Beating Telstra and Optus to the punch, full-service telco Telecorp Limited announced its entry into the Internet telephony market this week, with aggressive plans for cheap domestic and international phone calls.
Telecorp subsidiary, GOtalk Australia, aims to provide an alternative second phone line for home and small businesses, using VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol).
GOtalk's Broadband Voice service will offer untimed local and interstate calls for 9.9 cents anywhere in Australia -- not just in capital cities. International calls will cost 2.9 cents a minute.
Established in 2000 by former AAPT and British Telecom executive Steve Picton, Telecorp is already a major player in the Australian phonecard market, and also provides landline, mobile phone and internet services.
The Broadband Voice technology is based on making telephone calls over an Internet connection, available via Cable, ADSL, or wireless broadband.
By routing calls as data over broadband connections, VoIP bypasses traditional Telco networks so communications are only charged at the point it is necessary to connect with a conventional telephone landline.
To use GOtalk's VoIP service, a user needs the broadband Internet connection, an Ethernet router (to enable simultaneous Web surfing) and an analog telephone adapter (ATA) to convert analog phone signals into digital signals that are then sent over the Internet.
At the moment, Telecorp is not offering packaged hardware sets (such as specific VoIP phones) like competitors Engin, BroadbandPhone, or Freshtel, but plans are afoot.
"As of August, a range of customer equipment from ATAs to USB phones will be available through 30,000 retailers across Australia and New Zealand which already stock the GOtalk products" said Picton.
He claims Telecorp's competitive edge comes through its "interconnection" with The iBasis Network, a leading global player in international calls, VoIP and prepaid phonecards.
The partnership, announced at the recent 2005 CommunicAsia conference, will boost Telecorp's global coverage, enabling it to take advantage of the lower capital and operating costs of VoIP as well as obtaining access to iBasis' global VoIP network.
"Different carriers specialise in certain markets. The partnership with iBasis will not only give us more breadth, but also superior quality" said Picton.
As a further incentive, consumers will be offered bundled deals with GOtalk's other services, including long distance calls, line rental, mobile services and dial-up/broadband Internet, to consolidate savings.
Bundled packages of mobile and VoIP services are also in the works to attract the student market.