Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Jajah and Microsoft to power Enterprise Voice

This is an interesting partnership. Microsoft and Jajah are partnering to provide business users with the capability to make Voice call using Jajah’s SIP trunking gateway. Jajah is one of those VoIP companies that did not loose the steam during recession. It’s a big validation for Jajah’s claim to become a Global IP telephony provider. They already power yahoo’s voice calling capabilities. Now with this partnership, they can support Microsofts Office Communications Server (OCS) users’ to make voice calls using their SIP trunking gateway. Check out the Link for more information about Jajah’s SIP trunking capabilities.

I have been following Jajah from the days when they started as a Web based VoIP calling service. From just being a web based VoIP client to diversifying their product strategy is truly amazing. They have a potential to become a Global VoIP telephony provider. They already provide VoIP service to some of the big customers like Yahoo, eHarmony,,Microsoft etc.

From a business standpoint, Jajah is trying to cater end users, carriers and enterprise users. So iam not sure what is their end goal, be a global VoIP backbone provider or a cheap calling service provider for end users. I guess it all depends on what is that they want to do down the line. If it’s an IPO route, they will have to probably try something more than being a cheap VoIP calling service provider. Iam not sure if these social networking Voice calling services are gone bring them any big revenue. It makes more sense for one of the Big VoIP service providers to buy Jajah and instantly gain access to millions of user base and the technology. Will digg more on this an update you guys. Stay tuned!

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

IMS not a pregnant pause, its real!

IMS( IP Multimedia System) has always been a fancy jargon used in the Telecom World. It’s been making headlines for years with no uptake. However, lately most of the operators have started rolling out IMS,LTE,and WIMAX technology into their network. So it’s good news to all those mobile applications that use wireless data networks for voice and messaging. I guess in couple of years, most of the operators in the world would have upgraded their network to all IP. So the future of wireless is going to be all IP. We will see a transitioning of signaling from SS7 to SIP world. The future is going to be great for SIP.

According to Infonetics Research Survey IMS Plans: Global Service Provider Survey, IMS technology is advancing from early-stage services to the next phase. With the introduction of IMS, there will be a fundamental shift from plain vanilla voice calling to rich multimedia calling( Video, Picture, message sharing ). Top three business drivers for deploying IMS include Opportunity to offer converged services, Availability of new applications/services and Network consolidation.

Here are some Highlights of the survey:
• 80% of Infonetics’ service provider respondents run fixed voice over IMS today or will by 2011, making fixed-line VoIP service the current mainstay of IMS deployments
• More than half of the service provider respondents plan to deploy video telephony and converged mobile/fixed-line services over the next 12–18 months
• The top three IMS applications operators expect to offer over the next two years are mobile-related: FMC, mobile presence, and mobile messaging

From a vendor standpoint, looks like Ericson is holding the fort. However, Huawei is making very good progress in terms of deployments and trials. Other big vendors in this space are Alcatel-Lucent, Nokia Siemens, ZTE, Sonus networks and broadsoft.

So looks like the future of wireless is going to be very interesting. Hope we can see lot of innovation in this space. The barrier to entry for mobile applications would be minimal, which in turn would trigger innovation.

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Monday, August 17, 2009

Top 15 VoIP Blogs of 2009

Focus has come up with a list of Top 15 VoIP blogs for 2009. Again, this blog has been nominated. Earlier, this blog had made it to the Top 25 VoIP blogs for 2007 and Top 100 telecom blogs for 2008. Thanks to David Hakala for choosing this blog as one of the Top VoIP blog for 2009. Also, thanks to all my readers without whom this would have been a distant dream. Its an honor to be on the list that has some of industry veterans like Jeff Pulver( he is the evangelist for VoIP), Jon Arnold( One of the leaders in VoIP) , Brough Turner’s ( CoFounder and CTO of NMS communications) Andy Abramson( PR guru for VoIP, his reaction), Rich Tehrani( CEO TMC, His thoughts on list ), Alec Saunders( The man who invented Voice 2.0, CEO of Iotum), Luca( One of the top Blogger and CEO of abbeynet) Stuart Henshell( Founder of Skype journal, CEO of phweet) and Ashwath Rao( One of the pioneers in telecom industry, founder of enthinnai)

One thing I noticed about this blog is its name. When I started this blog, I didn’t give much importance to the name of the blog. Failed miserably in basic blogging rules (choosing the right name for the blog). So every time somebody nominates this blog, there is always a word of caution not to get fooled by the name of the blog. Does name really matter :-) . Hope you guys are enjoying reading this blog.

So far the journey has been overwhelming. To me, blogging started as a curiosity and an avenue to share my thoughts and ideas. Hope I could continue writing good content that you guys could enjoy reading. Thanks to all you folks.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Mobile VoIP, will it be disruptive?

