ANGOLA - Telecoms & IT
CEO & CO-FOUNDER, Netspace
Jeriel Atienza holds an associate degree in telecommunications engineering from Universidade Católica de Angola. He is one of Angolan’s leading technical consultants and the country’s first to be CCIE certified in routing and switching, CCIE voice, and CCIE service provider as well as the first to be certified in Cisco Design Program. He has over 15 years’ experience in providing the highest standard network, security, and multi-service solutions with a unique blend of project management skills. Prior to establishing Netspace, Atienza served as a CTO for Internet Technologies Angola, IT Manager for Mundo Startel, and solutions technology architect for Sonangol MSTelcom’s IT Services department.
NetSpace was established in 2016 as a family start-up business. In 2017, we acquired our telecoms multiservice license, and we gradually built up our network and its infrastructure to cater to and support this ambitious project, which has shown been growing rapidly since then. In terms of our communications solutions portfolio, we offer Direct Internet Access, VPNs, and MPLS services that are supported by several type of access infrastructure technologies such as fiber optic, microwave, and satellite delivered to the enterprise sector. Apart from that, we offer ICT solutions, especially for cybersecurity, and we have also deployed SD-WAN technology and finance applications. Prior to the pandemic, we also looked into entering the B2C segment. It was a wise and successful move to diversify into this market as well.
At the moment, the biggest demand is purely for internet access and more cost-effective connectivity. That is the reason why we decided internally to focus in parallel on B2C services in addition to our enterprise business, and we are capitalizing on moving toward the residential business segment as a result of pandemic. It was an important wake-up call for many entrepreneurs all over world to learn and focus on diversifying their business. We found and explored new business opportunities in our field of expertise in the country.
Nowadays, every business or organization requires communications as a key goal to survive and succeed in the market. This was our aim of the business when we started the company, as we just focused on larger customers (i.e., Visa and Mastercard). Now, we see opportunities beyond our line of sight, and this is where we find ourselves looking at developing products or packages to target small businesses and/or for this specific niche of customers that we can support and help to upscale to digital and grow their businesses. That is our key goal, and we have developed small business products and packages on the NetSpace portfolio as an added value as well.
Even though the communication sector is still underdeveloped in Angola, operators here are doing their best to bring in new technology. We already see competitors bringing in 5G into the country. The big difference or the differential is that Netspace brings technology that we can innovate, especially for cybersecurity, which is also needed by all these other players. All the technologies we bring or develop are innovative. For example, Netspace is the first company, if not even the pioneer, to implement a new solution for VPNs called SD-WAN in the Angolan market. We have invested heavily in highly qualified training and certifications of our personnel to implement that locally and by locals. We have one of the biggest banks in Angola running on this solution as well as the airport. Generally speaking, our aim is to ensure we are always innovative and that we deliver innovations to all enterprises.
The government must play a key role by investing in more infrastructure to sustain and enable the operators to grow and expand countrywide, as well as reinforce and create motivational factors to support the principle of the sharing infrastructure amongst the operators. Netspace is currently limited and is only able to provide and deliver services in Luanda due to financial constraints with high CAPEX required if it considers expanding its network infrastructure to other provinces due to the fact we need to build fibers, towers, and microwaves for the network backhauling as well as local infrastructure access. Building infrastructure should be the government’s responsibility, and it is a necessity to enable operators to expand and provide greater connectivity with high-quality services for everyone.