May 23, 2006
unveiled that customers using its PBXi and PBXi Plus business-class Voice over IP (VoIP) offerings will now have unlimited domestic monthly minutes. I wanted to blog about this yesterday, but wanted more information. I asked Covad more specifics about their pricing plan via email and they wanted to schedule a conference call to discuss, but I'm pretty busy this week, so I'll just tell you what I do know.
First, technically it's not truly "unlimited" since it is capped at 101,000 minutes per site per month. That equates to about 56 hours per day of talk time. Assuming 50 employees with an average talk-time of 1 hour per day, you'll be under the quota with 50 hours total talk time (50 employees x 1 hr).
However, if you are a 50-seat call center with agents that speak for the full shift (8 hours) then you'll be way over - 50 agents x 8 hrs talk time = 400hrs/day total talk time. Of course, no agent speaks on the phone for the entire work shift, but you get the idea. This solution is more suited for the average SMB with low to moderate talk times. Of course, even if you do go over the allotted minutes, I'm sure Covad's 'overage VoIP minutes' is price competitive, unlike cellular companies that rape you when you go over your minutes.
I like the idea of "unlimited" VoIP plans for business, since in addition to cost savings it gives businesses a "fixed cost" for their telecom expenses. This is is great for budgetary planning for one of the largest "unknown" expenses for businesses, which varies from month-to-month. Covad may indeed be the first to offer "unlimited" VoIP for businesses modelled after all the popular unlimited residential VoIP plans. Of course, with AOL giving away free inbound minutes + phone number
, 'Skype' giving away free U.S. & Canada calling
, you have to wonder how soon will it be when all
voice is free?