Al­ways take the num­ber with you

Porta­bil­ity now a re­al­ity in SA

Finweek English Edition - - Tech Trends - SIMON DINGLE si­mond@fin­week.co.za

ON MON­DAY 26 April lo­cal or geo­graphic num­ber porta­bil­ity came into play, mean­ing South Africans can now leave Telkom and move to other telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions providers with­out hav­ing to change their phone num­ber. Smaller in­dus­try play­ers have hailed the move, while an­a­lysts don’t fore­see it bol­ster­ing com­pe­ti­tion much.

As with mo­bile num­ber porta­bil­ity – which al­lows sub­scribers to switch cel­lu­lar net­works and keep their num­bers – geo­graphic num­ber porta­bil­ity is some­thing the smaller tele­coms com­pa­nies are ex­cited about. For ex­am­ple, Neo­tel is now able to port cus­tomers over from Telkom and al­low them to keep their same num­ber.

Vox Tele­coms says it ex­pects the move to bol­ster com­pe­ti­tion. “We see the in­tro­duc­tion [of lo­cal num­ber porta­bil­ity] as quite a big step for­ward in SA’s tele­coms en­vi­ron­ment,” says CEO Tony van Marken.

How­ever, World Wide Worx Strat­egy MD Steven Am­brose says the im­pact of lo­cal num­ber porta­bil­ity may not be great.

“The big is­sue in SA is that there’s no com­pa­ra­ble ser­vice to Telkom. Only Telkom can bring a cable into your premises. So for VoIP ser­vices you need fi­bre or Telkom.

TONY VAN MARKEN

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