& cplSiteName &

CenturyLink: Small Biz Still Needs VoIP

Carol Wilson
8/1/2017
50%
50%

Want a break from all the SD-WAN announcements? Here it is: CenturyLink's newest service actually targets small businesses with two voice-over IP service packages.

That's right: VoIP -- a 20-year-old service that is commonly used by consumers in homes with broadband connections -- is still something small businesses need to lower their voice service costs and have access to more features, according to CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL). (See CenturyLink Packages VoIP for Small Biz.)

The company is offering a cloud-based, pre-packaged service in two flavors: a basic service with unlimited local and long-distance, fee-based international calling and about 50 premium features, all for about $20 a line; and an upgrade to Unified Communications for about $5 a month more. The latter features integration with email and calendars such as Outlook and the ability to integrate laptops and use softphones.


Want to know more about service strategies? Check out our dedicated services section here on Light Reading.


The packages may not be revolutionary but they have appeal to the 600,000 or so small businesses that still use landlines today, says Eric Novak, CenturyLink's director of product management, and also to many hundreds of other small businesses that just use cellphones but would like more of a business presence.

"We are seeing more demand from companies that have to operate just on cellphones but would like to have more of a business persona," he says. Moving to a small-business VoIP service would enable integration of the wireless service with a UC offering.

CenturyLink, like all incumbent telcos, is facing considerable competition in this SMB space from the cable industry and from pure VoIP players such as 8X8 and Vonage, and these service packages are an opportunity for the incumbent to compete more effectively.

Today, landline service can still cost close to $50 per line for a business, when all regulatory fees are added in, Novak notes, so this is a substantial savings. The additional features, including the UC upgrade, also let businesses operate more efficiently.

Polycom VoIP phones are one option for small businesses.
Polycom VoIP phones are one option for small businesses.

The service was launched earlier this month and already small businesses are using it in an unexpected way, he says. CenturyLink expected companies to drop their voice line altogether and have one connection into their business -- their Internet service with the VoIP layered on top -- but many are instead asking for two Internet connections, one to serve as backup to the other.

"We were surprised by how many companies wanted a separate connection for the phone and backup; we didn't see that scenario," Novak said. "And we're only a month in; who knows what else we'll learn."

In the long run, moving SMBs off the voice network will help CenturyLink achieve the goal of shutting down that network and operating only its Internet Protocol-based network, something bigger US operators have all said they hope to do, for their own internal efficiencies. Novak says, however, given how many customers are still on the legacy network, it will be some time before that happens.

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

(5)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
kq4ym
50%
50%
kq4ym,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/10/2017 | 12:00:53 PM
Re: Skype for Business?
It does seem that while homes have removed their landlines the business market is the primary place you'll still see landlines. It seems that even the lower cost of VOIP is not enough incentive for business to make the switch. Maybe CenturyLink can help move that market over with their newest offererings.
brooks7
50%
50%
brooks7,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/2/2017 | 2:10:27 PM
Re: Skype for Business?
Carol,

 

I think that estimate is low.  The cost of the phone is huge compared to the value for say a convenience store.

 

seven

 

 

 
Carol Wilson
50%
50%
Carol Wilson,
User Rank: Blogger
8/2/2017 | 11:45:25 AM
Re: Skype for Business?
According to CenturyLink, about 600,000 small businesses are still using their landlines, so apparently Skype and other options haven't convinced them. 

 
Phil_Britt
50%
50%
Phil_Britt,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/2/2017 | 10:23:08 AM
Re: Skype for Business?
Skyoe still works, but some are more comfortable with a more traditional phone system that also offers call recording, forwarding, etc.
sarcher60555
50%
50%
sarcher60555,
User Rank: Lightning
8/2/2017 | 10:15:25 AM
Skype for Business?
Doesn't that still work?
From The Founder
NFV's promises of automation and virtualization are intriguing, but what really excites service providers is the massive amount of money they could save.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
VMWare VP Brings Women Up With Her

8|16|17   |   6:49   |   (1) comment


It's an art and a science to make mentorship, inclusive leadership, diversity and promotion of high-potential women work, says Honore' LaBourdette, vice president of Global Market Development at VMWare.
LRTV Documentaries
5G Spectrum Wars – The Recap

