SA’S TELECOMS ACTION GROUP TO TAKE ON TELKOM IN HIGH-PROFILE CONSUMER CAMPAIGN

Telecoms

The Telecoms Action Group, which raised in excess of R 5,000,000 from disgruntled telecoms consumers for a campaign to highlight problems in this arena, has set a date for their campaign to hit newspapers.

The aim of this advertising campaign is to spark consumer consciousness around the link between Telkom's high prices and its exorbitant profits, and the complicity of the South African government and ICASA in maintaining the status quo. According to Richard Frank, founder of the TAG, a full page advert will be published in the Mail & Guardian newspaper on Friday 19 January 2006.

“The advert, developed in conjunction with Da Vinci Edison Bell and Peppermint media strategists, and paid for by over 100 pledgers, will reveal how Telkom manages to make billions of rands profit at the expense of the South African consumer,” said Frank.

A total of R5,475,000 (US$ 778,164 ) was raised for an advertisement in the national newspaper Mail & Guardian, but according to Frank there is a good chance of cheap or even free advertising space from other newspapers around the same date. "We've made a few friends among the big media companies in South Africa, who see the importance and value of our message," says Frank.

The speed and ease with which this amount was raised and the willingness of some publications to make advertising space available free of charge gives a good indication of the prevailing negativity towards Telkom.

Frank is confident that next year will be the year where consumers will get the upper hand. "We believe 2007 will be the year that telecoms consumers fight back against the lack of momentum in the South African telecoms market," he said. "This campaign will bring the topic firmly onto the national agenda."

The TAG will however not stop after this campaign and will continue to be involved in the fight for better telecoms services. “After the advert, TAG will continue to support consumer groups fighting for the liberalisation of telecoms in South Africa,” Frank said. "We see ourselves in a supporting role to the likes of MyADSL and Antitrust, providing media expertise to get the consumer message across."

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