SA’s top operators share govt’s lucrative telecoms tender

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All four mobile network providers in SA are beneficiaries of the lucrative government communications contract, which has come into effect today.

The multibillion-rand RT-15 contract, previously solely held by Vodacom, was split among MTN, Telkom, Cell C and Vodacom.

The mobile operators will provide telecoms services to government and each company will supply tailored mobile bundles for voice, data and SMS at fair prices to all departments and agencies.

Treasury announced this week it had awarded the RT15 contract to the four companies and it will run until 2026.

For the telcos, the deal includes the supply of mobile devices, mainly from local manufacturers, and the provision of accessories such as power storage units, charging cables, Bluetooth devices, earphones and pouches.

Value-added services, such as international roaming and helpdesk services, are also included in the contract.

The new contract is aimed at keeping government’s communications expenses under control, and it capped mobile spend per civil servant to a maximum of R500/month.

All four of the telcos − Vodacom, MTN, Telkom and Cell C − embraced the opportunity, saying through their innovative solutions, government technology expenditure has been significantly reduced.

“Truly, we are excited to continue our partnership with government for another five years and we will deliver to accelerate its digitalisation programme through the new RT15-2021 transversal contract,” says William Mzimba, CEO of Vodacom Business.

“Through the previous contract, we successfully delivered significant financial benefits in cost savings, expedited and streamlined procurement of services, and ushered unprecedented digitalisation of government departments, agencies, state-owned entities and municipalities.

“In particular, our partnership with government resulted in the improved delivery of education using digital technologies during COVID-19 lockdowns, enhanced citizen engagement and revenue assurance in municipalities through smart metering technologies, and Internet of things solutions for smart asset management and fleet management,” Mzimba notes.

“Our solutions demonstrated that mobile applications are core to the acceleration of government-to-citizen digital service delivery. We are excited to once again have the opportunity to do more together with government.”

Telkom Consumer CEO Serame Taukobong comments: “We couldn’t be prouder to be selected as a worthy partner by National Treasury to back our country by being its enabler in excellent and secure communications, and empower the National Treasury in fulfilling its social and economic duties efficiently, all the while also contributing to the same goal as a business.”

For Cell C, which has been gunning for new opportunities through the implementation of a turnaround strategy, the deal is remarkable.

“This award marks a significant milestone for Cell C and is testament to our understanding of the needs of government and tailoring innovative solutions that matter to them, with extra value. It reflects the confidence in our brand and the tenacity of the company. I’m extremely proud of the effort our team put into Cell C’s proposal,” says Douglas Craigie Stevenson, Cell C CEO.

In a statement, MTN SA says the scale of government’s requirements allowed the mobile operator to develop systems and innovative pricing and products that will add value to the state and improve on existing mobile telecommunications service delivery.

“We are both humbled and honoured by the faith National Treasury has shown in MTN with this critical partnership over a five-year term,” states Godfrey Motsa, MTN SA CEO.

“A huge team at MTN spent months analysing the state’s requirements and then developing the very best solutions to not only meet those expectations, but to exceed them. We were delighted with the very positive reaction from the RT15-2021 bid committee to our service offerings and we are so proud that a company that is South African to its very core will be delivering to our entities of state.”

National Treasury is expected to issue further contract details via a media statement today.

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