For hosted voice service providers and mobile network and fixed-line operators, BT’s launch of a major global IP exchange (GIPX) hub in Singapore could be good news. Set up to meet the demand for growing traffic over its IP Exchange platform, this is the third announcement I’ve seen from telcos in this region in the space of two months — the others being Telstra Global Services and Tata Communications.

BT’s wholesale service enables communications providers to connect VoIP to VoIP and VoIP to traditional voice calls, and runs over its MPLS network — i.e., a private IP network.

I spoke with Beatriz Butsana-Sita, managing director of BT Global Services and Global Telecom Markets, who explained that delivering the GIPX service closer to BT’s wholesale customers in this region serves to minimize their cost to interconnect to BT’s clearinghouse. “GIPX also provides an opening into BT’s platform for advanced IP services that we continue to invest in,” she said.

The telco is also working on a number of developments to further expand the service, such as the ability to support mobile 4G and provide video interoperability between different devices and networks.

The BT GIPX Singapore hub:

  • Provides a local switch function in the Asia Pacific region. This brings BT’s GIPX service closer to customers’ networks.
  • Acts as a multiservice GIPX point of presence (PoP). This helps address the growing demand for interconnect services in the region. The services that benefit from and are supported by GIPX include fixed and mobile voice (at a range of qualities, e.g., high-definition voice); fixed, mobile, and wireless data; roaming services; and videoconferencing.

What It Means

BT’s GIPX services currently support 290 customers of communications providers and BT adds about 10 new global customers each month.

  • Hosted voice. Service providers that don’t have much of a legacy network but are looking to offer hosted voice services could tap into a ready IP exchange and deliver quality voice minutes to end users. GIPX enables IP network operators from more than 170 countries around the world to interconnect with each other, as well as to fixed telecom and mobile network operators.
  • Bridging between IP and older networks. Fixed-line providers that do not want to make additional investments to upgrade time-division multiplex (TDM) networks to IP networks could also use GIPX as a bridge to interchange IP-enabled traffic — as could mobile network operators.

The bottom line: As mentioned, there are competitive IPX services in the region, such as Telstra and Tata. If you’re delivering a large volume of voice minutes but are challenged by price erosion, it might make sense to let more efficient players provide clearinghouse/IPX services while you focus on marketing higher-quality voice calls and data traffic.