Colt and Liquid join move to cloud telephony via Microsoft Teams
Europe’s Colt and Africa’s Liquid Intelligent Technologies have become the latest carriers to speed the move away from the conventional telephone network.
Both companies announced today that they have joined the cloud-based Operator Connect service that is part of Microsoft Teams, allowing enterprise users to make global phone calls via the Teams service.
Peter Coppens, VP for Colt’s product portfolio, said: “The last 18 months have shown that voice services are one of the most important aspects of a company’s infrastructure. An enhanced and streamlined cloud voice service helps power enterprise productivity and agility.”
Nic Rudnick (pictured), group CEO of Liquid Intelligent Technologies – formerly Liquid Telecom – said: “We are delighted to deepen our relationship with Microsoft through this global launch and integrate our pan-African communications and technology capability directly into Microsoft Teams.”
Microsoft has been rolling out Operator Connect as a cloud-based addition to Teams since March 2021, building on the success Teams has had since the beginning of the pandemic at the start of 2020.
Early adopters included BT, Deutsche Telekom, NTT, Orange, Rogers, Swisscom, Tata, Telenor and Verizon. At first, some telcos had coverage to only a few countries: BT, for example, listed just South Africa plus 14 European countries – Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK – when it launched Operator Connect to its global services clients, promising that it would shortly add Australia, Brazil, Canada, Hong Kong, Mexico, Singapore and the US.
Colt did not suggest any geographical limitations with its launch, six months after Operator Connect started. It said that, using the service, Colt customers “can benefit from a fully managed and integrated experience with Teams. This integration includes shared technical support from the resources of both Colt and Microsoft, quality service level agreements and direct peering for enhanced quality of service.”
Connections are enabled via direct peering through Microsoft Azure, “exchanging traffic directly between the networks for enhanced reliability”.
Liquid said that it will use its own OneVoice platform to allow “Microsoft customers worldwide to seamlessly integrate regulatory-compliant calling plans in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda – initiated from the Microsoft Teams Admin Centre.”
It said that “businesses will benefit from the seamless integration of voice telephony directly into their existing Teams install base”.
It added: “In addition, Liquid’s flat-rate calling plans save money and avoid bill-shock whilst increasing control and decreasing fraud and risk, particularly as employees continue to work remotely. As a cloud-based solution, no hardware is required, driving down costs and allowing instant deployment.”
Rudnick said: “Together, our two companies continue to lead digital transformation across the African continent with innovative solutions that empower every person, business and community to do more.”