South Africa’s Telkom plans to introduce a new brand, Telkom Mobile, that will largely replace the existing 8ta name it uses for its mobile unit.

The news emerged via a letter sent by Attila Vitai, the mobile unit’s managing director, to employees, which was subsequently leaked to the media.

The letter emphasised the importance of convergence between the operator’s fixed and mobile businesses which was described as being “a critical focus area of the Telkom strategy”.

“I am excited to announced that a decision has been taken that the 8ta brand will progressively be changed to Telkom Mobile,” wrote Vitai.

However, the company subsequently issued a statement clarifying the future of the 8ta brand. The statement said the name will not completely disappear but instead will be “repositioned into specific market segments”.

The statement said the 8ta brand had been particularly popular in the youth market.

New propositions will be developed and delivered using the 8ta brand, said the operator, although it did not supply more details. Further details will be communicated in due course, it said.

Telkom’s mobile unit is the smallest of the country’s four operators. According to Wireless Intelligence, it had 1.55 million subscribers at end-Q4 2012, a figure significantly behind nearest rival Cell C and dwarfed by market leaders MTN and Vodacom.

The original letter to staff talked about leveraging the “strong Telkom brand equity and our unsurpassed network infrastructure, which include the mobile network”.