The telecoms industry is arguably driven by consumer demand. In South Africa particularly, there has been much pressure from the public for lower costs in communications. This constant pressure has definitely had a positive effect. Inter-connect rates are dropping, broadband costs are lower, bandwidth packages are larger in size at lower prices, and call rates are much more attractive. Prices are expected to drop further.

The rhetorical question is whether the above has prompted users to call more? Are they browsing more? The latter yes, studies show that internet access for high bandwidth demanding sites such as Youtube.com and Torrents have increased. Voice calls had little or no change. The main change was more savings for the consumer.

All is well then, we’re making progress, but what now?! Low call rates have been achieved, broadband penetration is now more for less, and it will be much less in the near future. What is the next worthwhile cause to fight for in the telecoms sector?Have you noticed that our telephone facilities are still the same as it was a decade ago? Someone calls you, if you’re busy on the line, it gives and engaged tone. If you don’t answer, it will go to voicemail, for you to retrieve it when you can.
When you are speaking to the other party, you have to guess his emotions and express yours verbally….hmmm.. nothing much changed then…actually its very similar to post World War communications when people were communicating via CB Radios!Telecom users should consider increasing their productivity. Get more done for less. Let the phones share the workload by getting them to perform advanced functions so you have time to focus on other things. This is now a reality.
LinkedIn listed on NYSE, giving the company a net worth of over R70bn overnight. Now Facebook and Twitter want to follow suit. The Social Networking industry is definitely booming on the business and consumer end. It’s here to stay as it makes the world into a much smaller place, business simpler, marketing a breeze and if used the correct way, improves productivity. VoIP is being integrated with Social Networking. It’s all converging using a technology called OpenID, and this broadening the term Unified Communications.
LinkedIn CEO, Jeff Weiner, explained during DemoFall 2010: “In the future, we’ll be pursuing some of the things (planned), whether it is Instant Messaging, Telephony,  Video Point-to-Point conferencing, its extremely high (priority) at this point. I think these functionalities for our membership will be really appreciated.”
The countless demand in the local VoIP & Broadband related forums for advanced telephony  is  already creating some pressure for the providers to release new services, such as Video Calling, Conference on the Fly, Voicemail to E-mail, PC or Web Based Telephone Dashboard, Mobile VoIP calling via apps, Telepresence and IM.
Microsoft’s Lync is gaining momentum. Perhaps  future integration with the newly acquired Skype?The market is changing quickly. Multi-million Dollar acquisitions are taking place by major companies. All this is for a reason. VoIP has grown up, and it has changed from discretionary to necessity.
Whatever it is, the future of Telephone 2.0 looks bright internationally. It is up to the local providers to ensure that they keep up with their international peers by deploying  the latest in VoIP technology within their infrastructure.
Mohammad Patel is the CEO of O-Tel Telecoms, a Licenced Infrastructure-as-a-Service Provider for VoIP and Broadband nationally.Mr Patel is vocative in the VoIP industry, promoting Unified Communications.Mohammad Patel also serves the Wireless Access Providers Association of South Africa as Deputy Chairperson.