The Business Year

José Silva

ANGOLA - Telecoms & IT

José Silva

CEO, iPworld

Bio

With a degree in Law from Universidade Independente, José Silva began his career as an import advisor, moving to director of imports & managing partner in companies until 1994. In 1995, he founded Multipla to provide technological solutions in the Angolan market carrying with him the legacy of the first national private data center, as well as the first Angolan cloud. With the need to provide technological services with greater independence. With the need to provide technological services with greater independence, he founded iPworld, a telecommunications company, to respond to all the services provided by Multipla to companies.

iPworld has been providing communication and connectivity services for companies in the Angolan market since 2006.

How has the iPworld evolved over the last 15 years?

We started iPworld from our oldest company Multipla in 2006, with the main goal of providing stable communication for our clients. We started up with VPN clients, since corporate companies quickly became our main source of business rather than residential users. Our initial focus was clients from the IT sphere, or those who needed to connect several places in Luanda where the cable infrastructure was inadequate. In some places, there is no way to pass the cable, whereby microwave was the only available solution, and those were our first services.

Which services are currently your most in demand in terms of work volume and revenue?

Corporates are our main clients, so our main revenue comes from banks, insurance companies, and distribution companies. Two years ago, it used to be the VPN clients, and since we have an MPLS network in Angola, we can readily connect clients almost everywhere. We started to make room for residential clients as a subsidiary business to our core projects. Later, due to COVID-19, people were housebound, and companies requested communication for their employees. In 2021, we started to make plans to provide residential internet connection. We started the integration from voice data and image back in 2000. In that same year, we presented to the Angolan market a combination of internet plus voice between two addresses. We managed to incorporate a camera video for surveillance with a Norwegian company called Axis, which became the first IP camera to connect data. We explained to companies in the market that the future of communication laid with data, voice, and image and that it would be conducted by IP. The internet was used to browse and visit websites, and we brought to the market the revolutionary idea that all those services would be conducted by the same protocol in IP. Now, we have WhatsApp, TikTok, Netflix, and Facebook, and everything is done in IP, though in 2000, IP was an unfamiliar concept. Everyone needs to be connected on the internet via mobile or fixed, and our target is to connect the majority of people in Luanda City. Our company views the internet as a way to connect both people and companies. In 2020, when COVID-19 struck, companies were not completely certain they were able to maintain business as usual, as many employees lacked proper access to the internet at home.

The pandemic has demonstrated the heavy dependency on telecoms. How has the segment evolved since the pandemic?

The COVID-19 pandemic forced companies to provide rapid internet connection to employees while they worked from home. The situation offered a new business line for iPworld; however, the approach and how we supply clients with the proper technology are completely different from what we did in the past. Residential clients require different services, and when providing internet to this new typology of clients, we tried to offer a full service, which includes not only internet, but quality internet in a difficult environment.

iPworld has signed strategic agreements with companies in the sector such as CISCO and MPLS, iDirect as a satellite equipment partner, CERAGON, and Cambium networks. What is the importance of these long-term agreements?

The aforementioned companies have long been our suppliers, which is important since these relationships allow us to deploy the best solutions for our clients. After the long path we have travelled together, they understand our needs well, depending on the client and the specific requirements for each segment within the IT sector. Microwave is a full technology, but the equipment can be diverse, so our network in MPLS provided by Cisco is important for us to give our network robust availability to deliver the service we want in each part of the country. In general, these partners work with us on different projects, such as the new residential services where we invite our partners to provide solutions.

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