Telkom launches 8ta

2010-10-14 22:04

Johannesburg - Telecommunications group Telkom [JSE:TKG] disclosed details of its new mobile brand 8ta on Thursday.

The new mobile network is launching prepaid cellular services that will be available from Monday. Post-paid (contract) packages will be available in November, while corporate services will launch within six months.

Managing executive of the new Telkom Mobile division Amith Maharaj said that 8ta is the consumer brand for Telkom Mobile, while corporate customers for mobile will be addressed under the Telkom Business brand.

8ta is launching with aggressive prepaid pricing Maharaj says is designed to encourage more usage of mobile voice and data services.

“South Africans talk two to three times less on their mobile phones than other emerging markets. I’m not exaggerating when I say that this is the start of a new era in mobile phone communication in South Africa. Consumers will at last have a real choice,” he said.

8ta offers flat prepaid rates that do not differentiate between peak and off-peak periods. 

“There is a single, per minute price for calls that stays the same 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We have designed 8ta to be simple to understand and remove the clutter,” explained Maharaj.

Calls from 8ta to landlines in South Africa will be charged at 65c per minute while calls to other cellular networks will be R1.50 per minute.

International calls to over 100 countries will cost R2.50 per minute. Data connections are billed at R1 per megabyte, but 8ta will also have data bundles available with data prices from 25c per megabyte.

The network will allow speeds up to 7.2Mbps for downloads on HSPA 3G technology.

8ta will also offer free airtime for every call received on the network at a 1-to-3 ratio. For example, if a subscriber spends 30 seconds speaking on the phone, 8ta will credit their account with 10 free seconds that can be used for calls any time of the day, to any local network.

8ta will also give subscribers 50 free SMS messages to use on days where they send more than five paid-for messages. The free messages will expire at midnight on the day they were earned.

”Subscribers will be able to see how many free seconds they have earned immediately after a call,” said Maharaj.

'Leapfrogging over rivals'

He explained that Telkom’s new mobile network already has 800 live base stations nationally and makes use of a roaming agreement with MTN Group [JSE:MTN] to provide coverage in areas where Telkom’s network has not been rolled out yet. A further 3 200 base stations will be constructed over time.

”The new network has been designed using next-generation technologies. Our base stations are software upgradeable to LTE (Long Term Evolution, the latest standard in mobile network technology)  with the Huawei infrastructure we are using,” he said. 

Network backhaul is being provided by fibre-optic “metro Ethernet” rings Telkom has rolled out and is still deploying in other areas.

MD of Telkom South Africa Nombulelo (Pinky) Moholi said that Telkom’s new mobile network uses IP technologies throughout its infrastructure, and benefits from being able to leapfrog its competitors.

She explained that the run-up to the launch used an advertising campaign centred on the word “heita” - a South African slang word meaning “hello” to familiarise consumers with the word before launching the brand as 8ta.

"At launch we are going prepaid for voice and data. Post-paid (contract) services will be available from November. We are also already working with existing corporate customers on business solutions for their needs and those will be launched within the next six months,” she said. 

Maharaj explained that there will be four contract packages available in November and Telkom Mobile will launch international roaming at the same time. Pricing for contract packages is not available yet, but Maharaj said that “similar savings can be expected”.

He continued: “We are working with a single service aggregator for roaming internationally. Prepaid subscribers will be able to send and receive SMS messages, while roaming while contract customers will be able to access other services.”

"What people want'

Telkom will have a range of mobile phone handsets available at launch. 

“We have plans to bring Android and BlackBerry to the market by the end of the year, and are actively working on the plan for an iPhone introduction with our channel partners. We are talking to all handset manufacturers and will have most handsets available,” said Maharaj.

“We will be at thousands of points of sale including our flagship stores, TDS stores, informal and formal retailers.  At launch we will be available at Edgars, Jet, CNA, Altech and Smartcall. Other large retailers, such as Shoprite and Pick n Pay, will be brought on stream soon,” he added. 

Acting group CEO of Telkom, Jeffrey Hedberg, said that Telkom Mobile benefited from the group’s existing presence in the South African market. 

“We are able to mobilise the reliability of fixed-line and the agility of mobile to provide products that South African people really want,” he stated.


  • Archford Muchenje - 2010-10-14 23:21

    Would like to thank Telkom for the introduction of Heita, I do hope its going to be considerate on its pricing as we all know that all other service providers are over pricing and this proves that Telkom is the largest communication service provider, cannot wait to have my Heita sim-card. Thank you Telkom

  • Kabasa - 2010-10-15 00:24

    The cellphone market is already dominated by well-established and trusted operators which means 8ta has to really really revolutionalise the communications industry as well as offer better package deals to convince a loyalist SA consumer.

