South Africa’s telecom sector has introduced its latest innovation with a new Black-owned mobile network operator.

According to Independent Online, South African entrepreneur and investor Joel Mafenya is making waves in the telecommunications market after launching what is said to be the country’s first fully Black-owned cellular network operator — Taxicom Mobile.

Taxicom Mobile officially launched in Johannesburg on Dec. 9, as reported by NOW in SA, and claims to usher in a new era for the telecom industry even as companies around the world grapple with the effects of COVID-19.

As stated by founder Mafenya, his company aims to “accelerate access to inclusive mobile telecommunications services to the underserviced and excluded,” Independent Online shares.

“This will be done through an introduction of a different model of meaningful ownership – with preference given to subscribers, distributors and its agents,” he said.

Taxicom Mobile itself is a lifestyle virtual mobile network operator for all users, according to NOW in SA, embracing technology as a means to be a delivery platform for its various services.

“We are deliberately unconventional in a manner that we deliver our services and product offerings. Hence, every public space is a marketplace, and every household is a Taxicom Mobile shop,” Mafenya shares. “As we speak, we have more than 10 000 quality orders from potential subscribers for SIM cards and devices. We are optimistic that by the end of this month, our numbers would have ballooned. A good start and a vote of confidence for the new baby.”

Despite being a newcomer to the market, Taxicom Mobile will target the same subscribers dominated by the “big four” mobile networks (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless).

As a multi-purpose entity, Taxicom Mobile has committed to several solutions in which economic well-being is centered — including job creation, business opportunities, local partnerships, broad-based participation and ownership, and community empowerment through the arts.

The goal behind all of these forward-thinking initiatives, as told by Mafenya, is to “bring opportunities closer to where people live.”

The entrance of Taxicom Mobile into the market arrives at a time when the lack of diversity in the local telecom sector remains to be one of the biggest issues facing South Africa.

Independent Online further reveals that during a Parliament hearing earlier this year, the market proved to have a lot of barriers that prevent small operators from prospering in the market, especially those Black-owned businesses that have been historically disadvantaged.

However, Taxicom Mobile remains optimistic that support of its introduction isn’t solely based on the fact that they’re Black-owned, but more so a testament “of a sector that is slowly but surely transforming.”

For more information about Taxicom Mobile, visit its website.