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Broadband VoIP system revolutionises business communication

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Mitchell's picture

A new Voice over IP system is taking the local markets by storm by offering a simple answer to the need for a reliable and cost effective communication system for businesses nationwide. Enabling up to 45 voice calls over a single ADSL line, Voice over Internet Broadband Enhancement or 'ViBE' addresses the single biggest barrier to mass adoption of VoIP in the SME and Enterprise market: expense.

The introduction of ViBE into South Africa means that the presence of Voice over IP in the local market is set to boom. ViBE provides a method of maximising existing investment by reducing the amount of bandwidth required for VoIP traffic and works equally as well over most forms of Broadband. Through Rheid Communications who are the sole distributors of the product in South Africa, ViBE is predicted to flourish, acting as the answer to the need for a cost effective and reliable communication system.

Harry Pontikos, Technical Director for Rheid Communications indicates, "ViBE's defining feature is that both data and voice can reside on the same link without impacting on the quality of the voice, while it can also manage a high volume of voice calls at one time without affecting the quality."

The use of ViBE can produce improvements in call carrying density of 200% to 500% and simultaneously optimise the remaining bandwidth for other applications. In the past, local Broadband infrastructure could not support more than 3 to 4 simultaneous calls over a standard ADSL line. For this reason, few businesses have realistically been able to implement VoIP systems that truly deliver what is promised. Using ViBE, up to 45 calls can be carried with no loss of quality.

ViBE translates into real cost savings as call centres and other businesses no longer need expensive ISDN lines for high call capacity. For example a single ViBE enabled ADSL line can carry up to 45 concurrent calls, thereby optimising the return on expenditure. Using higher speed WiMax or ADSL lines call capacity can be increased even further. Since ViBE is media independent, most forms of Broadband are supported. Businesses can now truly take advantage of the cost savings and convenience attributed to making calls using VoIP technology.

The product has taken the international market by storm this year, receiving the 2008 VON Magazine Innovator Award, one of the top listings of innovative companies that represent the future of the Internet Communications industry.

Pontikos finishes, "I firmly believe ViBE will revolutionise the delivery of VoIP, enabling bandwidth to be used to its maximum capacity and allowing the true potential of VoIP to be realised in South Africa".

- Source: Mediaweb


Mitchell's picture

Interconnect Fees

With the incumbent mobile operators set to drop interconnect rates even further in 2011, converged communications providers are preparing to take advantage of a more competitive voice market.

The drop in the interconnect rate, while not as substantial as many would have hoped will have far reaching effects for the local market, as a decrease in rates will mean a concurrent drop in mobile-to-mobile and mobile-to-fixed line voice rates. It also opens up the market to competition, as the crossover interconnect rates to other operator networks will become more affordable, meaning smaller players will have lower cost barriers to enter the market.
But what does this drop in the GSM network rates mean for Voice Over IP (VoIP), a technology driven by a cheap on-net call rate value proposition? Honestly the drop in interconnect rates could hurt the VoIP value proposition in the mobile space, but there is more to this than meets the eye. 

While it has not been an easy birth, advanced technology has allowed local VoIP providers to survive and even thrive in the high interconnect rate environment. Internet Solutions for example already terminates 40,000,000 VoIP minutes a month. This is testament to South Africa's ability to provision world class VoIP services in the face of huge hurdles, which offers great value when using on-net voice minutes.
Additionally, the nature of VoIP made it an ideal disruptive technology for smaller players to disintermediate the mobile operators, drawing off-net voice minutes on-net over IP networks at vastly reduced rates. With more people using mobile devices as converged communication tools the potential for mobile VoIP services is growing rapidly, so the market has seen a number of service providers look to move into the mobile VoIP market, a trend driven largely by the massive growth in Wi-Fi technology and accessibility.

A prime global example is AT&T, the biggest voice data carrier in the world, who has allowed iPhone users to use the phone's technology to terminate VoIP calls, a tectonic shift in the voice industry paradigm. By bringing VoIP into the mobile model AT&T has taken what was generally a cottage industry and, practically overnight made it mainstream.  However, with the drop in interconnect rates the need to disintermediate has diminished somewhat, which will be viewed negatively by some. VANS and ECNS providers that offer off-net voice services will now have less of a hurdle to enter the market, causing the disintermediation approach of using disruptive technologies to penetrate markets to lose its appeal.

So, with the current interconnect rate of 89c dropping to 65c in early 2011, which is a substantial drop at 27%, the rate will need to be reduced even further to negate the need to disintermediate the incumbent mobile operators and make the marketplace more competitive. Interconnect rates of around 5 to 10c is ultimately the level the industry needs to reach to really open up the market to price competition from new entrants.  In the meantime service providers with sustainable mass on their networks will continue to expand their offerings by augmenting VoIP into their basket of products and services. This is especially true for Least Cost Routing (LCR) service providers, who stand to lose the most should interconnect rates drop further. To survive and offer competitive costs they will need to diversify their voice offerings by augmenting VoIP into their offerings, rather than remaining with blended off-net LCR.

It's clear to see that there are a number of confluencing events that will make life more difficult for mobile operators, but will benefit South African consumers and the economy. It is estimated that an interconnect rate of 60c can add 1% of GDP growth to the local economy, which is materially good for the country. Lower call rates, be it due to a drop in fixed line and mobile rates, or the increased adoption of VoIP technology will mean companies can conduct more efficient business. And with the introduction of the next generation 4G/LTE mobile network, which is IP multimedia system enabled, the networks will become IP compliant, enabling VoIP over mobile networks, providing further impetus for the move towards a VoIP world.
So, all in all the net gain from the drop in interconnect rates is beneficial for VoIP, especially mobile VoIP, as there is a great deal of room to grow the number of VoIP minutes terminated over off-net networks. Currently the fixed line market is around R20 billion and mobile voice services generate around R80 billion in revenue. With VoIP only accounting for a small percentage of that and interconnect rates not coming down to a level that will truly open up the market, new technologies and a need for cheaper voice calls will continue to place VoIP services at the frontline of the disintermediation battle.