March 9, 2005 12:36 PM PST

VoIP providers work to lasso smaller businesses

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Commentary: Net calls? Not so fast

March 8, 2005
SAN JOSE, Calif.--Gadgets and services on display at the VON Internet phone show reflect an effort to attract the growing number of companies, many of them variably small, that haven't yet made the move to Internet phones.

Many of the new products and programs demonstrated and discussed at the Spring 2005 Voice on the Net show are for corporations without the technical expertise or capital to upgrade to Net phones on their own.

Businesses were among the first to take to voice over Internet Protocol, in which phone calls use an Internet connection, thus avoiding regulation and sometimes entirely bypassing the traditional infrastructure of the nation's local phone networks, controlled by SBC Communications and three other Bell operators.

Despite such high-profile converts to VoIP as Merrill Lynch, the technology has hardly saturated the market. About 39 percent of U.S. businesses have indicated that they want to do something with VoIP, but only 5 percent actually have made good on those plans, according to analyst firm IDC.

"There's a lot of room out there," said SBC Vice President Mark Fishler.

Besides expenses, businesses are put off by VoIP's uncertain regulatory future, possibly made worse recently when Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell, a proponent of keeping VoIP calls unregulated, said he was stepping down. Businesses are also hesitant to dump old telephone systems, in which they've invested millions of dollars.

To capture new businesses, some providers are playing "host," which is less financially stressful. Hosting is a service model in which a company--say, SBC--provides the service using its expertise and infrastructure. This way, businesses aren't forced to make big capital investments.

SBC's Fishler claimed that SBC led the market for hosting business-class VoIP. But it'll soon get stiff competition from Lucent Technologies, which will begin selling a hosted VoIP service in the next few weeks, according to Lucent Vice President Stef van Aarle.

Hosting a phone service for businesses is a novel idea. It's one that might not be especially welcome among larger, more established businesses that have made huge investments in their own phone networks, using traditional circuit-switched technology. "Outsourcing is a brand-new idea for phones," said Michael Cooper, next-generation network-planning director at Bell Laboratories. "Corporate IT departments are used to running their own boxes in the basement."

Even so, there are a lot of companies out there with smaller staffs and lower established phone investments. Analysts at IDC say hosted VoIP will grow from about 75,000 actual users in 2004 to 12 million by 2008.

Things are also changing on the services front. Vonage, the nation's largest consumer VoIP provider--with an estimated 535,000 subscribers--recently introduced a 24-line phone service aimed at small to midsize businesses, said Mark Lyons, Vonage's vice president of sales.

Ma Bell AT&T, which SBC is planning to buy for $16 billion, has been developing several new business-focused services as well, though some may also appeal to consumers. For instance, the operator is now testing open-source software for Internet Protocol telephone switchboards. The open-source software is from Asterisk.

VoIP gear makers are also gearing up for a business blitz. Mitel Networks, which makes phone equipment for businesses, has come up with a new form for VoIP phones. Rather than looking like a traditional desk phone, Mitel's new Navigator is a 14-inch rectangular console on a base, designed to fit snugly underneath a monitor. While pricey at $450 each, a large U.K. retailer is using the space-saving Navigator in its calling centers, according to Mitel.

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Is VoIP for everyone?
That is a good question and listening to the experts it seems that the US is loosing out due to "greed". Well that is a strong word to use in this forum but never or less wherever we read about VoIP it seems that only Vonage is being mentioned as the big player with 535,000 subscribers which are nothing compared to the Danish/Swedish SKYPE with more than 84 million downloads.
However in Hanover Germany yesterday the founder Niklas Zennstrøm was at the Cebit Convention and he brought some real interesting numbers and being one of the owners you would think that he know what he is talking about.
He said that more than 150,000 people was downloading the Skype program daily and out of the 84 million downloads 29 million people was actually using the program which in effect tells us that out of the 150,000 daily downloads 50,000 people start using the program right away.

My question is: Should the phone company's in the USA worry, or should they just ignore the facts that they are being run over, that is to be seen I guess.

I read most of the articles when it has something to do with VoIP and it amazes me how ignorant the reporters of most papers, printed or here on the Internet are. I am not here to favor Skype what so ever but they are huge and being ignored by the Press in favor of small players such as Vonage, Verizon and SBC it worries me and looks like some form of censoring or does the Press only favor advertisers which I am tempted to believe.

Here is the best part:
Right at our fingertips we have a company located in California, exploding thru a Dual 48 Internet pipeline offering FREE VoIP, FREE Special Offers and Discounts thru it's own Patent Pending ingenious advertising delivering system and soon to come FREE Streaming Movies directly to anyone's desktop. They call it Desktop Real Estate because the program is convenient, it has FREE PC to Telephone in the US and Canada, FREE PC to PC worldwide, soon 200 countries for a small fee ranging from half a cents to the most expensive .03 cents per minute, it has it's own patent pending search engine, plus so much more and here is the best part, they make custom "skins" Private Labels so it looks like it is part of the company that are giving away the FREE VoIP Dialer and they expect to have more than 20 million users by years end. How's that for growth Vonage, Verizon and SBC. Presently more than 12,000 people are downloading the program daily and you can go at get your own dialer today just by visiting <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.NTRSource.com" target="_newWindow">http://www.NTRSource.com</a>
Now that was a great news story.... let's go whipp'm...
Posted by ntrsource (43 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Is VoIP for everyone?
That is a good question and listening to the experts it seems that the US is loosing out due to "greed". Well that is a strong word to use in this forum but never or less wherever we read about VoIP it seems that only Vonage is being mentioned as the big player with 535,000 subscribers which are nothing compared to the Danish/Swedish SKYPE with more than 84 million downloads.
However in Hanover Germany yesterday the founder Niklas Zennstrøm was at the Cebit Convention and he brought some real interesting numbers and being one of the owners you would think that he know what he is talking about.
He said that more than 150,000 people was downloading the Skype program daily and out of the 84 million downloads 29 million people was actually using the program which in effect tells us that out of the 150,000 daily downloads 50,000 people start using the program right away.

My question is: Should the phone company's in the USA worry, or should they just ignore the facts that they are being run over, that is to be seen I guess.

I read most of the articles when it has something to do with VoIP and it amazes me how ignorant the reporters of most papers, printed or here on the Internet are. I am not here to favor Skype what so ever but they are huge and being ignored by the Press in favor of small players such as Vonage, Verizon and SBC it worries me and looks like some form of censoring or does the Press only favor advertisers which I am tempted to believe.

Here is the best part:
Right at our fingertips we have a company located in California, exploding thru a Dual 48 Internet pipeline offering FREE VoIP, FREE Special Offers and Discounts thru it's own Patent Pending ingenious advertising delivering system and soon to come FREE Streaming Movies directly to anyone's desktop. They call it Desktop Real Estate because the program is convenient, it has FREE PC to Telephone in the US and Canada, FREE PC to PC worldwide, soon 200 countries for a small fee ranging from half a cents to the most expensive .03 cents per minute, it has it's own patent pending search engine, plus so much more and here is the best part, they make custom "skins" Private Labels so it looks like it is part of the company that are giving away the FREE VoIP Dialer and they expect to have more than 20 million users by years end. How's that for growth Vonage, Verizon and SBC. Presently more than 12,000 people are downloading the program daily and you can go at get your own dialer today just by visiting <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.NTRSource.com" target="_newWindow">http://www.NTRSource.com</a>
Now that was a great news story.... let's go whipp'm...
Posted by ntrsource (43 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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