8ta, also known as Heita!, is South Africa’s fourth mobile operator which is powered by the national fixed line communication giant Telkom.
The 8ta network provides voice and data services and products over a unified 2G/3G network which offers a number of technological advantages including software definable radios, remote electrical tilt antennas, an all-IP backhaul network and tailor made subscriber management platform. Customers have access to real-time usage information to track their consumption from moment to moment.
The newcomer on the market brought with it low pricing plans and great contract options, encouraging the longstanding competition to review their rates for their customers creating quite a stir in the cellular market. Some of the unique offerings from 8ta include exceptionally low in-bundle offers costing as little as 25 cents per megabyte, and 1 minute free call time for every three minutes of calls received.
The 8ta network has created a countrywide sales network that includes the major consumer retailers and wholesalers as well as the Telkom Direct outlets across South Africa and the 8ta flagship stores.
Major retailers and supermarkets serving 8.ta sales include Telkom Direct, CNA, GloCell, Edgars Mobile, Autopage Cellular, Jet Cellular, Checkers, Checkers/Hyper and Shoprite and Awesim Telecoms, making access to 8ta easy and convenient.
The Radio Access Network supports HSPA and is configured for up to 7.2Mbps downlink speeds. In addition the network hardware allows for a seamless migration to LTE (4G). The network architecture is fully IP-based and allows maximum efficiency of the backhaul while providing prioritisation of the service flow to deliver a better quality service and overall experience for the user.
8ta has constructed 800 base stations across the country, with plans to construct a further 3 200 base stations over time to improve coverage and connectivity. The operator makes use of full national coverage with a roaming agreement with MTN.
8ta products offer competitive value for money in competition with the other network providers. They are the first to offer all prepaid customers free talk time to any network every time they receive calls from a mobile phone.
8ta offers their customers call costs to a fixed line at 60% less than typical market rates whether during peak or off peak times as well as a flat rate per minute for calls from an 8ta mobile phone to over 100 international destinations. Their mobile to mobile offering is fixed per minute independent of which network is called and what time of day the call is made.
Both SMSs and MMSs are priced at a nominal fee and 8ta subscribers are given 50 bonus SMSs at no extra cost to use that same day if they send 5 SMSs per day.
8ta prepaid internet customers can make use of an out-of-bundle rate, while prepaid data bundles can be purchased for as low as 25c per megabyte. Prepaid data bundles purchased in a certain month will last until the end of the following calendar month.
8ta offers several tiers of devices: low-end, feature phones and smartphones from all the major OEMs with products are the easiest to understand, buy and use. Their innovative and simple offerings ensures the expansion of connectivity throughout South Africa to bring mobile communication to the masses.
8ta’s relationship with Telkom, the leading communications services provider in South Africa and on the African continent, provides them greater knowledge and experience of what users want and need in the communications industry in South Africa than the other providers. This relationship also ensures 8ta customers receive the best support and technical know how available from a company with an existing infrastructure within the country.