Co-opetition: Everyone’s a Winner!

Comms Business Magazine talks to Mike Mills, Gamma’s Head of Channel for Cloud and Infrastructure, about how his team helps carriers and VoIP platform operators and how easy porting and APIs for service and provisioning make Gamma the provider of choice for Vonage.

Businesses that engage in both competition and co-operation are said to be in co-opetition and it’s a little known fact that there is a great deal of co-opetition going on in the channel, especially in the network services business.

According to Mike Mills, Gamma’s Head of Channel for Cloud and Infrastructure, the practice has in fact been growing over the last 25 years.

Screen Shot 2015-11-23 at 09.53.38“Gamma is a supplier of services such as number porting, UK termination to the PSTN, number hosting and wholesaling of SIP trunks to service providers that also compete with us in other markets. The reason these companies choose to work with Gamma is our range of services and the quality of those service.

If you look at a recent list of firms from the EU or the US who have landed in the UK to set out their own VoIP stalls such as 8×8, Thinking Phones, and Ring Central, they all need to work with a partner that can get them up and running quickly with services they can depend upon.

Typically we supply a carrier SIP trunk to wherever firms need it located. This gives them the UK phone numbers they need to successfully operate here. Others may obtain their own number ranges but then ask us to host them.”

Mills says that there is a lot of ‘interesting’ stuff going on right now in terms of innovation which when it becomes mainstream will have an impact upon our markets.

Take for example ‘call tracking’, an application that will automatically allocate phone numbers for browsers to call when they are in a search engine – typically on a mobile device. There are more and more apps for voice springing up almost on a daily basis and SIP trunking is driving a lot of that innovation. The market is changing.

One of Gamma’s cloud and infrastructure customers is Vonage, a firm that has been at the forefront of enabling calls over IP networks for may a year.

Vonage is an international communications company that provides telephone services for both consumers and small businesses, but increasingly for people working from home (SOHO).

Within the UK they provide their customers with a plug and play device – a small box that connects to a standard broadband router. A normal DECT or corded phone is then plugged in to this, allowing calls to be made using a broadband circuit rather than via a traditional fixed-line solution.

This enables the customer to have an additional line in their business or home without having to rent a second phone line from a traditional provider.

The challenge for Vonage is that they needed a supplier that could provide support in porting of numbers and termination of UK minutes.

Mike Mills says that porting, in particular, was seen as an area that is notoriously difficult for many providers within the UK.

“Alongside this, Vonage were keen to work with a partner that could help them transition into selling hosted and cloud-based voice services in the B2B market.

Mobility is also an area for Vonage that has great potential for growth, particularly when it comes to small businesses. Therefore, it was important that they worked with a supplier that had the capacity to deliver truly unified communication solutions as the business continues to grow.

We now provision and terminate all the UK minutes for hundreds of thousands of Vonage’s customers UK geographic, non-geographic and UK mobile service.

Vonage customers typically move their services from an alternative network provider. By porting their numbers we enable them to keep their existing phone number which is often crucial for small/start-up businesses that can’t afford any downtime or major changes.”

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine