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KPNQwest, Wicom to Deploy IP-Based Call Center Solution Across Europe

[London, ENGLAND] Data communications company KPNQwest said Wednesday it has signed an agreement with voice-over-IP (VoIP) specialist Wicom Communications to deploy an IP-based call center solution across Europe.

The deal means that KPNQwest will host Wicom's call center solution at its CyberCentres as part of its package of IP-centric services. The partners say it will allow customer care professionals to offer a higher quality of service, with its capacity to add new features and applications as well as offering cost and time benefits.

Competence Call Center AG of Vienna, Austria, is already using the service as a pilot customer. It has a call center that is split between sites in Vienna and Linz with a total of 205 workspaces. By adding the KPNQwest/Wicom IP solution it believes it will be able to expand into Germany and elsewhere without incurring major outlays on infrastructure and IT.

Ilkka Kivimaki, president of Wicom Communications, said the combination of his company's application know-how with KPNQwest's expertise in hosting and data communications was the right way to bring the best value to customers with IP-based telephony applications.

Julf Helsingius, chief technology officer of KPNQwest, said the partnership would bring "unrivaled flexibility" to call center technology.

"This partnership will also serve to bolster the introduction of our pan-European retail voice-over-IP offering, and open new opportunities for our IP VPN customers," said Helsingius.

European companies that sell goods and services to the general public have finally realized that call centers are vitally important to their businesses. For this reason there is huge growth in the market for network-based call centers. According to Ovum, it is currently worth US $110 million but will rise to US $904 million in 2005.

At the same time, and in addition to direct services, there is a burgeoning market for virtual call centers, worth US $7 million today by rising to US $139 million in 2005.

KPNQwest will add the integrated IP Call Center solution to its Application Infrastructure Provider (AIP) service, leveraging it 20,000 kilometer EuroRings network and its chain of European CyberCentres.