Entrepreneurs flock in

By Caron Carlson  |  Posted 2004-12-13 Print this article Print

The extremely low economic barrier to entering the VOIP delivery business has lured hundreds of entrepreneurs, who are continually adding and enhancing services. SimpleTelecom Inc., a Reno, Nev., provider of wholesale VOIP services for carriers, last month launched SimpleConnect, a VOIP service for businesses that have bought or plan to buy VOIP-capable PBX systems. The marketing strategy emphasizes a low-cost monthly contract, with calls over most of the globe priced at 1.7 cents a minute.

1st Rate Mortgage Group has been testing SimpleConnect for about six weeks, said Ethan Lee, IT director at the mortgage company in Los Angeles. Like Micro Office, the company tried using Vonages service but found it didnt adequately support call volume. With one low-end IP PBX and about 20 employees, almost the entire staff can call simultaneously, Lee said.

"You can be any-size company and have enterprise-level communications tools," Lee said. "But after about 18 people are using the phone at once, I become a little bit worried."

Apart from cost savings, SimpleConnect offers a variety of features that can be managed easily from the Web, Lee said. Supervisors at 1st Rate can monitor sales agents based on their call logs, and a number of data applications can be easily integrated with calls.

"You can click to dial, and your CRM [customer relationship management] is basically a mouse click away," Lee said.

Equipment makers are trying to make it easier for carriers to offer more business-quality VOIP services next year. The carrier VOIP equipment market rose 69 percent from a year ago, according to a study released by Infonetics Research Inc. last month. High growth in the market for voice application servers, session border controllers and softswitches suggests that service providers are investing in equipment that enables them to deliver more new services, according to the Boston-based research company.

In October, Avaya Inc. rolled out an offering that lets service providers offer business-grade VOIP and contact center applications on a usage-based monthly fee. The technology aims to make it easier for providers to give midsize companies the kind of communications services that large enterprises enjoy.

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  • Caller ID, call waiting, hold, block, transfer, forwarding Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on voice over IP and telephony.


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