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Telkom turnaround starts to take shape

By Gugu Lourie

Under the leadership of Sipho Maseko Telkom’s turnaround strategy is finally showing positive signs as the fixed-line company cuts costs and enters into partnerships to outsource the things it does not want to manage itself, leaving it to focus on its customers.

Earlier this month Telkom announced new partners to manage its non-core activities that include call centre operations and staff, as well as certain legacy IT billing systems, an internal printing division as well as the network and operations, and retail supply chain units.

Majority-owned by government and valued at more than R38bn, Telkom has identified ASAJE, Bidvest, Barloworld Logistics, Ingram Micro and WNS to manage its non-core activities as part of a turnaround plan initially announced in mid-February.

It is targeting R1bn in annual cost savings for the next five years.

Telkom is not currently giving out more details about the outsourcing process because the matter is still being discussed with relevant trade unions.

Company spokesperson Jacqui O’Sullivan says outsourcing was a critical step for Telkom, which intends to focus more on satisfying its customers. “To succeed, everyone at Telkom has to put the interests of the customer at the heart of everything we do. Our customers are the core of our business, but running call centres is not,” explains O’Sullivan.

“We know that customers will benefit from a focused and consistent service that a professional call centre organisation can offer. For this reason, we are confident this is the correct action to take.”

JM Busha Asset Managers’ head of equities and portfolio manager Farai Mapfinya says outsourcing will have a positive effect on Telkom’s turnaround initiatives.

“We think there are noncore activities which have taken management’s focus at the expense of core telecoms and telephony activities,” says Mapfinya. “We think such operations would be better managed in the hands of specialist players solely focused on such business activities.”

Telkom’s change of fortunes and Maseko’s cost-led strategic reboot have so far got the thumbs up from the state
and investors.

Mapfinya says the outsourcing of non-core assets would assist Telkom to reach the R1bn annual cost savings goal but not in its entirety. “A lot more will still need to be done to achieve the target,” he warns.

“The turnaround, in our view, has yielded positive outcomes already and is almost in its final stages. We think the
easy, low hanging fruit of fixing what was broken will be behind us soon and the big challenge facing the business
will be growing the business off the new base set by current turnaround initiatives.”

Just how much wiggle room Telkom has left to cut costs remains to be seen.

Mapfinya says fixed-line voice is in a long-term secular decline, while mobile voice has also recently suffered from the surge in data.

“The key for us will be identifying and pursuing alternative income streams from the traditional voice and telephony services that the business currently offers,” says Mapfinya. “We think fixed-line data still has an edge over mobile data in terms of transmission speeds and capacity and is an area Telkom could exploit.”

If these positive results continue, Telkom may be able to reinstate dividend payments at the end of the 2015 financial year – a situation that will make investors happy. The last dividend payout was in 2011.

Telkom, BCX deal gets nod of COMESA regulators

By Gugu Lourie

The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) regulator have given green light on Telkom’s proposed R2.7bn acquisition of Business Connexion (BCX), although the South African fixed-line telephone group is still waiting for approval from the local regulators.

“We wish to inform shareholders that the COMESA Competition Commission has unconditionally approved the proposed transaction,” Telkom and BCX said in a statement on Monday.

However, the transaction is till awaiting approval from South Africa’s regulators – Competition Authorities;  the  Independent Communication Authority of South Africa (ICASA) and the issue of a compliance certificate by the Takeover Regulation Panel.

Comesa was founded in order to facilitate the region’s sustained development through economic integration and is a free trade area of 19 member states, including Burundi, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. An important part of this economic integration is the promotion of competition and a common approach to competition regulation.

BCX, the fast-growing technology group, has operations  in Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia, and regulatory approval was required from the COMESA competition watchdog.

BCX is on an African foray – the technology firm is snapping up assets across the continent.

The rationale for the deal is to create an ICT company, which will address the technology and communication needs of South African businesses, according to Telkom.

Telkom will technically be using BCX’s existing footprint and targeted markets to recapture its lost South African market.

