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Consumer activism turns spotlight on Telkom

By   |  January 16, 2007

Frustrated South Africans will on Friday publish a full page advert in the national Mail & Guardian newspaper highlighting the cost of telecommunications in South Africa. The campaign is being led by the Telecommunications Action Group (TAG)

“We took this action because as consumers we are tired of the exorbitant costs of telecommunications in South Africa and the poor service from Telkom,” says Alastair Otter, Tectonic editor and a founder of the TAG campaign.

The advert was paid for by individual consumers who donated between R100 and R1000 towards the campaign. Based on the very successful Spread firefox advert campaign, the TAG advert will include the names of all the contributors to the advert.

“Since we started this campaign we have heard countless stories from consumers who have been trying for months, sometimes even years, to have telephone lines and broadband internet connections installed,” says Otter. “And with just a single fixed line provider in the country there is no alternative for users but to accept the poor service.”

“On top of this, South Africa has telecommunications costs that are among the highest in the world and these costs are a significant barrier to all South Africans benefiting from the information age.”

The advert will highlight Telkom’s ongoing monopoly over the telecoms sector as well as the lack of action by government and the regulator (Icasa) to change the situation.

“Icasa (Independent Communications Authority of South Africa) is charged with regulating the telecoms sector for the benefit of all South Africans. However, Icasa’s lack of political will has ensured that Telkom has been allowed to profit financially while the country has waited for years for alternative operators to be licensed.”

On Neotel, the recently licensed second national operator, Otter says: “We are glad that the licence has been awarded and that Neotel is starting operations. We are still concerned, however, that Neotel’s consumer services are still many months away from realisation. For consumers there is is still no alternative but to wait for Neotel to become operational.”

The full page advert calls on all consumers to take action to challenge the telecoms status quo, says Otter.

“What we want to achieve with the advert is to both highlight the exorbitant cost of telecommunications services in South Africa as well as encourage consumers to stand up and demand change.

“We initiated this campaign as individual consumers who had had enough. We hope that this first step will encourage others to take action as we have,” says Otter.


One Response to “Consumer activism turns spotlight on Telkom”

  1. Gerhard Human
    January 19th, 2007 @ 12:00 am

    I think it\’s about time we take action against the Mass of corruption in South Africa. Telkom being at the leading end.

    Well done TAG! The entire South African community is behind you!!

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