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Commentary: Best for international calls

Net2Phone's new Internet phone device provides a more transparent way to access Internet voice service.

Net2Phone's new Internet phone device provides a more transparent way to access Internet voice service.

Once it is set up, people simply use their phones as they always have--and the calls are carried over the Internet instead of a traditional voice carrier.

For businesses, however, services like this are usually compelling only for international calls. Domestically, large organizations don't need to go to an alternative carrier to get rates of less than 3 cents a minute. Why should they install the equipment and take the risk when they're unlikely to see any savings compared to what they see through their normal, volume telecommunications contracts?

Organizations looking at using these services to cut international costs should keep these thoughts in mind:

First, to avoid potential quality issues, try to ensure that the carrier has a private network carrying the calls end-to-end and that it doesn't use the public Internet backbone to deliver calls.

Second, be sure to check local regulatory restrictions that may prohibit the use of non-PTT (post, telegraph and telephone) services for voice calling--especially if the calls go offline. Carriers offering these services should be able to advise on regulatory restrictions and offer alternative routes into a country where toll bypass is banned (for example, using least-cost routing to go into an "adjacent" country where toll charges into the target country are lower).

See news story:
Net2Phone unveils new Net-phone service
We advise organizations to be very selective in exploiting these types of voice-over-IP (VoIP) capabilities solely to save money on traditional voice services. The biggest cost-saving opportunities lie in international calling, where rates are still relatively high.

Everyone must be vigilant regarding voice-quality issues and be aware that there are a limited number of people who know how to support and trouble-shoot integrated voice and data.

Meta Group analysts Val Sribar and David Willis contributed to this article.

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