WAPA Opposes Vodacom Neotel Acquisition Plan


The Wireless Access Providers’ Association (WAPA) has opposed Vodacom’s idea of acquiring Neotel and says that it is watching how the idea is progressing before formulating a formal response.
WAPA  says that the acquisition will cause many people to loose their jobs, stifle competition as well as maintain the digital divide which the country is aiming to reduce with regard to broadband.
“WAPA’s concern is that Vodacom’s influence will dampen these gains achieved, severely limit open wholesale access and set back rather than increase competition and consumer choice,” said Christopher Geerdts the Chairman of WAPA .
WAPA predicts a 25 percent annual increase in membership, as smaller operators  are taking up the gap created in the broadband market. This is in line with international trends, where considerably more data is now carried on so-called WiFi-based technologies than on 3G and LTE.

“The growth in smaller operators is good for the customer and good for the country. It increases competition, creates jobs and drives rural broadband penetration. Larger operators tend to cut jobs and cherry-pick customers in the most lucrative suburbs and business parks,” said the chairman of WAPA .

The wireless provider believes that South Africa needs to build up a strategy that complements large and small players to coexist and play to their strengths. Operators who are nationals also need to provide truly neutral and open wholesale service in order to open the market to competition.

WAPA and many of its members enjoy an excellent relationship with Neotel, which has proven that strong, wholesale providers with a commitment to rural rollout can complement smaller operators with existing presence and experience in those areas.

So what does Neotel have to say about the opposition? If Neotel is up for the deal, could there be any possibility for this opposition to have impact in the decision they will make? could it be possible that WAPA is afraid of a little competition, or is Vodacom stepping in someone’s territory. If only we could get clear answers from WAPA,Vodacom and Neotel.