Telkom prom­ises re­nais­sance

Con­ver­gence and ac­qui­si­tions listed as part of the trans­for­ma­tion

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EV­ERY DOG HAS ITS DAY – but Telkom wants two. South Africa’s in­cum­bent net­work op­er­a­tor says it’s trans­form­ing as it faces an evolv­ing telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions en­vi­ron­ment. Telkom clearly sees it­self as still rel­e­vant and able to tackle the newly dereg­u­lated and in­creas­ingly com­pet­i­tive mar­ket by the horns.

God­frey Ntoele, head of Telkom’s na­tional sales and mar­ket­ing op­er­a­tions, out­lined the trans­for­ma­tion at the an­nual GovTech con­fer­ence held in Dur­ban in Au­gust by the State In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy Agency.

Ntoele la­belled the trans­for­ma­tion as a “re­nais­sance” for Telkom. He said: “Telkom is re­fo­cus­ing to main­tain its lead­er­ship po­si­tion in SA while grow­ing a strong foot­print on the con­ti­nent.” He added Telkom will main­tain SA as its base but has a strat­egy to con­quer Africa. He said the group will be equipped for in­ter­na­tional ex­pan­sion and will fo­cus on fixed­mo­bile con­ver­gence, which is the com­bi­na­tion of wireless and con­ven­tional ca­ble con­nec­tions.

With re­gard to in­ter­na­tional band­width, Telkom is in­creas­ing ca­pac­ity on its SAT3 un­der­sea ca­ble and claims its prices are com­pet­i­tive in the mar­ket. “Telkom will be ready for more com­pe­ti­tion by be­ing more cus­tomer-cen­tric and cost ef­fi­cient,” Ntoele said.

Though Telkom is aligned with other third-party un­der­sea ca­ble projects cur­rently un­der way to bring in­ter­na­tional band­width to Africa, Ntoele was quick to add it isn’t mak­ing use of Sea­com. “We aren’t par­tic­i­pat­ing in that other ca­ble,” he said, re­fer­ring to Sea­com. “Com­pe­ti­tion is healthy and we’ll re­view our op­tions in the fu­ture, but for now we aren’t par­tic­i­pat­ing.”

Ntoele promised that Telkom is fo­cused on its cus­tomers’ needs and drew at­ten­tion to Win­ston the pi­geon, say­ing Telkom had “thrown a cat among the pi­geons” by prov­ing the com­pany be­hind the pub­lic­ity stunt didn’t make use of the right Telkom con­nec­tion for its needs.

He added con­nec­tiv­ity prices will come down in the fu­ture and sug­gested con­sumers should ex­pect much con­sol­i­da­tion in African tele­coms as smaller op­er­a­tors are ac­quired by big­ger com­pa­nies. “The big guys who sur­vive will ac­quire the smaller com­pa­nies.” Ntoele also listed Telkom’s Do 3G mo­bile In­ter­net prod­uct as an ex­am­ple of its next gen­er­a­tion of­fer­ings that will meet new mar­ket needs.

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