PortaSwitch B/OSS & Softswitch Platform Eases Growing Pains For South African Telecom


Feeling the Pinch of Network Capacity Limits and Excessive Manual Operations, TalkTalk Finds Relief in PortaOne’s Scalable, Automated Solution

Like many startups, TalkTalk began with a powerful idea: offer VoIP-based business communication services that were more reliable, more complete, and more customer-focused than anything else on the market.

Five years later, TalkTalk, a joint venture of CipherWave and Vlocity Communications with offices in three South African cities, has found its success—and everything that comes with it, most notably the need to accommodate the pressures of its phenomenal growth.

From the start, our goal was to own and operate our own infrastructure. As we added customers, however, we began to reach our limit on the number of concurrent calls our system could handle. The softswitch we were using at the time—a workable but rather generic product—was simply not able to handle the rate of expansion.”

Jonathan Mason, CEO of TalkTalk

Just as challenging was the amount of staff work. On the business side, administrative personnel were tasked with a huge number of manual billing operations, and generating performance reports was both tedious and time-consuming. Developers were also struggling with the company’s software platforms.

We were having reliability issues with our softswitch, and the API was cumbersome. It seemed that every task our technical staff was called upon to complete, required multiple steps that slowed down our level of responsiveness.”

Jonathan Mason, CEO of TalkTalk

TalkTalk’s menu of services, from SIP trunking to hosted PBX, mobile VoIP calling, last mile access and more, was growing fast. Its customer base of SMEs in dozens of industries was expanding as well. It was time to look for better alternatives for its core business and telecom platforms. Remarkably, TalkTalk was able to meet all its needs with a single solution: PortaOne’s PortaSwitch unified softswitch and Business and Operation Support System (B/OSS).

“Not only is PortaSwitch immensely scalable, but it also brings automation to a totally different level,” noted Mason. “It eliminates a lot of manual work.” PortaSwitch, a unified platform for voice, messaging, and data traffic, combines a scalable Class 4/5 softswitch with all the business capabilities necessary to support next-generation telecoms, ISPs, MVNO, and NGN operators.

Mason pointed to PortaSwitch’s API as a key element. “That component really simplifies our administrative tasks. We can replace five [coding] steps by pressing a single button. The ability to modify our infrastructure for new services or increased network capacity takes us to a completely different level of flexibility.”

Mason commented that with the DID inventory feature, all Direct Inward Dial (DID) numbers are kept in one place. “We have four environments and manually it was difficult to distribute DIDs. PortaSwitch makes it easy,” said Mason, adding that the automated invoicing and reporting functions have also eased staff workloads. “With PortaSwitch we have direct access to the MySQL database. The ability to quickly output in Crystal Reports covers all our operational needs—and it reduces our operating expenses,” he stated.

Since the addition of PortaSwitch, TalkTalk has extended use of the switch to both CipherWave and Vlocity Communications. Mason pointed to several unique benefits of PortaSwitch as reasons why the expansion has been problem-free.

The strong technical support, along with scalability and reliability, of PortaSwitch has given us a firm foundation for growth. With PortaSwitch we have the flexibility we need, along with a fantastic vendor relationship. We’re more than satisfied with PortaSwitch and PortaOne in the development of TalkTalk.”

Jonathan Mason, CEO of TalkTalk

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