VoIP service takes on cellphone giants

2010-06-11 09:50

Johannesburg - Dimension Data [JSE:DDT] subsidiary Internet Solutions has launched a new voice over IP (VoIP) service for cellphones, designed to bypass cellular networks.

Business manager at Internet Solutions Justin Spratt said the product is aimed at South African companies, which can vastly reduce their telecommunications costs by calling over the internet using WiFi access, instead of cellular networks. He said that WiFi is widespread internationally and available in most offices, restaurants, conference facilities and hotels.

The IS solution is called OnNet VOIS and makes use of a dedicated application that runs on cellphones. According to Spratt, the application is already available to Nokia and Android phones and will soon also be available on iPhone, BlackBerry and the new Microsoft Windows Phone 7.

The service is most efficient over WiFi but can also be used on any other internet connection like 3G.

"We want the people of SA to be able to vote with their wallets. We don't want the current status quo - we want that to change," he said. "South Africa's mobile industry is an R80bn business - and is dominated by one pretty average network and another with a pretty average billing system," he said.

Spratt said countries with comparable macro-economic environments to South Africa can enable more affordable mobile telephony and that he finds it confusing that South Africa is unable to do so.

"Some of these countries have mobile calls available at 20c per minute," he said. "Approximately 70% of phone calls emanate from inside buildings, homes and offices. These can easily be siphoned off the mobile network and done through WiFi and other broadband connections instead.

"In so doing, we can bring the call rate down to under 50c per minute and save up to 30% on calls."

He said that IS has partnered with service provider Nashua Mobile to take the new service to market.


  • Rick - 2010-06-11 10:08

    Yes! Yes! Yes!. We need someone like this to give competition to the food retailer monopolies as well

  • Thato - 2010-06-11 10:13

    Autopage is going to further be hit if they don't partner as well. Their telecoms business (up to 70% of revenues) are from Cellular calls which this technology threatens.

  • XYZ - 2010-06-11 10:15

    mmm, this is actually old, i know of SA telecoms firms that have a sim card, that use the same techonology. This is not new at all !

  • Ripped of Cellphone - 2010-06-11 10:29

    ANC government should understand the best way to get prices down is to facilitate and encourage price competition and do away with monopolies like MTN, VODACOM and Telkom. This is a step in the right direction. VIVA ANC VIVA

  • JAWS - 2010-06-11 11:12

    Finally some initiative in SA! It's currently cheaper to use my Indian based simcard on Roaming in SA than a local card, how do explain that MTN/Vodacom?

  • manicm - 2010-06-11 13:25

    Hello, hello, hello???? This article completely ignores the fact that WiFi is NOT free - not in restaurants, not anywhere here in SA. So in the end you'll pay as much as normal cell rates. It's another ITC red herring as far as I can see. Sorry, but this is just shoddy journalism.

  • - 2010-06-11 22:27

    I like the idea about propagating wifi services. This makes sense

  • Allin - 2010-06-12 01:22

    Very interested we have the applications already working and have launched in South Africa 7 weeks ago and it is working very well look on

  • IS Reseller - 2010-06-12 07:47

    I was at an IS presentation of the mentioned service. When asked who will be able to make use of the service the following were said. the client needs to be a IS VoIS.WiFi client. Some huge costs involved for set-up, monthly hoisting etc. THEN the client, even thought an IS clinet needs to be screened before this service will be offered to them. Secondly, Nashua mobil is by far the worse partner to be with. But as you all know many goverment influence in the companny. IS riding the back of others in any case. I can only see trouble with this so called "new" VoIS servcie. oh and Justin, relax mate, don't comment if the fire gets to hot.You are making a fool of yourself.

  • henk - 2010-06-12 09:03

    Hi Guys What I don't get is that this service (voip for mobile)has been around for about 3 years...check out Great service....Wake up SA

  • henk - 2010-06-12 09:07

    also if using wifi the cost per call will be free if using it at a hub(hotel etc) your own wifi probably obout ,04 cent per minute and 3G about 35 cent per minute....!!!been using it for 3 years!!!

  • henk - 2010-06-12 09:20

    yeigo is also a platform for mobile voip but I find nimbuzz service mush better.....yeigo is a local company...cape town

  • Peter - 2010-06-12 21:59

    Voip, perhaps the most inovative yet, Vodacom, MTN and Cell C have the monopoly. Similar billing structures, shared networks, marketing campaigns targeting the last rands of the poor uneducated majority. I say 30c / min and free access and Di Data wont have enough band width to handle the amount of calls...R80bn is just the tip, everyone can afford 30c guys. Stuff the big corps, they can get stiched.

  • Carl - 2010-06-13 09:07

    Any competition is welcome, all has the effect of bringing down cost to consumer. Pit they couldnt partner with someone else, my experience with Nashua has been dissapointing, they have been taking consumers to the cleaners for decades.

  • Willie Lube - 2010-06-14 08:27

    Although the concept seems great, the practicality is just not there yet. Net bandwidth, WIFI access is not free. The whole reason for having a mobile is to be mobile, now you will be grounded by the wifi AP. If DD is trying to compete against the existing VOIP tools like skype, then they have a long expensive way to go. How is this going to be billed?

  • Martin - 2010-06-14 08:59

    Thrilled to read this article, well done Justin! I look forward to seeing the impact you will make on the SA cellular industry!!

  • Graeme - 2010-06-22 08:14

    Any legacy cellphone with an ability to connect to a Wifi hotspot can run Skype and has done for years. This is hype and the fact that so few Wifi areas are free further precludes this from runaway success. BUT, it is a step in the right direction to get South Africans thinking correctly about how we are ripped off here. To Justin Spratt: the modern SIM supports all these technologies seamlessly.

  • Fair Deal - 2010-09-15 14:05

    Why not install wi fi towers country wide same as celular base stations.

  • TechGuru - 2011-06-12 19:37

    No this is not new at all, if you use a local service Cloud PBX provider such as, the Verto product from Vox Orion, or 1Cloud from Otel you can have your office extension on your mobile, no problem. You can even call your office or any branch for free. I use Euphoria's Cloud PBX and its cost effective, impressive and crystal clear.

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