TOBY SHAPSHAK: Telkom migrates users off the copper network
Telkom’s clever use of its mobile networks for its landline users demonstrates how the once arrogant monopoly has evolved
After innumerable outages caused by stolen copper cables, my mother was about to cancel her Telkom line when a box arrived at her door. In it was a new phone that looked like a large corporate desk phone. Instead of cables to connect it to the Telkom port on the wall, it had a SIM card and a battery, much like a cellphone. It is, in fact, a cellphone, but one masquerading as a normal landline, and which can also act as a Wi-Fi hotspot.
Telkom, which has battled copper cable theft for decades, has started to move landline users to its mobile network. Instead of my 91-year-old mother’s phone using wires, it now uses Telkom’s mobile network. It’s been a game-changer. Instead of days or weeks without a line, she now has a reliable connection.