Sunday, December 21, 2008

Does free voice calling still work?

Free is word that will attract hordes of user. Most of the folks are spoiled by freebies. When I read about Jaxtr new feature that allows free voice calls, it just occurred to me that they are still struggling to find the revenue making business model. The management shake up has not done much to their business strategy. What we are seeing from jaxtr is the “me too” play, which many other competitors are already providing.

Jaxtr announced a new service called FreeConnect.Using this service, members can make unlimited free mobile or landline calls to other jaxtr members worldwide. This is achieved by providing local numbers to both jaxtr members. This is not something new that has been invented by jaxtr. Rebtel, another mobile and landline VoIP startup has been supporting this model for a long time now. They started selling this feature for $1 unlimited weekly. Not many countries were supported when I checked them long time back. Jaxtr claims to have more than 10 million users in 220 countries.

I’m not sure how jaxtr is going to support this free calling. The international calls could be routed via a VoIP backhaul network. However, there is money involved in connecting a mobile or landline via local PSTN network. Other clients like Skype use P2P, and between skype users it’s free because the call is carried all the way via internet. There are lots of other companies like mig33, jajah, fring, mobivox etc that also support similar service with some variation.

The fundamental business model behind free service is weak. The users who like free service will always look for free service. These are like spoilt kids who will not change their habits. Free doesn’t generate revenue for the company. Free model is adopted by companies that look for registering tones of users and look for some bigger player to acquire them. With the economy going south, I’m skeptical this will be a viable option. Though freemium model has some credibility and is a proven model, iam not sure if that can be applied successfully in the case of jaxtr. Om has an excellent article on this topic. Some of the companies like jangl, talkplus, eqo that treaded this path either closed or they are struggling. Oh yeah, forgot to mention, social voice apps are as good as dead.

For international calling cost comparison, check out the following website LowCostMob. Good job guys!

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Anonymous said...

A friend of mine was telling me about a company called What do they do?

Anonymous said... is phone provider that uses the internet as the base for you phone service. It also appears they are a network marketing company

Jack Chrysler said...

Quick facts about VoIP SIP SDK:

* Dynamically loadable codecs
* Registrar support
* Play wav files into conversation
* Record conversation into file
* Hold/Retrieve call
* Forward Call (Blind Call Transfer)
* Transfer Call (Attended Transfer)
* Mute Sound
* VPN support
* Authorization Id
* Samples on Delphi, C#, VB, VB.NET, C++ 2005, C++ 6.0, HTML (SIP ActiveX)
* Adaptive silence detection
* Adaptive jitter buffer
* STUN support
* Comes as ActiveX control
* Royalty free licensing
* No Yearly/Monthly fee