French WiFi giant chooses SA
French carrier WiFi company Nomosphere has chosen SA to begin its worldwide expansion.
Nomosphere, a division of Nomotech Group, is opening its first international subsidiary in Johannesburg - a move the company says was motivated by the growing demand for carrier-grade WiFi services in SA ? and the "huge growth potential" of SA and Africa at large.
Nomotech Group, which positions itself as the largest wireless access provider in France, owns approximately 60% of the wireless base stations in the country, while its subsidiary wireless ISP Ozone has over 42 000 subscribers, representing a market share of nearly 50%.
Having launched operations less than a year ago, Nomosphere has over 15% national market share in France and over 30 million users connecting via the network yearly, with several thousand hotspots deployed.
Nomosphere VP Philippe Le Grand says the company will differentiate its services in SA by "delivering functionality to enhance the operations of our customers". Services include online marketing, geo-positioning, geo-fencing, content delivery, M2M utilities and social network interconnections.
Nomosphere SA plans to capture 15% to 20% of the South African market within three years, by acting as a subcontractor for large telecommunications companies, and offering value-added solutions for venues such as shopping centres, retailers, restaurants, hotels, and large public venues.
The local branch will hire an operational team, including pre-sales engineering, network provisioning, and operational resources, says Nomosphere.
"SA is experiencing increased wireless telecom usage and growing demand for data consumption," says Le Grand. He says, with SIM card penetration exceeding 100% and a growth rate exceeding 5% this year, SA is one of the most promising markets for telecoms services on the continent.
"Our overseas business is going to be more and more important for Nomosphere over the next year, and should represent more than 40% of our global business over the next five years. New markets are where growth lies for us."
Nomosphere says it hopes to accelerate its market entry by leveraging local expertise to run its African branch.
Ellie Hagopian, deputy chairperson of the Wireless Access Providers' Association of SA, co-founder of customer intelligence software company Viento, and former CEO of WiFi hotspot company Skyrove, has been appointed as CEO of the new entity.
Neelay Pillay, from the carrier solutions division of Internet Solutions, joins the company as chief technology officer. Pillay has worked in telecommunications for over 10 years, with expertise in network design and optimisation, fibre, wireless, and VSAT.