May 11, Oslo, Norway - Nextra, one of Europes fastest growing business-related communications service providers, today announced the launch of its Norwegian voice-over IP service which will allow the companys corporate clients to cash in on lower price voice calls via data networks and reduce overall network administration costs.
Nextra was the first operator world-wide to offer a commercial IP telephony service on the H.323 standard when it introduced Interfon PC in 1998. IP telephony is now a core business activity for Nextra, which has launched its voice-over IP service in 5 European countries
“IP telephony is yet another step toward fulfilling our goal of being among the leading CSPs in the European business market,” said Per BjÃ¶rck, chief technology officer, Nextra Group. “While price is the driving factor behind initial voice-over IP implementations, extending end-user features, such as logic-driven Web applications, voice mail, click-to-call, conference calling, combined inboxes, and aggregated billing, are major long term benefits of an IP-based phone network.”
Nextras voice-over IP service offers telephony savings of more than 30 percent compared to domestic public switched telephone network costs. Businesses can save even more on international calls. Call charges to Germany, the United Kingdom, USA or Canada will be the same as calls made to the Nordic countries. Companies leasing lines from Nextra can call free to subsidiaries world wide.
“The network cost savings for Nextra voice-over IP service are real.,” says BjÃ¶rck. “Most companies typically have separate phone and data networks with completely different wire infrastructures, equipment and administrators. Nextra gives companies the ability to consolidate phone and data networks, and thereby significantly cut administration costs,” he says.
Nextra offers effective availability and performance management of the entire network infrastructure – a viable cost savings factor.
As IP telephony matures, Nextra will keep pushing for early mover launches featuring services like multi-media telephony, voice VPNs, and IP-based call centres. Companies wanting to stay abreast of technology trends that are transforming the market from a traditional stand-alone-circuit-switched model into a new, integrated voice-and-data enhanced world enabling more advanced, business-friendly applications, must start acting now, states Nextra.
“The market no longer exists of just hobbyists making phone calls across the Internet,” says BjÃ¶rck. “Voice-over IP is a widespread reality that will soon enable desktop multimedia applications and integration of a companys Intranet and web-site with its phone system. It is time for many companies – especially those which are highly distributed – to get on the voice-over IP learning curve with a pilot project of their own.”
Nextra voice-over IP is first and foremost a basic telephony service allowing customers to place regular voice calls to any destination both nationally and internationally by connecting their existing PBX to their fixed line Internet access – meaning the customer can use their existing investments in regular phones to place calls via Nextra. Nextra also offers a toll free number service as well as priority mechanisms on the fixed line to ensure the quality of the calls.
One of Nextras early customers, IUM Shipmanagement (partly owned by Ugland), has seen the benefits “We have hundreds of employees all needing to make a call. With heavy international traffic, we saw IP telephony as a means to reduce our telecom expenses. However, were not just cutting communications costs, were also opening ourselves up to the multitude of developing IP telephony services that will soon be available, thanks to the integration of voice and data over the Internet,” says IT Manager Ellef Torskeberg at IUM Shipmanagement.
Nextra has chosen Clarent Corporation, a world-wide leader in providing carrier-grade, phone-to-phone IP telephony solutions, to supply products for its European-wide IP telephony network. Cisco is providing H.323 standard voice gateways for high quality voice communications over net connections. H.323 is the International Telecommunications Union standard governing the signalling between terminals, gateways, gatekeepers and multi-point control units. The standard covers various audio and video encoding standards, H.225.0 packetization and call control, as well as the H.245 protocol for capability exchange between terminals.
Nextra, which is owned by Telenor, Norways premier telecommunications company, has offices in Austria, the Czech and Slovak Republics, Hungary, Italy, Germany, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. Nextra is a growing brand in communication, hosting and other net-based services to businesses.