Neotel

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Neotel (Pty) Ltd.
Formerly called
SNO Telecommunications
Private company[1]
Traded as Neotel
Industry Communications Services
Founded 31 August 2006
Headquarters Midrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Area served
South Africa
Products Telecommunications
Wireless and Wireline Broadband Services
Managed Services
Parent Liquid Telecom Group
Website www.neotel.co.za

Neotel (Pty) Ltd., previously SNO Telecommunications, is the second national operator (SNO) for fixed line telecommunication services in South Africa. It was unveiled on 31 August 2006 in Kyalami in northern Johannesburg. Neotel is South Africa's first direct telecommunications competitor to the current telecommunications parastatal, Telkom.

The new company announced its business services on 15 November 2007 and its consumer services in May 2008. Its business services include local and international leased line services, as well as a suite of voice, data (VPN), and Internet offerings delivered over its converged, next-generation network.[2] International Transit services for wholesale customers have been available since September 2006.[3][4] They plan to use wireless broadband technologies, amongst others, which not only allows data transfers but also voice in the form of VOIP.[5]

The arrival of a competitor is said to bring competitive pricing in terms of high speed internet (avg. 250 kbit/s to 750 kbit/s CDMA2000), broadband through WiMax, and later high speed broadband (xDSL and Fiber).[6][7] For many years South Africa had only one telecommunications service, Telkom, which is partly government owned and partly private owned, but now for the first time people will have a choice of telecommunication services.

History[edit]

In 2001, an amendment to the Telecommunications Act was made that allowed for the creation of a competitor to South Africa's largest telecommunications operator, Telkom.[8] The initial shareholders of the Second National Operator (SNO) were identified as Eskom and Transnet.[9] In early 2002, bidding started for the remaining stakes in the SNO.[10] The Shareholder's agreement was signed on 15 August 2005.[11] Following the signing, the licence terms and conditions were finalized in March 2006, and the company officially launched in August 2006.[12]

In May 2014 a buyout offer of ZAR 7 Billion from cellular network Vodacom was accepted by shareholders of both companies.[13] Even though regulatory approval by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa was obtained in 2015, the deal ultimately collapsed in March 2016 after competitors successfully challenged the transfer of Neotel's licenses and spectrum in court.[14][15]

Shareholding[edit]

Neotel currently consists of the following consortium:[16]

Initial holdings by Eskom Holdings (15%), Transtel, a division of Transnet (15%) and Two Consortium (12.5%) sold to Tata Communications of India in 2009 and 2011, raising their stake from 26% to 68.5%, making them the majority shareholder within Neotel.

  • Tata Communications (68.5%);
  • Nexus Connexion (BEE partner) (19%);
  • Communitel (12.5%) (originally part of Strategic Equity Partner Company (SEPCo) with Two Consortium (12.5%).

In June 2016, Tata Communications announced that it had sold its stake in Neotel to Liquid Telecom, which is majority owned by Econet Wireless Global, for US$428 million.[17]

Products[edit]

Neotel launched their consumer products in 2008.

  • Cloud Security
  • Managed and Transformation Services
  • Managed UTM
  • N2 Educational Hub
  • NeoBroadband
  • NeoCarrier
  • NeoCarrier Last Mile Access
  • NeoCarrier Metro
  • NeoCarrier NLD
  • NeoConference
  • NeoConference Video
  • NeoCorporate Onnet
  • NeoFax
  • NeoGO
  • NeoHost Colocation & Managed Host
  • NeoHosted Contact Centre
  • NeoIntellect
  • NeoInternet
  • Neo IP Transit
  • NeoIRU
  • NeoLan
  • NeoLink
  • NeoLink Global
  • NeoManaged PBX
  • NeoMetroLink
  • NeoMulti site Breakout
  • NeoNetworks Project Implementation
  • NeoOne-Host Colocation & Managed Host
  • NeoOne-Internet
  • NeoOne-Last Mile Access
  • NeoOne-Layer 2
  • NeoOne-Voice
  • NeoOne-VPN
  • NeoPOIL
  • NeoPresence
  • Neo Professional Services
  • NeoSAT
  • NeoSMS
  • NeoTransnet
  • NeoVAS
  • NeoVoice
  • NeoVoice Wholesale
  • NeoVPN
  • Video Connect
  • Virtual Host

NeoConnect[edit]

