Internet Telephony Service Providers (ITSPs)
Becoming an Internet Telephony Service Provider (ITSP) has emerged as one of the great
business opportunities of the past few years. These ITSPs come in many shapes and sizes.
Some focus on specific services such as fax. Some aggressively target ethnic communities
looking for less expensive methods of calling the homeland. Some use prepaid calling cards
to great success. A great many of these companies are involved in the business of
wholesaling Internet telephony minutes. And some are doing business as
"traditional" Next-Gen Telcos. ("Traditional Next-Gen" - it sounds
oxymoronic, but it's true.)
While there is no simple, all-encompassing answer to the question "What is a
Next-Gen telco?" many of the companies that are currently being defined as Next-Gen
Telcos fall into one of the following three categories:
- Type 1: A company that sells traditional phone calls that are
transported over the Internet.
- Type 2: A company that terminates Internet Protocol (IP) calls
originated in some other part of the world.
- Type 3: A "new carrier" that offers a package of
communications services to a vertical market designed to meet that market's specific
needs. (This seems to be the most profitable business model.)
These three types of Next-Gen Telcos - and what you need to do to become one - are
highlighted in several sidebars located at the end of this ITSP roundup. So read on. Check
out some of the companies offering these services. And if you like what you see, consider
tossing your own hat into the ITSP ring. Estimates point to the fact that there is over a
trillion dollars spent globally on long-distance calling. It's a big pie. With a little
creativity and a little luck - coupled with some hard work - you could grab a piece of
that pie for yourself.
I'd like to thank Mary Evslin, VP of Marketing & Customer Success at ITXC Corp.,
for her tremendous contribution to the creation of this feature. ITXC's WWeXchange Service
is featured in this roundup, and the company's Web site (www.itxc.com)
is a great resource for those wishing to learn more about what it takes to be an ITSP.
- Greg Galitzine
Access Power Gateway Network
Access Power, Inc.
P.O. Box 295
Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32004-0295
Access Power's telephony service works with the company's Internet Phone software for
placing calls from a PC to a regular telephone. Users can make calls throughout the United
States for as low as 9 cents per minute, and service to Canada will be available soon. The
phone software allows users to exchange files and use video conferencing with full-color
motion. It supports the H.323 protocol and also enables voice mail and the creation and
editing of documents in real time.
Users without PCs can also use Access Power's service from a regular phone by dialing a
local Access Power gateway server and entering their code. They may then dial out to
another phone for about 7 cents per minute. Gateways are currently available in Florida,
Texas, Utah, and Arizona. For more information, visit the company Web site at www.accesspower.com.
AlphaNet Telecom Global Carrier Services (GCS)
AlphaNet Telecom, Inc.
55 St. Clair Ave. W., Ste. 400
Toronto, ON Canada M4V 2Y7
AlphaNet's GCS network provides wholesale, high-speed voice over data transmission for
public operators, alternative carriers, resellers, aggregators, callback operators,
wireless carriers, calling card providers, and other international carriers. Using a
global frame relay network provided by Equant (www.equant.com),
GCS transmits voice, fax, and data among more than 225 countries in North America, Europe,
and the Asia-Pacific area. It integrates with any type of long-distance network for easy
scalability, and GCS offers worldwide customer service.
The GCS network bridges calls from customers' networks to the private data network,
then packetizes and transmits the voice or data over frame relay, increasing bandwidth
efficiency by as much as 30 percent over IP transmissions. The company's network
management center in Toronto uses the HP Open View system (www.hp.com) to detect network
and component degradation in real time for rapid troubleshooting. For additional
information, visit the company Web site at www.alphanet.net.
PC to Phone and Phone to Phone Service
430 Park Ave., 5th Fl.
New York, NY 10022
Delta Three, currently the largest international voice-over-IP (VoIP) carrier in the
world, provides users with free downloadable software for making long-distance calls to
anywhere in the world through a network of 30 Points of Presence (POPs). Rates range from
10 cents per minute in the United States and Canada to more than $1 per minute for calls
to other countries.