BCX is a leading IT service provider in South Africa, provides strong presence in East Africa and has an established presence in West Africa, which it continues to grow through aggressive acquisitions.

BCX is also the largest employer of ICT skills in Africa with close to 7 000 employees, who have vast experience in delivering large projects on the continent.

The 33-year-old business is also an African leader in cloud services. Through the merger of UCS and Canoa, BCX has the largest ICT support services footprint with more than 1 000 skilled engineers.

 

Mobile hotspot on wheels

By Staff Writer

“CarFi will be available in South Africa before the end of this year. It is compatible with all car models from leading automobile manufacturers that feature a cigarette lighter or in-car charger outlet.”

Huawei unveiled its in-car 4G LTE mobile WiFi device, Huawei CarFi, which converts vehicles into WiFi hotspots on wheels for added convenience in daily life.

Delivering download speeds of up to 150 Mbps and connectivity for up to 10 devices, Huawei CarFi can be easily transferred from one vehicle to another.

“At Huawei, we aim to be one step ahead in providing great technology that meets connectivity needs in every aspect of life. As a leader in mobile broadband delivering next-generation LTE networks, Huawei devices such as Huawei CarFi make it possible for people to enjoy the freedom of connectivity on the move,” said Steven Liu, Vice President of mobile broadband line, Huawei consumer business group. “Automotive connectivity, known in the industry as telematics, is a significant trend that will provide safety, convenience, and infotainment in the future.”

Penetration of WiFi in vehicle infotainment system is set to become an important trend.

carfii

Huawei CarFi will automatically turn off when no WiFi-compatible device is identified, and can still be used to charge other electronic devices even when turned off as long as car is in use. Huawei CarFi does not contain a battery which provides protection against overheating in hot climates, and has a built-in self-regulating temperature protection function that automatically lowers the temperature of the device when necessary.

Fitting into the cigarette lighter or in-car charger outlet of a vehicle, unified design of Huawei CarFi features “plug and play” functionality that can be turned on with a single long press of the “on” button for added convenience and safety when on the road.

Alternatively, it can also be controlled remotely by Android and iOS smartphones using the ‘Huawei Hilink’ application available to download via all major app stores.

 

Wi-Fi may assist in achieving universal access: Cwele

By Siyabonga Cwele, Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services

  • Speech delivered at the Inaugural Conference of the Wi-Fi Forum of South Africa

“I urge the Wifi Forum of South Africa to work towards ensuring that Wi-Fi as a delivery medium for broadband supports job creation and economic development by contributing to the growth of Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMME’s) which operate within the ICT environment.”

I am pleased to address you this morning at what I am told is the first ever conference of the Wifi Forum of SA.

President Jacob Zuma in his 2015 State of the Nation Address declared this year as the “Year of the Freedom Charter and Unity in Action to Advance Economic Freedom”. Every sector of society should play a part to ensuring that all South Africans alike realise the liberties of the freedom charter as we work towards an equitable society without widespread poverty and unemployment.

I must preface my discussion by stressing the critical role access to reliable and affordable internet connectivity has to play as we grow the South African economy to combat the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality.

Improved access to the internet will modernise and positively impact the transformation of our education system to produce better results, advance the way we do business and boost economic growth as we modernise the delivery of government services and how we interact with government and each other as citizens as we walk our long shared journey to an inclusive information society envisaged by the National Development Access to the internet is the single most powerful equaliser we have to bridge the devastating effects of our Apartheid past which created a gap between the rich and the poor alongside the rural and the urban in South Africa.

Currently, South Africa has a 49% internet penetration rate and only 17% high speed broadband penetration. There is a lot of work before us to ensure that by 2030 we have achieved a 100% penetration rate.

The focus and commitment by government to deliver broadband to all South Africans is based on the understanding that there are significant developmental benefits and impact provided by the availability of ICTs and broadband services. As such, these services must be reliable and affordable to ensure that they are accessible by all South Africans.

