South Africa’s largest mobile operator Vodacom wants the country’s competition tribunal to postpone a hearing into its proposed ZAR7 billion ($500 million) deal to acquire Neotel, as it entered into talks to revise the structure of the deal.
Vodacom secured approval from South Africa’s antitrust regulator to acquire the fixed-line internet provider in July, after first announcing the deal last May, and was set to face a competition tribunal following concerns from rivals, including number two mobile player MTN, over its increasing dominance in the market.
To get the deal approved by South Africa’s competition regulator ICASA, Vodacom said it would not cut any jobs and commit to an $821 million investment in the company within five years. The operator would also not be able to access Neotel spectrum for at least two years.
Vodacom did not state specifically how it was trying to revise the structure of the deal with Neotel’s parent Tata Communications, but said in a statement “the outcome of these discussions will directly impact the extent of the approval being sought from the Competition Tribunal and the scope the Competition Tribunal hearing”.
A review into Vodacom’s request is due to begin today (23 November).
Last week, South Africa’s fixed incumbent Telkom called off long running negotiations to acquire Cell C, the country’s third largest mobile operator, after failing to agree on price.