MTN Business has launched Managed IP PBX, the first phase of its converged communicaions solution and, it says, the foundation for true convergence.

Telephonic communication remains one the most important business tools available today, the company says, but it is no secret that the need for collaborative business applications and services that work seamlessly with voice technology is driving the "convergence model" – essentially bringing data and voice together.
The MTN Managed IP PBX solution is a hosted solution using a advanced combination of technologies to deliver innovative telephony services to businesses and is one of the important steps for its customers in the journey towards convergence.
Angela Gahagan, executive at MTN Business, says: “There are drivers that are leading to the integration of IP and GSM services; such as an increase in mobility of employees, the trend for employees to be always available, increased work pressures requiring instant decisions and more efficient collaboration to make informed decisions. As a company with interests in both IP and GSM, MTN is at the forefront of innovation in this regard.”
However, Gahagan believes that convergence is fast being viewed as another industry buzzword, bandied around extensively and losing momentum within corporate viewpoints due to unrealistic market expectations – sadly set by the very industry trying to deliver the innovation.
“While MTN Business is in a unique position locally to actually drive true converged technologies, we are set on driving a realistic convergence roadmap to the market – being transparent and deliberate in, what we term, ‘the phased approach’,” says Gahagan.   
Being a hosted solution, the Managed IP PBX significantly reduces capital expenditure, maintenance costs and total network cost, while increasing access to converged applications – making geographically dispersed office locations irrelevant.
While there are many key innovative features to MTN Managed IP PBX, Gahagan says some worth mentioning include: realtime management, which gives businesses the ability to easily manage users and manage services via a user-friendly online portal; there is no requirement to contract costly technicians to make PBX changes, and no need to buy additional equipment due to business expansion; the advanced applications feature allows an increasing number of applications to integrate into the solution, enabling collaboration.
In addition, Managed IP PBX has built-in, cost-effective routing; evaluating each outgoing call and selecting the most appropriate break out point to further reduce costs.
Businesses can also keep both existing telephone numbers as well as have the option of using a number in the 087 number ranges. Continues Gahagan;
“In the near future, when our IP and GSM services integrate, customers will enjoy the benefits of a single contact number for employees, as well as a single voicemail box, as opposed to the plethora of numbers and message sources that business are forced to deal with today,” Gahagan says.