It’s likely that the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) will cover an effective 100% of South Africa’s population by the end of 2022.
This prediction comes from Anton Potgieter, co-founder of NoPBX, a locally-developed, smartphone-based cloud PBX system that uses local GSM networks to turn standard smartphones into business switchboards.
Last year, 99,8% of South Africa’s of 60,3-million people had access to mobile network coverage, according to Statista (Mobile Coverage & Smartphone Penetration in South Africa 2015 – 2020). Conversely, there were just 16-million high-speed fibre connections in 2019, according to the most recent ‘State of the ICT Sector Report’.
“GSM mobile access already reaches almost all of the people who live within the 1,2-million square kilometre area that is South Africa. Compare this to the reach of fibre network operators which – in the best-case scenario – extends about 166 000 kilometres. If you want to be connected perfectly all the time, it makes far more sense to run a switchboard solution over mobile, not fibre,” says Potgieter.
South Africa’s growing GSM mobile coverage is already a life-saver (or more accurately, a business-saver) for those small business owners, self-employed consultants and other NoPBX users taking well-deserved breaks this December at the “beach, berg or bush” – or even just at home. They’ll be able to relax knowing they can make and receive business calls using just their usual, ubiquitous cellphone voice connection.
“Being able to take a fully functional switchboard with you, instead of merely forwarding calls to your personal mobile number, is a huge boost for simplicity and ease of use while away, all the while maintaining a professional image,” adds Potgieter.
NoPBX has activated over 1,200 new PBX-over-GSM switchboards since its commercial launch in October 2020. Potgieter puts the runaway popularity of the solution partly down to the fact that it requires no high-speed mobile data to work, just a standard GSM voice signal and your existing smartphone.
NoPBX runs all of its calls over highly-secure GSM voice networks that offer excellent call quality. A particularly pertinent advantage of NoPBX is that it is immune to the catastrophe that is loadshedding – provided of course your cellphone batteries are charged.
Prior to the launch of NoPBX, corporates and SMEs alike could typically wait days or even weeks for VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) or traditional fixed lines, handsets and infrastructure to be delivered and installed at their premises.
Potgieter adds that NoPBX clients span the entire economic spectrum and include the likes of guest houses, estate agents, financial consultants, car dealers, farmers, non-profits, schools, transport operators and many others.