African telecommunication giant Telkom announced today that 8•ta will be the official mobile partner of the Premier Soccer League (PSL) for the next five years. This partnership opens an exciting new era of engagement between South Africa’s football community and the League.
PSL Acting CEO Cambridge Mokanyane told a media briefing today that that the new deal is part of the PSL’s continuous pursuit to connect with South Africa’s massive and passionate football community.
“The PSL and Telkom share similar values and beliefs in that we both seek to connect people all over not only in South Africa, but globally as well. Football is about emotional connection while Telkom and 8•ta are about connecting people. As the League, we always seek partnerships to enhance our product. Africa has seen massive growth in both online and mobile network market. Pretty much everyone now has a cell phone that enables them to develop and connect with communities that share the same interests.
“With 8•ta, the PSL has secured a mobile partner that already has a high quality network and that has built very strong brand connections with its customers. We are very much looking forward to building this partnership in the coming years. We see this relationship as critical to the PSL’s plans to build exciting new channels and platforms for the fans who keep the game of soccer so vibrant,” Mokanyane added.
The agreement covers all mobile voice and data products to be used by the PSL under the 8•ta’s “081” prefix and extensive branding and marketing activities. In particular, the agreement provides 8•ta with exclusivity in the implementation of additional mobile platforms, mobile payment offerings, fan community tools and other mobile applications on behalf of the PSL.
Manelisa Mavuso, Managing Director of Consumer and Retail Services at 8•ta’s parent company, Telkom, says that this agreement enables the company to deepen and extend its commitment to the sport of soccer and the local soccer community.
“Telkom’s existing involvement in soccer through the Telkom Knockout has been highly successful. The Telkom Knockout has also succeeded in rallying the soccer fraternity, enabling them to enjoy not only the game itself, but also its associated benefits in the coming together of people and sharing in something larger than the individual.
“We all know of soccer’s unique ability to bring people together; to create bonds and cement friendships. Going forward, we can further harness this positive social function with the 081 prefix. We will utilise the agreement to engage with soccer fans, launch and promote new 8•ta products and build the 8•ta image,” says Mavuso.
He adds that the exposure for the 8•ta brand across traditional and online platforms will ensure that there is continuing value being generated through more and deeper connections with customers.
He also notes that the PSL will benefit from 8•ta’s high-quality voice and data mobile network and its proven ability to innovate and to be first to market.
“When we speak of our convergence agenda, it is not only about technologies and devices and platforms. Convergence is also about a coming together of people, an exchange of ideas, a merging of potential.
“I believe that with this partnership two entities that are entrenched in the fibre of South Africa come together in a new way that will benefit both parties and, above all, the soccer community.”
Future of 8•ta brand
Mavuso also spoke at the launch of the PSL–8•ta partnership about the future of the 8•ta brand. He said the plans for 8•ta were part of Telkom’s overall mission of seamlessly connecting people to a better world.
“Convergence is the wave of the future and our mobile network is a critical building block to deliver this converged future. In this context, our commitment to mobile remains steadfast.
“Going forward we will serve some parts of the market through the Telkom Mobile brand and some parts of the market through the 8•ta brand. Our offerings under each brand will be based on the way customers actually use voice and data rather than be limited by traditional marketing models. This decision was taken following a great deal of investigation and deliberation. Market dynamics formed part of the equation, as did the benefits of leveraging off the strong Telkom brand equity in the context of our convergence agenda,” says Mavuso.
He emphasised that 8•ta would not be discontinued, pointing out that since the brand was launched in 2010, 8.ta had been successful, particularly in the youth market. Mavuso says the brand is simply being repositioned.
Mavuso pointed to today’s PSL announcement and other recent product innovations as evidence of the continued role that will be played by the 8•ta brand.