May 01, 2009
Telecoms operator takes to the sea as competition heats upBack
© Reuse this
The SAT-3/WASC/SAFE is a submarine communications cable linking Portugal and Spain to South Africa, with connections to several West African countries along the route. The Seacom cable is an optical fibre submarine communications cable that will link South Africa, Madagascar, Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya, India and Europe. The cable is expected to be completed in June 2009.
As part of its efforts to increase international connectivity, Neotel has signed a cable development agreement with Seacom under which Neotel will own the cable landing station, in Mtunzini, KwaZulu-Natal, and all facilities within South Africa. Neotel will provide the backhaul connectivity to Johannesburg while Tata Communications Transformation Services (TCTS) will operate the entire cable system for Seacom.
Neotel has previously announced an investment of R20-million in the landing station and facilities necessary to land Seacom. However, this does not include backhaul connectivity, which makes use of a portion of Neotel's national and metropolitan network build.
Tata Communications, Neotel's major shareholder, recently announced that the group would be an anchor tenant on the SEACOM cable, but the amount of the deal has not been disclosed.
The Seacom cable has a total capacity of 1,2-trillion bytes a second, roughly ten times the total amount available on SAT-3 today. As with all cable systems, only a portion of this will be used initially, and more will be provisioned over time.
It is expected that this capacity will be sufficient for a number of years. Seacom will be the first truly competitive submarine fibre cable system landing in South Africa, offering open access to the market.
"Perhaps more importantly, it will represent a cost-effective and physically independent alternative to the current SAT-3/SAFE system, and hence offer choice to telecoms providers, as well as improving the overall reliability of South Africa's connectivity to the world," says Neotel chief technology officer Dr Angus Hay.
The company's access to Seacom, SAT-3, as well as optical fibre and wireless networks is aimed at providing businesses and consumers increased international and national connectivity.
While Neotel has deployed wireless 3G CDMA2000 to deliver its wireless NeoConnect and voice and data service NeoFlex to consumers and small medium enterprise services, the company is typically delivering services to larger enterprises in the larger metropolitan areas using optical fibre or microwave links. Neotel is also rolling out wireless technologies such as wireless broadband WiMAX
"Although Neotel already has its services available within the major metropolitan areas, the company is accelerating the deployment of its wireless and optical fibre networks. Existing wireless coverage in target cities will double over the next year and the deployment of fibre optic access is ongoing," says Hay.
As part of its initial deployment of telecommunications services, Neotel established the Next Generation Network (NGN) project, which is the basis of all its services today. The company delivers converged voice, data and internet services over a single connection carried on the internet protocol (IP) and resulting in a network that is flexible enough to meet growing customer requirements.
Neotel continues to gain ground in the consumer and small business market, signing up about 150 new NeoConnect and NeoFlex subscribers a day and has over 100 active code division multiple access (CDMA) towers. The core of Neotel's NGN is complete with most of the current work being done on wireless and optical fibre access networks, in order to reach more customers. "Neotel is on track to meet its licence obligations of population coverage of 50% of the population of 14 metropolitan areas within five years," says Hay.
Neotel is also collaborating with telecommunications company MTN South Africa on a fibre-optics cable network. The network will cover a distance of 5 000 km, connecting the major centres across South Africa using optical fibre, capable of carrying many gigabits a second of bandwidth.
The deployment of high-speed, quality voice and data transmission is seen as important to remaining competitive within the industry and to improving the overall customer experience in the converged mobile and fixed line arenas for both MTN and Neotel .
"The partnership enables both parties to enhance shareholder value and substantially reduce infrastructure and operational costs, while achieving the independence of having a new backbone network," says Neotel head of business support services Imran Abbas.
The first route of the national fibre network will extend from Gauteng to KwaZulu-Natal, incorporating Pietermaritzburg and Durban. The construction of the first phase of the network began in April 2009 with a completion date scheduled for before the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The total project will span two to three years.
