South Africa-based Vodacom selected Alcatel-Lucent as a key supplier for a new converged network that will ultimately support the provision of fixed and mobile services across South Africa.
The equipment manufacturer is to build a fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network based on its gigabit passive optical networking (GPON) solution in order to allow Vodacom to continue to extend its services beyond its core mobile business and sell high-speed FTTH products.
"We first began talking with Alcatel-Lucent about expanding Vodacom's business into the fixed access market five years ago. This was a significant move for us and required a great deal of consideration. Over time, the Alcatel-Lucent team was able to show that it was the right move for us and that their solution was the best for our needs," said Vodacom Group CTO Andries Delport.
The operator, which is majority owned by Vodafone, said it expects the network to reach about 150,000 homes and 100,000 business within the next three years. It plans to deploy the converged network in all major centres in South Africa, including Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban.
"This effort represents a significant and bold move by Vodacom into the fixed network space and allows them to take advantage of new, revenue-generating business models," said Willem Hendrickx, president of Alcatel-Lucent Europe Middle East and Africa (EMEA).
The vendor will also supply a customer experience management platform using Motive Home Device Manager and Network Analyzer Fiber as well as professional services, operational support systems (OSS) and managed services.
As well as building an FTTH network, Vodacom is also proposing to buy Internet service provider Neotel Pty in a bid to expand its fixed presence to complement its mobile offering. However, rival mobile operator Cell C said earlier in January said the proposed ZAR7 billion (€542 million/$609 million) deal could kill competition in South Africa's communications market by creating a "super-dominant" operator.
According to a report last week from BDlive, Cell C has said it will pursue every legal avenue to kill the deal, which recently came under public scrutiny during public hearings on the transaction held by the regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa).
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