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Archive for March, 2007

Wholesale Roaming Rates Capped

Posted by talkster on March 13, 2007

By James Wanless
President and COO of Talkster

Roaming rates are on their way down as I have posted before.

Today these efforts got a boost from the UK House of Lords. It seems like wholesale roaming rates between operators will be capped at 30 Euro cents. A retail price cap was not proposed at this time but it is obvious that this is (to use the British Navy term) a shot across the bows of the mobile operators. In other words – – Bring retail pricing into line, or else.

Jo Best at summed it up, well, Best!

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Gizmo Aggregates Voice over IM – Just Like Talkster

Posted by talkster on March 2, 2007

There was news from E-Tel this week from SIPPHONE and the Gizmo Project announcing that together they now make it possible to place a call from the Gizmo client on a PC to other PC-based Instant Messenger clients such as MSN, Google Talk and Yahoo. The announcement garnered coverage and comments from folks like Om, Rich and Tom.

Federating is where 2 or more networks make an agreement to allow users from one network to communicate with another. This is what Google has pioneered through the use of open standards and to a lesser extent what AOL and MSN did by creating a bridge between their closed networks. Federation between the major players like Yahoo and AOL for text instant messaging has been a slow process with no immediate prospect of inter-network voice connectivity. Without federation these VoIP (and VoIM) islands are getting bigger and yet no closer. Gizmo has taken a good step forward in bridging these islands from the desktop, similar to what Talkster is doing from the mobile phone, as we announced back in October of last year.

While Gizmo enables Gizmo users to call from the Gizmo client on a PC, Talkster has taken this capability and extended it out to the mobile handset in support of our belief that users should not have to be sitting in front of their computer to make VoIM calls. So for the last 6-months, Talkster users with an ordinary mobile phone (no PC or broadband required), have been able to call their Google Talk, Gizmo and MSN buddies from anywhere.

We at Talkster are acutely aware of this concept of communication islands. During our current beta phase we have shown our capability to connect to public voice over instant messenger networks. Much of this work involved codec transcoding and signalling. As we move forward to our end goal of a complete communications solution for the Enterprise, the VoIM "island mentality" becomes less significant. Connectivity to public IM networks will always play a role, but to us they serve as a proxy for how Enterprise users communicate. In the Enterprise world, standards based instant messaging (XMPP) and voice (SIP based IP PBX) communications are controlled through policy. The use of open standards removes the need for technical trickery and places the focus more on the appropriate permissions to allow communications between different networks.

These permissions exist on two levels. The first is within an organization and determines who is able to see the presence of whom and therefore, is able to place calls through the VOIP network. The second is peering. Will company “A” allow VOIP calls and IM traffic to flow directly to company “B” and vice versa? The management of policies to determine such permissions and the tools necessary to implement them are areas that consume Talkster’s focus.

The bottom line is that open standards are absolutely the way forward, and we applaud the Gizmo Projects’ success in adding the Yahoo component to its PC-based service. It’s been well proven with the PSTN and email paradigm. Let’s hope that island mentality doesn’t stifle the future of open communications.

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