XDSL, a local Internet Service Provider, is presenting mid- to large sized organisations with a South African first: a hosted, fully managed, enterprise grade PABX with all the bells and whistles running on a Diginet line. It comes in at a fraction of standard costs. Users do not pay for the PBX platform or per extension; they only pay for physical access—achieving savings on infrastructure and call costs, as well as monthly operating costs.
Says XDSL director Danie Fourie: “A hosted PABX solution has been on the wish list of many organisations for some time. PBXs can be costly. Organisations have to factor in hardware and line rental costs, per minute billing, and the skills or support required to configure and run the PABX. XDSL’s hosted PBX offering does away with most of these challenges while providing greater flexibility and all the reliability organisations need from a voice service.”
The virtual PABX is hosted at XDSL’s data centre. Incoming and outgoing calls are routed to and from the client organisation via an XDSL supplied Diginet line to XDSL’s hosted cloud-based PBX, from where calls are connected to their destination. The hosted PBX offers the user all the control an onsite PBX would, with 24×7 specialist support from XDSL data centre personnel.
Some of the hosted PBX features, which the user can access via a Web portal, include alerts, call screening, classes of service, call forwarding, click to dial, caller line ID, conferencing, hunt groups, feature codes, voice mail, number porting, call history, pickup groups, balance notification and speed dials. There is a central management interface for all organisations, including those with multiple branches, with live reporting and individual billing.”
So, how does pricing compare? For a 512k, 32-channel Diginet line from Telkom, users generally pay R3 500.00 per month with a R20 000.00 installation fee. XDSL offers the same capacity for R1 800.00 a month, with only a R3 000.00 installation fee. For a 128k, 8-channel Diginet solution from XDSL, which would be suitable for about 40 users (depending on average usage profile), the cost is R634.00, which is comparable to an ADSL solution. There are no additional PBX usage fees. There are also no “per extension” costs for every user in the organization connected to the PBX, an excessive “extra” cost that has become typical in the industry, Fourie suggests.
XDSL’s comprehensive Diginet connectivity solution offers guaranteed throughput, is fully managed and includes the rental of Cisco routers, rental of the Diginet line, and Voice over Internet Broadband Enhancement (ViBE) software and licenses.
Fourie notes that usage costs are also very likely to drop. “XDSL’s call billing, depending on the user profile, is 30 to 40 percent lower than that of Telkom,” notes Fourie, “because we do per second rather than per minute billing, and we do it at a lower rate. In addition, where Diginet VoIP is used, inter-branch call costs are free.”
Further savings can be gained from interrogating and setting alerts via the central PBX management system to notify administrators when there is “abuse” of the service—for example, when personal numbers are dialled excessively or calls frequently exceed maximum time thresholds for defined interactions (e.g., call centre sales).
XDSL believes its fully hosted PBX solution is going to set the pace in the industry going forward. “While we can assist organisations who would like to maximise their existing investment in a PBX by offering just a Diginet connection or even a hybrid solution (whereby the onsite PBX synchs with XDSL’s hosted PBX and becomes the back-up or fail-over solution), we are convinced that as PBX equipment ages out, the preferred option will be for a hosted PBX. Quite simply, the expense is smaller and the benefits are exponentially higher —there is no capital investment in hardware, there is no risk, and the service is backed by 24×7 expert support.”
XDSL currently has 33 000 local extensions running on its hosted PBX service. “It’s a proven offering we are now eager to launch more broadly. Our current clients—primarily mid- to large sized organisations that are located across the country—are already reaping the cost and service benefits of our hosted PBX, PBX management platform and Diginet offering