Cheaper calls for SA households
Cape Town - A South African company plans to launch a telephone service to home users that promises cheaper calls on a fibre optic line.
"We're a pure prepaid solution. You get an account - you don't pay for that. You put in R100 credit. Of that R100 credit, 8.5% goes to service fee, so you'll get R91.50 airtime," George Golding, CEO of Euphoria told News24.
The service is due to launch on March 1 2012, there would be no monthly fee for subscribers, and the service would cost around 90c per minute.
Per-second billing would not be available for home users because the firm believes that companies have different usage patterns to home users.
Golding said that they were investigating additional services for home users that might include forwarding of voice mail to e-mail, individual billing, and web account management.
It will primarily be a voice over IP (VoIP) telephonic service on Neotel infrastructure, in smaller scale to what the company offers its corporate users.
Golding said that security was of paramount concern.
"We've got 256 bit encryption; our password coding is 12 characters long and very complicated; Everything we've done from the ground up is pretty close to banking security."
Quality for the service seems much better than, for example Skype calls, as the telephonic interview with Golding was conducted with the Euphoria technology.
"Our primary goal was develop a system that was propriety, that we own; that we have access to all the code; that we can make changes that are suitable for South Africa.
"If I took a Mitel PBX from the US and put it down here and expected it to work without any problems, I'd be fooling myself. That was developed for a 10 meg [mbps] line with no problems; that's not the reality in South Africa.
"With our system, we've implemented something called Vibe technology. What it does is create a VPN [virtual private network] connection over a line," said Golding.
The system uses Vibe technology that compresses the voice "packets" on the call so that up to 30 private calls can be conducted on one line for company clients and if a line goes down, the technology automatically switches to whatever backup hardware is available with any input from the user.
" A PRI from Telkom with 30 calls, [is] about R4 500 a month with a three year contract.
"With Vibe, you're paying R17.50 licence fees per month which is R525 for 30 calls, plus your ADSL line - call it R1 000. It improves the quality of the call as it's going over a VPN because it's like a tunnel," Golding said.
The system is particularly suited to companies operating many branches throughout the country.
He rejected suggestions that Neotel delivered poor quality, but conceded that the company's image had suffered because of the way it entered the market in SA.
"Neotel really missed a massive opportunity in my point of view because when they arrived, they priced themselves at more or less the same as Telkom.
"Now their pricing has dropped through the floor and they actually finally have some clients. They only have 70 000 clients, which is really not a lot for an R8bn network.
"Many South Africans have a kind of closed gate when it comes to Neotel because of the way they arrived in the country. But if you relook at their services now, they actually have some really good data offerings," he said.
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