“Our system is offline”. This is the message which greets thousands of people when they visit a Telkom store, trying to buy a new product or resolve a problem.
System downtime regularly occurs at Telkom stores across South Africa and can last for long periods of time.
What it means is that Telkom employees cannot sell any new products or assist existing subscribers if they have an issue.
MyBroadband regularly visits Telkom stores to purchase products for testing purposes, but system downtime often prevents us from buying new products.
In the most recent incident, MyBroadband was unable to purchase a SIM at the Telkom store in Brooklyn Mall. This was on Saturday, 7 March.
The store attendant told MyBroadband the system had been down for two days. She said they hoped it would come back online by Sunday.
The impact of the downtime, and the general lack of trust in using Telkom stores, was clearly visible – there was no one in the store.
The Vodacom store, which is located only a few metres away from the Telkom store in Brooklyn Mall, was packed.
Most of the people in the Vodacom store were purchasing mobile contracts and devices, which showed that there was strong demand for mobile products.
Despite this demand the Telkom store was empty. Telkom has many attractive products, but people did not see the company’s store as a good avenue to buy these products.
This is most likely because of poor service levels which are associated with Telkom stores, which include regular system downtime.
MyBroadband asked Telkom for comment, but the company did not respond by the time of publication.
Telkom versus Vodacom stores
The photos below show the difference in client numbers at the Telkom and Vodacom stores in Brooklyn Mall on Saturday.