A Verizon Wireless sister business is introducing new services designed to help companies reduce their international mobile roaming costs in Europe.
Verizon Business, a unit of Verizon Communications, is introducing Global Fixed Mobile Convergence (FMC), which it says can significantly reduce mobile phone roaming charges for European workers who make and receive calls outside of their home service area. The new service also offers a universal phone number with “find me/follow me” capabilities to reach employees on a wireline or mobile phone.
Graham Starkins, group manager, fixed mobile convergence products at Verizon Business, says it doesn’t matter which mobile operator a customer uses; it was developed as an over-the-top service so the customer doesn’t have to swap out their mobile operator.
Dialing internationally in Europe is still very expensive even with regulated caps on roaming charges, and attempts to encourage users to use fixed phones haven’t gained traction because that requires changes in user behavior, he says. Over the past 10 years or so, European workers have become accustomed to tapping into the contacts in their mobile phones.
The initial service will target Nokia and BlackBerry devices, which represent about 95 percent of the installed base for business users in Europe, he says. The iPhone is gaining traction among businesses but it’s still not nearly as widely deployed as the other two.
Using advanced software from MobileMax, Verizon Global Fixed Mobile Convergence determines cost-effective routing for mobile calls. The service dynamically directs calls to either Verizon’s cloud-based global voice-over-IP communications platform, powered by Broadsoft, or to the customer’s mobile network service if that is the more cost-effective option.
Verizon Global FMC is available immediately to Verizon Business customers in nine European countries: Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. U.S. and Asia Pacific-headquartered enterprises can also take advantage of the offering for employees based in the initial service area.
Verizon Business also announced a new cloud-based service to help workers access their corporate networks on the go while making it easier for IT managers to manage a global mobile workforce.
The Enterprise Mobility as a Service offering enables employee laptops and netbooks to detect and connect to the best network service at a given time and place – for example, the network with the strongest signal or the one with the lowest charges. If a business is paying for a mobile broadband plan, the service might first select that and if there’s an outage, it might pick up a Wi-Fi network, says Craig Cerasi, manager, enterprise mobility products at Verizon Business.
The Enterprise Mobility solution will be available next month in 30 countries and territories in Europe, Asia-Pacific and the Americas, with local billing, currency and support options. Because the solution is sold as a service, customers are charged monthly on a per-user basis, so they pay for only what they use.