Telkom South Africa has formally announced the launch of the country’s fourth mobile operator in the form of 8ta (Heita). Confirming earlier rumours, Telkom stated that the network went live on Thursday 14 October. Telkom Group’s acting CEO Jeffrey Hedberg described the launch as a watershed event, commenting: ‘We are able to mobilise the reliability of fixed-line and the agility of mobile to provide products that South African people really want’. 8ta has reportedly constructed 800 base stations across the country, and plans to construct a further 3,200 base stations over time. The services have been built on an end-to-end all-IP 2G and 3G network, which has been future-proofed for 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) upgrades. A national roaming agreement will see 8ta’s network augmented by MTN’s national coverage footprint at launch. 8ta claims that this arrangement will extend its reach to 96% of the South African population.