By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
VoIP provider 8x8 unveiled a new business calling service last month.
Called Packet8 Virtual Trunking, the service provides VoIP dialing to businesses using existing phone hardware and Internet connectivity.
Through value-added resellers and directly, 8x8 will sell an Integrated Access Device (IAD) that can connect a business-class phone system to the Internet. The IAD requires professional installation, which will be performed by an 8x8 partner.
8x8 is also adding domestic regional sales personnel who will be building a network of telecommunications resellers that sell into the small- and medium-sized business channel to support Virtual Trunking, the company said.
The new offering is designed to compliment the company's Virtual Office product, which combines a business-class VoIP service with IP hardware. "What we've found when selling Virtual Office was that a lot of businesses were interested, but didn't want to overhaul their existing equipment," said sales and marketing VP Huw Rees. The new solution bestows the benefits of VoIP telephony without having to swap-out existing equipment, he said.
Packet8 Virtual Trunking offers dial tone, toll-free number service, direct dialing, T1/PRI termination, analog (FXS) termination, Enhanced 911 (E911) support, caller ID/CNAM, national directory listing, and online billing and account management.
Like Virtual Office, Virtual Trunking is aimed at the small- to medium-sized business market, though it can be scaled to "much larger enterprises," Rees said.
The service will cost $1,500 for the IAD and installation, with a $25/line subscription for up to 500 minutes. Rates are set at 3.5 cents/minute. The company will offer a $500 and $1,000 rebate on the adapter and installation for a one- or two-year commitment, respectively.
While the focus of the company has shifted to small-business telephony, 8x8 maintains its residential service, Rees said. "It's something we're not pushing hard, because it's ultra-competitive," he noted.
Though the company picked up subscribers in the wake of SunRocket's implosion, 8x8's residential numbers have declined slightly due to customer churn. "We're expecting that business to stabilize over the next 12 to 18 months," Rees added.
The company's mobile phone service — MobileTalk — was "slow to launch" due to the number of compatible phones, Rees said. To date, MobileTalk works on smartphones and the company is working to expand the number of devices that can use MobileTalk, he added.
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