Telkom’s mobile launch: live blog

We are now live-blogging the mobile network launch by telecommunications group Telkom. Keep hitting “refresh” in your browser for the latest updates. And while you’re here, why not take a moment to subscribe to our daily e-newsletter or follow us on Twitter?


Okay, folks, I think that’s a wrap. Locnville looks like they’re on stage for the long haul, so we’re going to pack up this show and hit the road back to Johannesburg. We hope you’ve enjoyed this live blog. We will repeat it at the next big technology industry event. Let us know what you thought of it and how we might improve it next time. Heita!


A band called Locnville is now on stage. Duncan has just been told he’s old because he’s never heard of them.


Things seem to be wrapping up here.


We’ve just been joined here by Talk Radio 702’s Aki Anastasiou


Telkom is dishing out 8ta Sim cards to all members of the audience. Big applause from the crowd.


Telkom’s Amith Maharaj, who heads up 8ta for Telkom


Telkom’s Stephen Blewitt has just taken the stage


Entire network is Internet Protocol-enabled, from the access network to the core


You can dial *188# to see how many free minutes you have accumulated


For every three minutes of calls you RECEIVE, Telkom will provide you with one minute of OUTGOING calls. If you receive a call of three seconds, you get one second to call out.


R1,50/minute for 8ta calls to any mobile network, as we mentioned earlier in the evening.


Calls from from 8ta mobile phones to fixed-lines is 65c/minute, as we posted earlier… Vodacom, MTN and Cell C will have to react to that by slashing their rates.


“If you buy a prepaid data bundle, you could pay as little as 25c/MB. No strings attached. SMS is 50c. If you send five SMSes in a day, 8ta will reward you with 50 free SMSes in that day, every day!”


Flat-rate tariffs day and night. Data rate: on prepaid data side, we’re starting with R1/MB, flat, out of bundle. Big cheers from the audience!


Launching prepaid voice and data services on Monday. Post-paid products will follow in November.


We hope you’re enjoying our coverage. If you have suggestions as to how we can improve the next live-blogging event, please e-mail us at info at techcentral dot co dot za.


8ta has four flagship stores and 20 more outlets around the country.


“Today we have built over 800 base stations.”


The skies have opened again over Lanseria airport. Pounding on the roof.


“We’re really going to knock your socks off in a short while.”


“South African consumers talk two to three times less than their counterparts elsewhere in the world.” — Amith Maharaj


And we’re back. Amith Maharaj, the managing executive at Telkom in charge of 8ta, has just taken the stage at the Telkom mobile launch.


Beaming: Telkom SA MD Pinky Moholi


Photo of the day: Telkom SA MD Pinky Moholi with MTN SA MD Karel Pienaar at the 8ta launch


Things are starting to drag out a bit here. The breaks between announcements are too long. The catering is terribly slow.


Former Telkom CEO Reuben September at the 8ta launch event


8ta is HERE! This is the branding. You saw it here first!


Very powerful branding! 8ta


Candice is snapping away. We’ll have branding pictures up in a few minutes


Suddenly the pink branding is explained. A giant pink giant has just come down over the stage with a smiley face on it


IT’S OFFICIAL! Telkom Mobile’s name is 8ta!!! We called it first here on TechCentral!


“081” has just flashed up the video walls!


We just bumped into former Internet Solutions CEO Angus MacRobert and MTN SA MD Karel Pienaar.


Moholi has stopped talking and we have cut away to a video…


“Heita says ‘let’s talk’. Heita says ‘please call me’.”


Communications minister Siphiwe Nyanda. Remember to click on the photos for larger versions


“Our aspirations are to disrupt the mobile industry! We have to change the rules of the game to favour consumers. Our target market is everyone.” — Pinky Moholi


Telkom SA MD Pinky Moholi has just taken to the stage.


Candice Jones has just gone off to take Siphiwe Nyanda’s photo. Musicians have cranked up the sound on stage.


Performers are back on stage. Looks like things are getting going again here…


Just bumped into Telkom’s regulatory affairs group executive Andrew Barendse. One of the most gentlemanly people you could hope to meet.


BDFM MD Mzi Malunga has just come over to our table, aka the “TechCentral live-blogging booth”.


