Will Telkom’s move to gun for corporate clients pockets lead to price war for enterprise solutions?

South Africa’s Telkom and its recently acquired technology subsidiary Business Connexion (BCX) have been working quietly to develop and launch solutions for the corporate clients. By Gugu Lourie 

But it seems MTN – the country’s second largest mobile phone operator – has also been quietly preparing to take the fight to Telkom BCX Business targeting big businesses.

MTN Business, an enterprise unit of MTN, wants to position itself as a telco that understands corporate clients and is prepared to offer them “a new world of Business“, while Telkom BCX Business is positioning itself in this space as “Africa’s premium end-to-end digital solutions partner“.

Telkom BCX Business and MTN Business are warring over the future of corporate market, and strangely Vodacom – South Africa’s largest mobile phone operator by subscribers – isn’t making any noise about its enterprise solutions in South Africa.

Vuyani Jarana
Vuyani Jarana

But in the rest of the continent Vodacom Business, which is led by Vuyani Jarana, has been working with its parent company in making inroads into Nigeria and Zambia.

Clearly, Telco’s are targeting more revenue streams from the increasingly lucrative corporate clients.

Enterprise solutions are slowly becoming a new cash-cow for the Telcos as competition for voice and data market is intensifying and more players are entering the fray to attract customers with cheaper data deals.

MTN Business, under the leadership of Alpheus Mangale, has taken a four page advert in the Sunday Times Business’ Times positioning itself as a partner with corporate clients in a new world.

The adverts titled, ‘The courage to grow is business’ talks about a new world of business.

Alpheus Mangale
Alpheus Mangale

“Growth starts by implementing the right solutions,” MTN Business explains as it attempts to attract more corporate clients.

“At MTN, we don’t just understand what solutions corporates need, but why they need them, reads the advert. “We also understand what obstacles and operational barriers CIOs, CFO’s and even CEOs overcome on a daily basis,” says the company.

But it seems Telkom BCX Business aren’t likely to close shop and retreat from MTN’s competition. Both companies had adverts in the Sunday Times on the matter.

Telkom BCX Business also had a full page advert in the Sunday Times’ Business Times declaring its interest in the corporate market.

“Experience the power of a great partnership,” declares Telkom BCX Business in their advert.

“Introducing Africa’s premium end-to-end digital solutions partner. Meet the future, today. Meet Telkom and Business Connexion.”

Corporate South Africa will rejoice at this brewing competition among the Telcos in providing competitive enterprise solutions.

Will this diversify MTN South Africa and Telkom BCX Business’ revenue streams?

Will this result in corporate clients getting more efficient, better and affordable enterprise solutions?

That said, will this competition among the big Telcos help government departments, state owned enterprises and municipalities to offer real service delivery to communities.

Isaac Mophatlane, Business Connexion Group CEO
Isaac Mophatlane, Business Connexion Group CEO

Will MTN Business solutions provide a “New World of Government Solutions“, or is it just a fancy marketing speak from their marketing agency spearheaded by the account director in charge of this advert.

The jury is out on the solutions it provides and small medium enterprises, corporates and the public sector.

While Telkom BCX Business might have an upper hand as they develop new solutions that they would take together to the market and corporates are awaiting their solutions with a keen interest taking into consideration the vast network Telkom has.

Furthermore, BCX has learnt valuable lessons in parts of Africa in providing enterprise solutions in tough markets that may be very useful in South Africa.

On the other hand, Vodacom Business seems to be concentrating on carving up the rest of the continent in providing enterprise solutions. And by the look of things is making good inroads and is looking at expanding into markets such as Morocco.

For more read: Vodacom Business expansion in Africa

That said, the industry is likely to be excited at this development and is waiting for affordable products. The industry may also be waiting to see Vodacom’s plans.

Let the games begin – we wait to see how low each Telco can go – well in terms of prices.

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