|Mobile uptake spurs add-on services|
Monday, 30 November 2009 02:00
The telecommunications industry is a fast-growing sector which is no longer limited to coverage and connectivity, says Alan Ellis, CEO of ST Group.
With the majority of South Africans owning or having access to a cellphone, argues Ellis, add-on services and niche products such as broadband, data services and mobile TV are in high demand.
"However, while these `extras` are steadily taking off, local consumers are still being overcharged, with call rates at five times higher than those in Europe, for speed that is a tenth of what it is overseas, due to the local fixed-line monopoly and the matter of interconnect rates,” he explains.
According to the company, SA remains hopeful that pressure on ICASA to slash interconnect rates and the establishment of the Seacom cable will cause data costs to drop.
"The trend in Africa is to go mobile, with less and less interest in landlines. Countries on our continent are leapfrogging this technology and moving directly to fibre optic networks," continues Ellis.
He says the surge in telecom activities and the demand for add-on services means providers need to consolidate network management and data flow in order to manage fibre optic networks more efficiently, deliver more affordable services and, at the same time, increase profitability.
"Today, tools such as ConnectMaster, a GIS-based off-the-shelf software solution, can assist telecommunication providers to design, document and manage fibre optic or broadband networks and inventories, as well as enable the intelligent automation of processes. It is just a matter of who will take the lead," he concludes.
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