Many people are now discovering the benefits of using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephony. VoIP uses the Internet, rather than regular public service telephone networks (PSTN), to send telephone calls all over the globe, at rates that are often as little as a quarter of regular long distance. While VoIP was once restricted to computer-to-computer conferencing, modern VoIP hardware and software allows users to call any telephone number anywhere in the world.
With VoIP offering significant savings over standard telephone service for both residential and enterprise clients, one might think that major telephone companies would be getting ready to compete with VoIP providers. However, at least one major telephone company, SBC Communications Inc., is adhering to the old adage "If you can't beat them, join them" the company began offering SBC VoIP service in late 2003.
SBC Communications offers a variety of telecommunications products, ranging from PSTN access lines to DSL Internet service. It also offers wireless service through its 60 percent ownership share in Cingular Wireless, which offers service to more than 20 million Americans. SBC VoIP service was added in 2003, and SBC became one of the first telephone companies to enter the VoIP marketplace. The reason for this entry was clear: VoIP poses a major threat to standard telephone access lines, especially for computer users who may have a second line for dedicated computer Internet access.
In order to keep customers who may have been tempted to switch away from SBC for their voice communications needs, SBC introduced SBC VoIP service for enterprise clients in November of 2003. Enterprise customers, no matter what business they are in, are interested in saving money. Every dollar saved on office supplies, infrastructure, or long distance is a dollar earned in profit. SBC VoIP offers enterprise clients the chance to reduce their infrastructure costs by eliminating their costly private telephone exchange (PBX). All that is needed to call anywhere in the world is an Ethernet connection and an IP telephone or an adapter that allows you to connect a regular telephone.
One of the features that set SBC VoIP apart from other providers is Unified Messaging. Unified messaging is a single email messaging service that records voicemail, fax, and data messages, meaning you can access your messages from any Internet connection anywhere in the world. If you are an enterprise client operating in one of SBC's 13 primary markets in the western U.S., SBC VoIP is a way to save your company money, increase employee productivity, and raise your profit margins.