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Court ruling halts Telkom upgrade
Wednesday, 18 April 2012 00:00
Written by Nicola Mawson
Nombulelo “Pinky” Moholi
Telkom's R13 billion network upgrade has come to a grinding halt, after the North Gauteng High Court ruled recently that it had to engage in dispute resolution with one of the losing bidders.
Telkom announced last month that it had started replacing outdated DSLAM boxes with newer technology as part of its plan to move to an all-IP network designed to enable fixed-mobile convergence and truly differentiated high-speed broadband.
The tender was awarded to Huawei and Alcatel Lucent. However, neither the South African Communications Union (SACU) nor losing bidder ZTE Mzansi are happy with the company’s network transformation plans.
ZTE Mzansi director Tumi Magasa says Telkom’s bidding process was not fair and the company’s tender was never properly considered, despite complying with all of Telkom’s requirements, including empowerment and technical capability.
Earlier last month, ZTE Mzansi took Telkom to the North Gauteng High Court, in Pretoria, asking that the court urgently stop Telkom from carrying on with the transformation. On Friday, a judgement was handed down in ZTE’s favour, says Magasa.
CEO Nombulelo “Pinky” Moholi said last June that the company would transform its entire network. Telkom has already deployed the first of 3 700 multi-service access nodes (MSANs) as part of its network revamp.
ITWeb understands the tender was for a two-phased implementation. The first part – to replace the MSANs – is worth around R5 billion, while the second phase will move the entire network to IP. In total, the deal is worth around R13 billion over about five years.
Telkom’s network revamp includes work completed on network operation centres; the transmission network constructed for the 2010 Fifa World Cup and the upgrade of international bandwidth such as the West African Cable System cable.
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