The Airtel telecommunication company and the government of Seychelles will work on data pricing to make it more affordable for users, said the managing director and chief executive of Airtel Africa.
Raghunath Mandava accompanied by Airtel Seychelles' managing director Amadou Dina, on Thursday met with President Wavel Ramkalawan at State House, Victoria.
"Seychelles is a small country far away from everywhere else and as such, this is one of the longest cables that you have to run from various parts of the world. That is unfortunately a very high-cost activity. In spite of that we are trying to discuss and find solutions to see how we can work together both with the government and the operators in doing this," said Mandava.
Internet pricing and speed in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, are greatly criticised by locals and visitors. Airtel offers a range of internet packages both postpaid and prepaid. Postpaid data plans range from SCR349 for 5 gigabytes to SCR1,999 for 40 gigabytes. Prepaid data bundles range from SCR24 for 50 megabytes to SCR1,999 for 15.36 gigabytes.
Talking about network connections in Seychelles, Mandava said that the company is always working to improve its services.
"In the last few years, even during the tough economic situation, we have increased our number of towers from 52 to about 78. We are pretty okay when it comes to Mahe island. However, the bigger problem that we have is Praslin and La Digue where we have to reach through microwave connectivity and that affects only internet speeds," said Mandava.
He added that one challenge that the company faces is the fact that Mahe, the main island is "a very hilly territory and because of this, the number of towers does not reach everywhere, so it is a continuous endeavour."
"We have increased the number of towers and we are looking at a few more towers where it might be required. We are working with our network team to tell us where these gaps are located," he continued.
During his discussions with the president, the chief executive of Airtel Africa also talked about the opening of shops in the country, the opening of a new office and a data centre.
"We are trying to see how we can get closer to our customers and continue to invest in Seychelles," he outlined.
Seychelles is the first area outside of India that Airtel established its presence, and that took place in 1998.