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benchmark-it.co.uk benchmark-it news SME/SoHo Issue 15, 2004 Headlines: 1&1 LAUNCHES FREE IP TELEPHONY• 1&1 Plus DSL package includes bundles of Voice over IP telephony; • The future battleground for fixed telephony is going to be broadband as voice evolves to become just another application carried over the connection; • This will also continue the drive towards subscription-based telephony and away from billing based on geography and time. BULLDOG OFFERS 4MBPS BROADBAND• 4Mbps downstream and 400kbps upstream speeds delivered over Bulldog’s unbundled network in Central London; • Many SME and SoHo customers are more likely to choose the £30/month consumer product than the equivalent business product that costs £109.99/month. EASYNET MAKES SURESTREAM AVAILABLE IN THE NETHERLANDS• Exploits local loop unbundling to offer leased line alternative at 1 and 4Mbps. BT TO DOUBLE SDSL FOOTPRINT• SDSL to be made available from 300 exchanges during the course of 2004. CABLE & WIRELESS CEO ATTACKS UK TELECOMS REGULATION• BT’s competitors keep ranting about how evil the UK incumbent is, but independent benchmarking shows the UK to have one of the most open markets in Europe. OPERATORS TEAM FOR FIXED-MOBILE CONVERGENCE PRODUCTS• Fixed operators hope to develop a range of new fixed-mobile products that will help compensate for loss of voice revenues to mobile operators. BT INDIRECT CHANNELS DELIVERS 12% GROWTH IN 03/04• Revenues from indirect channels ...

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benchmark-it news
SME/SoHo
Issue 15, 2004
Headlines:
1&1 LAUNCHES FREE IP TELEPHONY
1&1 Plus DSL package includes bundles of Voice over IP telephony;
The future battleground for fixed telephony is going to be broadband as voice
evolves to become just another application carried over the connection;
This will also continue the drive towards subscription-based telephony and
away from billing based on geography and time.
BULLDOG OFFERS 4MBPS BROADBAND
4Mbps downstream and 400kbps upstream speeds delivered over Bulldog’s
unbundled network in Central London;
Many SME and SoHo customers are more likely to choose the £30/month
consumer product than the equivalent business product that costs
£109.99/month.
EASYNET MAKES SURESTREAM AVAILABLE IN THE NETHERLANDS
Exploits local loop unbundling to offer leased line alternative at 1 and 4Mbps.
BT TO DOUBLE SDSL FOOTPRINT
SDSL to be made available from 300 exchanges during the course of 2004.
CABLE & WIRELESS CEO ATTACKS UK TELECOMS REGULATION
BT’s competitors keep ranting about how evil the UK incumbent is, but
independent benchmarking shows the UK to have one of the most open
markets in Europe.
OPERATORS TEAM FOR FIXED-MOBILE CONVERGENCE PRODUCTS
Fixed operators hope to develop a range of new fixed-mobile products that
will help compensate for loss of voice revenues to mobile operators.
BT INDIRECT CHANNELS DELIVERS 12% GROWTH IN 03/04
Revenues from indirect channels hit £768 million;
Indirect channel of great importance to BT as it looks to exploit the customer
intimacy of resellers combined with the product breadth and technical know-
how of an incumbent.
PIPEX WARNS CUSTOMERS TO CHECK THEIR PHONE BILLS/ASSETS
Finds that many of its new customers are paying for equipment and services
they no longer need or use.
QSC OFFERS NEW VOICE-DATA BUNDLE
ISPs are increasingly looking to serve the breadth of customers’ needs,
including voice – maximising their addressable market.
UTA LAUNCHES BUSINESS PHONE IP
Issue 15
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July 19 2004
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Opinions reflect judgement at the time and are subject to change.
The speed with which new technology developments now trickle down from
the MNC and corporate segments to the SME segment has accelerated
immeasurably.
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1&1 LAUNCHES FREE IP TELEPHONY
Self-proclaimed number two German broadband provider has launched “free” IP
telephony along with the launch of its new 1&1 DSL Plus product.
“With our mature and user-friendly complete DSL package we are including IP
telephony for a large proportion of the population,” commented Andreas Gauger of
1&1.
