"But it's been getting better in many places across
So what constrains the growth in demand for these kind of VoIP services? "The price of bandwidth is (in the main) still expensive, costing more than in the
The other problem is that outside of the capital city and sometimes main cities, bandwidth supply and quality tails off:"You really need fibre right across a country. This is happening in some places but more slowly in others. It's why under our 4Afrika initiative we've been piloting TV White Spaces services. Customers like banks have offices in remote areas."
"We're deploying Office 365 in a major bank in
From a start point in July last year, it now has 200 customers and Israel says that the current take-up pattern is very similar to what they saw in the
His competitors include Google Apps (with its Hangout product) and
So what has been the attitude of his corporate customers to VoIP adoption?"My own take one year ago would have been that it would be the large companies that would go first. There's a willingness but the complexity in large organisations makes it much slower."
"Smaller international companies with 50-100 employees have actually adopted more quickly. They might have a headquarters in
The part of it that will bring about a major breakthrough is that by integrating a company's PBX, its travelling staff can make calls either directly with their mobiles or through a softphone on their laptop or tablet. The sheer inconvenience of keeping multiple SIM cards to avoid the currently outrageous roaming costs will be a big incentive to use VoIP.
Once corporate mobile customers start to peel off and use these kind of VoIP services, the rich seam of mobile post-paid customers will start to contract. But old habits die hard and this will not be an overnight process:"We're pushing mobile hard and not just on Windows phones. We've also got Android and iPhone applications."
A combination of LTE and video calling will ramp up data use. 3G is insufficiently stable or well provisioned and Wi-Fi is completely variable. But with bandwidth availability changing, one to one video calls, particularly on issues where you need to see the called person's reactions, and video conferencing (to save travel costs) will become services people want to use. Initial feedback from existing LTE implementations shows that this is the pattern of behaviour to expect. Video may drive an increase in bandwidth use that could be anywhere between 10-30 times, according to Israel.
The traditional mobile voice operators are under threat in two different directions of they do not pay attention: they will start to lose international voice revenues and they will begin to see their high-margin, post-paid customers buying less domestic minutes if company policy is to use services like Lync.
What has Israel found the mobile operators' attitude to be?: "I was with MTN this week, and it has already shifted to cloud based services and digital overall. They're also increasing their data coverage at all levels. We're also signing up mobile companies to sell Office 365 as what we call syndicators. We'll be announcing the sign-up of a major global telco in a short while and most operators in the continent have approached us."
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