Australian telco gotalk has partnered with Hi Speed Internet Kiosks to provide VoIP services in major shopping centres around Australia.
A network of over 100 kiosks and 2000 screens is expected to be up and running over the next 12-18 months in shopping centres operated by Westfield, Centro, Leda, Mirvac, Stockland, GPT, Retail First, Lend Lease, Coles Myer, Colonial and AMP.
"The partnership will enable shoppers - plus shop staff and centre employees - to make phone calls around Australia, to mobile phones and to the world at very cost effective prices," said gotalk CEO Steve Picton.
Initially the partnership will commence with 15 kiosk sites throughout NSW, Victoria and Queensland.
"We're expecting the 15 to grow to well over 100 over the next 12-18 months as the proof of concept works, and obviously High Speed have some very aggressive roll out plans which we're supporting," Picton said.
"What we can see the from the whole kiosk thing is that people fundamentally are looking for mobility which naturally fits into our VoIP strategy. So we see this as an opportunity for people to get used to and comfortable using gotalk derived VoIP services in a shopping centre."
Picton also said the kiosks would attract people who do not have mobile phones, and those searching for cheaper overseas call rates than mobile phone carriers.
"People are also attracted to the kiosk because they are searching the Web and doing other things as well as making a telephony call, so it's probably that convenience factor," Picton said.
High Speed began as a single kiosk operating in Surfers Paradise and has grown to over 30 kiosks and 500 screens nationwide. The company will be launching a new payment system allowing for notes, credit and debit card payment early this year.
High Speed's general manager of marketing and commercial, Stephen Burns, said the company also plans to introduce wireless Internet access, third-party multimedia and gaming services in addition to VoIP capabilities.
"Future services planned to be offered via High Speed Kiosks include the ability to sell bundled product offerings such as data, voice and content products into the growing High Speed subscriber base," he said.
Gotalk customers will be able to use their prepaid dollars for Hi Speed kiosk services, and vice versa.