South African ISP iBurst – a wholly-owned subsidiary of Wireless Business Solutions (WBS) – is currently in the process of finalising contract negotiations with an unnamed vendor for the deployment of a Time Division LTE-Advanced (TD-LTE-A) network, MyBroadband reports. An announcement regarding the vendor selected to carry out the project is expected in early 2016. According to Duncan Simpson-Craib, CEO of Multisource/WBS Group, the company has secured the capital required for the deployment, though ‘various options are investigated, should further funding be necessary’. The company is planning to ‘develop the existing businesses and network to leverage the valuable spectrum licence that WBS holds [in the 3500MHz band]’, while also aiming to replicate iBurst existing coverage with the new TD-LTE-A infrastructure.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in October 2014 it emerged that Multisource made an offer to acquire iBurst and its parent company WBS, though the takeover was subsequently challenged by Telkom SA, which claimed in August 2015 that it was ‘premature’ for the regulator – the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) – to consider the transaction. Despite Telkom objections to the transfer of WBS’s spectrum licences to Multisource, the deal was approved by the telecoms regulator in November 2015.