Windstream said it is finding its small and medium-sized business (SMB) customers want the capabilities of the cloud and a premises-based voice service in one common package.
As the service provider tries to broaden its appeal with SMBs, the service provider is leveraging its Allworx subsidiary's premises-based voice services solutions.
Since most SMBs lack the in-house IT expertise to manage large-scale voice systems, the service provider’s IP Simple offer has given this segment an entrée into the cloud.
The service incorporates all of Allworx’s product elements, including handsets, power of Ethernet switches, software and PBX.
Austin Herrington, director of enterprise/CPE product marketing, told FierceTelecom that the solution can reduce costs because Windstream manages and maintains the solution.
“It’s a no capex offering and we provide a totally managed service for the customer,” Herrington said. “We install it, support it and conduct the moves, adds and changes.”
Herrington said that the solution is ideal for SMBs that want the benefits of a cloud solution, but like to see their equipment on site.
“From the customer and value proposition standpoint, it looks just like unified communications as a service (UCaaS) or a cloud telephony solution,” Herrington said. “The big difference is it is a premises-based solution.”
While Windstream can and will target larger customers with the IP Simple solution, the typical customer profile it gets is one that has about 50-200 seats.
As part of serving the SMB customer base, Windstream is also responding to the customer segment’s growing mobile nature.
In January, Windstream’s Allworx subsidiary introduced the Allworx Verge, a mobile-first IP phone for businesses. Allworx also introduced System Software version 8.2, Allworx Reach version 3.0 (for iOS and Android) and Allworx Interact Professional version 3.0 to support the latest mobility integration features available with Verge.
Being able to offer a transitional product like IP Simple that offers managed capabilities is essential for Windstream as it looks to stop cable from further encroaching on its SMB base.
While Windstream won’t release its first quarter earnings until May 4, the service provider could use products like IP Simple to boost SMB segment revenues.
Small business and CLEC revenues were $111 million in the fourth quarter, a decline of 16% year-over-year. On a yearly basis, Windstream narrowed segment losses to $484 million, a decrease of 13% from 2015.