July 21, 2005

PhoneGnome - Take 2

A few days back Om told us about PhoneGnome and commented mostly about the box. Most of the follow up comments were about the novelty (or lack there of) of the box and mostly they have been dismissive. Even I commented on the box and only made passing comments about the service technology. I want to make that point to be the focus of this note just to make sure the emphasis is not lost.

If you recall, PhoneGnome uses the telephone number as the id for the VoIP account as well. Either explicitly or implicitly they are using ENUM technology. Since this can not be proprietary, their claims of patentability must be for the registration procedure. But others can use the scheme put forward by ENUM group, if they are different. I hope that Richard Stastny comments on this when he returns from his vacation. But I am digressing.

An understated assumption behind PhoneGnome is that PSTN service is very much viable for some time to come and certain VoIP providers are better off exploiting it during that time. What is interesting to note is that even incumbents can use this to fight against replacement service providers. Consider the following strategy. The incumbents offer PhoneGnome like service (David will have a fit if he were reading this the claim is it is a product and not a service. But then I think he has finally granted it is a service.). It can allow multiple interconnect service providers, just like they have dial around service in PSTN and just like PhoneGnome does. The only difference is that now they will not be regulated and they can decide on access charges on their own. SkypeOut and Gizmo Project seem to argue that all you can eat plan is not as invincible as it was originally thought.

I am suggesting that the incumbents can continue to maintain their subscriber base, seem to offer VoIP service, but derive interconnect revenue just as in PSTN. In other words, if the incumbents were indeed dinosaurs, probably VoIP is not the rumored meteorite.

Posted by aswath at July 21, 2005 03:37 PM
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A fit? Quite the contrary Aswath, I'll just hire you for business development instead! :-)

You are usually a few steps ahead of the rest of us Aswath, so your insights are not surprising. We know the PhoneGnome platform offers many varied partnership and alliance opportunities. We look forward to pursuing as many of those opportunities as we can, or at least the best ones.

Posted by: David Beckemeyer at July 22, 2005 02:02 AM

Since David didn't have fit, does he agree that it is a service as well. This evening, I posted similar questions to PhoneGnome in response to a PhoneGnome post on the Voxilla forum.

I am awaiting their response.

Posted by: Kanti Purohit at July 29, 2005 01:04 AM

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