Free Calls Are Coming

The price of making phone calls using our mobile phone is changing in a very rapid pace – its getting lower and lower. Unlimited calls and unlimited SMS are all over, offers that will cut the revenue of telecom providers and a strategy to maintain their customer base. You can buy SIM cards everywhere that is why switching from one mobile operator to another can happen in a blink of an eye.

Here’s another problem for telecom operators, free calls are coming. Yes, you heard it right – free calls brought about by internet technology particulary Voice over Internet Protocol or VoIP.

Just recently, Google updated Gmail with a new feature that lets users use a headset or microphone to place phone calls to any number in the US and Canada for free. Dialing a phone number works just like a normal phone. Just click “Call phone” at the top of your chat list and dial a number or enter a contact’s name.

People also will be able to receive calls on their PC if they obtain a free phone number from Google or already have one. The phone numbers and technology for the new PC-calling service are being provided by Google Voice, a telecommunications hub that the company has been trying to expand. If you have a Google Voice phone number, calls made from Gmail will display this number as the outbound caller ID. And if you decide to, you can receive calls made to this number right inside Gmail

All calls in the US and Canada will be free through at least the end of the year. That undercuts the most popular PC-to-phone service, Skype, which charges 1.2 cents to 2.1 cents per minute for US calls. It also threatens to overshadow another free PCto-phone calling service called MagicTalk that was just introduced by VocalTec Communications Ltd.

Why free? Google hopes to make money on its PC-to-phone service by charging 2 cents or more per minute for international calls.

Guess how popular this service has become after it was announced? A million phone calls was placed from Gmail in the first 24 hours the feature was available – One Million phone calls. Now how can you beat that – Free phone calls? And let me remind my readers – this is just from Gmail, given the number of smartphones we have now in the market coupled with VoIP phones, don’t you think free calls are just around the corner.

No wonder research has indicated that the revenue stream of telecom providers is shifting – from voice to data. And let me add that services provided by telecom companies to the enterprise is one opportunity they are capitalizing. Services like mobile marketing, mobile inventory, mobile surveilance and a lot more. The trend is shifting and no one can stop it. Some may delay it, but its a matter of time.

But of course, if in case that day comes, free calls comes with responbility. Not because its free, we will abuse it. Free or not, let us all be responsible technology users, and not abusers.

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