In pursuit of this goal, government has developed SA Connect, our national broadband policy to guide how best we can roll out broadband and ICT services to all South Africans. Through SA Connect, government aims to ensure that as we connect all South Africans, it is cost effective to deploy broadband services. Four key tenets underpin the SA Connect Vision and these are digital readiness, digital development, building a digital future and realising digital opportunity.

The first phase of implementation for SA Connect as we work towards an e-ready South Africa is set to begin in the coming month of April 2015. We will connect 580 clinics, 4 444 schools, 182 police stations and 572 other government offices to the internet.

By June this year. We envisage that this will drive an increased uptake and use of ICT services as more South Africans access e-government services for efficient service. The SA Connect policy framework is important to note and reflect on as this forum discusses the best means to deploy Wifi in South Africa.

Reports indicate that 80% of all South Africans who access the internet use smart devices and approximately 70% of internet traffic from mobile devices is directed through Wifi networks in developing countries globally. The inexpensive equipment used to create Wifi hotspots and their low operating costs make it possible for widespread adoption of Wifi as a delivery method for the goals of SA Connect as we connect the unconnected, specifically those in rural areas and informal settlements.

Wi-Fi technology has the potential to play an essential role in achieving universal access to ICTs for our people in rural areas and territories where telephone or cable infrastructure is not deployed. Low-cost Wi-Fi installations could mean the difference between no ICT access of any kind and an affordable service. We are working tirelessly with the industry to ensure that the cost to communicate is lower and thus enable more people to access a connection to the Internet.

I am thus pleased and welcome the formation of the Wifi Forum of South Africa. I am looking forward to hearing about projects that will be run by the Forum to contribute to a Wifi revolution in our cities and most importantly our rural areas and villages which have the least access to fixed line internet connections and mobile broadband services.

I urge the Wifi Forum of South Africa to work towards ensuring that Wi-Fi as a delivery medium for broadband supports job creation and economic development by contributing to the growth of Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMME’s) which operate within the ICT environment.

Furthermore, the ease of deployment of Wi-Fi networks should ensure that it assists already axesting SMME’s to grow their operations. I would like that when we meet in future, we can have more small scale providers and entrepreneurs of Wifi services from the previously disadvantaged communities.

Our collective commitment to a digitally inclusive information society calls for public private partnerships which can best be facilitated by industry bodies like the Wifi Forum of South Africa. I am making a call to the industry stakeholders and leaders to commit to establishing long lasting public private partnerships as we rally together in our common objective for increased access to ICT’s. Government cannot do it alone.

As the Wifi Forum of South African and all your affiliate members, you can play a role in these partnerships by adopting schools, hospitals and other public institutions particularly in the rural areas, and provide them with access to the internet via Wifi as part your corporate social responsibility. This will go a long way to ensure that we meet all our targets as a nation for 2020 and those for Vision 2030 of the National Development As we work towards lowering the costs to connect to the internet, open access networks and infrastructure sharing are necessary to ensure that quality broadband services are delivered to our people.

The private sector can play a role by focusing on increased efficiencies through shared deployment and open access models. The key to Wifi is how we all contribute to the discussion on the development of our rapid deployment policy. Specifically how we handle issues of regulation and enabling access for all.

We support self regulation but we have to define the minimum standards of these services. We encourage you to interact with our officials from the Department as we defined these standards and how we will deal with cybecrimes and the expected ethical behaviour of the providers of these services. My reading of the Wifi Forum’s mission statement indicates that the Forum is committed to be an active participant in rolling out reliable and affordable broadband services to all South Africans.

We already have spheres of government which have adopted Wifi as a mechanism to deliver broadband services to our people. The City of Tshwane has implemented a programme to roll-out wifi access to its residents in the Pretoria CBD and its surrounding townships. The people of Mamelodi, Ga-Rankuwa, Atteridgeville and Mabopane can login to a wifi hotspot located in schools, parks and community libraries. Efforts of this nature are a possible niche where public private partnerships can be cemented in the deployment of Wifi. Small towns and small villages and small enterprises.

