Enterprise VoIPplanet reported last December on the plans of San Diego, Calif.-based Telcentris to launch a VoIP-provider-in-a-box-style platform to take the complexity out of getting into the IP communications services business.
In the intervening months, the company has been firming up the technology platform and putting an organization in place to sell and service what it anticipates will be a large and growing customer base.
“We’ve taken a pretty systematic approach to building a product, getting the policies and procedures, getting the necessary paperwork in place, and putting the staff in place for the department,” Telcentris’ vice president of business sales, Tad Nikolich told VoIPplanet.
This preparation has included bringing on a new member of the leadership team, Mark Peterson, a veteran with experience is selling white label VoIP services. “He is going to be building this division for us,” Nikolich said, “currently taking care of all the orders in process and then eventually hiring a group of people to proactively sell this more aggressively than we have so far.”
Indeed, in the time since the program was announced, Telcentris has not actively sold it. The dozen or so deals they’ve put in place have come largely from channel partners wanting to shift their role from selling Telcentris services on commission to being active providers—along with some unsolicited customers who Googled white label VoIP services on the Internet, according to Nikolich.
The first announced customer for this program is Arizona-based DataMax Wireless, a two-year-old division of Wecom, a 50-year veteran vendor of carrier services.. DataMax was initially established as an ISP, deploying 3.65GHz WiMAX technology to bring high quality Internet connectivity to residences and businesses in its rural area of some 50,000 people, according to COO Paul Fleming.
This relationship with Telcentris is not DataMax’s first foray into voice services. They did business with a couple of other providers before moving to Telcentris. “The first two partnerships did not go well,” Fleming told VoIPplanet.com.
“I would estimate that 30 to 40 percent of all customers wanted voice, but because of the poor voice quality [we were getting], we actually stopped selling voice,” he said. “Because we’re trying to build a company that gives top quality products to our consumers, we stopped selling new accounts,” while they worked to make things right.
We asked Fleming what it was about the Telcentris program that attracted DataMax. “There was a whole litany of items we were looking at, but of the main aspects that we were reviewing with close interest, one was support,” he said. Their relationships with other vendors taught them the importance of good support—which Fleming defines as 24×7 service, originating in the U.S. “They [Telcentris] are extremely knowledgeable, they’re quick to respond,” he said.
“The next thing we looked at was the combination of how did they do their major backhaul, what type of switching technology, and where their facilities are located,” he went on. “Having low latency and low jitter is very important when we’re trying to push the VoIP over an Internet,” and these are key factors.
“After reviewing all that, we felt very comfortable with the way Telcentris had their company set up, and that’s when we began our testing,” Fleming said.
Testing consisted of actually buying Telcentris accounts, porting customer numbers over to those accounts—both business and residential—and “letting them run as true customers on the Telcentris platform.” This experience gave Fleming a real feel for how things were going to go. “We were able to test how their entire voice system worked, how the backhaul was working, how it worked with our WiMAX system. We did a full test from A to Z,” Fleming said.
“Telcentris is definitely the best voice company we’ve worked with—and we’ve reviewed a lot.”
DataMax is now in the process of switching its entire VoIP customer base over to the Telcentris platform. “We’ve switched all of our business accounts, and about half of the residential accounts are running on the Telcentris white label platform.”
How long did this painstaking process take? “To get the entire white label program set up and go through testing, and doing some of the customizations that we wanted, took a month,” Fleming said.
That would certainly seen to fulfill Telcentris’s stated goal of stripping away the complexity and shrinking the length of time needed to get an IP telecommunications services business up and running.