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Thread: Why AT&T Killed Google Voice

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    Default Why AT&T Killed Google Voice

    Why AT&T Killed Google Voice

    Telecom operators are yesterday's business. It's time for a national data policy that encourages innovation.

    By ANDY KESSLER | WSJ | AUGUST 18, 2009


    Earlier this month, Apple rejected an application for the iPhone called Google Voice. The uproar set off a chain of events—Google's CEO Eric Schmidt resigning from Apple's board, and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) investigating wireless open access and handset exclusivity—that may finally end the 135-year-old Alexander Graham Bell era. It's about time.

    With Google Voice, you have one Google phone number that callers use to reach you, and you pick up whichever phone—office, home or cellular—rings. You can screen calls, listen in before answering, record calls, read transcripts of your voicemails, and do free conference calls. Domestic calls and texting are free, and international calls to Europe are two cents a minute. In other words, a unified voice system, something a real phone company should have offered years ago.

    Apple has an exclusive deal with AT&T in the U.S., stirring up rumors that AT&T was the one behind Apple rejecting Google Voice. How could AT&T not object? AT&T clings to the old business of charging for voice calls in minutes. It takes not much more than 10 kilobits per second of data to handle voice. In a world of megabit per-second connections, that's nothing—hence Google's proposal to offer voice calls for no cost and heap on features galore.

    What this episode really uncovers is that AT&T is dying. AT&T is dragging down the rest of us by overcharging us for voice calls and stifling innovation in a mobile data market critical to the U.S. economy.

    For the latest quarter, AT&T reported local voice revenue down 12%, long distance down 15%. With customers unplugging home phones and using flat-rate Internet services for long-distance calls (again, voice is just data), AT&T's wireline operating income is down 36%. Even in the wireless segment, which grew 10% overall, per-customer voice revenue is down 7%.

    Wireless data service is AT&T's only bright spot, up a whopping 26% per customer. How so? As any parent of teenagers knows, text messages are 20 cents each, or $5,000 per megabyte. After the first month and a $320 bill, we all pony up $10 a month for unlimited texting plans. Same for Internet access. With my iPhone, I pay $30 a month for unlimited data service (actually, one gigabyte per month). Is it worth that? The à la carte price for other not-so-smart phones is $5 per megabyte (one-thousandth of a gigabyte) per month. So we buy monthly plans. Margins in AT&T's Wireless segment are an embarrassingly high 25%.

    The trick in any communications and media business is to own a pipe between you and your customers so you can charge what you like. Cellphone companies don't have wired pipes, but by owning spectrum they do have a pipe and pricing power.

    Aren't there phone competitors to knock down the price? Hardly. Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile and others all joined AT&T in bidding huge amounts for wireless spectrum in FCC auctions, some $70-plus billion since the mid-1990s. That all gets passed along to you and me in the form of higher fees and friendly oligopolies that don't much compete on price. Google Voice is the new competition.

    MORE- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...main#printMode
    "The dogs bark but the caravan moves on."
    .....................The Zengrifter Interview (PDF) |
    The Zengrifter / James Grosjean Reputation Debate
    -----------------------------------------
    “Truth, like gold, is obtained not by growth, but by washing away all that is not gold.” — Leo Tolstoy........
    "Is everything a conspiracy? No, just the important stuff." ZG

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    Quote Originally Posted by zengrifter View Post
    Why AT&T Killed Google Voice

    Telecom operators are yesterday's business. It's time for a national data policy that encourages innovation.

    By ANDY KESSLER | WSJ | AUGUST 18, 2009


    Earlier this month, Apple rejected an application for the iPhone called Google Voice. The uproar set off a chain of events—Google's CEO Eric Schmidt resigning from Apple's board, and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) investigating wireless open access and handset exclusivity—that may finally end the 135-year-old Alexander Graham Bell era. It's about time.

    With Google Voice, you have one Google phone number that callers use to reach you, and you pick up whichever phone—office, home or cellular—rings. You can screen calls, listen in before answering, record calls, read transcripts of your voicemails, and do free conference calls. Domestic calls and texting are free, and international calls to Europe are two cents a minute. In other words, a unified voice system, something a real phone company should have offered years ago.

    Apple has an exclusive deal with AT&T in the U.S., stirring up rumors that AT&T was the one behind Apple rejecting Google Voice. How could AT&T not object? AT&T clings to the old business of charging for voice calls in minutes. It takes not much more than 10 kilobits per second of data to handle voice. In a world of megabit per-second connections, that's nothing—hence Google's proposal to offer voice calls for no cost and heap on features galore.

    What this episode really uncovers is that AT&T is dying. AT&T is dragging down the rest of us by overcharging us for voice calls and stifling innovation in a mobile data market critical to the U.S. economy.

    For the latest quarter, AT&T reported local voice revenue down 12%, long distance down 15%. With customers unplugging home phones and using flat-rate Internet services for long-distance calls (again, voice is just data), AT&T's wireline operating income is down 36%. Even in the wireless segment, which grew 10% overall, per-customer voice revenue is down 7%.

    Wireless data service is AT&T's only bright spot, up a whopping 26% per customer. How so? As any parent of teenagers knows, text messages are 20 cents each, or $5,000 per megabyte. After the first month and a $320 bill, we all pony up $10 a month for unlimited texting plans. Same for Internet access. With my iPhone, I pay $30 a month for unlimited data service (actually, one gigabyte per month). Is it worth that? The à la carte price for other not-so-smart phones is $5 per megabyte (one-thousandth of a gigabyte) per month. So we buy monthly plans. Margins in AT&T's Wireless segment are an embarrassingly high 25%.

    The trick in any communications and media business is to own a pipe between you and your customers so you can charge what you like. Cellphone companies don't have wired pipes, but by owning spectrum they do have a pipe and pricing power.

    Aren't there phone competitors to knock down the price? Hardly. Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile and others all joined AT&T in bidding huge amounts for wireless spectrum in FCC auctions, some $70-plus billion since the mid-1990s. That all gets passed along to you and me in the form of higher fees and friendly oligopolies that don't much compete on price. Google Voice is the new competition.

    MORE- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...main#printMode
    Sip trunking is here for business, and it will, in time. put the nail in ATT's coffin.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zengrifter View Post
    Why AT&T Killed Google Voice

    Telecom operators are yesterday's business. It's time for a national data policy that encourages innovation.

    By ANDY KESSLER | WSJ | AUGUST 18, 2009


    Earlier this month, Apple rejected an application for the iPhone called Google Voice....
    I don't fully understand. Does Google Voice require Apple i-Phone to work, or is that just one of the ways for Google Voice to work? In other words, is Google Voice available elsewhere, or will it soon be?
    Aslan 11/1/90 - 6/15/10 Stormy 1/22/95 -8/23/10
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    but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be.”
    Bishop Fulton J. Sheen

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  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by aslan View Post
    I don't fully understand. Does Google Voice require Apple i-Phone to work, or is that just one of the ways for Google Voice to work? In other words, is Google Voice available elsewhere, or will it soon be?
    I've been trying to get it for several weeks - I don't think its fully released yet. The scary thing about Google Voice is that whenever you're not using it, maybe its listening to and indexing ... everything. Don't forget, the CIA through spooked up IBs in silicon valley did early stage investing in the big one. First, do no evil. zg
    "The dogs bark but the caravan moves on."
    .....................The Zengrifter Interview (PDF) |
    The Zengrifter / James Grosjean Reputation Debate
    -----------------------------------------
    “Truth, like gold, is obtained not by growth, but by washing away all that is not gold.” — Leo Tolstoy........
    "Is everything a conspiracy? No, just the important stuff." ZG

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