2015 will be a defining year for free voice services, says Brian Timperley of Turrito Networks — and consumers and small business will be the major beneficiaries, initially.
One of the key things that has changed, he says, is the involvement of major global tech players in over-the-top (OTT) voice services that run over data networks: “WhatsApp has nearly a billion users, the backing of Facebook, and a well-resourced team in Africa working on a free voice service that can manage low bandwidth availability. Microsoft Skype for Business is gaining ground, and it’s only a matter of time before the likes of Google become adopted on-mass as a consumer replacement for “traditional” phone calls.”
Another influencing factor is the continuing drop in data costs: “Even when you’re not paying for the cost of a call you’re still paying for the data you use to make the call – and those cost are plummeting.”
Traditionally internet-based voice services have suffered from poor call quality, Timperley adds, “but that is becoming less of an issue for those fortunate enough to have decent access to cellular and wifi data services. On the one hand, many of our local voice networks are struggling with poor call quality, dropped calls and spotty coverage. On the other hand, thanks to the massive investment they’ve been receiving, OTT voice services are improving. The gap between the two is narrowing… not enough to be relevant in corporates and larger businesses, but certainly enough for consumers and start-ups to consider. You won’t ever get exactly the same quality from OTT services as from a well managed voice telecommunications service, but for many in the near future, the difference will be insignificant enough to not matter.”
“Most of us already use tools like Skype and WhatsApp in our daily lives and consumers are very happy with the experience,” says Timperley. “Small businesses are always under pressure to control their costs and we believe there’ll be a significant uptake for consumers and small business to adopt the cheaper calls through WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Google services in the next year. It’s relevance to medium-sized and corporate businesses will trail far behind, because their needs are different, but often when users adopt, small businesses soon follow.”
Timperley says this is good news for companies like Turrito Networks, which is not tied to any one network or bandwidth provider and enables its customers to choose whichever service is best for their requirements. “We’re fortunate in that we have no revenue to protect, so we can afford to encourage people to explore all the options. A reliable network is critical, whether your business chooses managed VOIP services, or OTT services, and that network will need to change from time to time, it’s that flexibility to change and become agile that our business provides, regardless of the technology you choose to enable your business. The critical thing is choice through this level of flexibility.”
Turrito Networks is a converged communication provider, delivering MPLS networks, hosting facilities, Internet and cloud computing services. Turrito Networks provides industry-leading, fully managed solutions that leverage off our network agnostic partner model, thus providing a single point of accountability and contact for all industry requirements.