Mark Bridge writes:
Voice over IP – the ability to make phone calls over the internet - is a topic we covered in our first-ever podcast five years ago. At times it promised to change the way we used mobile phones... so what’s been happening?
I’ve been talking to Tanveer Sharif, CEO and co-founder of international call service Vopium, to learn more.
I started by asking Tanveer why Voice over IP and mobile VoIP hadn’t disrupted our usage of fixed line and mobile networks.
“Well, honestly speaking, I’m not sure if it has not happened. What you’re seeing is a migration from fixed-line phones to mobile, that’s the first thing happening. Second thing you’re seeing is that a lot of communication is now happening on mobiles and mobile apps, in the sense that people are chatting or they’re on Twitter or IM. So I’m seeing that a lot of the migration has taken place.”
“I think what people have had problems with is to figure out ‘what is mobile VoIP?’ and - at the end of the day - Voice over IP is just a technology. And that is underneath, that is changing. A lot of the technology used today, even with major mobile carriers, is actually IP-based telephony.”
Even today’s increasingly tech-savvy consumers aren’t really bothered about VoIP, Tanveer said. “I think Voice over IP companies have spent too much time trying to explain the technology to consumers but, at the end of the day, the consumer doesn’t care as long as his call is getting through, he’s getting the right price and the quality is fine.”
Our conversation went on to cover the services offered by Vopium - “we want to give more features to people than just the voice or the call” - along with the company’s growth and its user numbers. Currently, around 15,000 new users register with Vopium every day. Tanveer also talked about the challenge of converting ‘free’ users into paying customers, the recent Microsoft takeover of Skype, call charges and the challenges of meeting international legislation.