It has been a torrid year so far for JSE-listed telecoms stocks. But with Telkom being the one notable exception, should the recovering semi-private group be used as a case study as the state looks for private investors in South African Airways? Declining voice revenues and regulatory risks on all fronts have taken their toll on the telecoms sector. Vodacom, MTN and Cell C-proxy Blue Label Telecoms have all slipped more than 10% in the year to date, with Blue Label giving up nearly 40%. Telkom, whose relatively new mobile business is showing signs of gaining traction, has bucked the trend and edged slightly higher. Under CEO Sipho Maseko, it seems to be doing the right things. Its mobile unit offers highly competitive packages for heavy data users — a good space to play in considering that data consumption is soaring. As JPMorgan said in a recent report, Telkom probably offers "the most compelling risk-reward trade-off in SA telecoms". The US bank said Telkom appeared to face less r...

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