Neotel takes on Telkom

NEOTEL is looking to eat into Telkom's already diminished fixed line base with the launch of individual number porting.

Yesterday Neotel's chief technology officer Angus Hay said the second network operator was ready to transfer consumers' land line numbers from Telkom.

"This truly puts the consumer in charge of their own destiny when it comes to service providers."

Geographic number portability has been available since last year, but was limited to Neotel's business clients.

"As of April we will be able to do 100 block and individual porting for any customer," Hay said.

Frost & Sullivan ICT analyst Spiwe Chireka said that while this was a good step towards increased competition, Neotel had a number of factors counting against it.

"Firstly, Telkom's network coverage is far bigger than Neotel's and some customers won't be confident enough to switch even if they get to keep their old numbers," Chireka said.

"Another stumbling block is Neotel's pricing. To instal a new Neotel land line you'd have to pay around R1 400, but for a new Telkom line you'd pay as little as R180 and free activation of an existing line."