Internet Access Provider, Telecontract (Telco), has interconnected its VoIP network with the Econet Wireless’s GSM mobile phone network. We got the announcement yesterday from Telco. The IAP launched VoIP services in November 2010 and more than a year later, had still not interconnected with a single mobile operator.
Telco says in the announcement that it is currently working on interconnection with the other two mobile network operators, Telecel and NetOne, and that updates will be provided once this has been achieved.
Here’s an extract from the announcement:
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Telco management and Econet management have finally agreed that the Interconnect Product is a business partnership between the two companies, resulting in a win-win business relationship. Telco appreciates POTRAZ’s [the telecoms regulator] support and encouragement during these lengthy negotiations.
Telco was able, immediately after launch last year, to interconnect with the country’s sate owned fixed telecoms operator, TelOne. Interconnection with the mobile operators however has not been easy. And it’s not just them; reports from all new IAPs making efforts to deploy voice services confirm interconnection is no walk in the park. From what we gather, it’s due both to the technical and commercial processes involved as well as a significant part what some IAPs we’ve talked to say is collusion on the part of the existing mobile operators to delay interconnection as much as they can.
Voice tariffs by the new entrants, Africom, Spiritage Business and Telco are at least half of what the traditional three mobile operators charge. The lack of interconnection (and other reasons) however has prevented potential customers from migrating to these new providers.