VOIP heats up

In a previous post I wrote about Skype and their promotional offering of free outgoing calls anywhere in the US and Canada till the end of 2006. Well guess what – Gizmo a VOIP competitor is offering free outgoing calls to 60 countries indefinitely and so is VOIPCheap.com. The catch with the Gizmo offer is that the person who you are calling should also have downloaded Gizmo and added their numbers to their profile.

I don’t know what the business plan is for these companies but this is a classic example of emerging technology changing the rules of business. At this rate telephony does not have very far to go before it becomes like email – free as the air.

Check out the buzz in the blogosphere over this.

Update August 14th 2006:

The rules of the game are changing… With the mobile phone become an increasingly powerful computing platform and wireless Internet blanketing entire cities – the synergy is obvious – VOIP on mobile phones

This has the potential to become a market disruptor for the mobile phone market. Taking this idea to its logical conclusion, this would lead to a market where the hardware cost is the biggest cost – it would be like buying a computer and then getting the Internet service bundled along with it. The mobile phone is slowly starting to fulfill its destiny – to become the only communications device anyone needs.

Free VOIP from Skype

Ouch !! Man this is going to hurt some businesses… (including one I am currently working at)

Skype is offering free VOIP calls to any phone in the US or Canada. I knew this was coming the moment VOIP started… I was even cautious about getting VOIP because I had a feeling something like this was going to turn up and with my luck this would have turned up the month after I bought into a contract.

All you need to do is install Skype (for those of you with Pocket PCs they even have a PDA version) and then dial out to any other US or Canadian number. You need a microphone on your computer though and if you want people to call you using Skype then you need to sign up and pay them for a phone number.

So what is the catch? Right now this is free only till the end of 2006. But that is still 6 months of free talk time. All the telephone companies better watch out. They may be on the verge of getting wiped out.

This used to be a feature in the instant messengers sometime back. But I dont know if it is still free though.