Yes that’s right apart from the likes of Virgin, CellC, Vodacom and MTN we’re soon to be spoiled with yet another choice in what mobile operator we choose to use to power the likes of our BB’s and Iphones. 8ta (a Telkom run vibe) becomes South Africa’s 5th mobile operator and to be honest I am a little sceptical this brand new offering. You see most things in the past that have been associated with Telkom often evoked a pain similar to being dragged over hot coals naked, covered in flammable jelly in anyone expecting good customer service or reasonable costs.
The fixed-line operator, which sold its 50% stake in cellphone company Vodacom in 2009, announced its mobile offering at a lavish function at Lanseria Airport on Thursday. 8ta will initially offer prepaid services, with contract packages to follow next month in November.
Sadly though they’re not making a very good start… 8ta‘s call rates, charged per minute, are definately not cheap when compared to the per-second billing by Vodacom and MTN… Bleh
8ta‘s mobile to fixed-line call rate of 65c per minute is the most attractive offering (eh stupid Telkom trying to get us to call landlines), while mobile-to-mobile calls are R1.50, regardless of when the call is made (which is both cool and stupid at the same time- go figure). Users get one free second for outgoing calls for every three seconds an incoming call lasts, while 50 free SMSes, valued at 50c each, are given for a specific day when five paid-for SMSes are sent.
Prepaid Internet customers pay R1 per megabyte out-of-bundle, while data bundles are 25c per megabyte.
Apparently the peeps over at Telkom rate they’ll turn a profit within 4 years because they’re that awesome- this is HIGHLY unlikely as Cell C- launched in 2001- is yet to turn a net profit. Ag well at least they’re optimistic.
Amith Maharaj, managing executive of 8ta, said prepaid products would be available at Edgars, Jet, CNA, Altech Autopage Cellular and Smartcall. “Other large retailers, such as Shoprite and Pick n Pay, will be on stream shortly,” he added.
The network name is derived from the word “heita” – a South African slang word meaning “hello”. Nice touch… We’ll just have to wait and see whether this new mobile operator will be able to give us the proper levels service and product packages we’ve all been waiting for South Africa since the days of the brick Nokia (word to all of you that know)…