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December 2006, Volume 9/ Number 12
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Packet8 Virtual Office: Reduces TCO with Combined Hosted PBX and Unlimited Calling Service

By Huw Rees

 

Small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are faced with a difficult task when it comes to selecting or upgrading their telecommunications system. Typically, the economics of investing in a business phone system that is feature-rich and can scale to their potential growth precludes them from purchasing these powerful tools in the initial stages of their company.

As with any technology investment, business owners must consider the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) when evaluating a telecommunications solution. To estimate TCO, an SMB should look at three major categories:

� Equipment Costs � the initial cost of the equipment that must be in place to implement the desired solution, including associated installation fees.






� Ongoing Monthly Charges � the recurring, monthly service fees associated with implementation of the solution, i.e. local and long distance phone service, day-to-day service management, equipment leases and other per user charges.

� Maintenance Fees � the cost of maintenance, repair and upgrades necessary to keep the solution up-to-date with the latest fixes and enhancements.

The Packet8 Virtual Office hosted IP PBX service from VoIP technology pioneer 8x8 (News - Alert), Inc. offers SMBs tremendous TCO advantages. Virtual Office dramatically decreases a businesses� total cost of telecommunications ownership while increasing the features, benefits, and productivity of the organization with the same PBX functionality large corporations have access to at a fraction of the cost..

With Virtual Office, equipment costs amount to less than $150 per user for a Packet8 hands-free business class telephone, Broadband Phone Adapter and one-time activation fee of $39.99 per physical extension. A monthly service fee of $39.99 per extension covers unlimited local and long distance calling in the United States and Canada as well as all service configuration and counseling, administration, changes, upgrades, tech support, and complete Web-based administration system controls. Features such as Auto-attendant, Music On Hold, Extension Dialing, Business-class Voicemail, Caller-ID with Name, Call Waiting, Call Transfer, 3-Way Calling, Call Forwarding, Do Not Disturb, Distinctive Ringing, Hunt Groups, Ring Groups, and more are included with every Virtual Office calling plan.

In addition to dramatically reducing monthly phone bills, Packet8�s Virtual Office can help businesses eliminate the overhead cost associated with brick and mortar buildings since employees may work from any location equipped with a high speed Internet connection. Because all Virtual Office users are connected under the same PBX phone system, businesses with staff operating from geographically dispersed offices no longer have to pay premium local and long distance charges for inter-office calling.

Implementation of the Virtual Office solution also saves time � an extremely valuable commodity to most SMBs. Many traditional phone companies require 45 to 60 days to install a new phone network while it takes just five to seven days to receive Packet8 Virtual Office equipment and only five minutes to make it fully operational. Configuration is handled by 8x8, so no special training is required.

8x8 places a high value on customer service which is one reason why 9 out of 10 companies who sign up for Packet8 Virtual Office keep the new service after the 44-day trial period. IT

Huw Rees is Vice President of Marketing & Sales for 8x8�s Packet8 services. You can reach him at hrees@8x8.com.

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