September 25, 2006

GrandCentral Could be Grander

Om describes a new service offered by a company called GrandCentral. Previously they had announced a free voice-mail service for homeless. The new service is an extension of this service to the general public with some “premium” call routing features.

First a short description of the service: as part of subscription, the user is given a telephone number; the user can set up rules on how to dispose an incoming call like routing to another number or to forward to the voicemail. If the call is routed to another phone number, then there will be a per minute charge; but terminating the call to the voice mail is free. The basic subscription is free and comes with 100 minutes; additional minutes can be purchased in buckets.

An initial skeptic, Om is now positively impressed with the feature set, like “barge-in”. That is good, but he takes a dig at Rebtel. I take the opposite position. Rebtel smartly makes both the legs of the calls to be incoming. In contrast, GC takes an incoming call and makes it into an outgoing call and extracts money from its users. They could have imitated Rebtel methodology and eliminate the need to subscribe to minutes bundle.

Finally, Om wants us to weigh in the prospects of GC. If GC et. al. do establish the need for such a service, then there will be a consumer device that will do the same thing, but will cost less than 3 months subscription charged by GC.

Posted by aswath at September 25, 2006 02:57 PM
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