The Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) has no right under the country’s constitution to block pay-TV operator TopTV from launching adult channels and the fact that it has done so is setting a “terrible precedent” that will erode the freedoms that South Africans fought for under apartheid.
That’s the view of TopTV chairman and acting CEO Eddie Mbalo, who tells TechCentral in an exclusive interview that all right-minded South Africans should fight what he sees as a dangerous slide back into the censorship that was prevalent under the National Party government.
Blue Label Telecoms shareholders on Tuesday approved a plan by the JSE-listed company to buy the 12% of the company’s shares held by US software maker Microsoft in a deal worth R390m.
Microsoft is selling the shares at a loss. It bought 91.9m shares in 2007 for R6,75/share and is selling them back to Blue Label, which intends to cancel them, for R4,25/share. Blue Label’s head of investor and media relations, Michael Campbell, says the two companies have “no further plans to work together”.
African Prepaid Services Nigeria (APSN), a now-mostly-dormant company in which JSE-listed Blue Label Telecoms has an effective 37% stake, is claiming US$481m, or about R4bn at the prevailing exchange rate, in damages from Multi-Links, Telkom’s former Nigerian subsidiary, after Multi-Links walked away from a lucrative, 10-year contract with the company. Multi-Links has filed a counterclaim of $123,9m.
Telkom is involved in a multibillion-rand project to increase the throughput of fixed-line broadband to speeds of up to 40Mbit/s. The plans also include dramatically upping the speed of entry-level broadband services and introducing video-on-demand (VOD) products, possibly from international providers such as Hulu, Netflix and Nangu.
In addition, the company is planning a trial using superfast fibre-optic cables from selected telephone exchanges, with the pilot project expected to kick off as early as 15 January 2012. Details about the fibre project remain sketchy, however.
This week, an estimated 180 000 EasyPay customers will receive an e-mail that offers money-back rewards on all their transactions as part of the company’s strategy to restore its credibility and regain customers’ confidence after its site was hit by credit-card fraud two months ago.
EasyPay will also carry the full liability of any fraudulent transactions, said Serge Belamant, the CEO of Net1, the holding company of EasyPay. He said he has confidence in the site’s newly built security features.
Listed SA IT company Gijima has formed a partnership with US company MobileIron as it ups its focus on the consumerisation of IT in business. Founded in 2007 and based in California, MobileIron provides mobile device management and security to large corporations.
Ubuntu Linux, the free and open-source operating system, will power tablet computers, cellular phones, TVs and smart screens in cars and elsewhere, Mark Shuttleworth, the South African behind the software announced in a blog post on Monday 31st October.
The software will support all these new devices in time for version 14.04 LTS, expected in April 2014. Shuttleworth promises the software will connect supported devices “cleanly and seamlessly to the desktop, the server and the cloud”.
It appears there was method in Gijima’s madness after all. The JSE-listed IT company that earlier this year said it would buy all its employees Apple iPads has signed the first systems integrator agreement in Southern Africa with Apple. Gijima will assist with the support for Apple hardware and software solutions that work with company-managed systems, it said on Monday.
JSE-listed Altech has appointed Shahab Meshki as new CEO of its struggling East Africa business Kenya Data Networks. At the same time, the technology group is reported to be in talks to buy Kenyan IT firm Symphony in a deal that could be worth as much as US$60m.
An unnamed source told Reuters that Altech has been in talks with Symphony “for several months and is now nearing the end of its due diligence”. According to the wire service, Altech is like to pay between $50m and $60m for the company, which also has operations in Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Ethiopia.
Mobile TV, the company looking to take radio and TV broadcasts to mobile devices in SA and challenge DStv Mobile in the process, has been running trials of Korea’s digital multimedia broadcasting (DMB) standard since late last year.
TechCentral’s Craig Wilson put the test service through its paces using a tivizenDMB adapter for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. The DMB adapter offers Mobile TV’s test broadcasts of SABC1 and SABC2, a “visual radio” broadcast of Metro FM and digital audio of 5fm.