Click here to close now.

Welcome!

Wireless Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, James Carlini, Tim Hinds, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: Wireless

Wireless: Article

Giving Text Messages a Voice

A Combination of Text Messaging and Voicemail, Voice SMS is the Latest Twist on the Burgeoning SMS Market

So pricing a voice SMS is equally an arbitrary exercise. For example, a user records a 20-second voice message that is sent from the handset as a voice call over the network to an interactive voice response (IVR) server, a trip that lasts around 30 seconds. The IVR server sends an SMS to the recipient. When the recipient clicks on the SMS, they make a voice call to the IVR server to hear the message, again another 30 second call. In the end, the system used two voice calls and an SMS message to complete the transaction.

In the early stages of adoption when there is no “real” peak traffic period, such a voice SMS ends up costing the operator nothing because the network isn’t fully loaded. If the service takes off, and people begin sending voice SMS messages at a high rate during the day, the operator will likely consider differential pricing based on peak traffic periods much as with voice calls.

Priced to sell
So what pricing model is going to work?

In most of the world outside of the U.S., voice SMS is priced somewhere between text messaging and voice calls. Case in point; voice calls in Asia are five to 10 times the cost of text messaging. This explains the growth of text messaging as a primary means of communication there. Most subscribers aren’t willing to pay huge bills for voice calls.

Progressive operators who have launched voice SMS services in Asia priced them to drive adoption as well as profits. In most cases, they are about two times the cost of a text message. That pricing model has worked as early statistics show rapid adoption. For example, DiGi reported a whopping 35 percent penetration in only six months. Subscribers sent more than 200,000 voice SMS messages a day by the sixth month.

Grameenphone’s first-year adoption may be a harbinger of things to come as operators around the world begin offering voice SMS. Launching in September 2005, the company priced its voice SMS service up to 66 percent higher than SMS. And yet, it had six percent adoption in the first week, and 40 percent penetration of repeat users (3.6 million) by August of 2006 – faster than the adoption of SMS in most markets.

Voice SMS works in areas where voice calls are very expensive (like Asia and Europe) only when they are offered as an operator service and priced accordingly. U.S.-based voice SMS service providers Kirusa and Bubble Motion have seen their stable of operators grow in Asia and the Middle East as demand grows and operators strive for competitive advantage.

In the U.S., it’s a different story. Voice services are cheaper per minute, and there are more minutes used per subscriber than most anywhere in the world. That’s a result of the fiercely competitive mobile services market here. Operators who want to launch voice SMS here shouldn’t price them any more than their text messaging if they want to speed adoption. Sprint offers a voice SMS service at the same rate as its text messaging. But the Sprint service only works with selected handsets on the Sprint network, not with every 2G or 3G handset in the country.

But the competitive landscape in the U.S. has also created a market opportunity where service providers can offer voice SMS independently of an operator. Pinger.com is an Internet company launched in 2005 to enable users to dial a number, key in or say a number (or name if you’ve loaded a directory), and record and send a message over the public switched telephone network (PSTN). The recipient dials a number and retrieves the message. It works on all of the major carrier networks and it allows users to send and receive voice SMS messages to and from other countries around the world.

This scenario won’t work in Asia or Europe because the high cost of voice calls would make it prohibitively expensive for a third party operator to negotiate the termination fees between operators, countries, etc.

Whether voice SMS evolves from a flat-rate, niche, “hip technology” to a messaging necessity that operators will ultimately charge a premium for remains to be seen. Early analysis suggests that voice SMS plays to a common theme among successful mobile applications – new, more personalized communication option. As long as operators deploy it without requiring new handsets or major network upgrades, and price it appropriately for their markets, they have the best shot at making it profitable and driving its adoption.

