Netone Cancels Decade- Long Contract wit Zellco

MOBILE phone company NetOne has, with immediate effect, cancelled its decade-long contract with Zellco Cellular over non-remittance of some fees collected by the agent.

Zellco was NetOne's agent contracted to sell some of its services for a fee. Although the amount owed could not be ascertained yesterday, sources familiar with the storm said Zellco was in "huge arrears".

The cancellation of the contract could push Zellco out of business since it was largely sustained by the NetOne contract.

Zellco chairman Mr Biggie Chitima confirmed the cancellation of the contract but refused to shed more light.

"I cannot comment on that matter because it is now being handled by our lawyers," said Mr Chitima. He also professed ignorance of the circumstances leading to the contract's cancellation.

A senior manager at Zellco said the company only learnt of the cancellation through messages sent to NetOne subscribers.

"There were no procedures taken to inform us of its intention to terminate our contract," said the senior manager.

"We were all surprised. To be honest with you, we only got to know about this through text messages (SMS)."

The SMS read: "From 06/04/11, NetOne has cancelled Zellco's service contract. Customers will now pay their bills directly to NetOne. There will be no loss of service."

Zellco and Firstel Cellular were the two remaining NetOne agents. In 2001, the mobile company terminated its contract with Cosmos Cellular after the latter failed to pay Z$200 million in service fees.

An official with NetOne confirmed cancellation of the contract but declined to give details.

Both Zellco and NetOne are battling to recover millions of dollars in unpaid phone bills from their post-paid customers.

It is understood that NetOne is owed over US$30 million by more than 10 000 of its post-paid customers, most of them serviced by Zellco Cellular.

The mobile service provider has over one million subscribers, with pre-paid customers making up the bulk.

(Source:The Herald)

Plessey and Dark Fibre Africa

Dimension Data subsidiary Plessey has won a R20m contract to install and maintain 11 regeneration sites on Dark Fibre Africa’s fibre cable linking Empangeni on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast and Pretoria in Gauteng.

Plessey chief operating officer Howard Earley says the sites will house equipment that will pick up any data on the fibre and rebroadcast it using a booster to make sure that data degradation doesn’t occur.

“The fibre is more than 400km long. If you just pump data down the line, you will get a garbled mess out the other end. But the regeneration sites will basically boost the data so what you put in, you get out at the end,” he says.

The sites will be hosted at Bronkhorstspruit, Middelburg, Hendrina, Ermelo, Panbult, Piet Retief, Paulpietersburg, Vryheid, Zulu Rock, Melmoth and Empangeni.

Earley says Plessey will build the sites, install and maintain the equipment, and ensure that containers are air-conditioned and are properly secured.

The cable system carries traffic from the Seacom submarine cable to Gauteng.

Each site will have mains power, a back-up generator and battery back-up facilities, and the company says the sites should have 99,95% uptime.

Plessey will monitor each site from its network operations centre in Midrand and will also station technicians along the route to carry out preventative maintenance and respond to any incidents.

Earley says the company has a 15-year contract with Dark Fibre Africa to provide space and power within each of the 11 sites.