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Posts from November 2007

Global Roaming Getting Easier...Maybe Cheaper?

It looks like the always imaginative folks at Roam4Free/Cubic Telecom are making moves, inking a partnership with CelTrek.

The goal here is to lower the cost of global roaming, and that means they are aiming at the customers of WorldCell first and foremost here in the USA. While their pricing isn't lower than buying local SIM cards, they do save you money if you are going from country to country, and you avoid a lot of unused minutes. They also give you the benefit of one number so friends and family can find you, making it a great gift for the student you know whose going to take a trip overseas.

Skype In Make or Break Year???

Business Week's Olga Kharif interviewed pal Jon Arnold to get some context around what many in the blogosphere have been reporting for some time. Skype is at a watershed moment and their incoming CEO/President (I hear a choice may have been made through the grapevine) will have a lot to do.

With both CES and 3GSM/Mobile World upcoming, its too logical for eBay not to have something significant to say, and a new CEO/President's introduction would be newsworthy....

If they don't announce a new Skype leader then it would logical to presume that a sale or a spin out is the strategic alternative they are pursuing.

Truphone Adds VoipUser's Dean Elwood to Team

Long time friend, Dean Elwood, has joined the Truphone ranks. He announced the move today on his web site.

For Elwood this is a move from his full-time, but less exciting career as lawyer, to something he has been passionate about for some time. Developing a platform where developers can find a home for their creations.

This is great move for both Dean and client Truphone.

Skype Leaderless Issues Showing More and More

Skype lacks a leader and some could say eBay's leadership has pretty much hit the point where the time of looking at "strategic options" which means find a buyer, spin the company out is over. The caretaker brought in has to move on and a new CEO or President has to be named.

If ebay fails to do this in the next 30-45 days then posts like Russell Shaw's will really begin to hit home and the Wall Street and City types will begin to hammer eBay's stock.

My instincts tell me that a European or UK telco or mobile background executive with hands on operator side experience is what eBay would be looking to put into place for Skype. They need someone who has enough technical prowess as well to deal with the Estonian developers, and enough charisma to charm the media and the partners.

Lastly, they need a person who can lead the product/service team in such a way as to return the energy and excitement, as well as belief in themselves.

Video Conferencing Rising In The Attention Meter

Today I woke up and saw two stories about video conferencing, and both were about applications that are not coming from the big boys at Microsoft, Apple or Yahoo. These are mainstream stories coming out of major media about services that are available now to everyone, unlike Telepresence or Halo.

I'm referring to a PC World review of SightSpeed and a review ooVoo. Both are worth reading if you care to SEE what's really new in a review context about business and personal video conferencing

Verizon Wireless Says "Come Play"

Funny how much influence Google and Nokia can have on the likes of a Verizon Wireless...that was the gist of a chat with TechCraver's Jason Harris and I as well as subtext of a discussion with a few other people this morning after the news of Verizon Wireless' version of Open Skies came to light, complete with a major PR push that they have unleashed.

Could it be they simply were trying to get ahead of AT&T which rumor has it is announcing a similar push behind their own developer initiative real soon?

I look at this as Verizon and Vodafone moving more in the direction of playing catch up with the GSM players in the areas of handsets arena first. One of the best indications is the fact that I now see WiFi on the Windows Mobile Smartphones like the Samsung i760, which also has the ability to connect over the Verizon Wireless Broadband access network.

To me this means that the idea of BYOD (bring your own device) is coming. This also likely has some significant implications towards Qualcomm, which for years has been the technology partner for Verizon, as well as Lucent. With Alcatel-Lucent very much in the AT&T camp, as well as Orange, this could be a very big win for Qualcomm if they play their hand the right way, or it could be a big win for someone else. The domino effect of this is lengthy and we have not yet seen the second domino to fall as this also may have some roots in the proposed future development of LTE by the 3GPP organization.

With respect to Google and Nokia, both have openly announced network initiatives. That meant Verizon either plays with them, or makes them the enemy. So by making this move now Verizon Wireless says to them and others "come play" here versus losing their users (which is starting to happen already) to the other more "open" networks.

Rich Tehrani has some additional perspective with his post.

Vonage To the Rescue in the UK?

I received this note today from Vonage's UK PR team which seems to on the ball. I don't normally run entire notes to me but I find this rather amusing. Why didn't Skype offer a way for the customers to keep their number by just simply asking them to pay more when the plan expired (at worst 11.x months) at best 30 day or less for an upcoming renewal?

Or did Vonage go to the underlying carrier and offer more pounds to try to get more users? Ah the intrigue a conspiracy theorist could have with this one!!

Vonage to the rescue of unhappy Skype customers

Vonage allows customers to keep the numbers that Skype is cutting off

Following Skype's decision to cut off 10,000 of its 0207 customers by 20th December, Vonage is offering all those customers the opportunity to keep their existing number, simply by moving to Vonage.

Skype’s online forum has been inundated with complaints from confused customers for whom losing their number has serious repercussions. Vonage wants these Skype customers to know that all they have to do is notify them of their wish to sign up to a standard Vonage call plan and keep their existing Skype number.

Kerry Ritz, MD Vonage UK, said, “It’s simply not good enough to treat customers like this. Skype has total disregard to the repercussions of cutting off these numbers for their customers. They don’t even supply their customers with a number to call for help.”

“At Vonage, we pride ourselves in putting the customer first and have set up a special help line for all affected Skype customers. We welcome any Skype customer who wants to retain their number by moving to us.”

For further details, Skype customers should call a specially set up Vonage free-phone helpline 0808 178 9617 as soon as possible.

Vonage call plans start from £5.99/month for unlimited calls to UK and Ireland landline calls and £7.99 for international call packages.