Broad­band re­port card

In­ter­nal ef­fi­cien­cies come first

Finweek English Edition - - Communication & technology - BENE­DICT KELLY

Thami Msi­mango, Telkom’s chief tech­nol­ogy of­fi­cer (who Sa­muels re­ports to) says that Sa­muels’ key ob­jec­tives were to in­te­grate the var­i­ous parts of Telkom’s busi­ness, drive ser­vice de­liv­ery and in­crease the pen­e­tra­tion of ADSL in the res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial mar­kets.

While Telkom re­ported that 2006 was a bumper year for its broad­band ser­vices – with more than 200 000 sub­scribers cur­rently mak­ing use of the ser­vice – crit­i­cism con­cern­ing its pric­ing strat­egy re­mains unan­swered.

MyADSL founder, Ru­dolph Muller, says al­though Telkom has re­peat­edly promised to

POS­SI­BLY THE MOST con­tentious tele­coms is­sues to­day are the price of broad­band and Telkom’s abil­ity to de­liver on the roll-out of new broad­band lines or re­pair­ing the faults on ex­ist­ing ones. That was high­lighted by the re­cent cam­paign by the Tele­coms Ac­tion Group and the me­dia at­ten­tion that gar­nered.

Telkom has been sus­pi­ciously quiet about that crit­i­cism, and with Telkom’s broad­band of­fi­cer Alphonzo Sa­muels in the job for just over a year we sought to see what the pub­lic cor­po­ra­tion feels has been achieved over that time. cut prices as it ramps up its economies of scale, cus­tomers have seen fewer price cuts un­der cur­rent CEO Papi Molot­sane than un­der pre­vi­ous CEO Sizwe Nx­as­ana.

“Un­der Nx­as­ana, ADSL prices were re­duced twice in 2005. Un­der Molot­sane and its new broad­band of­fi­cer, Telkom did away with free lo­cal band­width, in­tro­duced hard cap­ping and put an end to the pop­u­lar 30 GB ac­counts sold by many ISPs,” says Muller.

When Telkom re­duced its prices the last time, it pushed up the min­i­mum speed of the ser­vice to 384kbps from 192kbps and in­tro­duced a trial de­liv­er­ing 4Mbps ADSL speeds to sub­scribers of its 1Mbps ser­vice. How­ever, is­sues con­cern­ing cap­ping and pric­ing of raw band­width have yet to be ad­dressed, with the cheap­est ADSL op­tion from Telkom cost­ing R400/month, in­clud­ing ISP charges.

Un­for­tu­nately, ex­pec­ta­tions cre­ated when Sa­muels

“Cus­tomers have seen fewer price cuts un­der cur­rent CEO Papi Molot­sane than un­der pre­vi­ous CEO Sizwe Nx­as­ana.”

was ap­pointed – that a ded­i­cated broad­band of­fi­cer would cre­ate a con­sumer’s cham­pion within Telkom and de­liver a bet­ter deal for broad­band clients – haven’t ma­te­ri­alised.

With Telkom pri­ori­tis­ing the de­liv­ery of in­fra­struc­ture over the next year – in­clud­ing ac­cel­er­at­ing the project to cut the dis­tance be­tween the ex­change and the cus­tomer, pro­vid­ing bet­ter client-in­stal­lable op­tions and quick­en­ing the de­liv­ery of wired and wire­less broad­band tech­nolo­gies – Sa­muels has his plate full this year.

Growth con­tin­u­ing apace. Thami Msi­mango

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