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Equant, France Télécom push enterprise VoIP

Jun 01, 20042 mins
NetworkingTelecommunications IndustryVoIP

If you’re a CTO interested in VoIP and like numbers to support your decision-making, you might find these interesting.

Equant NV, a leading provider of international telecom services to large businesses, reported last week an 85% increase in the number of customer sites using VoIP – up to 1,300 from 700 – over the past 12 months. More than 130 multinational corporations now subscribe to the service, or about 10% of Equant’s total customer base, with demand steadily increasing, the company said.

“In the corporate sector, it’s now relatively easy for companies to migrate to VoIP and the savings are significant,” said Ian Cox, an analyst with Juniper Research and author of the report “Voice over IP and Network Convergence.”

For instance, VoIP calls between company locations, “on-net” calls, are free of charge, according to Cox. “This is a big incentive – one of several – for corporations to move away from public-switched telephone networks,” he said.

Cox also expects calls from IP-VPNs to grow rapidly as corporations take advantage of network convergence to reduce their communication costs.

In April 2002, Equant launched one of the first end-to-end IP-based voice services based on IP PBAX (private branch automatic exchange) technology from Cisco, the service provider said. In the third quarter, it plans to add IP telephony systems from Avaya and Nortel.

Following recent regulatory approval in 17 countries, Equant, a wholly owned subsidiary of France Télécom SA, now offers IP-VPN service in 93 countries, including emerging markets in China, India and Russia, the company said.

On Thursday, France Télécom launched two new VoIP offerings in France: one aimed at small and midsized businesses (SMB) and another for large corporations. Both are provided via Equant’s IP-VPN service network.

The Net telephony offering for SMBs, which doesn’t require companies to invest in a PBAX, is available for a monthly fee of €12 ($15) in addition to value-added tax and a one-time activation fee of €70 plus VAT. It includes unlimited calls between equipped business sites and competitive communication costs for calls within France. The service will be available in June.