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South Africa’s 8ta demonstrates its mobile capability

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8ta's Managing Director Amith Maharaj

Telkom’s mobile network 8ta recently hosted a network showcase and discussion panel in order to demonstrate its vast mobile network capability.

8ta is currently using its mobile platform to address some of its unique fixed line challenges. These include fighting copper theft, breakage, replacing old infrastructure and extending coverage beyond the reach of fixed lines.

The company has deployed 18 core sites and 3 breakout points, which are all currently operational.

8ta’s Radio Access Network (RAN) executive Brett Nash discussed the company’s network and the challenges faced by most mobile networks.

“The predicted coverage of about 2000 sites will be on air by March 2012. Every site is 2G or 3G capable and offers high capacity rollout,” said Nash, in response to a question on the current coverage of about 942 sites on air.

Nash also explained that 8ta utilises most of South Africa’s billboard sites as network base stations. “This reduces the visual impact associated with mobile radio networks”.

Currently over 1000 base stations, which are inherently compliant with relevant municipal by laws, have already been installed in all major metropolitan areas.

User experience

Nash highlighted the significance of a high quality user experience and network capability. “8ta will offer real time charging and policy management. This will enable operators to deliver highly personalized and targeted services by implementing policy controls based on attributes of individual subscribers,” he added.

Real time network information allows subscribers to control their data and voice usage. “Customers will have full control of their contract and prepaid services in order to avoid billing shocks,” Nash continued. Current 8ta subscribers will only be able to get full access to the network in the next few weeks.

Future plans

Amith Maharaj, Managing Executive of 8ta is faced with the major task of positioning and launching the 8ta mobile business and networks.  About R6 billion (ZAR) of capital investment will be spent on 8ta products and services in the next 5 years. “Currently the 8ta network is prepared to handle high volumes of data traffic and future network demands”, Maharaj concluded.

By: Bontle Moeng

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