Telkom CEO Sipho Maseko recently announced that Telkom wants to position itself as the “carrier of carriers” while speaking at the 17th annual Southern African Telecommunications Networks and Applications Conference (SATNAC).
Telkom is priming itself to become a central player in South Africa’s National Development Plan, which seeks to provide broadband to all citizens by 2020.
At the same time the telco is focused on rebranding and restricting itself, in an attempt to improve both financially and in terms of reputation.
This plan is already beginning to show dividends as Telkom says it has so far managed to save R87.5 million, by curbing procurement costs and promoting a more “conscious and effective Telkom culture”.
In order to do this the company has identified 71 initiatives to curb wasteful spending in the company. Their long term goal is to cut R1 billion in costs per year for the next five years.
In its latest full year results, Telkom’s continuing turnaround strategy proved effective as the group swung back into profit after two years of full year losses.
With the imminent launch of its first commercial fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) offerings, Telkom has also set in motion a plan to shake up the way Internet service providers sell broadband, as well as the way consumers buy fixed broadband services.
They will be offering FTTH on an “open access” basis with the potential to extend this to the company’s traditional copper-based digital subscriber line (DSL) network over time.
This means that consumers will be able to purchase all the components of their broadband service from their Internet service provider for one fixed monthly amount, without having to buy any services directly from Telkom.
“As part of our turnaround, we’ve given this matter much thought. It is our belief that Telkom is ideally positioned to be the ‘anchor’ in a public-private partnership to realise the national broadband plan.” said Maseko.
In a new reality where traditional fixed-line business is being usurped by new, data-centric technology Telkom will need to work hard to remain relevant.
Maseko also made the point that Telkom has been central to much of the telecoms infrastructure development in South Africa over the last decade – including undersea cables, regional data backhaul, fibre rollout and mobile network build.
The company has a fibre footprint of about 147 000km, over 16 500 fibre distribution points, 3G coverage that reaches approximately 55% of the population, over 1 100 live long-term evolution sites and about 3 600 WiFi access points.