8|15|17   |   2:22   |   (0) comments


Service provider 3 has filed a lawsuit against Ofcom over 5G spectrum auction in the UK.
LRTV Custom TV
Say What? Facebook Unleashes AI Anarchy – The Recap

8|7|17   |     |   (0) comments


A recap of the week's talking points on Light Reading's sister site, telecoms.com. Facebook AI programmers had a bit of a brain-fade as they allowed one of its AI applications to invent its ...
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Fujitsu's Women Band Together to Help Girls Do STEM

8|2|17   |   9:35   |   (1) comment


Supporting women both inside and outside of Fujitsu is a top priority of the telecom vendor. Yanbing Li, Fujitsu Network Communication's director of System Software Development & Delivery, shares why it's important, but why there's still a long road ahead.
LRTV Custom TV
If You're Not First, You're Last – The Recap

7|31|17   |   08:18   |   (1) comment


In case you missed it, Amazon's 1% stock increase helped Jeff Bezos dethrone Bill Gates as the richest man in the world. Also, Taiwanese electronics manufacturer
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
AT&T's Tech President Preps Workforce for the Future

7|26|17   |   5:47   |   (10) comments


AT&T is focused on the software-defined network of the future and is reskilling its workforce to get ready too, according to AT&T's President of Technology Development Melissa Arnoldi.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Cisco: Mentoring Critical to Attract & Retain Women

7|19|17   |   6:40   |   (1) comment


Liz Centoni, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's Computing System Product Group, shares why mentoring in all its forms is important for women and what Cisco is doing that's made a difference for women in tech.
LRTV Custom TV
Gigabit LTE With Snapdragon 835

7|12|17   |     |   (1) comment


At an event in Wembley stadium, EE used its live network to demonstrate gigabit LTE using a Sony Xperia XZ Premium smartphone with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip.
LRTV Custom TV
Implementing Machine Intelligence With Guavus

7|12|17   |     |   (0) comments


Guavus unites big data and machine intelligence, enabling many of the the largest service providers in the world to save money and drive measureable revenue. Learn how applying Machine Intelligence substantially reduces operational costs and in many cases can eliminate subscriber impact, meaning a better subscriber experience and higher NPS.
LRTV Custom TV
Unlocking Customer Experience Insights With Machine Intelligence

7|12|17   |     |   (0) comments


When used to analyze operational data and to drive operational decisions, machine intelligence reduces the number of tasks which require human intervention. Guavus invested in Machine Intelligence early. Learn about the difference between Machine Learning and Machine Intelligence.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Verizon VP Talks Network, Career Planning

7|12|17   |   4:49   |   (0) comments


Heidi Hemmer, vice president of Technology, Strategy & Planning at Verizon, shares how bold bets and the future of tech define her career.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Masergy's NFV Journey

7|11|17   |     |   (0) comments


Ray Watson, vice president of global technology at Masergy, discusses the advantages and challenges in entering the still-maturing NFV market for the past three years.
Upcoming Live Events
September 28, 2017, Denver, CO
October 18, 2017, Colorado Convention Center - Denver, CO
November 1, 2017, The Royal Garden Hotel
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue, London, UK
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Intel CEO Leaves Trump Biz Advisory Board
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 8/15/2017
Are Cord-Cutting's Days Numbered?
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 8/14/2017
Orchestration Startup UBiqube Pivots Away From NFV
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 8/15/2017
Verizon Video Woes Pile On
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 8/14/2017
WiCipedia: Dolly Babes, Manifesto Backlash & 'Brotastic' Failures
Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, 8/18/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Animals with Phones
We Know a Tough Day When We See One Click Here
Live Digital Audio

Understanding the full experience of women in technology requires starting at the collegiate level (or sooner) and studying the technologies women are involved with, company cultures they're part of and personal experiences of individuals.

During this WiC radio show, we will talk with Nicole Engelbert, the director of Research & Analysis for Ovum Technology and a 23-year telecom industry veteran, about her experiences and perspectives on women in tech. Engelbert covers infrastructure, applications and industries for Ovum, but she is also involved in the research firm's higher education team and has helped colleges and universities globally leverage technology as a strategy for improving recruitment, retention and graduation performance.

She will share her unique insight into the collegiate level, where women pursuing engineering and STEM-related degrees is dwindling. Engelbert will also reveal new, original Ovum research on the topics of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, security and augmented reality, as well as discuss what each of those technologies might mean for women in our field. As always, we'll also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air and chat board.