Converged communications network operator Neotel on Thursday announced that it is expanding connectivity into the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, in partnership with State-owned telecoms operator Infraco.

“Interconnect is part of building any telecommunications network,” said Neotel Business Support Services (NBSS) executive head Imran Abbas.

“We have therefore embarked on a proactive strategy to provide interconnect into those countries, to offer an alternative to the incumbent.”

“Fibre rollout into these countries started last year with Lesotho being the first network completed. We have now also completed Namibia and will complete Botswana and Mozambique in the next couple of weeks,” he added.

Once these SADC countries were connected to the Neotel network, they would effectively have an alternative option to access the undersea cables and thus international connectivity.

“We are not going to be selling services to these countries,” noted Abbas. “Our priority remains South Africa and we have already made tremendous strides in connecting the five metros and will next focus on growing the network across the rest of South Africa.”

Neotel said it was using the latest technology to roll out interconnect. “We continue rolling out a Next Generation Network to ensure that we do not have to face the challenges of legacy systems,” he says.

The network was being built by the NBSS division of the Neotel group – the same division was also responsible for rolling out the long distance network for Neotel and MTN, which extend from Durban to Johannesburg, and from Johannesburg to Cape Town.

“By design or default Neotel has customers that it is already servicing in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Tanzania that it inherited from Transtel but has yet to decide on further expansion into the continent,” the company said.

“What is likely to happen is that South African companies we are servicing inside the country will pull us with them as they expand their businesses into the African continent,” Abbas concluded.