More Mobile Telephony Plays?

While VoIP in general has driven down the cost of landline connections (whether at the end point or within the carrier infrastructure), the race is now on to reduce long distance mobile telephony costs. Carriers’ voice service plans, especially when including roaming charges, have left an arbitrage gap in the market. .We are starting to see an avalanche of services to address this opportunity. What triggered this post was a press release from Pat Phelan’s Cubic Telecom announcing a forthcoming service covering 160 countries involving voice and WiFi.

Cubic Telecom’s chief executive officer, Pat Phelan, commented, "We want a world in which you can pick up your mobile phone anywhere and call anyone for as long as you like and not worry about the price. When most people think about driving down the cost of telephone calls, they think of calling from computer-to-computer. We don’t. We deliver simple, high quality, high value telephone services direct to the devices that people like to use – their mobile phones. There’s no software to download, nothing to configure, nothing new to learn. Our service is straightforward and our network caters to all.

So here we go again! To review:

Mobivox provides low cost long distance calling from any phone in over 40 countries provided you have free or low cost access to one of their points-of-presence. Biggest feature: you can make a call from any phone or mobile device, with either landline or wireless connectivity.. With their service you can also call Skype users and use your Skype account to help reduce your calling costs even further.

This week Truphone announced Truphone Out+, allowing you to make Truphone VoIP calls in "many" countries using your existing mobile number and a feature called carrier pre-select that determines if the number you are calling is a Truphone user. Works fine if you have WiFi or an unlimited 3G data plan. Plans are to have this service initially available in many countries outside the UK and US where current users already obtain a distinctive Truphone number.

James Tagg, Truphone’s chief executive officer, said: "Truphone Out+ will encourage access to the Truphone service from countries where we have not yet introduced local number ranges. At a stroke we have massively increased the number of people who can access and benefit from the Truphone service."

Shape Services’ IM+ for Skype and the iSkoot service both provide access to Skype IM while using the underlying wireless service to access a Skype gateway for voice calls.

One entry to the Skype Mashup competition, MyToGo offers the ability to turn your laptop-based Skype into a personal PBX to call, from any three phones you designate (mobile, home, office), your Skype contacts or any phone number via Skype or SkypeOut provided you have a SkypeIn number and SkypePro subscription. Works great provided you have flat rate or free access to your SkypeIn number.

Next week watch for a new Facebook application from iotum. Yes, it involves providing low cost calling via a mobile phone. And what, aside from "low cost", will Cubic Telecom offer that makes its service attractive?

Speaking today with Thomas Howe, one of his comments was: "What do people always have with them? Their phones." One common characteristic: these are all services that are not country specific and can be accessed across multiple continents. Can they contribute to reducing the carrier’s role to being simply a communications pipe?

Seems like it’s going to be an interesting fall to these services vie for our attention and usage. In the end the user will have choice based on:

  • mobile phone platform
  • wireless access availability and costs
  • completeness of service (voice only, voice plus IM, email, etc.)
  • ease of access (can I still make a call with the minimum number of steps?)
  • effortless synchronization with contact lists (Outlook, Skype or other IM Contacts, Facebook friends, etc.)

Related posts:

  • Skype for iPhone puts another pretty face on IM+
  • Security, Skype and the Blackberry
  • IM+ 2.5: Call Your (Skype and Blackberry) Contacts Your Way

Tags: Cubic Telecom, Skype, IM+ for Skype, Facebook, iotum, MyToGo, Thomas Howe, Mobivox, Truphone, Truphone Out+, iSkoot, Blackberry

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About Jim Courtney

Bringing over thirty years' experience in the sales, marketing and management of cutting edge technology businesses.
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