NeoConnect is an EV-DO based service and is available in two primary versions. All versions include a phone that includes support for Short Message Service (SMS) and voice calls. NeoConnect Lite is a low speed (up to 156 kbit/s) internet connectivity product. It has data cap options ranging between 2 GB and unlimited. NeoConnect Prime is a medium to high speed (up to 2.4 Mbit/s) product with data caps of between 2.5 GB and unlimited.[18]

Limitations[edit]

  • Neotel's products are currently only available in limited areas (Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Pretoria)
  • The phone only has a USB connection and does not provide a connection compatible with devices meant to connect to phone lines, such as fax machines.[19]
  • Latency is variable, making the connection unsuitable for online gaming, VoIP and other jitter sensitive applications.

International connectivity[edit]

As a wholesale telecommunications provider, and to support its own services, Neotel is involved in a number of submarine communications cables that will increase South Africa's international connectivity between 2009 and 2011. Currently (prior to June 2009), Neotel offers international services that make use of SAT-3 and SAFE.[20] It manages the landing station in South Africa for SEACOM,[21] which was commissioned for operation on 23 July 2009, and is a participant in EASSy,[22] and WACS.[23]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Neotel FAQ". Archived from the original on 2006-09-24. Retrieved 2006-10-01. 
  2. ^ "Neotel website". Archived from the original on 2007-10-14. Retrieved 2007-11-15. 
  3. ^ Stones Leslie (2006-09-01). "Neotel gives Telkom taste of competition". Businessday. Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. Retrieved 2006-09-25. 
  4. ^ Bouzaglou, Hila and I-Net Bridge (2006-08-31). "Say hello to Neotel, SA's second national operator". Mail & Guardian Online. Retrieved 2006-09-25. 
  5. ^ "Neotel website". Archived from the original on 24 September 2006. Retrieved 2006-09-25. 
  6. ^ MyADSL (2006-09-07). "Neotel: 'Telecoms prices should be 25% of what it is now'". Retrieved 2006-09-25. 
  7. ^ MyBroadband (2007-07-10). "Neotel Broadband - xDSL and Fibre on the cards". Retrieved 2007-07-11. 
  8. ^ Loxton, Lynda and Reuters (2001-11-17). "Telecoms bill passed but SNO cloud hangs". Business Report. Retrieved 2006-09-25. 
  9. ^ ITWeb (2000-08-11). "Transtel, Eskom will be Telkom competition, says Radebe". Retrieved 2006-09-25. 
  10. ^ Wet, Phillip de (2002-05-27). "ITA sets SNO bidders to work". ITWeb. Retrieved 2006-09-25. 
  11. ^ Roux, Helene Le (2006-08-25). "Second network operation to launch this month". Creamer Media's Engineering News. Archived from the original on 2006-09-04. Retrieved 2006-09-25. 
  12. ^ Mackenzie, Jackie (2006-08-31). "The SNO is finally here". business.iafrica.com. Retrieved 2006-09-25. 
  13. ^ "Vodacom to buy Neotel for R7bn - Companies | IOL Business". IOL.co.za. 2014-05-19. Retrieved 2014-06-02. 
  14. ^ "Vodacom abandons bid to buy Neotel". Retrieved 2016-08-16. 
  15. ^ "Vodacom, Neotel merger deal collapses". Retrieved 2016-08-16. 
  16. ^ "About the shareholders". Neotel. Archived from the original on 2007-06-30. Retrieved 2007-07-12. 
  17. ^ "Tata Communications to sell African subsidiary Neotel for $428 million - The Economic Times". Retrieved 2016-07-26. 
  18. ^ "Compare Packages". Neotel (Pty) Ltd. Archived from the original on 2008-08-22. Retrieved 2008-10-12. 
  19. ^ Neotel (2008-07-13). "Neotel NeoConnect FAQ - Technical". MyBroadband.co.za. Retrieved 2008-10-12. 
  20. ^ "NeoLink Global". Archived from the original on 1 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-12. 
  21. ^ "Tata Communications named SEACOM anchor tenant". Retrieved 2009-04-12. 
  22. ^ "EASSy website". Archived from the original on 14 October 2008. Retrieved 2009-04-11. 
  23. ^ "Deployment phase of the West Africa cable system underway". Retrieved 2009-04-12. [dead link]

External links[edit]