“Now conventional telephone handsets and existing telephone numbers can be
used to telephone for free over the Internet.”
“Telephony using voice over IP (VoIP) is considerably cheaper than traditional
telephony, so 1&1 is charging nothing for use on its VoIP network and calls to
conventional lines will only cost one cent across Germany, but only after the 100 free
minutes per month which are included in all 1&1 DSL Plus tariffs.
In contrast to
other providers, 1&1 asks no extra charge for its VoIP service.
Until now the widespread take-up of IP telephony has been hindered by complicated
technology.
The software solutions that have been available for years only worked
with a PC and often needed a lot of help as specific problems arose during installation
and configuration.
By contrast, the 1&1 model is very easy.
For just €19.99 both
fixed wire and WLAN DSL routers can be ordered with a built-in phone board to
which existing analogue handsets can be connected.
The equipment even works when
the PC is switched off and the established phone number doesn’t change.”
“The new 1&1 Plus package includes other innovative features, such as a professional
virus scanner for the included 50 e-mail boxes, as well as spam protection.
The
unified messaging capability has had an SMS manager added and the storage space
has been increased tenfold to 10,000MB.”
This new capability from 1&1 will appeal not only to the technologically advanced
customer, but also to those that have become comfortable with broadband and are
willing to try out a way to save money on their phone calls.
Most importantly, such offers underline the fact that the future battleground for
customers using fixed lines will centre around the supply of broadband.
Voice is
becoming just another application, assuming the quality delivered is good enough, and
if it is only a question of plugging the handset into a different socket the barriers to
shifting are pretty insubstantial.
Recent initiatives by a number of incumbents,
including BT and France Telecom, illustrate that they understand this potential threat
and may even see it as an opportunity to win back market share.
Moreover, the bundling of voice with broadband will also help to drive the move
towards subscription telephony and away from charging by geography and time.
BULLDOG OFFERS 4MBPS BROADBAND
Issue 15
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July 19 2004
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Bulldog Communications, which was recently acquired by Cable & Wireless, has
launched Bulldog 4, a high-speed broadband service exclusively for customers within
Central London.
Bulldog 4, available via Bulldog’s local loop unbundled (LLU)
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network, delivers high-performance broadband Internet access 24x7 and has no
download limits or hidden charges.
“Bulldog 4 delivers up to 4Mbps downstream bandwidth and up to 400kbps upstream
bandwidth, making it ideal for any on-line activity imaginable.
With up to 4Mbps
bandwidth, home users can make the most of their broadband experience by multi-
tasking, i.e. chatting to friends on the phone and in chat rooms, viewing Web pages
and downloading files or gaming on-line all at the same time.
If ordered before 31
st
July 2004, Bulldog 4 will cost just £20 a month for the first
three months, and £30 a month thereafter with free connection, based on a 12-month
contract.
The standard price for the service is £30 a month.”
Richard Greco, CEO of Bulldog said: “At Bulldog we pride ourselves on delivering
innovative services and value-for-money to customers.
Having our own infrastructure
enables us to do this, unlike other Internet Service Providers who are restricted by
BT’s wholesale offerings.
Bypassing the BT network also means that we also ensure
greater service quality for our customers.
Bulldog 4 is yet another example of
Bulldog pushing back the boundaries of the consumer broadband market to the benefit
of its customers, and sets a new benchmark for our competitors to aspire to.”
“Bulldog was one of first Telecoms Providers in the UK to unbundle the local loop,
with Central London as its focus.
This pioneering experience has enabled Bulldog to
offer unique and innovative services at highly competitive price points.
Bulldog was
the first operator to launch high-speed broadband to the UK market by introducing its
1Mbps, 2Mbps, 4Mbps and 6Mbps services to home users.”
Although targeted at the consumer market, 4Mbps downstream and 400kbps upstream
is more than enough for many SME and SoHo customers but, as ever, they will find it
hard to understand why versions of the same broadband product targeted at them
explicitly as business customers tend to cost so much more – why pay £109.99 a
month for the business product when you can pay just £30 a month for the consumer
one?
