[ Johannesburg, 8 August 2007 ] – ECN, a leading provider of affordable and accessible converged voice and data solutions, today announced that it has been awarded a contract by BONDEV, property developers of Midrand Estates, one of the largest gated communities in South Africa, for the delivery of voice and data services.
The project will be delivered in phases and is set to become one of the first large-scale deployments of
passive optical network (PON) technology in South Africa, emulating a market trend that has gained traction
in Europe, North America and Asia.
Once deployed, the Midrand Estates project will provide the residents with access to low-cost telephony
and high-speed Internet, and allow for the future deployment of on-demand-video content and IP TV.
According to the contract, ECN will supply Midrand Estates with non-geographic telephone numbers, inbound
and outbound voice termination, local and international IP Transit, wired and wireless backhaul and value added services such as online billing, voicemail, fax-2-e-mail, call forwarding and third party conferencing.
“The PON network and services envisaged will offer our residents triple-play communication services that are on par with the best available worldwide,” said Jan Zeederberg, Director of BONDEV Developments. “We want to provide our residents not only with excellent security and lifestyle features, but also an enjoyable home
“Reliable voice services are a critical part of that vision and ECN has proven through extensive trials
that it can provide our residents with full inbound and outbound calls across all South African fixed and mobile networks right now”.
“We are thrilled that Midrand Estates is able to differentiate its community by offering innovative and compelling triple-play communication services to its residents,” said John Holdsworth, CEO of ECN.
“Midrand Estates had the vision and courage to appoint an alternative service provider in the face of considerable regulatory uncertainty; therefore, it is critical that we reward that vision and courage by delivering a bundle of low-cost, high-quality, feature-rich services that fundamentally change the current status quo and signal the start of a new competitive telecommunications era in South Africa.”
The ECN voice offering at Midrand Estates includes the following industry leading benefits and features:
- Free handset – ECN provides residents on the estate with a free handset in each home that can operate as both an intercom and telephone.
- Guaranteed savings – ECN is prepared to guarantee residents that their rates will always be cheaper than the incumbent fixed line operators’ standard call rates.
- Free intercom calls – ECN will provide unlimited free intercom calls from the guardhouse to any resident on the estate and vice-versa.
- Free on-net calls – ECN will provide unlimited free on-net calls between residents on the estate, including third party conferencing.
- Free online billing – Residents can register to view their bills, manage their calling circle or access information about their account online.
- Calling circle – Residents can have a calling circle, which gives them cheaper calls to the numbers they phone most often.
- Value added services – ECN also provides residents with a wide range of value added services, including voicemail, fax-2-e-mail, call forwarding and third party conferencing.
Jeremy McDonald, COO of ECN, says: “We are incredibly frustrated that ECN can only provide its portfolio of communications services to gated communities at this stage and not the wider residential market. However, when ICASA finally introduces carrier pre-select (CPS) regulations later on this year, we will immediately be able to provide long-suffering citizens/consumers with a choice.
“Having said that, the potential for the incumbent fixed line operator to prevaricate and delay while
making small movements towards the implementation of full-blown CPS must be expected. This will have to be managed vigilantly by ICASA, as the market cannot afford to sit through months of talks while competition
continues to be harmed through the marked lack of a workable CPS model that hinders the smooth migration of residential customers to alternative service providers like ECN.