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Telkom selling 53 properties in SA

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Network operator Telkom is selling 53 properties in South Africa as it moves forward with plans to modernize its infrastructure and improve its organizational and operational efficiency.

Telkom confirmed with Connecting Africa via email that its property division, Gyro, is disposing of 53 properties in a move that "is aligned with the strategy of unlocking value in the Telkom property portfolio."

"Telkom has been undergoing a process of modernizing the network for some time now. Technological advancements in the telecommunication has necessitated the need to optimize space requirements for both operational and exchange needs," Telkom's spokesperson said.

Telkom is letting go of properties that it deems to be non-core to operations and which have no redevelopment or commercialization potential.

Gyro manages Telkom's property portfolio, which consists of more than 1,300 properties, ranging from radio transmission sites to offices and client service centers and even residential dwellings.

GoIndustry DoveBid SA, a specialist auctions company, is hosting the auction for Telkom and said in an online posting that the telco's properties are across South Africa "consisting of vacant land, double storey and single storey buildings".

GoIndustry said the properties will be sold via an online auction platform and bidding on the property lots will open on March 13 and close on March 18.

Last November Telkom announced it was selling 34 properties across the country. Telkom's spokesperson told Connecting Africa on Friday that it had sold 22 out of those 34 properties a 65% success rate and that 12 properties from the previous auction are part of the next batch of 53 properties going under the hammer.

The spokesperson would not confirm how much money Telkom had made from the sales or how much it was hoping to make from the upcoming auction.

Telkom seems to be tightening its belt and in January it also confirmed plans to shed around 3,000 jobs across a number of business units. It blamed the job losses on "a weak economic environment, in conjunction with the fact that Telkom has consistently experienced declining performances in fixed voice, which previously made up more than half of Telkom's gross revenue; fixed data (due to migration to mobile data); and organizational and operational efficiencies." (See Telkom Planning Major Job Cuts.)

In August 2019, it retired its copper-based fixed-line services and migrated its customers to fiber and wireless services. This after its previous results had revealed it was bleeding legacy fixed-line and ADSL customers, while its mobile broadband business was doing well. (See Telkom is Killing its Copper Business .)

Telkom's ADSL-based broadband customer base dipped by 22.7%, from 454,000 at the end of March 2018 to 351,000 a year later, while its fiber access-based customer numbers increased by 4.5% from 201,000 in March 2018 to 210,000 in March 2019.

Paula Gilbert, Editor, Connecting Africa

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