More Stories By Brough Turner

Brough Turner oversees the evolution of technology and product architectures and works on business strategy and new market development at NMS. He is a recognized expert in the telecom industry and has been heavily involved in VoIP since 1996. Brough invented the multi-vendor integration protocol (MVIP) and led the MVIP consortium as well as worked within the PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturers Group to drive the creation and adoption of CompactPCI. Brough earned a bachelor?s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
There's no doubt that the Internet of Things is driving the next wave of innovation. Google has spent billions over the past few months vacuuming up companies that specialize in smart appliances and machine learning. Already, Philips light bulbs, Audi automobiles, and Samsung washers and dryers can communicate with and be controlled from mobile devices. To take advantage of the opportunities the Internet of Things brings to your business, you'll want to start preparing now.
17th Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterprises are using some form of XaaS – software, platform, and infrastructure as a service.
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robin Raymond, Chief Architect at Hookflash, will walk through the shifting landscape of traditional telephone and voice services ...
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems at Red Hat, described how to revolutioniz...
For IoT to grow as quickly as analyst firms’ project, a lot is going to fall on developers to quickly bring applications to market. But the lack of a standard development platform threatens to slow growth and make application development more time consuming and costly, much like we’ve seen in the mobile space. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Weiner is Product Manager of the Omega DevCloud with KORE Telematics Inc., will discuss the evolving requirements for developers as IoT matures and conduct a live demonstration of how quickly application development can happen when the need to comply...
Container frameworks, such as Docker, provide a variety of benefits, including density of deployment across infrastructure, convenience for application developers to push updates with low operational hand-holding, and a fairly well-defined deployment workflow that can be orchestrated. Container frameworks also enable a DevOps approach to application development by cleanly separating concerns between operations and development teams. But running multi-container, multi-server apps with containers is very hard. You have to learn five new and different technologies and best practices (libswarm, sy...
SYS-CON Events announced today that DragonGlass, an enterprise search platform, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. After eleven years of designing and building custom applications, OpenCrowd has launched DragonGlass, a cloud-based platform that enables the development of search-based applications. These are a new breed of applications that utilize a search index as their backbone for data retrieval. They can easily adapt to new data sets and provide access to both structured and unstruc...
Converging digital disruptions is creating a major sea change - Cisco calls this the Internet of Everything (IoE). IoE is the network connection of People, Process, Data and Things, fueled by Cloud, Mobile, Social, Analytics and Security, and it represents a $19Trillion value-at-stake over the next 10 years. In her keynote at @ThingsExpo, Manjula Talreja, VP of Cisco Consulting Services, will discuss IoE and the enormous opportunities it provides to public and private firms alike. She will share what businesses must do to thrive in the IoE economy, citing examples from several industry sector...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo in Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal an...
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, and physical persons. In the IoT vision, every new "thing" - sensor, actuator, data source, data con...
IoT is still a vague buzzword for many people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, discussed the business value of IoT that goes far beyond the general public's perception that IoT is all about wearables and home consumer services. He also discussed how IoT is perceived by investors and how venture capitalist access this space. Other topics discussed were barriers to success, what is new, what is old, and what the future may hold. Mike Kavis is Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Pa...
Disruptive macro trends in technology are impacting and dramatically changing the "art of the possible" relative to supply chain management practices through the innovative use of IoT, cloud, machine learning and Big Data to enable connected ecosystems of engagement. Enterprise informatics can now move beyond point solutions that merely monitor the past and implement integrated enterprise fabrics that enable end-to-end supply chain visibility to improve customer service delivery and optimize supplier management. Learn about enterprise architecture strategies for designing connected systems tha...
There's Big Data, then there's really Big Data from the Internet of Things. IoT is evolving to include many data possibilities like new types of event, log and network data. The volumes are enormous, generating tens of billions of logs per day, which raise data challenges. Early IoT deployments are relying heavily on both the cloud and managed service providers to navigate these challenges. In her session at Big Data Expo®, Hannah Smalltree, Director at Treasure Data, discussed how IoT, Big Data and deployments are processing massive data volumes from wearables, utilities and other machines...
SYS-CON Events announced today that the "First Containers & Microservices Conference" will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City. The “Second Containers & Microservices Conference” will take place November 3-5, 2015, at Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities.
Buzzword alert: Microservices and IoT at a DevOps conference? What could possibly go wrong? In this Power Panel at DevOps Summit, moderated by Jason Bloomberg, the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise and president of Intellyx, panelists will peel away the buzz and discuss the important architectural principles behind implementing IoT solutions for the enterprise. As remote IoT devices and sensors become increasingly intelligent, they become part of our distributed cloud environment, and we must architect and code accordingly. At the very least, you'll have no problem fil...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MetraTech, now part of Ericsson, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Ericsson is the driving force behind the Networked Society- a world leader in communications infrastructure, software and services. Some 40% of the world’s mobile traffic runs through networks Ericsson has supplied, serving more than 2.5 billion subscribers.
The 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 17th International Cloud Expo - to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - announces that its Call for Papers is open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
The 17th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. 17th International Cloud Expo, to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Microservices, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal today!
Since 2008 and for the first time in history, more than half of humans live in urban areas, urging cities to become “smart.” Today, cities can leverage the wide availability of smartphones combined with new technologies such as Beacons or NFC to connect their urban furniture and environment to create citizen-first services that improve transportation, way-finding and information delivery. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Laetitia Gazel-Anthoine, CEO of Connecthings, will focus on successful use cases.
The explosion of connected devices / sensors is creating an ever-expanding set of new and valuable data. In parallel the emerging capability of Big Data technologies to store, access, analyze, and react to this data is producing changes in business models under the umbrella of the Internet of Things (IoT). In particular within the Insurance industry, IoT appears positioned to enable deep changes by altering relationships between insurers, distributors, and the insured. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Sick, a Senior Manager and Big Data Architect within Ernst and Young's Financial Servi...