Vodacom wants to work with one or more other major telecommunications operators in South Africa to deploy fibre-to-the-home broadband infrastructure to reduce costs and make the business case for home fibre more feasible.
CEO Shameel Joosub said he is keen to borrow on his experience when he headed up Vodafone’s Spanish operation between 2010 and 2012. Working with the Spanish subsidiary of French telecoms giant Orange, Vodafone Spain rolled out FTTH broadband to 2,5m households, he said.
“Payback periods of fixed [lines]are much longer, so you will see consolidation and you will see more co-operation,” Joosub said in an interview with TechCentral following the publication this week of the group’s annual financial results. “Co-builds will become more and more important.”
Asked if working with other operators to build infrastructure could be difficult given South Africa’s tough competition laws, Joosub said operators already collaborate and share infrastructure.
He cited the example of the national long-distance fibre network built by Vodacom, MTN and Neotel as well as the myriad tower-sharing deals.
Vodacom revealed on Monday that it now passes 25 000 homes with its own fibre infrastructure. However, it has seen only a 10% take-up from end users. It said most of the fibre has been deployed in the past year, and it expects consumer demand to pick up.
Joosub said Vodacom will also work with other fibre providers to offer Internet access on top of their infrastructure.
He said Vodacom is committed to an open-access model where other Internet service providers and telecoms operators can use its fibre to provide access to end users. This model has rapidly emerged as the most popular one for deploying new fibre access networks in South Africa.
Vodacom will also consider acquisitions of smaller fibre providers to grow its presence in the FTTH market. “We’re always in active talks, but there is nothing serious at this stage. You will see consolidation.” — © 2016 NewsCentral Media