Neotel on hold

Johannesburg, 15 Mar 2007

The Independent Communications Authority of SA (ICASA) is processing applications for the 800MHz spectrum.

Spokesman Jubie Matlou confirms the regulator has, to date, received applications for allocation of the spectrum from SA's second national operator, Neotel, and KwaZulu-Natal-based universal services agency Thinta Thinta.

"These applications are being processed," he says, adding they are being circulated on a council round robin.

Neotel's residential roll-out depends on receiving the 800MHz spectrum allocation from ICASA, says a spokesman. "Our initial retail services continue to be targeted for launch around the middle of the year, although this is dependent on our receiving the 800MHz spectrum allocation from ICASA."

The company recently awarded the first batch of contracts that will allow it to build its core network to provide national services later this year. So far, Neotel has handed out five contracts for aspects of its core network.

The latest contract, for an undisclosed sum, went to Siemens Telecommunications to build the core backbone and foundation of Neotel's Internet Protocol (IP) network.

The IP core network will enable Neotel to provide high-performance voice, data and video services from a single IP-based network, says Mark Van Vuuren, MD of fixed networks at Siemens Telecommunications Southern Africa.

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