Vodacom and WirelessG, which had been warring in the courts, appear to have buried the hatchet. The two parties said in a joint statement on Wednesday that WirelessG, a specialist Wi-Fi provider, had been appointed as the “exclusive provider” of Wi-Fi data products to Vodacom.
The deal will allow Vodacom to bundle G-Connect Wi-Fi data products and sell these through its retail distribution network, the companies said in the statement.
News of the deal marks a significant thawing in relations between the companies after WirelessG CEO Carel van der Merwe told TechCentral in e-mailed comments that Vodacom had “reached a state of total incompetence” and said the mobile operator was “heading for a cultural crisis and suicide”.
Vodacom described WirelessG as “desperate” in court papers.
WirelessG had taken Vodacom to court, accusing the company of reneging on a shareholders’ agreement that granted it exclusivity over any Wi-Fi infrastructure the mobile operator wanted to build.
Van der Merwe told TechCentral in January that Vodacom had begun to backtrack on the agreements between the parties after it realised that “data offloading” onto Wi-Fi from its mobile broadband network was becoming a significant strategic opportunity.
The two companies entered into out-of-court discussions, which appear to have had a positive outcome.
“The technical scope and implementation specifics of WirelessG’s appointment are currently being formalised between the parties. It is anticipated to be rolled out during the first quarter of 2014,” the two companies said in their statement.
“In terms of the agreement, WirelessG will roll out and integrate a national Wi-Fi hotspot network to the G-Connect Wi-Fi offering, which will comprise at least 6 000 Wi-Fi hotspots over the next five years.”
“The parties have already started implementing the strategic objectives we have agreed on,” the statement said. “As part of the agreement, WirelessG is also entitled to distribute and resell all Vodacom products.” — (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media
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