EASYNET MAKES SURESTREAM AVAILABLE IN THE NETHERLANDS
Pan-European broadband networking company Easynet has expanded its portfolio in
the Netherlands with SureStream, its alternative to leased lines.
“SureStream, already seeing excellent take-up in the UK, is available in two speeds,
1Mbps and 4Mbps.
Easynet’s Local Loop Unbundling (LLU) programme in the
Netherlands enables companies to use more bandwidth and experience maximum
service levels, at a fraction of the cost of a standard leased line.
Issue 15
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July 19 2004
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SureStream is the perfect solution for larger companies requiring at least a 1Mbps
connection as well as for corporations and head offices which demand maximum
service levels and a secure, resilient network.
Businesses using SureStream are
automatically entitled to Easynet’s 99.9% Service Level Agreement with 24x7
customer support, giving customers non-stop functionality and all the benefits of a
traditional leased line service.”
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“The introduction of SureStream outside the UK – in the Netherlands now, in other
European countries in the near future - is part of Easynet’s European growth strategy.
The broadband network provider aims to provide an extensive business services
portfolio in all European countries.
Easynet is also continuing to invest in the
expansion of its own European MPLS network and has an extensive LLU programme.
In the Netherlands Easynet already has 100 LLU exchanges, and 200 in the UK.”
Arjen Berendsen, Managing Director of Easynet Netherlands said: “Our European
policy enables Easynet to provide international customers with tailored solutions and
the highest possible uniform service levels, against an ever more economical rate.
Easynet continues to focus primarily on constant progress in developing and
supplying applications that provide our customers with a competitive advantage.
SureStream is an example.”
By positioning SureStream as an alternative to leased lines Easynet will be hoping to
win over customers spending over the odds for legacy technology.
However, it would
be expected that the majority of customers by now would have considered broadband
products as an alternative to leased lines and would have swapped where they felt that
the levels of service and contention ratios are not a vital factor.
BT TO DOUBLE SDSL FOOTPRINT
BT has confirmed plans to double the availability of its wholesale symmetric
broadband products for businesses by bringing the technology to a further 150 UK
exchanges.
The latest phase of roll-out will bring the number of exchanges providing SDSL to
300.
As well as widening SDSL availability in areas which were included in the first
phases of roll-out, the move will bring a wider range of business-class broadband
services to additional new areas including parts of the M3/M4 corridor, Cheshire,
Cardiff, North East England, Aberdeen and Exeter.
The first 34 of theses exchanges will have SDSL service by the end of July, another
34 will have service by the end of November 2004 and SDSL switch on dates for the
remaining 82 will be announced by the end of September 2004.
SDSL gives the same rate of data transfer upstream as downstream.
It is particularly
suitable for end-users such as SMEs, people in remote offices and teleworkers who
require business-class connectivity to their service provider for applications such as
fast file transfer and Web hosting.
Bruce Stanford, BT Wholesale products director, said: “Service provider customers
have told us where they have demand for symmetric broadband services from their
customers.
Together with our own market analysis, this feedback has helped shape
the next stage of rollout with 150 more exchanges doubling the number of exchanges
providing SDSL.
Issue 15
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July 19 2004
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For reproduction rights contact info@benchmark-it.co.uk.
Opinions reflect judgement at the time and are subject to change.
This will open up opportunities for service providers to attract new customers and
give wider geographic coverage to existing customers.”
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BT Wholesale launched its SDSL services in September 2003 from 100 exchanges
serving metropolitan areas in London, Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Yorkshire,
the West Midlands and Scotland.
Coverage was extended in January 2004 to a further
50 locations in Greater London and the West Midlands.
This latest phase of SDSL roll-out will double the number of exchanges offering
SDSL and follows further consultation with service providers to identify the areas
where they have strongest demand from their business customers.
Just as ADSL roll-out started in the larger conurbations and gradually spread to the
extent that many PTTs are looking to offer availability to 100% of the population by
one way or another, so SDSL appears to be following.
It is generally regarded as
being ‘business-class’ broadband and is particularly suited to SMEs that send out a lot
of data, such as those in advertising or publishing.
