The Cape Navigator

Seaside Community Newspaper

Opinion, South Africa, Technology

Telkom Ditches PortMe Digital: Relive the Glory Days of In-Person Porting

Michael Hawthorne

If you’re a South African looking to jump ship to Telkom, be prepared for a blast from the past – the super inconvenient, analogue kind. Since 2022, the once-handy “PortMe” service (think porting your number by SMS) has been MIA, leaving users stranded with no digital lifeline. Frustrated customers continue to receive the following SMS reply when attempting to use the service: “PortInBySMS service temporarily suspended. Please use alternative channels.”

The Cape Navigator, ever the voice of the people, recently confronted Telkom on Twitter. The exchange? Well, let’s just say it was like trying to get a dial-up modem to understand the concept of streaming. Telkom’s vague “we’re having a few issues” response was about as helpful as a carrier pigeon with a broken wing.

What exactly are these mysterious “issues”? Could it be that the PortMe service was a victim of fraud, abuse, or a “Please Call Me” situation? Telkom’s cryptic reply leaves plenty of room for speculation. It’s a head-scratcher, for sure.

A formal media inquiry from The Cape Navigator? Telkom basically replied with a virtual shrug and the suggestion to trek to their nearest store, RICA documents in hand. Because clearly, nothing screams “customer convenience” like a forced pilgrimage to the hallowed halls of bureaucratic paperwork.

The Cape Navigator’s retort was pure gold: “No way, that’s so 1990s. Welcome back to the age of Nokia 5110. Let me check if pulling out my hair and lighting my shorts on fire is on my schedule, NOT TODAY.”

This whole debacle begs the question: Telkom, have you met this thing called the internet? In a world of online everything, your insistence on in-person porting feels about as modern as a fax machine. Get with the times, or get ready to be left in the digital dust.


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