ISP Slingshot is using what it describes as ‘destructive’ pricing to attract new customers to its i-Talk VoIP service.
With i-Talk, existing Slingshot broadband customers can install a second home line for $9.95 a month. The service can be used by either downloading Xpro softphone software for free or purchasing an i-Talk phone for $69.95.
Slingshot founder Annette Presley says that by offering affordable line rental and massive toll savings demand for these services will grow.
“For us it’s about increasing competition and giving people a choice. Hopefully by doing that we’ll drive down the cost of line rentals. The combined price of Slingshot’s broadband plans and VoIP services is still less than most customers are paying for just broadband internet,” she says.
The i-Talk Budgetone handset plugs into an ADSL modem and works even when the computer is switched off. Calls between i-Talk customers are free and included in the monthly fee are call waiting, voicemail and call forwarding features.
Presley says that customers can purchase an additional i-Talk phone and send it to family and friends overseas.
“All they need to do is plug it in and take advantage of free calling. That means people with family in say, China, can talk for free with this technology.”
Slingshot marketing manager Mark Callander says the company doesn’t want to get into hardware sales.
“CallPlus has developed the intellectual property and that’s what we’re selling. We’ve got retailers like Dick Smith who are very keen to sell these i-Talk units,” he says.
“We’re really keen on the channel getting involved. We’ve been waiting for Whoosh to come and talk to us for the last two years but so far they haven’t,” says Presley.
Both Presley and CallPlus founder Malcolm Dick are shareholders of Australian telco People Telecom, which recently listed on the New Zealand Stock Exchange.
Slingshot has a direct fibre cable link to People Telecom’s network and has sold the company 2,000 session-initiated protocol phones, allowing customers of both companies to talk to each other for free.
The company says this means the service won’t suffer from quality problems experienced by other VoIP providers.
“We’ve spent a long time testing this and can guarantee the quality and reliability. We’re proud to release it to Slingshot broadband customers in New Zealand,” says Presley. People Telecom has close to 30,000 customers, with over 1,500 using its SwiftVoiceIP service.
Presley says it’s time New Zealand caught up with the global telco market.
“It’s about time New Zealander’s realised they’re being ripped off with expensive tolls and line rentals. We’re lagging behind the rest of the world and that has to change. The only way to do that is free up the market by unbundling and let people have a choice.”