TelstraClear ups ante with new service for SMEs

By Errol Kiong

The battle for market share among the country's telcos looks set to reach another level as TelstraClear today launches its IP-based telephony system aimed at small-to-medium businesses.

The telco hopes IP Gateway will provide businesses with an affordable, flexible data and phone service previously only available to large corporates.

Earlier this month, Telecom announced plans to spend $130 million on a new IP network to bring voice, internet and mobile telephony services together, while Vodafone confirmed the spending of $500 million upgrading its 3G network to reach 97 per cent of the country.

TelstraClear is hoping IP Gateway - a hosted business-telephone service that will run over its IP network - will prove a game changer.

Head of business Brenda Stonestreet said: "We didn't have a voice solution to run over our IP network, which is fairly fundamental, really. If you have a look at the old traditional products and the new products, voice was key."

Two years in development, the system will combine data and phone services in one pipe. Stonestreet said this reduced running costs and did not require the initial outlay on equipment nor the ongoing maintenance costs of conventional PABX systems - previously the only option for small to medium-sized businesses.

Project manager Antonios Karantze said the system works like a conventional PABX, but businesses could also self-manage their requirements via browser. Businesses can either rent an IP phone or remain with their existing analogue phones.

Four different packages are available, with prices starting from $40 per user per month.

RAISING THE STAKES

* TelstraClear launches IP Gateway today, aimed at SMEs
* The IP-based telephony system will combine data and phone services in one pipe, doing away with the conventional PABX
* TelstraClear hopes it will prove a game changer in the battle for market share

- NZ Herald

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