Tata Communications rolls out new IoT network for Africa
NB-IoT on a live network? Completed it, say Vodafone
NB-IoT on a live network? Completed it, say Vodafone

Tata Communications rolls out new IoT network for Africa

Digital infrastructure provider Tata Communications has teamed up with South Africa-based IT services firm Dreamtime Technologies to roll out an IoT-supporting network throughout Africa.

The two companies are planning to build and distribute a new cloud-based virtual mobile network for telecommunications and connected technology companies operating in the continent. It will allow them to make IoT deployments across a range of industry verticals, including healthcare, transport, mining, agriculture, banking, and retail.

As well as this, mobile network operators will be able to tap into the network to expand their services and geographical reach. The aim is to help African telcos and IoT firms attract new customers and generate more revenue quickly, without high startups costs and overheads.

Connected revolution

The network will run off Tata’s MOVE mobility and IoT platform, which the company describes as “a fully managed solution” that uses machine-to-machine connectivity to enable “borderless growth”.

With the support of Dreamtime Technologies (DTTech), the firm will deploy the platform to provide African telcos with what it believes will be super-fast, sustainable connectivity.

Instead of sending information across long distances and through multiple transit parties, Tata’s network connects straight to its African subsea fibre network. Tata claims that this “ensures a high-quality, seamless user experience for digital services across the continent”.

Karmanie Govender, founder and CEO of DTTech, said Africa is currently undergoing a process of wholesale digital transformation. “We’re witnessing a mobile and IoT innovation drive in Africa, with new, disruptive services surfacing in all sectors.

“Working with Tata Communications enables us to address our customers’ growing appetite for mobile and IoT services, while generating new revenue streams as growth in Africa gains momentum.”

Lucrative opportunity

The platform lets companies buy mobile network access on a pay-as-you-go basis, meaning that companies of all sizes can get the most out of IoT technology. Tata explained that Dreamtime’s customers will be able to use the software to simplify and accelerate their IoT services.  

Anthony Bartolo, chief product officer of Tata Communications, said IoT technology creates significant potential for businesses working across all industries. However, he admitted that IoT deployments are not easy. “From vehicle fleet management and agriculture to healthcare and retail, mobility and IoT open the door to new, truly transformational services with regional and global scale,” he said.

“Yet all too often, businesses’ digital transformation ambitions are being constrained by the inherently local nature of mobile networking, marred by complex roaming agreements and patchy, unreliable connectivity in different countries.

“With our Tata Communications MOVE platform, and our partnership with DTTech, we bring businesses ubiquitous, high-quality connectivity for their mobile and IoT services in Africa, and enable them to capture, move, and manage information securely and reliably across borders.”

Internet of Business says

The deal could be a vital component in helping Africa deploy a major advantage: the lack of widespread legacy infrastructures to hamper its countries’ ambitions in the IoT and beyond. China is among those pouring investment into the continent, so this latest partnership is more good news for African startups and existing businesses. The opportunity for the IoT and smart technologies to help kickstart new growth and improved public services across Africa is enormous.