The question is being asked “what are ISPs doing about voice?” This is particularly relevant as the market consolidates and B2B ISPs not only seek economies of scale but additional sources of revenues.
Timico was founded as a fully converged ISP from the outset. Early on we had to decide whether to simply white label services from other ISPs and ITSPs or do “get into manufacturing” and do it all ourselves.
At the outset there were no real white label VoIP options. You had to do it yourself. However there were plenty of ISPs providing Virtual ISP services.
The issue we had to contend with was “ownership of the problem”. VoIP had yet to be fully accepted by the market and in the early days everyone was still climbing a learning curve in respect of installation.
For us it was therefore important to be able to handle all aspects of trouble shooting when problems did occur and this prompted our decision to become a fully fledged ISP rather than a Virtual one. This also meant that we would be fully in control of the quality of our network.
So as an ISP Timico already has a non ISP play in terms of VoIP, but also in the reselling of fixed line services (ISDN et al) and mobile (O2 and Vodafone).
The biggest issue is in how to go about selling other services other than just the traditional ISP bag of broadband, leased lines, hosting etc. Each of these services involves a specialist approach to sales in their own right.
As one of the ISPs “gobbling others up” the challenge has been how to go about enabling the channels of our acquired companies to resell non ISP services.
Because Timico itself was geared up for this converged play the cross pollination of the fixed and mobile expertise has been relatively straightforward, if time consuming.
If an ISP is getting into VoIP services from a standing start then there is a long learning curve to be climbed, an investment in skills and infrastructure (typically an ISP will not have the billing facilities to create variable voice bills that come with fixed and mobile services – nor the provisioning infrastructure/connectivity to the Tier 1 operator networks). Becoming a mobile Service Provider, as opposed to a dealer/reseller, is particularly challenging.
Timico considers itself to be foremost an ISP that also supplies other services and its proposition is to provide the market with a single source of ISP, VoIP, fixed and mobile services.
Timico sells its services both directly and through channel resellers. The opportunity is to sell all services from a single point of contact.
It is commonplace for Timico sell a fully converged proposition to its customers. This might simply be a small single site business taking the phone line, broadband and a mobile service, or a major corporate with several hundred sites to be connected and with hundreds of mobile workers to support.
The proposition is scalable and come with significant revenue opportunities for the channel. As the company continues to grow, outpacing the market, a growing portfolio of reference customers has also made it easier to sell to new prospects.
Having our own MPLS infrastructure and our own VoIP platform (Nortel A2E Tier 1 SIP platform) also allows us to provide customers with innovative solutions that combine a variety of IP connectivity (ADSL, FTTC, EFM, leased lines) with voice solutions to suit.
For example a customer might have a PBX at their main sites, which would be served by both ISDN and SIP trunks, and just have hosted voip for smaller locations and homeworkers. The MeetMeNow conferencing and web collaboration service can also be overlaid as a cost saving and productivity enhancing proposition to further.
Finally as the market evolves it is becoming important to be able to play a mobile data proposition into the mix and Timico is already positioned in this space.
That is what this ISP is doing about voice!