ICASA has ruled that fax data service provider AmVia, a Vox Telecom company, may offer fax over IP services using the 087 number range. The announcement follows claims by rivals last year that AmVia's services were illegal.
"We launched last year with a superior service that is up to 55% cheaper than 086 fax to e-mail offerings," says AmVia's general manager Craig Freer. "Some of our competitors made a lot of noise saying we were operating illegally, so we are delighted to be vindicated."
In a letter to AmVia's legal representative dated last week, ICASA Chairperson Paris Mashile says it is ICASA's opinion that "there is no objective or reasonable justification to restrict Value Added Network Services licencees using the 087 number range to voice and preclude them from providing data services."
AmVia offers RightFax fax server technology, enabling large corporates to manage their fax communications cost-effectively while preserving compliance with corporate governance requirements. Flexible business models allow corporates to implement RightFax as their technology of choice across the organisation, either on-site or as a service.
"Faxes have a much higher evidentiary weight than e-mail in the event of any dispute," explains Freer. "Unlike e-mail, fax is a point to point service that offers proof of delivery and cannot be tampered with.
Local and international legislation including FICA, the National Credit Act and Sarbanes-Oxley in the US are driving a 25% per annum growth in the fax market."
Freer says most rival fax to e-mail services using the 086 number range not only fail to meet corporate governance requirements because they use e-mail, they are also more expensive. "Senders pay around twice the normal cost of a Telkom local call to send a fax to an 086 number. For companies that send thousands of faxes a day, this can rapidly add up to a huge expense.
"In this case ICASA has really come out on the side of the customer," says Freer. "It benefits nobody except the service providers if companies are paying more for an inferior service."