In most industries costs are on a never-ending upwards trajectory and the consumer keeps paying more. However, in the telecoms industry the opposite is true due to advancements in technology and infrastructure. In fact, telephony has never before in history been as cheap as it is now. If your bill is not getting lower then something is wrong.
Historically, South Africa inherited a 30-year-old telephone infrastructure from the UK, based on copper installations. It was old, dilapidated and labour intensive in terms of installation and maintenance costs.
In recent years, we progressed to the scenario we have available today, in which the telephony environment has merged with the IT environment to enable us to use the internet to make voice calls. This is done by using equipment that turns voice into data on the one end, and equipment that turns data into voice on the other end.
It is interesting to note that South Africa and Spain are the only two countries that still predominantly use old, copper-based telephony. It is time for change, and South Africa is in the process of moving from the old technology to the new, data-based technology.
As data packages are exceptionally affordable world-wide, South African companies are able to offer competitive voice call rates. While the old system used to bill in per-minute increments, the new system works on billing per second, in data packages. So just by changing clients from a per-minute scenario to a per-second billing structure, they can save 30% on their telephony bills.
Competition is a wonderful thing. Over the past 30 years, we have only had one service provider. For the last five years, so many service providers have entered the marketplace, that pricing has become extremely competitive. Call rates are decreasing dramatically, especially for users who spend large amounts on their telephone accounts.
This opens up a wonderful opportunity for clients to assess what they are spending now, and to weigh up all the available alternatives. Trunuty’s analysis has indicated that 75% of clients can save 30-40% on telephone bills if they convert to the data-based technology.
Furthermore, this technology bodes very well for the future. Those forward-thinking companies, who have already embraced the new, will be pleased to know that their costs are likely to be decreased even further. While a 10 MBPS line used to be R10 000, it now sells at R3000. The same goes for call rates. It is predicted that, within the next three to five years, people will no longer be charged for calls. They will be billed for package use.
Let’s say, for instance, that a client secures a 10 MB data line which is adequate not only for his data internet requirements, but also includes voice calls. This would get sold in a bundle for, let’s say R1 000 per month. This is the move towards more and more affordable voice calls.