Date set for telecoms action

By   |  December 11, 2006

The Telecoms Action Group (TAG) will publish its advert on Friday 19 January 2007 in the Mail&Guardian newspaper.

The advert, developed in conjunction with Da Vinci Edison Bell and Peppermint media strategists, and paid for by over 100 pledgers, will reveal how Telkom manages to make billions of rands profit at the expense of the South African consumer, says campaign head Richard Frank.

The advert campaign is being paid for by contributions from consumers across South Africa.

“We believe 2007 will be the year that telecoms consumers fight back against the lack of momentum in the South African telecoms market,” says Frank.

“This campaign will bring the topic firmly onto the national agenda.”

The advert was first due to be released in late October this year, but the advert development process took longer than expected, he says.

“By the time we were ready to book the advert, the Christmas season was already in full swing and advertising space was sold at a premium,” says Frank. “We’ve been advised to hold back the publication date until after the Christmas period, when South African consumers will be thinking about their financial outlook rather than their holiday.”

Frank says the aim of the advert is to spark consumer consciousness around the link between Telkom’s high prices and its exorbitant profits, and the complicity of the South African government and ICASA in maintaining the status quo.

“We’ve had to hone down our message into a core theme that every South African reader can understand: the relationship between Telkom’s massive profits and our monthly telephone bill.”

Meanwhile, TAG is exploring opportunities for free advertising space in other media. “We’ve made a few friends among the big media companies in South Africa, who see the importance and value of our message,” says Frank.

After the advert, TAG will continue to support consumer groups fighting for the liberalisation of telecoms in South Africa. “We see ourselves in a supporting role to the likes of MyADSL and Antitrust, providing media expertise to get the consumer message across.”

Frank says although TAG has already met its initial funding target, consumers are still able to contribute. “Everyone who contributes to the campaign will be listed on the advert. It is important that government is told that the lack of momentum in the telecoms sector is hurting everyone and that consumers are willing to put their money down to demand telecoms reform.”

Money collected in excess of the initial R50 000 will be used for additional campaigns around telecoms in early 2007, says Frank.

For more information on the Telecoms Action Group visit www.tag.org.za. Or email richard@tectonic.co.za.

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