8ta, the consumer mobile arm of telecommunications operator Telkom, has agreed to sponsor South Africa’s Premier Soccer League (PSL) for the next five years. This puts paid to talk, initiated by Telkom, that the 8ta brand was to be retired in favour of Telkom Mobile.
Telkom consumer services and retail MD Manelisa Mavuso says 8ta will be the “formal mobile supplier to the PSL for all mobile services”. He says the scale of the PSL makes it an ideal platform for the brand to reach its target market.
Last week, Telkom said it intended to consolidate its mobile and fixed businesses under the Telkom brand, with the 8ta name to fall away over time in favour of Telkom Mobile. Telkom has used its own brand for the enterprise portion of its mobile business since the early days of 8ta, which was launched in 2010.
A day later, however, Telkom appeared to backtrack on its earlier statement, saying the 8ta brand would not be discontinued but would instead be “repositioned into specific market segments”.
“Convergence is the wave of the future and our mobile network is a critical building block to deliver this converged future,” says Mavuso.
“Going forward, we will serve some parts of the market through the Telkom Mobile brand and some parts of the market through the 8ta brand,” he says. “Our offerings under each brand will be based on the way customers actually use voice and data rather than being limited by traditional marketing models.”
Mavuso says this decision was taken following “a great deal of investigation and deliberation” and that the decision was based on the benefits of “leveraging off the strong Telkom brand equity in the context of our convergence agenda”.
When asked whether Telkom Mobile will be the enterprise arm of the company’s mobile business while 8ta serves as the consumer arm, Telkom Mobile MD Attila Vitai says that’s the “general trend” and “as a kind of overriding statement it’s in the right direction”, but he adds that thinking of it that way is “an oversimplification”.
The suggestion that the 8ta brand was to be phased out came from an internal letter that forms just a small part of the company’s internal communication and was, as such, “taken out of context”, according to Vitai.
With 8ta having enjoyed some success with the youth market, Mavuso emphasises that the brand will not be discontinued. Instead, he says, the brand is simply being repositioned.
“8ta is part of Telkom. For a long time our strategy was to build the best, and possibly the only, converged service in South Africa. In building our converged strategy we decided we needed a mobile arm,” Mavuso says. “8ta is Telkom.” — (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media