Sentech CEO Tebogo Leshope Shares Insights on Africacom 2023 Success

Our Chief Editor, Chris Green, and Tebogo Leshope, CEO of Sentech, discussed Sentech’s positive experiences and progress, including successful digital broadcasting transition and initiatives like Sentech Connect aimed at providing affordable connectivity for smart communities.

I’m here on day three of Africacom at the Sentech stand with Tebogo Leshope, the CEO of Sentech. Thank you for taking the time to talk to us, Tebogo. How has Africacom 2023 been for you so far?

Welcome to Sentech and our stand at Africacom 2023. It’s been quite eventful and impactful for us. The positive reception, marketing efforts, and foot traffic have been significant. We participated in various panels discussing digital infrastructure investments in Africa, focusing on key areas like data centers, towers, fiber, and satellites. It’s been a productive and positive experience for our brand.

That’s great to hear. Sentech is in the process of transitioning from analog broadcast to digital signal. Can you update us on how this transition is progressing?

The journey began in 2006-2008, with our first digital transmission in 2008. We’ve achieved 100% coverage across the country using terrestrial networks and satellites. Despite challenges, we’ve made progress in rolling out set-top boxes to households, accelerating the process. As of July 2023, we’ve successfully cleared all analog services above 694, releasing digital dividends for telcos. While most analog transmission points have been switched off, around 20% remains, with the final termination planned for December 2024.

It’s been a long journey indeed, but the progress is commendable. Your mission is to create smart communities through content delivery and digital services. Can you share the types of services Sentech envisions offering?

Absolutely, Chris. Connectivity is the foundation for smart technologies. We provide fixed wireless connectivity to homes, schools, health centers, and government institutions. Our services include affordable home connectivity, data centers, and Internet of Things (IoT) solutions for municipalities. We showcased our IoT capabilities at our stand, highlighting our ability to integrate various sensing capabilities. Additionally, our Over-the-Top (OTT) solution promotes information exchange and empowers citizens.

That’s impressive. Beyond infrastructure, the potential for diverse services is vital. Speaking of connectivity, can you elaborate on Sentech Connect and its role in the digital age?

Sentech Connect focuses on driving connectivity for citizens and government institutions. With internet penetration at 60%, our goal is to address barriers like cost and accessibility. We’re introducing affordable connectivity, such as our 250 per month uncapped service. Our emphasis is on hotspots, household connectivity through fixed wireless technology, and collaboration with other entities like Broadband Infraco under the Department of Communications to drive the South Africa Connect project.

That’s a crucial initiative for enhancing internet accessibility. Now, moving to a more personal note, TechAfrica News hosted a networking event called Hamwe, emphasizing togetherness. How do you see this togetherness within the South African community, specifically in the context of telco and technology?

Networking is essential in today’s shared economy. Collaboration, co-creation, and co-investment are key components achieved through meaningful engagements. Such events foster ideation and the exchange of valuable contacts. I personally attended these sessions and witnessed meaningful activities and collaborations emerging. Networking is vital for exploring collaboration opportunities beyond regular working hours at conferences like Africacom.

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