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South African telecoms consumers today are so spoilt for choice that it is easy to forget a time when we had a choice of two cellular network operators and one fixed line operator.

After the opening up several years ago of the telecoms sector to literally dozens of VoIP operators, the low per minute cost of this fledgling Internet-based communications technology was usually given as the number one reason to sign up with an independent telecoms operator.

Today, VoIP clients still find tremendous value in the relatively low per minute calling cost compared to traditional telephone services. However, they’ve also discovered that cost saving is also about state-of-the-art VoIP technology making the purchase of yesteryear’s clunky complicated PABX equipment obsolete.

“With rates as low as 49 cents per minute, and potential savings of up to 60 percent, affordability is still right up there as a great reason for both individuals and organisations to choose a VoIP voice and data connection,” says Rad Jankovic, CEO of Otel Communications Pty (Ltd). The cost benefits notwithstanding, Mr Jankovic provides readers with five additional reasons to go VoIP:

Abundant and useful value-added features

Configuring any number of additional value-added services on a VoIP line is as easy as selecting options on a web-enabled computer interface. Calls can be forwarded to extensions around the country, or around the home or office, voicemail can be set-up, IVR menu options provided to incoming callers can give the SME the impression of being a large corporate, and more.

Growing SMEs will find it is scalable

Because VoIP systems rely on the Internet to send data and connect calls, they can be easily expanded. Adding a new line or number is usually as simple as clicking a button.
Start-ups will find that new extensions and additional services on their lines can be added as they grow and without the need to keep calling an external telecoms service provider.

Forever banish unsightly and annoying wires

Some VoIP systems can be installed by simply downloading an app to your computer. VoIP means no more crawling under desks looking for different coloured wires and having to install conduits throughout the office which can be expensive, unsightly and require maintenance.

More User-Friendly for Employees

Remember struggling to forward a call on your traditional phone system? Have you ever forgotten your password to access your work voicemail remotely? VoIP means new employees don’t have to undergo what used to amount to fairly lengthy training just to learn how to operate their desk phones. Forwarding calls to the wrong extensions just because you couldn’t remember the correct commands on the company’s traditional old-style PABX is now a thing of the past.

The average VoIP provider is still small enough to want your business

Finally, and this may well be the most important reason of the lot, smaller VoIP providers try harder to win – and keep – your business! Most callers to the help desks of the larger telecoms incumbents have, at some point or another, hung up with the feeling that the person at the other end of the line is a mere automaton reading off a script and totally unable to solve a problem that is not routine. Clients of VoIP operators find that their staff really do speak their language and are able to think out of the box when it comes to proposing solutions. Combine that with a welcome service ethos and the ability to port VoIP numbers and you know what to do.