Vo­da­com gets into ISP

Ex-Telkom ex­ecs in key po­si­tions

Finweek English Edition - - Communication & technology - BENE­DICT KELLY

VO­DA­COM IS PO­SI­TION­ING it­self to en­ter the cor­po­rate In­ter­net ser­vice provider space with a new di­vi­sion. Yet to be given an of­fi­cial ti­tle, the di­vi­sion brings to­gether the com­pany’s ef­forts in the ISP, VPN and WiMax space and will po­si­tion Vo­da­com against the likes of MTN Net­work So­lu­tions as well as par­ent com­pany Telkom in the cor­po­rate space.

Vo­da­com has also snared re­cent de­fec­tors from Telkom, in­clud­ing for­mer chief tech­nol­ogy of­fi­cer Thami Msi­mango and for­mer sales and mar­ket­ing head Wally Beelders, who are now re­spec­tively the COO and ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor: com­mer­cial of the new di­vi­sion.

Ru­dolph Muller, MyADSL founder, says that ru­mours have been cir­cu­lat­ing that Vo­da­com had been keen to buy into the ISP field for some time but with this de­vel­op­ment he says it ap­pears Vo­da­com has de­cided to forgo the ac­qui­si­tion route in favour of de­vel­op­ing the ser­vice in­ter­nally.

Muller says that a prob­lem Vo­da­com faced was that it needed to pro­vide In­ter­net ser­vices to its cus­tomers, both those us­ing their phones to ac­cess the In­ter­net and to users of its 3G data card ser­vice. That left the com­pany in a pre­car­i­ous po­si­tion, in that its ser­vices to cus­tomers were on oc­ca­sion com­pro­mised by the lack of fo­cus.

While the new di­vi­sion is un­likely to in­ter­act di­rectly with that base of users, Muller says it will prob­a­bly pro­vide the bulk ser­vices to Vo­da­com to de­liver In­ter­net ac­cess and other ser­vices, such as host­ing and email.

What will be of in­ter­est is the in­clu­sion of WiMax ser­vices un­der the am­bit of the new di­vi­sion. Vo­da­com hasn’t been al­lo­cated any spec­trum by reg­u­la­tor Icasa to op­er­ate a WiMax ser­vice and it would need to lever­age the WiMax spec­trum al­lo­cated to iBurst, which Vo­da­com bought a stake in last year, to of­fer the ser­vice.

Vo­da­com was un­will­ing to com­ment on the fu­ture di­rec­tion of the di­vi­sion un­til an MD was ap­pointed, a role that Vo­da­com COO Pi­eter Uys is cur­rently fill­ing.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.