CABLE & WIRELESS CEO ATTACKS UK TELECOMS REGULATION
Cable & Wireless Group CEO Francesco Caio has said the UK is no longer a pioneer
of market liberalization and has lambasted previous UK regulators for stifling
competition in the telecoms market.
Speaking at the Government Trade & Industry Select Committee Hearing Inquiry,
Caio accused incumbent BT of frustrating and stifling innovation among its
competitors to protect its 70% market share.
He also criticized previous regulatory
regimes:
“Consecutive governments and regulatory bodies’ protectionist policies have
preferred to support an incumbent self-styled ‘national champion’ rather than trust the
market.
The UK has lost its pre-eminent position as a pioneer of liberalization.”
“I am frustrated not just for myself, but for my customers, and their customers, who
are not able to fully benefit from the enormous economic and social advantages that
information and communication technology offers,” he added.
Caio said that the emergence of effective competition in the UK has suffered as a
result of BT’s ability to protect its market share by “perpetuating the barriers to entry
such as delaying and limiting access to the local loop or by means such as frustrating
number portability, refusing to offer consistent and predictable price regimes.”
Caio said that the telecom review initiated by Ofcom is long overdue, adding that he
is hopeful that it will “break the deadlock and unleash competition in the telecom
market.”
It could be argued that Cable & Wireless was hardly brilliant at competing with BT
when it enjoyed a duopoly with the UK incumbent, so yet another whinge from them
about how unfair life is in the UK telecoms sector is unlikely to do more than raise an
occasional eyebrow.
Issue 15
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July 19 2004
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For reproduction rights contact info@benchmark-it.co.uk.
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For a start, BT is duty-bound to protect its market share as it is a publicly listed
company.
It is true that at times, like every PTT, BT appears to have put more effort
into managing the regulatory regime than into understanding customer requirements,
but under a duopoly with a relatively ineffective competitor like Mercury this was the
best use of its resources.
It is also true that BT retains a significant proportion of its domestic market, but the
arrival of more effective competitors has helped erode BT’s share, with its share of
the SME segment in particular under threat over recent years.
BT can also rightly be
criticised for its slow delivery of reasonable local loop unbundling, and former
regulator Oftel must take some of the blame for that, but even this area is now being
addressed.
While BT is hardly a paragon of virtue, almost every independent analysis of the UK
market compared with those on Continental Europe shows it to be amongst the most
competitive and open.
Cable & Wireless should “unleash telecoms competition in the
UK market” by delivering innovative products that customers want.
OPERATORS TEAM FOR FIXED-MOBILE CONVERGENCE PRODUCTS
The Fixed-Mobile Convergence Alliance (FCMA) has been inaugurated with six of
the world’s leading telecommunications operators as founder members.
The Alliance
has been formed to accelerate the development of Fixed-Mobile Convergence
products and services to the 122 million fixed network and 23 million mobile
customers served by its founding members.
It is anticipated that the Alliance will
encourage other major operators around the world to drive the development of
convergence services.
“Fixed-Mobile Convergence is a transition point in the telecoms industry that will
finally remove the distinctions between fixed and mobile networks, providing a
superior experience to customers by creating seamless services using a combination of
fixed broadband and local access wireless technologies to meet their needs in homes,
offices, other buildings and on the go.”
The founder members of the FMCA include Brasil Telecom, BT, Korea Telecom,
NTT Com, Rogers Wireless and Swisscom.
BT is the first Chair of the Alliance, which will rotate every 12 months.
Rogers
Wireless will take the role of Vice-Chair during this period.
In addition to the founder
members of the Alliance, a further 15 operators from around the world have contacted
the FMCA to express their interest in joining.
One of the FMCA’s key objectives will be to present a common message to the
telecoms equipment vendor community regarding the development of standards-based
terminal and infrastructure equipment.
Issue 15
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July 19 2004
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benchmark-it.co.uk.
All rights reserved.
For reproduction rights contact info@benchmark-it.co.uk.
Opinions reflect judgement at the time and are subject to change.
