South Africa’s biggest mobile operator Vodacom has walked away from its bid to buy fixed-line telecoms company Neotel due to the regulatory complexities involved in the deal. The decision to cancel the deal came after the High Court in Pretoria ruled that Vodacom would not be able to take control of licenses owned by Neotel even after acquisition.
“Vodacom South Africa and Neotel have confirmed that the agreement between the parties has lapsed due to regulatory complexities in concluding the transaction as well as certain conditions not being fulfilled,” stated a release from the company. “Accordingly, the parties have agreed that the proposed restructured transaction can no longer be progressed,” it added.
Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub expressed his disappointment in the matter. “Our ambition to increase the roll-out of fibre-based broadband services to customers remains. We will continue to look for spectrum opportunities, as well as opportunities to accelerate our fixed-line business,’ he said.
The deal would have given Vodacom access to Neotel’s fixed-line infrastructure in South Africa. Such a movement in the market would have become a key requirement for mobile players as telecoms markets move increasingly towards converged and bundled services.