Sprint moves into the cloud-based unified communications service arena

Sprint (NYSE: S) is taking advantage of this week's Enterprise Connect event to debut its serve up a new hosted unified communications offering that it says will make it easier for business customers to deploy UC over an all-IP network.

Targeted at mid-sized businesses, who told the service provider that they were looking for an "in-the-cloud unified communications solution," Sprint's Complete Collaboration is focused on taking the guesswork out of UC by bundling various services. The new solution offers connectivity through SIP Trunking, IP and video telephony, integrated messaging, collaboration tools, user endpoints and enhanced mobile integration, into one common solution.

By having all of these services, including SIP trunking, under one common umbrella, customers won't have to deal with multiple service provider contracts.

"With some of the competitive offers we're not seeing the complete packages, but rather a segmentation of the offer," Burton said. "They may be positioning it as SIP trunking is included, but it might be a separate business unit or a separate account team in more of a siloed approach."

Leveraging Cisco's (Nasdaq: CSCO) Hosted Collaboration platform, Sprint's Complete Collaboration is delivered over its all-IP/MPLS core network.

At the core of the solution is SIP trunking, which it says offers customers more efficient trunking options through aggregation and bursting, as well as an end-to-end UC platform with a consistent experience across all collaboration tools, operating systems and endpoints.

"It is a completely fully hosted and collaboration solution and the foundation is our MPLS network," said Greg Burton, general manager of Convergence Marketing for Sprint Business. "It's our all IP core, congestion-free design, and we don't change for available tier Class of Service, which is very critical in enabling these real-time applications to flow congestion free."  

Given the growing mobile nature of business customers, users' ability to get traditional PBX features on their smartphones and other mobile devices can reduce costs by eliminating the reliance on the local ILEC. It also serves as a business continuity and disaster recovery solution.

"What's also critical to the success of the solution is our 3G and 4G wireless network since mobility is a big part of the UC story," Burton said.  

The new service suite comes in three flavors:

  • Voice-Centric: Targeted at employees who need just voice call management (voice mail) and basic UC functions.
  • Standard: An office-based employee package that provides all voice features plus enhanced collaboration through IM, presence and desktop sharing.
  • Premium: mobile/remote employees with voice features and collaboration tools, plus mobile presence and support for a wide range of user endpoints.

While Complete Collaboration is the first step Sprint is taking into the cloud service space, it is only one of various cloud-based UC offerings that it plans to debut this year.

For more:
- see the release
- Here's FierceEnterpriseCommunications' take

On the Hot Seat: Monnie McGaffigan on leading Sprint's best-kept secret: wireline

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