beMOBILE to tap on Vodacom’s expertise?
By John Churu, Gaborone, Botswana
South African-based Vodacom is said to be negotiating a deal to get a stake in beMOBILE a technical partner.
Reliable sources say: “the transaction could be officially announced in two months.” According to sources, “beMOBILE is said to be struggling to roll-out 3G cellphone technology, trailing behind the likes of Mascom, which is supported by Portugal telecom, and Orange, which is powered by Orange International.”
A deal with Vodacom would enable beMOBILE to “smoothly offer 3G technologies and also prepare it to launch 4G technology, also known as LTE.”
Vodacom, which currently powers beMOBILE's roaming capacity in Southern Africa, is owned by British company, Vodafone, which also owns Kenya's cellphone company, Safaricom.
Already, Vodacom and other South African cellular networks offer the latest 4G technology for cellphones, which among others, enables the creation of a wifi area in homes for the Samsung smart tv experience, links smart phones to banks, car tracking devices and tele-medicine, to name a few.
In earlier comments, the Minister of Infrastructure, Nonofo Molefhi, said: “beMOBILE may look for a technical partner", but had said he was informed that nothing has been concluded yet in that area.
Molefhi said a beMOBILE privatisation exercise would see government remaining with a 51 percent shareholding, with 5 percent going to Botswana Telecommunications Corporation employees and 44 percent reserved for Batswana in general.