SimbaNETs’ pool of innovative solutions makes it a one stop shop for all businesses
By Caroline Mwendwa
SimbaNET Com Limited is tasked with providing business services and is a market leader in integrating communication systems and technologies in Africa. Having started off in Tanzania, it has spread across Africa with presence in Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Malawiand UAE and operates in other countries like Rwanda, Burundi, SA, Mozambique, Nigeria, Ghana, South Sudan and DRC via partners. Its ten year presence in Kenya has seen it grow into a brand to reckon with in the technology industry today.
SimbaNETs’ stellar growth in the various branches across Africa is evidence that it derives fulfillment in customer satisfaction. “We ensure our customers enjoy very high uptime based, managed services, with strict compliance to Service Level Agreements and we also provide 24/7 customer and technical support,” says Geoffrey Shimanyula the General Manager – at SimbaNET.
Products and Services
Through its extensive network comprising of submarine and terrestrial optic fibre, the latest broadband WIMAX wireless media, proven satellite, metro fiber and GPON.SimbaNET is able to connect its customers to regional and international destinations. For remote connectivity requirements, SimbaNET uses proven VSAT solutions, with full system integration using routers. It also powers enterprises with services such as data, internet, voice, video, data center, cyber security, cloud and hosting services, managed services and many more. Its services are subdivided into: data and internet, managed services, network solutions, custom solutions, and value added services. Mr. Shimanyula explains that SimbaNET is shifting its focus to value addition. “Internet has been commoditizedso much so that wherever you look, there isa service provider. Considering this change in the market, we are looking at value added services.” He however notes that this is the advantage the customershave with a variety of service providers at their disposal.
SimbaNETs’ Managed Services provide a single point of contact for all communications needs of an organization. These range from Domain registration and hosting; web and email hosting; a management interface that simplifies email space management to just simple point-and-click processes, providing security, ease of use and flexibility. It has data centers that host these applications and cloud services that enhancethe operational capabilities of their customers’ business.
SimbaNET provides a single fully managed wide area network and tailored connectivity solutions that allow customers to transmit critical data securely, regardless of the locationof the destination.“In today’s global business environment, connecting with suppliers and clients around the world is crucial. A reliable internet connection could be the difference between closing a deal or losing a client.” SimbaNET provides companies with an efficient communications facility thatsupports voice, data, messaging, image and video with point to point or point to multi-pointconnectivity among headquarters and local or overseas locations. Supported by relationships with international partners and investments in various countries, SimbaNETs international network covers Eastern and Central Africa, Southern Africa, Europe and Asia.
With the increasing number of attacks on corporate information systems via hacking, viruses, and worms, businesses today are even more in need of protecting their network and services. Businesses are given an option to either purchase the physical network security system for a onetime fee, or alternatively, for a nominal monthly access fee. SimbaNET is able to implement security on the clients’ LAN without the need of any physical device. “We employ innovative ways of using the latest MPLS and VPN technology to deliver these cloud based security services to customers.” Some of the ways in which this is achieved is by providing cost effective ways of managing networks such as: Providing Network Access Level control, Bandwidth Management, Content Filtering, Network Antivirus, Managed Firewall, DDOS among others.
Value Added Services
Through innovation, SimbaNet has developed unique products that make its portfolio stand out. These include: SimbaVOICE, SimbaCONFERENCING and SimbaSKY.SimbaVOICE is aproduct of SimbaNetwhich is basically voice over internetprotocolservice (VoIP). This is a phone service that operates by using high-speed Internet connection. There are two types of VoIP services: phone-based and software based. These services make phone calls possible using either the regular phone,a computer headset with a microphone or soft phone as opposed to a traditional landline, VoIP uses phone or computer to call the number. The call is sent over the Internet, instead of over traditional copper wires, reducing the overall cost of telephone calls drastically. Whether Enterprise or Small Business, Hotel or Resort, SimbaVoice can operate over all connectivity options (Fiber, WiMax, or VSAT) with ultra-low international calling rates, and free on-net calling VoIP to VoIP.
