capital investments to roll-out networks to cover the widely spread population will not offer sufficient return on investments (ROI) since 75 per cent of population is engaged in farming activities with low disposable incomes. Rising fuel and electricity costs that put pressure on operational costs also lower the profitability of network operators. Further, there is a lack of mobile data applications in the market because the majority of operators prefer to compete fiercely on popular voice and SMS services.
Since its commercial operation in June 2009, Sasatel has deployed technologies like Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA), EV-DO to help it realize quicker network and new service rollout to market than mobile and fixed platforms.
Sasatel's deployment of CDMA/EV-DO technologies to support its data services, particularly for its fixed-wireless offerings, helps fill in the gap of limited fixed-line network in Tanzania to support high-quality triple-play services, says Frost Sullivan Research Analyst Jiaqi Sun. The company also provides IP-based value-added services like email and web-hosting in the data packages.
In January 2010, Sasatel again demonstrated its commitment to focus on data services and introduced WiMAX, a wireless broadband technology that provides transmission of data through a variety of modes, from point-to-multipoint links to portable and fully mobile internet access. This technology provides speeds up to 10 megabyte per second (mbps) through wireless connectivity.
Sasatel is unique in terms of its diversified product and service portfolios with a special focus on fixed-wireless data services, notes Sun. Such versatility gives the company a competitive advantage in the broadband internet services market, whereas its competitors still restrict their core business to voice and SMS services.
Further, the company differentiates itself through providing customers with higher quality of services and customer support services. For instance, its customer support team helps customers to install routers and protect internet connection. The company also offers a three-month warranty against manufacturing defects on the EV-DO Wi-Fi router. The focus on fixed-wireless and mobile broadband services generated higher average revenue per user (ARPU) (US$100 and US$30 respectively) for Sasatel than the other telecommunications services that its competitors were engaged in during 2009.
Sasatel combined its broadband internet services with fixed-wireless voice services to low-end residential market in order to increase penetration through offering limited mobility and higher quality of services at lower prices than mobile Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) network. The company also offers fixed-wireless phones that have internet connectivity capabilities as well as mobile phones at attractive prices. All its fixed-wireless phones have data capabilities that are customized to suit the consumer needs for high-quality voice and data services.
EV-DO offerings are based on the estimated usage of small-and-medium sized enterprises (SME) customers while WiMAX is offered through a dedicated bandwidth for corporate customers. The strategy is to increase company profitability by targeting corporate customers, who are less price-sensitive but demand higher quality services than residential ones. There are also volume-based packages at 600 MB, 3 GB and 10 GB with a validity of 180 days for the individual and household market. Plans are underway to launch time-based bundles on the 1xdata for the mass market. Customers shall be able to buy unlimited data (with abuse limit) at a speed of 153 kbps. This new offering costs less than US$50 per month and allows customers to surf for an hour at less than US$2. During 2009, the company developed new corporate solutions that met the requirements of SMEs and corporate customers through leveraging its various technologies and strategic partnerships with leading vendors.
Overall, the company aims to consistently exceed customer expectation by offering new, innovative and scalable product and services. In 2009, Sasatel was the first network operator to offer prepaid voice tariff at 0.5 Tanzanian Shilling. In addition, it provides scalable and cost-effective email solution to its internet subscribers including domain hosting and operation, free of charge, which enables customers to focus on their core businesses.
For these achievements and the vision behind its strategies, Sasatel is the worthy recipient of the 2010 East Africa Frost Sullivan Award for Product Differentiation Excellence in the Broadband Internet market. Each year, Frost Sullivan presents this award to a company that has demonstrated uniqueness in terms of features and functionality in its product/services. The award recognizes the recipient for product quality, efforts to customize, catering to the dynamic market and also the resulting brand perception of the product.
Frost Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognize companies in a variety of regional and global markets for demonstrating outstanding achievement and superior performance in areas such as leadership, technological innovation, customer service, and strategic product development. Industry analysts compare market participants and measure performance through in-depth interviews, analysis, and extensive secondary research in order to identify best practices in the industry.
Sasatel was licensed to provide wireless telecommunication services in June 2008, while it officially launched its CDMA technology for commercial operation in June 2009, thereafter the company strived to focus on data services by deploying EV-DO and WiMAX technologies. Sasatel successfully enter the increasingly competitive mobile communications market through filling in the gap of supply shortage in broadband data services by seizing the opportunity of undersea cables and cost-effective fixed-wireless technologies. Sasatel is financed by its majority shareholder PME Infrastructure Fund listed on the AIM Stock Exchange in London.
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