Bleeding Edge

by Carlo Longino

Voice Service Continues To Trend Towards Free

from the it's-like-a-voip-fire-sale dept

VoIP provider Gizmo is the latest company to announce some form of free voice calls, highlighting that the cost of voice service is quickly falling to zero. The Gizmo offer comes with some strings attached, so like Skype's free calling plan, don't go thinking you'll never have to pay for a phone call again just yet, but even VoIP providers without PC-to-PC calling systems, like Cablevision and Vonage, are slashing some of their rates. Gizmo's plan is to reel customers in with free basic service, then sell them premium services -- illustrating the likely billing model for voice in the near future. While basic service may remain free, there's still plenty of add-ons telephony companies can sell, whether it's something basic like voicemail or conference calling, or the ubiquitous coverage of a mobile-phone network. So far most of the "free" offers still depend on people using a PC somewhere in the mix, meaning they're not yet a huge, immediate threat to the likes of AT&T or Verizon -- Skype's low revenue per user makes that much clear. However, they're indicative of the pricing pressure VoIP will ultimately put on incumbents' voice services.

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  • identicon
    NSMike, 20 Jul 2006 @ 10:02am


    How hard would it be to adapt a bluetooth headset or make a bluetooth/USB phone that would respond to these PC-to-PC calls like a regular phone would? Not hard, methinks.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Topher3105, 20 Jul 2006 @ 10:42am

    Its not free

    You still have to pay for internet service.

    Whats happening is that all communications are merging into one service for a flat rate. But unless Internet becomes free, then voice communications will not be free.

    As for Bluetooth headsets, you dont want to bother with that crap. Most bluetooth headsets are crap, the technology is crap, the quality of these things are crap. Bluetooth is such a poorly conceived "standard" that using it for any kind of PC VOIP is pretty much unrealistic. Case in point, a friend has a VOIP soft phone and a Bluetooth headset, and it he always sounds broken up to a point where you cannot carry a conversation with him. There are few RARE Bluetooth and PC combinations that offer decent quality, its a question of how the PC vendor and the device vendor have implemented Bluetooth, and few do it well.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Bluetooth, 12 Apr 2007 @ 12:08pm

      Re: Its not free

      just because some companies do not know how to implement bluetooth, or do not want to spend the money to do it right, does not mean the whole standard is crap!

      I use a blueetooth headset everyday, and on the few occasions I run out of battery and have to switch over to the actual phone, people ask what happened, and that I sounded a lot clearer previously.

      The bluetooth headset is apparently better at filtering surrounding noise than the phone...

      It is also very convenient not having to attach a cable to the phone whenever I synch my calendar and contacts, or send one of the photos taken with the camera to the laptop/desktop or other device.

      So, blaim the company that implemented it, not the standard. There are lots of excellent bluetooth equipment out there!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    WirelessGuy, 20 Jul 2006 @ 10:47am

    I see this more as a way to compete with Skype/Von

    I do see some strings, but Gizmo is really the stringless VoIP of the moment. If having the software loaded is a string, then it is more of a strand. The clear communication of them stating that they do reserve the right to limit unlimited aspects, i.e. baby monitor application, I think they are the first to really put that in the bold print rather than deep in the EULA. I applaud them, and have always touted Gizmo ahead of the rest in terms of user friendly.

    The product is trying to get more groups, i.e. universities, businesses, user groups with their asterick product line which is a premium service, but this really is a good idea for me. Having the world using VoIP as a way to connect people rather than relying on tradition telco is a future service. I just wonder how the CEO of AT&T will react to this on this "we can't support people using our bandwidth for their profit" speech.

    I think combining this type of service for wireline and then UMA (GAN) for wireless, VoIP is looking more and more attractive everyday.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Riddelin, 20 Jul 2006 @ 10:50am


    ~Gizmo's plan is to reel customers in with free basic service, then sell them premium services~

    Isn't that like "bait and switch"?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      clay, 20 Jul 2006 @ 11:21am

      Re: hmm...

      "Bait and switch" would mean they offer free service without being able to offer the service for free. Considering they actually provide the free service, you can see this isn't the case. In a true "bait and switch" scheme, the seller has no intent of selling/providing the bait.

      Geocities offers free web pages but has an upgrade option for more features/less ads that costs money. This is no different.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    chris (profile), 20 Jul 2006 @ 1:51pm

    re: easy

    trend net makes a bluetooth phone for skype:

    there are a ton of adapters and things that bounce PC based calls onto either a USB phone or an actual telephone.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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