South Africa's Telkom to use Vumatel fibre

24 June 2016 |

Telkom announced it would use the open-access fibre network of Vumatel to provide its products in 21 new suburbs in Gauteng, South Africa.

Telkom announced it would use the open-access fibre network of Vumatel to provide its products in 21 new suburbs in Gauteng, South Africa. The intention is that similar deals will be done with independent providers nationwide and possibly for wi-fi access.

Telkom’s decision to partner with Vumatel was announced on Monday and marked a dramatic change in direction for the 39 percent state-owned company and its wholesale network provider, Openserve. Until recently Vumatel has been a fierce competitor. It has also been fighting off a growing number of smaller,nimbler independent fibre providers concentrating on the neighbourhoods most suitable to fibre-to-the-home deployments.

The telecoms company’s unbundling of its wholesale and networks division into the new, autonomous Openserve last October paved the way for this Vumatel deal.

Telkom has not commented on specifics of further deals; it said its partnership with Vumatel would help it reach more consumers in more areas across South Africa.

Telkom already has the most extensive fibre network footprint in the country with access to more than 81, 000 homes. Openserve has a goal of reaching 1 million South African homes by 2018.

"The fibre industry is highly competitive, and we have seen an accelerated rollout of fibre networks across the country. While Openserve holds the lion share of the national fibre footprint – there are currently areas not covered by their fibre network. To this end, it makes commercial sense to leverage the networks of other open access fibre network providers to ensure that our customers in these areas can be served immediately," said Telkom Retail CEO Attila Vitai.

Vumatel CEO Niel Schoeman said, "We welcome Telkom Retail as a new service provider on the Vumatel network and believe their depth of experience in this industry will certainly benefit the consumer. Vumatel’s robust fibre network will add desirability to Telkom’s new fibre product and service range, and we look forward to providing, even more, choice to South Africans for high-speed fibre connectivity."

"In future, Telkom will consider the commercial viability of dealing with other network infrastructure providers to reach even more areas across South Africa with our high-speed fibre offerings," said Vitai.

"Leveraging infrastructure from various open access network providers is a step change in how we previously procured our network requirements and is consistent with the ideals of functional separation between Telkom’s wholesale and retail business units. Telkom is moving into an era of growth and we believe this partnership is a nature next step on that journey," he said.