Virtual PBX today launched iVPBX, an offering that combines the companys hosted PBX solution with SIP-based VoIP service from Gizmo5 at a flat rate of $10 per seat per monthwith unlimited inbound calling. "Were selling a five-extension package for $49.99, and then the minutes are free, unlimited," explains Greg Brashier, vice president of Virtual PBX.
Brashier says the new announcement stems from his companys introduction last November of native support for SIP peering. "What Virtual PBX is trying to do is say, "Well peer with anybody that is doing real SIPwell make sure that the calls go out in the background as SIP calls so we dont have the conversions between the two different phone systems, and well give you a really low cost because were not delivering the call onto the PSTN," he says.
And that has the potential, Brashier says, to serve as a significant differentiator. "Virtually everybody thats in the hosted IP PBX arena today has been very proprietaryUse my phones, my VoIP, my client, my hosted PBX capabilitiesuse everything from the same vendor and what weve tried to do here is say, Lets push the idea of open systems to a new level," he says.
The point is that while Virtual PBX today announced a partnership with Gizmo5, the company is eager to work with as wide a range of providers as possible. "Weve pushed all the pieces together and said, The combined product is going to be a lot better than just using either of us alone, " Brashier says. "Wed love to do that with anybody else thats out thereand we are pursuing other avenues."
In the case of Gizmo5, Brashier says, the combined offering provides a number of key advantages. "Weve made sure that the systems work flawlessly together and weve taken the step of putting out a product that specifically relates to that [at] a very aggressive new price point, so that people can get into the very best of a hosted IP PBX, using us as the front end and Gizmo as the back endand get a richer feature set at a much lower cost than you get from the proprietary folks," he says.
And Brashier says Virtual PBX is a strong believer in Gizmo5s offering. "We have been using Gizmo in-house in our own systems for about two years now and we believe that if you also like Gizmo, then weve got a great hosted solution to provide on top of that," he says. "If, on the other hand, youre not sure yet, well get you into a trial on it: you can download the Gizmo client for free, and well give you a free trial on the hosted services."
While Virtual PBXs standard offerings include a limited number of free minutes after which incoming calls cost between 4.4 and 6.5 cents a minute, the iVPBX solution includes unlimited free inbound calling, regardless of whether the call comes in over SIP or over the PSTN. "Hosted PBXs always, always have had a price per minute, and were simply doing away with it were doing free calls no matter where they come from," Brashier says. "If theyre SIP calls, well take those; if theyre calls from the PSTN, well take thoseand we can do all of those calls at no charge, with unlimited minutes for every account."
The only case where there will be a price per minute for iVPBX, Brashier says, is when a user needs to place a call over the PSTN. "If you send calls out to the PSTN, were going to charge you a nominal fee of 1.9 cents a minute you can use this system with PSTN phones, cell phones, landlines, sea linesweve got people on satellite phonesuse it any way that you want," he says. "It really gives you the flexibility to go any way that you want, but at very low cost and if you use IP phones, the calls are free."
At the same time, this isnt the end of Virtual PBXs standard offeringBrashier says there will continue to be a place for both solutions. "We believe that even some Gizmo users will continue to use [the standard plans] if their minute requirements are modest This all comes because two companies, Virtual PBX and Gizmo5, have hooked up with the open systems idea, but we still believe a lot of our existing and future customers will prefer a $10 or $25 product, given the right usage needs," he says.