Telstra invests $600m in small business

The telco has flagged plans to further develop its presence in the small business market with a five year plan

Telstra (ASX:TLS) has flagged plans to spend $600 million on a five-year plan to further develop its presence in the small business market with the launch of Digital Business.

Telstra chief executive, David Thodey, said Digital Business would assist small businesses in making the switch to integrated communications, combining features such as business-grade fixed broadband, Internet Protocol telephony, mobility and Cloud computing.

According to Thodey, the new service, available in capital cities from the end of May, will give Australian small businesses time-saving access to an integrated range of communication tools.

“We’re offering some of the world’s most sophisticated call features and complete integration between fixed and mobile, allowing small business people to work in a way that has up until now only been possible by people working in large corporations,” Thodey said in a statement.

Traditionally requiring a Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) to support internet, phone EFTPOS and fax, the telco is offering the service over an ADSL2+ connection. It has also deployed Quality of Service (QoS) technology to telephone exchanges around Australia.

The service has been designed for businesses with up to 10 employees initially with plans to expand the service nationally to around 1600 QoS-enabled exchanges by September this year.

Telstra plans to invest over the next five years in upgrading its network technology to assist businesses making the switch to digital.

Commenting on the launch, Federal Minister for Small Business, Nick Sherry, noted the importance of small businesses making the switch to digital technology as Australia continues to rollout high-speed technologies.

“High-speed fixed and mobile data services will be the backbone of the digital economy – providing Australia business opportunities such as improved productivity, reduced overheads and bigger customer bases,” Sherry said in a statement.

The new service has also resulted in the simplification of Telstra’s business processes, with Thodey noting a complete redesign of its customer ordering and service processes.

Digital Business demonstration sites have been opened in Sydney and Melbourne to give customers detail about making the switch to digital and what it will mean for them.

Package prices start at $120 per month.

Digital Business includes:

  • New voice calling features – Titled ‘Auto attendant’, the service includes a virtual receptionist service which feeds incoming calls to an interactive answering system, redirecting calls to fixed phones in a maximum of three locations and mobiles.
  • High definition call quality
  • Voicemail – Fixed and mobile voicemail messages are collected in a single-hosted voice box and can be forwarded to staff as email or SMS.
  • New pricing – Business pay a ‘per user’ fee as opposed to ‘per phone line’ with a flat rate for services including hosted email.
  • Free calls – All voice calls between phones on a Digital Business account (mobiles inclusive) will incur no cost.
  • Domain registration – Access to email and web addresses
  • Hosted email via Microsoft Exchange Online – Real-time synchronised email, calendar and address book information across devices including computers, laptops, tablets or smartphones.
  • Broadband backup service – Via Telstra’s Next G network, businesses will automatically be switched to wireless in the event of a fixed network outage.

Follow Chloe Herrick on Twitter: @chloe_CW

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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