Site Offers Online Telco Services Store

SEATTLE (06/29/2000) - Corporate customers can now shop around to buy voice and data services online from a Web site that also offers free consulting about what services best meet their needs.

Called TelcoOnline Inc., the site lets users buy services from 48 telecommunications carriers. Customers can order voice, data and Internet access via the TelcoOnline site, and later accomplish tasks such as making inventories of circuits and auditing whether bills match their contracts.

They can go to www.telcoonline.com and enter data, including what kinds of circuits they need, where they need them, what carriers they prefer, prices they are willing to pay and the length of contracts they are willing to sign.

TelcoOnline responds with options that meet the criteria. Customers choose the options they want, and TelcoOnline orders the services.

The company says customers benefit by drawing from a larger list of possible service providers than they would research themselves. Plus, they don't have to actually place orders or track them - that is handled by TelcoOnline.

The use of TelcoOnline is free to the customers seeking services. TelcoOnline makes its money on commissions from the service providers that sell the voice and data services.

In addition, the company is developing a configuration wizard for less savvy customers. The wizard could ask what customers want to do with their network, why and to what locations their services would go, and TelcoOnline would come up with options to meet those needs. That software will be ready in August.

Also coming in August is software to inventory customer circuits. In September, the company will introduce auditing software that compares actual bills for services to the contracts customers signed for them.

Based on demand from large corporate users, the company also plans a service to manage circuits for a fee.

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