The company also features the Delta Three Virtual Calling Card for making phone to
phone calls within the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Finland. Users call
a toll-free number, enter their assigned PIN, and begin talking. Rates begin at 17 cents
per minute for the United States and Canada. For more information, visit the Delta Three
Web site at www.deltathree.com
733 Lakefield Road
Westlake Village, CA 91361
The Fnet telephony network is available as a wholesale resource to customers throughout
the world. The network provides services for customer premise equipment (CPE) like phones
and fax machines through a private network. The network nodes interface between the PSTN
and the Fnet packet network, allowing maximum scalability and compression. Services are
available at optimum cost compared to circuit-switched networks, and more calls can be
carried over the network simultaneously, taking up less bandwidth than through circuit
The network utilizes private circuits, providing a higher quality of service than some
providers who use the public Internet. Fnet will terminate users' calls anywhere in the
world or allow providers and resellers to terminate some or all of their traffic -
provided they have a gateway that the company supports. For additional information, visit
Fnet at www.fnet.net.
GRIC Communications, Inc.
1421 McCarthy Blvd.
Milpitas, CA 95035
The GRICphone Network provides wholesale Internet telco services to more than 400 ISPs
and telcos in over 120 countries, with a total subscriber base of 30 million dial-up users
and millions more corporate users. GRIC provides call routing, network management,
authentication/roaming, billing, settlement, and round-the-clock network monitoring for
telephony, corporate remote access, and Virtual Private Networks (VPN).
The network also utilizes the H.323 standard protocol, and uses a GRIC-ready API for
application to telephony hardware. GRIC boasts that it has the largest managed network of
Internet-based telco services in the world, with an aggregate subscriber base of 30
million dial-up users. For additional information, visit the GRIC Web site at www.gric.com.
9475 Double R Blvd., Ste. #15
Reno, NV 89511
Inter-Tel.Net's network enables phone-to-phone telephony calls within the continental
United States for as low as 10 cents per minute from local dial-up numbers. Local access
is currently available for Phoenix, AZ; San Jose, Calif.; New York City; Chicago;
Washington, DC; Los Angeles; and Reno, NV. Users in other areas may call a toll-free
number, and are billed around 15 cents per minute for calls within the continental United
States. The company offers competitive international rates to specified locations as well.
Users may also purchase prepaid minutes through Inter-Tel.Net's Web site, and are given
an account number for calling out. Calls are near toll quality, and are encrypted by a
proprietary GSM compression algorithm to prevent tapping. For more information, visit
Inter-Tel.Net's Web site at www.inter-tel.net.
600 College Rd. East
Princeton, NJ 08540
The WweXchange Service from ITXC uses IP and the PSTN to connect Internet telephony
gateway operators throughout the world with the goal of linking them to every phone number
in the world. Affiliates of the service can then offer worldwide calling to their
customers by using the network's facilities and terminating locations. Each call is routed
over the Internet or a private data network to an ITXC gateway affiliate in the
Benefits of joining the service network include 24-hour, seven-day per week access to
technicians for help with network management and hardware maintenance. Retailers receive
payment for all calls routed to their gateways by ITXC, and can connect directly to other
gateways without having a single billing relationship with ITXC. For more information,
visit the company's Web site at www.itxc.com.
190 Main St.
Hackensack, NJ 07601
IDT's Net2Phone service enables PC-to-phone connectivity as well as phone-to-phone
calls over IP. The software is free and available for download from the company's Web
site. Users can place domestic PC-to-phone calls for as little as 4.9 cents per minute,
and phone-to-phone or fax-to-fax machine calls for 5 cents per minute. The service is
available in 50 U.S. cities, Korea, and Spain, and users can connect through local access
or toll free numbers.
The company has also released Click2Talk, which allows businesses to offer a
"talk" button on their Web sites for no charge. Visitors simply click on the
button and automatically dial into the company's call center through the Web. IDT offers
the service free of charge to build awareness. Customers must have Net2Phone installed to
use Click2Talk. For additional information, visit the company's Web site at www.net2phone.com.
