May 20, 2004
Technology and Internet product and services provider Gradwell dot com Ltd. launches VoIP Centrex service with free trial
The trial has been devised to allow users to test this new technology, before committing to the service and is intended to remove some of the mystery and scepticism surrounding Internet-based telephony.
VoIP (Voice over IP) telephony is a way of sending voice calls over the Internet using either software or a hardware telephone, which is currently experiencing rapid growth amongst SME and corporate sectors.
VoIP.org.uk, a joint venture between Gradwell dot com Ltd. and Call UK, covers the hardware, the software, the service providers and the jargon from the point of view of the UK small business and/or the end user.
The free trial service, which is available at http://www.gradwell.com/voip/ gives the user 50p of credit (for calling public telephones) and a free public network number (0870 930 NNNN), which is valid forever, providing it is used once every three months. Everyone can use it (one trial per customer); providing they have broadband. The free trial will allow users to (a) experiment with voice on the Internet for free, and (b), “self prove” that it works for those individuals that are not convinced.
Peter Gradwell, Managing Director at Gradwell dot com explains, “VoIP is beneficial because you can get your phone, plug into your broadband line and make and receive high quality calls. Calls to other VoIP users are free and PSTN (public telephone network) calls are competitively priced – UK 2.5ppm Mobiles 16ppm. It also provides a range of features, such as call transfers, conferencing and voicemail etc., “out of the box” and “for free””.
The full-blown service is a virtual office PBX (telephone exchange) with a Web control panel, and is fully integrated with the public network (PSTN). Customers receive a recognisable ‘real world’ phone number and can make and receive calls with standard telephone users in addition to those also using VoIP. Where other services, such as Skype, are closed user systems, VoIP.org.uk is a full second line service.
Gradwell explains how this innovative technology works within their own organisation, “We are a virtual company that exists as proof of the model. For example, I am in Bath, my colleagues Richard and Ben are in Tunbridge Wells and Leeds respectively. When a customer rings the main contact number, each phone rings at the same time and whoever gets there first picks up.
If we need to transfer a call, have a quick conference etc., we just push a button on the phone and off we go. It saves a fortune in divert costs and means that we don’t have people waiting for ages whilst we hunt around the country. It also means we can use “proper” phone numbers and don’t have to hide behind a 0870 number. We support a range of geographic numbers with more coming in June 2004”, Gradwell concludes.