As the South African economy continues to embrace the changes brought on by black economic empowerment, Tema Telecoms, in partnership with leading telecoms giant Orion Telecom, has announced that it will spearhead an initiative aimed at increasing broad-based black economic empowerment in the telecoms sector.
Backing this venture is well-established telecommunications innovator Orion Telecom, which will bring a wealth of experience and R&D to the table. From a top-down view Orion will supply technology and intellectual property gathered over a decade of installing and managing least-cost routing systems, as well as billing systems, hardware and technical support.
Jacques du Toit, director of Orion Telecom, says that Tema Telecoms will have the benefit of the experience gathered by Orion over the past ten years, including firmware skills, account management, managed services and account expertise.
The first success story of this initiative was created when Tema Telecoms was awarded a major contract by the Eastern Cape Government. The supply of least-cost routing services has seen the ECG's telecommunications expenses drop by 42% per month. A total annual saving of R6 000 000 will be realised through this contract. Tema Telecoms was able to complete the installation within 14 days from receipt of the order.
Tema Telecoms director Trevor Theledi believes this new initiative is crucial to increasing broad-based BEE within the telecoms sector. “Our agents will control 26% of Tema Telecoms and also receive dividends from the trust as shareholders. These carefully selected agents will have representation on the board through the BEE Trust, and will have control as set out in the ICT BEE Charter.”
The joint partnership will see Tema Telecoms and Orion doing more research and development in hardware, specifically looking at the Voice over IP (VoIP) environment. Tema Telecoms agents will supply voice solutions, including VoIP, TMS solutions and related reticulation, as well as the service and maintenance of managed network infrastructure to their clients.
Theledi says the company's objective is to develop skills in black employees and agents, such that they will in turn be able to train and develop the skills of other PDIs in their communities. “Tema means 'progress and success' in Tswana. Going forward, our social responsibility initiative is aimed at investing in sustainable projects identified and chosen by members of the Tema Telecoms BEE Trust. This initiative is directed towards increasing community access to ICT skills in South Africa 's rural areas.”
By using local resources and promoting workplace reforms, Tema Telecoms hopes to bring about suitable employment opportunities that will develop niche skills for the local telecoms market. “We hope to accelerate the empowerment of previously disadvantaged groups in the ICT environment. Ultimately, we want to provide our clients with high-tech, cost-effective and well-supported solutions. By leveraging on both Orion's and Tema's large support base, extensive expertise and established distribution channels, we want to provide the basis for consistent excellence in the provision of services,” concludes Theledi.
Government slashes telephony costs by R6m a year
Eastern Cape Government has rolled out a least cost routing
(LCR) solution that will save the organisation R6 million annually
on telephony costs. Tema Telecoms, a BEE partner to empowered
telecommunications innovator Orion Telecom, implemented the
CallSaver LCR solution.
According to MEC of finance in the Eastern Cape (EC), Billy Nel, this
initiative aligns the provincial Government with the Public Finance
Management Act (PFMA). The Act promotes the objective of good financial
management in order to maximise service delivery through the effective
and efficient use of limited resources.
Nel says the Eastern Cape Government had minimal control of its telecommunications
infrastructure. The organisation’s monthly cellular and national
calls expenditure came to R1.9 million.
“A telephone management system (TMS) was installed to analyse each extension’s
call activity,” explains Anton Hattingh, director of Tema Telecoms EC. “This
helped bring down the provincial government’s phone bill to R1.2 million.”
Orion Telecom and Tema Telecoms then installed 180 cellular and national
least cost routers at three government sites. Since installation
in June, CallSaver has slashed the EC Government’s telephony expenditure
to R700 000 a month, saving the organisation R500 000 per month.
“The installation of the routers was a pilot project to assist us in finding
the most cost-effective means of using our telephony infrastructure,” elaborates
Nel. “The savings are very important to us because they mean that
funds can be redirected to worthy causes within our Government. The pilot
was a success and we are looking at rolling out the solution at other Government
departments in the region.”
Hattingh says Tema Telecoms is targeting 133 government bodies, municipalities
and parastatals in the region. “We have R1 million worth
of proposals pending at two different entities and that will
equate to R400 000 in additional savings
for the EC government once signed and implemented.”
“Both Orion Telecom and Tema Telecoms intend to use the partnership with
the EC Government as a platform to implement their social development polices,” notes
Hattingh. “The majority of the human resources we are using are from the
Eastern Cape region. They are an integral part of our skills development strategy,” he