Global operator Telefonica has announced that it is rolling out its very own VoIP call service. Called ‘O2 Global Friends‘ it will roll out from O2 Germany, Telefonica’s German subsidiary, and will provide much cheaper international calls for subscribers. Considering how vehement the opposition to VoIP was in Germany last year, GoMo News looks back at how we got here.
What’s the story?
German operators have had an incredibly stormy relationship with VoIP. The possibility for cheap (or free) internet-based calls really rocked the boat. You can see our full report here, but the short version is as follows:
April 2009 – Deutsche Telekom bans the Skype iPhone app for its German subscribers
May 2009 – under pressure from a pro-VoIP coalition, Vodafone Germany and T-Mobile Deustschland begin looking into allowing limited VoIP access
August 2009 – Telefonica’s O2 Germany sides with VoIP, as it announces it will allow all subscribers with a data plan to access VoIP services
What’s the news?
Six months ago, the operators bough a VoIP startup called Jajah, and got to work on its own. Today, O2 Germany has announced the launch of ‘O2 Global Friends’. This is an international friends-list based on VoIP. Subscribers can nominate five of their friends who are abroad – using VoIP channels O2 will allow them to call those friends for local prices.
What we think?
Man… I hope Telefonica has more to announce soon. First of all, let me say I think it’s great that an operator is getting this involved with VoIP. But apart from that, it’s a pretty weak release. Cheaper international calls to just five friends? That’s not the most amazing product in the world. And it’s not like Telefonica has no competition in the VoIP market. Even a brief skim through our archives brought up these recent releases:
I’m glad that an operator the size of Telefonica is properly getting involved with VoIP, but its first big launch could have and should have been more punchy.