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Private virtual Internet provider joins market

Private virtual Internet provider joins market

Unable to satisfy the growing users of fiber cable sourced internet services, Ethio-Telecom has allowed private companies to provide internet services on virtual platforms.

Partnering with the state-owned monopoly Ethio-Telecom, GtoG Clarity IT Solutions SC has become the first private value-added internet service provider in the country.

At a press conference held on Friday, Berook Moges, general manager of GtoG, said that the company has acquired a value-added service license from the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology. The services include a call center, entertainment and information services, location-based services, transactions and short messaging services on top of providing virtual internet services (VISP).

Tewodros Mehari, chief technology officer at GtoG, told The Reporter that currently seven localities including Bole, CMC, Hayahulet and the like within Addis Ababa, have been identified for provision of the services. Optical Line Terminals (OLTs), Multi instrument Installation with control boxes (MS boxes), optical network units and infrastructural components have been installed, according to Tewodros. Furthermore, he added that the devices essential for VISP are about to be imported.

The VISP service destined to be operational in Addis Ababa is expected to be provided for residential and business customers with discounted prices. Accordingly, for one megabyte/second, residential subscribers will have a discounted price up to 50 percent, while business enterprises will have a discount prices ranging from five to 20 percents, Berook said. For instance, a residential customer, who is used to pay 1,960 birr for 1Mb/sec internet service, at this time, will be required to pay half of that if subscribed to GtoG VISP.

Securing the backbone infrastructure and core data center, Ethio-Telecom has eased its restrictive control over internet service provisions. Musse Desta, indirect partner manager at Ethio-Telecom, told The Reporter that in addition to GtoG Clarity, there are eight more VISP oriented companies that have inked agreements to join the business.

The major obstacle in the provision of internet service in Ethiopia has long been related to interruptions and sluggish speed in connectivity. That problem hopefully will be resolved now with the likes of GtoG joining the service to enhance poorly provided last mile or last kilometer services – terms widely used in the telecommunications, cable television and internet industries – which basically refer to the final leg of the telecommunications networks that deliver telecommunication services to retail end-users or customers.

Both Berook and Tewodros – founders of GtoG Clarity SC – have been able to establish the company two years ago with an initial capital of 10 million birr. Berook who lived in the US and Tewodros in the UK, teamed up to form the company out of their sister company which is involved in the manufacturing, services and construction industries.