The PhoneBoy Blog

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More on Value-Adds Not Saving VoIP Providers

I have to say, the comments and linkbacks I got on my Value-Adds Won’t Save VoIP Providers post all had some good stuff in it. But before I comment on the comments, let me finish the thought I had last night.

What I am looking for, at least as I proposed it, can really only be offered by one of a few parties:

  1. at&t as they own both wireline and wireless networks
  2. Verizon as they own wireline and partially own a wireless network (the other owner being Vodafone)
  3. Comcast and other cable companies that offer telephone service and are willing to partner with a wireless outfit, which could work in areas where at&t and Verizon are not the dominant carrier.

Actually, one ILEC does this now: Qwest. Qwest has something called their One Number Service where the same number rings both places. Of course, they are an MVNO using Sprint and thus use CDMA phones, thus I am not interested in the service. It’s also not quite as integrated since Qwest doesn’t run the wireless network–Sprint does.

Anyway, to answer the comments on the last post about this, let’s start with a comment from Jason K:

Doesn’t GrandCentral allow you to use your GrandCentral number as your outgoing caller ID when you use their click to call(dialing from the website) feature from the web?

It does, but it’s one of those Ajax-y web sites and won’t work on most mobile phones. Besides, that’s not what I am asking for.

Next up, Aswath Rao:

If I understand correctly, the second item you want from GrandCentral is the ability to display GC phone number even though you are calling from your home phone line, say. This is possible only if the service provider to your home phone line agrees to do this. It is not in the hands of GC. So I am not sure how TalkPlus does that, with or without software.

Exactly. TalkPlus does what it does by making the call for you using a different number than usual. You select or dial the party in the TalkPlus application, it communicates (over GPRS) to their backend server to a different number–one that they control–that does the CallerID masking.

Next up is Stefan over at Ring Nokia:

I’m waiting for the VoIP provider who can offer people unlimited mms and sms. Carriers charge way too much for these services.

Aren’t we all. :) Next  up is Ritesh:

I hear your pain. However, if you ask different users, you would get a different picture. One number, one identity creates spam issues that are difficult to stop. So there is a need for a disposable identity for temporary transactions, e.g. selling online, social networking, dating etc. I see some emerging companies in this space.

True, but if you have adequate filtering like GrandCentral, that’s not an issue.  Also I see the need for disposable identities. That can also be sold as a value-added feature.

And finally, Michael Cerda at Jangl comments:

Dameon-You are an enlightened consumer since you have the benefit of understanding lots of under the hood interworkings. Your ask is ambitious, so therefore all those driving toward that end must take baby steps to get there.

If hundreds of millions shared your view today, I would have built this. Instead, I elected to take baby steps toward this precise vision. The baby steps would need to take a different approach than had been done, and the baby steps would need to affect lifestyle.

I recognize what I am asking for is completely unreasonable. Besides, if lots of people wanted it, people in Qwest’s territory would be beating down their door for their One Number Service. But then again, their wireless service is an MVNO with Sprint.  :) Michael continues:

What I did do, was build Jangl. Jangl gives you an ID and people get #s to call you on thru that ID. You can then control who can/can’t call you. It uses the same voice mail you have existing on your phone today, but masks your greeting to provide privacy. I’ve found that this baby step is excellent for online dating. My next baby steps are going to be compelling well beyond daters though.

My issue with Jangl as it stands now is the fact I have to give someone something that isn’t a phone number. There is a certain segment of the dating population that is turned off by the whole idea of receiving a virtual number. It generates trust issues right off the bat. Making that number act and operate in all ways possible as a mobile phone number is key to ensuring that people don’t discover it’s a virtual number. More from Michael:

-Jangl will very soon support SMS thru Jangl #s. It’s working in a few areas already.
-A single number will become an alias for a Jangl ID, for easier passing around.
-We’ll let you send SMS as if it was from your Jangl #, from the web, e-mail, IM, etc – oh an from your phone
-There’s a whole lot more I shouldn’t get into here.

Sorry for the lengthy comment. I just wanted to tell you I’m working on what you’re asking for!

Ah, now we’re getting somewhere.  If you want to get into this stuff, off the record, of course, feel free to Jangl me on phoneboy. I’d also be happy to beta test any of this stuff you’re working on.

#Cybersecurity Evangelist, Podcaster, #noagenda Producer, Frequenter of shiny metal tubes, Expressor of personal opinions, and of course, a coffee achiever.