Neotel, in partnership with Infraco, is expanding connectivity into the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.
“Interconnect is part of building any telecommunications network,” says Imran Abbas, executive head of Neotel’s Business Support Services (NBSS). “We have therefore embarked on a proactive strategy to provide interconnect into those countries, to offer an alternative to the incumbent.”
Fibre rollout into these countries started last year with Lesotho being the first network completed. “We have now also completed Namibia and will complete Botswana and Mozambique in the next couple of weeks,” he says.
Once these SADC countries are connected to the Neotel network, they will effectively have an alternative option to access the undersea cables and thus international connectivity.
“We are not going to be selling services to these countries,” says Abbas. “Our priority remains South Africa and we have already made tremendous strides in connecting the five metros and will next focus on growing the network across the rest of South Africa.”
Neotel is using the latest technology to roll out interconnect. “We continue rolling out a Next Generation Network to ensure that we do not have to face the challenges of legacy systems,” says Abbas. The network is being built by NBSS, part of the Neotel Group. “NBSS is also responsible for rolling out the long distance network for Neotel and MTN."
By design or default Neotel has customers that it is already servicing in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Tanzania that it inherited from Transtel but has yet to decide on further expansion into the continent.
“What is likely to happen is that South African companies we are servicing inside the country will pull us with them as they expand their businesses into the African continent,” Abbas says.