Electronic Communications Network (ECN), a leading provider of converged voice and data solutions, has embarked on an aggressive campaign to compel all PABX vendors to unblock calls to numbers prefixed by ‘087’.
All value-added network service (VANS) providers offering voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) services were issued ‘087’ numbers by ICASA. ECN, is one of the first VANS to actually supply its new number range to customers for inbound and outbound telephone calls, has discovered that several PABXs still block calls to ‘087’ numbers.
“In the ’90s, these numbers were used for premium-rated telephone services and it appears that many PABXs may still block calls routed to these ‘087’ numbers as a result,” says John Holdsworth, CEO of ECN.
“The fact that subscribers of 087 VoIP services cannot receive calls that are routed via offending PABXs threatens to derail the rollout of deregulated telecoms services in South Africa.”
ECN has raised the issue with ICASA, which supports its crusade to resolve this issue by getting all PABX vendors to unblock these numbers. ECN has sent a letter to all PABX vendors explaining the situation, and requesting that they programme all existing and new PABXs so that calls dialled to ‘087’ numbers are routed correctly.
“If vendors fail to comply we will be forced to submit a formal complaint to ICASA, which has indicated its willingness to deal with the matter expeditiously,” says Holdsworth.
“Section 68 of the Electronic Communications Act, stipulates that ICASA must ensure electronic communications are correctly and efficiently directed to the point of reception for which they are intended” says Carmen Cupido of Lisa Thorton Inc, legal representatives for ECN.
“ICASA must also ensure interoperability, interconnectability and harmonisation of networks”
ECN is determined to drive this change speedily, a move that will benefit the entire alternate telecoms industry in South Africa.
ECN is still the only VANS in the country that is interconnected, bilaterally, to all four incumbent networks. With carrier-grade SS7 interconnects ECN is in a unique position to offer subscribers a carrier grade alternative fixed-line telephone service.