Telkom in LTE offensive in Soweto

Admire Moyo
By Admire Moyo, ITWeb's news editor.
Johannesburg, 17 Feb 2020

Financially-constrained Telkom is aggressively pushing its long-term evolution (LTE) offerings in Soweto.

This as the company faces financial challenges which have resulted in the company looking to cut as many as 3 000 jobs.

Telkom has been facing challenges with declining revenue in fixed voice and fixed data services over the years.

This week, the telecommunications company says it will send its team of LTE promoters to different parts of Soweto.

It says this is in line with the company’s ambition to connect South Africans to its LTE services. Importantly, it notes, Telkom wants to educate residents that access to connectivity is not complicated and does not require contracts or waiting for installation.

The telecoms company has urged Soweto residents to open their gates and doors to its sales team.

In SA, Telkom was the pioneering telco to mass-market its fixed-LTE products, before Vodacom, MTN, Cell C and Rain entered the fray.

According to industry body GSMA, LTE is designed to deliver very fast data speeds – faster than most home wired broadband services. It says LTE has the advantage of being backwards-compatible with existing GSM and 3G technologies, enabling mobile operators to deploy LTE and continue to provide a seamless service across existing networks.

Last year, Telkom, which is struggling to compete effectively in SA’s telecoms space, revised its LTE pricing across the board, resulting in huge price cuts.

“The entire postpaid suite has been reworked to not only include new entry-level 10GB and 20GB bundles; SIM-only and top-up offers are also available for customers that already have an LTE router whilst additionally providing 24-month contract options should an LTE router be required,” Telkom said.

This after rival MTN’s Internet service provider Supersonic launched its own wholesale fixed-LTE offering.

Struggling mobile operator Cell C last year exited the wholesale fixed-LTE services, saying the provision of the offering was no longer profitable and impacted the quality of its network.

Cell C provided its wholesale fixed-LTE services through Dimension Data-owned Internet Solutions.

In an e-mail interview with ITWeb, Telkom says its LTE network covers roughly 75% of Soweto’s population with its LTE time division duplex (TDD) and LTE frequency division duplex (FDD) network.

“Our LTE products for prepaid, post-paid and hybrid are available in many of our formal and informal channels to market, including Telkom stores and kiosks. Customers can outright purchase the device and follow the easy steps to recharge with a bundle of their choice through multiple channels, including USSD, self-service portal, Telkom App, in-store at a Telkom shop or kiosk, and national retailers,” says the company.

It notes that extensive LTE TDD and LTE FDD coverage is already in place targeting the majority of areas and customers, including Meadowlands, Protea Glen, Orlando, Jabulani, Dobsonville, Diepmeadow, Pimville and others.

According to Telkom, Soweto has in excess of 600 000 households with a population of 1.7 million across all customer segments.

“Telkom’s LTE network covers roughly 75% of households and population. This is a large market. Many South Africans require affordable, quality data, and Telkom would like to lead the charge in offering these LTE services, thereby making data more affordable for all.”

Telkom has already completed the roll out of LTE TDD and LTE FDD in a number of large townships, including Motherwell, KwaNobuhle, Botshabelo, Mamelodi, Daveyton, Alexandra, Katlehong, Khayelitsha, Mitchells Plein, IBhayi, Tembisa, Ivory Park, Soshanguve and Umlazi, the telco says.