I have to stress that the critical focus should be how we deployed Wifi services to the rural areas and villages which have been previously disadvantaged. South Africa has a past where the majority of our people were oppressed by a system which catered for the minority. We have a responsibility as a democratic government and society to redress these injustices and ensure that we restore the dignity of our people by providing services that will cater for their development.

Our inability to close the digital divide will do far much more harm than the Apartheid system. South Africa as a whole needs to work actively to ensure that affordable and reliable access to the internet is not an exclusive privilege, but a reality for all South Africans.

In that regard, I wish this conference success and I urge the Wifi Forum to continue working to develop the Wifi industry in South Africa.

  • (Image: Adriaan Cruywagen of Zoom Photography)

The video-on-demand space is slowly maturing in SA

By Gugu Lourie

Even though South African subscription-based video-on-demand (SVoD) services have failed to attract the expected millions of subscribers, the technology is developing at an unbelievable speed with new players trying to attract subscribers.

Unlike the local mobile cellphone sector, which managed to attract millions of subscribers when it launched 20 years ago, SVoD, which is in its infancy, seems not to be doing that well.

The delivery of video content is shifting towards subscription-based SVoD and consumption habits are fast changing – a development that provides hope for revenue streams diversification for all players involved.

Already Vidi, an online streaming service owned by Times Media Group, is providing subscription-based SVoD services at R149 a month without extra costs for data. Times Media Group owns the Sunday Times newspaper.

The country’s biggest pay-TV operator MultiChoice also provides the same services to its premium clients through DStv BoxOffice. While Altech Node, owned by JSE-listed Altron, provides subscription at R299 a month for access to older movies and TV shows, and newer movies are available for rental at between R15 and R25.

Earlier this year Naspers, the owner of MultiChoice, revealed that its DStv BoxOffice rentals have reached a massive
600 000 movies a month, which could be delivering millions in revenues similar to those earned by US-based Netflix – a global provider of on-demand internet streaming media.

That said, both Vidi and Node are not making noise about the number of subscribers on their books, which may be a sign that things are not that rosy.

But this week Larry Annetts, chief marketing officer: MTN South Africa, pressed ahead with the official launch of MTN FrontRow subscription-based VOD service, designed to target a niche market rather than the masses. “We picked up on the need and wanted to offer the service to our subscribers. It’s something we feel playing in that space will give our customers a lot of benefits,” says Annetts.

When asked whether the current subscription and rental pricing offered by MTN will be able to attract ordinary viewers to watch VOD, Annetts says: “[MTN FrontRow] is not for everybody. The key target will be your middle to upper class.”

MTN FrontRow is available at the launch price of R179 or R399 a month inclusive of a 10GB data bundle for streaming and viewing. This is regardless of which network potential clients subscribe to. MTN FrontRow allows subscribers access to thousands of movies and television series on up to five different devices – one device at a time.

The question is, will this diversify MTN South Africa’s revenue streams, especially its voice turnover, which is
coming under serious pressure from competitors and over-the-top (OTT) players?

“I don’t think you will get millions of subscribers on VoD because this is not free to air: you are paying subscription and data. But for the market size we have set for it, we think it will be successful,” explains Annetts.

There is obviously a need for this service from high-end earners and MTN is eyeing subscription-based VoD as a targeted niche market – a development that offers it an opportunity to diversify its revenue. MultiChoice is also gaining more business from its premium customers.

Mobile phone operators may have an advantage in delivering subscription-based VoD because they control the cellular handset, which provides customers with the opportunity to stream and consume content whenever and wherever they are,
unrestricted by broadcast schedules.

Customers who have subscribed to MTN FrontRow Club can view content via their browser on the MTN website, or through their iOS or Android mobile devices.

To stay ahead of its rivals, MTN’s new-generation network has been going through transformation phases in the
last few months. MTN has made sure that the SVoD service is in sync with the network expansion, says Annetts.