The members of the Alliance have been working together for several months and
collaborated and shared information in the areas of concept development, experiences
in different markets as well as new convergence products and services.
One such
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example is BT which recently announced plans to launch a seamless convergence
service to mobile handsets for UK broadband consumers.
Ryan Jarvis, first Chairman of the FMCA and Chief of Mobile Products and
Partnerships at BT, said: “Today is an important milestone for the industry.
It
recognises that fixed networks are a significant asset in delivering mobile services.
A
number of us have unveiled our plans to accelerate this market transition by launching
convergence services, so users can move seamlessly between the fixed and mobile
worlds as they go about their business or daily lives.
The creation of the Alliance
demonstrates operators’ willingness to share information and work together on behalf
of all our customers to ensure that nothing stands in the way of progress.
This initial
group of leading telcos is totally committed to delivering convergence and the FMCA
is encouraged by the applications from other telecom operators to join us.”
As ever in the telecoms sector, “we are condemned to live in interesting times.”
Not
only are communications services converging on the Internet Protocol, which is
seeing voice, data and video applications increasingly running over a single
connection, but fixed and mobile networks are converging – one good example being
the growing availability of Wi-Fi services.
This makes for confusing times for
customers, but also for service providers who have to try to work out where traffic
and value will lie in the future.
For the likes of Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom and Telecom Italia, along with
many others, this is not so much of an issue as they have strong fixed and mobile
assets, so if one cannibalises the other at least they hang on to the revenues.
For BT it
is an issue as it has no mobile arm (in the traditional sense) and any traffic that moves
to mobile is lost.
By setting up the FMCA, these carriers will hope that they can
minimise the traffic they lose to mobile service providers, or at least win new traffic
through new fixed-mobile applications.
This should be good news for customers as
they will benefit from any such innovations.
BT INDIRECT CHANNELS DELIVERS 12% GROWTH IN 03/04
BT Indirect Channels’ (BTIC) latest financial report shows it has achieved its 12%
target with revenues of £768 million in 2003/4.
“Despite call prices dropping in response to the market requirement for core price
reduction, BTIC has bucked the trend by growing its voice business by 7%.
Notable
growth was also achieved in ‘new wave’ sales, with broadband revenues increasing by
204% and ICT sales doubling to almost £60 million.
BTIC’s figures endorse the new ‘Chapter’ strategy introduced 12 months ago in
which the indirect channel’s business was segmented into four technology areas: core,
broadband, ICT and mobility.”
Issue 15
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July 19 2004
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For reproduction rights contact info@benchmark-it.co.uk.
Opinions reflect judgement at the time and are subject to change.
Chris Jagusz, acting director of BTIC, said: “Our ambition last year was to develop
our position as an ICT player and there’s no doubt that we’ve firmly established
ourselves.
Better still, we’re still growing in all our markets – even the traditional
ones – where we’ve secured an additional £61 million in new contracts.
This takes
our total core revenues to over £700 million.”
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“One of the year’s highlights has been the BT Business Plan initiative with nearly
60,000 customer sites sold through the channel.
Similar success has come with over
10,000 broadband connections sold and installed – a 179% increase on the previous
year.
This was fuelled by a five-fold increase in the number of resellers selling BT
broadband products during the year.
BT is now engaged with over 500 broadband
resellers throughout the UK.”
Jagusz added: “The size of ICT deals has also grown with BT partners regularly
landing million-pound contracts.
This is exactly what we need to help us make our
mark in this space and as a result, we have seen £117 million of new ICT contracts
this year.
We’re in a great position to consolidate our place in the market and realise some very
ambitious growth plans with our partners.
Their feedback is clear – we have the
infrastructure, products and channel proposition to help them achieve their goals – and
ours.”
Jaguszalso said: “In driving forward, there will be an intensive focus on developing
ICT sales whilst retaining and growing our calls business in conjunction with our
partners.
We’ve laid foundations through BT Integrator and our Contact Central
multimedia contact centre portfolio, and we are confident that we are well placed to
grow our new wave sales dramatically.
We are looking for ICT to account for up to
50 per cent of our business.
Defence of our core voice revenues will play an integral
part in the growth of the business, with BT Commitment and BT Business Plan as the
cornerstones of this strategy.
