Avoiding the Telco

I’ve just read a number of posts offline while travelling and one theme that struck me was the amount of new services designed specifically to cut the Telco out of the loop entirely. This is something I’ve commented on regularly in internal reports and email but I figured I’d post about two that caught my eye.

First Up is Fring, the description from the site makes it clear:

fring is a 3G mobile application that allows you to make free mobile calls, send instant messages to other fring users, and communicate with PC based VoIP applications such as Skype and Google Talk.

And the next is Tuxphone which gets a good post from Telepocalypse:

You then dial as normal. Press the green button. NO SPECIAL APPLICATION UI. If the other user is on another Truphone device, you’re through. If they’re on a landline in 40-odd countries (or US/Canada cell phone), you’re also through. Note: you’re not a penny poorer. The price of PSTN calls is effectively zero now — official death of the metered minute, full report at noon. Want to call Timbuktu, a high termination fee mobile or non-geographic or premium service? Deplete your pre-paid Truphone balance. Or just pay the usurious mobile rates if you insist — instead of pressing the green button, make a charitable donation to telco shareholders using the menu.

Martin Geddes, the man behind Telepocalypse is running an event next week called Telco2.o which is designed to help Telcos figure out how to make money in an IP world, will be interesting to see what he and the other speakers have to say in light of posts like this!

He is right of course, there are a few now and many more soon that want to take revenue directly away from the Telco and keep it for themselves, the rise of Asterisk and SIP is a challenge to the IMS vision, can they both exist or a hybrid of the two perhaps, read a few posts touching on this which I don’t have to hand right now but one thing is for sure in this battle, there will be carrier grade IMS, there will be numerous VoIP providers, SIP and Asterisk growth and in the end it can only be good for the customers and at the end of the day it will be the services and prices that decide this, not the underlying technology I believe.

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