8ta one step closer to full operation

8ta launched on 14 October 2010, promising to shake up the local cellular market with simpler and cheaper ways to communicate.

8ta Managing Executive Amith Maharaj said at that time that they “will provide the platform for South Africans to communicate more. I’m not exaggerating when I say that this is the start of a new era in mobile phone communication in South Africa. Consumers will at last have a real choice.”

Telkom entered the market in October last year with prepaid voice and data offerings, and only a few weeks later competitively priced contract offerings were launched.

8ta boosted its product range at the end of April with aggressively priced BlackBerry packages which include 500MB of free YouTube data – a first in the local market.

Amith Maharaj

8ta network progress

At launch 8ta had already constructed 800 base stations across the country, and planned to erect a further 3,200 base stations over time to improve coverage and connectivity. Whilst 8ta is still growing its network, the operator has full national coverage through their roaming agreement with MTN.

Despite the fact that 8ta currently has well over 1,000 active base stations which are already serving its data subscribers, they do not want to move their voice customers to the new network before they have adequate coverage to ensure high service levels and minimal dropped calls.

8ta has taken a big step towards switching on its own network for all services. This past weekend (7-8 May 2011) 8ta enabled all Telkom staff with 8ta services running on its own network. The enabling of Telkom staff to use the 8ta network will be handled as a pilot before all 8ta customers are enabled to use the 8ta network for all cellular services.

Telkom confirms progress

Telkom confirmed that their employees were informed on 6 May 2011 that they would be the first to experience 8ta’s own network where feasible. “Company personnel will utilise 8ta’s own network first and roam onto the MTN network where 8ta coverage is not available,” 8ta said.

“A phased approach is being utilised to ensure that subscribers will have a good experience on 8ta’s network. It is important to note that subscribers of 8ta’s Internet Contracts (Internet 1, 2 and 3), since launch of these packages, have been connecting to 8ta’s network first and then roam onto MTN’s network when no coverage is available,” said 8ta.

8ta was asked about their next steps, but the company said that this information is of strategic importance to the company and hence cannot be disclosed at this stage.

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8ta one step closer to full operation