iBurst today launched its iBurst Business division, looking to provide voice and data services to what it calls the "forgotten 500 000" SMEs in South Africa. And it expects to be able to save them 30% to 40% on their communication costs.

Newly-appointed CEO Jannie van Zyl, in his first public appearance since joining the company at the beginning of this month, says telcos currently tend to focus on either the consumer market or the high-end corporate market. "In between are the forgotten 500 000, the South African small businesses.
"The SMEs power the economy and yet we don't focus on them as telcos, but have left them to their own devices for many years."
Van Zyl says iBurst aims to focus on these companiesm, with products built especially for their needs, and offering them a decent quality of service.
In fact, iBurst – which has traditionally targetted the consumer market – already has about 25 000 SME clients on its books and has signed up 300 new SME users to specific small business offering since it first started touting them in February.
iBurst's Steve Briggs says the company is well positioned to service the SME market as it is one of the few telcos that owns and operates its own networks, as well as bringing its own products to market.
"Over the last four years, we have put something special together," he says. "What's very important is that we own our own network, and we are able to commercialise it as well."
As one of seven 1-ECNS licence-holders, iBurst offers a wealth of spectrum for both access and backhaul.
"This is backed by one of the most advanced next-generation IP telecommunication infrastructures in South Africa," Briggs adds. "And it's up and running – not something we're planning."
iBurst has also laid its own fibre network as well as running a wireless network, WiMax and satellite. It also offers access to ADSL and HSPDA connectivity.
iBurst Business's target market is small companies of between two and 100 users, although it can cater for up to 250 users.
One of its early case studies is on a 250-user company, which has saved about 32% of its voice costs every month since switching to iBurst. Briggs is confident that customers can save about 30% on voice costs and also 30% to 40% on their data expenditure.
On the support side, iBurst runs a contact centre and online support centre. iBurst Business has also partnered with Dial-a-Nerd for onsite support.