Neotel aims to boost business

2012-11-14 00:00

HAVING laid the baseline infrastructure over the past few years and boosted operating profits in recent quarters, converged communications network operator Neotel is eyeing further business and consumer-generated growth in major hubs like Durban and Pietermaritzburg.

CEO and MD Sunil Joshi told The Witness that Neotel, which has been operating in South Africa for the past six years, reported earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) improvements over the past year (to the end of September 2012), as well as revenue growth of 10% year-on-year.

For the six months to the end of September 2012, the company grew its business customer base by 18%, while its consumer base (household) has grown by 30%.

Joshi said KZN had experienced similar levels of growth across both the consumer- and business-related segments.

However, the overall growth in customers comes off a relatively low base. Neotel boasted 2 400 business customers and 130 000 consumers at the end of September 2012.

Joshi said they plan to ramp these figures up in order to grow its business customer base to 2 700 by the end of March next year.

Joshi said the company possessed a number of competitive advantages, including access to a 12 000 km fibre optic network, with a presence for business customers in all the major centres of the country — including Durban, Pietermaritzburg and Richards Bay.

He added that they recently completed a high-speed fibre infrastructure rollout between Johannesburg and Durban. Data traffic is already on-stream regarding this offering.

“We have been spending R500 million annually on Capex [capital expenditure]. About 80% of it went toward expanding and maintaining our network.

“Over the last six years, we have been concentrating on infrastructure. Now, we are able to offer a range of services to businesses.”

Neotel’s offerings to consumers are based on what is popularly known as CDMA (a fixed wireless solution), comprising voice and data offerings.

Neotel’s majority shareholder is Indian-giant Tata Communications.

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