Some Details On Telco’s Recently Launched VoIP Services

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TelecontractLike most of you in Zimbabwe, we’ve seen the adverts and the articles in the print press about Telco’s launch of the first public VoIP network. We wanted to find out more, for you our dear readers so we contacted Telco and got some details.

Telco has basically started offering telephone services, effectively making it the 5th telephone services company currently operating in Zimbabwe. The other 4 are ofcourse the fixed telephone operator TelOne and the mobile telephone operators NetOne, Econet and Telecel. Unlike these 4 though, Telco’s services are based on the internet, hence the name Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). Telco relies on the customers existing broadband connection.

Telco is offering 3 packages namely, ifone@home, ifone@work and an IP PBX Solution. As the names suggest, the ifone@home package is for the home user and the ifone@work package for business subscribers. It’s not clear yet what the real distinction between the 2 is. According to Telco, subscribers of both packages will get (buy) a 086 type VoIP line, an IP telephone or an analogue telephone adaptor depending on their needs.

The IP PBX solutions is for business users and offers a scalable internet based private branch exchange (PBX) which Telco tells us will run “a mixture of proprietary and open-source systems that best suit the requirement and pocket of the customer.”

Telco also revealed to us the company currently has a VoIP subscriber capacity of about 10,000 and aims to up that to a million in the next 2 years.

There’s one problem that Telco needs to iron out fast; it’s interconnectivity with the mobile operator networks. Currently, the Telco VoIP network is just interconnected to TelOne. TelOne, as you might be aware from recent media reports has 380,000 landlines on the market and half of them are not working.

There’s another problem; Broadband is ridiculously expensive in Zimbabwe. Any service that relies on a consumers broadband connection is by extension also expensive for the consumer.

Here’s a tariff table of Telco’s VoIP:

Telco Approved VoIP Tariffs

There’s been some indication that Africom plans to start offering VoIP services too. ZELLCO made some news in the same direction a little over 2 months ago but hasn’t been visible since. So by all measures, Telco is the first deliberate jump into the public VoIP market. A jump everyone is watching closely to see what happens.

Telecontract is one of the oldest telecommunication service providers in Zim. The company was founded in 1991 by former TelOne executive, Shadreck Nkala.

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  • munhu

    @home , @work sounds to me like econet products, maybe they had the names but delayed launching LOL. Its funny coz now i compare them with econet….sad. But sounds interesting though, will see how the market embraces this, considering VOIP will be a cheap option, but the internet is a bit expensive

  • http://www.gonyeti.com gonyeti.com

    madness…
    why must i use this when skype is offering “free” calls between users????
    turns out Zellco (gigatel) is about to launch and their rates are way BETTER. but the again these jokers (telecontract) have taken the leap to offer the service…

  • HH

    Wow,

    That is damn expensive to say the least.

    I am using VOIP and it’s great. Getting a IP Phone is a bit on the pricey side, so for Zimbabwe the best is to use a regular landline phone or cordless phone, connected to a VOIP adaptor, which in turn is connected via CAT5 to your Broadband modem / router.

    The pricey part currently is the Broadband connectivity. Once the broadband connectivity is there, the rest is pretty simple. I have my own US Number connected to my VOIP, so any one in the diaspora, can dial my US Number and it rings on my voip phone. You can get a UK / Australia / US or any (1st World) number registered to it.

    Also i use it to make international calls, and at 3 cents a min to US / Canada / UK it’s much more reasonable.

    The legality issue here is still abit vague….. I remember a while ago Econet had sued a company that was providing VOIP services….. and WON, cause they wanted to keep the whole pie for themselves

    The only problem was, is that they were not ready to eat the pie (ie. they didn’t have the voip infrastructure / billing etc ready) and didn’t want to share the pie with any other local company, so they put the pie away in the freezer, hoping that two years later , they can warm it up, and eat the whole thing themselves.

    It looks like the two years is almost up…. Just wander how good / bad that pie will now taste with all the Power cuts we have.

    Cheers

  • http://www.gonyeti.com gonyeti.com

    too costly…

    why move from skype where EVERYBODY is????

  • JamesM

    Seems to me Telco has a rather weak business model, let’s see if they can prove everyone wrong. If you are going to rely on customers broadband connectivity, Skype will do for individual users and small businesses. I am quite certain Skype is even available on more recent smartphones, particularly those sporting the linux based Android, Maemo or MeeGo operating systems.
    Larger business can probably setup their VOIP platforms using Asterisk or some other open source tools without relying on outside vendors. Let’s see how this one develops.

  • MacdChip

    Skype is readily available to almost all OS including Symbian based, Android and WebOS. Having been using skype to call friends with skype in Zimba from Europe, why would l waste my hard any cash when all l need is broadband connection.

