Huge Telecom has launched a new all-inclusive service, which will allow its customers who operate from a fixed location to make free and unlimited telephone calls to any local, national and mobile destination in South Africa for a fixed monthly amount of R500. Naturally, terms and conditions apply, and the service excludes calls to premium numbers and calls to international destinations, but it really is an ‘eat as much as you like’ offer. The offering is only available, and only works with a Huge fixed-location device. It is not a mobile consumer offering and it is not sold directly. Customers can avail themselves of this offer by contacting one of Huge Telecom’s 800 Business Partners, located nationally.
“This is a first in corporate telephony,” says Rob Burger, Managing Director of Huge Telecom. “We cannot contain our excitement,” he adds. Burger says that “the interest from our Business Partners has been overwhelming.”
The launch of this new service coincides with Huge Telecom’s migration of its current customers, which number over 16 000, from Cell C’s mobile telephone network to MTN’s mobile telephone network. Huge Group, the holding company of Huge Telecom just published a stock exchange news service announcement in which it confirmed that the migration is 85% complete.
When asked about the migration to MTN, Huge Group CEO, James Herbst, says “It has taken Huge Telecom over two decades to secure a competitive and sustainable supply framework with a first-tier mobile network operator like MTN, which provides extensive coverage, where the quality of service of calls on this mobile network is of the highest standard, where the cost structure of getting access to the mobile network is competitive and can provide a value for money service and where the service provides for the full telephone functionality which SME and corporate South Africa expects. The time has arrived where everything is in place for Huge Telecom to significantly grow its presence and make its mark on telephony in South Africa.” “Huge Telecom’s founder, Anton Potgieter, would be proud of what we have achieved. He Page 2 of 3 had this vision for Huge Telecom in 1993, when he started the company from his garage,” adds Herbst.
Stephen Morony, the Commercial Director of Huge Telecom, says that “Huge Telecom’s corporate telephony service, which allows a customer to port-in and retain its geographic telephone number, has been expanded with the involvement of MTN to allow for the inclusion of many more telephone lines in a hunt group and the distribution of many more simultaneous incoming telephone calls (made to a single geographic telephone number) to multiple GSM telephone lines. Huge Telecom’s service is now truly a world first service and a world class one.”
Burger is reluctant to provide clues on what growth in telephone lines Huge Telecom can achieve in the next 12 months, but if the market loves the new service offering it could be substantial.
Huge Telecom is a wholly owned subsidiary company of Huge Group.
Andy Openshaw, the Chief Operating Officer of Huge Group, says that “Huge Telecom is South Africa’s unknown mobile virtual network operator or MVNO and is a successful one.” As an MVNO, Huge Telecom makes use of GSM networks to provide its fixed telephone lines, which takes the form of wireless GSM connection from a customer’s premises to the core of a mobile telephone network. Huge Telecom’s principal service is substituting fixed-line voice infrastructure, like that provided by a public switched telephone network such as Telkom, or a VoIP operator, with wireless GSM infrastructure. “I don’t think that Telkom and the VoIP operators will be able to compete with Huge Telecom’s all-inclusive service price point. There is not enough margin in it for a fixed line operator or a VoIP operator to cover its installation, ongoing service and maintenance, and security costs,” says Openshaw who adds that “GSM is also un-hackable!”
Huge Telecom procures its access to MTN’s mobile telephone network through Huge Cellular, a black empowered company associated with Huge, which carries Huge’s name. Huge Cellular has been involved in a long-standing dispute with Cell C Service Provider Company Proprietary Limited. This dispute has placed the business of Huge Telecom at risk, so says Huge Group’s stock exchange announcement. Huge Group says that the dispute has threatened the ongoing access of Huge Telecom’s 16 000 customers, which are predominantly SME customers, to vital telephone services. To mitigate this risk, Huge Cellular concluded an agreement with Mobile Telephone Networks Proprietary Limited. This agreement was concluded on 18 November 2019.
In August 2020, Cell C SPC informed Huge Cellular that it no longer wished to provide services to Huge Cellular and gave Huge Cellular until close of business on 31 October 2020 (which was later extended to 13 November 2020) to migrate its customers to an alternative mobile network. These services provided by Huge Cellular to Huge Telecom, and on to over 16 000 customers, involves over 43 000 telephone lines.
On 30 August 2020, Mobile Telephone Networks Proprietary Limited, an MTN Group Limited company, agreed to assist Huge Cellular, and in turn Huge Telecom, in migrating the entire customer base to the MTN mobile telephone network. MTN is a provider of mobile virtual network enabler (MVNE) services.
Openshaw states that “this is probably the largest ever physical migration of mobile telephone network services South Africa has ever seen” and he says that it has been substantially completed in record time. “To physically visit 16 000 customers in 75 days was a near impossible task but thanks to an incredibly capable executive team, a committed work force and MTN as an involved supplier, the migration has been very successful.”
The impact that Covid-19 has had on South Africa has been devastating, with the ongoing impact it is having on SMEs being arguably worse. In order to avoid any further negative impact, Huge Cellular says that it is engaging with Cell C SPC with a view to Cell C SPC extending access to the Cell C mobile telephone network to ensure that the final few remaining customers are migrated to MTN’s mobile telephone network without any loss of service.
About Huge Group Limited:
Huge is an investment holding company, which is listed on the Main Board of the JSE Limited. The Group includes, amongst others:
- Huge Telecom – a company that delivers fully managed fixed-wireless telecommunications services to corporate clients, through a growing network of over 800 Business Partners;
- Huge Connect – a company that delivers standalone fixed-wireless telecommunications solutions to the SME market; and
- Huge Networks – a network service provider and data communications company that markets and sells a variety of products and services including Internet data services, managed network solutions, branch connectivity, hosting services and website and system development.
- Huge Software – a provider of the Web-Accounting suite of software.
- Pansmart – a provider of Panasonic PABXs. Huge trades under the share code HUG.
Further information is available on the company’s website – www.hugegroup.com. Further Information: Andy Openshaw l Chief Operating Officer l 010 615 0904
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