The VoIP industry has been in a rapid growth spurt for a several years now. Following a period of uncertainty as to its ability to deliver quality voice services, advances in IP Communications technology have largely overcome that obstacle — though some doubting Thomases remain.
Initially, the selling point was cost savings; more than a year ago, the focus shifted to features and capabilities, including mobility, made possible with VoIP and Unified Communications (News
); and more recently, with the downturn in the economy, marketing efforts have shifted back to the measurable cost benefits.
But, while mobility has been a key driver of much of the communications development in the industry, and while mobile VoIP has been introduced by a variety of solutions providers, one major obstacle remains — the carrier. By and large, carriers have been reluctant to embrace mobile VoIP because of the potential loss of revenue the stand to lose. Until now, that is.
, a wholly owned subsidiary of BT (News
) Telecommunications, has bought a license to globally market and sell mobile VoIP, based on a solution from Qnective
. It is developing a mobile VoIP solution set for BT Global Services
, which it will base on Qnective’s Qtalk products.
By developing its own solution, BT is not only ensuring integration with its global platforms and solutions, but it is also hoping to create a revenue stream that might otherwise find a home with other, non-carrier-certified solutions.
According to BT inmo CEO Harry van Streun, Qtalk differs from other so-called mobile VoIP solutions because it has been developed with carrier-grade quality in mind, delivering voice service using any number of means of accessing data networks to deliver minutes-free calls to other “Q-Net” users, and very low-cost SIP-based calls to even PSTN endpoints.
“No other provider currently has a comparable, high-quality product and service range in a combined GSM and mobile data network environment such as HSDPA, UMTS, EDGE und GPRS,” added van Streun.
The fact is that the combination of mobility and cost savings are being leveraged by a number of developers and providers already, and the carrier community has two options: ignore it and hope to make money on other services; or accept the minutes loss — which will come either way — and at least retain those customers and gain some recurring revenue from them.
BT has chosen the latter — it is likely a wise move. A challenging global economy, combined with ongoing innovation, means that carriers, like BT, must find ways to both retain existing subscribers, but also attract new ones, with new and innovative offerings. Simply offering mobile minutes isn’t the answer. In fact, BT is taking a bold step in sacrificing minutes for the sake of innovation, looking to drive both retention and acquisition.
It’s not a surprising move, when you consider BT’s already proven success in driving customer satisfaction to new heights. In fact, its ability to deliver quality services just earned it the top spot among global VPN
providers, according to a survey by Telemark Services
. This is the next step for BT.