A new survey says 87 percent of Americans don't know what VoIP is, while over in Australia, a research firm says "the vast majority" of people there have no clear idea about 3G technology. What's also unclear is why people in either country should need to know what they are. "The acronym VoIP and the term `Voice over Internet Protocol' can be intimidating for many consumers, because it sounds like something that only tech-savvy people can understand and use," says Verizon's exec in charge of consumer VoIP services. If it's intimidating or confusing for people, then maybe the logical thing to do would be to not use it? Telecom companies have a nasty habit of trying to sell people technology, not services. For instance, AT&T Wireless branded its high-speed wireless service as "AT&T UMTS" an acronym that's meaningless to most everybody, whereas Verizon Wireless calls its "BroadbandAccess", making it pretty clear what it is. Mobile operators should know after the WAP debacle that marketing technologies really doesn't do them any favors. It's a point that bears repeating: the average consumer really doesn't care about underlying technology, they care about what it can do for them.
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