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8ta to be rebranded as Telkom Mobile

The decision was revealed in an internal email that leaked to media on Friday.

The email, sent by Telkom Mobile managing director Attila Vitai, was leaked to Gadget.co.za, a local technology website. In the email Vitai listed reasons for the move, including a desire to "leverage off the strong Telkom brand equity" and create "stronger alignment between the 8ta and Telkom brands".

The Telkom Mobile brand already exists, and is currently aimed at business customers. 

Vitai stressed that "a rebranding initiative is a process and not an event" and that Telkom believed the rebrand would benefit both brands.

When asked for comment, Telkom confirmed the rumour, saying: "Telkom has decided to progressively change the 8ta brand to Telkom Mobile. This will support the group-wide convergence strategy and drive greater alignment. This rebranding exercise will support a more effective business with stronger commercial prospects."

Since its launch in October 2010, 8ta has attracted over three-million subscribers but has never turned a profit. In its most recent financial report, Telkom stated that its entire mobile division (which includes 8ta) made a R753-million loss for the six months to September 2012. This was a marked improvement compared to same period in the previous year, for which the loss was over R1.1-billion.

These improvements apparently were not enough to convince Telkom's board of the value of 8ta's brand, or to sway its decision to change the "alignment" of the brand. The company promised to schedule a media briefing to "elaborate on the rebranding of 8ta". The company said the date of the briefing would be revealed soon.

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Alistair Fairweather
Alistair is the founder of PlainSpeak, a technology consultancy based in Cape Town.

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