Monday, January 21, 2013

Swedish start-up disrupts the business telephony market

SWEDEN: Sonetel announced that 100,000 companies from over 200 countries have signed up for their free business phone system service.

Sonetel’s global telephone “switch” can be connected to any phone company of choice and also allows free internal calls between employees worldwide.

This allows entrepreneurs to open “virtual offices” anywhere for as little as $0.99 per month. Calls can be answered in any country with a mobile, laptop etc.

“I am a strong believer in the benefits of globalization.” says Henrik Thomé. “We want to tear down borders and obstacles for entrepreneurs – especially in developing countries - and empower them in their international business.”

Customers come in all shapes and sizes; Such as the taxi driver in Lahore, Pakistan that has a London phone number for customers to call for ordering a taxi before flying to Pakistan. Calls are answered with a mobile in Lahore.

Or the Greek company that found it easier to get a local phone number from Sonetel for their local office in Bulgaria, than to get it from a local Bulgarian phone company.

Or the Spanish IT-service company that have a local Spanish number forwarded to their mobile phones, to make it cheaper for customers to reach them.

“Sonetel’s global mass-market approach toward small businesses is unique,” says Rod Ullens, CEO of Voxbone, one of Sonetel's strategic partners.  “They are passionate about business quality but are still able to offer the service at prices below basic consumer services.”

The strategy seems to pay off as Sonetel’s revenues grew with 1045 percent from 2011 to 2012. “Two thirds of the world’s work force is employed in small and medium size businesses” says Henrik Thomé “That’s the market we want to make ours.”

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