What do you call an operator platform and device client that together deliver over-the-top VoIP via Wi-Fi, 3G and LTE as well as leverage an operator's existing MSCs or next-generation IMS/SIP based servers? Some might call the combination a Skype-killer while Kineto Wireless is simply terming it Smart VoIP.
"Kineto's Smart VoIP solution is the first designed specifically for mobile operators to address the growing threat from third-party over-the-top voice services like Skype and Google Voice," said Steve Shaw, vice president of marketing for Kineto. "Our Smart VoIP application helps operators create and brand their own over-the-top service to meet subscriber demands for mobile VoIP."
Like most other VoIP services, Smart VoIP bypasses a mobile operator's circuit-switched voice networks and instead runs on the carrier's packet-switched network, which can include 3G, LTE and even Wi-Fi. (Note: Verizon Wireless offers Skype to its customers, but, in a twist, the service runs over Verizon's CDMA circuit-switched network.) Unlike most other OTT VoIP products, however, SmartVoIP integrates with carriers' networks so they retain control and can offer the service directly to their customers.
On the client side, SmartVoIP is designed to run on major mobile operating systems, including iPhone, Android and Windows Mobile. The app can be branded by mobile operators and downloaded to subscribers through standard application stores. The app can be made to work only over Wi-Fi networks when subscribers travel internationally.
While it might seem counter-intuitive for an operator to offer an OTT VoIP service that can cannibalize its regular voice revenues, the SmartVoIP app is most likely to appeal to customers who would use Skype or Google Voice anyway, so they are already bypassing their mobile service provider's voice network for at least some of their calls. By offering SmartVoIP, an operator can at least hope to keep those users within the confines of its network.
Kineto claims operators can also use SmartVoIP to retain and increase revenues with branded over-the-top VoIP service, while subscribers will benefit from discounted international calling and low-cost VoIP calling when traveling abroad.
T-Mobile USA has found some success with its Kineto-developed Wi-Fi Calling app, which was introduced last May in the United States. T-Mobile customers with compatible phones can add Free Wi-Fi Calling to their rate plan at no additional charge and use the service to make calls without deducting from their allotment of voice minutes.
The operator, which intends to launch LTE services in the United States starting in 2013 using refarmed spectrum plus frequencies it gained from former suitor AT&T, may have signaled its early interest in another VoIP technology, Voice over HSPA (VoHSPA). Bob Calaff, T-Mobile USA's director of technology and spectrum strategy, recently served as project leader for a 4G Americas white paper on VoHSPA.
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