Competing with the best (continued)

In a Telkom presentation at Rhodes University on August 22, the Telkom media spokespeople spoke about “investing in change”. This presentation continues the idea of competition leading to innovation. There are two lessons to be learned from this Telkom illustration.

Firstly, Telkom, which funded the Rhodes University and Journalism Careers Indaba, elaborates on my previous post, “Competing with the Best”, that competition gives rise to innovation, in the many ways.

In the 1960s, South Africa was connected to 72 nations through Telkom. In the 1990s, South Africa launched its mobile operations, underwritten by Telkom in partnership with Vodafone. This subsidary grew to be Vodacom, which Telkom sold in late 2008 in preference for its own 3G network.

Telkom, which was previously a parastatal company,  had the monopoly in telecommunications in South Africa. Neotel has since come into the mix and has become a major competitor for Telkom.

Naas Fourie, the chief of strategy at Telkom, says “Defending one’s market share in today’s competitive market environment is no longer enough.”

This is one of the aspects that drives Telkom to do better, and develop ICTs (Information Communication Technology). Telkom is therefore promising to adopt new strategies in an attempt to keep their customers. They want to connect Africa to the rest of the world and are in the process of providing more options for their customers in an attempt to keep them from switching to Neotel.

Telkom is also trying to improve their brand and there name and are sponsoring connections to the 2010 World Cup.

Here are some of the promises Telkom has made:

According to Telkom, they have 29 points of presence, 46 mobile broadband transceiver, 31 fixed broadband  wireless access transceiver stations, 17 network centres as well as improving call centres.

  • Telkom is also offering training and bursaries to computer and other electronic engineers to further enhance the skills in South Africa. ICT skills like infrastructure are scarce in South Africa.

The second important aspect of this illustration is going viral and is the ICT adaptation and transformation and what this means for businesses.

Even though there is a digital divide, mobile or wireless access and cheaper ICTs mean that more people can access this facility in an attempt to connect more people.

These changes can only mean great things for digital businesses and the information sector.

If these sectors create a creative strategy and solid business model, this better digitalised economy will be very beneficial and create many other opportunities.

Would Telkom have done changed and innovated if Neotel, MTN, Vodacom and Cell C, had not existed in South Africa? Would they have lost their customers in the rural areas because there is no infrastructure in the rural areas and mobile phones would be a more viable option?

For more information about Telkom and their challenges, ups and downs look at “A moment of silence” and “Odds and Ends” from Cath’s The Next Generation TV show.

TIP: Innovate don’t stagnate.

Like Naas Fourie says, It is not enough just to compete with the competition, but to far exceed them. So look at where your competition is ahead and innovate in order to exceed them.

Published in: on August 25, 2009 at 6:47 pm  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,