November 21st, 2004

Skype Dualphone

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skype-dualphone.jpgIntroducing DualPhone (via VoIP Watch)

The Cordless DUALphone is a cordless telephone that can be connected to a normal telephone socket and a USB port on a PC. The display shows whether your friends who also use Skype™, are online. If they are, you simply have to press the appropriate green button and talk to them for free – no matter where they are in the world. If their PC is switched off, or you want to call someone who doesn’t use Skype™, you simply press the other green button and call via the standard telephone connection.

I am ordering it right now!

November 4th, 2004

VoiceComm 2004

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I was invited to attend VoiceComm 2004 which started today. Despite its grand sounding name, it is actually just a vendor (Cisco) 2 days seminar, well, with a few other Cisco customers talking about their IP Telephony experiences.

Nevertheless, what is surprising is the number of people who turns out at the event. The keynote delivered by Michael Frendo (VP of Voice Technology Group in Cisco) filled up the whole Threate (350seats) and they have to setup video broadcasts in other rooms to handle the overflow. It is definately a good sign that a vendor event could attract so much attention from the industry :-)

November 3rd, 2004

Why ITSP asking for regulation?


Hear hear!

How come a Nethead turns into a Bellhead when placed in the “voice” environment?

This is the best statement I have heard in the last weeks (and I have heard many, being at the VON), because it explains an issue I was wondering recently:

How come that virtual VoIP Service providers (I considered them netheads up to now) start begging for regulation?

Interesting perspective but I could think of only one answer: Regulation certainity is critical before you invest millions of dollars. You don’t want to get sue after you launch your (successful) services.

Secondly, not all regulations are bad ideas. Regulation, if done properly, are meant to provide a level playing field (where there is market failure) and provide market certainity (especially in a heavily competing/confusing situation). Unfortunately, more often then not, it is not very well done but the fault is bad regulation, not regulation itself.

September 21st, 2004

IP Telephony and ENUM

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There is a APEC TEL NGN Brainstorming session this morning. I was one of the speaker for the session and did a presentation on IP Telephony and ENUM.


Singapore also made a contribution on both IP Telephony and Spectrum management. Both my presentation and Singapore contribution was well-received by the participants and I got a lot of feedbacks after the session.

IDA also announced a proposed policy framework for IP Telephony and ENUM this afternoon1 and it is open for public consultation! It is a long journey for our virtual team who has spend over a year on this!

As part of its continuing efforts to engage the public in policy development to benefit the infocomm industry, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) seeks views on the policy framework to facilitate the introduction of Internet Protocol (IP) Telephony and Electronic Numbering (ENUM) in Singapore…more

Some highlights:

1. IP Telephony will be classified under SBO(Individual) license instead of the more heavy FBO license.
2. Licensee is entitled to apply numbers in a new number block +65 3xxx xxxx.
3. Optional interconnection with PSTN, no QoS, no emergency service and no universal obligation.

It is as light touch as you can get … :-)

1 In other words, it is not announced by me.

2 There is also a short explaination of IP Telephony & ENUM.

August 31st, 2004

Skype for OSX

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Oh yes! Finally, Skype for Mac OSX! (via Joi Ito) Just in time for my trip next week in Korea for the OECD Antispam Workshop. Yea!

August 11th, 2004

“It’s about user experience”

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In August Wired edition:

Wired: First, carrier fought number portability. Now you won’t unlock out phones. Why shouldn’t I be able to take my handset from Cingular to another carrier?

Ryan (Cingular VP): It’s about user experience. If you had a T-obile phone and switched to Cingular, you could run into problems getting mobile browsing and picture messaging working. Cingular’s customer care may not be in a position to know exactly how a T-Mobile phone is configured, and vice versa.

I nearly chocked on “it’s about user experience”, thinking maybe it is a joke. But sadly, it isn’t.. Sadder still they still think their customers are silly people who couldn’t configure their mobile phone.

Well, here’s a clue for you, Mr Jim Ryan. Look at your mobile subscribers numbers and check out the percentage of below 20s. And then go back home and asked who can programme the VCR. You may not know how but I am willing to bet your children can.

Sorry, please call a customer tie-in tactic as a customer tie-in tactic and stop hidding behind this vile “it’s about user experience” excuse.

August 2nd, 2004

FCC Roundtable discussion on IP-based Services

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FCC conducted a Global Roundtable discussion on IP-based services (basically just VoIP) 2 days ago (30th July) and the webcast is available online. (via Jeff Pulver).

