In today’s connected world, retail outlets and microbusinesses cannot afford to be offline. A fast and reliable broadband connection is essential for their continued success. Not only can the internet help retailers to keep in touch with suppliers and customers, but it can also provide them with necessary business tools like payments, marketing and security.
At low cost, and at scale, applications and services powered by the internet have accelerated economic growth and created jobs worldwide. However, in sub-Saharan Africa, geographical location is still a significant obstacle to achieving universal digital access. Retailers based in rural areas struggle to access efficient and cost-effective networks.
Although progress is slow, governments are gradually adopting policies, and affordability is improving. One of the latest reports from the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI)* shows Cameroon as one of the few countries that have helped individual users and businesses boost internet access affordability with new national broadband plans.
Although the lack of infrastructure and funding is slowing the country’s internet penetration creating a major obstacle for many entrepreneurs and retailers, Talia together with KNP, a leading Cameroon telecommunication and IT provider, is hoping to change that.
KNP provides both residential and commercial customers access to fixed and mobile networks, together with television, connecting people to others across the world.
The partnership between Talia and KNP is helping connect the unserved market of Cameroon with high-speed internet by satellite at costs equivalent to terrestrial services.
Through the Quika platform, a low-cost Ka-band internet service powered by Talia, a chain of retail outlets is now able to improve their business and provide better customer service. A large proportion of their operations can now take place online, from working via cloud-based software to transmitting data between different stores and carrying out online transactions.
Quika satellite services are location independent; therefore, high bandwidth can be delivered directly to subscribers no matter where they are. The service does not require substantial infrastructure investment with the terminal price being less than $500. Customers are in control of how much they spent on a month to month basis and have the option to purchase additional data when they need more.
The Quika Ka-band terminals comprise an antenna, transceiver and modem. The single cable connection between the antenna and terminal means that self-installation is simplified for a more user-friendly utilisation.
In response to the technical challenges and the lack of infrastructure that the country is currently facing, Quika provides fast, affordable connectivity via an online portal to retailers and SME’s across Cameroon which is not yet connected to the internet.
“Given the growing demand by government agencies, small businesses and NGO’s for high-performance connectivity at affordable costs, Talia is helping us provide a sustainable high-speed data usage solution to remote African communities”, says Achille Tchekounang, General Direct of KNP.
“Ka-band connectivity is a no-brainer for many parts of Africa as it complements the sparsely distributed terrestrial networks in the hinterlands while leveraging the submarine cables along the African coastline”, says Ayes Amewudah, VP Sales of Talia.
“In addition, Ka-band offers higher throughput speeds than any other bands at lower costs, using a much smaller dish. This enables us to offer higher-speed packages, allowing retailers and other small businesses to benefit from a stable broadband supply at the speed they choose at a very affordable price.”
As a result, several retail outlets across Cameroon are now connected to the internet through Quika. By saving money on internet access, retailers can improve their businesses by investing in more advanced retail software, staff training and improve store security.
Launched in 2018, Quika’s unique business model makes high-speed, low-latency broadband affordable and sustainable for remote African communities. Its mission is to close the gap between connected and unconnected areas, to resolve a significant cause of economic and social inequality. By doing so, Talia’s platform aims to empower individuals through the educational, economic and social benefits that online connectivity brings.
“The combination of technical experience, human relationship and exceptional customer support make Talia a valuable partner for KNP in Africa, and plans are underway to expand Ka-band services to additional stores in Cameroon and Congo”, says Achille.