Why SEACOM launched a consumer ISP

SEACOM recently unveiled WonderNet, a consumer fibre ISP.

WonderNet will offer uncapped and unthrottled fibre products with speeds ranging from 10Mbps to 1Gbps, which will not be subject to a fair usage policy or contention ratios, said SEACOM.

It added that a defining feature of WonderNet will be a mobile app-based support platform that will offer quick turnaround times and 24/7 support to customers.

To find out more about SEACOM’s plans for WonderNet, MyBroadband spoke to SEACOM Chief Commercial Officer Steve Briggs.


Why did SEACOM decide to launch a consumer ISP?

When SEACOM acquired MacroLan, we also acquired an established base of nearly 3,000 FTTH users.

The demand for services has continued to grow, highlighting a clear market need for simple, reliable home connectivity and great after-sales service.

Affording the consumer ISP its own identity means we can now focus on providing customers with even more great products, solutions, and support that have been specifically tailored to their requirements.


Is WonderNet basically a rebranded MacroLan, and will many of MacroLan employees be transferred to WonderNet?

WonderNet is a brand created to serve the needs of the consumer segment, arising as a result of the natural integration of some of the brands we recently acquired, of which MacroLan was one.

While Macrolan already had an established base of FTTH customers, the creation of WonderNet creates a vehicle for the extension of the consumer propositions and service assurance requirements to meet evolving customer needs.

WonderNet is a consumer brand housing consumer product offerings, rather than a new company or operating entity. Our recent acquisitions made the creation of a consumer brand a logical next step facilitating further integration of these products and brands at an operational level.

MacroLan’s current FTTH customers will be served by WonderNet in the future.


In which areas will WonderNet perform well or better when compared to current fibre ISPs in the market?

We already have sound partnerships with the fibre network operators (FNOs) and we believe that we can offer the market something unique, especially given our recent investment in our platform enhancements how these influence the way in which the service is sold and supported.

The WonderNet app will launch mid-May and in creating it, we have tried to maximise process efficiencies by putting the power in the hands of the customer – from the point of purchase through to support and upgrades.


Will WonderNet be a fibre-only ISP for the foreseeable future?

Given that the SEACOM heritage is in the provision of fibre, this is likely to be our main priority for the foreseeable future.

Our product set will always be informed by customer need and market demand though, and we will adapt as market demands dictate.


Can you share any details about the roadmap for WonderNet?

As an ISP, our focus will always be on providing the best possible connectivity we can offer, in terms of both stability and service.

We acknowledge, though, that home users and families have very different needs and skill sets to businesses, and we will be expanding our range of services to meet these needs.

We understand that more than ever, home connectivity needs to not only support multiple users at any given point in time, but that these users all have very different needs.

With this in mind, we will continue to augment the WonderNet product set to continue to meet the evolving needs of our customers.

WonderNet will operate on all major fibre network operator networks, and as these networks continue to expand, so will our reach.

SEACOM’s acquisition of FibreCo in 2019 afforded us the opportunity to invest in lighting up towns on our own National Long Distance network. As we do this, we also extend the reach of the FNOs into the next tier of towns.


Is SEACOM concerned about the market reaction to it launching a consumer ISP, in terms of its position as service provide to the local market and now also a competitor in the fibre ISP space?

SEACOM has operated as an ISP in South Africa since the launch of SEACOM Business in 2016, and we have served the consumer market segment through our support of FNOs and our own acquisitions for many years.

Creating an identity for our consumer brand was the logical next step, ensuring that our processes for assurance and support evolve and are tailored to meet the diverse needs of all of the segments which we serve.


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Why SEACOM launched a consumer ISP