back to article Why no one wants to Joyn GSMA's Skype-killing expedition

Operators are bleeding revenue to over-the-top players, and pinning their hopes on the GSMA-based Joyn standard, but a year after launch platform developer OpenCloud thinks the GSMA might be the problem rather than the solution. Not that the GMSA is deliberately frustrating innovation, but OpenCloud's Mark Windle reckons the …

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"the culture of internationally agreed standards and glacial accreditation is fatally slowing development of operator solutions, putting them at the mercy of internet companies who will inevitably out-innovate and reduce operators to the status of bit pipes."

...and thank goodness for that.

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Not if it drives the operators under

Setting up those pipes not trivial, either in the financial or technical sense of the word trivial. It is not unreasonable they expect a return on their investment.

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A number of operators ban the use of certain technologies or types of applications (e.g. VOIP) in their Ts&Cs. A number of them don't police this but they might start blocking things that they feel threaten their livelihood.

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RCS is universal, and that's all it needs to be. A universal standard implemented everywhere is never going to be bleeding-edge, but RCS still undercuts the core of what the closed networks do rather nicely. The person you're talking to might not have Facebook, Skype, etc, but you can bet your ass you can send them an SMS - that's the position RCS is aiming for. It doesn't need to do everything the others do, if users prefer convenience over a feature list (and we're repeatedly told that they do).

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Operators

They ARE bit pipes on 4G.

They need to concentrate on doing that properly. Anything else is a different business.

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So they gouge consumers on call pricing and people use calling cards and skype.

They gouge on video calling costs and people use skype.

They paid a fortune for 3g licences, killed video calling and accidentally fell into selling data pretty much at a loss.

Telcos created the environment for skype et al to thrive. If video calling had been sanely priced and there were pc clients so you could video call any computer or any mobile providers customers then perhaps telcos would be getting the money and not skype. If they continue to overcharge on calls and undercharge on data the situation won't improve any for them.

If they can reinvent video calling for a low fee, get all providers to agree to exchange video calls and get apple, skype (ms) etc to agree to allow calling in and out (in return for a cut of the charge) then maybe, just maybe they may become a player but I don't see the sums working out well enough to keep everyone happy.

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Just provide a reliable basic service

"... inevitably out-innovate and reduce operators to the status of bit pipes."

The gas company don't try to sell me saucepans and food to cook. The water company don't try to sell me bottles of flavoured mineral water; they concentrate on providing a reliable basic service. For at least 10 years, ISPs and telcos have wasted money trying to be something they are not. They should pump my data through their pipes and work at doing it well and effectively, so they can make a profit and be content with that.

Tesco Mobile (using the O2 network) provide me with 500 minutes, 5000 texts and 1GB of data for £10 a month on a 1 month rolling contract. If I could find anyone who did it cheaper with a good signal in my area, I'd change to them very quickly.

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"When we look at innovation on the internet we see that Apple... Google... Skype... they all own their own platforms and can innovate as they wish, driving their own development ... perhaps [operators] shouldn't be so quick to jump into bed with the competition.

But that's what operators have always done: worked together to ensure interoperability,"

They are on different layers. OTT can work on any network. If O2 create their own Skype that only works on the O2 network it's worthless. They have to interoperate with the other networks just to match OTT.

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why should I only be able to talk to people to people who are signed up to MS

Now they own Skype.

Just a thought.

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FAIL

Re: why should I only be able to talk to people to people who are signed up to MS

Don't?

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FAIL

Move along, please. Nothing to see

Software vendor complains of poor sales to industry. In other news: earth still orbiting the sun.

Where is all this OTT revenue that the article talks about? How do Skype's worldwide profits stack up against world mobile telephone profits? Or even just against the pre-VoIP calling-card business of least-cost-call-back routing?

Operators have a terrible record of implementing compatible services. They have to do telephony because it's in the licence but it took third parties to discover the potential of SMS. Industry-led MMS has been a debacle. Not that the solution are vertically integrated silos: FaceTime, GoogleTalk, Skype. No, internet-based, ie. truly cross-platform and cross-networks tools are the only solutions.

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Re: Move along, please. Nothing to see

It would cost me $.75/min to call India on my cell phone.

If I make a free wifi 1 hour skype call the phone company sees this as a loss of $45. So any service they come up with should make the same kind of profit with out considering that I only made the call because it was free. If they block VOIP or come up with their own expensive service I'll just be making a 2 minute call.

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Joyn

Joyn's not so bad. You can redeem the points in Sainsburys. Oh, hold on...

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WTF?

Duh?

Same reason everyone else has problems competing with Apple iTunes Store. They make half assed windows and Mac solutions for interoperating with their core products.

Step 1) Make a cross platform library for audio and video communication that compiles on Windows, Mac and UNIX systems.

Step 2) replace software codecs with platform specific hardware codecs

Step 3) build an awesome UI for Windows AND Mac. Make sure you have a good Metro UI as well these days.

Step 4) make sure there is encryption... No SRTP crap. ZRTP or something better.

Step 5) make it integrate with PBX systems via SIP or Cisco ATA boxes.

Step 6) add cheap or free calls to classic phone networks

Step 7) spend a bunch of time figuring out why the heck you just invested $10,000,000 and two years in the development of a product that has no reasonable means of producing revenue.

Step 8) recognize that Skype technology is core to Microsoft Lync and FaceTime is core to iOS and get a trip and realize that there is no practical market share left for another player

Step 9) laugh you ass off at Cisco for pissing away a ton of money on Tandberg only to be almost entirely obsoleted by Skype and Lync and tablet devices.

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Joyn requires operator cooperation

And they will not want it to cannibalize their current offers of MMS and SMS. So it needs to be a "Pay" service, and certainly more than just the data.

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Holmes

Xmpp and gTalk seems to be on the third place for google right now.

99% because is in direct conflict with Telcos and Android.

XMPP will not succeed until there will be a good Android XMPP-only client with voice&video support. When that was real, PSTN will be over.

And remember, Google made VP8 for free, help develop the best audio codec OPUS, and even they help a lot improve XMPP specs.

Even that, they dont allow you to download gTalk from the market.Seems to have halted developing it.

gTalk is the only Android XMPP client with Voice&Video, and do not support VP8, nor OPUS nor mutivideo call.

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Operator alternatives

There has been a standard in place for over ten years, which is supported by the infrastructure that all the operators already use that could put the over-the-top players out of business tomorrow. Called IMS, it uses an extremly simple concept. I dont want to communicate with your land-line, your mobile or your PC, I want to communicate with you. So if you have indicated which device you can be reached on, then when I try to contact you (using your personal identifier), the infrastructure will negotiate the path that best supports the form of comms I have requested (voice, VOIP, video etc.) to the most available and capable device connected to you.

The classic sales example is the guy who starts out working in his garden. He doesn't have his mobile with him but his wrist watch can recieve SMS texts. As he walks back into his house, his watch informs the houses cordless phone system that he is in range and can now recieve voice calls. As he goes into the TV room, his watch contacts the telly, and now he can recieve a fully interactive video call.

There are various theories about why this hasn't been widely adopted yet, my personal favourite is that the business people at the operators have only barely managed to get their heads around 2G and clearly have not grasped the impacts of data on their business yet. One of them will, hopefully soon, and once one takes the risk and tries it, the rest will jump on the bandwagon.

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Anonymous Coward

Theres a gap

"But no one expects to be able to Facetime a Skype ID, or Yahoo a Google+ account, so interoperability obviously isn't as important as it once was."

We need to! One client which can hook into these different services is exactley what is needed.

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