launches hosted HD Voice service for SMBs

Editor’s note: and ooma are sponsors of has announced the introduction of its new HD Business Phone service, adding to the company’s portfolio of VoIP Virtual Office Services.   Businesses can purchase their own HD IP phones to complement their Virtual Office account or purchase a phone from to use the service.

This is the first hosted HD voice service in North America that is targeted to small businesses, but won’t be alone for very long.  8×8 is in the process of upgrading its service to HD voice capability with firmware upgrade adding the G.722 codec to its handsets and is expected to make a formal announcement of the migration in November.   Ooma has talked about introducing a SMB offering through one or more Big Box retailers sometime in January 2010, but the service provider operates more on a peer-to-peer level when it comes to connecting phone calls.

In addition, there are numerous hosted HD voice services being offered to large businesses and the enterprise level by a variety of independent providers ranging from Alteva to SimpleSignal. is offering Polycom SoundStation IP conference phones and Polycom SoundPoint IP desktop phones to its customers as a complement to the HD service.   Polycom is very popular among independent providers for HD as well as larger carriers — Verizon has deployed nearly 5,000 Polycom HD phones at its corporate headquarters in New Jersey.

In a briefing last week, CEO Ari Rabban hinted the Siemens Gigaset family of HD phones will likely be added to the company’s lineup in the future; Rabban and CTO Alon Cohen received Gigaset A580 IP phones at the HD Communications Summit in September as a part of the conference package and have been impressed with the device — as well as the underlying marketing savvy by “seeding” the phones to attendees at the event.

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