Shameel Joosub, the managing director of Vodacom Group, has revealed that the South African telecoms operator is planning to invest ZAR1 billion (USD89.9 million) a year in its new fibre-optic network, once the acquisition of second national operator (SNO) Neotel is finalised, Bloomberg reports. Vodacom agreed to buy Neotel for ZAR7 billion in May 2014; the second-largest fixed line operator in the country has 15,000km of fibre-optic cable, including 8,000km of metro fibre in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. The executive said: ‘This is a new area in which we want to invest and where we see a potential… It is important for us, as prices fall and the voice segment is under pressure.’ The company is looking to connect 5,000 companies to its fibre-to-the-building (FTTB) network by end-March 2015 to offset declining revenues from the mobile segment.
Meanwhile, BT Global Services has partnered with Coca-Cola South Africa to provide free internet access to impoverished communities in South Africa by setting up Wi-Fi access points on Coca-Cola’s vending machines. The pilot project has been launched in two key areas in Umtata in the Eastern Cape province and Nelspruit, in the Mpumalanga province.