Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Why did Roam4Free meet with Google's GrandCentral?

What's going on between the international MVNO Roam4Free and Google's new acquisition Grandcentral?

Roam4Free's CEO Pat Phelan tells in his blog that he and Chief Commercial Officer Sean O’Mahony, recently hired from Jajah, met with Grandcentral's Craig Walker and the Google voice team at Google headquarters London.

Pat isn't allow to tell more because he is "under electronic NDA". Just two fotos and the sentence "What were we doing at the Googleplex, oh thats a secret".

This gives pretty much room for speculation. I guess they are planning to bring GrandCentral to other countries than the US and make it mobile. This is very necessary for GrandCentral and would match well with Roam4Free's latest strategy to give fixed line numbers from 28 countries to their users.

I like GrandCentral’s services but it sucks to have only a US number. So I have to make a call forward from a German number to my GrandCentral number. Therefore I loose GrandCentral’s call screening options and get a bad delay, since the call forward goes twice around the world.

That problem could be solved easily with some SIP configurations. If Roam4Free connected its SIP servers, Grand Central could directly offer local fixed line numbers from 28 countries. Also Roam4Free could help Grand Central users to make their cell phones ring at low cost in 115 countries, without high roaming charges.

Maybe Roam4Free is Google’s next acquisition. I don’t have any facts to sustain that, but wouldn't be surprised.

GrandCentral gives you "one inbox" for life, where all voice messages can be stored for ever. With Google's voice search capabilities these messages can soon be searchable in seconds, like the millions of emails that people have in their GMail accounts. It's even possible to merge GMail and GrandCentral into "one inbox for life for voice and emails". Given the fact that Google is a large international company with worldwide dark fiber capacities you would just have to add Roam4Free to make that work as a great international phone service in over 115 countries.

But they are not alone. Remember the last news "Skype Founding Investor invests in United Mobile to "deliver a combination of Truphone, Jajah and Skype". This can result in something quite similar, based on another international MVNO, United Mobile, and Skype's founding investor Morten Lund.

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