Vox promises savings of up to 70 percent

VOX Telecoms has promised savings of up to 70 percent on voice calls through its new phone service that aims to compete with Telkom.

The telecommunications company yesterday announced the launch of its Cristal Vox service which would provide customers with geographic numbers, such as 011 for Johannesburg, following the recent allocation of these numbers by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa.

Vox, which has been providing phone services in niche, mainly business, markets over the past 12 years, said it could now offer voice services without the need for customers to subscribe to Telkom or Neotel as in the past.

Vox managing director Doug Reed said: "Cristal Vox is what we've been working towards for the past five years. We now offer a complete, fully fledged voice telco service that eliminates the need for a customer to deal with Telkom or Neotel. We've cut the Telkom apron strings."

He said the service had evolved slowly because of "the slow pace of regulation and delaying tactics by the incumbents".

BMIT research director Brian Nielson said Telkom would remain dominant until the beginning of the local loop unbundling process which, he said, could still take up to five years to be initiated.

"Neotel, for instance, would love that to happen. This LLU, however, will still be quicker and cheaper than replacing Telkom's entire copper network with a new one (fibre-optic)," he said.

Reed said Cristal Vox would run off a fibre-optic network catering for the business market, while the company's Vox Telepreneur served the small business and home markets.

He said customers could expect savings of between 20 and 50 percent or more depending on usage.