Gauteng Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  19 Nov 2008

IT and Telecoms: Calling London or London Calling


Recent Gauteng Business News

Local Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) operator Switch Telecom is now

able to provide South African customers with telephone numbers reflecting

the area codes of hundreds of cities in 60 countries worldwide.

This means that a call placed from anywhere in the world to a London number,
for example, will not terminate in the United Kingdom but will in fact be
routed to South Africa.

While it has been possible for South African VoIP customers to secure
overseas VoIP numbers before, Switch Telecom's key differentiator is that
customers can order overseas numbers and pay for them in rands rather than
US dollars.

"Local companies will realise that overseas clients find a certain peace of
mind dealing with what they imagine to be a supplier based in their own
country," said Greg Massel, managing director of Switch Telecom.

He added that many South African companies would also enjoy the prestige
factor involved in displaying international telephone numbers on corporate

"One of the primary markets for this new service will be South African
contact centres pursuing lucrative offshore markets. Firstly, customers
calling contact centres prefer to call numbers that look like they are based
in the same country. Secondly, there has been a tremendous backlash against
off-shoring in many countries. Now that much of the Western world is in
recession the idea of exporting jobs to developing countries is not exactly
appealing," said Mr Massel.

Overseas numbers can be integrated into Switch Telecom's value-added
services and no special technical expertise is required to implement the
overseas area code service. The cost to customers is typically around R100
per month per telephone number, depending on the cities required.

This latest VoIP development follows news last month that the prefix +27 87
made its first appearance after local VoIP providers concluded transit
agreements with Telkom meaning South African VoIP telephone numbers could be
dialled from overseas.

Overseas dialling was a key milestone for VoIP providers because it was the
last major technical barrier preventing large scale business and consumer
uptake of VoIP services as a complete replacement for fixed line telephony.

Other key barriers to VoIP uptake that have already been overcome include
the ministerial determinations of September 2004 and the ability of VoIP
operators to interconnect with each other as well as fixed and mobile
network operators.

"All of these latest developments point towards VoIP coming of age and
geography becoming less important in our new wireless world," concluded Mr

Switch Telecom operates an advanced VoIP and switched network and is one of
the many local VoIP operators that have successfully concluded transit
arrangements with Telkom.

To find out if Switch Telecom offers your choice of overseas area code,

please call 087 550 0000.

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