The local telecoms market is rapidly shifting as consumer and small business fixed line (copper cable) voice communications continues to reduce whilst over R250 million is being invested in fixed wireless installations and technology across the country.
The winds of change are definitely blowing in the local telecoms market as Neotel alone has committed to invest a quarter of a billion rand in the next few months into the deployment of fixed wireless technology.
According to Dr Angus Hay, executive head of technology at Neotel, there is rapid uptake of fixed wireless, and the company is experiencing a 5 percent increase in sales month on month. Neotel’s wireless network is similar to a cell phone network but offers fixed line numbers that operate within a particular dialling code area, and are priced at very competitive fixed line rates.
This fixed wireless market growth is in sharp contrast to the continued shrinkage being experienced in copper-based fixed line voice connections. Fuelled by affordability, convenience and mobility the small business and consumer markets are aggressively adopting fixed wireless whilst abandoning fixed line. Neotel aims to be market-led, and responsive to customer needs, as witnessed by its ability to deliver a telephone rapidly, anywhere in its coverage area, without the delays associated with copper cable installations. In some metropolitan areas that have experienced chronic cable problems, including cable theft, Neotel’s fixed wireless service is saving small businesses.
The current recessionary climate also means that it is more vital than ever for local businesses and consumers to opt for the most affordable telecoms option without the hidden costs traditionally associated with incumbent fixed line providers.
According to Hay, people are currenlty more impatient than ever with hidden costs. This includes being charged for the installation of fixed lines and also being billed for per minute, even for dropped calls. Neotel provides ‘true per second billing’ on all its voice services, with no minimum charge.
“For example – a telecoms operator which uses the minimum call rate model for the first minute of a call and then switches to per second billing, charges the full initial rate of R1,89 for a call to a mobile phone even if it only lasts for one second. Neotel on the other hand charges 3 cents for the same elapsed time because it only charges per second for the actual time that has elapsed without adding on costs for time that is not actually used”, says Hay.