Clever mobile voice and data plans from Telkom

Telkom plans to offer femtocells to improve in-building cellular coverage in the near future. It also already offers businesses the option of making calls from smartphones over fixed lines, instead of the cellular network. This is according to managing director of Telkom Business, Brian Armstrong.

Speaking to journalists at the launch of the new fixed-mobile bundles offered by Telkom Business, Armstrong noted that making a local call from fixed infrastructure is far cheaper than making a cellphone call.

This is because of the disparity between fixed and mobile call termination rates, Armstrong said.

Armstrong also pointed to research from Africa Analysis that was conducted in 2011 which indicated that 73% of mobile calls (excluding least cost routers) are made from a fixed location.

However, offloading mobile voice onto fixed line infrastructure isn’t something “the incumbents” (Vodacom, MTN) want to promote too much, Armstrong said in an interview. “Once it goes off the mobile network onto a DSL line they lose the majority of the traffic,” Armstrong explained.

Brian Armstrong portrait
Brian Armstrong

Asked about their future plans in this area Armstrong said that Telkom already offers mobile-to-fixed offloading to its business customers. Jan Pieterse, executive for product management at Telkom explained that it works using Wi-Fi in combination with their IP Telephony solution.

Armstrong added that the combination of fixed and mobile bundles Telkom Business launched on Wednesday (20 June 2012) caters for this type of offloading.

The new deals on offer from Telkom Business still don’t fully integrate the fixed and mobile bundles into one “wallet”, however. Combined fixed-mobile bundles are coming, Armstrong said, adding that they are planned for the next phase of their roll-out.

He also said that they are very keen to make a deal available where you get a fixed bundle, mobile bundle, and Wi-Fi router at home with a DSL service. From the consumer’s perspective offload will be automatic.

For both home and business use Telkom is also planning to offer small, low power cellular base stations called femtocells, Armstrong said.

Pushed for a date these might become available he just smiled and said, “Not many years.”

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Clever mobile voice and data plans from Telkom