Tata Communications becomes controlling shareholder in Neotel

South African telecom firm Neotel has announced that Tata Communications, has acquired the 30-per cent stake previously held by Eskom and Transnet.

This has resulted in Tata Communications in association with Tata Africa Holdings becoming a controlling shareholder in the first converged communications network operator in South Africa.

''This reaffirms Tata Communications commitment to its expansion and investment plans in the emerging regions of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. We will support Neotel's efforts to provide global quality telecom services in South Africa,'' said N Srinath, managing director and CEO, Tata Communications Limited. 

Ajay Pandey, MD and CEO of Neotel said that under the shadow of the current economic climate in South Africa, it was very encouraging that a global telecommunications giant continues to invest in South Africa and Neotel in particular.''I firmly believe that such transactions reinforce international investors' confidence in the country and more specifically in the South African telecommunications market. Neotel's entry into the market and recent success is a clear indication of the growth potential in the industry.''

Neotel  provides a range of value-added voice and data services for businesses, wholesale network operators and providers and consumers using its pure-IP Next Generation Network, and connects the major centres in South Africa to each other and to the world, directly linking the country into Tata Communications's global Tier 1 network.

''This transaction further allows Neotel to leverage on Tata Communications' proven and vast global network of tried and tested technologies in countries such as India with similar telecoms landscape to South Africa'' he said. Pandey believes the consolidation in Neotel's shareholding will go a long way in strengthening the company's position as a stable player in the local market.  ''It allows us to continue bringing global best practice to the South African market to position our country more effectively in the international economic context,'' he concludes.