French WiFi carrier lands in SA

French based WiFi carrier, Nomosphere, says it has opened of its first international subsidiary in Johannesburg, South Africa, as part of its planned global expansion.

Nomotech Group claims to be the largest wireless access provider in France, owning approximately 60% of the wireless base stations in the country; its subsidiary wireless ISP Ozone has over 42,000 subscribers, representing a market share of nearly 50%.

“The growing demand for carrier grade WiFi services in the South African market and the huge growth potential of South Africa and Africa has led Nomosphere to choose the country as the first location for overseas operations,” it said.

Having launched operations less than a year ago, Nomosphere said it has already achieved over 15% national market share in France, boasting over 30 million users connecting via the network yearly and several thousand hotspots deployed.

Key customers and large-scale deployments include the SNCF French train stations, the City of Paris public hotspot network, and the largest exhibition centre in Paris, the Paris Expo.

Nomosphere said that its WiFi solution is powered by carrier-grade WiFi hardware from Xirrus, Ruckus Wireless, and Cisco; and proprietary open-access and network monitoring solutions.

“This enables delivery of large-scale installations and proactive monitoring and maintenance of the installations, all the way down to the individual WiFi routers,” it said.

The firm said that carrier-grade installations are relatively new in South Africa, and Nomosphere believes that its proven track record will enable Nomosphere South Africa to establish itself as a market leader very quickly.

Nomosphere South Africa 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.

“We will differentiate by delivering functionality to enhance the operations of our customers, including online marketing, geo-positioning, geo-fencing, content delivery, M2M utilities and social network interconnections,” said Philippe Le Grand, vice president of Nomosphere.

Nomosphere is accelerating its market entry by leveraging local expertise to run its African branch. Ellie Hagopian, deputy chairperson of the Wireless Access Providers’ Association of South Africa (WAPA), co-founder of customer intelligence software company Viento, and former CEO of Wi-Fi hotspot company Skyrove, has been appointed as CEO of the new entity.

Nomosphere South Africa said it will be hiring an operational team, including pre-sales engineering, network provisioning, and operational resources.

“South Africa is experiencing increased wireless telecom usage and growing demand for data consumption,” said Le Grand.

“With mobile SIM card penetration rate exceeding 100% and a growth rate exceeding 5% this year, South Africa is one of the most promising markets for telecommunications services on the continent.”

“The usage of mobile internet is growing, and the expectation is that Wi-Fi will shift from a ‘best-effort nice-to-have’ service to a fast, reliable, seamless, carrier-grade solution that not only enables connectivity but value-added services,” Le Grand added.

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French WiFi carrier lands in SA