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In an interview with Telecom Review, Mahdi Noorani, CEO, Sigma Telecom, talked about the company's services, projects and future plans.

Tell us about the history of Sigma Telecom. What gave you the inspiration to move from telecommunication infrastructure services to the VoIP market?
Sigma was formed in 2003; then, we were a small firm dealing in telecommunication infrastructure services with a focus on network optimization, planning and drive testing.

Sigma enjoyed modest success in this field for over years. Then in 2013, I remembered that for any business to truly thrive, grow and more importantly to succeed, it needs to diversify and innovate.

At this juncture, we made the decision to take Sigma Telecom to new and exciting heights. We built up our infrastructure, made our investments, took risks and in 2014, we entered the VoIP market. Over the past few years, Sigma has enjoyed unprecedented success in the VoIP industry we are currently connected with over 500 companies globally and carry traffic worldwide.

However, continued success can rarely be guaranteed and it is our belief that for a company to consistently maintain growth and diversity, it must take the necessary steps to innovate both internally and externally so that we may have a positive impact on our clients, customers, partners and the industry as a whole.

One of the services Sigma Telecom provides is VoIP wholesale. Can you discuss some of what this service incorporates and highlight the types of organizations that benefit from it?
Sigma currently offers a wide range of VoIP services to Tier 1s, operators, suppliers, vendors, equipment providers, governmental agencies and industry associations worldwide. Our main focus is on wholesale voice. Sigma currently carries over 400 million minutes a month, to over 150 destinations, operating a 40,000 channel capacity with more than 500 interconnected companies. Sigma's wholesale business is bolstered by the high standard of workers employed in our NOC that utilize the most advanced anti-fraud and security detection programs, ensuring that traffic coming and going from Sigma is safe and secure.

Any organization that is interested in voice traffic worldwide can benefit from the services Sigma Telecom offers. But more so than the companies, we believe it is the consumers who benefit when a VoIP company provides transparent and comprehensive services that allow them to enjoy high quality calling worldwide.

What can you tell us about the development of Sigma Telecom's mobile apps and other software services?
This is a very exciting time for Sigma Telecom as we are currently developing a range of mobile applications for both android and iOS. These applications cover a wide range of utilities and industries including communications, mobile payments, games, travel and much more. The reason Sigma has begun developing a wide range of mobile applications is the launch of our software arm, comprised of young and dynamic global talent brought together under the Sigma roof.

Aside from mobile apps, the software team is focusing on services that provide software solutions that have a wide vertical reach across numerous industries. Currently in development are programs for finance management, CRM, human resources, VoIP and big data solutions, alongside the previously mentioned mobile apps and USSD programs. Sigma's aim is to provide software solutions not just for the VoIP industry, but for the telecommunications, technology and any other industry that may benefit from our top-tier solutions.

Sigma Telecom has developed some interesting projects. Can you introduce us to ‘400' and ‘Pone'?
Pone is Sigma Telecom's first official mobile application available on iOS and Android.

Pone allows free calls and messaging services; users are also able to place calls through the app to standard GSM numbers using Sigma Telecom's competitive low rates, making it cheaper than calling abroad using a standard operator.

Pone is a free communications app that allows users to call and message each other for free while also being able to call any mobile or landline number worldwide at the cheapest possible rates. Pone is an app built to unify communications into one simple and easy to use platform so you can call and be called anywhere in the world.

When you first sign up, Pone will give you a free US number to call and be called on for free. Pone's unique setup means users are not charged when being called on their number and are only charged the lowest rate (as low as €0.01 per/min) when calling other mobile or landline numbers.

Pone provides its users with an array of fantastic features that will make international calling and a more global lifestyle accessible, productive and affordable. Some of these features are: free calling and messaging between users, free calls to the USA, Canada and China, free US and Turkish number when you sign up, numbers from all over the world you can add to your account to call from and be called on for free, €1 free call credit when you sign up, free to be called on your number from anywhere in the world, advanced audio codecs to ensure premium sound quality, and 24/7 support for all users.

*400# is Sigma Telecom's first official USSD program live in Turkey, aimed at helping people without smartphones and high speed internet connections to pay bills, top up their call credit and purchase internet packages.

Although the smartphone penetration rate in Turkey is fairly high (59% as of 2015), there are still a considerable number of people who use non-smartphones or do not know how to correctly utilize the features of a smartphone. "*400#" aims to help these people by providing a simple, straightforward platform for them to purchase call credit, internet packages and to pay bills without the need for logins, accounts or complicated applications.

Furthermore, customers are able to utilize all the features of "*400#" for free, and since it is a USSD program, there is no need for an internet connection which is an important factor when considering the large rural population in Turkey that do not have access to high speed internet connections.

Sigma Telecom believes that through the production and proliferation of useful products such as "*400#" we can benefit our community as a whole and help people that do not have smartphones or internet to enjoy the same services as everyone else.

What are some of the challenges in the industry right now, and how does Sigma Telecom address these challenges with solutions?
Sigma is aware that just as legacy phone systems were aggressively replaced by VoIP systems, VoIP will be replaced by something new. What the new technology is or how it will impact the telecommunications industry is hard to determine.

The challenge is staying ahead of the curve and the rest of the industry to identify, analyze and implement the new technology before it becomes common knowledge. In an industry that goes through such rapid and constant renewal and innovation, the challenge is always to keep up with new trends before your competition.

What plans does Sigma Telecom have for the future? For example, is 5G a technology that Sigma plans to invest in?
For the future, Sigma plans to maintain and increase its market share in the telecommunications industry by continuing to offer its customers the benefits of best quality phone calls, lowest costs and flexible services. We also plan to expand further into other industries, such as technology, with our software solutions and many other great services Sigma has to offer. 5G is definitely a technology that is in Sigma's sights due to the effect it will have on data speeds and help assist the rise and takeover of IoT. Currently, some preliminary investigations and analysis have been made by our business development teams; however, due to implementation dates of the technology still remaining fairly vague, we have not currently made any definitive commitments towards it.

To find out more about Sigma Telecom visit the website: www.sigmatelecom.com

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