K-Net: a Major Telecom Services Provider in Ghana and West Africa to Roll out New Services

Mike Baidoo presents K-Net, a telecom and connectivity services provider in Ghana and West Africa specialized in the areas of rural telephony, VSAT services, e-commerce and mobile commerce platforms and data network services, amongst others. He also talks about K-Net’s competitive advantages.

Interview with Mike Baidoo, Technical Director at K-Net

Mike Baidoo, Technical Director at K-Net

What is K-Net’s role in the area of rural telephony?

K-Net as a telecom services provider, always had it as one of its major goals to bring communications to the Ghanaian public, especially those in the unserved and underserved communities. Unserved and underserved communities refer to areas, mostly rural, where telecommunication facilities are virtually non-existent. K-Net uses its award-winning MRIID solution, i.e. Managed Rural ICT Infrastructure Deployment, to deploy solar-powered VSAT-based services to the rural communities. The MRIID solution uses solar as the main source of power for the sites because most of these communities generally have not been connected to the national power grid yet. Using solar allows all these communities to be connected whether they have connection to the power grid or not. That is a very important function of this platform. Being solar-based also makes the service very affordable and justifies the revenues coming from that community. The other aspect that makes it affordable is the fact that it employs VSAT technology. The VSAT solution is very quick to deploy and does not need the deployment of a very extensive telecom infrastructure to be able to deliver services. K-Net championed this solution and won an award from ITU for it. It has been very effective because we have managed to bring together about 60 communities which could not be connected via the traditional GSM infrastructure for mobile phone communication. K-Net used our rural telephony solution to get them connected to the national communication platform. Currently, these communities depend solely on the VSAT and MRIID solution to communicate with the rest of the world.

Can this solution be replicated in Ghana and anywhere in Africa or the world?

Yes, one very important factor is that this solar-powered solution can be replicated in every part of Africa where connection to the main grid power is a challenge. That is one basic advantage of this solution. Another key point is the fact that the system uses VSAT technology which makes it quick and less expensive to deploy.

In terms of e-commerce and mobile commerce, what do you offer that is different from your competition?

We pride ourselves on being able to deliver our service level agreements to the maximum level attainable. We deliver top-notch installations and configurations that often surpass the levels that are expected by the customers.

Another core service platform of K-Net is the e-commerce and the mobile commerce platform, which is an Internet as well as GSM based commerce and financial transactions platform. The e-commerce and mobile commerce platform is a platform service that takes advantage of the existing VSAT infrastructure of K-Net to deploy financial services over the internet and also over the mobile networks of existing Mobile Network Operators (MNO). The service is available anywhere, even in locations where there are no mobile networks, because it employs VSAT technology and depends only on the satellite footprints.

How is the VSAT platform different from other platforms?

The VSAT platform offers a unique advantage in that it can be very quickly deployed anywhere. The alternative, which is the terrestrial networks, require a lot of capital-intensive infrastructure. You can deploy a VSAT network within a community in a number of days compared to a terrestrial network which would require months and sometimes years to deploy. Because of the quick to deploy functionality of VSAT, we are able to deploy our e-commerce and mobile commerce platforms easily within communities that need the services.

Are you the only one supplying VSAT services?

No. Our main differentiator is the fact that our VSAT Hub is based locally. The majority of the VSAT providers in West Africa have their hubs either in Europe or somewhere other than the African continent. We have a VSAT hub that is based in Ghana and has very strong footprints over West Africa, which is our core service delivery area. This gives us a unique advantage over other providers that use VSAT hubs that are located outside the African continent. Also, we use local-based technologies. For instance, while most providers would use the traditional and more expensive VSAT terminals, we use very low-cost terminals that are very small-sized and very affordable for the end user.

What are the benefits for your clients of the satellite teleport services? How do you differentiate yourself from the competition?

Our teleport services are used to deliver mainly TV broadcast to people’s homes. The major advantage that we have over many of the other providers is the fact that we use a satellite which has a very strong footprint in West Africa. We use the teleport to deliver services that are local, services that are produced by local broadcasters, for instance. We provide the services for mainly local broadcasters whose major goal is to promote locally produced content.

What are data network services?

Our main data network services clients are corporate organizations. We deliver data network services comprising of internet, wide area network (WAN), VPN which is Virtual Private Networks where organizations can create a private network over a public platform, and wireless access network (WLAN) services. These are all schemes that provide connectivity for corporate organizations to send information to their main office, branch office, home office, etc.

You are not the only company providing these services. What are K-Net’s competitive advantages in this aspect?

K-Net’s main advantage when it comes to the delivery of network services is our very high uptimes. We have high uptimes because of our 24/7 network operations. There are few companies in the sector that can boast a 24/7 monitoring and management center like we do. We pride ourselves on being able to deliver our service level agreements to the maximum level attainable. We deliver top-notch installations and configurations that often surpass the levels that are expected by the customers.


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