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Voice Resurgence in South Africa

One of the most fascinating outcomes of the pandemic has been the massive resurgence of voice calls, despite the popularity of messaging apps.

This is clearly demonstrated by the more than 30% increase in voice calls in the UK, the tripling of voice traffic in Switzerland, a 50% increase in Belgium and the voice traffic congestion around the world last year.

Verizon saw an average of 800 million calls a day (double the number made on Mothers’ Day), with the length of the calls increasing by a third. AT&T volumes went up by 35%, both via WiFi and on regular cellphone lines.

In fact, carriers have reported that the biggest surge in voice traffic has been during the daytime, which historically has been the time when phone traffic in residential areas was at its lowest.

COVID-19 has radically changed the way we communicate. No longer can we just walk down the hall to the next office to have a conversation with a colleague. As part of working from home, people need to make a lot more calls, whether its via conferencing software, WiFi calling, mobile phone or traditional landlines.

Voice Resurgence: mobile connectivity

Even though the installation of fiber to the home has skyrocketed, many people are still connecting to business calls and online meetings via their phones, using mobile voice and data for a multitude of reasons (including being on the road between clients).

But let’s not forget that this voice resurgence was already starting in 2018, following several years of global slowdown in mobile voice revenue which was driven by consumers’ interaction with devices rather than each other, as well as the rapid increase in remote working.

From 2005 to 2018 remote work had already grown by 140%, nearly 10x faster than the rest of the workforce or the self-employed and the term “digital nomad” was coined. This trend is undoubtedly here to stay.

According to BT Group’s Chief Technology and Information Officer, Howard Watson, in 2018: "Voice as a key way of communicating will start to rise up again after the decline we've had in recent years.

With the rapid digital transformation and introduction of new technology, traditional telecoms are falling short. It’s not just about updating Telkom’s copper lines to fibre (due to cable theft and performance issues), moving to the cloud or VOiP, it’s about finding a simple and innovative solution that can fit seamlessly into your business.

What does the Spectrum Auction mean for Telecoms in SA?

The recent ICASA Spectrum Auction has boosted optimism towards more reliable data speeds and more affordable costs. However, with the recent shelving of the wholesale open-access network (WOAN) plans (which would have increased telecommunications coverage, reduced data costs, promoted competitive pricing, enhanced the quality of services, and reduced barriers to entry for smaller telecoms players), and the large capital spends by the 6 spectrum bidders, it seems unlikely that data costs will decrease anytime soon. They may even increase as they recoup costs through regular consumers. Which means that VOiP will remain an expensive option for businesses to use instead of the standard office PABX.

Whilst VOiP providers are considering using a combination of Radio Access Network and the current VOiP core network to deliver more affordable converged services, they need to wait on the roll out of the 700mHz and 800mHz (suited to 4G and 5G) to rural areas.

But why wait? MobiNET already provides easy-to-use mobile PBX solutions to those remote rural areas utilizing the same Radio Access Network as the emergency services, offering reliability and affordability, to enable digital nomads in South Africa a true Work from Phone experience.

MobiNET - mobile convergence for digital nomads!

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