Currently one of the biggest telecommunications projects in Africa, the project is expected to cost R2-billion. While rough terrain, mountainous areas, weather and materials being shipped from other countries are proving to be huge challenges, the project is a significant achievement in terms of infrastructure partnership in the telecommunications market.
"This will not only have a financial benefit to the consumer, but also an environmental benefit, in that, operators don't have to dig up roads again," adds Abbas.
"Historically, bandwidth take up in South Africa was constrained by price as a result of an existing monopoly, but this has changed with Neotel now offering competitive, independent access to SAT-3.
Seacom will add yet another alternative to the market and customers will benefit from the resulting competition; and take up will typically be much higher, in such a competitive market," concludes Hay.
Edited by: Laura Tyrer© Reuse this
To subscribe email email@example.com or click here
To advertise email firstname.lastname@example.org or click here
Other Telecoms News
South Africa- and Botswana-based research institutions have teamed up to research dynamic spectrum access and the sharing of television (TV) band frequencies using a TV white space (TVWS) experimental network. South Africa’s Council for Scientific and Industrial...
Telecommunications provider Vumatel has temporarily halted digging activity in Blairgowrie to secure cable locators that will assist the contractors in pinpointing the exact location of power utility City Power’s electricity cables. The area had been experiencing...
Etisalat Nigeria has filed a court case against rival MTN over the use of a new frequency band which MTN acquired when it bought internet provider Visafone, it said on Monday. South Africa's MTN bought the privately held Nigerian firm Visafone last month to improve...
Updated 4 minutes ago Zambia's economy is expected to expand by 3.7% this year, largely stable from last year but could grow more than four% in 2017, the deputy finance minister said on Wednesday. An electricity shortage in Africa's no 2 copper producer has stunted the mining sector,...
Recent Research Reports
Construction 2016: A review of South Africa's construction industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2016 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; key participants; local demand; geographic diversification; corporate activity; black economic...
Energy Roundup – February 2016 (PDF Report)
The February 2016 roundup covers activities across South Africa for December 2015 and January 2016 and includes details of a Government Gazette notice that confirms Cabinet’s decision to move ahead with the 9 600 MW nuclear procurement programme; State-owned power...
Energy Roundup - December 2015 (PDF Report)
The December 2015 roundup includes details of State-owned utility Eskom’s application to claw back R22.8-billion; South Africa’s ranking as an investment destination for renewable energy; and a nuclear expert’s thoughts on reactor designs for South Africa’s nuclear...
Water 2015: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2015 Report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context but also in the African and global context in terms of supply and demand, water stress and insecurity, and access to water and sanitation, besides others.
Input Sector Review: Pumps 2015 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s 2015 Input Sector Review on Pumps provides an overview of South Africa’s pumps industry with particular focus on pump manufacture and supply, aftermarket services, marketing strategies, local and export demand, imports, sector support, investment...
Liquid Fuels 2015: A review of South Africa's liquid fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2015 Report examines these issues in the context of South Africa’s business environment; oil and gas exploration; fuel pricing; the development of the country’s biofuels industry; the logistics of transporting liquid fuels; and...
This Week's Magazine
Power and automation company ABB is in the launch phase of its highest payload, multipurpose industrial robot, the IRB 8700. The robot has a reach of 3.5 m and can handle a payload of up to 800 kg. “When designing the IRB 8700, we emphasised reach and payload, as...
Identity and Access Management (IAM) is a critical facet of a connected security ecosystem, as controlling the confidentiality, integrity and authorisation of data access and use is key to securing new digital business channels. However, companies face several...
Data underpins digital business models, the digital economy, the Internet of Things and the fundamental changes in the ways people interact and protecting data is crucial to securing new ways of doing business, says T-Systems South Africa information and...
The City of Cape Town will issue a tender for the procurement of electric buses for its MyCiTi service, in line with the council’s commitment to lower its carbon footprint, says executive mayor Patricia de Lille. The tender, to be advertised early in February, will...
The iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority signed a R10-million contract last month with local tailings storage facility specialists Cyclone Engineering Projects to remove about 100 000 m3 of dredge spoil obstructing the natural course of the uMfolozi river, in...