Alan Knott-Craig has played his first card since being appointed as CEO of Cell C on 1 April. The operator has released a new least-cost routing (LCR) product, called LCRAnyNet, that Knott-Craig says will “reduce the cost of telecommunications for business and will bring down the barrier for small businesses hoping to take advantage of LCR”.
“Small businesses have previously been excluded from the benefits of LCR due to the high monthly subscription rates associated with the service,” Knott-Craig says.
LCR AnyNet will cost a minimum of R150 per Sim per month and will provide a flat rate of 99c/minute across mobile networks and 60c/minute to fixed-line networks.
James Herbst, CEO of LCR specialist Huge Telecom, says the product is a “game changer” because, for one thing, it’s “better priced than Telkom and Neotel’s standard retail corporate telephony offerings, as well as the retail corporate telephony offerings of the VoIP (voice-over-Internet protocol) operators”.
LCR players have moved to VoIP in recent years because of worries that reductions in termination rates — the fees the mobile operators charge to carry calls onto their networks — would result in the arbitrage opportunities in LCR disappearing.
“Cell C is the first to market in this latest iteration of the corporate telecoms saga in SA and no doubt MTN and Vodacom will want to follow suit if they want to prevent Cell C from dominating the pending new corporate telephony land-grab that it has just started,” Herbst says.
“I think that we are about to see a wholesale price war in the corporate telephony voice market and right now Huge Telecom is the best placed provider of corporate telephony solutions to benefit from this,” he claims. “In fact, Huge Telecom is possibly the only real player left in this space, due to the mass exodus to VoIP — especially by the larger players — and the closure of most of the smaller players due to financial pressures associated with the margin squeeze over the past three years.”
Herbst says Cell C has “simply done what we said all along would eventually happen, which is to effectively make the VoIP business model redundant as a viable corporate voice telephony alternative”. — (c) 2012 NewsCentral Media