Gamma Telecom, Ltd.: Small business VoIP from a BIG company.

Part 81 of Phone for Rent: Understanding Hosted PBX Services — Gamma supplies IP telephony services to nearly 150,000 small and medium-size businesses.

By Mark A. Miller | Posted Sep 28, 2010
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Gamma Telecom, Ltd., headquartered in Newbury, Berkshire, England, is one of the UK’s largest providers of voice services and applications, switching in excess of 900 million minutes a month and serving over 400 channel partners. Gamma’s voice services are designed specifically for small and medium size businesses, and supplied through channel partners, that include resellers, systems integrators, ISPs, ITSPs, and carriers. The company claims to keep over 145,000 UK businesses and 1,000,000 residential customers connected, supporting customers from offices in England, Scotland, and Hungary. Gamma Telecom has garnered a number of awards for their services, including the 2009 Carrier of the Year and 2010 Network Operator of the Year, both presented by Comms Business.

Gamma Telecom also claims to be the greenest carrier in the UK, striving to set an example of energy conservation throughout their own business practices. The company has been reducing its carbon footprint through a number of initiatives, including the substantial use of Web conferencing—especially for new product launches—significant use of audio conferencing, with the staff racking up 1,750,000 minutes of audio conferencing per year, saving 80,000 miles of travel in the process; and eliminating the printing of paper invoices by only providing invoices online.

The Gamma Telecom services are available throughout the United Kingdom, and center on three different lines of business that leverage the company’s predominantly softswitch-based network. IP telephony includes hosted solutions, mobility supports both voice and broadband connection services, plus a SIP trunking solution that has been tested with all major IP PBXs.

Gamma’s Inbound Services provide a wide range of telephony options for both geographic and non-geographic numbers, which are designed to enhance a firm’s customer service operations. This service offering consists of three options: Contact Point, which allows small businesses to set up and change their call routing according to business hours and staff availability; Contact Path, for multi-site or multi-department organizations that need to route calls based upon the caller’s location or relevant account manager; and Contact Pro, which provides call center functionality, and designed for businesses which must deal effectively with incoming customer service inquiries.

Telephony Services include two different offerings: FeaturePlus, which is a voice communications system targeted at smaller businesses, and Communicator, targeted at medium sized businesses which offers more extensive IP PBX features.

FeaturePlus provides a broad range of features designed to ease the communications administration burden on the small businessperson. These divide into functional categories:
call handling capabilities, including call hold, transfer, pickup, park, conferencing, and voicemail-to-e-mail conversions;
call routing functions, such as call forwarding, call twinning (where the desk phone and mobile phone ring simultaneously), call divert when busy or unanswered, selective call reject to voicemail, or do not disturb, and sending all calls to voicemail;
contact management functions allow dialing directly from Microsoft Outlook, or personal, company, and external directories;
administration and management tools include online administration, user setup and configuration, call history, call feature management, dial plans, and diagnostics;
value added services can provide optional call recording, optional messages on hold, fixed line SMS, and screen pops that send incoming call and voicemail alerts to the desktop.

The FeaturePlus system supports both Linksys and Cisco Systems’ IP phones.

The Communicator offering is designed to connect larger businesses over broadband IP circuits, this avoiding the public Internet to improve the call quality and reliability. This service is targeted at companies with 3 to 50 employees in the headquarters office, and at least one other location requiring connectivity. This system includes IP phones, IP connectivity, and any number changes or porting of existing numbers to the new system. It supports a plethora of features, including: Web-based customer self-management, used to configure and administer the system; administrative features, such as the auto attendant, call queuing, emergency routing, and music/announcements; and personal features to program speed dial keys, call forwarding rules, conferencing, and so on.

Communicator supports the Mitel line of IP phones, and is available through either a direct purchase or lease agreement.

For Mobile Services, Gamma offer both 2G and 3G network coverage with e-mail support, plus broadband mobile service that allows connections between cellular handsets and laptops using either hardwired or a wireless Bluetooth connection.

As mentioned, Gamma Telecom also provides SIP trunking voice services, supporting customers that are looking for an alternative to ISDN connectivity for existing PBXs hardware that is still in operation.

Further information on the Gamma Telecom solutions can be found at www.gammatelecom.com. Our next tutorial will continue our review of various service providers hosted voice solutions.


Author’s Biography
Mark A. Miller, P.E. is President of DigiNet Corporation®, a Denver-based consulting engineering firm. He is the author of many books on networking technologies, including Voice over IP Technologies, and Internet Technologies Handbook, both published by John Wiley & Sons.

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