Consumers and business owners all over the world, but especially here in South Africa, have already been made aware that switching to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) for their telecommunications needs can slash their phone bills significantly - in some instances by as much as 40%.
"Those savings are definitely a major motivator when it comes to convincing consumers and business users to switch from fixed lines to VoIP," says Mitchell Barker, founder and CEO of WhichVoIP.co.za, a directory website containing a comprehensive list of South Africa's top VoIP providers. "But beyond that, some VoIP providers are proving that they genuinely have their customers' best interests at heart."
In a country where innovation in telecoms has often been hindered by bureaucracy, monopoly, collusion and high prices, a consumer-driven provider sounds almost too good to be true. Referring to the ongoing legal scuffle between MTN and Vodacom, two of South Africa's mobile operators, against the country's telecoms regulatory body, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA), about the latest proposed mobile termination rate (MTR) cut implementation, Barker continues: "While they were fighting against the lower MTRs - those fees that mobile operators pay each other to carry calls on each other's networks - the rate cut had to be pushed back to April 1, which means that it was more time that consumers were shortchanged, since Telkom Mobile had already agreed that they would pass on those savings to their customers."
The proposed MTRs will see the interconnect fee drop from the current rate of 40c to 20c - which smaller carriers Cell C and Telkom Mobile will pay Vodacom and MTN to carry calls on their networks, while Cell C and Telkom Mobile will be able to charge Vodacom and MTN 44c per call on their networks, which is why the larger operators were so furious about the deal. Over the next three years, ICASA plans to have reduced the MTR to 10c for all operators.
When calling on one of the featured providers in our directory, Bryan Driessel, MD of MIA Telecoms, boasts that Voice and Data has always decreased their call rates in line with the interconnect rate cut drop and is committed to continuing to do so, and Voice and Data has gone the extra mile in other ways to ensure that they stand out from and stay ahead of the rest of the growing pack of VoIP providers in South Africa."
Some additional functionality is offered by Voice and Data on its VoIP solution, Driessel notes. "These supplementary services include useful business tools such as audio conferencing, voice recording and mobility, which will save you a lot of trouble when you need to relocate to a different office."
While Voice and Data goes out of its way to save their customers money and effort, the provider certainly spares no expense when it comes to rolling out the best product possible. "Voice and Data has invested a large amount of capital in its solution and will continue to do so in order to bring the most innovative applications to their clients," Driessel concludes.