The combined entity will be expected to extend broadband to
rural communities that don’t yet have access, said the people, who asked not to
be identified as the plans haven’t been publicly announced. Broadband Infraco
is the country’s second-largest fixed-line operator after Telkom SA SOC, while
Sentech has wireless broadband assets and operates signals for
The government is “pursuing the rationalization of state broadband assets to reduce the duplication of infrastructure and mandates of state-owned companies,” Siyabulela Qoza, a spokesman for the Telecommunications Ministry, said in emailed comments on Thursday. “It will help to fast track the expansion of access to modern communications infrastructure and services to more South Africans.”
“We are not in the position to provide information,” Sentech spokeswoman Milisa Kentane said in an emailed response to questions. Broadband Infraco didn’t respond to a request for comment.
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Talks between Telkom and the government about buying Broadband Infraco fell apart last year when no agreement could be reached on price. Vodacom, the leader in the South African mobile market, has also expressed an interest in the company in its search for additional spectrum.
The Telecommunications Ministry must start the first phase of its broadband program by August and begin spectrum licensing by December, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba said on Thursday when he announced a 14-point plan to pull the economy out of a recession.