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Telkom goes wholesale again

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Telkom has launched a new wholesale and networks division called Openserve designed to strengthen its customer focus through a more flexible and agile operating model.

Telkom has launched a redesigned wholesale and networks division, to be called Openserve. It will be a distinct business unit within the Telkom Group, which is formed “as part of the company’s ongoing efforts to strengthen customer focus through a more flexible and agile operating model”.

“The separation heralds a new era in the Telkom Group as it prepares to welcome a more open access environment and all the opportunities it offers,” said Telkom GCEO Sipho Maseko. “This move is also in line with Telkom’s turnaround strategy to separate its wholesale and retail divisions to facilitate greater focus, accountability and most importantly, customer-centricity.

“Over the past two years, our strategy has delivered positive results, but it is not yet complete. We have tackled inefficiency, complexity and high costs and our quest to improve our customer experience remains a primary focus. But to fundamentally change the way we do business, while also working to take up a meaningful and impactful role in an increasingly open-access environment, we have had to review our operating model.”

Telkom says separation facilitates the independence of the Consumer division from the Wholesale and Networks division. Through this separation, it will improve its customer focus and establish clearer lines of accountability. As a stand-alone business unit within Telkom, Openserve will be autonomous and will be responsible for its own profit and loss account.

According to Alphonzo Samuels, the MD for Openserve, the separation signals Telkom’s commitment to a more competitive market and lower prices for consumers: “Telkom has already begun reducing prices associated with wholesale network infrastructure access. With the launch of Openserve, we want to make a significant impact on the way we provide open access broadband to all South Africans. We welcome a more open-access environment and believe that we, as Openserve, can make important headway in helping all South African bridge the digital divide.

“As a key driver of socio-economic development, Openserve will enable more choice, increased innovation and greater service-provider competition. The result will be increased broadband access. Telkom intends to play a substantial role in lowering the barrier to entry for new players and to increase the competitiveness of smaller players.”

Maseko said that while this would not be easy, Telkom will put in the hard work needed to get there. “The landscape of telecommunication in our country and around the world has changed and we are responding to this change with this clear and decisive action.”

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Huawei Mate 20 Pro matches camera benchmark record

A benchmark by DxOMark sees the triple-cam handset tie with the P20 Pro for best smartphone camera on the market.

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The Huawei Mate 20 Pro has come out top in a camera benchmark test that assesses all aspects of smartphone camera performance.

DxOMark, which conducts rigorous hardware testing and is trusted as an industry standard for image quality measurements, has just released the results of its in-depth analysis of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro smartphone camera. 

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro is the Chinese manufacturer’s latest top-end device. Building on the P20 Pro’s camera technology, the Mate 20 Pro comes with a Leica-branded triple-camera setup, but swaps its stable-mate’s monochrome camera for a super-wide-angle module, offering a 35mm-equivalent focal length range from 16 to 80mm—the widest of all current smartphone cameras.

The handset is in direct competition with the Apple iPhone XS Max, the Google Pixel 3 XL, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, among other. How does it fare?

“With a total photo score of 114, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro ties the record-setting score of its cousin, the P20 Pro,” says DxOMark. “The overall Photo score is calculated from sub-scores in tests that examine different aspects of its performance under different lighting conditions.”

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro achieves a photo score of 114 points. In stills mode, the Mate 20 Pro’s triple camera captures images with good target exposure and a wide dynamic range, recording both good highlight and shadow detail even in difficult high-contrast situations. Noise levels are well under control down to low light levels, and the camera’s white balance system and colour rendering settings produce a pleasant colour response in almost all circumstances.

At 97 points, the Mate 20 Pro is very close to the best for video as well, thanks to a fast and smooth autofocus system with good tracking performance, accurate white balance as well as pleasant colour rendering, and low levels of noise, especially in bright shooting conditions. Our testers also liked the exposure system’s ability to adapt quickly and smoothly to changes in illumination.

It was not all good news. DxOMark also had some criticism for the device.

Click here to read about the drawbacks of the Mate 20 Pro camera, and other positives.

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SA car wins
Dakar Rally

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The final stage of Dakar 2019 drew to a close at the bivouac in Pisco, Peru, and saw Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa’s Nasser Al Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel bring home their South African-built Toyota Hilux for an historic victory. Not only was it a first win for Toyota, but it was also the first petrol-powered car to win the Dakar in the South-American era.

The Qatari driver ensured his French navigator, who turned 43 years old on Thursday, 17 January, received a great birthday present, when the pair arrived at the final time control of Dakar 2019 with teammates Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz in close formation. The two Toyota Hilux crews completed the entire stage together, as De Villiers / Von Zitzewitz waited nearly 55 minutes for the leaders to start the stage, in order to shadow them to the finish.

The emotions bubbled over for Team Principal Glyn Hall, who found himself without words as his two crews drove into the media area after the time control. “This victory was long overdue,” he finally managed, before being swamped in a sea of well-wishers.

The winning driver, however, was much more vocal: “We are so happy to win the Dakar – not only for ourselves, but also for Toyota and the entire Toyota Gazoo Racing SA team. Everyone has worked so hard for so long, and really deserve this. Thank you for letting us drive this car.”

Toyota Gazoo Racing SA led Dakar 2019 from the first to the last stage, with Al Attiyah/Baumel drawing first blood, before handing the mantle to De Villiers / Von Zitzewitz during stage 2. But then a disastrous Stage 3 saw the Qatari retake the lead – a lead he didn’t relinquish despite some of the toughest stages yet seen on any South-American Dakar.

“When we first heard that the rally was going to take place only in one country, we were skeptical,” said Hall after regaining composure. “But the organisers made sure that this year’s race will long be remembered as one of the toughest tests in the last decade.”

Al Attiyah / Baumel’s victory at Dakar 2019 means that Toyota Gazoo Racing has now won both of the world’s toughest automotive races – the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the DakarRally.

Click here to read Glyn Hall’s comment on winning the Dakar Rally, as well as the rankings.

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