everything about the european voip market: trends, startups, news and reviews


McDonald's: Want VOIP with That?

A hungry consumer pulls up to the drive-through window in a California McDonald's restaurant and places a dinner order. The person taking the order points out that the caller placed only three drink orders for four dinners and reminds the diner of a special that day on apple pie. This might be a fairly typical fast-food—or, in industry parlance, QSR for quick-service restaurant—exchange were it not for the fact that the customer and the order-taker are dozens of miles apart, connected through a VPN-secured voice-over-IP hookup.

Internet Telephony Takes the Spotlight

One technology promises to harness the power of the Internet for voice communications. Its competitor has been around for a century, and has an industry shorthand that needs two adjectives -- "plain old telephone service" -- to describe just how boring it is. The battle between the two is expected to heat up in 2005, as we move further into the much-hyped "Year of the Internet Phone." But even if the most optimistic predictions come to pass, industry analysts say, plain-old telephone lines will still have a tight grip on much of the market. The Internet-based business has a number of hurdles to clear before it becomes a mainstream technology.


No-cost Skype strikes chord with businesses

The Internet telephony software Skype has found its way into the business world, as corporate road warriors and remote workers use it to reduce long-distance and cell phone costs. Most of today's Skype adherents use it for personal calls, but a growing number of them are also using it to make calls for work.


Italtel Tops EMEA VOIP Ranking

Nearly 37 percent (the second best is behind by over 10 points) is the market share gained by Italtel in EMEA as regards phone lines installed over Internet protocol (IP). Dittberner, the American research firm, points out that in the third quarter of 2004 not only has Italtel achieved the number one position in the VoIP (Voice over IP) markets in Europe, Middle East and Africa, but has also consolidated its third position in Latin America and is among the world’s leading five vendors of VoIP equipment.


The Problem with VoIP Phones

john dvorak has an interesting viewpoint on current voip services. although i have the impression that the quality of dsl & cable services is better on this side of the ocean, i'm not sure that he's wrong
At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this month, there was a whole area dedicated to the various small-fry companies jumping into Voice over IP (VoIP) telephony—an area largely pioneered by Vonage—and offering all-you-can-phone service for $29.95 a month. A slew of telephone adapters modeled after the Cisco 186 has also appeared, making everything cheaper and cheaper. Offers of unlimited phone service for $9.95 are cropping up too, as is the re-emergence of computer-to-computer IP-to-IP phone systems. There are problems arising, though, because most people are still running on phone-company wires and we have a more and more flaky Internet.

Google denies move into VoIP business

i just knew i shouldn't have blogged the times article about google gearing up for voip, because there was no hard evidence whatsoever. wanting to buy dark fiber is hardly evidence to say that a company is going to start voip services, and now google denies it officially (free reg. required):
Google has dismissed as 'pure speculation' a report in The Times today that it is going into the free phone call business. The speculation has been fuelled by a job ad on the Google web site seeking a 'strategic negotiator' to buy up 'dark' i.e. unused cable, in order to create a world-wide backbone network.

Hi! The Net Is Calling.

Like the technology he's pushing, Jeffrey Citron, the 34-year-old CEO of Internet phone company Vonage, has a tendency to shake things up. In the 1990s, armed with little more than a high-school diploma, he founded two businesses, including Datek Online Holdings, and helped pioneer the tools for computerized daytrading on Wall Street (and attracted the ire of the Securities and Exchange Commission, which fined him $22.5 million for allegedly misusing the new system). In 2000, he began pouring his own money—$70 million and counting—into Vonage, an upstart telephone company that is now revolutionizing this $1 trillion industry.

Google gears up for a free-phone challenge to BT

Google revolutionised the internet. Now it is hoping to do the same with our phones. The company behind the US-based internet search engine looks set to launch a free telephone service that links users via a broadband internet connection using a headset and home computer.


pulver launches bellster

i must say i'm not entirely convinced of jeff pulver's latest voip venture. bellster is a peer-2-peer phone sharing network that works like this: you install a local asterisk server, connect it to a phone line, and share that line with other people. in turn, other people let you use their phone lines. routing of the calls is managed with the distributed universal number discovery protocol or dundi, developed by the company behind asterisk: digium. i don't see the idea catching on in europe any time soon because (1) it assumes that you have free minutes on your phoneline, which we don't have a lot of in europe (2) it requires a relatively expensive server (about €500 at least) and the knowledge of how to configure asterisk on it. expect a reconfigured FXS/FXO router with embedded linux on it, in the coming months, which allows you to do exactly that for less than €150.


