Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Optus launches IP Centrex

Kate Mackenzie
Australian IT - JULY 15, 2004

OPTUS is launching its outsourced converged networks solution, IP Centrex, aiming to take one-third of the market for such products despite Telstra's early lead.

IP Centrex is a set of technologies which telcos use to provide business customers with hosted, managed voice-over-IP (which carries voice telephony traffic over internet-based networks), along with managing their data networks and other services such as video-conferencing.

Optus Business managing director Peter Kaliaropoulos said the product would be aimed at all sizes of business and government customers, from 20 staff upwards. Customers with a traditional voice telephony PBX system and who managed their own data network could save 20 to 30 per cent by shifting to IP Centrex.

"You're looking at total cost of ownership, including buying equipment, maintaining equipment, business processes around them," Mr Kaliaropoulos said.

Optus was the first Australian telco to offer such a full-featured IP Centrex service, he said. Telstra has since late last year offered an IP Centrex product developed by US company Broadsoft, which is more specifically targeted at larger enterprises.

Optus' version of IP Centrex is based on Nortel Networks equipment, and Mr Kaliaropoulos said it would be offer a more advanced range of features than Telstra's, such as multimedia and unified messaging.

"Broadsoft are offering those features for the future, we are offering those features now," he said.

Telstra spokesman Warwick Ponder said the Broadsoft system used by Telstra did not require a 'forklift' upgrade and was more easily compatible with Microsoft Windows. Multimedia applications would be coming soon, he said. "We don't think the market is ready for them just now."