10 tips on how to get noticed as a small VoIP carrier

December 8, 2008

As a new VoIP carrier, competition is pretty tough. Everyday new carriers jump into the VoIP bandwagon, since barrier to market entry is pretty low, and lots of open source apps are available to get you going without too much investment.

Anyone with a small background in IT can begin switching minutes, but what can a small carrier do to stand out of the crowd ? If your service is not worth talking about, it’s probably not worth doing !

If you dedicate few hours of your time every week, you might sit back and let your users do the talking for you.

Take note of this :

#1 – use Twitter
Twitter is an excellent “tool” to regularly post your new deals. Make sure your customers are aware of it, google will certainly notice you

#2 – setup a newsletter and a blog
These 2 powerful tools can get you noticed in no time. Each of your posts have to be interesting to read, work on the title, release exclusive news and deals – try to explain how your service can really save money

#3 – use rss feeds to regularly update your prices
Another powerful tool not to neglect

#4 – offer something “special” so people can talk about your company
Always offer small gifts with your offers – extra minutes, discount on bulk orders, etc…

#5 – get direct routes
Provide excellent quality on some specific countries, a good way to get noticed

#6 – actively participate in forums, answer questions
Always use your signature when replying to some posts

#7 – register your company to a VoIP exchange marketplace: arbinet, minutetraders, vpf, etc..

#8 – make sure what you provide is top quality
Happy customers = returning customers

#9 – make it easy for them to tell their friends
Always provide a way to forward your newsletter, provide “tell-a-friend” links on every page of your website + something like extra minutes if they refer a friend, and so on..

#10 – work on your niche market
Work on a small subset of customers (that’s your niche market) – customers that are local to you, or customers with specific needs calling a specific country. Read my previous post about calling cards to know more about it

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MINUTETRADERS | Voice Exchange Marketplace – Buy/Sell VoIP/TDM AZ & Direct Termination Routes

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Need secure SIP trunks? use IPSec, proven and robust

December 8, 2008

When it comes to security with VoIP, few options are available – I mean proven and widely available. One of the most secure method is certainly VPN with IPSec. It offers many advantages:

– encrypt traffic from source to destination
– widely available
– proven and robust

What you can do as well, is to fool most ISPs that don’t like VoIP very much (we wonder why 😉 . In some countries they simply filter 5060 or anything related to VoIP (H323).

A simple way to setup IPsec is to use racoon (available on most Linux distributions).

Typical settings are :

Mode: transport
Security protocol: ESP(Encapsulating Security Protocol)
Encryption types: 3DES (Triple Data Encryption Algorithm)
Authentication algorithms: MD5 (Message-Digest Algorithm 5)
Authentication methods:PSK (pre-shared key)

Make sure that you share the same encryption key with the remote party – it can be anything.

You will find many tutorials on google explaining how to setup racoon – i recommend having a server with at least 2 ethernet interfaces so you can have the flexibility of encrypting a subset of your traffic, since maybe not all your traffic will need encryption.

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MINUTETRADERS | Voice Exchange Marketplace – Buy/Sell VoIP/TDM AZ & Direct Termination Routes


Outsourcing your VoIP switch vs inhouse hosting

December 8, 2008

When choosing your VoIP switch , one question always comes up : “should I buy my own switch” or “should I rent it” – many of you will probably say : “go open source” ! I agree, but you need a fair amount of knowledge to get anything off the ground. And it’s not an easy task.

Let say we go open source – where will you host the server ? what happen if the server goes down or if something is preventing the system to process calls . Posting to a forum might help you to figure out what’s going on if you have no clue what the problem is. Also hosting the server yourself will mean stacking hosting and bandwidth cost as 2 separate items. Most hosting companies will make it as 1 bill.

It’s quiet scary to go this way specially after the hard work you will put to get your first few customers. Availability and quality of service will be key during the first few months where your customers at least 1 day of downtime so they can find an excuse to start hunting for a new provider. Don’t give them that chance.

The best option when you just begin, is to outsource – why ? simple: outsourcing is peace of mind while you get your first few customers. 1 bill at the end of the month, technical support as long as you need it, knowledge transfer at the same time, and last but not least : training ! voip training is very expensive since it’s a hot topic ! so for the price of 1 , that’s a deal hard to miss !

Find a company with proven track records, providing descent hardware and software to get you going. Check out VoIP Logic. They’ve been around for quiet a long time.

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MINUTETRADERS | Voice Exchange Marketplace – Buy/Sell VoIP/TDM AZ & Direct Termination Routes


Take control of your VoIP vendors relationship!

September 21, 2008

With Minutetraders you can take control of your vendors relationship! We provide customers with tools for engaging with vendors in ways that work for both parties. Customers define which routes they want, suppliers respond.

One of the main advantages of Minutetraders is the ability to challenge suppliers within auction rooms (Trading Rooms) and get the best price on given termination routes.

Minutetraders is Open, Transparent and Fast. We aim to create a more efficient and balanced relationship between suppliers and their customers in the telecom industry.

We’ve lately been very busy setting up the Peering softswitch – eliminate all interconnection nightmares, negotiate the best deal and start making substantial savings on your key routes ! register now


Announcing Minutetraders Private Beta

March 17, 2008

For the past several months, we’ve been working hard behind the scenes to launch Minutetraders and we’re excited to announce our official private beta and preview of Minutetraders.

Sign up at www.minutetraders.com and we’ll notify you when your login is available.


minutetraders, use cases

October 13, 2007

We were working lately on some usage scenarios for minutetraders, our upcoming telecom trading marketplace, and realized that all the businesses not using voip for their long distance calls could greatly benefit from our platform.

According to the latest IDATE market report, “The telephony over IP (ToIP) market is growing steadily and
irreversibly, to the detriment of traditional (TDM) solutions. The larger the enterprise and the more sites it operates, the greater the likelihood of ToIP take-up: in France, for instance, 12% of SMEs were equipped with a VoIP solution at the start of 2006, compared to 56% of large corporations. These percentages have been rising steadily ever since, and particularly swiftly in the SME segment.”

minutetraders is the perfect environment to make sure those companies will be able to buy their minutes in bulk and not be tied to one operator – moreover that operator could be local or international, that ‘s why SMEs are starting to understand the potential of voip !

Stay tuned, minutetraders is coming fast.. !


VoIP high availability at the DNS level

September 28, 2007

We were wondering recently how to achieve carrier grade service with a VoIP application – we find out, that apart from the fact of having a hot backup , we needed to be able to transparently switch over the hot backup without disrupting our end users service.

The solution came out as follow :
– 2x servers with an exact copy of data (mysql multi master replication)
– DNS settings with a TTL of 600 secondes
– a monitoring agent at the DNS level, checking Asterisk Manager (port 5038) every 3 minutes

After implementation, failover was working great, and sip user agents were able to failover to the standby Asterisk server after failure. Conclusion: disruption time is low and service continuity can be assured.

Some DNS providers charge hundred of dollars to achieve this kind of deployment, but it’s possible to find affordable ones giving you failover and TTL control.