Telkom, 8ta and the ADSL challenge

8ta may be hamstrung by a parent company which is struggling to get the most basic of tasks right, says Cell C CEO

By - March 29, 2012
Mobile operators

8ta will have a hard time competing against Vodacom, MTN and Cell C if Telkom’s performance regarding ADSL is anything to go by. This is according to Cell C’s new CEO Alan Knott-Craig.

Knott-Craig will join Cell C as CEO on 1 April 2012, and said that he will aim to double the company’s market share within three years.

Speaking at an event in Rosebank this week (23 March 2012), Knott-Craig said that he plans to grow Cell C’s market share to 25%. A 25% market share is what is needed for a telecoms operator to become a sustainable business, said Knott-Craig.

The market share needed to become sustainable raises questions about 8ta’s prospects in South Africa.

Knott-Craig has previously said that there is only place for three mobile operators in South Africa. “There will have to be consolidation. I think three is a pretty good number, competitive-wise. I don’t think you can have four in the South African industry, it’s just too small,” Knott-Craig told Business Times.

Alan Knott-Craig

Alan Knott-Craig

When quizzed as to whether 8ta stands a chance to become a sustainable and profitable business, Knott-Craig said that he truly does not know.

Knott-Craig jokingly said that if Telkom’s ADSL service levels are anything to go by, the chance of 8ta succeeding is very slim indeed. “If they cannot even get ADSL right, how will they get wireless right?” asked Knott-Craig.

Knott-Craig described how his Telkom ADSL line was down for a full year during a two year period, but that he could not cancel his ADSL service as he needed the line for a fax service. Knott-Craig said that his specific package meant that cancelling his ADSL line would automatically cancel his fax service as well.

Knott-Craig said that under his leadership, Cell C will have a very strong focus on customer service and support – making it easy for people to do business with the company and get the support they need to make their telecoms products work.

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