Changing the way the people communicate

Archive for May, 2007

LAPTOP Magazine features Talkster

Posted by talkster on May 18, 2007

Turn Your Cell into a VoIP Phone. LAPTOP did a thorough test of 4 services taking various approaches to mobile VoIP and instant messaging.

Talkster received high marks for voice quality and ease of use. Given the relatively small feature set of our beta service (which is just a preview to our upcoming Enterprise service) we were more than happy with how we stacked up.

There was one piece of information in the article that we believe was a bit misleading and warrants further discussion here. It was mentioned that all of the services reviewed (including Talkster) require a mobile broadband connection (3G, wi-fi etc.). This may be true of the other services, but with Talkster it is exactly the opposite.

We specifically designed Talkster NOT to require broadband or unlimited mobile data plans. The Talkster service uses a very small amount of data to get updated information about your instant messenger buddy list (if their status changes) and, when making a call, an even smaller amount of data to set up the call through the Talkster network. Once you are talking on the high quality voice call (thanks for the props Laptop Magazine!) it’s just your regular cellular voice channel that is being used.

Routing the call through the Talkster VoIP network means that you connect at a local point, we carry the call over our managed network, and when it reaches the other end we connect it through a local gateway to the phone you are calling or in the case of calling your Instant Messenger buddies through VoIP all the way to their PC.

There is a misperception that calls over data networks are free. There can be a difference in cost, but you still pay for a connection to a 3G network (your mobile carrier charges you for a data bundle). In the case of using Wi-Fi, you can find free Wi-Fi hotspots but it doesn’t help you when you are on the move as Wi-Fi hotspots cover a very small area and there is no seamless handover from one to another that would allow your voice call to continue.

Regardless, unless you are on a managed Wi-Fi connection that prioritizes VoIP traffic you can experience, as was highlighted in the article, “choppy connections”, “delays” and “poor voice quality”. For consumers looking for just a cheap call this might be overlooked. For business users looking for clear, cost effective voice connections to their colleagues and customers, the networks and technologies need to evolve before they are mainstream in the mobile world.

We at Talkster support the idea that mobile VoIP will take advantage of mobile data networks when they are available. We are investing time, money and thought into making it ready for prime time, while at the same time offering a service that meets the needs of users today with networks and devices they already have access to.

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Posted in Talkster News | 2 Comments »

Roaming caps on calls – will business finally get a break?

Posted by talkster on May 18, 2007

By James Wanless
President and COO of Talkster

For a long time business users who travel frequently have been enduring the price of high roaming charges. A recent vote by the European parliament could finally mean this inflated pricing will come to an end. This week the parliament decided on roaming caps for both wholesale rates between operators (what the mobile carriers can charge each other for users who roam onto their networks) and retail caps (what those carriers can charge to their end customers).

The maximum wholesale rate will be €0.30 (approx $0.41). This rate will drop by 2 cents per year for 3 years.

The maximum retail rate will be €0.49 ($0.66) for calls made and €0.24 ($0.33) for calls received. These caps will fall too. Calls made will fall by 3 cents per year and incoming calls will fall by 2 cents after the first year and 3 cents after the second year.

To add a little intrigue to the whole process, consumers will not be automatically opted-in for these new rates for the first 3-months. After that 3-month period, they will automatically be switched over to the new tariffs whether they request it or not.

This makes absolutely no sense. Why would someone NOT want cheaper rates for the same phone calls? It seems that politics and lobbying play a role in all of these decisions.

For the operators it means that the all important summer holiday season in Europe will still offer one last chance to cream some profit before the caps come into effect.

Note that this vote is not yet legislation but it will be put in front of the EU parliament later this month for final approval and is expected to pass. Even after it passes, it will not likely be implemented until the end of the summer and even then there will be 3 more months before everyone gets the lower rates.

Seems clear? Not really. Tariffs will still exist where there will be a difference in the cost of calls made to various destinations. For example, if I am a UK user roaming in Spain, and I call back to the UK, will the cost be the same as if I make a call in Spain? The intention was that the cost of the call in Spain (the roaming country) would be cheaper than the cost of the call home. Unfortunately, we will have to wait to see the actual tariffs. I will be reporting back on that one when the operators have had a chance to craft their new plans based on these imposed caps.

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Talkster named “Product of the Year”!

Posted by talkster on May 9, 2007

Communications SolutionsIt’s always nice to be recognized for your effort and especially so when it’s a well respected organization like TMC. Talkster was selected from hundreds of entries to be a recipient of the seventh annual Communications Solutions Product of the Year Award. I am especially proud of the whole Talkster team who have worked so hard to take us to where are today. I can’t single any one person out for the thanks and praise as it truly is a team effort. “With this award Talkster has been recognized for our innovative technology in the mobile VoIP and Voice over Instant Messaging space with the judges recognizing the future potential of contact presence as well as the ability to use our VoIP network for long distance and roaming cost savings that works in a truly global fashion, We are happy for the recognition of the innovation which is just the tip of the iceberg here. 2007 is going to be the year when all of the hard work is going to be made public. While awards are nice to have, true satisfaction will come from seeing our partners offer innovation to their customers and bring new revenue to their bottom line using Talkster technology as part of their offering and an ever increasing number of direct Talkster customers from around the world realizing the Talkster advantage.

Well done team! Keep it up. Your hard work is appreciated and worthwhile.

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