South Africa-based operator Telkom said that the anticipated sale of its Multi-Links business to rival Visafone has been aborted, and that its board had voted to end all funding of this unit. It was reported last month that the sale of the Nigerian CDMA operator was in jeopardy, because of an earlier dispute between Multi-Links and infrastructure partner Helios Towers, which led to a court ruling prohibiting the sale of Multi-Links until this had been resolved. Telkom has not stated what its plans are for Multi-Links moving forward, but unless it is able to resolve the Helios situation a sale is likely to prove problematic – and with Multi-Links using CDMA technology rather than the prevalent GSM, and only having 3 percent market share, Telkom may struggle to find alternative buyers anyway. The South African operator was already set to make a loss on the sale.
In its home market, Telkom confirmed the expected ZAR1.1 billion (US$163 million) EBITDA loss at its new 8ta mobile business, on revenue of ZAR81 million. Due to delays in launching and network build out, the target for EBITDA breakeven has been pushed out to the year ending 31 March 2014. 8ta now has 1.2 million subscribers. According to Nombulelo Moholi, Group CEO of Telkom (pictured): “Following the launch of 8ta, our focus into the future will be on offering fully converged products that marry mobile voice and data services with the quality and resilience of the fixed-line services to both the enterprise and residential markets.” The company said that a product range spanning both fixed and mobile will assist it in defending itself more effectively against competitors, and in growing its revenue.