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Global Telecoms Business
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Telkom on target to meet licence obligations

01 October 1999

Telkom South Africa, the incumbent, is trying to bring telecoms services to more of the population. This year alone, the telco will install over 600,000 lines. Telkom South Africa's CEO Sizwe Nxasana talks to Mark Holmes about the operator's plans to improve the levels of telecoms service in South Africa.

Telkom South Africa, South Africa's incumbent telco, operates in a unique set of conditions. The legacy of apartheid means that there is a big teledensity disparity between white residential areas and more impoverished areas in the country. In the white neighbourhoods, 97% of people have access to telecoms services whereas in the under-serviced areas, that figure is barely over 50%.
One of the main challenges for Telkom remains the installation of new lines in under-serviced areas. The operator has been given certain licence obligations by the government and plans to have seven million lines operating by the year 2002. The operator will lose its fixed-line monopoly in 2003. The exclusivity period has enabled Telkom to embark on an expensive modernization programme ahead of full-scale competition.

The company benefits from having SBC Communications and Telekom Malaysia as strategic partners. The government sold a 30% stake in May 1997 to the two operators...