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Africom yet to finalise interconnection, focus is on business customers

When we posted the article about Africom’s very low voice tariffs last week, one of the readers commenting on the article expressed doubt that the Africom network has interconnection with the other voice networks (Econet, Telecel, NetOne and TelOne) to allow subscribers to make off-net calls. This week, we visited Africom and sadly found out this actually is the case. Well, partly.

According to Africom officials we spoke to, the date and voice operator only has live interconnection with Telecel. Interconnection with Econet will come sometime later this month and as for state owned operators, NetOne and TelOne, much later. No one is saying how much later this is but our guess is later than June.

It’s not like NetOne and TelOne have ‘that’ many subscribers to cause Africom any sleepless nights, but for subscribers, not being able to call certain networks is a big deal. It’s in fact a deal breaker or at the very least, what will cause a lot of ‘wait and see’.

Speaking to an Africom official we were told the launch of voice before completing interconnection was not without deliberate intent. The focus is on corporate customers for now he explained. “We’re not ignoring the consumer market, but we have a solid case for businesses to cut down telecommunications costs immediately”, he said, “Businesses can see the immediate value of making calls within a closed user group (CUG) and they’re excited. If anything, they’re asking why we waited so long”.

Africom is offering corporate customers some packages that allow company employees to make free calls within the company.

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3 thoughts on “Africom yet to finalise interconnection, focus is on business customers

  1. Thanks  for the follow up Kabweza. lt looks like Africom had an impulse reaction of getting into that section of busibess without doing their homework properly! How are they going to explain to business people they are trying to offer service that they cannot contact certain SP networks and convince them to sign up?

  2. “… making calls within a closed user group (CUG) and they’re excited”. This is the sort of head-scratching remark which leaves you wondering whether some companies have a business vision or simply employ totally inept people. So Africom thinks that “calls within a closed user group” is actually a business strategy that will attract business its way? This is dubious and completely unbelievable. If businesses what to interact in a closed settings there are already IT platforms for doing that; VOIP (even skype!), teleconferencing, etc but to suggest that businesses want to extend this form of ‘closed’ communication to mobile voice is baffling. The truth maybe that Africom launched voice products before their logistics and infrastructure where in place, in an attempt to steal the march on potential competitors.

  3. Interconnects are not really an issue.  For instance I have a voip line with an unsaid IAP that has no inter connections and all they do is route the calls via south africa and then back into zimbabwe.  Africom needs to wise up on this, when you are talking about IP traffic its not an issue at all.  Unless they are running E1 interfaces then well they need to revisit their structure because it will cost them an arm an a leg.

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