On 1 February 2005, South Africa was freed from the clutches of the only telephone operator the country had ever known. The aim: to allow fair competition within telecoms, resulting in better service and pricing for the end-consumer. Subsequently, an influx of various operators, resellers, voice wholesales and agents have ensued. The important common factor to note is that among them, VoIP prevails.
The general consensus within the telecommunications industry predicts it will only take approximately 15 years before all of South Africa is using VoIP. What does that mean for consumers? Call rates so low they are virtually free, says Deidre Jonker, Marketing Manager at BitCo.
The reason VoIP is so cost-effective is because you are transmitting data; eventually we foresee your “minutes” falling away entirely, you will be billed for data usage. It sounds widely exciting, doesn’t it? It is! My advice if you are moving over to (or are already enjoying the benefits of) VoIP? Know thy tier 1 operator.
No matter your choice of service provider, your calls will be terminated over the first tier operator’s network. A quick way to determine the tier 1 operator is to ask: “Who owns the infrastructure?” A tier 1 operator owns its network entirely. That is, the infrastructure (physical equipment), interconnect agreements and last mile. Interconnect agreements allow operators to connect directly without going through an intermediate party. There are significantly reduced connection costs in doing so. The last mile refers to physical connection into your premises. Most providers or tier 2 operators onwards rely on a tier 1 operator for last mile. Be sure to know who this is: uptime is its responsibility.
Deidre Jonker, Marketing Manager, BitCo.
The Future of VOIP