Previous month:
August 2008
Next month:
October 2008

Posts from September 2008

VidTel-Sounds Like The Packet 8 VideoPhone? Not!

Luca has a post about a new company in beta, VidTel.

Based on his write up the service sounds a lot like what Packet8 has been peddling for a while. That said, knowing that Scott Wharton is behind it makes me think there's more to the story.

Scott used to be at Broadsoft and is one of the brighter marketing types in Silicon Valley. He's got a few things up his sleeves I bet, so let's not jump to any conclusions.....just yet.

Are SkypePhone and Skype on Different Networks or Subnets?

I've been using the new SkypePhone2 here in London and have noticed a quirky anomaly.

When I'm on a Skype call on my Mac and I reject a second inbound call to send it to voicemail the call keeps ringing on the SkypePhone. But when I'm on the SkypePhone and a second call comes in, I don't get a second "ring."

The second thing that happens is the delay in IM's to the SkypePhone. I can find chats from days ago popping up as "new." That leads me to believe that the presence engine needs some tweaking as it's not exactly current.

Wireless Competition Increases in the USA

Talking for less just got easier in the USA.

The spectrum swap and bi-lateral roaming agreement between Leap Wireless (Cricket) and Metro PCS, a value priced leader in mobile, means that the incumbent giants Verizon Wireless, Sprint, T-Mobile and AT&T now have to look over their shoulders at the two companies.

While both have traditionally focused on the local market non-travel type customer, this new roaming agreement basically creates a national footprint for both, or lays the foundation for it. What's also interesting is if this includes data roaming, as Cricket just announced some very reasonably priced data deals, but which don't permit VoIP.

Three Looking For Handset Deals In The USA

Last week at Mobilize, global carrier Hutchison Whompoa, best known as mobile operator THREE in the UK and in other markets was present with a ranking executive. They also co-sponsored the post event reception along with client Boingo.

Their presence in a USA conference about mobile intrigued me, so with a bit of digging around in London (read visiting their stores, talking to people close to 3, etc.) I was able to piece together some facts.

1) They have built the SkypePhone. Now they want to market it globally

2) The person who spoke at Mobilize is their "product" person. His job is to find customer/carrier partners to sell it.

3) The mission is to get USA based carriers to adopt their device.

4) Mobile operators like leading USA pre-paid carrier Boost Mobile would be an ideal target for them because Boost wants a cheap, low priced, feature rich phone for their network that takes them beyond the iDen based Motorola Walkie-Talkie phones. The SkypePhone from Three would immediately give them talk and text on their network.

While 3 is not in the business of "selling phones" they claim, their investment in the SkypePhone needs to generate more of a return. That, and by working with the MVNO's they learn a lot about the USA market, and then can develop a market entry opportunity when the time is right.

New SkypePhone Rates in UK Out Soon

The Times of London has the news on the new rates for Skype users who acquire the SkypePhone. The big news is now you'll be able to call non-Skype users via Skype on the SkypePhone just like you can from Skype today on your PC. This is Huge....

With the kind of pricing that's coming down the line (7.99 pounds for global calling per month) a pay as you go phone from 3 (the UK carrier) means that for less than $20 dollars a month (you have a 5 pound per month data plan) when you're in the UK to make calls to landlines. Of course Mobile call termination is still higher, but for International calling, this is a very interesting play.

3 is by far the mobile operator with the best grasp on where the market is heading. Their data plans are about the best deals around. Their marketing is crisp and message is easy to understand.

I'd even go so far to say as I would not be surprised to see them end up somehow in the USA in the near future via some kind of deal with either T-Mobile or AT&T.

Easy Way To Be an MVNO-MaxRoam

Give it to pal Pat Phelan and his team of developers. They have built a global roaming based mobile operator solution that now gives just about anyone the ability to be their own mobile operator.

What they is really good for companies and associations who have a team of global road warriors that need to have consistent calling rates as they cross borders and need to have phone numbers that stay constant. The multiple number capability of MaxRoam is one of their core strengths, with the other being an online pre-pay system.

This is all about "on-boarding." The more minutes MaxRoam has on their network, the better rates they get from the wholesale carriers. The more new services MaxRoam can offer (features and applications) the higher their profit margin is. MaxRoam is not about cheap minutes. They're about adding value and filling in the gaps that the traditional mobile operator doesn't offer.

Watch for more good things from Pat and his team.

Texting Up, Talking Down

The New York Times reports that for the first time SMS (Texting) was more popular than talk.

In the fourth quarter of 2007, American cellphone subscribers for the first time sent text messages more than they phoned, according to Nielsen Mobile. Since then, the average subscriber’s volume of text messages has shot upward by 64 percent, while the average number of calls has dropped slightly.

This is wonderfully supportive story for the traditional telcos who operate or are investing in mobile networks, but also a huge and supportive story for the services like client Palringo, plus Meebo and Nimbuzz, all of which are into the no cost (other than a data plan) IM world.

The use of SMS brings high profit to the carriers. Just as Skype and other IP based voice and IM services have cut into the traditional land line business for calls (something that likely was not reflected in the study, and wasn't referred to in story) through disruption, these next generation cross service platforms will also begin to erode and disrupt the user base of SMS as they'll offer more robustness than the original. As the carriers offer more data plans at lower prices these services will cut into the share of SMS revenue simply because they offer more and are "cool."

The coolness factor can't be overlooked. It plays a big part in the youth of our generation adopting something. Just as Skype was/is a cool way to communicate, these new services bring that same degree of "coolness" and as colleague Bill Ryan likes to say, "it's all about Speed To Cool."

WiMax Coming on Stream in Baltimore

Sprint's XOHM, is coming online in downtown Baltimore today. Both USA Today and the Wall Street Journal covered the story, with the WSJ's Don Clark doing the more complete job at digging into what the opposition might be saying. In traditional media style, the story was either "it's new" or "here are the challenges," the latter which Clark nails.

Over at SideCut Reports, Paul Kapustka drives home the point though that matters most to the users. In his post today Kaps tells us that Asus and Lenovo will have their UMPC's ready soon with onboard WiMax, and before then a slew of USB sticks and data cards will be available. What's more Kapustka points out that client Nokia is also releasing the Nokia N810 Internet Tablet, something that was first shown at CES and then again at CTIA last month.

So while the traditional media focuses on the impact WiMax will have on the publicly traded cellular carriers, Kaputska has told the public and the industry in one post what it takes to use WiMax.

Oh, and as for Voice Services, you can run just about anything it seems. It's an IP connection, and the CEO told USA Today "Voice services will eventually be added, Xohm President Barry West says. For now, Xohm customers can easily use any Internet telephony service, such as Skype." To me that "sounds" like an OPEN Net.