Will you pay more for VoIP?

WhatsApp plans to launch mobile voice services in 2014 and this made many people sit up and take notice, because it strikes right at the heart of mobile operators’ main revenue stream – voice.

It is currently not clear how the cellular operators plan to defend against the potential loss of revenue from mobile VoIP services.

One of the ways is to charge higher fees for VoIP traffic on their data network. Vodacom and MTN are well prepared for this (see How Vodacom, MTN can kill mobile VoIP).

Many years ago MTN lodged a rate of R25 per MB for VoIP traffic, and Vodacom lodged a tariff of R10 per MB.

Vodacom however, said that it has no current plans to levy an additional charge for VoIP.

MTN avoided questions on whether it plans to charge higher rates for VoIP in future, instead focussing on the current regime.

“MTN does not charge differently for VOIP usage on its network, we currently view this usage as normal data. This means that there is no R25 per MB charge on VOIP. MTN does not underestimate the impact of services such as WhatsApp,” said Mike Fairon, MTN SA’s general manager of products and solutions.

Cell C has not lodged a different tariff for VoIP traffic, despite the fact that VoIP traffic on the company’s network is growing fast.

“As networks become all-data networks, VoIP traffic is growing at a fast pace. The rise of smart devices has lead to more applications supporting rich communications services like VoIP and video,” Cell C said.

“Many customers are using these services to enrich their mobile experience. However, these services do currently have problems, such as end-to-end quality of service, which is not always up to standard.”

Telkom Mobile did not answer any questions about its plans regarding VoIP traffic despite numerous requests for information.

Operator Lodged a different rate for VoIP traffic? Charge different rate for VoIP traffic now? Future plans to charge a different rate for VoIP?
Vodacom Yes – R10 per MB No No
MTN Yes – R25 per MB No Uncertain
Cell C No No No
Telkom Mobile Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain

More on mobile VoIP

VoIP warning – you may be charged R25 per MB

Lethal threat which could crush Vodacom, MTN profits

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Will you pay more for VoIP?