NetCall Telecom, Inc.
621 17th St., Ste. 845
Denver, CO 80293
Developed for use with call centers, WeBX allows companies to place a call button on
their Web pages so customers may click through and be automatically connected to a
customer service representative. The call is routed through the Internet and the
connection is loaded as a Web page on the customer's browser.
WeBX uses CTI for Web URL or Calling and Called Line Identification data, so call
center agents can view customer data as the call is being connected. NetCall also offers
NetCall800 for toll-free calling, and NetCall900 if a business wants customers to pay for
a service such as legal advice or product support. For additional information, visit the
company's Web site at www.netcall.co.uk.
8160 Baymeadows Way W., Ste. 220
Jacksonville, FL 32256
NKO's "Jet" services provide PC, phone, and fax services over the NKOnet IP
packet network. The company offers a calling card for making near toll-grade Internet
phone calls through the NKOnet network using VoiceJack software - intelligent customer
premise equipment (CPE) for least-cost routing. Services can also be accessed globablly
through a distributed calling card platform.
The FaxJet service works similarly, routing calls over the FaxJack - a software-based
customer premise device - in real time for high-quality transmission. A DataJet service is
currently being developed so travelers may access all communication systems from remote
locations via a local dial-in connection to NKOnet. For additional information, visit the
company's Web site at www.nko.com.
555 17th St.
Denver, CO 80202
Q.talk utilizes Qwest and other long-distance carriers to provide superior quality
long-distance calling within the United States. Customers sign up and receive a welcome
kit with a Q.talk card. They may call in to selected local access numbers throughout the
country to be connected to their destination number through the Internet. The service may
not be used to call third-party billed numbers, such as 800 numbers.
State-to-state calls are about 7.5 cents per minute each day for most of the country.
In California, calls are 5 cents per minute, while in Colorado they are billed at 9 cents
per minute. For more information, visit Qwest's Web site at www.qhome.net.
NetWorks Telephony Corporation
2100 East Grand Ave.
El Segundo, CA 90245-1022
NetWorks Voice allows customers to connect to their private backbone through local ISPs
to make Internet voice calls or send faxes over IP. The company currently has partnerships
with ISPs in McLean, VA, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, Novato, CA, and Dublin, Ireland.
Voice calls must be placed from a voice-enabled computer or laptop, while faxes can be
sent from any PC with a regular modem and a Web browser. NetWorks Voice converts
documents, spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, and other files and delivers them to
any destination fax at rates 50 percent to 70 percent lower than standard long-distance
The company also offers the NetWorks Private Exchange, a network of buyers and sellers
who communicate through the NetWorks Telephony Voicelet - a hyperlink placed on a
company's Web site. The link allows customers to make direct calls to a preset number
through their Web browsers, for reliable customer service. For more information, visit the
company Web site at www.networkstelephony.com.
One Silicon Alley Plaza
90 William St., Ste. 1202
New York, NY 10038
Iscom enables customers to call virtually anywhere in the world from the United States
and Canada using a multimedia-enabled PC connected to the Internet. Calls are placed
through Iscom's gateway using VocalTec's Internet Phone 5.0 software (www.vocaltec.com) or
Iscom's PCCall Dialer software, which is available for a free download.
Customers can make long-distance calls for as low as 4.9 cents per minute using Iscom's
worldwide telephony network. The company even offers service to the Inmarsat global
satellites for $12.50 per minute. Iscom plans to add additional services including prepaid
calling cards, corporate fax over IP, an 800 follow-me service for unified messaging, and
Internet access. For additional information, visit Iscom's Web site at www.iscom.net.
VIP Calling Network
121 Middlesex Tpk.
Burlington, MA 01803
VIP Calling utilizes its network of worldwide telephony gateways to provide wholesale
voice over IP service to its partners. Partners are required to market and sell services
in their home country, and may set their own prices and set up their own billing and
customer service programs. They may also sell service to other countries, and can take
advantage of VIP's 24-hour, seven-day per week Network Operations Center.
