Top SA tech newsmakers of 2013

South Africa’s technology market was abuzz with activity in 2013, with numerous executive moves, acquisition plans, and product launches.

Telkom got a new CEO, Vodacom and Neotel engaged in acquisition talks, Afrihost and MWEB launched mobile data products, and Cell C continued to shake up the mobile market.

Behind any big developments there are always a few key people – typically the head of the company.

MyBroadband list some of the biggest news-makers in the South African telecommunications market this year.

Alan Knott-Craig – Cell C CEO

Alan Knott-Craig
Alan Knott-Craig

Cell C CEO Alan Knott-Craig continued to shake up the South African mobile market with a drive for lower mobile termination rates and more affordable mobile prices.

In October Knott-Craig surprised many people when he announced that Cell C lodged a competition complaint against competitors Vodacom and MTN for their low on-net rates.

On Monday, 18 November 2013 Cell C announced that Knott-Craig suffered a stroke. He is currently recovering.

Gian Visser – Afrihost CEO

Gian Visser
Gian Visser

Afrihost shook up the South African Internet market with its affordable mobile data products in 2013. The company also continued innovating in the ADSL and hosting market.

Afrihost’s success in the ISP market saw the company win the 2013 ISP of the Year award at the MyBroadband conference, and its CEO Gian Visser was voted the IT person of the year.

Sipho Maseko – Telkom CEO

Sipho Maseko
Sipho Maseko

Sipho Maseko took over from Pinky Moholi as Telkom CEO in April 2013. Since then the company has seen many positive developments.

Telkom’s share price doubled, the company is aggressively driving ADSL and broadband and it has settled its disputes with the Competition Commission. The company has even extended an olive branch to the regulator ICASA.

Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub and Neotel CEO Sunil Joshi

Shameel Joosub
Shameel Joosub

In September Vodacom and Neotel said that they have entered into exclusive discussions regarding a potential acquisition of 100% of the shares of Neotel by Vodacom.

Although this deal is far from being done, it will be one of the most significant acquisitions ever in the South African telecommunications market.

The men behind this deal, Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub and Neotel CEO Sunil Joshi, also made some waves on their own with aggressively priced telecoms products in 2013.

Derek Hershaw – MWEB CEO

Derek Hershaw Mweb
Derek Hershaw

MWEB launched their own mobile data products in November 2013, and unveiled a free WiFi promotion a month later.

The company also made headlines for its decision to act against high end uncapped ADSL users who consume too much data.

MWEB also launched a legal battle against Telkom over Telkom’s decision to charge MWEB an additional transit fee for terminating calls on Telkom Mobile’s network.

The man behind many of these developments, MWEB ISP CEO Derek Hershaw, remains one of the high profile executives in the South African telecoms market.

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Top SA tech newsmakers of 2013