Time for Telcos to offer their own mobile VoIP Services
VoIP is here to stay
It's interesting to compare the usage patterns of VoIP in the US and Europe. A few years back, Europe was really pulling ahead of North America when it came to VoIP offerings. The reasons at the time were pinned down to the general reluctance of American consumers to try any new technology as well as the high prices of traditional phone calls. This is also the reason why European telcos have historically been much more aggressive in their attempts to throttle VoIP - it's a bigger threat after all.
But few people can deny the obvious. With increasing broadband usage on both the landline and mobile mediums, there's little that can be done about the VoIP boom. It just makes more sense. Circuit switching is expensive and takes up space which no one else can use for a period of time. Packet switching on the other hand is much more efficient, cheap, and bordering on the free. Given these trends, it's time that telcos began embracing VoIP much more than they currently do. While US carriers haven't done much in this regard other than T-Mobile, at least one European carrier (O2) has taken the lead to provide deep VoIP integration with its traditional phone services.
Integration of VoIP with Mobile Services
The end game for VoIP is to do away with telephone numbers altogether. After all, who needs a 10 digit ID which is hard to remember? It's like having to type in IP addresses into your URL bar instead of a something which is easy to remember. But that's going to take a long time and in the meanwhile, it's best if VoIP integrates with telephone numbers in a transparent way. Google Voice does something like this and with Sprint, the integration goes pretty deep - kudos to Sprint!
But O2 seems to be doing more from the carriers side. They're thinking of allowing people to make VoIP calls using wifi and their regular telephone number! This means that for consumers nothing will change. In case of poor reception, they can switch to the wifi network that's available. What isn't clear is what the charges will be. Will it be cheaper? If not, consumers might not see much use in making calls in that way.
But even so, it's nice to see carriers take the lead and adopt a "if you can't beat em, join em" attitude. VoIP isn't going anywhere and if they're not careful, they can find themselves slipping very slowly into obsolescence. Contact an experienced SIP provider to find out how you can switch your business to VoIP. Prepare to switch to hosted PBX and see how much you can save!
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