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Gaining Ground in Highly Regulated Mexican Telephony Marketplace


Alianza, a Utah-based hosted telephony provider to businesses worldwide, faced two debilitating challenges when entering the Mexican marketplace. First, Mexican laws so strictly regulated how American businesses operate in Mexico, that Alianza was prohibited from establishing a physical, or even a marketing presence in the country. And, second, the overwhelming 96 percent business telecom market share of Telfonos de Mxico (TelMex) guaranteed an incredibly steep uphill battle.

For their part, Mexican businesses were spending up to four times as much on basic phone service as their U.S. counterparts, and enduring costly technician visits for service changes as minor as the addition of phone extensions. The time was clearly ripe for a cost-effective and innovative IP telephony option.

We knew there was a market opportunity to provide Mexican businesses with a service that addressed two of their top concerns: cost and control, says Brian Beutler, CEO of Alianza Global Communications. We had that. The challenge was getting it to them.

LignUp Platform Delivers Impressive Flexibility
Alianzas first challenge was to find a way to deliver a powerful, cost-effective, and flexible service to Mexican businesses without opening an office in Mexico. To address this, Alianza opted to build the required hosted telephony service on the LignUp Communications Platform with a flexible software architecture and administration capabilities which allowed the company to deliver telephone service to Mexican businesses from the U.S. Calls from Mexico would be routed over the Internet to Alianzas facilities in Lindon, Utah where there they are then switched to analog systems into local markets. This solution allowed the company to offer five cents a minute on a call from Mexico to the U.S., compared to the traditional 30 to 50 cents a minute offered by alternative providers.

We looked at a number of platforms from different companies such as Sylantro, Broadsoft, and SISMaster, said Beutler. We chose not to use these platforms because we felt we werent getting the personal attention we deserved when it came to questions of service and support. With LignUp, we were getting answers immediately. Most importantly, LignUp gave us a package we could build on and customize to our hearts content. The other platforms limited us far too much.

The LignUp platform was ideal for Alianzas business model and services objectives, says Kevin Nethercott, President and COO, LignUp Corporation. As is the case with most service providers, Alianza needed development capabilities to build service features that would set their offerings apart in the market place, as well as the administration and precision routing capabilities that met the needs of their global business model.

Alianzas second challenge was to market themselves to Mexican businesses, again, without spending so much as a penny on marketing the Alianza brand. To address this, Alianza formed alliances with Mexican resellers who marketed the Alianza service to the end users. Resellers provided businesses with all the equipment and integration support necessary to implement the solution, and simply connected these customers to Alianzas hosted service via broadband.

Alianzas third, and most daunting challenge, was establishing a foothold in a business phone service market dominated by TelMex. Fortunately for Alianza, this problem turned out to require the simplest solution. Alianza tackled this challenge with a three-pronged advantage.

First, implementation costs were kept in check as the software LignUp solution runs on standard, off-the-shelf Windows servers, thus eliminating the need for costly, proprietary hardware.

Second, the cost of IP telephony relative to POTS is markedly lower, thus instantly delivering an immediate cost savings. Third, and most pivotal, Alianza gave businesses complete control over their service through an intuitive, easy-to-use graphical user interface allowing users to add new extensions and incorporate value added services without incurring the time and labor charges inherent in the costly service technician visits of traditional providers.

We took the great LignUp feature set and platform and we built a robust customer interface on top of it, so now the end user controls usability functions, says Beutler. When our customers want to do anything from add new user accounts to increase functionality and services, all they have to do is log into the Web-based GUI we provide for them from anywhere in the world. Its an incredible power and now its in the hands of the business.

Alianzas Rapid Growth
Thanks to Alianzas ability to offer its service remotely, and the benefits it imparts to customers in allowing them control over their phone service, Alianzas business is growing rapidly. In its first year in the Mexican telephony market, Alianza has accumulated over 1,000 business customers and realized subscription growth rates of up to 30 percent each month.

The LignUp platform was the cornerstone to our level of serviceability, says Beutler. Unlike other companies, LignUp gave us great scope for customization backed by amazing customer service. They are impressive. IT

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