fring, EQO and Whisher cut mobile communications costs

Last week the Guidewire Group held its third Innovate!Europe event, where startups get to strut their stuff in front of their peers, venture capitalists, angel investors, early adopters and the press.
As …

By
14th May 2007 at 6:59 am

Last week the Guidewire Group held its third Innovate!Europe event, where startups get to strut their stuff in front of their peers, venture capitalists, angel investors, early adopters and the press.

As you know, a lot of computing activity is moving to the web and, therefore, to mobile devices. One of the exhibiting companies, fring, summed it up with this remark, “telecom industries benefit from the introduction of VoIP within their own domains without passing these benefits on to their consumers.”

Three of the thirty startups at Innovate were showing how they could slash the costs of mobile computing. They will not be the only ones. So the telecom companies are on notice that their world is about to change. Again.

Fring uses 3G over mobile phone networks to provide voice, presence and chat between fring users and those on Skype, Google Talk & Windows Live Messenger (MSN). It’s kind of free, depending on the data deal you have with your mobile service supplier. Their data charges vary enormously, so make sure you do your homework.

Whisher takes a different approach. It gets people to provide their wifi details in order to build out a network of shared access points. In theory, wherever you are, you’ll be able to connect into the web by piggy-backing other people’s connections.

According to Whisher, service providers turn a blind eye to this as long as you’re not reselling connections. In theory, it’s a bit like having a visitor connecting to your home wifi except, in this case, they might be passing strangers. But you can see who’s connecting and send them a message if you think they’re abusing your service. Or you can simply switch public access on and off. Again, you will need to examine your service provider’s charging mechanisms and monthly limits.

The third of the trio is a combined social networking and VoIP service called EQO. It “reduces international calling costs and keeps people connected to their friends and contacts from a single phone application.” Although billed as a consumer application, I can’t see why ‘friends’ can’t be replaced with ‘colleagues’.

With free software and services like this popping up, it’s little wonder that mobile operators are having trouble figuring out the best broadband pricing strategies and terms of service.

Their gates are well and truly under attack from the barbarians.

#646464

David Tebbutt is an award-winning columnist and feature writer who specialises on the subject of using software and technology to increase business productivity. He's an analyst with Freeform Dynamics but, in previous lives, wrote for Director magazine, Real Business and was also editor of Personal Computer World. http://freeformdynamics.com

Commenting Is Easy

Do you agree with this blog post? Disagree? Have something to add that others might find helpful? Then please leave a comment in the box below.

If you'd like to have your image included next to your comments here, then you can set yourself up with an avatar in just a couple of clicks.

Leave a comment

Photostream

Listen to the sales podcast for SMEs Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes

PARTNER PROMOTIONS

If looking to boost your businesses performance with promotional marketing, travel incentives or incentive schemes get it touch with NDL Group