    And even though sometimes expensive, Econet is providing very clear on the move skype connection. l really love it except when its pricey on some days.

    Google talk is also available through gmail accounts even though l have not used it.

    The question will be, Why do l have to pay there services when l can get it for free? They need to answer that.

  • january

    well i have been in this mobile technology for more than 20years now. what telco wants to do will make them one of the most cheapest service provider in the WORLD if they deliver the service at its most. I know u dont understand it right now. OPEN YO EYES GUYS HEY!!! i also heard they want to issue out Telco cell lines which will have the same Prices for their voip which is 10cents per minute. INSTIDE econet is making $0.25 per min is it..they changed to per second billing so that you dont feel it.OPEN YOUR EYES”"”"

    ask yourself these questions

    WHY IS IT THAT ECONET IS DELAYING TO GIVE INTERCONNECTIVITY BETWEEN TELCO AND THEM?? THEY KNOW.. IS IT”"‘

    how efficient is it for you calling international calls with econet telecl lines do you get connected the same tym? without breaking?

    do you want to lern new and cheap technology?

    thank you

    I LIKE ZIMBABWEAN TECHNOLOGY I WISH I WHERE THERE. GOOD LUCK ZIM GUYS

  • january

    TELCO MOVE UP WITH YOUR VOIP.

  • K

    OK LET WE WAIT AND SEE

  • Techno

    The main advantage of Telcos VoIP is that it will make it legal to use VoIP in Zimbabwe and connect to other Local Networks such as Econet and Telecel albeit through Telone. Therefore it will be cheaper to call outside the country with Telco’s VoIP while it will be very expensive to call local numbers (e.g. calling Econet number will cost Telco’s-0.10c + Econet’s charge-0.25c per min. = 0.35c). Finally when these buggers decide to Interconnet with Telco it will become the cheapest network ever!

  • precious

    but why are econet and other mobile operators sabotaging others since you said the interconnect hasnt been finalised.

  • Ian

    To tell the truth I respect technology. Everything in the world is becoming IP including TVs. I respect what telco is doing as they are moving on with technology, infect they are implementing the future technology. Telone’s technology is out dated, untidy and rather expensive (copper) and I think people should accept change. Big up to telco!!!!!!!! Prove people wrong

  • Ian

    Imagine a world with everything using one dedicated link to connect, TVs, phones, computers etc. This is the world we are now living in and we should accept it.

  • Techno

    You see Econet and them will delay Interconnecting with Telco and other new entrants as much as they can, although it mandatory to Interconnect with any licensed local operator, because IP Telephone businesses will eclipse their network-dependent and expensive cellular service in a matter of months. IP Telephony can be offered anywhere where there is a broadband connection and is unbelievably cheap at rates such 0.10 per minute to call local. What is disgusting and smacks of political heavy-weighting is that Econet once fought the Gvt to be awarded a voice license and everyone was behind them! After fighting for deregulation they are the ones now blocking free enterprises. Hear no evil, speak no evil… I rest my case.

  • MacdChip

    How can this be cheap than skype, they are providing voip services which means they will rely on somebody providing the infrastructure then they back-pig on it.

    l dont get you, for one to use their service, its means you need internet connection, then they will provide you cheap voip services, right?

  • MacdChip

    This model will not be any cheap, there are a lot of them out there, long time ago, a company called Truphone was launched with the same business model as telco, if you had listened to their sells people then you would have believed the future is now.

    But up to now, there are not offering anything cheap. lf Econet decides to offer voip, then everything changes because they have to muscle and cables to to it. 3 in UK are doing that, they have integrated skype into there network and people are just lovin it

  • Wonder

    Whatever technology these guys are introducing it doesn’t make much sense to me. Right now we are struggling to have a reliable and descent bandwidth to link link my two offices and these guys have a courage to introduce more heavy stuff on their poor network… 1st thing 1st guys, we need a reliable and affordable internet 1st before we do anything else… They are just looking for ways to make quick buck!

  • MacdChip

    l agree with you there, telco needs to first dig the trenches and lay there own infrastructure, then they start to offer cheap services based on what they have.

  • PYTHON

    Why go on their voip while we have Gtalk,skype and all?? The internet in zim is dam expensive and then you go pay your so called VoIP . hahahahah use Skype

  • victor chemlin

    ??????dah…..gtalk  and skype dnt call mobile numberz or landline…..4 skype u nid 2 pay 2 call anyone whuz on any type of fone..pple in europe pay…african pple u luv free thingz too mch…..

  • http://www.facebook.com/mutangadurat Tinashe DiTinman Mutangadura

    um victor dude u r living in the stone age googletalk is on its way to phoning land lines with google voice that has just been introduced . skype also phones landlines u just need to buy credit . next time you open your skype look carefully you will see that in actual fact it does phone. sori bru i had to lay it on u this way