• Vodacom CEO defends Rain tie‑up; Lesotho crisis continues; dominant Safaricom back in political spotlight; African OpCos keen on Huawei tech.

Elsewhere in Vodafone Africa

Elsewhere in Vodafone Africa

Source: Rohan Reddy / Unsplash

  • Vodacom Chief Executive (CEO) ShameelJoosub, talking at the FibreCONEXT2020 conference, reportedly reanimated the Group’s goal of moving its business from being a “telco to a techco [technology company] (Vodafonewatch, #186 and see separate).
  • Speaking during Vodacom’s Q2 FY20–21 earnings call, Joosub dismissed claims made by rival Telkom SouthAfrica that Vodacom South Africa’s (VdSA) network-sharing agreement with Rain should be classified as a merger. Telkom’s publicised qualms over the deal which has seen Rain’s access extend to “virtually all” of VdSA’s radio sites (Vodafonewatch, #183 and passim) — is no more than a “ploy to get a bigger share of the spectrum”, argued Joosub, who indicated that the Rain–VdSA ties are not dissimilar to the agreement that allows Telkom to roam on the VdSA network (Vodafonewatch, #178 and #181).
  • Joosub told TechCentral that VdSA was in the process of readying an ‘enablement’ platform to support mobile virtual network operators (MVNO), which will be launched after SA’s coming spectrum auction.
  • Vodacom Business Africa added software asset management specialist Crayon Africa to its cloud solution partner ecosystem. The unit said the tie‑up will help it “facilitate a smooth journey into the cloud for businesses”.
  • A Vodacom Group spokesperson reportedly told news outlet BiztechAfrica that Vodacom Lesotho (VdL) is appealing against a new Lesotho Communications Authority (LCA) directive stipulating that mobile operators must consult the LCA before making managerial appointments. The dispute follows the decision by LCA to revoke VdL’s operating licence in October 2020 over alleged violations relating to licence conditions, something that is being challenged in court (Vodafonewatch, #190). With relations between the regulator and mobile operator growing increasingly sour, a number of VdL M‑PESA users were reported to have withdrawn money from their accounts over fears the government would unilaterally dissolve the Lesotho business.
  • Kenyan senators reportedly called for a fresh review of the country’s telecoms market to offset Safaricom’s dominance, reanimating the controversial idea that M‑PESA and Safaricom’s voice and data business should operate as two separate entities. A similar recommendation was made by the Communications Authority of Kenya in early‑2017 but subsequently dropped (Vodafonewatch, #153 and #163).
  • Executives at Safaricom and Vodafone Ghana (VfGh) were reported to have endorsed Huawei Technologies’ AirPON solution during the AfricaCom virtual conference. Dikah Sylvester, Head of Fixed Network at VfGh, was said to have highlighted the deployment savings potential of the solution, which is geared towards enabling operators to piggyback on cell sites for fibre-based broadband rollout. ThisDay quoted Franklin Kano Ocharo, Head of Home Business at Safaricom, as saying that Huawei was “one of our key partners” in fibre broadband expansion.