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Fri, Aug 31 2012 4:57 PM
I have to fully endorse the regulators quote “Ofcom is committed to a thriving telecoms sector where companies can compete fairly and businesses and customers benefit from the choice of a broad range of services”. It really does pay to shop around when you are looking for business telecoms to ensure that you get value for money and the right solution for your business.
Telecoms is a rapidly changing industry and new technologies continue to be launched into the market place; however many traditional services are still very key to many customers. I would always recommend speaking to more than one supplier and completing a full review of everything that impacts on your telecoms and your business. Don’t ask for a specific product. If you go to a Ford dealership and ask for a family car you will get a Mondeo! Personally I prefer the Audi A4 but it is more expensive. On the other hand the Skoda Octavia is much cheaper and has all of the extras. Which is the right car? I don’t know, I’m a telecoms expert.
So, if you are looking at a new telephone system, what is the best manufacturer to choose? Again, I don’t know. Unless you know what you want it to do and what budget bracket you fall within there is no way of knowing. Your choice of system should be very dependent on the applications which improve your business efficiency. Speaking to a supplier who only distributes for a single manufacturer can therefore be restrictive. No different to the Ford garage, they should know their product inside out; however is it the right one for you? I don’t know.
I have spoken to many customers who have been told they need to upgrade their analogue system to digital but don’t seem to know why. Well, analogue and ISDN digital services have been around as long as I’ve been selling telecoms which is over 16 years. Both have their place and both are competing against Voice over IP solutions and SIP trunks. Which is best for you? I don’t know; well at least until I know your business I don’t know. It may be as simple as where your business is located may be the deciding factor.
What about call charges? What is the best deal in the market place? Should you look for low pence per minute rates with no minimum call charges, call capping, an inclusive deal at a fixed cost or free calls between your sites? I don’t know. Are you fed up with that standard press advert, “We’ll save you 30% off of your BT invoice”? How do they know, I took a quick look at bt.com and they have an array of different call packages so which one is 30% more expensive? Don’t be afraid to ask your provider for detailed call data and don’t be shy giving this to your telecoms consultant. It’s your data and it’s the only true way of calculating what type of deal suits your calling profile.
I would be very wary of inclusive deals. Very often calls are rounded up to the nearest minute. For example, you may have 400 inclusive fixed to UK mobile minutes per month. You make 800 calls averaging 30 seconds each. You used 400 actual minutes; however would be charged for 800 minutes. Crude example I know, but just emphasising the need for detailed analysis. Don’t get bitten.
Fed up with poor “rural” broadband speeds? Unfortunately swapping your Broadband between different providers doesn’t necessarily improve the speed as in many cases the service will still be delivered over the same copper pair delivered from the same local exchange. Distance is the key factor. Again, shop around as different providers may offer different Broadband types; i.e. ADSL Max offers “up to” 8 Mbps download whereas ADSL2+ offers “up to” 24 Mbps.
If Broadband isn’t the answer for your business then you may be considering an EFM service? Again shop around and ensure your provider has access to more than one wholesale provider. For example, BT Wholesale will use between 2 and 8 copper pairs to deliver EFM which allows them to offer service over a longer distance; however they only have approx. 700 Points of Presence to deliver it from. TalkTalk will use either 2 or 4 pairs so their distance for delivery is less; however they have approx. 2500 exchanges enabled. Their pricing models are completely different. Which is best for your business? I don’t know; well not unless I know your business and where you are.
So, what is the best telecoms solution in today’s rapidly changing market place? You’ve guessed, I don’t know! If you are going to review your telecoms then take the time to look at the whole picture. Make sure that you talk about your business and not about ours.
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