Vox Telecom has entered the lower LSM market through Vox Tickybox which, it says, will bring first world telco services to South Africa’s second economy.
The informal economy in South Africa is valued at an estimated R300-billion rand, making it a key socio and economic driver for the country.
“Sadly this market is not reaching its full potential due to lack of telco resources,” says Vox Tickybox project manager, Paul Muller.
Vox Tickybox drives a number of telco initiatives within South Africa’s informal communities through project enablers like Chattabox, a community of container-based businesses that offer full telecoms functionality through an educational laboratory and a general telco hub.
The educational lab serves as a world-class learning facility providing students with access to full school curriculums as well as video conferencing and webinar facilities, allowing them to benefit from remote learning.
“Location is no longer a problem for these students, on the back of these virtual container based classrooms they are able to partake in remote lectures with teachers from anywhere in the world, giving them access to quality education,” says Muller.
Vox Tickybox partners with existing shops, retail outlets and containers to service the community through local telco hubs.
“These communication hubs are similar to your traditional Internet cafes and provide affordable voice, Internet, photocopying, faxing and e-mail services," says Muller. "Operators in these businesses typically charge users 15c – 20c per minute to phone between Chattabox centres, allowing the community to communicate at significantly lower rates while also benefiting from various telco offerings.
“All customers operating off the back of Vox Tickybox infrastructure benefit from on net calls, making affordable telco services a reality in developing areas.”
Where Tickybox differs from other similar private sector offerings is that its success is driven by the success of the community. Tickybox operates off a similar model to Vox Telepreneur, driving entrepreneurial thinking.
“The great thing about this initiative is that it drives entrepreneurship at all levels," Muller says. "If you aren’t able to get involved as a centre manager, you can become an agent and sell various products and services including phones, e-walleting services and even containers. The more you sell, the more money you can make.”
All Tickybox services are pre-paid allowing both operators and customers to manage their business usage effectively.
“We didn’t want to go into the community and sell to them – in order for this to be successful the community needed to drive this,” says Muller.
Vox Tickybox runs predominantly off the back of satellite technology and integrates with fixed-line infrastructure when available. There are currently Vox Tickybox outlets throughout Gauteng, KZN and Limpopo, with plans to rollout to the rest of South Africa and eventually Africa.
“The great thing about Tickybox is that it is completely independent of location – if need be an entire Chattabox facility can be transported anywhere in Africa and be set up within a week,” says Muller.
“With hardly any fixed-line telco infrastructure in place, Vox Tickybox will bring a full range of quality telco services to South Africa and potentially Africa’s informal communities, driving socio and economic growth in these developing areas through communication,” he adds.