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September 18, 2007

Keynote Competitive Research Proves VoIP Competitive with PSTN

By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor

Keynote Systems’ (News - Alert) industry analysis group, Keynote Competitive Research, has announced the top-line results of its newest study of voice quality including VoIP, packet cable and traditional phone service (PSTN).

Results of the study indicate that while packet cable digital voice and Voice over IP offerings still lag in quality, they are proving to be highly competitive with traditional PSTN service providers.

For service providers who are facing increasing market pressure to understand and prevent high rates of customer attrition and churn in a rapidly changing market, this finding is of great significance.

"As VoIP catches up to traditional phone service and reaches new business sectors, it is important that studies like Keynote's are available to potential and existing VoIP customers so they can make informed choices regarding service providers," said Jessy Cavazos, industry manager of Frost & Sullivan's Test & Measurement practice, in a Tuesday statement.

”It also encourages healthy competition among the providers, catalyzing competition that ultimately benefits the industry overall.”

The benchmark study examines voice services from leading providers including AT&T (News - Alert) CallVantage, AT&T PSTN, Comcast Digital Voice, Primus Lingo, Packet 8, Sun Rocket, Digital Phone from TimeWarner Cable, EarthLink trueVoice, Verizon VoiceWing, Verizon PSTN, Vonage (News - Alert) and Vonics Digital. The data for the study was collected over a one month period, from June 1 through June 31, 2007.

In an effort to benchmark and rank the quality of consumer voice services, Keynote measured the relative performance of the leading voice providers in the New York and San Francisco markets, including digital cable voice services, adapter-based Voice over IP services, and PSTN services in those cities.

After these measurements were complete, Keynote then rated the leading voice service providers on critical performance factors that influence the end-user experience using Keynote’s commercially available Voice Perspective®, an on-demand voice quality test and measurement service.
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This Keynote study rates the relative performance of PSTN, PacketCable and VoIP hard phones in the New York and San Francisco metropolitan areas. It compares VoIP service providers based on reliability and audio clarity over consumer cable model and DSL network connections and then evaluates the range of performance between the best voice service providers and the worst.

The study also examines variations between prime-time performance and non-prime-time performance of the voice providers and pinpoints the strengths and weaknesses of each service provider and the voice service technology.

"As VoIP continues to make inroads into business and residential users, customers expect no less than a "toll quality" voice call. In order to achieve that, service providers will have to continuously monitor the quality of the calls and examine and isolate bottlenecks before they affect customers," said Rajeev Kutty (News - Alert), VoIP product manager at Keynote, in Tuesday’s statement.

The benefits that VoIP can provide to both the business and residential customer are helping to create huge demand for the service. It is the degradation of service however, that can prevent long-term success.

Despite the benefits that VoIP can provide, customers still demand the same voice and service performance of traditional land lines and if a service provider is unable to deliver, customer churn is extremely likely. Consistent monitoring and improving of the system can ensure these service providers deliver the demand service in order to remain competitive.
Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMC (News - Alert) and has also written for To see more of her articles, please visit Susan J. Campbell’s columnist page.
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