- In the wake of the pandemic and the often low connection quality it brought with it, companies and households are now susceptible to a voice quality offer for their telephony
- They appear to have rediscovered the joy of being able to hear a pin drop at the other end of a connection.
It’s hard to believe now, but not too long ago the wireline voice service was the network operator cash cow and data service via ADSL was often just added for ‘free’. Not really free of course, but it was certainly viewed as the junior partner in a voice/data double act. That changed through the 2000s as competition forced down voice revenues and technology pushed up data speeds and services such as streaming added value to the data pipe.
At least two providers in the UK have (to some extent) flipped this around this week, recognising that something of a lightbulb moment had flashed through the period of lockdown. Thousands of people working or learning from home realised that they really loved switched telephony-quality voice calling and could they have it back? Not necessarily mobile calling either.
“Mobile calls can be problematic for many working a desk job from home,” says Graeme Oxby, CEO of Community Fibre in the UK. “Now people are realising the advantages of clear uninterrupted and undistracted voice communication.” Part of that may be a reaction to the often dreadful “Zoom” experience, he says, which served as a timely reminder that clear voice communications are a god-send.
Community Fibre has just launched a voice over IP feature with its fibre access services along with a TV product. Oxby says conversations with potential users have told it that a good voice is valued. “Calls are still an important part of the proposition - people sometimes forget that - especially calls that are considered more important, like work calls and long family calls,” he says.
"We (at Community Fibre) stick to our simple pricing and all the customer need do is plug their existing phone or phones into the hub,” adds Oxby.
“Since the pandemic, the industry has seen a general increase in the volume of voice traffic and I think there are some good reasons for that - sometimes it’s the better quality connection while some people just like talking rather than having the video at all,” he says.
Other providers have also noticed that the pandemic and its Zoom experience has thrown up an opportunity to do something new and different with voice, focusing on old-fashioned quality.
Colt has launched a ‘cloud-based’ telephony solution for users of Microsoft Teams which provides Direct Routing as a service to enable seamless PSTN calling without the fuss - there is no requirement to host any hardware on the client premises or in its data centre, and Colt claims the whole process of onboarding can take less than a week.
Colt’s CEO, Keri Gilder, says the past year has "truly highlighted the value of delivering voice and network services quickly and seamlessly. As the world changed dramatically, we saw first-hand the increasing need for voice services, which were critical for enterprises who needed to shift their operations to remote working almost overnight."
Colt claims the necessary Cloud Session Border Controller (SBC) service is available immediately in 13 key Colt countries from today: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.
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