South African telecoms operator Vodacom has reached an agreement on a restructured transaction in regards to its ZAR7 billion (USD566 million) acquisition of domestic rival Neotel, following a request to postpone the hearings in front of the country’s Competition Tribunal in November. According to the revised deal, Vodacom South Africa will acquire inter alia the majority of Neotel’s assets related to its fixed-line business, excluding its licences (spectrum, electronics communications network [ECN] and electronics communications network services [ECNS]). Further, under the modified terms Neotel will offer roaming arrangements to all mobile network operators in the country, including Vodacom.
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in May 2014 Vodacom agreed to acquire the smaller operator from its majority-owner Tata Communications of India. Despite the vehement opposition of rival operators MTN South Africa and Cell C, the country’s telecoms regulator the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) gave its conditional approval to the deal in June 2015, imposing a number of rollout requirements on the two operators. The deal however is still subject to approval from the country’s antitrust authorities.