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Servicing The "Last Chance" Market
And Flourishing


The Opportunity
ATSI Communications� chief executive officer, Art Smith, was unhappy with the way telecommunications providers were neglecting the needs of the Hispanic population and was determined to fix it. While larger carriers ignored the needs of this enormous community, ATSI emerged as a leading carrier focused on serving the vast market between Latin America and the United States by delivering International voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) services to previously disenfranchised customers. Today, ATSI�s customers include a variety of carriers generating traffic within the United States and Mexico that require both Internet transport and long-distance termination. ATSI also operates an International private network for voice, data, and facsimile transport using IP.

�The Latin American telecommunications market is considered one of the largest in the world. Current estimates suggest it will reach $113 billion by 2005. Instead of seeing Latin America as a very large opportunity, and an economically strong market segment, many carriers have simply labeled it as a �last chance market� because of the lack of business and consumer credit histories,� said Smith. �The reality is, Hispanics spend over $21 billion on telephone services alone and that amount is expected to grow 12 percent a year. In ATSI�s home state of Texas, there are 6.7 million Hispanic consumers representing 32 percent of the population. We felt it was time to create a telecom company that could fully understand and fulfill the needs of this unique market.�

The Challenge
In targeting the Hispanic market, ATSI first revamped its network by deploying NexTone�s Multiprotocol Session Controller (MSC), and then launched the company�s retail brand, Telefamilia. Under the Telefamilia brand, local service and long distance calling plans offer both convenience and value directly to the Hispanic/Latino end-user who calls frequently between the United States and Latin America.

Enhanced services such as pre-paid conferencing and pre-paid Internet open doors to a larger base of end-users while the �Enlacefamilia� (the family link) toll-free service provides customers with unique billing option for calls originating in Mexico and terminating in the U.S. Beyond growing revenues, entry into the retail market increased ATSI�s profits by eliminating the intermediate long-distance carrier and introducing several new high-margin retail products.

�Our customers are cost-conscious and price-sensitive so it is imperative that we offer unique service packages at affordable prices,� said Smith. �Through our Telefamilia unit, ATSI currently permits customers to place phone calls to more than 225 countries from the United States and provides International toll-free access from 22 countries. Once our customers gain access to our network via either IP or toll-free access, we route the call to the appropriate destination, which is enabled by our NexTone system.�

The Solution
ATSI deployed NexTone�s MSC at the network edge of its VoIP network. NexTone�s intelligent edge device operates alone or in conjunction with a core call control engine such as the NexTone Multiprotocol Signaling Switch (MSW). NexTone�s technology has enabled ATSI to quickly adapt its VoIP network to reliably interface with VoIP solutions found in its partner�s SIP or H.323 networks. Before ATSI deployed the NexTone MSC, the turn-up time for new interconnects was hindered because of differences in vendor implementations of VoIP signaling (SIP or H.323), T.38 fax support, and DTMF transport. NexTone�s MSC quickly resolves these problems while maintaining the traffic in its native IP form. By keeping the traffic IP, ATSI can quickly extend their service reach and preserve quality while also lowering their equipment and operations costs.

NexTone�s MSC also provides advanced media routing capabilities that include NAT traversal, topology hiding, route enforcement, and the regulation of bandwidth consumption to manage multimedia flows across carrier and enterprise boundaries. The product ensures consistent service quality for ATSI while protecting and securing its VoIP infrastructure.

In the three months following the deployment of the NexTone MSC, the number of VoIP minutes that traversed the ATSI network grew in excess of 270 percent. While ATSI expects more moderate growth rates in the future, this is directly related to the adoption of a 100 percent VoIP-based network. This level of speed for interconnection with customers and vendors would have been impossible utilizing traditional telecommunication network equipment.

Delivering Quality And Profits
NexTone�s MSC lowers equipment costs, simplifies network operations, and provides faster service turn-up, enabling ATSI to use its VoIP media gateways more efficiently, thus realizing increased CAPEX and OPEX cost savings. In traditional VoIP networks, interoperability issues require carriers to dedicate one or more media gateway ports to each of its customers, commonly referred to as �back-to-back� media gateways; however, with NexTone�s interconnect technology, ATSI is able to share port resources with multiple customers. ATSI is also now utilizing NexTone�s iView Management System (iVMS), which provides a comprehensive set of management tools to engineer and streamline traffic routing tables.

�The implementation of NexTone�s MSC was a key move in allowing us to scale our business and improve our core service offering,� said Smith. �We now have a cost-effective and reliable VoIP network that has helped us to secure new customers, while increasing the volume and revenue with our existing customers. NexTone�s products allow us to provide exceptional customer service while monitoring performance on a real-time basis.�

Summary Of ATSI Results
Utilizing NexTone�s technology, ATSI has realized significant ROI, including the growth of its monthly volume of VoIP traffic by over 800 percent, resulting in a monthly revenue increase of nearly 350 percent since May 2004. On a quarterly comparison, ATSI�s VoIP revenue increased by 150 percent for the first quarter of fiscal year 2005 versus the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2004. IT

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