The launch of Africa’s first wholly black owned mobile network operator, Taxicom Mobile, in Johannesburg, South Africa this week inevitably heralds a new era of an industry that is slowly but surely transforming. However, the journey to its envisaged success won’t be an easy one as telcos around the world face unprecedented tough times ahead as they continue to grapple with falling revenues post COVID-19.
And while simply being a black owned company should not be seen as a strong a compelling case for its support, for telcos to succeed in this current environment, they need to come up with new and innovative offerings that disrupt existing products and business models. This is where Taxicom Mobile, a purpose-built telecommunications entity that seeks to make a difference in the lives of ordinary South African, comes in.
A major milestone all South Africans should be proud of, Taxicom Mobile is the brainchild of Joel Mafenya, a Soweto-born entrepreneur and investor in the gold mining sector, gas, and telecommunications to mention just a few.
The company’s entry into South Africa doesn’t only set a new chapter in the local telecom space when it comes to providing the desired level of immediacy, agility and personalised customer service. As Mafenya explained, it is fully cognizant of the technological advances brought about by 4IR, which are happening at breakneck speed, “thus placing telecommunications companies in a better position to deliver better services for people and various institutions,” he said.
In his speech, Mafenya touched on how these technological advances continue to impact businesses, ensuring they are no longer confined to their specific sector of operation. “Currently we are witnessing telecommunications companies cross-cutting into each other sector of specialisation, notably telcos and fintecs in an effort to remain relevant, ” he said, adding that this is the space Taxicom Mobile will fit into like a hand in glove.
Taxicom Mobile; live activation & market repositioning
Activated live on stage in front of a strong contingent of South African business leaders and media outlets, Taxicom Mobile is focused on delivering cutting-edge mobile echnology solutions to subscribers, making connectivity and usage not only widely accessible and affordable for all, but a hassle-free customer experience.
What is Taxicom Mobile?
Taxicom Mobile is not about physical taxis – Uber, Taxify (Bolt), Minibus taxis, trains, buses, commercial airlines – it is about people and the market place that the company has positioned itself to offer its products and service offerings and how they are offered.
Essentially it is a lifestyle virtual mobile network operator for the entire family – young and old – that has embraced technology as a delivery platform for a variety of services.
Said Mafenya: “We are deliberately unconventional in a manner that we deliver our services and product offerings. Hence, every public space is a marketplace, and every household is a Taxicom Mobile shop.”
Taxicom Mobile, albeit a new entrant will harvest the same subscribers serviced by the ‘big four’ mobile network operators. “As we speak already, we have more than 10 000 quality orders from potential subscribers for SIM cards and devices,” added Mafenya. “We are optimistic that by the end of the month our numbers would have ballooned. A good start and a vote of confidence for the new baby.”
Introducing: Taxicom Mobile multi-purpose ecosystem
As a purpose-built entity that puts community economic well-being at the heart of its organisation, below are some of the solutions it promises to deliver on:
Job Creation and Business Opportunities
Taxicom Mobile aims to create 6000 direct and indirect sustainable jobs and business opportunities across the country within the next five years.
Local businesses would be empowered immensely: spaza shops, taverns, stokvels, taxi associations among other channels will, through the company’s extensive distributor/agent network partnerships, be able to sell airtime, data, devices (phones), accessories, and money transfers.
In addition, through the Taxicom Mobile App, individuals will be able to sell airtime and data to their colleagues at work, schools, universities, colleges and literally everywhere.
The company’s job creation and local business empowerment strategy is geared towards townships and rural communities. For instance, Taxicom Mobile call centers will be decentralised and located within communities – and not in big cities – to bring opportunities closer to where people live.
Community Empowerment Through the Arts
The company announced the upcoming launch of the Taxicom Talent Competition in the form of TaxiCom Call To Fame and Township, and Rural Theatre Competition to help unearth talent in local communities.
“We have taken a conscious decision to invest in these areas in support of arts and entertainment in general and disadvantaged communities.
“As a company, we believe that a child in Alexandra, Kuruman, and Gugulethu should have an equal opportunity to showcase their talents – be it at the Market Theatre in Johannesburg or Broadway in New York or anywhere in the world for that matter as professionals.”
These initiatives and many more still to come underscore Taxicom Mobile’s commitment to support the growth of “our young people and industry’s veterans who would play an important role in mentoring them.”
Broad-based Participation & Ownership
Taxicom Mobile aims to accelerate access to inclusive mobile telecommunications services to the underserviced and excluded.
This will be done through an introduction of a different model of meaningful ownership – with preference given to subscribers, distributors, and its agents.
Partnerships and Buy Local Campaign
Taxicom is constantly seeking to forge strong partnerships to help drive efficiency in their own business processes and operations, and equally important to facilitate access to locally produced products.
To this end, Taxicom Mobile through the Mara phone manufacturing facility based in KwaZulu-Natal, is able to provide access to locally manufactured, state of the art smartphones to the majority of South Africans who want to support local brands and job creation initiatives.
To keep up with varied consumer tastes, an extensive range of some of the world’s best selling smartphone brands will also be on offer.
For more on info on available products and services, visit https://www.taxicom.co.za.
*Keep an eye on our daily Tech page for roundups on some of the disruptive tech innovations taking South Africa by storm!