The South African mobile phone operator industry has been pretty eventful for the last few months. The current lot of hype all started with Cell C’s R160 million advertising campaign causing a lot of attention (especially in the advertising industry) for using comedian Trevor Noah as Chief Complaints Officer (or something) and then there was the small thing of their national campaign for 4Gs being forcefully pulled (for the false 4G claim).
Now Telkom (aka Hellkom), South Africa’s monopoly fixed line operator has announced their brand new cellphone network “8ta”. (itnewsafrica.com/?p=9197)
I feel that Cell C has been saying “Hi, we are here! Look at us! We know we’ve got network problems but that’s nothing loads of [budget for] advertising can’t fix. Come on, you know you want to hop on over to our network. Pleeeeaaaase.”.
Now we have Telkom saying “Hi, check us out. We are all shiny and new. We know we have the monopoly on fixed lines and we are the reason for the crazy cost of internet bandwidth in South Africa, but we’re launching a new mobile network. Whoopdy doo. And oh yeah, it’s going to be a whole new era of mobile communication. A whole new era we tell you….”
So I’m stuck between feeling like Telkom has totally stolen Cell C’s thunder from what has been a ridiculously costly, in your face strategy . On the other hand there is Telkom’s track record of having technology that is a little bit behind the times, generally offering fairly poor customer support and being the monopoly that has caused the sluggish internet development in South Africa.
Telkom’s new network is going to be “easily upgraded to 4G”. Seriously, 2010, new mobile network and it’s not even 4G. See previous point about Telkom being sluggish with new technology.
What to do. Enjoy the sunshine I guess. That works pretty well in South Africa.