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MTN Business Botswana plans relaunch of Microsoft Express Route

MTN Business Botswana plans relaunch of Microsoft Express Route

MTN Business Botswana has bemoaned the low uptake of Microsoft Express Route, a year after the product launched.

MTN Microsoft Express Route provides enterprises with access to utilise Microsoft cloud services such as Microsoft Azure and Office 365. The service is delivered through the MTN Global MPLS, IP and VPN connectivity.

Mthulisi Malinga, Finance and Administration Manager at MTN Business Botswana said despite the product being available for commercial roll-out towards the end of 2015, customer demand has been low.

There are several reasons for this, said Malinga, including excessive cost. "The cost of having a VPN tunnel to Microsoft for consumption of MS software is prohibitive."

The cost of setting up ranges from US$5,760 to US$342,678 for a 10MB to 1Gbps monthly, plus a set-up fee of up to US$578.

Malinga says MTN Business Botswana's initial target was existing Microsoft Express route customers who require big bandwidth, including large and small enterprises across financial services, logistics, gas and oil, manufacturing, government departments and retail sectors.

Sales efforts seemed to have hit a brick wall, said Malinga who added that the company plans to reorganise the product and officially launch it into the market in 2017.

Though Microsoft Express Route is available in all countries where Global MPLS is active, which is 26 countries including South Africa and Nigeria, Malinga said: "The product has not gained enough traction in other markets too, as customers still need to understand the benefits fully."

These benefits are marketed as enhanced security, improved network resilience and consistent network performance.

He said financial services are leading the way in terms of industry verticals, specifically in South Africa and West Africa where enterprises are actively addressing their cloud connectivity requirements.

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