Friday, February 25, 2005

VoIP is ready for prime time | Tech News on ZDNet

VoIP is ready for prime time | Tech News on ZDNet: "In short: my mobile phone bill has plummeted from $500 a month to less than $10 a month. The number of times I have had to use my mobile phone in the US during the past two weeks can be counted on the fingers of one hand. For the most part it is people calling me on my mobile that dominates my usage. My outgoing calls are now few and far between. The prevalence of low-cost or free Wi-Fi across the US means I am at most paying for a local telephone call in the destination country.
My evaluation of VoIP is very simple: it either works or it doesn't--it is strictly binary. It either has a quality of service that far surpasses the telephone network or it is so poor it is unusable. Either way the economic impact for my company and many others is profound. I've purchased headsets for all of my children and colleagues and asked them to move to VoIP. Early this morning in Cupertino, California, I had four conversations back into the UK at zero cost.
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At last the telephone companies and mobile operators are realizing the nightmare in which their future income from phone call minutes related to time and distance is under real threat. A combination of high billing system costs, static (or rising) provision and services costs, severe competition and an unwillingness of customers to pay is severely cramping their style. It is unfortunate indeed that they have long been aware that their 200-year-old model was going to collapse but took limited or no action.
The value for fixed and mobile operators is now in services. Unfortunately neither has seen fit to invest in sufficient numbers of services that interest users.
To be blunt, VoIP is going to hurt the industry. The really big question is: who is going to support the wired, fiber and wireless infrastructure for global data communication if the money is taken out of the industry by services based on VoIP and others that charge nothing? The answer is not 100 per cent clear but for sure there is no free lunch. We will have to pay--one way or another."
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