Telkom plans to establish itself as a regional voice and data player through the provisioning of a range of hosting services, managed solutions, mobile voice and wireless broadband services. It is also entering the field of professional consulting to operators.
"In addition, we are positioning Telkom as a wholesale facilities and infrastructure enabler for regional incumbents," says CEO Reuben September.
The group's expansion to date has been through Multi-Links, a private telecommunications operator operating in Nigeria, and Africa Online, an internet services provider with its head-office in Kenya and operating in eight other African countries.
Telkom owns 75% of Multi-Links, a private telecommunications operator with a Universal Access License in Nigeria.
"Multi-Links performed well in growing its subscriber base from 262,431 at 30 September 2007," says September. "We placed an aggressive subscriber target of 812 000 for the year ending 31 March 2008 on the company. Multi-Links exceeded this target and delivered 813 392 subscribers."
By 31 May 2008, Multi-Links had a subscriber base of more than 1-million customers.
"The prospects for Multi-Links are strong and the company intends to capitalise on Telkom's brand and access to international data connectivity," September adds. "The resilience and quality of international connectivity provides great opportunities in servicing the corporate, wholesale and retail markets."
Africa Online increased its revenue from R46-million in the six months ended 30 September 2007 to R110-million at 31 March 2008. The major contributors to revenue were dial up, consumer wireless and dedicated corporate links.
"In addition to the current affiliates that Africa Online works with in Senegal, Benin, Nigeria, Angola, Botswana and Mozambique, new affiliates have been signed up in Malawi, Mauritius and Sudan including additional affiliates in Nambia, Angola and Mozambique," says September. "The company is extending its coverage in Africa in order to aggressively target the Pan-African corporate market."
Telkom's board of directors has given its approval for the establishment of the Telkom management services company, to provide telecommunications management services within sub-Saharan Africa.
Target markets for these services include: state-owned incumbent operators in sub-Saharan Africa; and numerous new entrants in the ICT industry.
There are few consultants in the ICT industry with relevant expertise and support from reputable telecommunications operators that understand the African operational environment and are able to provide such services," says September.
"It is envisaged that TMSC will be a wholly-owned subsidiary providing the full range of strategic and operational services
"The relationship with Telkom brings advantages in terms of expertise in technology innovation and integration, independence from equipment manufacturers, experience of a large number of supplier platforms as well as first hand experience in transforming from a state-owned monopoly, through commercialisation to privatisation and listing."
The management contracts of Multi-Links and Africa Online will be handled by TMSC.