About 8ta

SA Mobile Landscape Changes, Thursday 14th October 2010:

8ta to get people to talk more

South Africa's mobile landscape changed dramatically today with the launch of 8ta, the country's fourth cellular network operator.

Announcing simple and affordable products and services at a hi-tech launch in Johannesburg, 8ta executives claimed their services will be regarded in South Africa as the one that will "get people to talk more".

Managing Executive of Telkom Mobile (branded as 8ta), Amith Maharaj, told guests, "We will provide the platform for South Africans to communicate more. 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."

Mr Maharaj promised that 8ta products would offer more value than any other network provider. For the first time in South Africa, all prepaid customers will benefit from free talk time to any network every time they receive calls from a mobile phone - 1 free second of airtime for every 3 seconds of call received. This benefit is available all day, every day. Further, calls from 8ta to fixed line will cost 60 % less than typical market rates for similar calls, and there will be a flat rate of R2.50 per minute to over 100 international destinations. Additionally, when you send 5 SMS's in a day, 8ta will give you 50 bonus SMS's at no extra cost to use that same day.

The innovative network will also provide prepaid internet customers with an out-of-bundle rate of R1 per megabyte, while prepaid data bundles can be purchased for as low as 25c per megabyte.

8ta has constructed 800 base stations across the country, and plans to construct a further 3200 base stations over time to improve coverage and connectivity. The services have been built on an end-to-end all-IP 2G and 3G network, which is easily upgradable to LTE (4G). To ensure top notch customer service and quality of experience, a new call centre and new IT systems have also been implemented.

Telkom Group Acting CEO Mr Jeffrey Hedberg said the launch of 8ta was a watershed event. "We are able to mobilise the reliability of fixed-line and the agility of mobile to provide products that South African people really want."

The launch revealed who was behind the high-profile Heita! campaign, which has intrigued the nation for the past weeks.

Telkom SA Managing Director Ms Pinky Moholi said: "We wanted to create a brand that builds upon Telkom's heritage around quality and innovation. At the same time, we realised the need to be simple and to be authentically South African."

With tariffs that are easy to understand and buy, and with no hidden costs, 8ta looks forward to serving more of the population more of the time.

Additional Technical Information

The 8ta network will provide voice and data products and services over a unified 2G / 3G network. The state of the art network leverages a number of key technological advantages including software definable radios, remote electrical tilt antennas, an all-IP backhaul network, and a tailor made subscriber management platform. The billing systems deployment ensures that all our customers, and not only those using prepaid services, have access to real-time usage information so that they can understand their consumption moment by moment, without unexpectedly high bills at the end of the month.

The Radio Access Network supports HSPA, is configured for downlink speeds up to 7.2Mbps, and can be provisioned to support download speeds of up to 21Mbps. In addition the network hardware allows for a seamless migration to LTE (4G). A further advantage of the selected dualband network infrastructure is the significant power efficiency realized over other legacy system (30% improvement). This translates into a far more cost effective, sustainable and environmentally friendly network deployment.

The network architecture deployed is fully IP-based, from base station to core. It allows maximum efficiency of the backhaul while providing the relevant prioritisation of mobile service flows, translating into a better quality of service and overall experience for the customer.

The 8ta network aims to further differentiate itself from its competitors by offering services never before seen in South Africa. In support of this the Core Applications and Services network makes use of cutting edge technology that is IP based, enabling flexible, innovative and quick-to-market services.

A national roaming agreement will see 8ta's network augmented by MTN's national coverage footprint at launch. This arrangement will support 8ta in extending its reach of services such as voice, 2G and 3G data, SMS, MMS and USSD to more than 96% of South Africans. In addition, 8ta will also offer a full international roaming service through another established and experienced international service provider when it launches post-paid services next month.

Corporate Profile: 8ta

8ta is a high quality and innovative mobile service provider that provides South African consumers and enterprises the ability to talk more. Launched in October 2010, 8ta uses states of the art Radio Access Network (RAN), Core and IT technology to deliver products that are of high value, simple to use and of superb quality. Additionally, 8ta has partnered with leading channel/ distribution partners to ensure that its products and services will be widely available to all South Africans.

The 8ta network will provide voice and data products/ services over a unified 2G and 3G network which leverages a number of key technological advantages including: software definable radios, remote electrical tilt antennas, an all IP backhaul network as well as a tailor made subscriber management platform. This ensures that we have good coverage countrywide and prevents congestion in the network keeping calls up and clear during peak traffic times. The billing systems deployment ensures that all our customers, and not only those using prepaid services, have access to real-time usage information so that they can understand their consumption moment by moment, to prevent being hit unexpectedly with high bills at the end of the month.

The Radio Access Network supports HSPA and is configured for downlink speeds up to 7.2Mbps and can be provisioned to support download speeds of up to 21Mbps. In addition the network hardware that is deployed allows for a seamless migration to LTE (4G). A further advantage of the selected dualband network infrastructure is the significant power efficiency realized over other legacy systems (30% improvement). This translates into a very cost effective, sustainable and environmentally friendly network deployment.

The network architecture deployed is a fully IP based network from base station to core. It allows maximum efficiency of the backhaul while providing the relevant prioritisation of mobile service flows, translating into a better quality of service and overall experience for the customer.

The 8ta network aims to further differentiate itself from its competitors by offering services never before seen in South Africa. In support of this the Core, Applications and Services network makes use of cutting edge technology that is IP based which enables flexible, and innovative capabilities that provide 8ta the ability to quickly introduce new services to the market.

To put our products and services within easy reach of all South Africans, 8ta has created a countrywide sales network that includes the major consumer retailers and mobile wholesalers, as well as 132 Telkom Direct outlets across South Africa and the 8ta flagship stores.

8ta is supported by an extremely innovative and energetic employee base that has expertise across the technology, product development, sales and support services spectrum. Additionally, the management team is made up of professionals who understand the mobile industry deeply, and who have seized the opportunity to revitalise the mobile marketplace by launching a new, South African-owned mobile network operator.

About Telkom

Telkom is a leading communications services provider in South Africa and on the African continent. We had consolidated normalised operating revenue from continuing operations of R37.0 billion and normalised profit for the year from continuing operations of Telkom of R2.3 billion in the year ended 31 March 2010. Total assets from continuing operations amounted to R56.8 billion and equity attributable to the owners of Telkom to R29.9 billion as of 31 March 2010. The group generated normalised free cash flow of R5.5 billion for the year ended 31 March 2010.

As of 31 March 2010, we had approximately 4.3 million telephone access lines in service and 99.9% of our telephone access lines were connected to digital exchanges. We offer business, residential and payphone customers a wide range of services and products, including:

  • fixed-line voice services, including subscriptions and connections services, local, long distance, fixed-to-other operators and international voice services, interconnection services which includes hubbing communications services and international voice over internet protocol services, subscription based value-added voice services and customer premises equipment rental and sales;
  • data and internet services, including domestic and international data transmission services, such as point to point leased lines, ADSL services, managed packet-based services and W-CDMA data services, managed data networking services and internet access and related information technology services;
  • fixed, mobile, data and international communications services in Nigeria through our Multi-Links subsidiary; and
  • other services including directory services, through Trudon (Proprietary) Limited, wireless data services, through Swiftnet (Proprietary) Limited, internet services outside South Africa, through Africa Online Limited and MWEB Africa Limited and provision of management services to ICT (Information Communication and Technology) through Telkom Management Services.

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