Is Tesco’s new VoIP service just hype?

Tesco’s bid to join the voice over internet protocol (VoIP) race seems to be a mad dash to get into the IP telephony market while the going is good, and other telecom services it provides are not doing so well.

However, the current crop of VoIP players, such as Skype and Vonage, already offer a comparable service to Tesco’s proposition, so in actual fact there is very little to get excited about.

It’s true that Tesco has the advantage of selling through its retail outlets, which will entice a number of users, if promoted correctly. But it is like jumping on the good ship VoIP and casting the net out in the hope of catching the unsuspecting fish that swim your way. It really does smack, ostensibly, of the dot-com days.

In truth, the successful widespread adoption of VoIP is going to happen when someone enters the market with a “plug and play” solution, which makes use of the existing lines and handsets that the general public already have in their homes. This way people can switch between which service they want to use, VoIP or existing.

Until this time, VoIP technology will continue to be more about the hype than a practical way of leveraging the internet to make calls. Free voice calls are inevitable, but the winners will be those players that offer value-added services and provide the best quality of service. At the moment, there is uncertainty as to whether Tesco’s new service will do that.

Nadahl Shocair

Chief executive

Communio Networks

Hemel Hempstead HP3

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