Dubbed Digital Business, the service is designed for small businesses with up to 10 employees, although it will expand to cover staffs of up to 25. It will launch later this month in capital cities before rolling out to 1600 exchanges around the country, covering 90 per cent of small businesses by September. Pricing will start at $120 a month, with businesses paying a fee per user rather than per phone line.
Among the features included in the service are:
· New voice calling features: ‘Auto attendant’ – a virtual receptionist service which feeds incoming calls to an interactive answering system, redirecting calls to fixed phones in up to three locations and mobiles.
· High-definition call quality – the first SME voice-over-broadband guaranteed by network improvements known as QoS (Quality of Service).
· Sophisticated voicemail – fixed and mobile voicemail messages are collected in a single hosted voice box and can be forwarded to staff as email or SMS. All services come with free MessageBank® as well.
· New pricing – business pay a ‘per user’ fee rather than ‘per phone line’, with a flat rate for key services including hosted email.
· Free calls- all voice calls between phones on a Digital Business account including mobiles are free of charge, giving businesses the freedom to be connected to anyone in their business without worrying about the costs.
· Domain Registration- access to professional email and web addresses.
· Hosted email via Microsoft Exchange Online® – real-time and synchronised email, calendar and address book information across computers, laptops, tablets or smartphones.
· Broadband back-up service via the Next GTM network – can switch businesses automatically to wireless in the event of a fixed network outage
· More value through shared allowances between services on Digital Business packages – Share fixed broadband allowances, share mobile data across mobile and mobile broadband services, and share voice allowances across voice services.
· Help at hand – designed to make it easy for a small business setting up, ranging from an online Plan Advisor to help businesses construct their ideal package, through to mentors who can come and visit a business onsite.
Also interesting is the decision by Telstra to launch the service with VoIP services rather than fixed landline calls. Considering the telco has been losing money thanks to people ditching their landlines in recent years, it’s an interesting development to see them move away from fixed line rentals costs in the business space. Hopefully the move to VoIP will make its way to consumers in the near future as well.