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IP Communications

Skype, FCC and Carterphone

February 23, 2007

The Carterphone ruling is what is responsible for opening up AT&T’s original phone networks to competition. Prior to this ruling AT&T had a monopoly on the devices attached to what it considered its network. AT&T even charged an electricity fee as I recall to light the lights on phones that hard plastic buttons representing phone lines.   In the US some think wireless providers are acting like monopolies as well by restricting access to their mobile networks to devices sanctioned only by the wireless provider. Verizon is famous for crippling devices – bluetooth for example -- and thereby driving revenue from services which require subscribers to rely on Verizon’s network.   Skype for its part is not happy with this situation and is subsequently asking the FCC to apply Carterphone principles to wireless networks allowing any device to be used on these networks.

IBM Webinar

February 23, 2007

We have a very exciting webinar running on TMCnet this week titled IP Convergence - Tearing Down the Barriers Between Telecom and Information Technology   The number of registrations is approaching a record and we are pretty excited about hosting it on February 27, 2007 at 2:00 pm EST.   Here is an excerpt from a press release which ran today on TMCnet:   The convergence of voice, data and video networks is having a profound effect on telecommunications organizations, infrastructures, and platforms. Convergence is likewise merging traditional telecommunications networks and Information Technology infrastructures, historically built on separate technologies and methodologies.   Using common IT technologies, service providers can reduce dependence upon highly customized hardware to create new service offerings. This results in an operating environment, which can significantly reduce CapEX and OpEX, accelerate time-to-market, and provide flexibility to deploy applications in the environment best suited to the service, and requirements of the service provider.   The webinar will be led by three presenters with decades of experience in the field: Bruce Anthony, IBM Distinguished Engineer and Chief Technical Officer for Next Generation Networks and Convergence; Scott Wharton, Vice President of Marketing for BroadSoft (News - Alert); and Ernie Bergstrom, Vice President, Research and Founder of Crystal Cube Consulting.   TMC will be giving away a 30GB iPod ($250 value) to a random webinar attendee.

In the Beginning There Was VoIP

February 21, 2007

In the beginning their was VoIP and it was good. Over time VoIP became a market. And this market too was good. Then one day those who supplied the VoIP companies with money decided that VoIP was bad.

Skype Pro: The Ultimate European VoIP Bundle

February 20, 2007

A few weeks back at ITEXPO there was a lot of buzz about Skype Pro and as it turns out the service goes live on Tuesday, February 19. I had a chance to speak with Skype’s Imogen Bailey and Stefan Oberg's the VP and General Manager of Skype Telecoms about the announcement and much more.   What is Skype Pro?   Skype Pro is basically a bundled package of services at a fixed price. The reason for this offering is to eliminate the one by one marketing of services customers would have to buy to receive similar functionality. In much the same way a cell phone provider gives voicemail, some SMS messages and a certain number of calling minutes, so too has Skype decided to make it easier for customers to buy a package of services.   Skype Pro’s subscription package costs €2 per month and includes:


  • Zero cents per minute calling to domestic (European) landlines in (country) previously €0.017* per minute
  • Free Skype Voicemail (normally €15 per year)
  • €30 discount on SkypeIn numbers
  • €5 Skype Credit included as part of the introductory offer
  • A €30 discount on a Philips VoIP 841 cordless phone.



FCC Still not Happy with Cable Companies

February 16, 2007

iPhone, AT&T U-verse, Blackberry and Hosted Communications

February 14, 2007

Edgar Bronfman Jr. a record company exec speaking at CTIA is right on when he says the interface on cell phones can use drastic improvement. On average, Bronfman said, it can take a person 20 clicks to buy a ringtone, depending on the carrier network the consumer is using. He also complained about the fact that ringtones, full-track songs, music videos and album art are all sold in separate virtual stores.   I believe Apple has and will continue to change the mobile phone industry and if the industry doesn’t get its act together soon, Apple will steamroll it. Somehow Apple does everything design-wise better than any other company.

Musings: HP, Paragon Wireless, BridgePort Networks

February 13, 2007

This week has seen more announcements than any in recent memory. 3GSM is probably the main culprit here but beyond this international wireless event there are other tech related news stories worth discussing in today’s musings.   One of the most interesting applications of technology recently has to be the case of the two teenage girls in Trenton, Ohio who posted a fake snow day notice on the school’s website. The two Edgewood High School students, whose names were not released, were charged in juvenile court on Friday and face expulsion. One of the girls, 16, was charged with delinquency by unauthorized use of a computer (doesn’t this seem like a made up name of a crime?) and by reason of records tampering.

Intel Investment in Fonality

February 7, 2007

I am a bit confused as I read the news on Tom’s blog about Fonality getting a cash infusion from Intel Capital. With this investment, Intel is investing in technologies such as telecom that encourage the use of Intel processors. On the surface this is very smart but it seems that if Intel was so interested in telecom they should have kept Dialogic within the company.   Granted Dialogic may not have been a perfect strategic fit but they could have spun it out as a separate business unit – but still under the Intel umbrella. It just seems inconsistent to sell Dialogic and then a few months later go and invest $7 million dollars in an open-source PBX company.   Why?

TMCnet Mobile

February 2, 2007

If you are looking for the best communications and technology news on the go be sure to check out TMCnet Mobile which will display very well on most mobile devices. The service is in alpha at the moment but seems pretty stable based on my brief experience.   Any web browser can see this page by the way. Check it out now if you like.   One thing it does that I consider great about this new service but others may not like is that it allows you access to parts of TMCnet that are formatted for the mobile device.   In other words if a link exists in an article that is not formatted for the mobile device you can still get there. This is great depending ion your web device.   What is very frustrating to me about other sites is that when you click on a link in an article that is not formatted for a mobile device you get redirected to a page that is a mobile home page.

IMS: Are We There Yet?

February 2, 2007

Here is my unedited Publisher’s Outlook for IMS Magazine for February 2007.

I start this column thinking about the most recent TMC IMS Expo last week in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. The takeaway for me from this event is that the market is somewhat confused about IMS.   Still, I can’t help but wonder if history is repeating itself. After all when I launched Internet Telephony Magazine – the sister publication to IMS Magazine, many service providers did not take the technology seriously.   Service providers first universally dismissed VoIP and then started to experiment with it when carrying their backhaul traffic. One would imagine the cable companies would have jumped all over VoIP quickly but they just didn’t.   There was early euphoria for IP telephony in 1998-2000 but from 2001-2003 virtually all service providers dismissed VoIP as something just not viable or worth discussing.

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