Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Telco Giants catch up at Internetix

so I just sat in on a very interesting discussion between the telco heavyweights in South Africa (absent was a representative from Cell C and MTN unfortunately).

Panel: Ajay Pandey (Neotel); Thami (Telkom - September was meant to be hear); Knott-Craig (Vodacom); Paris Mashile (ICASA) and Angus MacRobert (Internet Solutions).

Highlights:
- Knott-Craig: telecom penetration high at 90% but internet is very poor at only 10%
- Gus: we are actually seeing less liberalisation... companies are consolidating because so few vendors will be allowed to self provision
- Gus: VANs are selling out or moving into Africa, which is less regulated than South Africa
- 1.3TB of international bandwidth coming with launch of Seacom
- In response to the 20MHz Wimax allocation issue... Paris: vendors must use it more efficiently... Knott-Craig: 20MHz is not good enough, its that simple - it is globally accetped that 30MHz is a minimum to get an adeqaute ROI
- Knott-Craig: regulators need to contain themselves... let the free markets work (Ed: ironic?)
- Gus: Altech's high court injunction is slowing down the liberalisation... the process has been going on for 4 years, why do they try to be a part of this process now?
- Greg Hatfield (IS GM) to Knott-Craig: how do you justify the margins on cellular minutes when the price point is so far off the cost point? Are you just a capitalist entity or do you actually consider the country too?
--> Knott-Craig's reponse: we are a capitalist entity (big smiles from everyone)

Nutshell: was a great discussion but there was a general feeling that we seem to be having the same conversation every year... we need progress, enter stage ICASA and policymakers. exit: the pretenders like Altech

(Ed: this has been done on the fly, realtime, so forgive the grammatical and spelling errors)
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