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Voice telephony is the real paid content. It is cheap, efficient and at the same time it is something everyone needs. Which is why I am surprised when most people tell me that they are looking for the next suite of killer apps that will help the telecom business out of its current doldrums.
There is no need to create cute graphics, or funky tones or games. Who needs the headaches of creating the much vaunted but rarely seen “value added services?” Barring the hardware costs, and some connectivity charges, there are no overheads. Users create the content and pay for it. The more they talk the more content they create and more they pay. It is a simple business model. Premium talk, which is international phone calls, for example, cost more.
This is a model which has worked for nearly a century. And it will work for another, though some basics of the business model might change. Instead of using the traditional copper based telephone lines, we will in the future use broadband connections for voice. Little companies such as 8X8 and Vonage are already showing us the way.
Companies such as 8X8 and Vonage are perfect example of voice-as-content business model. Take a broadband connection, add an analog-IP converter, plug in a phone number and charge customers anywhere between $20-to-$40 a month — it is a fairly simple business model and it will only grow in popularity. Global IP Sound, another little start-up is using new technologies to make voice over Wi-Fi possible, and so are tons of other little companies.
If looking for proof that voice is the real killer app, take a look at the recent push-to-talk efforts by Verizon Wireless, a blatant rip-off of Nextel’s walkie-talkie service. [PaidContent.org]