Telkom promises renaissance
Convergence and acquisitions listed as part of the transformation
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.