Greg Galitzine : Greg Galitzine's VoIP Authority Blog
Greg Galitzine

Service Provider

Recommended Reading: How Workarounds Drive Telecom & Networking

April 29, 2009

Fred Goldstien has a way of explaining the esoteric and confusing intricacies of telecom that helps readers make sense of the situation. And along the way he offers his insights to further help people understand.   He does it again in his most recent article, titled How Workarounds Drive Telecom and Networking.   Kicking off with the premise that "Pretty much everything in the Internet sector owes its existence to some foolish rule or another, either directly or indirectly," Goldstein goes on to enlighten us on the some history of the sector and how we got to where we are today.   I urge you to check out this article, and let me know what you think by posting a comment to my blog (see below).

Stock Blog Compares AT&T, Verizon

April 22, 2009

This morning, over at Seeking Alpha, there's a nice article from ValueExpectations (a stock blog and investment newsletter that provides institutional quality equity research) on the difference between AT&T and Verizon. is run by the founders of The Applied Finance Group and Toreador Research and Trading.   To start, the article separates AT&T and Verizon from the third place U.S. wireless provider, Sprint.   Then, it compares the relative value proposition of both top wireless operators.   AT&T's market cap is $150 billion to Verizon's $90 billion.   AT&T is considered to have the better 3G network and a partnership with Apple to offer what is considered the hottest smartphone on the market, the iPhone. Verizon however has a "decent" 3G network, according to the article, and through its partnership with and support for several Blackberry models, is riding a positive trend.   Verizon's FiOS is considered the wave of the future, delivering "lightning-fast fiber optics" while AT&T's FTTN (fiber to the node) strategy is somewhat wanting.

eBay Looks to Spin Off Skype

April 15, 2009

eBay has let it be known that they are looking to spin off Skype, the Internet phone company by way of public offering.   Nearly 4 years after it acquired Skype for $2.6 billion, eBay has come to terms with the fact that it might not have made the right call with the purchase.   I never did get the marriage of the two companies, but I guess at the time, a $3 billion risk was nothing to worry about.   I came across the following prediction (based on a JP Morgan analyst's note) on the Business Insider:   JPMorgan analyst Imran Khan estimates that Skype's 2010 net revenue could reach $740 million, with EBITDA of roughly $156 million. At a 10-20X EBITDA multiple, that suggests Skype could be worth $1.6 billion to $3.1 billion as a standalone company, Khan says.   $3.1 billion? I have to wonder if they'll ever get that much for Skype.   Still, the company does have a lot to offer. With over 400 million users, Skype is the world's leading Internet phone service, and they did just release a version of Skype for the iPhone and for Blackberry too.   They've picked Goldman Sachs to manage the IPO.   Rich offers his thoughts about the potential IPO of Skype.   I agree with Rich -- this should be an interesting IPO to watch.

WSJ: Obama to Ease Cuba Restrictions

April 13, 2009

Nuance Mobile Care Enhances User Experience

April 2, 2009

  I'm at CTIA in Las Vegas today, where I just had a meeting with Nuance senior product manager David Winarsky, who shared his insights into Nuance's latest offering Nuance Mobile Care.   The solution gives end users the ability to self-solve simple problems including customer care and billing directly and instantly on their handset thus eliminating wait times for customer service agents, and allowing customers to help themselves.   Winarsky told me that this creates a large opportunity for service providers to reduce costs and provide a superior customer experience.   Deploying the Nuance Mobile Care solution has reportedly been shown to reduce calls being directed to live agents by over sixty percent. Winarsky cited a statistic that a miniscule shift of just 1% to automation can save large carriers $1 million per month.   He showed me a demo of the solution on a Nokia N-series phone, and walked me through the different options for account management, visual IVR, ease of navigation and the ability to display complex details on the handset.   Subscribers can choose which channel (speech, text...) is best for self service and they can always zero out to an operator   The application also does some diagnostics, helping users determine if there are problems with the device.   One interesting opportunity is that service providers can use this application to send consumers targeted advertisements, and fulfillment takes place right on the device, which is another incredible revenue opportunity for the operators.   The solution is currently deployed with T-Mobile in the U.S. (postpaid) and Metro PCS (prepaid); and with Vodafone in the UK (with a contract to expand to 18 other operators in Europe).   Looking ahead, Nuance plans to add personalization and by continue to enhance the user experience. And while they are addressing wireless carriers today, Winarsky tells me that there are plans in the works to target the enterprise market down the road.