We are back at it again, Mobile VoIP and how it’s going mainstream. According to unstrung’s new report called “Mobile VoIP: A Disruptive Service Goes Mainstream” , Mobile VoIP is no longer a cheap telephony call, its all about building communities and enabling voice based mashups using IP as transport. I have argued earlier on who will win the race, Operator or Mobile VoIP Application startups . Mobile VoIP uses wireless broadband network as a transport media for Voice Traffic between mobile devices. (Check out my earlier article on how Mobile VoIP works )Currently, most of the operators use Circuit Switched network as transport for voice traffic. This is however changing with the unveiling of IMS, LTE, and WIMAX etc. These technologies enable an all IP wireless network. It’s going to be a long way before we can actually see a fully functional all IP wireless network. All that said, from a consumer standpoint, all he cares about is quality of service and rich features. I don’t think consumers care about how the voice traffic is transported.

There are many startups that have developed compelling mobile applications that use mobile IP technology for voice and rich media communication. Many operators (AT&T, TMobile etc) have restricted applications like Skype, Truphone, Fring, Mig33, Nimbuzz etc from using their IP network for voice communication. From an operator standpoint, it doesn’t make sense to kill circuit-switched cash cow by allowing Mobile VoIP. Iam sure, eventually when all operators move to an all IP network, these applications will be given a free ride. These mobile applications demonstrate innovative features and have the potential to become killer app for the future all IP network. The business model for most of the apps would be to partner with operator or get bought by a handset vendor

Here are some key findings of the report:
• Many mobile VoIP players are broadening into other applications, integrating with other systems, and stimulating further adoption.
• New services such as voice-enhanced IM, voice mashups, and voice plugins are being used to build communities.
• Operator resistance to mobile VoIP is gradually softening worldwide, as major incumbents such as T-Mobile drop their bans.
• New Flash technology enabling peer-to-peer voice capability without requiring plugins or soft clients could be a game-changer.
• Venture capitalists remain interested in disruptive mobile VoIP technology, which they view as still in its early days of development.
• Security is an ever-present issue in wireless markets, but the WPA2 standard provides robust security.

Companies analyzed in the report include, Fringland, Hutchsion 3G UK, iSkoot inc, Jajah inc, Mobilkom, Nokia,Skype TringMe, Truphone, Vyke etc

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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Service Innovation key to subscriber retention

There is a growing threat to operators from different web companies that are trying to get into mobile arena. In addition, Upstart regional service providers are threatening the status quo of big Telco operators. In times like these, Customer retention is critical to most of the operators. According to McKinsey, Satisfying and retaining current customers is three to 10 times cheaper than acquiring new customers, and a typical company receives around 65 percent of its business from existing customers.

What does it take to increase retention? Folks from CMO council have come up with a new report called “Service Invention to Increase Retention”. The report dwells into details on subscriber retention and how to avoid churn. The Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council, founded in 2001, is dedicated to high-level knowledge exchange, thought leadership and personal relationship building among senior corporate marketing leaders and brand decision-makers across a wide-range of global industries. The CMO Council's 5,000 members control more than $125 billion in aggregated annual marketing expenditures and run complex, distributed marketing and sales operations worldwide.

According to the report, Key shifts that are impacting churn and loyalty
Rates include:
• Convergence of technology (voice, data, video and wireless) and competing,bundled Offerings from multiple providers.
• Advent of new Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) service providers and web-based social networks and interactive communities.
• Merging of wireless communications with high-speed Internet connections in homes and public access environments.
• The rapid shift to wireless-only households from lucrative wireline accounts (32 percent of U.S. households will have wireless-only services by 2012, from 15 percent today).
• Flat-rate unlimited calling plans from new upstart regional service providers.
• Market embrace of the digital lifestyle and more personalized,on-demand services and experiences.
• Increasingly diversified and fragmented entertainment,information and interactive offerings from niche providers.
• Loss of confidence and attrition of accounts in the financial services industry as consumers and businesses struggle with the economic downturn, credit crunch, huge portfolio losses and net worth declines.
• Digital device dependency and the advent of mobile entertainment, connectivity, banking,payments, remittances and other essential needs.

For more information, please go ahead and download the free report Free Report. The free report has some valuable information. If you find the free report interesting and valuable, Please go ahead and buy the report.

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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Make Free calls using Google Voice and asterisk

Folks from Nerd Vittles have come up with an in-depth Tutorial1, Tutorial2 on how to make free U.S calls using asterisk and Google Voice. Apparently, this little experiment started out because of the frustration with Gizmo5, which announced free unlimited Google Voice service last week, later retracted to plain old marketing tricks. Initially they started with free, unlimited U.S calls using Google Voice number and quickly morphed into 20 minutes, 3 minutes and then 2c per minute for Google Voice calls.

Hopefully if I get sometime this weekend, will play around with asterisk to configure my setup as mentioned in the article. More later.

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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Google Voice, FCC questions Apple and AT&T

The suspense surrounding the Google Voice App rejection by Apple is not yet over. It’s getting more and more interesting. Apparently, FCC has stepped in and has sent letters to AT&T, Apple and Google in this regard. For reference I have added the letters to the end of this post.

