Working at the cutting edge of the telecoms industry is wired for challenges

Maryanne Maina

Maryanne Maina

Deon Liebenberg works in the cutting-edge field of telecommunications, specifically with the BlackBerry brand.

Blackberry is a wireless, handheld device which supports e-mail, mobile telephone, text messaging, Internet faxing, web browsing and other wireless information services.

Developed by the Research In Motion (RIM), BlackBerry delivers information over the wireless data networks of mobile phone service companies.

Liebenberg, the commercial director of RIM, South Africa, describes how he reached the position he is in: "I joined RIM in June this year as the director of commercial relationship in South Africa," he says.

RIM is the manufacturer of BlackBerry® smartphones and developer of BlackBerry® solutions"

"I am responsible for growing RIM's South African business, building awareness for the BlackBerry smartphone brand in South Africa, and maintaining relationships with key stakeholders within the mobile service provider environment."

RIM is building awareness through above- and below-the-line marketing.

Awareness also relies heavily on word of mouth from consumers and businesspeople who talk about their positive experiences with BlackBerry.

Liebenberg has more than 15 years' experience in the telecoms industry. He has held several sales and business development positions, including assignments abroad.

But what does it take to work in this career?

"You need passion, energy and integrity to succeed in the fast-paced telecoms industry. The ability to build successful relationships on a personal and business level is key," says Liebenberg. "It is also important to have knowledge of all aspects of the industry, including business, commercial, technical and financial spheres."

He has a BEcon,Bachelor of Business Management and Administration and MBA from the University of Stellenbosch.

He says he faces many challenges in his exciting job.

RIM is in the process of accelerating its growth, and as part of this, challenges include demystifying technologies like 3G and HSDPA, and driving the value proposition and benefits of true mobility through continuous education, Liebenberg says.

To keep updated, Liebenberg reads relevant newsletters which he can access from his BlackBerry smartphone. He also reads newspapers and attends industry-related events.

"I also get a lot of insight through collaboration and personal relationships," he adds.

If you are in this job you should join the SA Cellular Telecommunications Association, an independent non-profit association representing the mobile cellular public switched and fixed mobile telecommunications industry in the country.