The web based callback operator Jajah starts to offer real VoIP calls over a 3G HSDPA cell phone network in Japan. That's funny since it undermines their own "Smash your headset" campaign which Jajah uses to attack competitor Skype. But Jajah's press department again did a great job of reality distortion so that bloggers and old school media didn't realize the the contradiction. I already covered the topic for the German news website Areamobile where I now work more often.
Normally people have to pay double at Jajah. After they enter their own number and the callee's number on a web site or in a mobile phone, Jajah's server establishes two phone calls to connect them. That's not always the cheapest option, compared to calling cards or pure play VoIP, and has nearly nothing to do with mobile internet telephony. Jajah uses VoIP only in the backend to connect the calls. The callers just need a normal PSTN or cell phone to start a Jajah conversation. But now Jajah starts to change these rules with a new operation in Japan. The per minute price gets cheaper by eliminating the double calls and Jajah does more or less the same like Truphone.
The Japanese company Emobile will be the first mobile operator in this country to offer VoIP over HSDPA. The start is scheduled for October 18, 2007, and the application has been developed by Jajah for the "One Alpha" devices of Emobile, which until now were data only and could not make phone calls. The phone calls go over the Jajah network and cost per minute about 9.7 Euro cents to Japanese cell phones and 1.4 Euro cents to the PSTN. Emobile makes its money by charging a flatrate tariff for the VoIP and other data usage. Emergency calls or calls to free numbers are not possible, as we already know it from other VoIP providers. The VoIP application comes preinstalled on new devices, or can be installed on existing devices, and the customer only needs to sign up with Jajah, which gets him a 300 Yen (1.80 Euro cents) call credit.
I would really like to know more about this application, but the information is spare. Jajah did not send out an own press release and their public relations people don't know more either, I learned from emails and phone calls. The big question is how the new Jajah VoIP application looks from inside and if it's the first outcome of the recent investment by Intel. Jajah's co-founder, Roman Scharf, said in May 2007 on this occasion: "The deeper Jajah can be embedded into Intel solutions, the better for customers everywhere. It is our intention to bring a best-of-class, next generation solution to the market which can be embedded and optimized for any computing device." Fellow blogger Moshe Maeir then explained in his blog posts "Jajah gets $20m and Intel’s patents" and "Behind the scenes of the Intel, Jajah deal" how Jajah's access to Intel's patent portfolio helps to embed Jajah's telephony functions at the chip level of mobile phones.
Maybe that's what's happening now with Emobile? The birth of a new mobile VoIP hardware?
The funny part is that you have to connect a HEADSET to the "One Alpha" device from Emobile, which runs Windows Mobile 6.0, to make a Jajah call. That's so ironic since Jajah is badgering their opponent Skype yet for months with a campaign under the claim "If you liked Skype, You'll love Jajah". It makes fun of the fact that Skype users are tied to their PC and have to use a headset to make a call. "Jajah is revolutionary because it lets you make free and low-cost global calls using your everyday mobile or landline phone," said Roman Scharf in the regarding press release. "Services like Skype require headsets, software downloads and sometimes other technical equipment, making them way too hard for the everyday consumer to use."
With the new VoIP service from Emobile Jajah works exactly the same way. But at least nobody has to pay double for a phone call.