By Toneo Tonderai Rutsito
Powertel has been silently working on their new Voice over Internet Protocol offering and are expected to launch the service on the 08611 prefix, a move they are currently advancing.
As most telecoms based companies are finally realising and embracing that the future is now in IP, we are likely to see a major shift towards VoIP a move all Zimbabwean GSM players to date have frantically shunned, delayed or sabotaged.
“Powertel’s new telephony service (08611 network) will deliver voice services and related value added services through internet protocol technology.
NGN is a flat telephone network architecture built around an existing packet data network, instead of traditional hierarchically structured telephone networks thus reducing initial investment costs.” read their statement.
NGN is also a convergent technology, combining wireline (PSTN) wireless(GSM,CDMA and 3G) and packet data networks for integrated voice, data and multimedia services. Less initial expenditure and low recurrent expenditure will translate into low prices to the customers.
Powertel also states that, “Bundled together with voice services are other value added services such as video telephone and MMS. This product is ideal for small enterprises and large enterprises, government, home- family and friends.”
Powertel joins the VoIP market which has been predominantly dominated by Africom and they have hinted that their own intra calls will be $1 cheaper than Africom`s $9 per month unlimited.
Powertel however is not yet known to have interconnected with any other network on either the VoIP platform or GSM to connect Mobile Network operators like Econet, Telecel and Netone.
For their direct competitor Africom, it is already interconnected to all MNOs though for some unknown reasons, it took Africom many years to finally interconnect with Netone and still yet to connect landlines via Telone.
Like Africom, Powertel will be launching their telephony service based on CDMA technology.
They also stated that Devices used with this product can either be fixed or mobile, however, they have to be compatible with CDMA technology which differs significantly from the commonly used GSM technology offered by most telecommunications operators.
This is probably the major setback which has delayed the growth of CDMA technology as most people are simply reluctant to switch their gadget to get access from a different service provider or maybe its simply the inhibiting cost factor.