South African state-owned telecoms infrastructure company Broadband Infraco – which manages infrastructure rollouts to underserved areas on behalf of the government – has reportedly disclosed in its latest annual report that it ‘supports’ plans to merge its operations with Telkom, Business Day writes. The FY2015 report – which was tabled at parliament this week – was published six months late due to concerns over Infraco’s operational status. In addition, the cash-strapped company requested urgent assistance from the state to prevent ‘further erosion of its value’; Infraco is reportedly looking for a government guarantee of ZAR246 million (USD16.5 million) to ‘mitigate the going concern risk’ of the company. In the twelve months to end-March 2015, the operator reported revenues of ZAR366 million, up from ZAR302 million in FY2014, while its losses amounted to ZAR245 million (ZAR144 million previously).
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in June 2015 struggling Broadband Infraco was directed by its majority shareholder, the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services (DTPS), to undertake a valuation exercise in preparation for its possible sale, while in February this year it emerged that Infraco and Telkom were in talks over ‘possible collaboration’ on infrastructure projects.
In related news, wireless service provider Cell C has launched its fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) product, dubbed C-Fibre, on a commercial basis. The service – offered over the fibre-based infrastructure of Vumatel – provides unlimited access at symmetrical speeds of 20Mbps (ZAR899 per month), 50Mbps (ZAR1,199) and 100Mbps (ZAR1,499).