One of Zimbabwe’s licensed Internet Access Providers (IAP), Aquiva Wireless, will be launching VoIP services by April this year. We got the news from the company this week that they are finalizing interconnection agreements with some of the existing mobile operators and the fixed line operator (TelOne) and will be launching VoIP commercially in the coming weeks.
The VoIP service is something similar to Econet’s recently launched service which you can access via any broadband internet connection from ordinary PCs or Wi-Fi enabled mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.
In terms of tariffs we should expect prices as low (or as high) Africom, Broadcom, Telco and Gigatel. In summary the POTRAZ approved tariffs for VoIP providers; US 5 cents for on-net calls and 11 cents for off-net calls.
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Aquiva chief operations officer, Artwell Mataranyika said that while some existing mobile operators have “not been in a hurry” to interconnect with new VoIP telephony providers like his company, they have nevertheless been responsive and they’ve managed to secure some agreements. He added though without naming any specific operators that a few are deliberately dragging their feet and interconnection agreements with these would take a long while.
As more and more IAPs launch VoIP services, interconnection remains one the main problems they face getting the product ready for commercial use. Users naturally expect to be able to make calls to any number under the sun when subscribed to a phone service and the realization that they can’t call some networks exposes the issue for the deal breaker it is.
Telecontract, one for the first IAPs to launch voice services back in 2010, only interconnected (and celebrated the event with ads in the papers) more than a year later and even it was just to one of the three mobile operators, Econet.