Hedberg has left the stage. Starters are being served. Main presentation is probably 15-20 minutes away.


Telkom acting CEO Jeffrey Hedberg live on stage.


“Eight days ago we lost one of the key individuals in the company in a car accident. Sammy Gumbe provided quality, humility and humanity. His spirit is with all of us…”


“As our competitors move from mobile into fixed … if we didn’t have that mobile enabler it would be very difficult to compete.”


“The other opportunity is in the enterprise market … what is going to be key for Telkom is this enabler called mobility. If we didn’t move into mobile, we would be competitively disadvantaged…”


“The opportunity is not just coming as a pure-play wireless operator. It’s about a bundle. Here’s a laptop with a dongle, here’s your DSL line, and we bundle that.”


“We have an infrastructure at Telkom. This is not a greenfields [project].”


Freshly Ground live on stage.


“This was one of the most comprehensive market research studies ever undertaken.”


“This is a defining moment for Telkom.”


“HEITA!” shouts Hedberg. “HEITA!” shouts the 900-strong audience.


“SANIBONANI!” shouts Jeffrey Hedberg. Hedberg is now speaking in Zulu.


Telkom acting CEO Jeffrey Hedberg (“the kid from Boston”) is taking the stage.


Siphiwe Nyanda, the communications minister, is in the house.


We’re working our sources here. Appears Telkom Mobile (aka 8ta) will be charging 25c/MB in-bundle and R1/MB out of bundle. Don’t take it as gospel yet, but that’s what a Telkom insider has told us.


Hello, sawubona, HEITA! Things have got underway. And Freshly Ground has just taken to the stage.


Icasa councillor William Stucke with his wife Chuné


Telkom has spared no expense for this launch


Everyone has been told to take their seats. The function is about to start.


More pricing details to follow shortly…


WE HAVE PRICING! Just heard from a Telkom insider: Telkom will charge 65c/minute for cellphone to landline calls and R1,50/minute for calls to all mobiles.


Just spotted: Karel Pienaar, MD of MTN SA, Telkom’s roaming partner


Just had a great chat with Andre Joubert from MWeb Business. He reckons Telkom is going to shake up the mobile market.


We’ve just heard that President Jacob Zuma is coming to tonight’s event


Just spotted in the crowd: former Telkom CEO Reuben September. Now that’s interesting…


We’ve been seated at table 77. It looks like Telkom is going to put on a helluva show.


We just bumped into John Holdsworth of ECN Telecoms.


William Stucke is haranguing us for writing “Icasa” instead of “ICASA”. LOL


Madness at the registration desk


The entrance hallway to the hangar at Lanseria airport, where Telkom is launching SA’s fourth mobile operator, 8ta!


Techno music is playing through the sound system. People milling around drinking orange juice and sparkling wine. Icasa councillor William Stucke has just come over to say “hi”.


Our friend Simon Dingle from has just joined us in what he calls the “TechCentral blogging booth”.


Candice Jones is taking photos. We’ll upload some soon. There’s no Cell C 3G coverage here yet, but the Vodacom signal seems okayish.


Big crowd here. About 900 people expected here tonight. Big queue at the reception desk. Registration is terribly slow. We can’t see this starting on time.


We were right. Telkom’s new mobile network is called 8ta.


Telkom closed down 0,4% today, at R37,40. It will be instructive to see what the share price does tomorrow.


And apparently — this is not confirmed — the name of the new business is 8ta! Watch this space for more…


Word on the street is that Telkom is going to drop a bit of a bombshell on the mobile industry tonight when it announces its pricing.


Only a few hours to go until the launch. What are you expecting Telkom to announce this evening? Use the comments box below and share your predictions and expectations.


We will be live-blogging the Telkom mobile launch at Lanseria airport on Thursday night. Check back then…

Share this article

  • gareth

    this is going to be interesting i am anxious to see the outcome of all this

  • Bruce

    This will be very interesting to see. I suspect they will launch their long-awaited Heita! (or 8ta as it is now called) mobile service as they have advertised in the flyers they are now putting out. It will be very interesting to see how they do.

