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TIME FOR SOME R&R

R&R Telecom gives carriers and resellers a break from the burden of owning and maintaining a softswitch by offering partitioning services. Partitioning differs from a rent-to-own scenario, but it offers some similar advantages in speeding time-to-market and lowering entry costs, but also supports some creative business models.

R&R Telecom has two Sonus Networks Inc. softswitches at The tel(x) Group Inc.s colocation facility at 60 Hudson St. in New York City. Its team of techs provides 24/7 support for its customers which rent use of R&Rs softswitch on a monthly basis at a per-minute rate, starting at one-tenth of a penny.

The companys accounts, which it would not disclose, range from large carriers to small startups. This, says COO Ilya Belov is due in part to the companys experience in the wholesale market. R&R Telecom was a long-distance wholesaler for several years before moving exclusively to switch partitioning services in 2004. The product of that expertise manifests in the management interface, routing, reporting and billing it offers customers, he says.

It also makes R&Rs executives more attuned to their customers unique needs. One example is that the company provides a proxy not only for signaling but for the media stream in order to help its customers that are reselling another carriers network to conceal their underlying source from the buyer. People know how to look at the media stream and find out who is sending the traffic. Then, its no problem to discover the company name by the IP address, Belov says. With us, the only thing they see is the IP address of the switch partition. So, basically you are preserving your business for a longer term.

The company also finds itself enabling various business models and schemes. Overflow and redundancy are common roles for R&Rs softswitches. For medium-sized companies the switch partition could be a redundant site, says Belov. If the primary site is down, all overflow goes over the switch partition.

While many carriers employ this strategy 365 days a year, R&R will let them do it for short-term needs, such as a holiday calling surge like New Years Eve or Mothers Day. For those kinds of traffic peaks, its not reasonable to buy a double-capacity switch, says Belov. Thats why we are offering month-tomonth [terms].

R&R also has several customers that use its facilities to help them evolve their businesses. For instance, switchless long-distance resellers rent time on R&Rs softswitch so they can build a least-cost routing table by country or LATA. You may have 30 [carriers] and break out each country or dialing code. So for a switchless reseller, its a good way to save, says Belov, adding that since R&R offers outbound IP resellers can terminate directly and usually get a better rate.

R&Rs expertise in VoIP also has won it the business of some TDM-based carriers that are trying to move into the IP world. We have a few pretty big contracts with clients that have purely TDM networks and use us as a voice over IP leg, says Belov.

We still are a good fit for smaller companies that may find that buying a [softswitch] is too much work for technicians. It costs too much to pay for bandwidth, for colocation, for support, for parts and then you may have no traffic. Here, it is like pay-as-you-go.

Links
R&R Telecom www.r-rtele.com
Sonus Networks Inc. www.sonusnet.com
The tel(x) Group Inc. www.telx.com

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