8x8 Launches Enterprise Scale Virtual Office IP PBX Solution

March 30, 2009

I recently had the opportunity to meet with 8x8's Huw Rees to discuss that company's steps to move their Virtual Office hosted IP PBX solution "upstream" to serve larger organizations in the small to medium sized business range.   Well, today the company officially announced the availability of an enterprise version of its hosted IP PBX phone service suited for deployment in larger organizations. This latest solution is designed to fit in a variety of environments, including a single building, a campus or distributed across multiple locations.   Positioned as the latest generation of 8x8's broadband agnostic hosted IP PBX business phone solutions, 8x8 Virtual Office Enterprise is now being positioned to offer a host of features, flexibility and the economics of hosted VoIP to enterprise environments.   In a briefing today, Rees explained the announcement. "It's not just the technology," he said, "we completely re-did the network architecture."   To meet the critical performance requirements of large corporations, the 8x8 Virtual Office Enterprise solution provides high availability, quality and redundancy. 8x8 recently upgraded its service infrastructure, which included deploying a new triple redundant architecture across three independent data centers with each center connected to redundant IP access providers.   As a result of this new architecture, companies that experience a failure of any software component, server, cluster or even a complete data center failure will not experience an impact on the service to the end customer.   Looking ahead, keep your eyes open for 8x8 to release some unified communications related news later this year.

Charter Moves to Next Phase in Bankruptcy

March 27, 2009

Charter Communications, Inc., one of the largest cable companies in the U.S. today commenced the next phase of its previously announced financial restructuring, which is expected to reduce the Company's debt by approximately $8 billion.   "The financial restructuring is good news for Charter and our customers and, if approved, will result in Charter being better positioned to deliver the products and services our customers demand now and in the future," said Neil Smit, President and Chief Executive Officer.   According to the NY Times, Charter reportedly had about $21.7 billion in debt at the end of 2008. After the bankruptcy, the company will have $13 billion mainly in bank debt, which expires from 2013 to 2016, the Times reported.   So here's a major company, a virtual monopoly in many of its markets I bet, going into a structured bankruptcy in order to emerge in a better financial position on the other side.   Students in today's current events/economics classes are probably left scratching their heads... "What?

DIRECTV Tops for Would-Be TV Service Switchers... Really?

March 26, 2009

Seeking Alpha has an article titled, Who's Winning the Cable Service Provider Wars? that discusses a recent ChangeWave survey.   While some of the results make perfect sense, other results may surprise you as they did me.   ChangeWave surveyed 2,830 respondents and found that price is now the key issue when consumers decide to switch TV service providers. Given the state of the economy, that's not too surprising. Apparently 48% of respondents who plan to switch their cable, satellite or fiber-optic TV provider in the next six months say price is the primary reason.   Slightly more surprising, but perhaps understandable is the fact that when asked how satisfied they were with their current TV service provider, respondents overwhelmingly gave fiber-optic TV services high marks.   According to the research, Verizon's FiOS service tops the list in terms of having the highest percentage of customers who say they are Very or Somewhat Satisfied with their provider. AT&T's U-Verse service is second.

XConnect Certifies Covergence Session Manager

March 23, 2009

XConnect continues to certify products as XConnect-Ready.   The latest product to earn the distinction is Covergence's Session Manager. The Covergence Session Manager (CSM) is described by the company as "a comprehensive package of security, Web-enabling and session management solutions for SIP applications and services marketed to service providers and enterprises."   The formal release, which hits the wires tomorrow, states:   Certification through the XConnect Ready Partners Program establishes that service providers deploying CSM can query XConnect's ENUM registry for session-routing information. The designation also means the CSM's routing and peering functions work securely and seamlessly for members of XConnect federations. This ensures, in turn, that calls from a CSM-equipped service provider's network can be routed over IP through any XConnect federation member, reaching end points all over the world while bypassing the PSTN.   The CSM is the latest device to complete interoperability testing and earn the XConnect certification.

Skype for SIP: VoIP Provider Targets Corporate PBX Market

March 23, 2009

It was only a matter of time.   Skype today announced the Skype For SIP beta program, which will enable businesses to receive and manage inbound calls from Skype users on SIP-enabled PBX systems, connecting a company's Web site to the PBX system via click-to-call. The beta is initially available to a limited number of participants.   The financial benefits are clear, allowing businesses to connect to over 400 million registered Skype users while offering the features and integration capabilities of traditional office PBX systems.   According to the official announcement:   The beta version of Skype For SIP will enable business users to: ·         Place Skype calls to landlines and mobile phones worldwide from any connected SIP-enabled PBX; reducing costs with Skype's low-cost global rates ·         Purchase Skype's online numbers, to receive calls to the corporate PBX from landlines or mobile phones ·         Manage Skype calls using their existing hardware and system applications such as call routing, conferencing, phone menus and voicemail.   Beginning today, SIP users, phone system administrators, developers and service partners are invited to apply to the Skype For SIP beta program. Applicants will need to be businesses, have an installed SIP based IP-PBX system, as well as a level of technical competency to configure their own SIP-enabled PBX.   During the beta period all calls will be charged at standard Skype rates. Further pricing details will be announced when the product is fully launched later this year.    
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