So according to the POTRAZ Q2 report, active fixed telephone lines increased by 3.7% from 257,626 to 267,034. And since TelOne is a monopoly (literally) in this field, it follows that we can use it to explain these changes.
Active fixed telephone lines as far as POTRAZ is concerned, are those that have been used in the last 90 days in this case (01 April to 30 June 2017). It’s interesting to note an increase in active telephone lines considering how previous reports have suggested a shift from voice calls to Over The Top (OTT) services.
Another interesting thing is that though active telephone lines increased, the fixed teledensity remained the same i.e at 1.9%. This suggests that the increase in subscribers was more of a result of customer retention than of new lines being installed.
Now why could this be?
The first reason is hinged on the rise of internet uptake. I will just pull out what’s relevant for this point, Digital Subscriber Lines (DSL). DSL has increases from 73,717 subscribers in Q1 to 75,618 subscribers in Q2, that calculated makes a 2.6% increase. TelOne ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Lines) which is part of DSL requires an active telephone line for it to be installed. Therefore, it could make sense attributing this increase in active fixed lines to the need for ADSL internet connection.
Also, in June, TelOne scraped off the telephone fixed charges and opted for the prepaid option. That could have been incentive for more people to adopt the service for ADSL. In fact, side note: the move by TelOne to scrap off the telephone fixed charges could have been more of a cost than a benefit since the report also reveals that fixed telephone revenues declined by 2.2% i.e. from $29.2 million in Q1 to $28.5 million in Q2; but then again, this is just in the short run.
However, the percentage increase in the active fixed lines is not equal or close to that of DSL uptake, which means there is more to that increase than just the need for internet.
I would have suggested that other than the need for an ADSL internet connection, people (or corporates rather since they contributed the greatest percentage to this increase) might have been drawn to fixed telephone lines because of promotions or cheaper voice call tariffs, but no, that couldn’t be since fixed voice traffic declined by 16% to record 134.4 million minutes in Q2 from the 160 million in Q1.
Dial up service maybe? Definitely not, it’s not even recorded in the report.
Is it that corporates are re-activating their landlines since landlines could actually be a more convenient way of Voice calling? Remember, you can pay your bill using a bank transfer. Also, TelOne has been putting effort in making their services (including Voice calls) affordable. But the question now would be why aren’t these fixed lines being used for the voice calls or shall I say yet? Why is there still a decline in voice call minutes when people are actually acquiring these fixed telephone lines???