SimbaCONFERENCING is the second value added service offered at SimbaNET. Many organizations would want to take advantage of technology to cut down on operational costs as much as possible especially when it comes to transport and accommodation costs incurred during conferences. This is made possible by the Video conferencing facilities offered at SimbaNET.
SimbaSKYis a business focused product package customized for SMEs and delivered over state-of-the-art, high quality and far reaching satellite broadband services. Its coverage encompasses all the corners of East Africa and provides connectivity especially in remote areas where terrestrial infrastructure has not been developed yet.
Apart from the value added services, SimbaNET has extensive experience in other custom made solutions such as acting as the contact point or consultancy for corporates on matters of connectivity. “If an organization relies on more than one IT company for connectivity, we take up the responsibility of ensuring that the networks are all sufficient at all times by constantly assessing the networks and contacting the different service providers in case of a downtime, on behalf of the client. This way, the client is saved the trouble of having to keep tabs on various service providers which can be costly.”
SimbaNET also provides broadcasting and streaming services where local media houses, especially TV and Radio stations air their programs live by up linking their radio or TV feed with SimbaNETIt has uplink facilities which can serve FM Radio stations as well as TV stations for broadcasting to other relay stations and thereafter to the end user.“We also serve various radio and TV stations bymonitoring the strength of their network, and giving timely interventions whenever necessary.”
Products for SMEs
SimbaNET has customized products for SMEs and these include:SimbaBIZ, SimbaMAX and SimbaSKY. SimbaBIZ is a triple-play, business-focused product package customized for SMEs and delivered over state of the art fiber network. It comes with Voice, TV, Domain and Webhosting, email and freeconferencing. It has reduced network complexity; less equipment which means it is easier to provision, troubleshoot and maintain.
SimbaMAX on the other hand leverages on the latest in wireless connectivity operating on licensed frequencies while SimbaSKY providesa wide regional coverage of satellite broadband services. For SimbaSKY, Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) is what isrequired (VSAT Dish, modem+ set up)there are no infrastructure investments.
As Mr. Shimanyula explains, SimbaNET has served institutions of different calibers from SMEs to highly prestigious organizationssuch as banks, supermarkets, insurance companies, institutions of higher learning among others. “Among the clients we have served are: Equity bank, KCB, Uchumi Supermarket, Nakumatt, AAR Insurance among others,” says Shimanyula.
As every business has its downside, this business is also affected by certain constrains some of which are outside the company’s control. “Sometimes due to the constructions going on in differentparts of the country, incidents of cables being excavated lead to fibrecuts which affect the business. The solution to such problems is usually costly as the only way to rectify the problem is by installing the connection afresh which means transferring the affected customers to other service providers when this is being done,” explains Shimanyula.
Another hitch that is faced by service providers in this business as Shimanyula points out, is the increasing demand and expectations of lower prices for the services. “Contrary to other businesses where the prices of services and products are going up, in this business, customers expect a reduction in price even when the cost is increasing. This means a tough balance if the business has to stay afloat.”
However, the future for SimbaNET is promising. “We intend to expand the business regionally and incorporate more managed services,”he posits.
Dynamics of the industry
Mr. Shimanyula observes that there has been an incredible growth in the technology industry in the last few years but technology literacy is yet to be fully achieved. He also explains that in the business of technology, there is never an ultimate fulfillment as every day, there are new innovations coming up, which means that to run such a business successfully, the employees have to have dedication and so much has to be invested in them, to ensure that they adopt the changing technology and innovate new ideas that give the company a competitive edge. SimbaNET has a total of 156 qualified professionals with expertise in key business functions such as sales, technical, customer service & support, project management, finance and human resource.The customer service team is highly efficient in providing full support 24 hours, all round the year.