Vox buys Frogfoot in fibre play

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

Vox Telecom is acquiring Internet services company Frogfoot Networks as part of its plan to build its own fibre-optic network to serve business clients in South Africa.

“The acquisition will see Vox Telecom fast-tracking its own fibre strategy by leveraging the existing skills, processes and the installed fibre network of Frogfoot Networks,” Vox said in a statement.

Frogfoot will operate as a separate entity within Vox Telecom’s carrier and connectivity division, providing services to the group’s customers, in addition to wholesale services to other companies. It will provide fibre on an open-access basis.

Frogfoot has about 40 staff and has an “extensive fibre footprint” in Cape Town serving both business and home users. The company is starting a roll-out in Johannesburg and Durban, too.

The acquisition is the fifth that Vox Telecom has made in the past year. A company spokesman was not immediately available to say how much infrastructure Vox will take over through the Frogfoot deal or how many employees will move across.

The deal comes after Vox’s main shareholders earlier this year decided against selling the business. This was after they considered offers from interested parties.

Vox Telecom CEO Jacques du Toit told TechCentral in an interview in February that the company plans to build its own national fibre-optic broadband backbone to connect its business customers to its core network.

The deployment forms part of a broader, five-year strategy that it’s adopted after shareholders — Metier, RMB and Investec — decided to remove the for-sale sign.

Du Toit told TechCentral that Vox’s fibre plans represent its first investment into network infrastructure. “We will slowly deploy infrastructure to our customers, starting with 100Mbit/s fibre circuits,” he said.

Vox would provide services using its own network and would also lease capacity where it made sense, he added.

Du Toit said that Vox would start its fibre deployment in the main urban centres of Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town, and then move to smaller towns where Vox has customers, including cities such as Bloemfontein, Port Elizabeth and Polokwane, and later regional centres and smaller towns such as Mmabatho, Upington and Kimberley.

Vox’s fibre roll-out project forms part of a broader strategy to grow the company into a bigger and more robust contender in South Africa’s telecoms industry.  — © 2015 NewsCentral Media
Source: Duncan McLeod for Techcentral 22 July 2015