Telkom is failing to implement number porting for telephone numbers used by call centres to the detriment of competition, the Internet Service Providers’ Association (Ispa) said on Monday.
Association chairman Graham Beneke said it is still not possible to port “non-geographic” numbers with prefixes such as 0800 and 0860 because Telkom “continues to delay” implementation.
South Africa launched number portability in 2006 with the ability of mobile users to port their telephone numbers between cellular networks. According to Ispa, more than eight million people have ported their numbers between networks. Over a million geographic numbers have also been ported.
“When it comes to the introduction of non-geographic number portability, Telkom has sadly reverted to its ‘bad old days’ persona…,” Beneke said in a statement.
“During recent public hearings into non-geographic number portability, Telkom’s industry peers and others had to suffer long-winded explanations from the former monopoly as to why it could not swiftly introduce non-geographic number portability. It can, and we all know it.”
Ispa said Telkom has “sought to over-complicate the issue as the operator would lose out competitively if the large corporates and contact centres that are the primary users of 0860, 0861, 0862 and 087 prefixes were able to switch networks while retaining these numbers”.
‘A sore thumb’
“No call centre that has invested significantly in its main inbound phone number is going to switch network operators without being able to retain this number so heavily linked to its brand,” said Beneke.
“The South African telecommunications industry needs to be able to port all numbers. This is the final competitive number portability issue that’s sticking out like a sore thumb because a single operator is stalling the inevitable.”
Telkom has been asked for comment. — (c) 2019 NewsCentral Media