  • Chucky - 2010-10-15 00:36

    Wow!! . Very good news for the cellular market. Brings the pricing in line with other first world countries , but not to sound like a killjoy i hope the service will be better than the current Telkom service quality that i have experienced...

  • Nasdaq7 - 2010-10-15 00:58

    Isn't competition wonderful? It forces companies to improve.

  • jpreid - 2010-10-15 01:01

    their pricing does not really appeal to me R1,50 per min is steep. How about 99c a min all day & free calls after 8pm. That will shake up SA.

  • francois - 2010-10-15 05:48

    The mobile price war has started. CellC going to be the one taking the heaviest casualties. Telkom keeps on benifiting from his advantage gained during its monopoly.

  • Newconnext - 2010-10-15 05:53

    It's about time for cheaper cellphone rates. But are we going to see a better service than telkom landline?

  • Steve - 2010-10-15 06:15

    Good gracious! the data is incredibly expensive OUCH!

  • Heita - 2010-10-15 06:38

    Well done Telkom. We need those cheaper prices.

  • Pinket - 2010-10-15 06:42

    Hmmmm....., let's see how this goes. I'm having a lot of hope in this launch, who knows, maybe one would have a Telkom line and a Cellphone network as a 1st choice. I hope the service doesn't dissapoint.

  • Bokki - 2010-10-15 07:09

    Sounds good, but calls to other cell providers still too high

  • Carl Muller - 2010-10-15 07:23

    Here comes a fight and I love it. The other cell phone guys will have to change their pricing structure and very quick. Two of my contracts are up for upgrades and I refuse to renew them with my present supplier.

  • chrisH - 2010-10-15 07:32

    8ta's 8 Awesome name guys. Your marketing people should play in goal for England because this is an own goal of note.

  • Goosen Botha - 2010-10-15 07:39

    60 c to land-lines…Clever Telkom…IT IS YOUR LINES!!! Its commonsense that no other Cell-Company would be able to compete with that? I’ll stay with my current S/provider!!!

  • Seamus - 2010-10-15 07:40

    Telkom have already proved that they cannot run a fixed-line telephone company. What hope do they have of making a success of a cellphone company? Good luck to anyone using their new offering. Their service stinks!

  • Maria - 2010-10-15 07:42

    :-) Good Telkom, I am shifting to you guys, this is brave idea and very interesting.....

  • Sean - 2010-10-15 07:51

    Wait, it's not April Fools today... Err... Actually, I'm speechless. Wow. The jaded South African in me is wondering what the fine print says.

  • simba - 2010-10-15 07:56

    I have tried Vodacom and MTN, each had its problems but I experienced no real saving on airtime costs. I really hope this will be a break through in terms of costs without compromising service provision. Lately I am receiving text messages about 2 hours after they have been sent. This is happening on text messages from MTN(I am VODACOM).

  • bobby - 2010-10-15 07:59

    I would not get Telkom to walk my dog. I would rather pay more on the other network then furnish the pockets of a company that has no service and has been ripping us off for 30 years!!

  • morule - 2010-10-15 08:01

    mornign, will the sim card be able to be used on the existing mobile that we have on the moment.

  • Tommy - 2010-10-15 08:02

    hehehe freedom at last!

  • mukesh - 2010-10-15 08:03

    I welcome competition. The more service providers the better.

  • Michael - 2010-10-15 08:05

    So it's from Telkom? No thanks.

  • About Time - 2010-10-15 08:09

    Finally!! Someone who doesn't charge nearly R3 per minute, bye bye MTN.

  • Ant K - 2010-10-15 08:10

    Just in time. I was about to renew my v expensive contract with Autopage. R20 per minute is what Autopage bill me for International calls when I'm roaming. R2.50 per minute is so much more affordable. Real competition is good!

  • D - 2010-10-15 08:10

    Interesting JOKE for Telkom to be the 4 mobile service provider. As it is, Telkom's service is horrific. Why would anyone in their right mind want to subject themselves to some of the worst service in the country?

  • Wondering - 2010-10-15 08:11

    I wonder how Telkom will explain a failed service now. Can't say the cables have been stolen anymore

  • Bill Reynolds - 2010-10-15 08:14

    People have been critisizing Telkom for years for being expensive, they have conveniently forgot about the how expensive cellular was. Finally we are seeing true competition, where the consumer directly benefits. People's favourite enemy has suddenly become public friend no. 1 - how about that !

  • sneaky - 2010-10-15 08:15

    i think this is sneaky but ingenious from telkom. however, if their landline reputation is anything to go by, i think that there will be numerous hidden costs and contracts that will be difficult to get out of. i think i should tell trevor about this....