Yes, I sit infront of the computer for 2 hours and listen the whole webcast and here are some of my thoughts:

1. (Obvious) Take away: Regulation certainity is important for industry to invest billions/trillions to upgrade their infrastructure.

2. Jeff took the opportunity to bash some bad policies. :-) Well done! We need someone to say outloud the most obvious especially when there are lobbies on the other side.

3. The open-access issues raised by Tom Vest is a potential future problem. At this moment, we are aware of ISPs doing it, either block or ban the services outright or muffling the packets sufficient to make the quality very poor. But it is too early to say if regulators should step in on this ‘market-failure’ because (1) the outrage isn’t very big yet and (2) the industry haven’t got a chance at self-regulation yet. Given a choice, I prefer industry self-regulation.

4. Alcatel made their usual speech Internet Protocol is good but “Wild Wild West” Internet is bad. (Yes, my jaw dropped too when I first saw their ITU-NGN slides). Here is a clue: NGN wont be a brand-new network1. IPv6 couldn’t move people to move to a new network and “Quality” & “Security” arent disruptive enough for people to build a new one. Sorry, any network that doesn’t connect to the current “Wild Wild West” isn’t going to fly.

1 This is not to say I dont think the future wont have a new network. On the controdictory, I believe we will have a new network in future, within my lifetime. But it will be some radically different offering something the current Internet couldnt provide. It is probably hard to imaging why, how and what it is going to be like right now as it is difficult to imaging Internet in the 1970s.

July 31st, 2004

Leaving for San Diego

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I am posting this from the SIA Lounge waiting to fly to San Diego for IETF #60. The main purpose there is to organize a “Carrier ENUM” mini-BoF with Richard Stastny on Wed afternoon. Carrier ENUM aka known as Infrastructure ENUM or Operator ENUM is a new way we notice carriers and operators starting to use ENUM to do “number resolutions” within their network or between carriers. It is quite different from what we envision how ENUM would be used in the first place (ie, individuals coming along and register their phone numbers) and many people expressed doubts whether ENUM could satisfy the requirements in the first place. It is going to be an exciting discussion.

Incidently, there is an interesting article at Telepocalypse regarding pay-and-keep settlement among US carriers in 4 years time. Such model is already been used in SMS but it could be pretty disruptive if carriers adopts it. Considering the operation cost to do minute-charging is more expensive then the settlement itself (due to falling prices in voice-calls), it does makes a lot of sense. More importantly, this will bring about a change in the business landscape in the voice market, one which could potentially bring more competitions to the market since carriers are not longer dictated by the most powerful incumbent termination charges.

It is also an inevitable development for the telecom market to transit from a 200B industry to 20B. Painful but neccessary.

ps: See my previous entry on how voice-termination are been done today.

July 30th, 2004

AT&T Callvantage again

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I got AT&T Callvantage working now. Despite saying it is not able to registered my TA, apparently it works anyway (strange). I made some test call, including one to the AT&T service desk (a toll free number :-) and the sound quality is incredible clear! Woosh! I am impressed! :-)

Anyway, my US number is (650) 384-4515 so drop me a line if you like hear how it sound :-)

July 30th, 2004

AT&T Callvantage

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ATT03.jpgPhew! Just finish setting up my AT&T Callvantage, the new VoIP Voice Service. Actually I got the stuff on Monday but was too busy to do any setup until today. It isn’t difficult but I also took the opportunity to phase out my TV-PVR-DVD-Video-Stereo-Desktop Vaio I got from Japan 2 years ago. I also threw out a box of wires which I kept just-in-case-i-need-it (which of cos is never). I mean, how many power cables does one need as spare? I threw away 15 :P

Anyway, back to the Callvantage. It is IP Telephony service offered by AT&T and they are doing beta testing in some part of Asia. AT&T is offering it free-of-charge to beta testers in return for feedbacks :-)

ATT02.jpgThey allow me to choose any phone number from any city in US (I choosen Menlo Park, CA) and they will route the calls over the Internet to my home!1. Callvantage also comes with lots of interesting value-added services DND, Locate Me, Personal Conferencing! Really cool stuff!

Couldn’t wait to try this baby. So after putting them into my rack, sort out the wires, turn on the devices and making sure my broadband still works, oops, I left my registration info in office :-( Oh well…Definately by tomorrow cos I am leaving for IETF on Sat. It would come handy because this means I can call home from San Diego. :-)

1 Actually I already have a Washington number from Kallfree but thats another story.