netTALK, which has been in the consumer phone market for years, enters the commercial market, and is looking for both Master Agents and VARs to sell it.
Communications provider netTALK has moved into the commercial space with the launch of a new Cloud Based Business Telephone System, aimed at smaller businesses. The system, which is downloaded through an app, is priced at around $10 per seat, with a broad range of services available on an a la carte basis. netTALK unveiled the new system at the recent Channel Partners Expo in Las Vegas, where they were looking for Master Agents, VARs and smaller service providers to resell their offering.
NetTalk has been around since 2006, and until this point has been focused on the consumer market, using their own switching network. They have about 200,000 customers, most of whom are in the U.S., but with a substantial chunk, 50,000, in Canada. They also have some customers in India and in Mexico.
The move into the small business market came after they got a shipboard contract package with Norwegian Cruise Lines – which wound up being rolled out to the entire fleet.
“We found then that we needed to develop a B2B solution as well,” said Kenneth Hosfeld, EVP at NetTalk. “We wanted a virtual PBX cloud-based offering, which had a lot of bells and whistles, with the ability for the customer to choose the ones that they wanted.”
Rock-bottom customer pricing is a key point of appeal.
“We wanted to get the average cost per seat down to about $10, which is very inexpensive for one that has an enormous number of features,” Hosfeld said. “Our residential service costs only $60 a year. If you buy and sell enough per month, you can get numbers very low. At the same time, we are able to offer a very high payout ratio to partners who resell the system.”
The target market for netTALK’s Business Telephone System is very small businesses.
“It does scale, and you could put 500 people on it, but we think that the real sweet spot is very small businesses, from the 1 person company to 15 people,” Hosfeld stated. “We think that the 1 to 15 person company is underserved. Most companies aren’t interested in this market. However, coming from the consumer market, this is more attractive to us than to others in the space.”
netTALK’s Business Telephone System is designed to both provide support globally to a company’s mobile users, while providing a larger business feel that gives callers the impression they are dealing with a much larger company. The automated reception system transfers a caller to a specific person asked for in the company regardless of their location globally.
“It takes ten minutes to order and pay for the service, and not much more than that to set it up,” Hosfeld said. “It is a very intuitive system.” The customer signs up, chooses the features they want, and downloads the netTALK PBX mobile app for iOS or Android. Concurrently, netTALK is also launching the netTALK IQ Smart Desktop Phone, and will support a range of SIP desk phones with zero touch provisioning.
netTALK unveiled their new Business Telephone platform at the Channel Partners Expo in Las Vegas two weeks ago, and Hosfeld said they got a very strong response. The Master Agent channel is a logical target for them, but they are also looking for VAR partners who serve this market as well.
“We would like as many Master Agents as possible because they can reach more people faster,” Hosfeld said. “We are currently engaged in conversations with two major Master Agents as well as with IT resellers and with carriers. There is a myriad of small cable companies out there who provide telephone services, and they are also of interest to us.”
In Canada, where the Master Agent system is less well developed than in the U.S., smaller distributors are a more likely route to market.
“We have worked in Canada with smaller distributors for consumer service,” Hosfeld indicated. “We also think we will pick up a lot of reseller agents there who will want to do this on their own.”
This was the first time that netTALK has been at this particular trade show.
“We did about 40 demonstrations, and took many applications and requests for more information,” Hosfeld noted.
Following this initial launch, the focus will shift to developing some new product.
“We are working on a hotel package,” Hosfeld said.