Agile bypasses Telstra, halves call costs

Agile bypasses Telstra, halves call costs

Agile Communications is leapfrogging traditional circuit-switch carrier networks and slashing telephone call costs for South Australia's metro and regional consumers using its $2m broadband voice and data network.

The fledgling telco launched the first phase of its combined Internet and wireless communication network from Adelaide, to Murray Bridge and Coorong regions in April this year.

Calls made within the Agile network region - Coorong, Murray Bridge and Adelaide - are charged between 4.4 and 8.5 cents per minute and capped at 99 cents, compared to Telstra's rates of 18 to 26 cents per minute, uncapped.

National calls from the Agile service area to any other fixed phone in Australia are available for 13 cents per minute at all times and are independent of the calling distance.

Simon Hackett, managing director of Agile Communications, said the reduced rates have been achieved by building new infrastructure rather than leasing capacity from other carriers.

"We've built a new telecommunications road that has enabled us to avoid the distance-based access charges imposed by Telstra for using their legacy circuit-switched long distance telephone system," Hackett said.

"There is a certain bloody mindedness about this. We could have set up our receivers on an existing Telstra tower but to change the economics you have to start building your own infrastructure. We wanted to retain complete control of quality."

From October, Agile's network will apread to include Sydney, Melbourne and Mount Gambier, at the same low rates. Rather than building new infrastructure along these common routes, Hackett said the company will lease capacity from global telecommunications provider, Worldcom.

Access to Agile's network is obtained via pre-paid calling cards available from Agile, Coorong District Council offices and resellers. Debit account based billing is currently undergoing trials alongside the option to automatically pre-select the Agile network for long distance calls by the end of the year.

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