The best way to sell VoIP is to keep the technology as well hidden as possible, according to wholesaler TalkNet.
Rather than concentrating on handset sales, the Australian-owned company is hoping to persuade the channel that the value of VoIP lies in calls and applications supplied using standard telephony equipment.
"I don't want to sell handsets," TalkNet managing director, Bill Marlow, said. "They make you a sale, but you then have to support them. Instead, we put our equipment outside a PABX and users can have the same IP-enabled solution without changing what hardware they have in the office."
This approach has seen the company achieve a sustained growth rate of more than 130 per cent, according to Marlow.
"What's pushing the growth is that the services are there, the rates are good and there is no change in how the customer makes a call," he said.
Marlow is hoping to push this message by working more closely with partners.
He said the channel would provide the source of unique VoIP services to differentiate its offering in a rapidly crowding market.
Currently the company has 34 partners, consisting of a mix of ISPs, PBX suppliers and telco consultants. It is looking to increase this to 150 new partners across A/NZ.
"ISP numbers will decrease over time as a major telco is looking at moving into business-grade VoIP themselves," Marlow said. "The PBX market will increase however as the life expectancy for many PBXs is coming up and companies will move to soft PBXs for the extra scalability and flexibility."
Alongside its recruitment drive, TalkNet would look to partner up its resellers to provide a full range of services, Marlow said.
"We want to create a star alliance with telcos, PBX suppliers, integrators and ISPs which puts them in touch with each other to create one contact for all the service needs of an end-user," he said.
By the end of the first quarter, TalkNet also planned to release a fully unified messaging offering which would include data, voice and conferencing capabilities, Marlow said.
The company was also exploring the possibilities of VoIP driven by satellite and wireless technology for rural and remote areas.
Marlow said he was currently finalising the launch of new operations in South Africa and exploring possibilities in South-East Asia.