= Infraco plans fail to impress

The 3GSM congress in Spain dominated technology news this week, while locally government's Infraco plans left industry watchers cold.
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Public enterprises minister Alec Erwin on Monday said Infraco, government's new broadband wholesaler, will effectively be a fibre optic network operator able to set its own pricing.

However, analysts likened Infraco to "warm beer" or "weak tea". The news of its imminent arrival - as early as March - was met with mixed feelings, with competition and enhancements to infrastructure being applauded, and government's strategy and ability to fast-track it questioned.

Which multinational will buy arivia.kom?

With arivia.kom finally under the auctioneer's gavel, market commentators expect the bids for the state-owned IT firm to come from international IT services giants - the likes of HP, Accenture, IBM Global Service or T-Systems.

A posting in ITWeb's reader forum explains why 802.16E may not fly as quickly and easily in SA.

Ranka Jovanovic, editorial director, ITWeb

The successful bidder will bag two large outsourcing contracts as part of the deal - the servicing of Eskom and Transnet's IT operations. It remains to be seen if this is enough to sweeten the purchase, estimated to have a price tag of up to R500 million.

Virtually legal

The successor to the 1973 Companies Act could allow totally virtual companies to operate in SA. The new Companies Bill promises to introduce flexibility in the manner and form of shareholder meetings, the exercise of proxy rights and the standards for adoption of ordinary and special resolutions.

A lawyer has commented that some provisions in the Bill could allow for "the birth of totally virtual companies - where directors and shareholders meet in cyberspace, communicate electronically and do business online regardless of location, time and distance".

Motorola wants fixed-mobile to die

Speaking on the sidelines of the 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona, Motorola's WiMax principal for the EMEA region urged SA to roll-out the 802.16E WiMax standard as opposed to the more widely adopted fixed-mobile 802.16D standard.

A posting in ITWeb's reader forum explains why 802.16E may not fly as quickly and easily in SA, saying: "The multitude of fixed 802.16D deployments, the economies of scale in devices that support it, and the mere fact that HSDPA take-up is growing at an incredible rate contradicts your claim that fixed WiMax is dead."

Too little, too late

President Thabo Mbeki told the nation last week that Telkom would "apply a special low rate for international bandwidth to 10 development call centres each employing 1 000 persons".

This is part of government's plans to boost business process outsourcing as it gears up to grow the economy by 6% a year.

However, telecoms sector stakeholders call for more wide-reaching moves. Mike van den Bergh, COO of Gateway Communications, says government should not only focus on "special cases".

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