South Africa’s second national operator (SNO) has said it is still committed to launching commercial services this year despite the government’s decision to back out from a sale of national telecoms infrastructure. As reported yesterday the government has decided not to sell telecoms networks owned by the state utility group Eskom, opting instead to lease the infrastructure to the SNO. Business Day in Johannesburg reports that this has not dented the SNO’s plans to deliver its first services later this year. The firm’s managing director, Ajay Pandey, expects corporate customers to be the first to be connected towards the end of this year, with private consumer offerings following in early 2007. The new telco, which received South Africa’s second national operating licence last December, has agreed a separate ZAR256 million deal to acquire telecoms networks from Transnet.