Some value-added network services (Vans) have received their 087 voice over Internet Protocol (Voip) numbers from the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa), but they are not sure if it solves the interconnect question.
According to an Icasa source, about 10 Vans were given approval late last week to use various number ranges within the 087 national dialling code. Among those given approval were UUNet, Internet Solutions and DataPro.
"The packages of numbers ranged in blocks of 1 000 and 10 000," the Icasa source says.
Elia Tsouros, UUNet executive for business development, says his company was awarded three blocks of 10 000 numbers in the 087 740, 741 and 742 ranges.
"This is good news for us as now we can allocate people on different networks their individual numbers immediately. It also means that the whole interconnect issue now has to be forced as people from outside the network have to be able to break into ours when dialling the numbers," he says.
DataPro MD Douglas Reed, whose company was awarded one block of 1 000 numbers, says the system is still very problematic as there is no resolution about who has to interconnect with whom.
"It is a start. What we need now is for all the Internet solution providers to interconnect as quickly as possible so that we can get the whole system running," he says.
Dave Gale, Storm business development director, says his company has not been informed about its number range application yet, but adds that the whole interconnection issue is far from resolved.
"We have been in talks with Telkom, which has taken the attitude that there is nothing in the present legislation that forces it to interconnect with anybody."
"We agree that the ISPs should connect with each other as soon as possible and so cut Telkom out," he says.
Gale points out that it is ironic that Icasa should award these number ranges within the 087 national dialling code.
"That code does not have a good history as it was originally used by Telkom in 1993/94 for the old ‘premium rate’ services that were the old sex chat lines," he says.