[CLUG-chat] End Telkom Carrier PreSelect, Join ZA-FREE

David Robert Lewis ethnopunk at telkomsa.net
Wed Aug 26 14:08:07 SAST 2009


Some members of CLUG asked me to post a message about ZA-FREE to this 
list, hope you don't mind. This message went out to ZA-FREE members 
today, you can join on Facebook 
<http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=58254549200&ref=search&sid=670907230.3177425051..1>


End Telkom Carrier PreSelect

ZA-FREE started out as a simple request to end the R152 surchage on 
Internet access. In effect we are asking for the right to use any of the 
competing DSL and VOICE services available in the country and to stop 
Telkom's practice of insisting that users pay rental on Voice as well as 
Data on the same line, in effect a policy of double-dipping.

I still believe this demand is a good one and the argument for doing so 
is valid. However, shortly after instituting the campaign, I realised 
there was another solution which would probably achieve a better 
outcome, since it dealt with the existence of the current regime and 
merely requires that Telkom institute the same kind of practices already 
at play in the wireless sector.

Everybody knows that when you buy a cellphone, some phones are network 
locked. This is called carrier preselect. Your phone in all likelihood 
is already locked to a particular carrier who bills you for services.

Likewise, when you order a landline (from Telkom) it comes with services 
that are already preselected. It is impossible, as far as I am aware, 
under the current system to dump voice services and to have a data-only 
line in the household market. If one is a business, such a possibility 
exists at a premium.

If Telkom carrier preselect was ended, and your household landline were 
no longer network locked for voice services. We would be able to prevent 
Telkom from double-dipping and extorting various surchages.

For example, the line rental would probably be a basic R152 discounted 
to R100 and that would be that. Cable would be just like any rented 
device, and you could then choose which services you needed based upon a 
fair market which was open to competition.

If you needed voice services from another company, you would purchase 
these services on top of the basic infrastructure supplied by the cable 
company. Yes, this is what has been left out of the equation all along, 
the damn cable. Its a word that became associated with network 
television companies in the USA, and with the digital migration that is 
occurring everywhere, it is a good word to describe Telkom, South 
Africa's Cable company.

In the old days, a phone line would come with a free telephone. Then 
Telkom decided to charge rental for the phone before shopping this out 
and turning the devices into another market. Telkom thus no longer 
provides you with a telephone as such. In fact what is it that the 
company actually does? How many subsidiaries are profiting from the 
simple provision of cable services to households, without actually 
providing any value to the consumer?

If ZA-FREE demands were met and implemented Telkom would probably become 
three separate companies/divisions.

The first division would merely supply the cable and the basic switching 
infrastructure needed to access Voice and Data services.

The second would supply data services.

The third would supply voice services.

A competitive environment created by such a restructuring would result 
in greater bandwidth and better services for consumers. We would not 
have to choose between cable and wireless, because the system would be 
integrated and allow consumers to make educated decisions based upon 
economic need.

A consumer might decide that the only cable services required in a 
household are data, and use wireless for voice services. Likewise, 
another consumer might find voice on cable to be cheaper, and data on 
wireless to be a better option.

In fact there is an argument to be made that Telkom should only be a 
cable company and nothing more. It should be restricted from supplying 
voice and data services altogether because these services would be 
better off if they were supplied by an open market instead of a 
government monopoly or parastatel.

End of the day, it is the consumer which benefits, not simply 
shareholders and fatcat CEOs. The Internet surcharge which has 
characterised the South African telecoms landscape would therefore come 
to an end and be replaced by a legitimate charge for cable.

Telkom would be furthermore forced to acknowledge that charging line 
rental for voice services and line rental for data services via carrier 
preselect was an unfair and invalid practice that resulted in 
double-dipping and even tripling of costs for the consumer down the line.

I therefore urge you all to demand an end to Telkom Carrier PreSelect! 
Down with the surcharge on Net Access!

Feel free to circulate and forward this message. Please use the group as 
a forum for discussion and debate. VIVA ZA-FREE VIVA.

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