Verizon service aims to cut international mobile costs

Verizon Business has introduced a service aimed at reducing international mobile roaming costs for European enterprises.

Verizon Business has introduced a service aimed at reducing international mobile roaming costs for European enterprises.

The Global Fixed Mobile Convergence service has voice-over-IP (VoIP) technology at its core, said Tony Recine, vice-president network and communications applications at Verizon Business.

Businesses simply put a software client on their mobile handsets which re-routes all incoming and outgoing calls over VoIP links to reduce roaming charges, he said.

The software from MobileMax directs calls to either Verizon's cloud-based global VoIP communications platform or the mobile network service, depending on cost.

The service is available only to businesses based in nine European countries, including the UK, but will be extended to Asia Pacific as soon Verizon's VoIP infrastructure in the region is complete.

In the meantime, companies in the US and Asia Pacific can use the service for employees based in the initial service area, Verizon said.

The service offers a universal phone number with "follow me" capabilities to reach users immediately on fixed or mobile phones to boost productivity, said Recine.

The service will help contain roaming costs for users making or receiving calls outside their home country or making overseas calls from their home country, he said.

The key advantage of the service is that it is independent of the mobile network, he said, and does not require any capital investment in on-premises equipment.

Verizon Business said the service works with "an array of mobile devices" across most GSM-based mobile operator networks in Europe and will be integrated with Verizon's VoIP platform in June.

This will enable more advanced capabilities afforded by PBX office phone systems and cost savings opportunities for Verizon Global FMC customers who are also Verizon VoIP customers, the firm said.

Verizon Business also announced a new cloud-based service designed to enable mobile workers to connect securely to corporate networks and applications.

Enterprise Mobility as a Service is also designed to enable businesses to simplify and reduce the cost of managing mobile devices, Verizon said.

"This enables businesses to manage mobile workers on simple per user, per month basis without requiring any on-premises equipment," said Bart Vansevenant, director enterprise solutions at Verizon Business.

The whole connection process is handled by a small client on the mobile device, and by hiding the complexity, aims to reduce support costs dramatically, he said.

IT managers can manage and secure remote workers more effectively and securely by automatically installing software updates, IT policies, and security fixes, said Vansevenant.

The service will not be available for Apple mobile devices initially, but a client for these devices will be released in the second half of 2010, he said.

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