The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) recently proclaimed regulations to enable businesses to port their non-geographic phone numbers (0800; 0860; 0861; 0862 and 087) away from Telkom and to any other telecommunications provider of their choice.
The industry has been waiting 16 years for these regulations to come into effect, and the impact is expected to be significant.
Number portability is the mechanism whereby a consumer or business can leave one telecommunications service provider and move to another, taking their number with them. Changing numbers comes with significant costs and inconvenience, especially for larger businesses. The cost of changing all of their marketing collateral and business information – think directory listings, advertisements, business cards and so on. Number portability alleviates this issue.
Until December, only geographic numbers (011, 021 and so on) and mobile numbers (082, 083, etc) could be ported. For larger businesses with inbound call centres on non-geographic numbers, for example, this posed a major challenge. If Telkom had a problem, their call centres would go offline.
Competition has now been introduced to a segment of the local telecommunications market that desperately needs it. The call centre industry is a major employer in South Africa, employing some 270 000 people, according to Business Process Enabling South Africa data..
Business process outsourcing – which sees overseas companies outsource their call centres to South African businesses to perform business services – has been identified by President Cyril Ramaphosa as a critical growth sector to enable our economic recovery. This followed South Africa’s sector being announced as the most favoured global offshore destination for 2021.
Non-geographic number portability will enable call centre business to choose providers that meet their needs exactly, enable large businesses to switch providers without incurring massive costs, and have a positive impact on competition in the sector as a whole. All of which will contribute economically. It’s a major win.
By Nic Laschinger, CTO, Euphoria Telecom
About Euphoria Telecom
Euphoria Telecom is a leading provider of an innovative, cloud-based, cost effective, business telephone service that offers unprecedented control and automated operational efficiency. The solution offers any business a truly simple approach to managing communications across an increasingly decentralised and mobile workforce. Seamless integration and automation make it simple for businesses to access insights, reports and efficacy of communications.
The company has earned a reputation as a customer-centric business, decreasing customer telephony costs by up to 50% and maintaining excellent customer service. Established in 2010, the company now proudly hosts over 4 000 business customers in South Africa and continues to grow rapidly. The company was founded by George Golding, Conrad de Wet and Rafal Janik, and is managed by John Woollam and Nic Laschinger.