T-Mobile and Mitel Introduce ‘Cloud & Clear’ - Provides a Bridge Between Enterprise and Mobile Capabilities
Carrier goes beyond offering cloud telephony services by including mobile capabilities as well as fixed mobile convergence for its SMB customers
As cloud communications pick up steam, T-Mobile Netherlands, which is part of Deutsche Telekom, announced that it will be offering a fixed-mobile converged solution for SMEs called Cloud & Clear, using Mitel technology. As the preferred supplier of Cloud & Clear, Mitel’s solutions will enable T-Mobile Netherlands (TMNL) to provide fixed and mobile telephony from the cloud to its customers, enabling a smooth migration path to the cloud.
Michiel Volk, Senior Proposition Manager for T-Mobile in The Netherlands explained that the company saw the need to go beyond offering cloud telephony services by including mobile capabilities as well as fixed mobile convergence for its SMB customers. Volk noted that customers want to be able to migrate their on-premises PBX to the cloud in a smooth and seamless way that lets them leverage their existing phones and investments.
TMNL is working to ensure seamless migration and transition for its customers. Customers can start with either cloud telephony or mobile first. The company can offer cloud telephony to users even if they’re on a competitive mobile subscription, while guaranteeing continuity of their cell phone applications. Noting that most competitors offer only “flexi subscriptions” where users pay a fixed amount per month rather than paying for individual calls, TMNL offers both flexi and pay per use or bundled subscriptions, providing customers with more options. Customers can continue to use their existing contracts and aren’t forced to become locked-in. TMNL notes that Cloud & Clear doesn’t require a forklift upgrade, and customers can do a gradual step-by-step migration at their own pace. For example, TMNL can integrate the customer’s mobile number from another provider and make it part of the customer’s ring group and dial plan.
The new service offering based on its partnership with Mitel lets T-Mobile offer cloud telephony integrated with mobile, providing the features and capabilities that customers need. According to Volk, “We’ve seen smaller startup cloud telephony providers offering cloud services for the past few years, but they weren’t able to include the mobile service as part of this, which was a big challenge for them. T-Mobile has been offering fixed-to-mobile converged services for SMBs since 2011.”
The new Cloud & Clear service includes a variety of Mitel’s unified communications and collaboration capabilities, combined with T-Mobile’s wireless service, providing a bridge between enterprise and mobile capabilities. For example, Cloud & Clear provides presence across fixed and mobile, one number for fixed and mobile, also for outbound, free calls between all users to enable people to be reached on any device, plus seamless integration of home offices and multiple office locations.
Customers choose from four user profiles, which are fine-tuned to the individual user needs, including:
- OP DE ZAAK (‘In the office’) – Provides only a landline number with a fixed phone, with free intra-company calls on fixed and mobile.
- OP WEG (‘On the run’) – Provides only a mobile number with a mobile phone, with free intra-company calls on fixed and mobile, and includes mobile voicemail.
- WAAR DAN OOK (‘Wherever you are’) – Provides a fixed and mobile number via a mobile phone. This profile builds on top of the other services and adds mobile voice mail and fixed voicemail to email, the ability to dial out or be called on a mobile device with a fixed number, the ability to set personal reachability with the MiCollab application, plus presence and chat capabilities. Users can have a fixed number on a mobile device, which is appropriate for sales people and those who want a fixed number on their mobile device so that they can call family and friends with their mobile number, while enabling customers and others to reach them on their fixed number.
- IN EIGEN HAND (‘In your own hand’) - Fixed and mobile number via mobile and fixed phone (including Softphone). This profile adds homeworking capabilities with Mitel Teleworker, MiCollab Client Desktop app with integrated softphone to call from your PC/laptop, MiCollab Client Smartphone app for calling with fixed tariffs or via 4G, and reachability with GPS location, Wi-Fi, and/or Bluetooth, audio and web conferencing, parallel/sequential ringing. This profile combines fixed and mobile telephony, enabling users to use a fixed, mobile, or a softphone client.
All users in an organization are assigned a profile based on their usage. For example, an administrator may get a fixed-only profile, while a sales person may get the mobile only profile. The service for each profile offers Mitel’s MiVoice capabilities and its 500+ functions. In this way, TMNL can tailor solutions for customers while offering one standard solution.
Value-added services include Fax2Email, Teleworker, Skills-based routing (ACD), MiContact Center, MiCollab Console, and MiVoice Business Console, providing a large range of Mitel’s UC and contact center capabilities to TMNL customers.
T-Mobile has made it easy for partners to sell the Cloud & Clear service. Starting with choosing a profile for each user and individual user, followed by customizing the profile by adjusting the price based on the mobile tariff, adding extra functionalities, selecting the mobile and/or fixed devices, the installation, and implementation needs, and providing a single contract from TMNL for all of the customers’ communication needs, with one contract, one supplier, one invoice.
When asked, “Why Mitel?” Volk noted, “We saw that our competitors were using Broadsoft and focusing on small companies. We’ve seen Mitel be successful in the SMB market, and they offer traditional and modern cloud PBX capabilities, plus contact center capabilities that enable and support multimedia, teleworkers, and home workers.” He added, “Another important reason for our choice was Mitel’s leading market position in The Netherlands”
Cloud & Clear will be offered directly by T-Mobile and through both Mitel authorized partners and T-Mobile “Mitel certified” business partners. Expect to see Deutsch Telekom and T-Mobile offer this service beyond The Netherlands.
When Mitel acquired Aastra, most analysts like myself agreed that getting access to Aastra’s large European base was one of the drivers behind the move and probably the biggest benefit to Mitel. Mitel can now take advantage of the large installed Aastra base around the globe by partnering with companies like T-Mobile to offer innovative services.
It’s unclear how many overlapping customers TMNL and Mitel have, and there will certainly be some integration work needed for non-Mitel customer that want to try Cloud & Clear. However, Mitel has a good interoperability story with other vendors and SIP trunk providers, and as mentioned above, there’s no need for forklift upgrades. The new service provides a bridge between enterprise and mobile capabilities, which is certainly needed in the market.
Starting in The Netherlands will give T-Mobile and Mitel a chance to see how well this new service works, and then expand to other areas where it makes sense. As more and more companies, especially SMBs, move the cloud, it’s nice to know that there are more options for them.