VoIP News

January 9, 2006

VoIP in Asia to nearly double by 2009
Story from CRN Australia

VoIP in Asia is expected to grow from US$5.5 billion in 2004 to more than US$10 billion by 2009, according to an In-Stat report released last week.

Revenue for 85.4 percent of VoIP traffic came from traditional public switched telephone networks in 2004, the high tech market research firm said. In-Stat added that most of the calls were initiated from PSTN terminals or full IP local loops that carry transmission over IP backbones.

"By contrast," said In-Stat analyst Victor Liu in a statement, "adoption of local VoIP services is slow due to regulatory barriers in many countries and the dominance of incumbent players." Liu took note of the situation in Japan where competitive service providers showed that technological advantage can be exploited to introduce new services and attract new customers "in a loose regulatory framework".

Noting that there are some 8.7 million local VoIP lines in Asia, In-Stat said a sizable percentage of long distance calls has already migrated to IP platforms in Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore.


September 19, 2005

Vonage a possible takeover target

Story from The Business:

Takeover predators begin to circle Vonage

PREDATORS are circling US-based internet voice giant ­Vonage, whose attraction as a takeover target was boosted last week by eBay’s $4bn (£2.2bn, E3.3bn) purchase of Skype.

Vonage was launched in 2001 by 34-year-old Jeffrey Citron, the former chief executive of securities firm Datek Holdings. Citron is expanding the service to the UK and other foreign markets, a process to be partly funded by its planned initial public offering (IPO).

There is growing speculation that Vonage may be snapped up before it makes it to an IPO. ­Players like Microsoft, Yahoo!, eBay and Google are desperate to grab as much of the rapidly growing internet voice market as they can. According to sources close to Vonage, the company has been planning to raise $600m via an IPO that would value it at more than $1bn.

The Skype sale has galvanised the sector. “The internet voice market has gone critical,” said Keith Woolcock, an analyst at Westhall Capital. “We are now in a land grab for market share where communications and media giants see internet voice as something that can be embedded in other offerings to make them more attractive.”

September 15, 2005

Summary of Congress's draft broadband / VoIP bill

From CNet:

Features of the draft include:

• Rules spanning broadband Internet transmission services, VoIP services and broadband video services. The draft defines, for regulatory purposes, broadband Internet transmission services--or BITS--as "a packet-switched service that is offered to the public," regardless of the equipment or protocol used. That puts DSL and cable providers on equal footing.

• A federal framework for regulating BITS, VoIP and broadband video services: Neither the Federal Communications Commission nor states will have the power to regulate the "rates, charges, terms, or conditions" of any of the providers unless directed by federal law. All such services are subject to "exclusive federal jurisdiction" and must register with the FCC.

• Guidance on Net neutrality: BITS, VoIP and broadband video services must not block their subscribers' access to any content or applications and must allow their subscribers to connect to their services with whichever devices they choose. But they're encouraged to provide protections against security threats and theft of their services.

• Recourse for VoIP providers: They're expected to negotiate their own rates with telecommunications companies for use of their wires, but if negotiations fail, they can petition the FCC to mediate.

• Requirements for access to 911 services: The FCC is in charge of deciding those rules "based on available industry technological and operational standards," and all VoIP providers must ensure their subscribers have access to 911 and enhanced 911 services based on the FCC's action. Those who control the e911 infrastructure must grant access to VoIP providers at "just and reasonable" rates.

• VoIP and universal service: The FCC must convene an inquiry into whether to compel VoIP providers to contribute to the Universal Service Fund, which currently pools fees from wireline, wireless, long-distance and some VoIP providers and uses them to subsidize services in rural areas.

• A nod to municipal broadband: State and local governments are permitted to run their own BITS, VoIP and broadband video services, as long as they comply with the same regulations their private-sector counterparts do.

September 12, 2005

eBay swallows Skype

Confirming some previous rumors that Skype was on the market, eBay announced today that it's buying Skype for US$2.6B:

London, September 12, 2005 – eBay Inc. (Nasdaq: EBAY; www.ebay.com) has agreed to acquire Luxembourg-based Skype Technologies SA, the global Internet communications company, for approximately $2.6 billion in up-front cash and eBay stock, plus potential performance-based consideration. The acquisition will strengthen eBay’s global marketplace and payments platform, while opening several new lines of business and creating significant new monetization opportunities for the company. The deal also represents a major opportunity for Skype to advance its leadership in Internet voice communications and offer people worldwide new ways to communicate in a global online era. Skype, eBay and PayPal will create an unparalleled ecommerce and communications engine for buyers and sellers around the world.

“Communications is at the heart of ecommerce and community,” said Meg Whitman, President and Chief Executive Officer of eBay. “By combining the two leading ecommerce franchises, eBay and PayPal, with the leader in Internet voice communications, we will create an extraordinarily powerful environment for business on the Net.”


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