Telephony reseller Multelink released its SmartPhone yesterday, claiming the device would provide the cheapest call rates to businesses by monitoring major telecommunications carriers' rates.
According to Terry Crews, CEO of Multelink and SmartPhone's designer, the device has an in-built tracking system which simplifies and cuts phone bills by 50 per cent for all timed calls.
"Complex billing plans and conditional special offers have resulted in confusion and an understandable reluctance for Australian companies to try alternative phone companies," he said. The product monitors rates offered by Telstra, AAPT, Optus, Primus, One.Tel and Dingo Blue.
The SmartPhone is a fixed line telephone from which users can also send e-mail at 25 cents per message, without the need for PC or Internet connection.
Multelink will sell direct to the customer until early 2001, after which time the SmartPhone may be sold by electrical goods retailers throughout Australia, Crews said, declining to comment on any potential deals. The reseller will target small businesses from every industry sector, expanding into US and UK markets next year.
Local SmartPhone sales are tipped to hit 7500 over the next quarter, allowing the company to break even, according to Crews. Revenue over this period would reach around $300,000 per month, he forecast. Seizing the opportunity to plug the product, he added customers would get $45 for successful sales referrals to Multelink.
Current business clients, totalling 500, include newsagents, large electrical contracting businesses and greengrocer wholesalers. Multelink has a "number of affiliations" with major Australian retail banks to offer the SmartPhone to their customers, Crews said.
The SmartPhone connects to a standard telephone and power socket. It can be linked to a Commander or PABX system. Users need only one phone per business for an entire network to use the phone, according to a company statement.
SmartPhone is priced at $499, plus $65 for connection. Twenty thousand more units will be released in time for the Christmas shopping boom.