Linksys says a newly-formed partnership with WorldxChange will be the first of many in the voice over IP (VoIP) space.
Under the agreement, consumers will be able to connect to WorldxChange’s XNet VFX (virtual fone exchange) service using the Linksys Wireless-G ADSL Gateway (WAG54GP2), while small businesses will access its service through a Linksys Voice System PBX, phone adapter and IP desktop phones.
ANZ country manager Graeme Reardon says the first partnership was with WorldxChange because it is a fully internet protocol-enabled technology company. It also allows Linksys to provide a full services offering, rather than only the standalone products it has previously offered here, he says.
“It’s not an exclusive arrangement but it’s a very good one. They’ve built a lot of applications to enable customers to see where their telephony is going and what it costs.”
Reardon says Linksys Australia has a number of similar partnerships, and expects the New Zealand market for value added VoIP services to “explode” here, now the local loop is being unbundled.
“Service providers are looking for value added differentiators to bring their offerings to the market. You’ll see others will have a similar offering using our equipment.”
Linksys has discussed similar partnerships with a number of large and small telecommunications firms here, he says, however he wouldn’t reveal which.
WorldxChange CEO Cecil Alexander says XNet VFX will sell directly to consumers following its initial launch and will stage a commercial launch in around two months time.
He says WorldxChange has been building its IP network for 18 months, and believes XNet VFX will attract about 10,000 residential customers and 10,000 small businesses.
"It's very feature-rich in terms of customer management. You can go onto our website and change voicemail rules, call forwarding and set email notifications."
The Linksys Voice System IP PBX is designed for 16 users or extensions (four are supported out of the box). It is available from WorldxChange resellers.
Firms can customise their voice network to direct calls; program the system to allow on and off business-hours greetings with the Auto Attendant feature; and a promotional message can be created to greet or provide information to callers placed on hold, or to pipe in music. The system also allows users to park calls, fax over the internet and use the intercom for paging.
Reardon says about 200 resellers have now signed on for the Linksys Partner Connection programme, which had about 30 members shortly after launching in May. Of those, around eight have become approved voice system resellers.
Linksys will join with authorised distributor Ingram Micro to hold roadshows for these partners over the next month.