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April 1, 2003
By Khali Henderson
ICG Rolls Out Hosted IP PBX
Service Through Partners
By Khali Henderson
ICG Communications Inc. is rolling
out VoicePipe, a nationwide hosted IP voice and data solution for businesses
that it plans to sell through its partner channel.
"We see it as the flagship
product of our partner program," says Bob Beaty, senior vice president of
sales for ICG. The company will be relying heavily on its network of 150 VARs in
order to sell and service VoicePipe, which requires hardware deployment and
wiring at the customer’s premises, he explains.
VoicePipe has the feature set of a
PBX, key system or Centrex, with lower cost of ownership, as there is no
equipment or maintenance. Additionally, Voice-Pipe users can personalize dozens
of call features via a Web portal where administrators also can make moves and
Cost for VoicePipe is based on
seats. A 10-line system with 2,500 free long-distance minutes and some basic
features like three-way calling, voice mail and call forwarding is about $800 to
$900 per month depending on the length of the term. Additional enhanced features
can be added for this size user for less than $200 more per month. ICG currently
can support companies with 10 to several hundred users, but expects to expand
its target market to include very large multilocation enterprises in the United
ICG customers will receive voice and
Internet service delivered over the same local loop access circuit using IP.
Based on the hosted IP telephony application suite VOISS from VocalData Inc.,
VoicePipe is delivered using IP between ICG and the customer premise while being
managed and controlled from ICG PoP facilities. Voice traffic does not travel
over the public Internet, but on ICG’s QoS enabled nationwide IP and voice
networks or as applicable over the PSTN.
VoicePipe is available in Colorado,
including the metropolitan areas of Denver, Boulder, Fort Collins, Colorado
Springs and Pueblo. The service will launch in, California, Atlanta, Ohio and
Texas by June. Additional markets, such as Chicago, Miami, New York City,
Washington and Seattle, will turn up by the end of the year.
Beaty says ICG’s direct sales team
will work with indirect sales partners to support deployment of the IADs,
necessary wiring and set requirements. In addition, a new partner support group
consisting of 10 account managers has been developed to educate and assist
partners selling VoicePipe. (ICG’s direct sales force is compensated when a
partner closes a sale in order to reduce channel conflict, the company notes.)
Onsite training also is provided to partners.
Partners earn 50 percent of the
contract value (one-, two- or three-year terms) up front and the remainder as a
monthly residual over the life of the contract. Partners also retain 100 percent
of any professional fees on wiring and installation plus commissions on hardware
(e.g. IP phones).
Beaty says a few of the VARs already
are selling VoicePipe in concert with ICG account managers in the Denver area.
The company also is developing a
reseller program for those partners that prefer to rebill and rebrand. That
program is expected to be announced later this year.
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