Prepare for better telephone services and prices as Neotel comes to town

TACTFUL STANCE: Telkom says it welcomes the competition, though the company will face an uphill struggle against new fixed-line operator Neotel. 
 
Generic Telkom picture for brands & branding: man uses telephone in  call box with telkom logo. Pic: Jeremy Glyn. 
15/09/2003. © Sunday Times.

BD Africa 12 Jan 2007, pg 21. SA's Telkom has said it is looking to expand into Nigeria, Kenya, Botswana, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
TACTFUL STANCE: Telkom says it welcomes the competition, though the company will face an uphill struggle against new fixed-line operator Neotel. Generic Telkom picture for brands & branding: man uses telephone in call box with telkom logo. Pic: Jeremy Glyn. 15/09/2003. © Sunday Times. BD Africa 12 Jan 2007, pg 21. SA's Telkom has said it is looking to expand into Nigeria, Kenya, Botswana, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Sibonelo Mkhwanazi

Sibonelo Mkhwanazi

Households can expect cheaper and improved phone services when second network operator Neotel extends its offerings to the consumer market in the second quarter of this year, though the benefits might take time to reach the consumer, said experts.

"The introduction of competition in any industry leads to the benefit of the customer, both in terms of better products and services, as well as reduced prices and better value for money," said Neotel.

The company noted that the last few months leading to its introduction of early wholesale services in August had already seen significant price reductions.

Telkom corporate communications group executive Lulu Letlape said the company welcomed the competition.

"Telkom is committed to customer centricity and the overall effect of the price adjustments will be a reduction in the cost of telecommunications, thus expanding access to phone services to all."

Other service providers are also offering telecoms services using wireless broadband and Voice over Internet Protocol, which is a cheaper voice service.

BMI-TechKnowledge telecommunications analyst Richard Hurst said by using wireless technology, "the services will become more widely available to more South Africans serving as a catalyst to the take up of broadband and voice services at a cost-effective rate, meaning we should see an increased number of connections across the country".

But he warned that consumers should not expect massive bloodletting in terms of prices. He said certain mechanisms needed to be in place before "we can start to see the fruits of a liberalised fixed line telecoms sector".

"Key among these will be the unbundling of the local loop and co-location and sharing of facilities. This enabler of the competitive environment needs to be driven by the government and the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa."

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