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FAQ: About Market Clarity’s Aussie VoIP List

What is the Aussie VoIP List?

Market Clarity has assembled what we believe is Australia’s most comprehensive list of VoIP service providers. This directory concentrates on VoIP providers offering services under Australian business structures (holding an Australian Business Number), and selling services in Australian dollars.

The Aussie VoIP List was last updated on 8 March 2014, and contains listings for over 200 VoIP service providers.

Due to our new focus on Futuristic Emerging Technologies (see our blog) we are no longer updating the Aussie VoIP list.

Independence

Market Clarity is an independent telecommunications market research and strategy consultancy based in Sydney, Australia. Our independence means we strive to make this list as complete and comprehensive as possible, and we do not accept payment for listing in the Market Clarity Aussie VoIP List.

Updates to the Market Clarity Aussie VoIP List

Market Clarity is no longer actively maintaining the Aussie VoIP List, due to our current focus on emerging technologies. Market Clarity invites the VoIP service provider community to contact us if they’re interested in sponsoring updates to the Aussie VoIP list. With a sponsor, we’d regularly visit each service provider listed in the directory, removing organisations which no longer exist or no longer offer the services listed here, and we are happy to receive notifications from service providers to add new services or correct errors.

Most VoIP provider lists are unable to identify even 50 Australian VoIP services, whereas the Aussie VoIP List contains over 200 VoIP services.

To help customers choose their VoIP service, we also provide information about the kinds of VoIP services offered and the target market of each provider.

If you are interested in sponsoring the Aussie VoIP List contact us via e-mail or call us on (02) 9043 9100.

Who is Not Included?

As well as VoIP service providers, there are many retail outlets and sales agencies that sell hardware which is bundled with a VoIP service, but who don’t maintain a billing relationship with the subscriber. These companies are not included on the Aussie VoIP List.

VoIP Service Definitions

In classifying the service providers listed here, Market Clarity has used the following service definitions.

The Difference Between VoIP and IP Telephony

VoIP, or Voice over IP allows telephone calls to be carried on IP-based data networks. It describes the relatively simple process of using an IP-based network (including but not restricted to the public Internet) to transmit packets containing audio.

By contrast, IP Telephony describes a broader service environment. With IP Telephony one can wrap IP-based services such as unified messaging, data collaboration, or IP video around VoIP capabilities.

In the business world, IP Telephony allows an organisation to reproduce the features and functionality of traditional PABX systems, as well as adding new service functionality such as unified messaging, data collaboration, video, or web-based activities. (Hint: At a very simplistic level, a PABX is a voice switching system that is installed on a business customer’s premises, and provides functions such as transferring calls between phone extensions, establishing conference calls, and many other telephony applications.)

Target Market

Service providers often design their products with different target customers in mind. For instance, the type of phone services used by a business can be vastly different than a typical home user.

In the Aussie VoIP List we use the following terms to identify the types of customers serviced by each VoIP provider:

  • Residential VoIP – The provider offers a VoIP service for residential customers.
  • Business VoIP – The provider offers a VoIP service for business customers. Businesses served by these providers may range in size from a single site office to very large corporations and Government departments.
  • Wholesale VoIP – The provider offers a wholesale VoIP service, which is then on sold by a retail provider into the residential and/or business markets.

Connection Type

In order to use a VoIP service, a customer must have a means of connecting to the VoIP network. The most common form of connectivity is the Internet. However, there are many different telecommunications services that can be used for this purpose.

In the Aussie VoIP List we use the following terms to identify these connection types:

  • Internet-Based – Customers connect to the service using the public Internet.
  • Private Network-Based – The service provider offers a data service that uses a private network, rather than the public Internet to connect customers to its VoIP service. This is particularly important for business phone services, which demand high reliability. Although the VoIP service does not use the public Internet, many access providers can also offer Internet connectivity via this access link.

Internet-Based services offer subscribers connectivity from any Internet access. However, the public Internet is a network of networks, composed of many thousands of service provider’s networks, and is not controlled by any single entity. This means that service quality can vary widely.

It is important to understand that there are typically two or more network components required to connect a given site to a VoIP provider: the access network, the ISP’s network and the VoIP provider’s network. This is illustrated in the diagram below.

Residential Internet-based VoIP

The providers listed as offering “Private Network based” connections are generally capable of providing service level agreements for voice quality going across these access links. Availability may be limited by geography, and the specific location of your site(s) in relation to access network infrastructure. Subscribers should be aware that end-to-end QoS can only be “guaranteed” from your site to the VoIP provider’s network, and generally out to the PSTN. However, if calls are going between VoIP providers, or forwarded from a PSTN number to other destinations (mobile, VoIP, etc) these elements are beyond a single VoIP provider’s control, and hence can’t be guaranteed on an end-to-end basis.

We’ve deliberately avoided stating that all such services provide QoS, because this is not always the case. (The infrastructure may support QoS, but the service provider may not configure their system to support it. Or, QoS markings may be supported only where customers chose a specific service type.)

In some cases providers that offer “Private Network based” connections require that you also purchase the access link from, so that they can architect/monitor/guarantee the connection from your site(s) to their network.

There are many topology variations that can apply, and businesses may need specialist assistance to ensure they are getting an appropriate solution. Market Clarity can provide such assistance on a professional services fee basis.

The diagram below shows an example business VoIP scenario.

Business Private Network-based VoIP Service Scenario

Understanding the Difference Between a VoIP Service and a Hosted Voice Service

In addition to segregating the Aussie VoIP List into various types of VoIP service categories, we have also includedInternet and Private Network-based Hosted Voice Services , which are designed to provide additional value for business customers.

