people telecom is in the process of fine-tuning both residential and business voice over IP (VoIP) services to launch this year.
people telecom CEO, Ryan O’Hare, said while the business-oriented VoIP service was still four to five months away, the carrier planned to launch a basic residential IP-based voice service from next week.
O’Hare was hopeful the carrier could sign up around 10,000 residential customers to its forthcoming IP-based voice service through its affiliation with Perth-based ISP Swiftel.
Business interest in VoIP would, however, take a lot longer, he said.
Citing recent market findings from Macquarie Research, O’Hare said it could take up to five years for there to be significant growth of VoIP services in the business sector.
“As a CEO, I wouldn’t go to IP now – I wouldn’t know that it [the technology] works," he said. "You have to give it time to work,” he said.
In addition, most business are not yet ready to throw away their traditional PABX systems.
O’Hare said people would most likely run its business grade VoIP service on a different platform to the residential service. “There’s a big distinction between business grade and residential IP voice services,” he said.
For example, residential users weren’t interested in managing 400 extensions in an office through a consolidated telephony system, O'Hare said. As well as IP-based voice, O’Hare said people telecom would also announce a new services-oriented product for the business market on April 19.
While coy on details, O’Hare said the product, to be called customernet, would deliver the carrier’s value-added services skills and tools to its customers via a “real-time business product”.
“It will supersede what is available now,” he said.
The carrier is also working on plans to integrate the Swiftel business into its own sales and customer service infrastructure following the announcement of a proposed merger between the two companies earlier this month.
Commenting on the combined Swiftel/people telecom business, O’Hare said the deal would push people telecom into emerging telco markets such as broadband, while also allowing the carrier to compete with larger telco players Optus, Primus, Telstra and AAPT.
On the flip side, the merger would give Swiftel the managed services backing it needed to expand its broadband and consumer-focused ISP business, he said.
A Swiftel general meeting to vote on the Swiftel/people telecom merger has been slated for May 17.