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Jul 18, 2008

Neotel rolls out WiMAX to enterprise customers

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South Africa's second telecommunications network operator, Neotel, on Friday launched its enterprise wireless product offering, which would use last mile technologies to provide the operator's enterprise services to corporate customers.

"Our wireless offering is a solution that allows us to address the local loop or last mile. To date, we have been rolling out fibre. The wireless solution allows us to complement that with a different set of technologies," commented Neotel's head of enterprise group, Stefano Mattielo, on Friday during a launch event in Johannesburg.

The last mile is the last part of delivering connectivity from a communications provider to a customer. Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX) technology enables communications operators to deliver the last mile.

Neotel Enterprise Group product manager Marcel Steyn noted that there was a lot of demand for subrates (less than 2 MB/s) in South Africa.

Wireless offered a suitable alternative to fibre in cases where lower bandwidth or subrates were required. It could be installed quicker and no trenching of pavements or streets would be required.

Neotel would use two technologies to provide wireless last mile access, which it would backhaul on its optical fibre network, rather than on other wireless networks, as this could lead to reduced service levels.

This would initially only be available in the main metropolitan areas where it already had a fibre network rolled out, but would eventually be extended to secondary towns and cities across the country, as the operator continued the roll-out of its fibre network.

The WiMAX 802.16d solution, supplied by vendor Telsima, would be rolled out on a 3,5 GHz spectrum, while the VectaStar solution, supplied by Cambridge Broadband, would be rolled out on a 10,5 GHz spectrum.

The operator would sign service level agreements with the clients who chose its wireless products that would include installation, maintenance, and a performance guarantee, among other aspects.

Neotel would spend about R10-billion on network deployment over the next five to ten years.


Edited by: Mariaan Webb
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