19 August 2009
South African fixed-line operator Neotel is partnering with state broadband provider Infraco to offer international connectivity to clients in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.
“Interconnect is part of building any telecommunications network,” Neotel Business Support Services’ Imran Abbas said in a statement this week. “We have therefore embarked on a proactive strategy to provide interconnect into these countries, to offer an alternative to the incumbent.”
Fibre rollout into South Africa’s neighbouring countries started in 2008, with Lesotho being the first network completed. The Namibian network is also complete, while networks in Botswana and Mozambique will be complete “within a couple of weeks,” Abbas said.
Once these countries are connected to Neotel’s network, they will have the alternative option of connecting internationally via undersea data cables.
The network is being built by Neotel Business Support Services, the Neotel Group subsidiary responsible for rolling out the R2-billion long-distance South African national network being built by Neotel and mobile operator MTN.
“We are not going to be selling services to these countries,” Abbas explained. “Our priority remains South Africa, and we have already made tremendous strides in connecting the five metros, and will next focus on growing the network across the rest of South Africa.”
According to Neotel, it is already servicing customers in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Tanzania that the company inherited from its acquisition of Transtel, but it has yet to decide on further expansion into the continent.
“What is likely to happen is that South African companies we are servicing inside the country will pull us with them as they expand their businesses into the African continent,” Abbas said.
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