An entrepreneurial passion for the continent

Afsat was formed in 1993 to provide high-end satellite data network solutions for corporates, banks and government organisations in East & Central Africa.
The company has more than two decades’ experience in the telecommunications sector, ten of which have been in building VSAT networks in East Africa. Afsat holds Public Data Communication Licenses in Tanzania and Uganda, and it also has a commercial VSAT Network Operator license in Kenya. Afsat has an ever-growing Africa-wide presence, currently spanning 26 countries, and represented by over 32 distributors. The company has deployed over 4,000 active Very Small Aperture Terminals (VSATs), making it one of the largest VSAT enterprises in Africa. Afsat has over 50,000 corporate customers. Afsat’s expertise is in designing, installing and operating satellite networks to suit customer requirements. Its business case is supported by a proven track record, distinguished by a substantial customer base of banks, large corporate organisations, educational and research institutions, and even individual customers. The company has partnered with leading suppliers of satellite services and equipment to ensure delivery of world-class solutions for its customers, using only the best technology available.


Work arrangements for global delivery
Afsat has working agreements with VSAT equipment suppliers including Hughes, Viasat, Radyne, Comstream, Comtech EF Data, Prodelin, New Japan Radio and Anasat equipment. Its space segment capacity is obtained from Intelsat, and SES New Skies. Net2Phone is another Afsat partner, for the provision of voice services over IP networks worldwide, enabling business-quality calls between computers, telephones and other telephony devices. Afsat offers services under the flagship brand ‘iWay’. Its services include iWay Corporate Networks and the iWay Dedicated service. Its customers include Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), Amalgamated Bank of South Africa, NBC Bank, Commercial Rural Development Bank (Tanzania), Stanbic Bank, Caltex, Diamond Trust Bank (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania), Cotecna Inspections SA and British American Tobacco (Kenya and DRC). Afsat also offers a low-cost direct satellite Internet access solution, which is called iWay Broadband. iWay Broadband customers include Oxfam, World Vision, SchoolNet Uganda, Boeing Aircraft, Canadian Embassy, Benedictine Fathers, ICRC Tanzania, and Rakai District Project Uganda.


Africa’s Satellite Personality of the Year
The Afsat success story is one of passion for the continent and the entrepreneurial challenges faced by the founder and Group MD Salim Suleman, together with Afsat’s Strategy Director Heinrich Nothnagel. Salim stuck to his vision to revolutionise the Internet industry through the provision of world-class services, owing to his faith in the continent’s potential. This has paid off with the company achieving numerous milestones in the last decade.
Under Salim's leadership, Afsat Communications Group has become one of Africa's largest broadband VSAT operators, and has won acclaim for its operations. In 2007 Afsat won the World Communications Award for Best Operator in a Developing Market. In 2008 it won the Best VSAT Operator award at Satcom Africa.
Salim loves travelling around Africa and, out of this, he has been driven by a need to expand access to education. This is why he came up with the idea of using the Internet as a learning tool for Africans.
This is why he decided to form a broadband telecommunications company. He knew that license acquisition from the country regulators for a foreign company was not possible and therefore decided to traverse the continent looking for service providers who had ISP licenses and partner with them to spread the good news of the iWay broadband service. Salim and Heinrich acquired one of their first customers CRDB (Commercial Rural Development Bank) in Tanzania where they actually did the VSAT installation themselves. During the installation, Heinrich accidentally injured his back as he was climbing to the roof top carrying the VSAT equipment with Salim. This shows how determined they were to ensure that Africans also embrace the Internet as part of a communications and learning tool.
Through many challenges the company has faced since its inception, it has been lucky to have very strong and supportive board members, who have strived to resolve all its challenges in collaboration with the management. In particular, Afsat’s achievements may be attributed to the very supporting chairmen in all Afsat subsidiaries in its key markets. Above all, Salim has been instrumental in Afsat's success, as evidenced by its commendation for its "outstanding commitment to employee development" and "consistent development and performance over many years". Salim has played a pivotal role in Afsat’s innovations, achievements and great new services that have helped build the African communications industry.
In the past there was only limited access to the Internet in Africa, which was mainly done through dial up or terrestrial wireless solutions. Afsat offers customers unparalleled solutions, utilising the advantages of advanced broadband technologies that enable business customers to gain a competitive edge and consumer customers to stay connected with their friends and family around the world. 

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