Don’t bite the hand that feeds you

Altech Autopage will not launch voice over IP (VoIP)-type services – which will compete against the cellular operators – unless it carries the blessing of Vodacom, MTN, Cell C and 8ta. This is word from Altech Autopage CEO, Boyd Chislett.

AppChat, a new mobile company founded, and run by former ECN founder and CEO, John Holdsworth, is planning to significantly reduce the price of mobile voice calls, and drastically improve the quality of cellular calls in South Africa – using VoIP technology over the mobile network.

Holdsworth said that traditional GSM voice is nearing the end of its product life cycle, and will gradually be replaced by 4th generation voice over IP (VoIP) technology.

Chislett said that, while Altech Autopage sees the potential cost benefits of using VoIP over the mobile data networks, it is dangerous territory for them because their revenue and profit is mainly generated by mobile network partnerships.

“Routing traffic over a VoIP platform will lower our revenue and profit, and may upset our mobile partners,” said Chislett. “John [Holdsworth] has the luxury to disrupt the market because he does not rely on voice revenue from the mobile networks.”

Chislett said that Altech Autopage will only launch such a service if it comes with the support and the blessing of their mobile operator partners.

Former Altech Technology Concepts CEO, Wayne de Nobrega, said that the use of VoIP over the mobile data networks is nothing new, and that they have been trialing these types of services for over two years already.

De Nobrega said that the quality of the voice services using VoIP over a mobile network is not predictable, however, and that they have experienced many dropped calls, and poor quality during their testing.

“Mobile data networks have become somewhat saturated, and there is simply not enough infrastructure to support high-quality VoIP on the mobile networks yet,” concluded De Nobrega.

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Don’t bite the hand that feeds you