The Growing Pains of VoIP: Managing Customer Care

With the emergence of VoIP, several customer care challenges must be addressed if service rollout is to be successful. Today there is no common way in which providers are offering VoIP. Instead, as these providers roll out VoIP services, they are doing so with different products, different marketing messages and different OSS in the background. What exists in the back office ultimately affects the customer service representatives and the quality of customer care, says Yaron Raps, VoIP practice lead at Business Edge.

skype protocol analysis

the Columia University Department of Computer Science has published a paper (pdf) which explains in-depth all details of the skype protocol.


six step voip rollout doc

voip watch has a link to a pdf which outlines a six step methodology for managers to follow when preparing their network for voip. the doc is written by telchemy which provides voip performance management tools.


another skype adapter

engadget has the scoop on a new skype adapter which allows you to make skype and skype-out calls using a regular telephone. of course it still requires your computer to be switched on all the time, which is still kind of a showstopper for me. it's not yet available for sale and no news about a european release either. if you urgently need it, you can always go for something similar.


msnbc voip overview

msnbc has a nice article about voip: how does it work, when did it happen, who are the people leading the revolution and what should you expect. an ideal introduction for everyone who is new to the world of voice over ip.


small business voip solution

there have been quite a few posts about open source and voip. i am glad to be able to add one to it, because today we are launching Packetbox, a powerful collaboration and communication appliance with integrated voip solution. it also supports groupware, anti-spam & anti-virus, and much more.

open source sip phone

tom keating has the scoop on sflphone, a sleek designed open source softphone for linux. it supports sip and is completely skinnable. it currently supports stun, oss audio devices and g711 codecs. among the planned features is also iax support. interesting ...


VoIP and open source, the next great frontier

As the commoditization and open sourcing of operating systems and applications continue to disrupt the software companies, telephony vendors have so far enjoyed a relative calm in the closed and proprietary phone systems market with substantial profit margins. That could now all be turned on its head with the proliferation of open source VoIP and PBX software. There are now a handful of these open source telephony platforms such as OpenPBX and Pingtel, but one of the most interesting is Asterisk, which even has its own communication protocol IAX in place of SIP for unified signaling and data transport.


Skype VoIP threat to Euro telcos

Broadband telephony outfit Skype looks set to become a major threat to Europe's traditional telcos as more and people use the net to make phone calls. According to research outfit Evalueserve, the European telecoms market is more vulnerable to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers because of per minute tariffs and high roaming charges.

9% of uk adults have used voip

james enck of eurotelcoblog did some research of his own and found out that 9% of uk adults have already made voip calls according data (.xls) of the uk office of national statistics.

more 2005 predictions

a bit different than voxilla's predictions i linked to earlier. here are the "Key VoIP Trends to Watch in 2005" according to telecomdirectnews

skype answering machine insecure

there seems to be a serious security issue in skype answering machine (sam) - which is not an official skype product. voip watch has the story.


zennstrom interview

the telegraph has an interview with skype ceo niklas zennstrom. nothing ground-breaking but a nice read.


pulver interview

the washington post (free registration required) has an interview with mr. voip himself, jeff pulver.

skype news

ok, it seems to be time to bundle some skype news again.
  • skype is experimenting with a voicemail service, hoping to introduce new paid offerings this spring.
  • pulver.communicator, the all-in-one voip/im client now supports skype for voice calling and instant messaging
  • a new version of skype is available as of now, offering a new design and improved instant messaging services


Vonage Tiptoes Into the UK

Vonage Holdings Corp. has discreetly launched its U.K. service. The voice-over-broadband specialist has not, though, officially announced the offering -- which is unusual for a company that's been particularly prolific at pumping out press releases (check out the firm's press center). At present the VOIP service, which launched on December 28, is available only through the company's new U.K. Website, with customer enquiries being handled by the firm's U.S. call center. However, the service provider has lined up some high-profile High Street partners and plans a national advertising blitz in the coming weeks.


Sipgate to offer numbers in 145 regions

After further expanding its German network the Voice-over-IP provider Sipgate will from this Tuesday on be offering Internet telephone numbers with area codes in 145 local telephone networks in Germany.

1 in 5 companies consider voip

1 in 5 dutch companies (with more than 50 employees) consider switching to voip, according to a study carried out by triple p and marketcap, citing cost savings as the main reason. emerce has the full article (in dutch).

new wifi handset

vonage has introduced a new voip wifi handset in the usa, together with utstarcom. engadget has a picture. battery life on this one should be a lot better than the relatively popular zyxel prestige we've been using up until now. it's not likely to arrive at this side of the ocean any time soon, but if it does, i wouldn't mind trying it out.


voxilla's 2005 predictions

voxilla has published 10 predictions for 2005. they did the same for 2004 last year, and give an overview of how things turned out. certainly a very interesting read.