today introduced Pingo Business
, an on-demand VoIP service targeting SMBs to offer low cost calling for up to 999 employees. The most interesting aspects are that employees can use their own fixed-line and mobile phones and administrators can set individual spending limits, easily monitor usage and manage billing through a single, centralized account.
In addition, you can also choose the amount of funds you wish to place in your master account, with no additional commitment required.
No more single or even multi-year lock-in contracts! Boy I remember years ago being one of the decision makers in a 4-year lock-in corporate phone contract. Thankfully, those days are gone. VoIP certainly has given us much more freedom of choice and the ability to choose the best phone provider. So if you try iBasis's new Pingo Business and don't like it or found something cheaper, then don't replenish the funds. The ability to track employee usage is a nice value-add.
It's features like these, plus the fact that iBasis uses the open SIP standard, that still make me believe that Skype
will never truly take off in the enterprise. The SIP standard has already cracked the proprietary digital phone market - even Cisco is on-board, supporting SIP as well as Skinny
. Polycom, Snom, Aastra,
and others are selling SIP phones like hot cakes to many different kinds of IP-PBXs. SIP also has opened the door for enterprise SIP trunking applications and hosted providers, such as iBasis, but also residential SIP trunking providers such as Vonage and Packet8
. Skype unfortunately doesn't support SIP, so you have to buy proprietary gateway hardware or software from companies like ActionTec, Skip2PBX
, and others. I hate locking into a single hardware provider, especially in telecom now that standards exist.
On a related note, TMCNet is reporting that today iBasis announced
TruePrompts, a new pre-paid calling card service. Customers can receive exactly the minutes announced or “prompted” at the beginning of each call placed using any iBasis TruePrompts calling card, which is a nice feature to have.