  • Editor

    Yes, Bruce, everything is pointing to it being called 8ta

  • Paulo

    I hope Telkom Mobile’s staff did their research, and hopefully realise the mistakes that Neotel made. They’re entering a market that is already saturated by their competition, who’ve been doing business in that market for decades, Telkom Mobile will HAVE to offer consumers much better deals, in order to convince the consumers to move from MTN/VodaCom/Cell-C to Telkom Mobile.
    If they follow the “Neotel” route and offer similar services at similar prices, Telkom Mobile will have a short future.

  • James

    call from 8ta to fixed line, R0.65 per min, call to cell line R1.50.

  • Thapelo_Daison

    This is great wow :D live blogging I mean.

  • John

    Don’t really see Telkom ‘dropping a bombshell’ wrt pricing. Expect them to undercut Vodacom and MTN but not by much.

  • Thapelo_Daison

    Tell William Stucke we need wimax now!!!. We are far behind other countries because of ICASA or icasa.

  • Greg

    What a big waste of money! Just hand out some pamphlets with price plans on. Nobody actually cares about anything else.

  • nyasha

    kinda disappointing, nothing about phones on offer or anything exciting like that? Or maybe free something for the first a 100? whats the point of hyping us up to just tell us about R1,50 a min…. I mean i thought Apple taught us the call and sms plans dont sell phones.

  • nyasha

    sorry forgot my manners! Techcentral rocks!!!

  • Graeme

    The pricing seems very good. Pity their webmasters weren’t kept in the loop…. redirects to which doesn’t exist.

  • TMan

    Duncan/Candice: great work u doing 2nite. Bn glued to ur site, so much so that I’ve checked my gf’s mails:)
    The call rates, especially to landline, are really good. I’m getting my 8ta SIM as soon as possible!

  • h3660

    Pricing means nothing without proper signal coverage… What is cheaper if I can’t make a call

  • Stephen Phogojane

    Great job guys…. Been on the net for hours and enjoying every moment. @ h3660… lets’s wait for the roll-out before we judge. Personally i think there is no better positioned new entrant to the market than Telkom, better yet 8ta.

  • TendaiSeanJoe

    TechCentral is the best South African tech website ,i will make sure i am here 3 times more every day.I almost missed this event .

    I however tweeted your live blog entries and some followers were excited ,ofcourse i acknowledged you guys as original owners of the works


  • gareth

    Well I am happy with what Telkom had to offer I do not expect a company to offer impossible major cuts. I must say the live feed was amazing well we will see the respond to the other networks pretty soon our locals love to complain when there are new products or changes given to them I rather have more choices over nothing we cannot expect magic from any company no matter how big then again we cannot please everybody.

  • Greg

    To sum up: The calls that most people make are the same price as CellC, Data is a rip-off, and the niche market of landlines/international calls are cheaper. Go telkom!

    They should have just taken away those stupid usual bonus “if-you-do-this-you-get-that” incentives and dropped their prices by 20% so they could actually claim to be the cheapest.

  • Swannie

    Very disappointed with their data offerings which, in general, remain a rip-off. The irony is that I’m forced to use Vodacom 3G for internet access as Telkom can’t provide (sufficient) ADSL access where I’m living. Telkom’s 1 Gig at R250 is no less expensive than Vodacom’s R289 for 1.2 Gig. I would have loved to see them starting a “price war” on data costs.

  • http://telkom frans

    im telkom field tech and i was never invited to the launch,the point is im still working with copper meaning im outdated,i feel confused and disappointed for the fact that i have national diploma in electrical eng but telkom chose to recruit from outside the company than to upgrade me with the recent technology.we where even told early next we gona loose our jobs in huge magin.

  • http://telkom frans

    Very disappointed with their data offerings which, in general, remain a rip-off. The irony is that I’m forced to use Vodacom 3G for internet access as Telkom can’t provide (sufficient) ADSL access where I’m living. Telkom’s 1 Gig at R250 is no less expensive than Vodacom’s R289

  • anil

    telkom has always been a rip off – is this ever a better offer? imagine waiting so long for landline repairs how will we wait for cell querries where I am living

  • Cargo

    I love Telkom mobile (8.ta) we now have a choice and mine is 8ta, we’ve been ripped off for quite some tym and I can tell you that MTN and VC need to up their game and reduce their tarrif and rates. Enough is enough, I am porting to 8ta, bye bye MTN.

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