The network provides call signaling and routing through each of its POPs, located in
North America, Japan, South Korea, China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Gateways at each location
compress voice into packets, and set up calls in conjunction with call processing servers.
POPs at the terminating end reassemble the voice packets. For additional information,
visit VIP's Web site at www.vipcalling.com.
1275 York Ave.
New York, NY, 10021-6007
This fax-over-IP provider offers major savings for faxing to and from virtually
anywhere in the world. Users pay a monthly access fee to fax documents directly from their
PCs, and pay an additional fee for each fax they send. Fees vary for broadcast or mass
faxings depending on whether they are transmitted during peak or off peak time periods.
Domestic rates for faxing to anywhere within the United States begin at 5 cents per page.
.comfax provides a free software download and trial account so users may test the
service. Other services include three-time automatic redial for busy signals, and secure
encrypted fax transmissions. Customers can also view the details of each fax sent for
accounting and client billing. For more information visit .comfax at www.comfax.com.
OzEmail Interline Pty Ltd.
39 Herbert St.
St. Leonards, NSW, 2065 Australia
Interline provides voice over IP to major corporations and service providers that are
part of its Consortium Membership. Access is provided to members "at cost," and
the company offers continuous enhanced services as well as managed IP bandwidth. Other
features include near toll quality voice, advanced call management and routing, and phone
card support with IVR.
Interline's global network offers coverage in the United States, the United Kingdom,
Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, South Korea, and Norway. The
company's 24-hour, seven-day per week Global Operations and Management center offers
technical support, and members also have access to strategic relationships with voice
gateway manufacturers and other industry leaders. For more information, visit Interline's
Web site at www.interline.aust.com.
World Interactive Network (WIN)
World Interactive Network
800 W. Oakland Park Blvd., Ste. 100
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33311
WIN offers voice, fax, and data transmission through the Internet, ATM, and frame
relay. Users must have VocalTec's Internet Phone 5.0 (www.vocaltec.com) installed to
utilize the service, which is available in the United States, Costa Rica, Brazil, Haiti,
Russia, Turkey, South Africa, Israel, China, Japan, Malaysia, and Thailand. They must have
a 486 or faster PC processor with Windows 3.1 or higher and at least 8 MB of RAM.
The company is seeking partners to broaden its private network of international
gateways. WIN will share its integrated billing system with partners if they add
additional gateways to the network and support available upgrades. For additional
information, visit WIN's Web site at www.win-inc.com.
Justice Internet Telephone
Justice Technology Corporation
6700 Centinela Ave.
Culver City, CA 90230
The Justice Internet Telephone is actually a network that allows businesses and ISPs to
offer VoIP through switched voice service. The Justice Worldwide Network utilizes local
nodes in Los Angeles, New York, Panama, and Singapore to send voice throughout the world.
The company is currently deploying a series of local nodes in other locations, and
operates dial up gateway centers in seven countries, including Belgium, Switzerland,
Germany, and Chile.
The Justice network is based on Nortel Micom Phone/Fax IP hardware (www.nortel.com),
and businesses must have a Nortel Micom Phone/Fax IP Gateway on their networks to utilize
the service. For additional information, visit Justice's Web site at www.justicecorp.com.
Planet Telecommunications, Inc.
244 Fifth Ave., #2565
New York, NY 10001
PlanetTel offers low-cost voice and fax over IP services to more than 100 cities
throughout the world. Customers can use their existing phones and fax machines with the
service, and have the option of adding a dialer to the machine for automated calling or
faxing. The company uses gateways in developing countries to send and receive phone
transmissions in order to guarantee quality of service.
Fax delivery usually takes about 1 minute, and delivery is guaranteed within 10 minutes
of transmission. One node may have a real-time browser window into another node, and one
node can use a browser for dual currency support as well as total network management. For
additional information, visit Planetel's Web site at www.planettel.com.
