Q&A: Hosted IP PBX, the future

August 15, 2011 • Mobile and Telecoms

Rob Lith, Director of Connection Telecom talks to ITNewsAfrica about IP PBX, a business telephone system designed to deliver voice or video over a data network, and the business benefits for Africa.

Rob Lith, Connection Telecom Director (image source: file photo)

Define IP PBX and why it is relevant to African businesses?

An IP PBX is a private branch exchange that uses an IP data network to deliver voice traffic and connect with the normal Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). An IP PBX typically offers reduced call rates because a company’s voice and data traffic now travels over the same network.

IP PBX is particularly relevant to African businesses as there is limited traditional copper infrastructure and IP is ideal for delivering over wireless and satellite transmission as well as the traditional telecommunications infrastructure when available.

Which African country is currently using your service?

At the moment our service is in South Africa and Namibia. We are currently actively planning to venture into Nigeria.

Is IP PBX the future telephony trend?

Most global market research confirms that IP PBX is the current technology trend. The IP PBX in the hosted environment is the future trend that is rapidly gaining traction.

How does IP PBX benefit African SMEs?

The key IP PBX benefits for African SMEs are no different to other SME’s worldwide.

The IP PBX service is scalable, reliable, extendable and cost saving – up to 30% of the monthly telecoms costs.

What are the key features of an IP PBX service?

IP PBXs has the same features as high end traditional PBXs, but also make it incredibly easy to add functionality or scale the service at minimal cost.

Depending on the service, you can also avoid pricey vendor lock-ins. An IP PBX also offers businesses additional features, previously not possible with a traditional PBX, is infinitely more scalable, and is easy to manage and update.

What is the adoption rate of IP PBX systems?

The clearest international trend we have seen is that in 2010 a quarter of extensions implements have been hosted on IP PBX systems, by 2012 it is expected to be a third of all extensions.

What sort of communication license is required to establish and run an IP PBX  business?

In South Africa you require an ECS or ECNS (Electronics Communication Network) license from ICASA (Independent Communications Authority of South Africa),  a South African Communications Regulator.

How do you plan to remain a key player in the IP PBX business in Africa?

By remaining relevant to the market and continually innovating with new products that deliver technology solutions to business requirements.

Bontle Moeng – ITNewsAfrica Online Editor

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