South African Neotel Aims to Triple Revenue This Year With 50,000 Customers

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

Neotel, the fixed-line operator set up in 2006 to compete with former monopoly Telkom , said last week it hoped to triple revenue this year as customer numbers rose quickly. Unlisted Neotel, which is controlled by India's Tata Group, said it was targeting R3bn in revenue for the year to the end of March next year , after so far collecting more than R2.,2bn, double the amount it reported last year.

Neotel CE Ajay Pandey said the company had reached 30,000 customers and hoped to cover more than 50,000 customers before the end of the year. "What is important is that this milestone in terms of numbers signifies growth," Pandey said at a press conference. The numbers positioned Neotel ahead of smaller competitors, making it SA's second- largest fixed-line operator, he said.

The group's aim was to get 15% of market share by the time it reached its fifth year of operation. Pandey said Neotel had invested more than R3.5bn in infrastructure. Its partnership with mobile operators Vodacom and MTN, which involved developing a 5,000km fibre optic network, was working well, he said.

Neotel said it was a strong supporter of lower interconnection fees. Cellphone and telecoms operators charge R1.25 a minute in peak times as their interconnection fee, a charge to enable calls to be transmitted from each other's networks.

Business Day