  • morena - 2010-10-15 08:24

    yeey Telkom, thanks guys, i'm for sure getting your services now

  • H - 2010-10-15 08:31

    More competition is better. MTN and VODA service stinks, lets hope this is not another stinky service provide.

  • Jettero Heller - 2010-10-15 08:46

    “South Africans talk two to three times less on their mobile phones than other emerging markets." - Because it is expensive in this country relative to the average income, come on people, it is not rocket-surgery.

  • Chris - 2010-10-15 08:55

    This is in my opinion good news. Just - it sounds like another type of phone is needed. More clutter (old phones) laying around - can it not work with current handsets or is a new type of handset really required? But dataconnections (not bundels) - R1/MByte? Any upgrade of any software is tens of megabytes - still too expensive!

  • Jason - 2010-10-15 09:16

    "Software upgradeable to LTE" - yeah, right!!!!!! lol

  • Carol - 2010-10-15 09:36

    I hope there is differnt call center and technical staff to handle the mobile queries because in the meantime Telkom is not doing good. I must say their pricing is very competative.

  • The truth - 2010-10-15 09:42

    The more competition the better! VIVA 8ta VIVA

  • dumi - 2010-10-15 09:45

    i doubt ill use it,i love my vodacom

  • mier - 2010-10-15 10:25

    What would be cool is if they can develope a hand-set that works on a fixed and mobile line. If you move out of the house it switches over to mobile network and if in the house to land line.

  • Tumi - 2010-10-15 10:34

    8.ta will take off a lot easy - I think we're better with the delive we know than Cell C & others. My contract with Vodacom Is due in Dec - Heita 8.ta here I come .....Heita daar'so

  • Cell Fun - 2010-10-15 11:07

    Heita hopefully price war? Watch out Vodacom, MTN and Cell C.

  • SIM - 2010-10-15 11:11

    Cry all you want about the landline service and all your bad experiences with Telkom in the past, this is a new beginning of what looks like promising cell costs in this country. Telkom Mobile like any business is offering a product which they will need to compete in the open market without protection. Other cell companies need to catch a wake up! Go Telkom Mobile. We the consumer will benefit.

  • marcel - 2010-10-15 11:29

    CELLC have same rate 24/7, so how is Telkom being so aggressive with their pricing, still to expensive especially if you think you have to pay Helkom, rather stay with CEllC.

  • History - 2010-10-15 11:33

    "And that dear children was how the land-line came to an end!"

  • Nqobile - 2010-10-15 11:35

    I would also like to thank Telkom for taking a bold step in reducing the cost of a calls but most of all the data bundles rate is what we have been crying for .

  • Telecoms Avenger - 2010-10-15 11:48

    Telkom has changed a lot over the last 2 years, I used to hate them as well, but they have turned around nicely, they are definately more jacked than most other telecoms providers at this stage, this is a good offering, hats of to them.

  • RobC - 2010-10-15 12:10

    Telcom and Vodacom share the same bed via shareholding, all cellular providers use some Telcom infrastructure. The hole shebang is a monopoly if you really look at it closely. If it were not we would have had EU telecoms prices many moons ago. Wake up people!

  • Andries - 2010-10-15 12:24

    I used to be an ISDN customer of Telkom and got carrots from them. I hate all the telecommunication companies equally much, except Cell C - and that's only becuase I have not dealt with them yet.

  • Johnny Come Lately - 2010-10-15 12:53

    Whilst the rest of the world is looking to accommodate Voice over Internet Protocol on cell phones and this regarded as the 'future' of cell phone communication, here comes Telkom 15 years behind already established operators to 'leapfrog' their competitors. Have they not realised that Vodaom and MTN reached market saturation about 4 years ago! Hahahahahahhahahahah

  • Plex - 2010-10-15 12:57

    Mmmm.. 1 x Movie = 700MB to download. 700MB * R1.00 = R700.00. WTF !!!

  • Ayas - 2010-10-15 13:01

    GOOSEN BOTHA; Other Mobile's pay telkom 25c to terminate Mobile calls. How come they charge yo R3/min and keep R2.75. Fact is they can afford to match this 65c price, they just dont want to. JPREID: Yes R1.50 mobile to mobile. Still 50% than the price you pay today for prepaid on alternative networks and only matches CellC rate. Remember, 8.ta gets to pay over 89cents to your other network. STEVE: This is occassional PREPAID data at R1/MB, the existing alternative is R2/MB. and it is out of bundle. If u buy bundle, its as low as 25cents /MB I AM MOVING to 8.ta definitely , especially that I can pay R2.50 a day for sms and receive 55 sms in one day WOW !!!