Centratel was launched in 2001 off a platform of venture capital, and on the vision and grit of its entrepreneurial founders, Michael Aitken and Steven Dent, who saw an opportunity that they have since nurtured and developed into one of South Africa’s leading telecommunications enabling organisations. “Today the Centratel group consists of a cluster of three separate, but mutually complementary, operating companies – Centracom, Cignale Solutions, and Masakhe. Between them, they effectively provide a single port of call for all key aspects of the telecommunications channels in which we are active – including equipment supply and finance, connectivity, installation and maintenance. “These operations are supported by a nationwide community of dealers, whom we regard as our long-term partners in Centratel. Many of them have been with us since our inception and have grown over the years from entrepreneurial start-ups into robust SMEs. They help us to deliver exceptional service to our customers and we, in turn, remain unwavering in our commitment to helping to support and develop their enterprises – not least with steady annuity income. “Clear measures of the ongoing success of Centratel’s carefully crafted business model are the high rate at which new business from existing clients continues to rise, and the fact that as much as half of our annual revenue is annuity-based. “Centratel’s steady growth over the past 10 years has come off a strong capital base, from which we have built up a substantial investment in technology and infrastructure, as well as a buying power that opens doors to competitive rates. Savings thus achieved are passed on to our dealers. As we embark on the next exciting, and unquestionably challenging, decade of our business growth, the group remains exceptionally well capitalised – and therefore well poised to continue to forge ahead and reinforce our market leadership.
The face of the Centratel Group, Centracom dominates the marketplace as a VoIP, Data and Cloud solutions giant. Since its inception in 2008, the organisation has grown its base in excess of 3000 customers. Centracom has wholesale agreements with Telkom, Neotel, Vox and Nashua Communications. This allows them to harness the lowest call rates while simultaneously offering a host of other benefits.
Cignale Solutions is one of South Africa’s leading office solutions providers for the SME sector, where its focus is direct sales of PABX and other office hardware and automation, connectivity (through Centracom), and equipment rental finance. The company’s high level of sales expertise is built on years of development. Furthermore, Cignale Solutions has sourced only the leading telecommunications vendors in the provision of the solutions it delivers.
The centrepiece of the operations of Masakhe – a wholly owned subsidiary of Centratel – is its 20% holding in BWired, a company specifically created to provide affordable broadband data communications to the City of Johannesburg. BWired was formed in 2009, after Ericsson was awarded the R1-billion Joburg Broadband Network Project, (BJNP), which is tasked with establishing a city-wide, high-speed, broadband network aimed at stimulating socio-economic development throughout the City. Masakhe’s two-pronged role in the 15-year project is the supply of telecommunications equipment and the provision of sales and marketing support.