New draft regulations proposed by ICASA (Independent Communications Authority of SA) regarding carrier pre-select are an important step which the local telecommunications industry needs to take in order to facilitate real competition in the market.
This is according to Huge Group executive chairman Anton Potgieter, who believes that a consumer's ability to choose their telecommunications carrier call-for-call, regardless of their normal provider, will have a huge impact on the level of competition in the industry.
"Essentially what carrier pre-select means is that an individual, or a company, can use their existing telecoms infrastructure, but have their calls carried by another provider – usually at much cheaper rates," says Potgieter.
"This is done by dialing a prefix code before your destination number is dialed. Internationally we've seen this type of ruling significantly stimulate competition, with the larger players in the market competing vigorously for voice traffic by using creative pricing structures to attract customers."
Unfortunately for consumers (corporate and individual alike) at the height of competition the sheer number of routing options available to them will make it incredibly difficult to assess all these options, he says, and they may resign themselves to just using their regular provider for the sake of simplicity.
"However, increased competition, more routing options and creative pricing models are a gold mine for those willing to brave the telecoms jungle. Companies can save a great deal of money by properly evaluating the routing options available to them and ensuring each call they make is placed on the most cost-effective route.
"It will not make sense for consumers to stick to one service provider. Where it is cheaper to route via another network, this should be taken advantage of," says Potgieter. "And, given the complexity involved with the growing number of routing options available, standard PABX equipment is not sufficient to properly route calls over the available carriers, especially if call-rates by providers change at the drop of a hat.
"Companies' core-competencies also do not readily extend into evaluating routing options and so advanced telecommunications management is often an area best outsourced to those who specialise in this field."