Vox Orion MD Jacques du Toit has warned businesses in smaller towns to be cautious when choosing alternative telecommunications providers, as some may not be able to deliver on promised cost savings.
“If you want to cut your telecoms bill, the first step is to make sure all calls are routed in the most cost-effective way,” says Du Toit. “For example, if a call is for an MTN number it should go straight to the MTN network, if it’s for Telkom it should there, and so on. But everything depends on where the supplier has points of interconnect with the major networks.”
Many smaller suppliers only interconnect with other networks in South Africa’s major centres, explains Du Toit.
“If you’re in Nelspruit or Pietermaritzburg or Kimberley or George, you should ask some hard questions before you commit to any telecoms supplier,” he says. “If they’re advertising local call rates of 28c a minute but they don’t have an interconnect with Telkom in your town so the call has to be routed via the nearest big city, you’ll actually end up paying a lot more. All your local calls will effectively be national calls.”
To offer genuine savings, du Toit says, a supplier must interconnect with every network, in every town where it does business.
“This is one of the reasons why we expect to see huge consolidation in the voice market over the next couple of years — setting up and maintaining multiple interconnect agreements is a complex job. For a lot of the smaller suppliers, it’s just not worth it.”