Apple has rejected so many applications so far. However, this time, it’s none other then Google apps, which has attracted every major media and blogger’s attention. FCC stepping in is good in so many ways. It brings in lot of transparency and net neutrality would be given thumbs up here. Iam not sure if this means that we would get to the bottom of the issue and know who actually played the spoiler. Nevertheless, we would definitely know some information about what went behind the backdoors to reject Google Voice App

Jeff pulver, the champion of VoIP has his Thoughts penned in the recent article. Here is what he has to Say:

And as to the reasons why Apple/AT&T decided to block access to Google Voice, it is clear to me that despite whatever was said in the trade press, in the end the wireless division at AT&T still has not fully embraced the impact of what it means when “Voice is an Application” and no longer just a service. Or maybe they have and they have decided to do everything in their power to prevent the widespread use of VoIP inside of WiFi hotspots on mobile devices which are under their influence.

Here are the FCC letters sent to Apple, AT&T and Google

To Google:

1.Please provide a description of the proposed Google Voice application for iPhone. What are the key features, and how does it operate (over a voice or data network, etc.)?
2. What explanation was given (if any) for Apple’s rejection of the Google Voice application (and for any other Google applications for iPhone that have been rejected, such as Google Latitude)? Please describe any communications between Google and AT&T or Apple on this topic and a summary of any meetings or discussion.
3. Has Apple approved any Google applications for the Apple App Store? If so, what services do they provide, and, in Google’s opinion, are they similar to any Apple/AT&T-provided applications?
4. Does Google have any other proposed applications pending with Apple, and if so, what services do they provide?
5. Are there other mechanisms by which an iPhone user will be able to access either some or all of the features of Google Voice? If so, please explain how and to what extent iPhone users can utilize Google Voice despite the fact that it is not available through Apple’s App Store.
6. Please provide a description of the standards for considering and approving applications with respect to Google’s Android platform. What is the approval process for such applications (timing, reasons for rejection, appeal process, etc.)? What is the percentage of applications that are rejected? What are the major reasons for rejecting an application?

To AT&T:

1.What role, if any, did AT&T play in Apple’s consideration of the Google Voice and related applications? What role, if any, does AT&T play in consideration of iPhone applications generally? What roles are specified in the contractual provisions between Apple and AT&T (or in any noncontractual understanding between the companies) regarding the consideration of particular iPhone applications?
2. Did Apple consult with AT&T in the process of deciding to reject the Google Voice application? If so, please describe any communications between AT&T and Apple or Google on this topic, including the parties involved and a summary of any meetings or discussions.
3. Please explain AT&T’s understanding of any differences between the Google Voice iPhone application and any Voice over Internet Protocol applications that are currently used on the AT&T network, either via the iPhone or via handsets other than the iPhone.
4. To AT&T’s knowledge, what other applications have been rejected for use on the iPhone? Which of these applications were designed to operate on AT&T’s 3G network? What was AT&T’s role in considering whether such applications would be approved or rejected?
5. Please detail any conditions included in AT&T’s agreements or contracts with Apple for the iPhone related to the certification of applications or any particular application’s ability to use AT&T’s 3G network.
6. Are there any terms in AT&T’s customer agreements that limit customer usage of certain third-party applications? If so, please indicate how consumers are informed of such limitations and whether such limitations are posted on the iTunes website as well. In general, what is AT&T’s role in certifying applications on devices that run over AT&T’s 3G network? What, if any, applications require AT&T’s approval to be added to a device? Are there any differences between AT&T’s treatment of the iPhone and other devices used on its 3G network?
7. Please list the services/applications that AT&T provides for the iPhone, and whether there any similar, competing iPhone applications offered by other providers in Apple’s App Store.
8. Do any devices that operate on AT&T’s network allow use of the Google Voice application? Do any devices that operate on AT&T’s network allow use of other applications that have been rejected for the iPhone?
9. Please explain whether, on AT&T’s network, consumers’ access to and usage of Google Voice is disabled on the iPhone but permitted on other handsets, including Research in Motion’s BlackBerry devices.


Why did Apple reject the Google Voice application for iPhone and remove related third-party applications from its App Store? In addition to Google Voice, which related third-party applications were removed or have been rejected? Please provide the specific name of each application and the contact information for the developer.
2. Did Apple act alone, or in consultation with AT&T, in deciding to reject the Google Voice application and related applications? If the latter, please describe the communications between Apple and AT&T in connection with the decision to reject Google Voice. Are there any contractual conditions or non-contractual understandings with AT&T that affected Apple’s decision in this matter?
3. Does AT&T have any role in the approval of iPhone applications generally (or in certain cases)? If so, under what circumstances, and what role does it play? What roles are specified in the contractual provisions between Apple and AT&T (or any non-contractual understandings)regarding the consideration of particular iPhone applications?
4. Please explain any differences between the Google Voice iPhone application and any Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) applications that Apple has approved for the iPhone. Are any of the approved VoIP applications allowed to operate on AT&T’s 3G network?
5. What other applications have been rejected for use on the iPhone and for what reasons? Is there a list of prohibited applications or of categories of applications that is provided to potential vendors/developers? If so, is this posted on the iTunes website or otherwise disclosed to consumers?
6. What are the standards for considering and approving iPhone applications? What is the approval process for such applications (timing, reasons for rejection, appeal process, etc.)? What is the percentage of applications that are rejected? What are the major reasons for rejecting an application?

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