2012 was an exciting year in the South African telecommunications and ICT market with the launch of LTE, Telkom facing serious challenges and the growth of smartphone and tablets.
While some of the events, like the launch of Windows 8 and Apple unveiling a smaller iPad, was widely expected, other events took many people by surprise.
With analysts and politicians making predictions and promises respectively, it is not surprising that the last year had its fair share of quotes which were less than prophetic.
Poor predictions and foot-in-mouth quotes are nothing new, and this year’s people join the likes of sir Alan Sugar which said in 2005 that “next Christmas, the iPod will be dead” and Clifford Stoll who wrote in Newsweek in 1995 that “No online database will replace your daily newspaper”.
Here are a few quotes from South Africans which did not live up to its promise, or were just plain dumb.
Frost & Sullivan’s ICT research analyst Mervin Miemoukanda said in March 2012 that Vodacom and MTN are likely to only deploy LTE networks in as much as three years.
On 10 October 2012 Vodacom launched commercial LTE services, with MTN following on 1 December. The operators used re-farmed 1,800Mhz spectrum for LTE, which sidestepped the wait on government and ICASA to hand out spectrum for LTE. 8ta has also started rolling out an LTE network in 2,300Mhz.
On 24 October 2012 the Minister of Communications Dina Pule today thanked the outgoing members of the Telkom Board of Director for their contribution in “turning around Telkom”.
This quote came amidst a debacle which saw the Telkom board so depleted that it could not even form a quorum to elect a new leader for Telkom after CEO Nombulelo Moholi resigned.
A few weeks after Pule’s statement Telkom reported an 80.6% decline in headline earnings per share. Moholi also warned that Telkom’s financial performance will continue to get worse before it improves. Telkom is therefore hardly a company which has been “turned around”.
On 17 January 2012 Alan Knott-Craig’s assistant Kevin Schmidt (now Cell C’s executive of special projects) told MyBroadband that there was no truth in the rumours that the former Vodacom CEO will take over as CEO at Cell C.
Two days later (19 January 2012) Cell C announced that it has decided to appoint Alan Knott-Craig as the new Chief Executive Officer of Cell C.
Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub said in September that Vodacom’s pricing “is now cheaper than most of Europe, especially when you are paying R49 for 500MB, R99 for 1GB and R149 for 2GB”.
A quick analysis showed that Vodacom’s mobile data prices were more expensive than many of Europe’s main operators, including Orange, T-Mobile, Three, Telia and VIP.
The Mail & Guardian reported that Rosey Sekese had told the parliamentary portfolio committee on communications at previous meetings that she had signed her performance agreement for 2012-2013.
Sekese was in for a surprise when Deputy Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams told parliament that Sekese had still not signed her performance agreement. According to Ndabeni-Abrahams she told Sekese “Madam, you don’t lie to Parliament”.