The addition of a high-quality, full-featured VoIP service to the W Home product line is expected to increase the customer take-up rate for W Home and provide a boost to the average revenue per customer in W Home-enabled buildings, according to SkyNetGlobal.
The partnership follows a five-building trial in Sydney in which W Home subscribers used engin's VoIP 'Voice Box,' which connects directly to an existing telephone handset. The service requires no computer, no software and no configuration - just a phone and a broadband Internet connection.
Under the W Home plan, there are no line rental charges,local calls are priced at $0.10 cents per call, irrespective of duration, while national calls are fixed at $0.05 cents per minute. International calls are priced at A$0.04 per minute or less.
Despite unpopular line rental price increases, Telstra's dominant position in residential telephony has been largely unchallenged by VoIP upstarts because of quality issues and other limitations associated with VoIP delivery. Those issues are now resolved, according to SkyNetGolabl. In addition to basic call delivery, VoIP also provides value-added features, such as call forwarding, caller ID, voice mail, call waiting, speed dialing and three-way calling.
'I have been in the telecommunication business in Australia for 12 years,' says Jonathon Soon, CEO of SkyNetGlobal, 'and I have never seen the incumbent more vulnerable in the residential fixed line space. Consumers are rightfully upset because they feel prices should be coming down, not going up. We are making sure these disaffected customers don't have to look far to find a consumer-friendly alternative.'
W Home has more than 120 apartment buildings signed to long-term, exclusive contracts and another 4,000 accessible via a recent agreement, announced in March, with Body Corporate Services of the Prudential Investment Corporation of Australia (PICA), the country's largest strata management company.
'We believe with this new voice product our take-up rates within W Home apartments could increase substantially,' says Anthony Blass, group managing director for SkyNetGlobal. 'Australian consumers have demonstrated in the past that there is little loyalty in voice and that they will readily switch to a new provider if they can save money.'
Said Ilkka Tales, CEO of engin: 'This is a strong strategic fit for both parties. We are specialists in broadband telephony and services and, as a boutique wireless ISP, SkyNetGlobal has a unique relationship with apartment owners, managers and, especially, with tenants.'