Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sad day in VoIP: Voxalot R.I.P.

This weekend started with a very sad message for VoIP tinkerers like me:

Dear Voxalot User,

We are sorry to inform you that due to the rising cost of operations, we have been forced to discontinue the Voxalot VoIP service. This change will be effective from December 31st, 2011.

If you have renewed your subscription since September 1st 2011 and would like a refund, please contact Unfortunately, payments for subscriptions older than this are unable to be refunded. Please be aware that a refund will reverse your payment and cause your account to be downgraded to a Basic account.

We thank you for your support for Voxalot, and are sorry for any inconvenience that this announcement will cause, and wish you the best in the future.

Voxalot Support

Voxalot was always fun to use if you like to play with SIP providers, call connection rules and VoIP arbitrage. They even sent me a nice cap with their logo. Thanks a lot and rest in peace, Voxalot!

On a sidenote: Another friend and VoIP entrepreneur invited me today to become a fan of his new venture's Facebook page. It's a limo service! Meanwhile Dean Elwood's VoIP User website seems to be offline and Pat Phelan, Luca Filigheddu and Andy Abramson didn't blog about VoIP in months. It's not only my blog that is in hiatus. This VoIP party looks so over! At least the technology works perfectly and I use it everyday. Only that there isn't much to write about.

Or, as Alok Saboo said at truVoIPbuzz: "It definitely is an end of an era!".

Friday, December 11, 2009

easyMobile is dead again

Do you remember last year when Rebtel snapped up the brand name easyMobile from Stelios Haji-Ioannou? CEO Hjalmar Windbladh sounded very enthusiastic then.

"Sir Stelios and easyGroup are our kind of partners", he said. "They want to make a difference in people's lives. They offer services for the many, not the few. They take on the big boys in the market and treasure relentless innovation. And most importantly they're open and honest." was rebuilt and looked the same like Rebtel, only on Orange. Well, but not anymore, I realized today. The two companies' desire to "make a difference" and "take on the big boys" lasted only some months and the cooperation was killed silently. Today the easyMobile website looks like domain placeholder, cluttered with all kinds of referral links.

easyMobile is dead again.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Dailyplaces will share location and recommendations. Sounds familiar?

[Germany] Ah, the Appstore approval process. It can destroy the news cycle. A week ago, our “Dear Leader” Mike Butcher started to ask startups on several occasions to come up with a worthy Foursquare competitor from Europe. Two days ago, I heard from a German company who said they might fit the bill. Dailyplaces sent a press release with Friday as release date. But when we fire up iTunes to install their app, what do we find? Nothing.

CEO Andreas Ebert says Apple still hasn’t approved Dailyplaces for the iPhone, although the app was submitted 4 weeks ago and approval normally takes only 14 days. But you know what? Screw Apple! We’ll tell you about it anyway. Read More

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Skype buying Gizmo5 would finally bring the necessary growth to SIP

Andy Abramson wrote a really nice blog post on "Why The Gizmo Sale to Skype Rumor is Good For The Industry". I couldn't agree any more with him. Andy is just right, Amen to that.

Dear Skype, please buy Gizmo5! Together you can develop a real Peer-to-peer SIP and don't need JoltID anymore.

Andy's blog post sums up the advantages that a SIP based Skype would bring to other VoIP companies like OnSIP, Voxbone, Truphone, ifByPhone, xConnect, Voxygen, Thomas Howe, Voxex, Cloudvox, Twilio, Broadsoft, etc. The list goes on and on.

But I also see an other advantage: I think that such a deal would bring the necessary growth to the SIP world. The number of real SIP users, who can always call each other for free over the internet, hasn't grown as needed. SIP grows much too slow to be a viable alternative to PSTN phone networks, half a billion new users from Skype would mean a big boost.

When I started tinkering with VoIP, more than 3 years ago, I hoped that soon all calls would be free because everyone would switch to SIP. That never happened, I am still the only one of my friends who you can call directly on his SIP address. The model didn't scale as I hoped.

Of course our phone calls became much cheaper because now we all have these flatrates for fixed lines, which are included for free in our broadband contracts. Every one of my pals can call me for free wherever I am. As a VoIP user I take my German phone number always with me, all over the world I can connect it an be reachable as if I was in Berlin. Maybe next time I'll answer your call from Lima, Peru. I can call my friends for free too, because my DSL contract got a free flatrate for fixed lines added although the contract got cheaper.

But all these free calls touch the PSTN and they aren't what I had dreamed of. If Skype steps in and brings half a billion users to the SIP world, it would be a great win. Maybe people would do then what I always try to convince them: Ditch their landline and go VoIP only as I did.