The ability for local businesses, NGOs, call centres and others to finally be able to port their heavily-advertised and much-valued 0800, 0860 and 087 phone numbers to new service providers from the ICASA-stipulated date of 7 March 2022, in fact, presents a golden opportunity for them to adopt a completely new telecoms technology entirely.
“The traditional model of signing onerous contracts just to be supplied with business phone numbers is dead in the water, and the finalisation by ICASA of number portability after 16 years is in fact too late. That ship hasn’t just sailed, it’s sinking because you can now simply download an app to access your business phone number(s),” says Anton Potgieter, co-founder and managing director of NoPBX™, a Cape-based start-up whose SA-developed technology enables just that.
This PBX-over-GSM firm has since November last year signed up almost 2,000 companies, primarily SME (small and medium-sized enterprises) clients who all were all able to start making and receiving business calls on their existing cellular handsets after signing up and downloading the NoPBX app.
“Small businesses, in particular, should not sign any long-term phone contracts with their existing providers in the run-up to the planned non-geographic number portability date of 7 March. In addition, alternative options like the app-based NoPBX switchboard-over-GSM solution be considered if companies want to move forwards in telecoms and not be tied – again – to old technology and poor, overcharged-for service,” adds Potgieter.
GSM is the Global System for Mobile Communications, the world’s dominant cellular communications technology used by over 5 billion people in some 220 countries including South Africa. GSM mobile access already reaches almost all of the people who live within the 1.2 million square kilometre area that is South Africa. It’s the perfect local platform on which to innovate for the betterment of people’s lives.
NoPBX is a locally-developed, smartphone-based cloud PBX system that uses local GSM networks to turn standard smartphones into business switchboards. The solution runs all of its calls over highly-secure GSM voice networks, effectively bypassing artificially high local data charges for its users.
Prior to the launch of NoPBX, which can be activated online instantly, corporates and SMEs alike could typically wait days or even weeks for VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) or traditional fixed lines, handsets and infrastructure to be delivered and installed at their premises. NoPBX clients now span the entire economic spectrum and include the likes of guest houses, estate agents, financial consultants, car dealers, farmers, non-profits, schools, transport operators and many others.