EyeForWireless: What About Public Access VoIP?

The previous session was focused on VoWiFi in the enterprise, and this latest one looks at whether or not there’s a market for public access VoIP. Again, the initial part of the session focuses on the case for VoIP, which seems clear, especially following the success of Vonage and Skype. However, it’s not as clear when it comes to VoWiFi – though, the panelists all insist that it’s a situation where you have to use it to realize the power. From the economic side, Michael Kuhlmann makes a case of using VoWiFi for roaming situations, where mobile phones may have exorbitant roaming fees. On top of the cost savings, they expect that newer applications will also drive usage. The next big question, of course, is business model. Since so many of the current VoIP offerings are free, that represents a big challenge for both companies providing the free offerings and the carriers who are likely to lose business to these free offerings. As for how to deal with these threats from the carrier perspective, the general feeling was that they can all be reactive and just match pricing levels, while using existing technology, to keep their customers happy and moving quietly to update their technology – though, they point out that this is also a big opportunity for cable operators to come in and take away business from the telcos (as many are already doing).

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