Fixed-line telecommunications operator Telkom was on Wednesday granted leave to appeal by the high court in Pretoria in a case brought against it by ZTE Mzanzi. A court interdict preventing it from continuing with work on a multibillion-rand project to modernise its access network into homes and businesses has been suspended pending the appeal.
The company behind the planned 40Tbit/s Wasace cable says the African leg of the submarine system will be ready for service in early 2014. And it's coming to SA. The African leg of a new submarine telecommunications system that will serve markets in the North and South Atlantic will be ready for service in the first quarter of 2014. The cable will offer high-speed global connectivity to SA, Angola and Nigeria.
John Holdsworth, the businessman who took on the mobile operators over high wholesale call charges and won, has launched a new business that will take advantage of falling prices and faster mobile data networks. He hopes, in the process, to shake up the mobile telecommunications industry in SA.
DStv rival TopTV has sold 360,000 decoders since its launch two years ago, but of these only about half are actively using the service, the company’s chairman and acting CEO, Eddie Mbalo, has revealed.
He tells TechCentral that TopTV, which is owned by On Digital Media (ODM), currently has between 160 000 and 200 000 paying subscribers at any given time.
The Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) wants to license new pay-TV operators to compete with incumbent MultiChoice, which owns DStv, and recent entrant On Digital Media, with TopTV, despite little interest shown by other players in launching commercial services following the previous round of licensing several years ago.
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.