Switch Telecom, a leading independent provider of telecoms services, has announced significant reductions on certain call tariffs with effect from 1 April this year.
Changes for the better to the competitive and regulatory landscape in South Africa have enabled Switch Telecom to drive its own costs down and pass the savings on to its customers.
Peak calls to Telkom land-lines are being reduced by 20,8% while off-peak calls to land-lines and cell phones are being reduced by 10,3% and 3,4% respectively.
Switch is also harmonising the classification of "peak" and "off-peak" times across all networks, with peak rates applying from 07h00 to 20h00 on weekdays, with off-peak rates applying at all other times.
"It's barely two months after South Africa's VANS were able to convert their VANS licences into electronic communication network services (ECNS) and electronic communications services (ECS) licences and we're already seeing an effect on telecoms tariffs in South Africa," says Greg Massel, MD of Switch Telecom.
"The issuing of these new licences signalled the start of real competition in South Africa's telecoms market, and seems set to make more of an impact on communication and call costs than the many years of so-called managed liberalisation that the market has endured until now."
Under South Africa's new licensing regime, Telkom is no longer justified in giving Neotel and the mobile operators preferential wholesale termination rates compared to the higher rates that VANS providers such as Switch telecom were forced to pay, says Massel
Switch now holds the same type of telecoms licence as Neotel and the mobile operators and, as such, receives the same favourable rates to terminate calls on Telkom's network as those operators do.
International tariffs have also been revised with certain destinations increasing in cost and others decreasing.
Switch Telecom has also responded to client demand by introducing the option of an alternative call package with per-second billing. Call tariffs on this package are higher than the standard package but calls are billed per-second rather than per minute. Companies – such as call centres – that make large volumes of short calls will benefit from the new per-second option.
Massel says: "We're only just starting to feel the impact of a more open and liberal telecoms market. Our newly converted licence has opened up many opportunities for us – expect to see us introduce various new value-added telephony services in the coming months that were previously only available from Telkom.
"We also remain committed to driving down telecoms costs as and when it is viable to do so to make telecoms more affordable to consumers and businesses."