Several major developments were introduced to this year’s proposition that should
help BTIC’s partners achieve this.
Marketing Zone, a single on-line point of
reference for campaign plans, jointly branded collateral and requesting co-marketing
funds, helps partners plan sales and marketing activity, as well as obtain quicker and
easier access to marketing resources.”
Jagusz said: “We can now offer a much richer product set and, for the first time, a
complete end-to-end solution for our partners through our multi-vendor relationships
with Nortel, Cisco, EMC, Siebel Mitel, and Alcatel.
Our partners now have access to
network, voice, mobile and hardware solutions, which are designed to capture a
bigger share of customers’ wallets.”
“Mobility will be an integral part of these solutions and there will be increased
activity as the relationship with Vodafone matures into the channel.
By Q3 of this
year, BTIC intends to have a scalable mobile voice package available to its partners.”
Jagusz said: “We’re really looking forward to realising the benefits for the channel
that our partnership with Vodafone brings.
For example, the introduction of fixed-
mobile convergence should give our partners a clear differentiator in the marketplace.
Issue 15
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July 19 2004
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benchmark-it.co.uk.
All rights reserved.
For reproduction rights contact info@benchmark-it.co.uk.
Opinions reflect judgement at the time and are subject to change.
The proposition initiatives will also be supported by a review of the financing
packages available to all partners.
Even with £10 million of channel sales financed at
present, we can see that there’s a lot more opportunity for our partners here.
Our new,
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more flexible credit arrangements are designed to break down the barriers that prevent
our partners making sales by getting the best rates for our partners to pass on to their
customers.”
BT Indirect Channels’ revenues underline the importance of this division to BT - £768
million is a lot more than many of BT’s rivals turn over across their entire business in
a year.
Whilst growth in indirect channel revenues more often than not can come
from lost direct channel revenues, it is better for BT to keep a large proportion of the
cake than to lose it altogether.
No doubt BT will hope that similar growth levels can be delivered this year by a
strategy that combines the customer intimacy of the reseller channel with the product
breadth and technical know-how on an incumbent.
PIPEX WARNS CUSTOMERS TO CHECK THEIR PHONE BILLS/ASSETS
Companies who fail thoroughly to check their phone bills are paying for phone lines,
equipment and services they no longer use, costing their businesses thousands of
pounds each year, warns PIPEX, a UK network operator and provider of business
broadband solutions.
“PIPEX has discovered that many of its recently recruited new customers have been
paying for lines or equipment they no longer require.
PIPEX offers its customers
discounts on their existing BT telephone lines.
Before transferring the lines, the
company provides support and analysis of customer invoices.
It is at this time that
PIPEX has been able to uncover exactly what its customers have been paying for,
without even knowing.”
Commenting on the need for greater vigilance, Tom Gaffney, Voice Product Manager
at PIPEX, said: “We have seen new clients who have been paying thousands of
pounds each year for unused equipment and lines, simply because they do not check
their phone bills in detail.
Customers are used to approving invoices for payment on
the basis that bills are similar to those they had the previous month.
In some cases,
customers were paying significantly more for line rental because they were paying for
many more lines than they actually used.
This adds up to a significant sum of money
annually.”
As a result of its findings, PIPEX is encouraging businesses to re-assess the
management of their voice infrastructure and suggests companies heed the following
advice:
If an organisation operates multiple sites, it will undoubtedly operate multiple
phone lines.
Re-assess whether all of these lines are really needed;
For companies which rely heavily on the phone to process customer orders or
post-sale support, resources should be invested in analysing the cost of these
calls and the lines that are used to make them;
Issue 15
benchmark-it.co.uk
July 19 2004
©
benchmark-it.co.uk.
All rights reserved.
For reproduction rights contact info@benchmark-it.co.uk.
Opinions reflect judgement at the time and are subject to change.
On BT invoices, look for recurring charges, maintenance charges and
equipment rental – these terms can mask many charges or items.
