By Nic Laschinger, CTO of Euphoria Telecom
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
The industry has been waiting 16 years for these regulations to come into effect, and the impact is expected to be significant once the regulations come into effect on 7 March.
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 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.