Not surprisingly, Annetts wasn’t prepared to disclose how many new subscribers there were for MTN FrontRow, which has a soft launched in December. He was reluctant to disclose the numbers because MTN was in a closed period until
it publishes its financial results.

“We’ve done partnership with Discovery Digital and it is on a revenue shared basis. It’s very cost-effective for us
because we are not the ones who are going personally to do the relationship with the studios,” says Annetts.

The convergence of technologies is blurring the distinction between mobile units and television sets. Even, Samsung Electronics SA is developing a strategy around content to enable South Africans to enjoy the benefits of modern
television.

Samsung is already partnering with South African content producers, such as Vidi, to deliver VoD for ordinary viewers. Samsung also partnered with Vox Telecom to provide one terabyte of data, which is valid for a year. It is
“unthrottled, unshaped, premium-grade ADSL” to every Samsung Smart TV purchased via participating retailers to enable TV viewers to watch VoD.

But the big question is whether players who are interested in attracting subscription-based VoD will be able to
continue to subsidise data.

That said, the industry and customers wait to see VOD plans for Vodacom that it promised for this year.

Lumia 435 Now Available In SA

Delivering smartphone essentials, apps and the best of Microsoft services at an incredible price.

Microsoft today announced the availability of the Lumia 435 in SA retailing from R1 149. The Lumia 435 is the first 400 series Lumia, and the most affordable Lumia yet. With core smartphone features, the best Windows Phone experiences and access to the latest apps, it opens up the Lumia to even more people.

“It is clear by the unprecedented adoption of smartphones across South Africa that people want a phone that is capable of performing more than just basic tasks, at an affordable price. The advantage of Lumia remains its ability to provide an almost consistent level of usability, even with entry level devices. This performance is supplemented with great integrated offerings like Office, OneDrive and Skype,” says Shaun Durandt, General Manager of Microsoft Mobile Devices, SA.

For the month of March, the Microsoft Lumia 435 will be available exclusively at Ackermans, on Vodacom prepaid.

“Whether you’re a first time smartphone owner, or just want more bang for your buck, the Lumia 435 provides everyday smart essentials at a price that Ackermans shoppers will love,” says Corne van der Merwe, Cellular General Manager, Ackermans.

Tuluntulu app continues to grow

By Gugu Lourie

“One of the top activities for smartphone owners is watching video content, and one of the fastest growing video streaming apps aimed at Africans is Tuluntulu,” says van der Hoven.

Tuluntulu – a mobile streaming platform app that enables its users to watch TV anywhere and anytime – continues to grow despite mobile operators and media firms with big pockets launching video-on-demand (VOD) services across the African continent.

Tuluntulu is enjoying positive traction with significant milestones being reached since marketing commenced in August 2014.

The Tuluntulu app has now been downloaded over 110,000 times in 154 countries, says Pierre van der Hoven, Tuluntulu’s CEO. “The most popular being SA, Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Mozambique, Morocco, Ethiopia and Algeria.”

The cumulative usage numbers of the app since launch has reached over 2,5 million screen views, more than 500,000 sessions, with 100,000 active users and over 79% returning users.

Van der Hoven added that the company was planning to introduce two new categories in the platform, which include streaming radio and free downloads or podcasts are currently being tested.

Tuluntulu has seen this growth despite the rise of VOD in the continent as bigger players invest more money to capture customers. Its achievement was despite the growth of Nigeria’s iROKOtv, a leading video streaming platform and other platforms such as AfriNolly, DoBox, 9fix, IbakaTV

In SA, Tuluntulu is facing competition from Vidi, an online streaming service owned by Times Media Group, which is providing subscription-based VOD services at R149 a month without extra costs for data. Africa’s biggest pay-TV operator MultiChoice also provides the same services to its premium clients through DStv BoxOffice. MTN, Africa’s biggest-mobile phone operator, has entered the fray and is providing MTN FrontRow subscription-based VOD service, designed to target a niche market rather than the masses.