Global Multimedia Network
Net Communications, Inc. (NCI)
11 The Plaza
Locust Valley, NY 11560
NCI offers voice and fax over IP services through prepaid calling cards or monthly
subscriptions. Mass faxing, PC-to-Phone, PC-to-Fax, and complete calling card services are
available. Calls may be made from any phone, PC, or fax machine, and the company offers
business solutions through installation and maintenance of the Motorola IP Telephony
The company has also developed a partnership program to expand its Global Multi Media
Network. NCI will provide installation and maintenance of a turn-key system with discount
pricing on all equipment and installation. The company also provides network management
and monitoring as well as a SecureNet link to the network. For more information, visit
NCI's Web site at www.nciglobal.com.
770 L St., Ste. 960
Sacramento CA 95814
This wholesaler provides a national telephony gateway network based on the Ascend
Multivoice Platform (www.ascend.com). ISPtel offers
call authorization, routing, and settlement, as well as technical and marketing support to
providers interested in joining its network. Gateways are located in Boston, New York
City, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Atlanta, Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis, Dallas, Houston,
Denver, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Boise, Portland, OR, Seattle, Sacramento, San Francisco,
and Stockton and Irvine, CA.
Potential partners with WAN connectivity must have a minimum of one switched PRI/BRI
line at each gateway site, or a T1/E1 that is DNIS disabled. Lines must support both voice
and data, and one straight-through RJ-48 connector is required at each location, as well
as one phone number per port. Those with LAN connectivity should have one straight-through
RJ-48 connector port for each gateway and gatekeeper, one IP address for each, and domain
name servers for each gateway. Those with LANs should also provide networking equipment
and upstream connectivity for minimum latency, as well as one surge protected outlet per
gateway and two surge protected outlets per gatekeeper. ISPtel is a partner of JPSnet (www.jpsnet.com). For more information, visit the
company's Web site at www.isptel.com.
Arbinet IT CLN
226 East 54th St., 2nd Fl.
New York, NY 10022-4854
Arbinet offers the IT CLN to service providers at wholesale, for savings on local and
long-distance VoIP calls. The CLNs act as telephony gateways and bypass international
account restrictive settlement agreements.
The CLN also utilizes 8:1 compression for efficient use of frame relay, private line,
ATM, or Internet connections while maintaining toll quality voice. Users may connect to
the CLN via telephones or PCs, and transparent access from fixed sites is available. For
additional information, visit Arbinet's Web site at www.arbinet.com.
VoCall Communications Corp.
P.O. Box 29
Springfield, NJ 07081
VoCall offers retail and corporate prepaid telephony phone cards in conjunction with
the Internet Phone Lite software from VocalTec Communications (www.vocaltec.com). The software allows domestic
customers to use their PCs to call anywhere in the United States for a flat rate of 5
cents per minute. Foreign customers can call the United States for the same rate. The
company houses a redundant switch in its New Jersey headquarters, with another switch in
its New York office.
Customers must purchase a phone card from VoCall or a retailer to use Instant NetCall.
Then they must install the Phone Lite software, available for a free download from
VocalTec's Web site, and punch in the PIN numbers located on the back of their phone card
to begin the call. For additional information, visit the VoCall Web site at www.vocall.com.
Dot Com Technologies
Dot Com Technologies
606 E. Magrill
Longview, TX 75651
Dot Com touts itself as the first ITSP to offer online operator services. Customers can
visit two Web sites, www.internetphonecall.com
or www.internetcollect.com, to place phone
calls through their PCs with the assistance of a live operator. The service is provided
through Dot Com's call center, combined with VocalTec's Telephony Gateway (www.vocaltec.com) and Surf & Call plug-in. Users
also have the option of signing up for a prepaid account.
Customers from anywhere in the world may call the United States, Canada, and the United
Kingdom for 9 cents per minute through the service, which utilizes gateway partnerships
throughout the world for 1+ and 0+ termination. Rates vary for other locations. Callers
must have Dot Com's Internet Phone Call 1.4 software, which is available for free download
on their Web site. They may alternately use the VocalTec Internet Phone 5.0, which is also
available for free download. For additional information, visit Dot Com's Web site at www.dotcomtech.net.