Liquid Telecom overhauls network, promises more capacity

Read time 3min 20sec
Reshaad Sha, CEO of Liquid Telecom South Africa.
Reshaad Sha, CEO of Liquid Telecom South Africa.

Privately-owned Pan-African telecoms group Liquid Telecom yesterday divulged details of its new network in Rosebank.

The company says it has done a complete rip-and-replace of its network and can now deliver 10-times more connectivity across its customer base, with additional vertical services.

According to Liquid Telecom, the network upgrade includes regionalised redundancy to help ensure continued service to overcome network interruptions. 

Further, the company will provide customers with increased capacity and on-demand bandwidth to support the rapidly-evolving needs of private and public sector organisations across South Africa.

“Using real-time self-service functionality, customers can now boost their bandwidth whenever needed – for a day, a week or a month,” it says.

“The replacement of our core network has not only catered to legacy performance issues but has made Liquid Telecom’s network one of the most technologically advanced, modern and reliable networks in South Africa and across the African continent,” says Reshaad Sha, CEO of Liquid Telecom South Africa.

“It has also addressed one of the core needs of local enterprises around network capacity.”

In addition to providing customers with near unlimited capacity on the new core network, the telco has deployed a chatbot interface to respond to customer needs in real-time.

This offering, the company said, was built on an artificial intelligence platform, “so that it can mimic human conversation to ensure a seamless experience and deliver more accurate responses to customer queries”.

Additionally, Liquid Telecom has been investing across the continent, where it operates Africa’s largest independent fibre network, spanning almost 70 000km in length.

Growing with broadband

Speaking to journalists yesterday, Sha noted: “The transition we wanted to undertake required, in our initial view, a significant shift. We couldn’t just do a network upgrade, so we decided to replace the entire network: the transmission layer, the core and the access layer – all the components that make up the active network.

“The journey we have started to go on with our customers, of digitalisation, is about them bringing efficiencies into their environments. In a tough economy, you need to optimise the way to deliver value to customers and shareholders.

“Those journeys our customers are facing need a partner in connectivity and cloud. We are a large cloud provider across Africa, so we are able to partner beyond connectivity, into the cloud and all the stuff in between.”

Turning to over the top services that Liquid Telecom will offer, Willie Oosthuizen, head of strategy at Liquid Telecom, said the software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) is vital for the provision of networking services.

“It’s not about replacing the network, but adding a lot of intelligence. SDN is a service-centric solution.”

According to Oosthuizen, SD-WAN allows for a number of ways to connect services to customers “and you can start mixing and matching so there is a lot more flexibility than in the past”.

He also noted SD-WAN is now a mature technology and a number of industrialised services are available, and it will soon be available as a complete managed service.

Craig van Rooyen, chief operating officer of Liquid Telecom, commented that broadband has to go beyond connectivity to provide services.

“We see broadband as a main enabler going forward. It also allows companies to extend their geographic presence around the country and the world.”

Van Rooyen also explained that improvements on the network will help Liquid Telecom improve access to broadband.

“By increasing capacity in the core, we overcome lack of capacity. We have replaced equipment that has reached end of life to ensure the services we offer are reliable and of the highest quality.”

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