Red tape slows Equant's VoIP network

Regulatory constraints are preventing network provider Equant from fully launching what it claims is the world's first global voice and data service using IP.

Equant is preparing to launch the new service late February but will only offer it in 50 countries initially.

Equant has the technical ability and network capability to deliver the service to 130 countries and 750 cities, but voice regulatory constraints have restricted the launch to only 50, Michael Carpena, marketing manager for Equant Australasia said.

Countries where the service will be offered from February include Australia and New Zealand, US, Canada the UK, France and Germany, he said.

Aimed at businesses, the service integrates voice and data using IP technology enabling companies to have a "priceless" data service, Carpena said.

According to Carpena, Equant has been trialling the IP service for several months in 21 countries including Australia. Carpena said he expects Australian business to be interested in the new service.

"Australia is well known to be an innovator and early adopter of technology ... I'm sure we won't be disappointed [with the acceptance].

"Australian companies were keen to adopt some of this technology a long time ago," he said.

Carpena said Equant's voice over Frame Relay service released in October 1998 has 75 customers worldwide with many connections.

"Our hope is [the Voice over IP service] will do much better. IP is the way to go," he said.

According to Carpena, unlike other providers, Equant was offering customers service level agreements with the new service to monitor quality of service.

Carpena said this will include monitor aspects of the service including end to end service availability, network delays, voice call completion rates and voice call post dial delays.

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