Africa is a continent with more 350 million smartphones and tablets. “One of the top activities for smartphone owners is watching video content, and one of the fastest growing video streaming apps aimed at Africans is Tuluntulu,” says van der Hoven.

Tuluntulu is a mobile content and advertising, and messaging platform targeting audiences across Africa with African focused content. The app can be used to reach people globally via their smart phones or tablets.

Tuluntulu, a free app from Android stores and iOS, offers users an affordable, uninterrupted viewing experience. For the end user usage is free; free to watch “TV” (no subscriptions), 100% free on Wi-Fi, with data costs only if connected via a mobile network. The business model, mainly advertising, is designed to maximize audience reach and engagement.

The platform currently has 15 x 24/7 streaming “TV” channels; News (Al Jazeera, ANN7, Deutsche Welle, Voice of America), Education (Mindset, Spark4U), Documentaries (Afridocs), Movies (Nolly4U), Sport (Mobile Outdoor), Fashion (Fleur), Lifestyle (Africa4U), Comedy (Good4U) and music (GUAP, Mafrik) and Religion (eLev8).

Tuluntulu was founded by van der Hoven, a serial media entrepreneur who was involved in starting numerous media companies including eTV, and YFM.

Ends

MTN moves ahead with its plans for e-commerce

By Gugu Lourie

MTN has a bold plan to tap into the digital space in Africa and Middle East by diversifying revenue streams away from voice to suit its customers’ modern digital lifestyles.

However, MTN – Africa and Middle-East’s biggest mobile phone operator – is not likely to challenge Naspers – the multinational group of e-commerce platforms that owns stakes in China’s Tencent, India’s Flipkart and Russia’s Mail.ru.

But MTN might encroach on Naspers’ territory and pose a threat to other smaller players in the e-commerce and e-tailing industry.

That said, MTN obviously sees opportunities to tap into the digital space.

Like its rivals Vodacom, Millicom, Airtel Africa and Vodafone, MTN is seeking to redefine its role in the digital era as voice telephony revenues continue to dwindle.

It is focusing on providing digital lifestyle services such digital banks (mobile money), digital entertainment (video-on-demand), and my web: delivering services such as online shopping and locate services.
MTN is investing heavily in developing online ventures so that it can take advantage of opportunities in the digital space.

In that regard, MTN and Rocket Internet (Rocket) have formed a joint venture, Middle East Internet Holdings (MEIH), to develop internet businesses in the Middle East. MTN and Rocket are equal partners with a 50% shareholding each. MTN invested €120m in the joint venture.

MTN also has bought 33,3% stake of Africa Internet Holding (AIH) – a joint venture between Rocket Internet and Millicom International Cellular – for €168m. The aim is to develop online ventures across the fast-growing internet markets of Africa.

MTN Group CEO Sifiso Dabengwa says the rollout of digital services supported by Rocket partnership continues to be important.

Dabengwa says the mobile operator aims to leverage its brand, customer base, distribution network and payment solutions (mobile money) in the markets where both AIH and MTN are present to deliver a range of internet services including e-commerce retailing, as well as market place, taxi, travel, classified and food delivery services.
During its results presentation, MTN said the continued rollout of its mobile money and broader financial services remains a priority with the widening of its distribution platform.

The introduction of new products and services including micro lending, international remittances, retail payments and insurance will also be a priority.

“We continue to develop our digital offering through focusing on local content and working with other suppliers. Through our partnership with Rocket we now have a platform that facilitates easier rollout,” says Dabengwa.

MTN’s partnership with Rocket provides it with a strong base for future growth. In 2014 AIH launched 44 new operations across 23 markets in Africa while MEIH has 11 operations in various countries in the Middle East.
Furthermore, MTN’s strategy may benefit from how the mobile phone is transforming all the sectors of the economy in Africa and the Middle East.

This development may assist MTN in diversifying its revenue stream and create new customer base.

MTN, which is valued at more than R410bn, has enough cash to make e-commerce a new playground that has possibilities of creating shareholder value in the absence of big ticket acquisitions.

