Telcos optimize

Google just keeps on spending


Google has added a new service as it continues its shopping spree, snapping up GrandCentral Communications, a start up that is focused on Internet phone calls. The new service allows users to have a single phone number that reaches cell, office, and/or home phones and allows users to manage all of their voice mail through one interface. This will also allow users to have a phone number that is not dependant on cell carriers, employers, or the location of a residence, as the user can configure the service to ring any or all of these numbers as it attempts to complete the call.

Google Buys Web-Calling Service GrandCentral (PC World | Reuters)

This news comes nearly a year after Microsoft inked a deal with Verizon that allows MS Live Messenger users to place phone calls using their IM client. Years after the Web-calling market leader Skype introduced its service, there are dozens of alternative services and products, some of which are very compelling. There are also new handsets that look and act like cell phones but use a Wi-Fi hotspot and the Skype service to make phone calls.

Verizon Business powers one-click Web calling for Windows Live Messenger (Verizon press release)

Review: 6 Skype Alternatives Offer New Services (Information Week)

Web Calling Cuts the Cord (Popular Science)

I like the idea of having one phone number that can reach me anywhere I happen to be, and I love the idea of having a number that can tie into any of my other numbers even if I move, change jobs, or decide I hate my cell provider. It would also be nice to be able to manage all of my voice mail from one place, rather than having to check home, work, and cell phone mail. 

Have you gone away from traditional voice calling at your home or business? What service do you use, and what has your experience been? Do you suggest traditional phones, or are the lower cost alternatives acceptable? Join the discussion.

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11 comments
JCitizen
JCitizen

I can't speak to companies with high inertia like AT&T or Sprint, but small associations, like those in the midwest, are already providing fiber optic all the way to the handset for landline based home customers; and these sets are digital, although not IP phones yet. Because practically all these organizations are also the sole provider of ISP services, they already have enough infrastructure to convert to total IP based digital services. And at very affordable rates. Most are simply waiting for the cost of final loop optical networking hardware to drop in price. When this occurs the conversion will be rapid and overhead minimal. The analog handset is as good as dead!

mshussain
mshussain

I think traditional phones will be out sooner then we think. Bandwidth will determine the speed of conversion to IP telephony.

grax
grax

I tend to agree. Without a considerable increase in available bandwidth VOIP quality will (in France anyway) continue to be grim. Lower price is what persuades people to switch. It's only afterwards that they find the call quality is poor even if the calls connect. Sadly these people are obliged to sign up for year. Stuffed!

Andy Moon
Andy Moon

From my perspective (I used some of the first IP to POTS services in the mid 90s), traditional phones will be around for quite some time, though some of the newer offers are truly compelling. Have you gone to IP based services at your home or business? What has your experience been with these types of services? Are the cost savings justified when you compare features and reliability?

onalax
onalax

easier to use; headset for privacy.

Kostaghus
Kostaghus

In the area where I live, the bad quality of fixed, traditional line telephony, as well as outstanding offers of VOIP companies (for instance free phone for cable subscribers of the same company or Internet subscribers and huge volume of calls included in the subscription) have determined a massive shift to IP phones. Some quarters (such as the one that I live in with over 15000 homes) have shifted to IP telephony to almost 80-90%. It's quite easy to understand why: classic phone company offers subscription for around USD 15/ month which includes no free calls (you talk- you pay), while IP companies offer a 2 USD or no subscription fee (if you're a cable or Internet subscriber with them) and 50 minutes free monthly nationwide (regardles of network, mobile or fixed) and 500 minutes inside the respective network. For older people with low incomes or even for businesses and relatively wealthy, paying an average of 3-5USD monthly has replaced paying 20-50 USD. The quality and availability of service are definitely better and they always include a free digital phone with the subscription. Right now, the traditional company (formerly state owned) is making desperate efforts to at least stop its subscribers from going away. I for one have switched to IP for over 3 years and don't feel sorry in the least for what I did. With the money I used to pay for phone alone, I now have cable, Internet and 2 phone lines. Worth the shift! Definitely, traditional phone is on its way out!

guy.goiran
guy.goiran

Since 2004 due to new Telco op?rators with native IP backbone, I suscribed for Voice + internet services over IP from Neuf Cegetel in France (controlled by Vodafone). Both Internet and phone work fine and are cheaper than previous separate services. On the other hand the reliability is about 99,98% still behind previous 99,997% with former telephone and all services are billed even calls for assistance, thanks to the new Telco business model ! Guy Goiran Telecom services sales

Dr Dij
Dr Dij

for a phone service that uses bandwidth separated from the internet. Do you want a ddos attack or 5 billion postcards from family member spams to cripple your ability to talk? And why should I be tied to my computer? (at home). Cell phones are like the laptops of the computer world. they free you from being at home. in the end there is not that much difference as the calls still go over same IP trunks around the world. It's the end loop that differes. celll phones are now evolving to allow use of calls thru 3g and other wireless networks. So pricing structure will change. It's already pretty low in US, other countries suck telcom dry to raise revenue for taxes. That's why calls to some countries are expensive. Plus fact taht some countries are 'out of the way' and it was expensive to lay cable or build satelite infrastructure there. They will have to reduce their charges to avoid being left behind in some cases where they are charging way more than it costs. When you switch to voip, you are tied to your computer. unless you have service that allows your cell phone to work beyond your home as I mentioned above. when companies switch it isn't cost savings so much as new capabilities. It isnt' free for companies. they are paying for a fast broadband connection and may be buying IP switching gear that is expensive to replace expensive PBX but will allow them to put calls over dedicated IP data pipes between locations and automatically switch calls to go various ways. And it requires upgrading infrastructure in network lots of times; new handsets as old ones proprietary to pbx, faster IP, safeguards for security and uptime (you call could be 'sniffed'- intercepted and recorded as done at walmart HQ recently by IT guy, inside your building with VoIP for example). So it affects your network greatly. Alot to consider

Antagonist
Antagonist

First, you aren't tied to your computer. With vonage you can go wifi and it's all in one little wireless phone. Get a soft phone and you can get your calls and make them anywhere there is a computer with internet access.

plittle
plittle

One inbound IP line, routed anywhere. POTS gone for five years. Went the Vonage route for a couple, good reliable service. Now using freePBX on Trixbox (aka Asterisk) with a line set up from a IP provider that allows 'bring your own service'. I have set up multiple extensions to reach any of the family, routed sequentially or ringing all at once; and additional IVR's for a couple of baseball leagues. Around 30 extensions, all the features you'd expect, but configured on a standalone server. Back to Vonage: Solid performer, used their PAP for dialtone and wired it to my POTS block for distribution throughout the house. Able to keep my current phones in place. Have tried IP phones on a whim as well, even wirelessly.

vrnair
vrnair

Can you please tell me what PAP and POTS stand for? Also how can I connect my VoIP phone system - I have service with Packet8 now - to my home so that I can use the existing phones in my house? Appreciate any help! Thanks