Neotel has recently announced that it has gained access to the SAT3 landing station and that customers could order a full international service from the company without ‘touching’ the Telkom network.
The second national operator yesterday confirmed that their full international network is now live, carrying traffic from Johannesburg to London on their own network.
Neotel has further gained full access to the SAFE landing station in Mtunzini and has constructed its own network to this landing station which ensures full redundancy on the SAT3/SAFE system.
Neotel Chief Technology Officer Angus Hay said that this latest development – carrying international and national traffic completely over its own network – means that Neotel can now compete far more aggressively on price, something which was not previously possible.
Hay said that businesses can expect savings on international bandwidth rates from Neotel despite Telkom’s recent announcement that they will be reducing their rates for STM1 connections by 25%.
Telkom announced last week that it will ‘reduce the price for its International Private Leased Circuit (IPLC) service on 1 April, 2008’. Telkom pointed out that the latest price reduction of 25% on STM1 IPLC services contributes towards a total 60% in price reductions over the past three-year period.
The timing of Telkom’s announcement – which coincides with Neotel’s ‘own’ international network going live – is possibly a preemptive strike stimulated by the impending competition they are bound to face.
While this is the first time that Neotel can provide end-to-end international services completely over its own network, it has been supplying international bandwidth to various companies and telecoms operators for some time already.
Hay said that chances are quite good that consumers using their mobile phones for international calls have already used Neotel’s international leased line circuits.
While Neotel’s access to SAT3/SAFE is seen as a short term solution to bring some competition to the local market, SEACOM provides a more sustainable and long term solution to South Africa’s international bandwidth woes.
Neotel has already partnered with SEACOM to land the new 1.28 Tbps east coast cable system in South Africa and the second national operator will carry bandwidth from the landing station to major metropolitan areas. SEACOM will operate in accordance with the open access principles set out by the Department of Communications and Nepad.