Global Crossing crossed the Atlantic this week with the introduction of new Outbound and Inbound Carrier VoIP services for Europe. The introduction is notable but not "earth shattering" according to at least one analyst.
Inbound Carrier VoIP Services from Global Crossing enables local carriers of all stripes (including resellers, enhanced service providers, ISPs, and prepaid card operators) to originate telephony traffic on the regular public switched telephone network in different countries. The Global Crossing's network converts the traffic to VoIP, which allows for delivery via SIP to the customer's IP network. With Inbound Carrier VoIP services, a carrier gains a local presence in multiple international geographies without the need for actually having a physical point of presence.
Direct Dial Inbound numbers can be can be ported from third-party providers or purchased directly from Global Crossing. The service is expected to be available across Europe in the second half of 2005 and is currently available in the UK. Global Crossing has offered a similar service in North America since October 2004.
Complementing the Inbound launch in Europe is the Carrier VoIP Outbound Service, providing call completion of packet-based voice traffic, transport, and wholesale IP interconnection over Global Crossing's network. Customers can connect to the Carrier VoIP Outbound Service via the public Internet, IP Transit services, or Global Crossing IP VPN Service. Global Crossing has implemented security for both Inbound and Outbound service with session border controllers that are intended to provide secure interconnection points between customers own networks and Global Crossings.
Carmi Levy Senior Research Analyst at Info-Tech Research Group characterized the new Global Crossing offerings as notable, but not in an earth-shattering manner. "It's a worthwhile offering that gives carrier customers another option as they seek scalable, cost-effective and easily-implemented VoIP solutions," Levy told EnterpriseVoIPplanet.com. "Competition is by definition beneficial to customers."
However, in Levy's opinion, Global Crossing's European announcements aren't differentially unique relative to other services that competitors in this space have announced in recent months. "Everyone is already touting various flavors of robust, secure, and cost-efficient VoIP solutions, and this announcement sounds very familiar as a result," Levy said.
In the U.S. market,where Global Crossing has already deployed some of its VoIP services, the company is overshadowed by the incumbent telecom companies, in Levy's opinion. The incumbents in the US have been aggressively pursuing development and deployment of VoIP products and services. Currently, 85 percent of all subscribers are served by the following four carriers: Sprint Nextel, Cingular Wireless, Verizon Wireless, and Vodafone.
"Global Crossing has traditionally not enjoyed a major brand presence in this market, and the recent wave of mergers and acquisitions in the U.S. doesn't leave it a whole lot of room for growth there," Levy said.
Global Crossing did not comment by press time.