In a Hosted Voice Service a service provider alleviates the need for business customers to operate and manage their own voice switches (called PABXs, IP PABXs or Call Managers). Instead, this functionality is implemented within the service provider’s infrastructure (for example, at a data centre). This important value-add to VoIP is referred to as Hosted Voice or IP Centrex .

A Hosted Voice (IP Centrex) solution may be accessed either over the public Internet or through a private IP network connection. The Hosted Voice (IP Centrex) provider may be the broadband provider or a separate, unrelated company.

This concept is illustrated below.

Hosted Voice (IP Centrex)

By moving the voice switching function (using hardware such as a softswitch, PABX or SIP servers) into its own infrastructure, the Hosted Voice provider is able to spread the costs of that infrastructure across a larger number of customers.

This allows the provider to offer services on a monthly fee basis, which may be attractive to organisations wishing to conserve capital expenditure. This model also moves the technical risk of the telephony solution from the customer to the service provider.

The distinction between a plain (VoIP-based) telephone service and a service that is supplying “PABX-type” multi-line functionality can be very significant, which is the reason that we have a separate category for Hosted Voicesolutions

Service Type

Each column in the Aussie VoIP List identifies the type of connection supported by VoIP providers, as well as their target market. The definitions used are:

  • Internet-Based Residential VoIP – The provider is offering services to residential customers, and connection to the service is available via the public Internet. The VoIP service may be provided by a third party (a voice service provider), or the Internet and VoIP services may be bundled together.
  • Internet-Based Business VoIP – The provider is offering services targeting business customers, and connection to the service is available via the public Internet. As with residential VoIP services, these services may be offered on a standalone basis, or bundled with other services such as Internet access.
  • Private Network-Based Residential VoIP – The provider is offering VoIP services to residential customers using a private network tail connection. In other words, the VoIP service is going across an access link that bypasses the public Internet, allowing the VoIP provider to control call quality across the access link and within their network. The VoIP service may be offered on a standalone basis, or bundled with other services such as Internet access.
  • Private Network-Based Business VoIP – The provider is offering VoIP services to business customers using a private network tail connection. In other words, the VoIP service is going across an access link that bypasses the public Internet, allowing the VoIP provider to control call quality across the access link and within their network. The VoIP service may be offered on a standalone basis, or bundled with other services such as Internet access.
  • Internet-based Hosted Voice Services – The provider offers Hosted Voice services via an IP Centrex or Hosted PABX service, with connection over the public Internet. This may be offered in conjunction with similar services using a non-Internet data service as the customer tail.
  • Private Network-based Hosted Voice Services – The provider offers connection to its IP Hosted Voice service using a private network tail connection. In other words, the Hosted Voice service (IP Centrex or Hosted PABX) is going across an access link that bypasses the public Internet, allowing the Hosted Voice provider to control call quality across the access link and within their network. The VoIP service may be offered on a standalone basis, or bundled with other services such as Internet access.
  • Wholesale VoIP – The provider offers wholesale services to retail VoIP providers. Providers in this category may also offer retail services directly to end-users.
  • Wholesale IP Centrex / Hosted Voice – The provider manages the IP Centrex / Hosted Voice service, which is sold to customers through the wholesale provider’s retail channels.

Hint: You can sort the Aussie VoIP List by clicking on any column heading. Once sorted, only those VoIP providers with the selected service type will be displayed. Clicking on the “Service Providers” column will display the entire list again.

Additional Information

Market Clarity publishes a range of free and paid research content. Our Technology Guide: Demystifying Business VoIP Services (August 2006 ) is a free publication which explains key aspects of Business VoIP services in an easy-to-understand manner.

The Communications Alliance recently published a free booklet titled “So you want a VoIP phone service?” designed to assist consumers and small businesses who are considering a VoIP service for their home or office. The 28-page booklet was developed by Communications Alliance with substantial input from industry representatives on its VoIP Working Group (including Market Clarity).

The booklet advises potential VoIP customers on the questions they should pose to service providers and offers basic information about the various types of VoIP services on offer in Australia.

The Communications Alliance VoIP web page contains a range of information and fact sheets pertaining to VoIP services.

For more in-depth assistance on how to migrate a business to a new VoIP telephone system or service, Market Clarity offers a range of consulting services. As a first step organisations may wish to engage one of our consultants in a short discussion about their existing systems and services. Our friendly research consultants can then outline a range of service/equipment options that could be appropriate for your needs.

We can also provide consulting assistance for a given scope of work on a fixed-price basis – that is, once we understand your organisation’s needs, we will set a fixed price for the remaining consulting services.

Market Clarity’s consulting team can be contacted via email or at our Sydney office (02) 9043-9100.

Disclaimer

While Market Clarity has made every effort to ensure the accuracy and currency of the information in the Market Clarity Aussie VoIP List, this is a very fast-moving market. We are not able to accept any responsibility for inaccuracies which may appear in this list (although we will endeavour to correct any mistakes as quickly as possible).

The inclusion of any VoIP service provider in the Market Clarity Aussie VoIP List does not imply endorsement or otherwise of that service. Market Clarity takes no responsibility for the availability of a service, for the conditions which may apply to a provider’s service, or for the quality or reliability of any VoIP service. Market Clarity has no financial interest in any VoIP service provider.

Copyright

The Market Clarity Aussie VoIP List is copyright Market Clarity Pty Ltd, Sydney, Australia, ABN 18 117 524 366.