Seacom launches fibre-to-the-home ISP – WonderNet
Network and service provider Seacom has announced the launch of WonderNet, an Internet service provider (ISP) offering fibre-to-the-home solutions (FTTH) targeting home users.
The launch comes as more and more South Africans are working and learning from home because of fears around the COVID-19 pandemic.
Seacom launched Africa’s first broadband submarine cable system along the continent’s Eastern and Southern coasts in 2009.
The company enters a tightly contested FTTH market and will battle it out with the likes of Vumatel, Openserve, Link Africa and Frogfoot, among others.
Commenting on the competition in the market, local market analyst firm BMIT says: "On the ISP side, we are witnessing robust competition, which is stimulating improved service levels, pricing and innovation.
"This puts pressure on margins, and a few large ISP players are emerging in a broadband market that has historically favoured ‘volume players’. That said, all ISPs must participate in the FTTx market as a ‘ticket to the game’ along with other access media," says BMIT.
Seacom says since its launch only five short years ago, FTTH has become not only ubiquitous in the major metropolitan areas but has also rapidly matured into a sophisticated and competitive sector.
It notes South Africans have quickly embraced the quality, reliability and value for money that fibre offers, and demand continues to grow.
According to Seacom, more people are working from home, more people are accessing their entertainment from the Internet and more Internet services are relying on high-speed Internet connections.
The advent of the Smart Home is fast becoming a reality in SA, where household appliances are connected to and managed via the Internet, says the company.
It adds these all benefit from the high-speed, reliable connectivity that fibre offers.
It’s with these factors in mind that Seacom has launched WonderNet, a new consumer-focused brand offering a superior level of customer experience, says the company in a statement.
“Consumers require a simple, fast and effective way to do business and connect themselves and more importantly, their families, with the digital world. Traditional methods of doing business simply don’t cater for the consumer anymore. This is how the WonderNet concept was born,” says Matthew Campbell, head of FTTH and SME for Seacom.
“It’s a very competitive space,” says Steve Briggs, chief commercial officer of Seacom. “But Internet service providers that plan to have a long-term play in FTTH will be those that offer superior customer experience; automated systems, with great digital and customer experience interfaces.
“But it goes further than this, you also have to have a great product that addresses reliability, speed, and real Internet protection from outside cyber security attacks, and WonderNet is that product.
“Importantly, we’ve invested in a digital platform, including an app, to enable seamless self-service. We want to create a great consumer product and an even better customer experience.”
With WonderNet, Seacom says customers will experience a simple and efficient activation process
Everything has been designed to make for a simple and convenient user experience, from making a product or service selection online, to the installation of a home Internet package, it notes.
Seacom has a custom-developed digital platform that it plans to launch mid-May 2020, which caters to various customer requirements and preferences.
“The mobile app-driven, one touch-point architecture, for the entire journey of FTTH connectivity, is what will set us apart from our competitors. This will allow consumers to be engaged, and most importantly, informed, through the entire journey with WonderNet,” notes Campbell.
WonderNet offers a range of uncapped, unthrottled packages starting from 10Mbps through to 1Gbps.
All packages include a standard WiFi-enabled router, without upfront costs and which can be purchased on a month-to-month option.
There is also no fair usage policy and no contention ratios.
WonderNet will also offer a range of value-added services that have been devised specifically to suit the needs of families, and people who work from home.
“WonderNet is focused on keeping things simple, while at the same time ensuring the continuity of home connectivity in South Africa. Most importantly, WonderNet is family-oriented, offering the option of protecting your family while connected,” adds Campbell.