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Telkom offers South African wholesale opportunity to mobile rivals

Lunga Siyo Telkom.jpg

South Africa’s Telkom is to offer wholesale capacity on its mobile network to virtual network operators, the company said this week.

Telkom will be competing with both MTN and Vodacom, which will be offering virtual network services as a licence requirement, as well as Cell C, which has been in the mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) business for some years.

Lunga Siyo (pictured) CEO of consumer and small business at Telkom, said: “We believe that such partnerships will help create jobs, create a path into the industry for smaller players, and ultimately contribute to the growth of our digital economy. We aim to have our first MVNO go live this year.”

The company said in a statement: “Telkom has leveraged its extensive network footprint across South Africa to offer MVNOs the opportunity to provide quality services over its network – thereby enhancing the much-needed competition in the telecoms space.”

Siyo added: “Telkom is committed to ensuring that MVNOs providing services over its network are sustainable.”

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) held its spectrum auction last year after months of legal disputes.

Earlier this month South African operators Telkom and Rain terminated discussions about a potential merger that would have seen them compete more strongly with MTN and Vodacom.

The discussions started in September 2022, when Telkom received a non-binding proposal from Rain. Telkom and Rain are the third and fourth biggest telcos in South Africa.

Telkom said this week that its MVNO plans would benefit historically disadvantaged groups. The company said it plans to take a considered approach to support commercially viable partnerships with MVNOs.

Siyo said: “Through the launch of MVNO partnerships, we look forward to unlocking greater competition in the sector and helping emerging MVNOs provide value for their customers.”