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Why Telkom’s new roaming deal is a game changer

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Telkom announced on Wednesday that this has concluded a new roaming agreement with Vodacom which will allow its customers accessibility to the latter’s 4G/LTE network devoid of restrictions.

This is necessary, because Cell C’s recently concluded roaming agreement with MTN has one big limitation: its customers will only be able to utilize MTN’s network away from the cities where its coverage just isn’t as well developed. Telkom customers, in contrast, should be able to roam on Vodacom, whether or not they are really in the midst of Sandton or Cape Town and also have excellent Telkom coverage.

This can modify the dynamics of South Africa’s mobile market, because it’s more likely to convince a substantial volume of customers to plunge to Telkom’s mobile offering. Why? Because Vodacom contains a great network, however it is data expense is eye-wateringly high.

There is actually no beating Telkom’s aggressively priced FreeMe plans. By way of example, these days it is using a promotion on its 20GB plan, which provides consumers 20GB expertise monthly, zero-rated music and video streaming, free calls in order to six million Telkom numbers, free Wi-Fi at Telkom hotspots, free SMSes and WhatsApp messages, free itemised billing and basically unlimited off-network calls (within reason) for 500 bucks a month. The regular worth of R605/month is a winner. Not any other major operator offers anything like it (that I’m conscious of).

The only “problem” is Telkom won’t have the ideal network. Its network isn’t bad in any way, but usually it’s slower as opposed to networks of larger rivals Vodacom and MTN. And its coverage is spotty. Where doesn’t necessarily have good signal – or where they have no signal in any way (outside of the cities) – consumers have already been able to roam onto MTN. It’s agreement with MTN extended only to 2G and 3G technologies, to not the speedier 4G, high was no “seamless roaming”, so calls dropped when moving out of a Telkom coverage area the way it took time to switch across to MTN (a challenge for those who travel a whole lot, especially for the periphery within the cities).

The Vodacom deal but not only gives Telkom seamless roaming, but you can also find no restrictions on where Telkom customers is able to use Vodacom’s network. Unlike the Cell C/MTN arrangement, a Telkom customer can connect to Vodacom anytime they really want everywhere you go they demand.

Roaming on Vodacom

The implication for this is always that many consumers may choose to set their smartphones to roam on Vodacom’s network all the time, provided that it gives superior speeds (on average). One assumes this isn’t the behaviour Telkom would want to see from your customers (presumably, a customer roaming on Vodacom’s 4G network will cost you Telkom greater than identical customer roaming without attention 4G network), so it will be interesting to observe the manages this after the switch far from MTN has happened.

But it may possibly entice additional people to give Telkom a go.

I asked Vodacom spokesman Byron Kennedy regarding this, and he said it’s up to Telkom to take care of traffic flows “as it will be an expense for them to have customers roam on our network”. He added that there is going to be “measures in place to take care of congestion to make certain optimal service for the Telkom and Vodacom customers”. He didn’t elaborate of what those measures could include.

With Cell C about to migrate its roaming to MTN, presumably there will be spare capacity on Vodacom for Telkom to make use of, only one does wonder the amount of, especially since Vodacom has often warned that this urgently needs admission to new radio frequency bands to cope with growing interest in data on its network.

Perhaps it’s factoring in the idea that chances are it will get new spectrum inside first 1 / 2 of batch that we get, with communications regulator Icasa finally likely to license the 700MHz, 800MHz and a couple of.6GHz bands. Both the.6GHz band should become available immediately after it’s licensed (700MHz and 800MHz are only available after Africa has completed its long-delayed digital television migration project).

There’s no doubt that the is really a significant boost in South Africa’s telecommunications market, one may big impact in a short space of time. Telkom will fill the gap on Vodacom left by Cell C’s decision to go to MTN, although the big winner here, I predict, will likely be Telkom, that is certainly about to visit a big uptick in customer acquisitions. Its challenge could possibly be keeping its customers without attention network, though, as opposed to getting them switch their phones to roam on Vodacom. Consumers should benefit broadly, too: as Telkom receives a more attractive decision for consumers, the opposite operators could be pressured to lower their data prices.??

This article was originally published on TechCentral here.

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