Telkom, in an interview with TechCentral, has revealed that it’s seriously looking at shutting down its legacy 2G network — establishing it as the first network provider in South Africa to make this move.
“In the near future, we will switch off 2G — probably within 12 months,” said Beauty Apleni, chief technology and information officer for Telkom’s consumer and small business segment.
“None of our retail channels sells feature phones, our customers get 4G phones. We are driving a 4G-specific network. In terms of advancing and ensuring we are solidly in the 4G space, we don’t want to be carrying that (2G) base for a long time,” Apleni added.
Telkom CEO, Sipho Maseko said, “we are not taking any more 2G customers. If we can get them to roam on the Vodacom network, that would be a fantastic opportunity, because then I can switch it off even earlier.”
According to the network provider, there are only a small number of Telkom customers who still use 2G-only handsets — making the decision to turn off the 2G network a much simpler one in comparison to network rivals.
Telkom made headlines earlier this month when it allowed its contract with MTN to expire — thereby ditching the network operator in favour of a new partnership with rival, Vodacom. The move is said to give Telkom customers instant and uninterrupted access to the Vodacom network when customers move into an area with ‘weak or no Telkom coverage’.
Apleni told TechCentral that Telkom is looking at launching a next-generation 5G network, but it’s unlikely to do so until later this year.
By Jenna Cook
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