Telkom has announced that it is decommissioning its prepaid fixed-line service after migrating 96% of these customers to wireless products.
The company said its wireless technology is more reliable than copper infrastructure, which can be severely impacted by adverse weather conditions and cable theft.
This migration is one stage of Telkom’s plan to shut down its copper network entirely in the next five years, a strategy which was previously confirmed by Telkom CEO Sipho Maseko.
“There will come a time when we switch off the copper technology, because what you also don’t want to do is to maintain two or three different networks at the same time as that drives cost,” Maseko said.
Following the announcement of the prepaid fixed line migration and successful decommissioning of the platform, MyBroadband spoke to Telkom CVM Managing Executive Bertus van der Vyver about the company’s strategy for moving customers off copper.
He said this migration would proceed in batches, adding that Telkom would soon publish a migration plan sorted by area to help customers see when they need to move across from ADSL and other copper-based products.
Below is an overview of Telkom’s strategy to migrate voice and DSL customers to LTE and fibre-based services.
Telkom has successfully shut down its copper-based prepaid voice service , and it will now target the postpaid fixed-line segment.
Van der Vyver said Telkom has been actively migrating postpaid voice to fixed wireless and fibre-based platforms through specialised SmartVoice offerings.
“We have created a new set of propositions for those that migrate their line called SmartVoice,” he said.
These packages are similar to Telkom’s FreeMe mobile packages and include various features over and above a similarly-priced copper voice line.
“The postpaid proposition for voice customers is an entire range of SmartVoice products with included minutes, data, and free on-net calls,” van der Vyver said.
In areas where there is fibre coverage, ADSL and VDSL subscribers will be migrated to attractive capped and uncapped fibre packages.
Van der Vyver said Telkom wants to complete this copper-to-fibre migration by the end of September.
He said Telkom customers can expect communication from the company about the available packages and enhanced offerings soon.
“These offers typically come in the form of UnlimitedHome fibre packages, which can be installed and activated quickly depending on the fibre network in the customer’s area,” van der Vyver said.
LTE – Capped and uncapped
The most difficult segment of customers to migrate is users who have DSL connections, but do not live in an area covered by any fibre network.
Telkom will offer these customers LTE deals which deliver similar functionality to their DSL connections.
“We have created a few price points and benefits for the capped customers. They can often move over to LTE and get unlimited speeds at the same cap level,” van der Vyver said.
He added that uncapped DSL customers are more difficult to cater for. However, Telkom tailored LTE solutions which mirror their current services.
This entails limiting the speed of the LTE connection to the same level as their DSL line, but offering uncapped data for the same price.
Van der Vyver said a standard FUP would be in place to prevent abuse of this offering.
The benefits of these customers moving from DSL to wireless, he said, are compounded by the increased service levels they have been shown to receive.
He added that following the implementation of Telkom’s roaming agreement with Vodacom, customers should have coverage in most places across the country.