So much shake up has been happening lately at Dandeutande, a class A Internet Access Provider licence holder which has been promising to be a force in the telecommunications industry. Dandemutande’s recent joint ventures with other emerging service providers seemed to be a good move but unfortunately their balance sheet has not been reflecting on the positive side.
They have become kings of the air with their Wimax innovations, save that their Wimax bird can only fly as far as the line of sight is clear. They were kings in the dial up era before Mweb packed up for Iwayafrica and these days who needs to entertain any dial up technology?.
While Dandemutande may be a victim of dynamic technology, the fact is that they still have a strong local clientèle base which their last mile partner Powertel may not boast of, and a retail market they need to seriously consider.
Dandemutande like an ISP and IAP connects directly to the last mile fiber through an Access Provider who sinks to the last mile via the seas or ocean and in most cases Powertel is their strategic partner for this.
How much they pay to Powertel for the last mile connection is not subject to discussion, but the fact remains the same, Internet service provision is now a game of giant sharks and small fish will be swollen up if they continue to swim alone.
Powertel has got the infrastructure, which is definitely under utilization and recently their fibre campaign caused a stir in Hillside , a mandate which under normal circumstances should only be left for Internet Access Providers where ISP’s should be silent in the back ground connecting the front faces.
They should also look at the Liquid Telecom structure which involves ZOL as the front runner on marketing and network access activities. Liquid Telecom as the mother company keeps itself busy with the strategic deployment of fiber infrastructures while ZOL handles the last mile connectivities to customer premises.
This is a sign that times are tough, the market has shifted, IAPs have legally been allowed to become ISPs and these ISPs are fighting for the same market share with their service providers creating serious marketing distortion and uneven playing field. ZOL has become a vibrant IAP today as the face of Liquid Telecom which today has become a game changer as they can easily determine the rates of internet access prices since they connect directly to the under sea cables.
It’s a sink or swim situation, maybe we don’t need many independent ISPs after all in Zimbabwe as competition has successfully managed to regularize the pricing of the internet and delivering data at the lowest cost.
The strategic synergies seem to be the only way out of this hotly contested market share and sleeping giants may need to start looking at acquisition instead of market overdrive as this is the only fastest method to acquire a bigger market share.
At times its better to buy the whole fish pond than continuously compete for few fish! The advice is open and practical to our ISPs and IAPs in Zimbabwe.