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Sentech is dysfunctional. That’s the gloomy picture painted by the state-owned company’s board in a presentation it was meant to give to parliament last week. But the company was prevented from delivering the presentation, entitled “Strategic Plan 2010 – 2011” because it failed to supply supporting documentation, needed by members of parliament ahead of time, before the scheduled meeting.
State-owned signal distributor Sentech is in dire straits. A submission from the company’s board to parliament reveals its auditors are concerned about its ability to continue as a going concern. TechCentral is in possession of a strategic presentation the company was supposed to deliver to parliament on Tuesday this week in which it has revealed that its auditing firm — which it doesn’t name — has raised concerns about its financial standing.
The East Africa Submarine System (Eassy) cable has not made the sort of splash on the SA broadband market as many had expected it to. The 10 000km-long submarine fibre cable, which runs along Africa’s east coast, is the second new cable to arrive on SA shores in the past year. The first was Seacom, which went live in 2009.
Microsoft may eventually build two data centres in Africa, possibly in SA, to serve the continent, but no decisions have been made yet. However, the company will aggressively expand its cloud-based (server-hosted) services to the region, beginning in SA later this year with the launch of Xbox Live, its online gaming and entertainment offering.
The Grid, Vodacom’s somewhat rival to Naspers’s MXit social chat service, is going global. After launching the service in Nigeria and Tanzania in 2009, the cellular network operator has decided to make the service available to cellphone users worldwide.
In a surprising move, MWeb is lobbying government to give Telkom the more than R1bn in cash stashed away in the universal service fund so that it can plough that money into upgrading its network. CEO Rudi Jansen is especially keen for the money to be used to upgrade the so-called last mile of copper cables that connect customers to Telkom’s network.
Ousted Kelly Group director Mthunzi Mdwaba will have his say at disciplinary hearing on 22 September. Until then, sources say, he has been placed on paid leave. Mdwaba was stripped of his directorship and his position as deputy CEO of the Kelly Group, a recruitment and technology training business, last week. He was also suspended from the company “pending an investigation”.
Telecommunications operator Cell C will launch the first leg of its mobile broadband network in Port Elizabeth. TechCentral has established that Cell C will launch its third-generation (3G) network, on which it is spending about R5bn in 2010, in the Eastern Cape city.
At first glance, the S306 from Chinese telecommunications company ZTE looks like it’s meant as a joke. With its gigantic buttons, it looks like something that would be most appropriate in the hands of DreamWorks Animation’s loveable ogre, Shrek. It resembles a toy phone you might find in an aisle at Reggies.
With more than half a dozen SA operators rolling out their own national networks, consolidation in SA’s telecommunications industry looks inevitable. There’s a chance Cell C and Dimension Data could be the ones to kick it off. Didata division Internet Solutions looks a bit like the odd man out these days. The converged service provider, which remains a powerful force in the corporate market, is the only big player in its space that doesn’t have its own significant investment in telecoms infrastructure.