Review
these items, ask for clarification and then assess which are actually used or
required;
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Companies investigating their phone bills should contact BT for information –
they will provide a full breakdown of exactly what is being charged for;
Change phone supplier – if a business chooses to swap its phone supplier to
PIPEX, for example, they will benefit from reduced rates and comprehensive
billing, without the need to change phone numbers.
Many SMEs do not have a dedicated individual to look after technology and it can
often be the office manager that has responsibility for paying the telephone bills and,
with many other time demands on their hands, it is rare that a thorough audit is carried
out.
In many ways this is good news for the likes of PIPEX as they can usually promise to
offer cheaper communications and then add to that by pointing out previously
unnecessary expenditure – a great start to a new customer relationship.
QSC OFFERS NEW VOICE-DATA BUNDLE
Alternative German broadband operator QSC has launched its telephony product,
QSC Direct, QSC Direct basic and QSC Select, as a bundle with its professional data
product, Q-DSLmax.
“By ordering the voice and data bundle customers not only get a complete
communications package from one supplier, but also profit from 1,000 free minutes
(QSC Direct/basic with Q-DSLmax) or 500 free minutes (QSC Select and Q-
DSLmax) per month for local and regional calls.”
“With QSC Direct QSC is offering both large customers and SMEs complete
solutions over the QSC network.
All telephone calls (in-coming and out-going) are
carried over the QSC network and up to 30 ISDN telephony channels can be used
simultaneously.
Customers profit from competitive per-second billing which offers
significant savings over other service providers and also includes special tariffs for
calls to other customers of QSC Direct.”
Not so many years ago Internet service providers and broadband players were focused
purely on Internet access and related services, such as Web hosting and e-mail.
It
could be argued that they still are and that voice has just become another application
running over their networks.
However, the evolution has been more sophisticated
than that and many have realised that they have to consider the customer’s
requirements as a whole as they battle for a larger share of their total communications
spend.
This has been good news for customers as the more dynamic competitive
nature of the business ISP market has rubbed off to some extent on the generally more
staid voice market.
UTA LAUNCHES BUSINESS PHONE IP
Issue 15
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July 19 2004
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For reproduction rights contact info@benchmark-it.co.uk.
Opinions reflect judgement at the time and are subject to change.
Austria’s UTA is to offer a virtual telephony service from August using Voice over IP
(VoIP) technology.
‘UTA Business Phone IP’ has been designed for the SME
segment in particular and telephony and data will be carried over the same broadband
connection.
Extensions, exchange lines and end equipment can easily be scaled
within 24 hours.
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“In Austria small and medium-sized enterprises are dominant and to date only large
corporates have been able to benefit from higher value-added services, such as
voicemail.
This is now set to change as from August the UTA Business Phone IP will be
available.
IP telephones can be either leased or bought, or existing analogue sets used
through an adapter.”
Alexandra Reich, Marketing Director, comments: “Any business that is trying to
decide whether to upgrade an existing PBX or to invest in a new one should look at
this model (where UTA hosts the PBX).”
“For the main connection a direct broadband link from UTA such as BizNet Speed is
required.
UTA Business Phone IP is however available over other broadband
connections and over WLAN, using the best effort principle.
This solution is
therefore ideal for low-cost networking of branches and the simple connection of
teleworkers using either ADSL or cable and either another IP telephone or a laptop
with a headset.”
As we have said before, 2004 appears to be the year of Voice over IP.
What is
remarkable is the speed with which this technology has become available to the SME
segment.
Historically, it could take years for communications advances that benefited
the largest multi-national corporations to trickle down to the SME segment, but that
process has accelerated immeasurably.
The reasons for this are both technological and commercial.
In technology terms,
broadband is enabling a whole new world of capabilities that it would have been
impossible to deliver to the majority of SMEs using expensive leased line services.
In
commercial terms, the MNC segment is broadly over-served and competition for
national corporates has also plateaued in many countries.
This has seen a growing
interest in meeting the needs of the massive SME segment in most advanced markets.
The combination of broadband, deregulation and the need for service providers to
grow revenues through a new market is resulting in SMEs benefiting hugely in terms
of lower costs and improved functionality.
Issue 15
benchmark-it.co.uk
July 19 2004
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