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As a growth strategy for the telecom industry, focusing investment on mobility and data services while withdrawing it from wireline voice is doomed to fail. People still depend on voice for the vast majority of their communication needs. Read more »

[qi:090] Just as AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson is conceding to the permanent loss of wireline revenue, high definition (HD) is emerging as a way to save the all-but-abandoned asset. HD finally gives customers of AT&T and other telcos a reason to retain wireline connections, for while […] Read more »

The iPhone and the Apple App Store may have set a new standard for design and availability of mobile apps, but the iPhone operates within the same decades-old voice quality constraints as other handsets. Indeed, the rapid pace of handset innovation does not change the fact […] Read more »

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A recent two-week visit to Ghana, Africa, offered up scenes that seemed frozen in time. Most of the buildings and infrastructure date back to the 1950s, before seven military coups over a period of 30 years made investment impossible. Open sewers remain the norm, modern paved […] Read more »

The disruption potential of VoIP lies not so much in its ability to push down the cost of telephone service than in its ability to get consumers to ignore the telephone business altogether. The nature of the Internet makes VoIP advantageous even after the cost of […] Read more »

A growing number of people expect mobile phones to emerge as the dominant means of Internet access for the 6.6 billion people on Earth; as proof, they point to the 10 percent of the 2.5 billion handsets in circulation that already include such access. But there […] Read more »

SIP-compatible VoIP devices already account for as much as 20 percent of landline telephone traffic. But mobile telephones will not remain a safe haven for long, as more companies start to offer VoIP alternatives to operator voice plans. Yet the displacement of analog phones by VoIP devices has not displaced the telephone network itself. Read more »

A single commodity hard disk is fast on its way to being able to store every song ever recorded;* a close examination of how the rapid improvement of storage technology might apply to communication, therefore, is long overdue. Consider email, where the retention of messages enables […] Read more »

The declining relevance of telephone directories erased 95 percent of publisher RH Donnelley’s market capitalization over the last 12 months. Although Google’s free 1-800-GOOG-411 service may attract some share of the directory assistance business, the crux of the problem lies with the diminished standing of wired […] Read more »

Vint Cerf’s 1974 TCP-IP specification and Tim Berners-Lee’s 1989 World Wide Web proposals remained little more than interesting academic ideas until the ease-of-use advances that arrived with the Mosaic web browser in 1993, which sent the click-to-information Internet jumping from a paltry 500 end points to […] Read more »

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The linked computer files we call the Internet can take many forms, but real-time communication is not one of them. Communication engages participants more intimately than linking computer files, and moving from hypertext to “hypercomm” will require the infocomm industry to cope with privacy, authentication and trust. Read more »

A transformation continues to gain momentum in telecom, with software innovation displacing big iron as the primary source of competitive advantage. But in order to have a telco-free nirvana, the infocom industry needs to produce compelling devices that go beyond features and functionality already available from the telcos. Read more »

The persistence of telephone numbers reflects the long-standing pursuit of innovations that serve the telephone company, not telephone customers. They are meaningless, and yet the wait for a mechanism that would reduce the need to keep track of them continues. Read more »

There exist a lot of practical reasons for carriers to embrace flat-rate calling, but it remains to be seen if any of the current plans will be expanded to the point of Internet-like, flat-rate levels. Indeed, the Internet’s 300 million consumer broadband connections remain the best opportunity for unlimited global calls. Read more »

As the world population continues to grow, making communication available to everyone becomes increasingly important. An infocom ecosystem expanding the reach of the infotech industry to communication holds more promise for our human network than the usual stewards of communication. Read more »

Infotech and telecom business models operate at opposite ends of the product vs. services spectrum. So for infotech companies looking to play a greater role in communications — notably to offer more options — they’ll need to do more than just replicate telecom models. Read more »

Increasingly, Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) is the common denominator interconnecting diverse communication devices and networks. Like it or love it, the rapid adoption of SIP makes it impossible to ignore. Read more »

Given that the average talking Hallmark greeting card probably consumes more than a single MIPS and the $600 PC used by a typical 16-year-old to post videos on Facebook sports an Intel Core Duo chip capable of 27,000 MIPS, the tracking of MIPS no longer generates much excitement. While the availability and performance of connectivity represents the primary input gating progress today, the hunt for broadband still lacks an equivalent metric. Read more »

Aside from price, the traditional telecom model remains largely unchanged, even with the introduction of VoIP, and a lack of innovation has kept miscommunication a part of our daily lives. The infocom sector needs to move beyond cheap telephone calls. Read more »

Consider the recently unveiled “any app, any device” initiative by Verizon Wireless in the context of the company’s latest quarterly results. The wireless unit of Verizon (VZ) reported year-over-year subscriber growth of 12 percent, but a mere 5 percent rise in voice revenues. Data revenue saved […] Read more »

If Google’s bid for 700Mhz spectrum materializes in January, it will bring the trillion-dollar infotech and telecom industries into direct competition for the first time in 50 years. Read more »

The media educator John Culkin remarked: “We don’t know who discovered water, but we’re certain it wasn’t a fish.” The observation summarizes why I recently pitched Jeff Pulver on relaunching FWD, the VoIP operator formerly known as Free World Dialup. (Disclosure: I am helping Pulver relaunch […] Read more »

Verizon’s lawsuit against Vonage is the VoIP version of showdown at Ok Corral! The weary entrepreneurs have gone from fighting the regulatory morass to fighting the patent morass. The ability of Verizon et al to play the dimensions of uncertainty associated with patents makes one nostalgic […] Read more »

The remarkably uniform pessimism regarding Vonage’s prospects, reflected in the share price, would lead you to believe that Vonage is on the death bed, gasping its last breath. The $58 million potential payout to Verizon has the gravediggers out in full force. The B-word is being […] Read more »

The saying goes that elephants are afraid of mice. Actually that is not true. It is elephant keepers who like to kill mice because they carry disease that can bring down the mighty beast. The story is also true of the telecom industry, where mice aka […] Read more »

Never mind net neutrality, I want my privacy. As in packet privacy. The telcos say they need to sell non-neutral routing of traffic to recover the cost of building broadband networks. Moving from the Internet, where a packet-is-a-packet, to something that looks suspiciously like the 20th […] Read more »

The rich bonuses Ed Whitacre and Duane Ackerman take into their imminent retirements make them the only sure winners of the compromises required to close AT&T’s acquisition of BellSouth on Dec. 29, 2006. The M&A euphoria lifting AT&T’s stock in 2006 does not diminish the threat […] Read more »

GigaOM readers in a poll earlier this month have spoken – Vonage stock is a sucker’s bet and is headed down. The stock market seems to agree. The odds are against the company. Daniel Berninger, senior analyst with Tier 1 Research thinks otherwise, and believes that […] Read more »

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