Telkom and MTN are set to face off at the Independent Communications Authority of SA’s complaints and compliance committee on Thursday over a dispute of interconnection fees, the money they charge each other to carry calls between their networks. Authority spokesman Paseka Maleka Telkom lodged a complaint against MTN at the end of June. It appears the two companies are having trouble negotiating the terms of an interconnection agreement.
Cell C, which launched its third-generation (3G) mobile network in the Eastern Cape city of Port Elizabeth on Friday, is playing up its launch offering of two broadband modems with 24GB and 60GB data bundles. But the company has also quietly introduced two new data-only products at prices that are significantly lower than the offerings that are bundled with modems and much cheaper than anything offered by rivals MTN and Vodacom.
Telecommunications operator Cell C will launch the first leg of its mobile broadband network in Port Elizabeth. TechCentral has established that Cell C will launch its third-generation (3G) network, on which it is spending about R5bn in 2010, in the Eastern Cape city.
With more than half a dozen SA operators rolling out their own national networks, consolidation in SA’s telecommunications industry looks inevitable. There’s a chance Cell C and Dimension Data could be the ones to kick it off. Didata division Internet Solutions looks a bit like the odd man out these days. The converged service provider, which remains a powerful force in the corporate market, is the only big player in its space that doesn’t have its own significant investment in telecoms infrastructure.
Kenyan telecommunications operator Safaricom has increased its market share from about 60% three years ago to over 80% on the back of its M-Pesa cellphone money transfer service. Now Vodacom is hoping to emulate those market share gains in SA. That’s the word from Mark Taylor, newly appointed MD of Vodacom Payment Services, the company that houses the company’s M-Pesa offering.
It’s Friday again and that means another episode of SA’s business technology podcast, TalkCentral. This week, your hosts Duncan McLeod and Candice Jones delve into the ongoing drama at the department of communications, where fired communications department director-general Mamodupi Mohlala has been reinstated — at least for now — by minister Siphiwe Nyanda.
Vodacom has lost its exclusivity over Apple’s iPhone in SA: MTN will launch the product in the country within weeks. The cellular network operator will announce late on Thursday afternoon that it will begin selling the iPhone device through its channels. TechCentral has learnt that MTN will issue a press statement later on Thursday confirming what many had already expected: that it has secured a distribution agreement with Apple.
Apple’s iPad could go on sale in SA within a matter of weeks. Core Group, Apple’s sole local distributor, has confirmed it is in talks with the US company about bringing the tablet computer to the country.
Core Group executive director Rutger-Jan van Spaandonk says the company has held “lengthy discussions” with Apple and that Core will distribute both versions of the iPad – the cellular-ready product and the Wi-Fi-only configuration – exclusively to the SA market.
It’s long been government’s desire to bridge the digital divide, to get communications technology in the hands of the rural poor. But its every attempt to address the problem has failed. Now commercial operators may achieve what government couldn’t. The late Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri, the former communications minister, had her heart in the right place. She genuinely wanted people in underserviced areas to get access to the latest communications technology.
Telkom has resumed its high-profile anti-Neotel taunts on Gauteng billboards, this time erecting a giant sign just metres in front of its rival’s new head office in Midrand, north of Johannesburg. In a clear reference to Neotel’s orange corporate branding, the Telkom hoarding says: “Remember, exercise caution when you see orange.”