Tata Comms braced for World Cup challenge

Tata Communication will open its second data centre in South Africa later this month, and will pump $200 million (€147 million) into its operations in the Middle East as part of its emerging markets strategy.
The firm revealed the moves at its first Media and Analyst day in Europe, held in London yesterday.
The firm’s new South African data centre will be located in Cape Town, complementing an existing facility in Johannesburg, and be used to provide infrastructure and managed services including co-location, hosting, security and cloud computing.
Capacity of 10,000 sq. ft at both South African sites can be ramped up to 25,000 sq. ft if required, and each centre meets the minimum N+1 specifications.
Tata claims the two data centres are sufficient to meet redundancy and latency requirements in South Africa.
The claim will be put to the test this summer, when FIFA’s soccer World Cup tournament is played in the country, says Vinod Kumar president and COO of the firm.
He notes the event will place “an unprecedented capacity demand for IT resources, power, space, bandwidth and expertise,” on South Africa’s telcos, but says that creates fresh opportunities for Tata to demonstrate its capabilities to other African telecoms firms.
Demand for voice and Internet access in South Africa remains high, making the country a good staging point for expansion into countries including Kenya, Botswana, and Namibia, Kumar said.
However, any expansion in Africa will be via partnerships rather than acquisitions, Kumar told TE/A. “Partnerships are a way of life for us...[It’s a] successful model.”
The COO admitted the firm could look to acquire an emerging markets operator sometime in the next two years, but would not be drawn on who or where that carrier might be.
Instead, the firm will invest heavily in the Middle East market, with a $200 million investment in developing new infrastructure and services in the region over the next 24 months.
The bulk of the cash will go into the ongoing construction of a Gulf cable network, which will form part of the Tata Global Network, and is being built in conjunction with several Middle-Eastern operators. Construction of the network began in 2009, and is due to be completed in 2H11.
Part of the investment will also go on opening six new Telepresence rooms in Middle East and Africa – due to open by end-2010 - and to offer managed services covering security, hosting, and cloud computing.
“Tata Communications is a global service provider with its heart in the emerging markets,” Kumar states.