Vidi adds voice to call for uncapped mobile broadband

By Staff writer

Video-on-demand (VOD) service VIDI has weighed into the current uncapped mobile broadband debate saying that the dearth of wholesale mobile broadband offerings is holding back the country’s entertainment industry.

The conversation around true uncapped mobile broadband has again been brought to the fore following a statement last week by the Internet Service Providers’ Association of SA (ISPA). The Association called for SA telcos to take bold action to bring down the costs of mobile broadband by introducing wholesale mobile data products. ISPA reasons that the absence of a wholesale mobile data offering is an obstacle to deepening broadband penetration as South Africans primarily access the web via mobile devices.

“While South Africans have rapidly-adopted certain basic Internet applications such as Internet banking and social media, this is because they are light on data and easily-accessible via mobile devices,” says Taryn Uhlmann, GM: Marketing at VIDI.

“The country is lagging when it comes to the uptake of data-intensive streaming entertainment because consumers are yet to be offered a fast, reliable and affordable mobile data experience,” she adds.

Uhlmann says local studios, production houses, actors and the like would all benefit from being able to showcase their considerable creative talent to even greater numbers of South Africans via Internet TV platforms like VIDI.

“Streaming web-based TV has the potential to democratise viewing in South Africa. Platforms such as VIDI require no specialised hardware and are offered on a subscription or pay-per-view basis. In addition, unlike traditional TV, there is no scheduling, allowing users to select what they prefer,” Uhlmann explained.

VIDI takes traditional television’s ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach and completely replaces it with an experience that places the viewer at the centre of customised entertainment.

“VIDI is playing its part to bolster the local web-based VOD industry by paying for viewers’ data as long as their video streaming experience is being delivered via fixed line broadband. What South Africa needs now is for the local telecoms industry to start developing the kind of uncapped mobile broadband offerings that resonate with consumers who are currently reluctant to access streaming video over mobile networks,” concluded Uhlmann.

MTN Zakhele seeks listing on the JSE

By Ujuh

MTN Zakhele shares seem to be destined to list on the black economic empowerment (BEE) platform of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) alongside the Sasol Inzalo shares.

This emerges from a statement released early on Tuesday by MTN Zakhele chairperson Thulani Gcabashe.

The statement said MTN Zakhele has applied for a listing on the BEE platform of the JSE.

MTN is engaging with the JSE to enable its shareholders to continue to securely trade their shares, said the statement.

The statement comes after the Financial Services Board (FSB) ordered all over the counter (OTC) trading platforms to apply for trade exchange licence. The order came last year but has been postponed to accommodate initiatives like the MTN Zakhele OTC trading platform to get their houses in order.

MTN Zakhele has since been granted a number of temporary exemptions to sort out its situation.

MTN Zakhele sort to secure an exemption that will expire on the 25th of November 2016. This is the date on which trading restrictions on MTN Zakhele shares will be lifted.

The FSB rejected this plea and instead kept on giving MTN Zakhele temporary extensions. The previous extension was to 31st March 2015.

MTN Zakhwele announced yesterday that it has another extension to 30 June 2015. It will use this extension to engage the JSE.

Gcabasshe said “The JSE has initiated the process of making amendments to the BEE board in order to better serve the needs of issuers of restricted shares, such as MTN Zakhele.”

He added that “MTN Zakhele will endeavour to list on the BEE board as soon as is practicable, once suitable amendments have been made to the BEE board.”

He said following an application by MTN Zakhele for the current exemption to be extended to 25 November 2016, being the date on which trading restrictions on MTN Zakhele shares will be lifted in terms of the scheme, the FSB has now approved a further temporary exemption to 30 June 2015.

“The temporary exemption is subject to particular terms and conditions which relate to maintaining good corporate governance, recording and surveillance of transactions, having effective security and back-up procedures in place, and compliance to trading and disclosure rules,” said Gcabashe.

This piece was first published in ujuh.co.za whose publishers can be reached at news@ujuh.co.za

Email: editor@techfinancials.co.za