Uncommon Wisdom

Aug 26 2010   1:23PM GMT

New Google VoIP: Transforming step in voice services market

Tom Nolle Tom Nolle Profile: Tom Nolle

Google has confirmed an integrated VoIP offering for Gmail — a service is already slightly integrated with Google Voice. The GUI looks much like the Google Voice interface, and it would make no sense for a call-out capability to be added to current VoIP calling with Gmail/IM and not integrate it with the same feature already provided in Voice.

In fact, Google says that calls to your Voice number can be received via Gmail VoIP. We expect full integration with Voice later this year. We believe that a unified Google Voice/VoIP offering is a transformational step in the voice services market, with major ramifications on nearly every aspect of voice communications. It would make Google Voice perhaps the most powerful voice service available, and it would likely force telcos to consider very strongly their plans for evolving their TDM voice services.

We’d point out, however, that it’s unlikely to create a rush to drop land-line voice since many of the customers for telco voice are also DSL customers who get their broadband services via the same loop. Telcos will likely try to set a pricing policy to control their revenue losses should users try to abandon their current services.

Also, Google Voice does not provide E911 compatibility and will not allow users to port their current numbers to the service, so it can’t easily replace a user’s current phone services. Both capabilities could be added, though the business case for that move would be hard for Google to make in our view.

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