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Telkom has been investing heavily in broadband over the past few years, and more recently unveiled a high-speed LTE network to offer connectivity across the country. Along with standard, fixed line and mobile data packages, Telkom also rolled out its Deal of the Month offer. For October, the company has a 'broadband bargain' designed to offer consumers 15 GB of mixed data, as well as Huawei LTE router for a 24-month contract. 

To find out more about the latest Deal of the Month, we spoke to Megan Nicholas, managing executive for Telkom Consumer and Mobile.  

TechSmart: For those unfamiliar with Telkom’s Deal of the Month, when did they begin and what makes them particularly unique?

Megan Nicholas: The first Deal of the Month kicked off in February this year. What makes it unique is that it's the best offer in the market. As such, there's normally no other offer that can match it. We structure each deal/offer by either offering more data at a better price or the lowest amount possible. 

There's also a limited supply for the Deal of the Month, which incentivises consumers to act as quickly as possible. It therefore becomes a case of get in now, or lose out. In many respects it's similar to the HeyDey deals at Hyperama from a few years ago.     

TS: One of the Deal of Month conditions is that it only applies to the first 1000 customers that sign up. How close is Telkom to surpassing this point for the current deal? 

MN: We've actually passed the 1000 sign up mark already. In fact, Telkom has more than doubled that for the October Deal of the Month. Luckily, the offer is still active, so customers can certainly still apply and qualify, despite the fact that more than 2000 people have signed up. 

TS: Telkom has described the October Deal of the Month as a 'broadband bargain'. Does that mean it’s designed with specific consumers in mind?

MN: The term bargain certainly applies to this deal, as consumers are getting something that they normally would not get from Telkom. The price point in particular is what sets it apart as a bargain too. For R199 per month, you're getting 15 GB of data, which is an offer that Telkom does not usually carry.  

TS: This deal bundles together 15 GB worth of mixed data, can you explain what this entails? 

MN: The reason behind the mixed data offer is that the normal package from Telkom would pair 5 GB of daytime and 5 GB of nighttime data for R199. Now, for the October Deal of the Month, we're retaining that price point, but adding a further 5 GB of mobile data to the mix. Now consumers have additional value added to the traditional data package that Telkom would have offered. 

Normally, purchasing an extra 5 GB of mobile to top-up would cost around R299. With this Deal of the Month, this is added for free essentially.    

TS: The Huawei B315 LTE router that comes with the deal can support up to 32 devices. Would that then make this deal well suited for a small home or business setup?

MN: The fact that this LTE router can support up to 32 devices makes it a great option for those running a SoHo (Small office/Home office) business. We've actually received feedback from consumers around this, as the features and functionality of the Huawei B315 Router speaks to those with a smaller operation out of their home. 

TS: One of the biggest selling points of this deal is access to Telkom’s LTE network. What sets your network apart from its competitors?

MN: The biggest advantage is that we have a dedicated 2300 MHz LTE network. It's something that no other network in South Africa can boast at the moment, and having it at our disposal gives Telkom a specific LTE spectrum in which to operate. 

It also provides a fixed line look-a-like in the mobile space, as well as being purely designated to LTE routers, as we have very few smartphones operating on it. Another important factor is our ability to manage the amount of users connected to the country-wide base stations more effectively. This allows Telkom to handle the capacity more efficiently and guarantee a speed of 10 Mbps.      

TS: Are there any plans to improve and increase the quality of LTE service in forthcoming months?

MN: Absolutely. We've grown by an estimated eight-fold following the launch of the LTE network. While an increase in sign-ups is great for business, it also means we have to improve the capacity on our towers, as well as widen our coverage. 

That's why we have quite an aggressive growth plan for next year to not only increase our coverage on LTE, but also capacity. At the moment, there are certain LTE base stations that are working full time and at maximum capacity, so now we're looking to add additional base stations in the same area. As such, our initial plan is to identify our current high volume areas and then look to build more stations to support the traffic, as well as expand the network's coverage. 

TS: Having eight times the growth must be a great achievement, how has the Deal of the Month contributed to the LTE network's success? 

MN: Indeed it has. Having the Deal of the Month has actually allowed Telkom to do things. One, it has made great value for money offerings, like the October one, more popular among our customers. Two, it has highlighted and created a larger awareness around Telkom's LTE solution, which is a network that many people were not familiar with. 

Deal of the Month has also opened up the number of sign-ups in our larger offerings, specifically R499 and up. Customers try out the Deal of the Month offer, then when they're impressed by the quality of our LTE, make the move to a larger data package.

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