2013 was a year of many big developments in the South African ICT space, including Vodacom’s planned acquisition of Neotel, the City of Joburg’s online billing security vulnerability and a change at the Department of communications.
On the broadband front Telkom launched 20Mbps and 40Mbps VDSL services, the mobile data price war continued and Afrihost and MWEB launched their own mobile data products.
For more on the biggest broadband news of the year, please see “Biggest broadband news in 2013”.
Here are some of the biggest news stories over the last year, in no particular order.
New communications minister: Yunus Carrim takes over from Dina Pule
President Jacob Zuma announced on 9 July 2013 that Yunus Carrim was replacing Dina Pule as communications minister.
This announcement followed Pule’s continued battle with acquisitions of cronyism and maladministration.
Vodacom planning to buy Neotel
In May 2013 news emerged that Neotel was for sale, and that Vodacom was one of the frontrunners in the acquisition talks.
On 30 September Vodacom and Neotel confirmed that they have entered into exclusive discussions regarding a potential acquisition of 100 percent of the shares of Neotel by Vodacom South Africa.
The deal is, however, still subject to the successful conclusion of commercial negotiations and receiving the requisite regulatory and corporate approvals.
City of Joburg online billing website security flaw
In August a security vulnerability was discovered in the City of Joburg’s (CoJ) online e-statements system which exposed residents’ and business’ personal details.
After this vulnerability hit the media the City of Joburg shut down its e-statements system, and said that they regarded the breach of their system as a criminal act.
However, many IT experts highlighted that poor web security was behind CoJ’s e-statements problems, and not a malicious attack.
Cell C Competition Commission complaint against Vodacom, MTN
On 8 October 2013 Cell C filed a complaint with the Competition Commission against Vodacom and MTN, for price discrimination of on-net/off-net prices.
Speaking at the 2013 MyBroadband Conference, Cell C CEO Alan Knott-Craig said that Vodacom and MTN are abusing their dominant market positions with far lower on-net calls.
Vodacom and MTN hit back, saying that Cell C’s argument is flawed and that a successful complaint will result in higher prices for consumers.
New Telkom CEO: Sipho Maseko
Sipho Maseko replaced Nombulelo Moholi as Telkom CEO on 1 April 2013. Maseko was the former Vodacom Chief Operating Officer, and before joining Vodacom served as Chief Executive Officer of BP Southern Africa.
Telkom also announced that it is appointing Brian Armstrong as Group Chief Operating Officer.
Cell C CEO Alan Knott-Craig suffers a stroke
Cell C CEO Alan Knott-Craig suffered a minor stroke on Monday, 18 November 2013, and is currently recovering in hospital. According to Cell C, Knott-Craig is expected to make a full recovery.
New MTN SA CEO: Zunaid Bulbulia
In May 2013 MTN has announced that it has appointed former chief financial officer, Zunaid Bulbulia as CEO for the group’s South African operations.
Bulbulia replaced former MD, Karel Pienaar, who is now the MTN Group’s chief strategy officer.