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By Ciaran Warner
New Zealand-based telecommunications company Ufone NZ is intent on establishing and maintaining a solid reputation in the disruptive and ever-growing Telcom market.
Ufone NZ is a VoIP (Voice-over Internet Protocol) Telcom company based in Auckland. Founded in 2000, they sought to refocus their business strategy to VoIP in 2013, when it became apparent that VoIP was set to replace older means of communication.
Ufone’s CEO, Nigel Rayneau, describes VoIP as a modern means of voice telephony over a data network.
“Back in the days of copper phone lines, only calls were made through the purpose-built telephone network. Modern fibreoptic networks transmit data, and we use that data network to also provide telephony services. I’d estimate 60-70 percent of businesses now use a VoIP data network. The old phone lines are very much a dying breed,” Nigel says.
As with many forms of modern technology, most people use VOIP without even knowing what it is. Anyone who uses a smartphone, for instance, uses a VoIP system.
VoIP doesn’t just save money, but is also useful for streamlining connectivity and communications. For instance, a small company with several branches using a VOIP system can have all calls answered in one place by one person, rather than by ten people on ten phones in ten places, and transfer it anywhere.
“Calling between countries has always been VoIP, but the internet has made it mainstream,” says Nigel. “VoIP, video and instant messaging are all handled by a data network. As a result, people can, for instance, surf the web while making a phone call and so on.”
Trust has been hard to obtain and harder to keep for Telcom businesses in recent years, which has led to a revenue decline for many companies in an industry that Nigel says is very much the future of communications.
“I wouldn’t say we are disruptors,” Nigel says. “We are riding on tech which we didn’t invent, but popularizing it and helping New Zealand businesses take advantage of it.”
“The opportunity for growth in Telcom is really opening up for specialist companies like ourselves. Telcom – particularly VOIP - has had a bad reputation in the past. There have been a lot of cowboys in the industry that may have sullied the name of VOIP - it’s easy to get it wrong and make it unreliable.”
As a telecommunications company that deals directly with other companies, supplying to businesses rather than consumers, trust between Ufone and the companies they provide their goods and services to is crucial. They emphasize their use of “end to end” systems which give them complete control and accountability – or in Nigel’s words, “the buck stops with us.”
“Our reputation is vital to us,” Nigel says. “In the old days, when phone services were copper, their trademark was reliability, they had complete control over everything. The same thing is done over data networks today, but the network it’s sent over is inherently less reliable and less stable. A delay of a single second, for instance, while you’re surfing or downloading a video, would make little difference, but a second’s delay in the network when making a VoIP call makes a huge difference, making the call completely unintelligible. So bandwidth speed and quality equipment are essential for a reliable voice network.”
Ufone have sought to maintain their reputation by maintaining end-to-end control over their customers’ network, through quality hardware and service. Their engineers keep track of every moment of every call made, from the phone it’s made from to the phone it connects to, as a means of maintaining the integrity and reliability of their network.
Nigel describes the core values of the business as “honesty, integrity, making technology work, going beyond what’s expected and being people-focussed.” He says Ufone is serious about providing support when it’s needed, ensuring all support calls go directly to a 3CX and VoIP engineer, rather than administration or voicemail.
The support staff can assist customers, tweak the network and solve problems at their fingertips when dealing with customers over the phone, a hands-on approach Nigel says is invaluable for the company and its clients.
“We provide a true “White Label” solution to our partners, to enable them to look good and make money from providing a reliable VoIP service to their customers.”
Ufone currently services over 600 companies throughout New Zealand, from Kaitaia down to Dunedin, with several customers overseas in Australia. Their customers tend to be medium-sized companies with multi-site locations wanting to connect their phone lines to all their locations.
The advent of Fibre internet has allowed Ufone to continue to grow and improve its products and services. The older internet access medium of ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line) was not fast enough to be reliable enough for voice systems.
“We wouldn’t run a voice service reliably over ADSL – a lot of people have tried that, and it gives VOIP a bad name. It might work for a little while, but before long you’d get all sorts of tech issues and unreliability,” Nigel says.
“VOIP is really just another data application, but it’s the future.”
To learn more about Ufone, visit them here.
Phone: 0800 508 888
Phone: 0274 587 724