Not only global players have major customers abroad, but also quite a lot of global leaders among small and medium-sized entities manufacturing innovative niche products. Quite often, however, these companies cannot afford a branch in the countries of their customers. This is a fact which may rapidly become an economic disadvantage as compared to local competitors. Quite an interesting solution to this problem is offered also to German companies by the South Africa based sipkom: users of their service are given the possibility to rent telephone numbers for little money in 38 countries. These numbers are then translated into local numbers and can be called in the respective countries at local rates from any telephone.
The costs incurred by the sipkom clients are also very low given that the calls are transmitted via voice-over-IP (VoIP ⇒ Wikipedia) over the Internet. The list of locations for which this service is available besides major nation states also comprises some exotic countries and dialling codes of more than 1000 major cities. According to the country in question the costs incurred each month for the respective telephone number amount to between 13 and 18 Euros. The corresponding airtime costs for these numbers are also markedly lower compared to the usual telephone rates.
Of course, such a number is not a substitute for a company branch abroad, but it safes the foreign customer money and gives him the feeling of being close to his German business partner. However, the time lag problem involved in global business cannot be solved by sipkom. Thus, whoever wants to rent a telephone number in Sydney, should operate their telephone support by shifts. Otherwise the Australian customer will rather feel neglected than taken care of.