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Demand for alternative telecoms on the up

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Orion Telecom, which recently joined forces with Vox Telecom to become the largest alternative telecommunications provider in South Africa, is to offer more in terms of integrated voice and data services. 

The company has expanded its range of offerings to provide the local market with a complete collection of voice and data solutions. These now include VoIP and GSM least cost routing as well as hosting, VPN, ADSL and ISDN services. In addition the company has an array of related services such as faxing, telephony management and corporate text messaging.
“The ability to provide clients with an integrated voice and data service is becoming more pressing as business become increasingly dependent on telecommunications,” says Jacques du Toit, MD of Orion Telecom.
“As the telecommunications market continues to mature and we move further towards total integration, customers simply do not want to deal with a whole bunch of different suppliers and the complications that arise from that. They want their telecommunications infrastructure to be managed by one company.”
Du Toit adds that standalone telecoms solutions no longer have a place in a dynamic business environment, particularly in the call centre and financial services sectors. “This is why value added network providers (VANs) need to start positioning themselves as telecommunications consultants if they want to survive in this market.”
Among the benefits of having a single service provider is the opportunity for greater cost savings. “Because margins in our industry are low, it is easier for companies to achieve more significant discounts on their telecoms contracts when they sign up with a single service provider, rather than trying to eke out reductions from a number of smaller players,” says Du Toit.
He notes that telecom products like the PABX have become so commoditised that most offer the same features regardless of brand and price. “This is just one example where the hardware no longer matters; it’s the related services that count.”
Technology is evolving at an extremely rapid rate, Du Toit adds. “What you buy today is outdated tomorrow. In such a scenario, it does not make sense to own equipment that becomes obsolete and begins to depreciate before you have even begun to obtain a return on investment. When you buy a service, however, you have the advantage of being able to upgrade whenever you need to.”
This type of flexibility means companies can grow their solution with their business, without ever having to lay out huge amounts of capital expenditure. Furthermore, all the risks associated with owning equipment lie with the service provider.
“Clients like to have a service level agreement,” says Du Toit. “”They can budget for the monthly fees, and they know that their systems can be upgraded or replaced whenever they choose.”