Saturday, December 5, 2009

The "Plain Old" in Plain Old Telephone Service was only the first 'Plain Old' to die.

The commonality of the smart phone, the death of POTS (plain old telephone service), the portability of cable TV and the need for speed on the go.  Things are really changing in the information world, a fragmented world with too many restrictions associated with choices.  Not long ago you had your local phone service, cable service, a cellphone service and maybe a mobile broadband service. Then more people started getting their cable and phone service from the same company, and if that company had a mobile provider maybe you even had all three services combined.  You still couldn't watch TV on that mobile connection, or easily merge your home and mobile phone capabilities though.  It was just one bill.  Nothing more.

Nowadays at home you have you have one connection that gives you cable TV, broadband and VOIP phone service.  On the go however, you still have separate phone and mobile data services, until now.  Comcast and Time Warner had started bundling 3g mobile data service with their existing packages.  Still separate technologies, but again, one bill.  Why should your cellphone and mobile broadband have to be so different though?  You can surf the web on your phone and make a call on your laptop, so why so many different technologies?  Heard about the, "Google Phone" or some Google device that makes calls over VOIP?  That's the tip of the new information access iceberg...says us...

Will it use cellular networks?  Is it going to be GSM?  Who will my carrier be?
Cellular networks are almost all (now a days) CDMA, GSM or iDEN.  These are all somewhat proprietary technologies developed to allow the carriers to carry 4, 8 or even 16 voice calls on one channel.  It works pretty well actually, but they each have their quirks and restrictions, and came to be only becuase a standard like VOIP didn't really exist when they were developed.  Google purchased Gizmo5 and a few other VOIP companies, and has been testing an increasingly popular (though not technically VOIP at this time) service called Google Voice.  If Google turns GVoice into an actual VOIP service (which, seeing as how they bought up so many VOIP resources I will eat my hat if they don't), that means they have a huge VOIP network, more bandwidth than anyone, and the popular Android mobile OS.   They have already integrated GVoice into Android and with rumors that they will be releasing/contracting an all VOIP cell phone (though I don't think they would kick away a voice network just yet).  We may soon find ourselves in a world where the cellular providers today will simply be the mobile broadband providers.  There wont be multiple versions of phones for different technologies or carriers, but you will still have choice.  A new VOIP cellphone can be attached to whichever company you have your home/mobile broadband with, and the calls on that phone, via that mobile broadband company will be routed through whichever VOIP provider you used for home/mobile broadband.  At least, that's my take on the future.

What about TV?

As mentioned, Time Warner and Comcast already buddied up with Sprint & Verizon to offer a package deal including mobile broadband.  As cable services, Verizon and ATT have been able to do this for a while.  Time Warner and Comcast however have both recently launched services to watch your cable subscription over the internet.  In ads for Comcasts, 'On Demand Online' sevice they seem to note that you can watch on three 'devices,' not specifically computers.  Does this mean we might be getting into a world where you pick your TV service provider, watch it on your broadband provider, and gab about it on your VOIP provider...and none of this is specific to if your at home or on the go?  Did I just blow your mind?  I thought so.

Any thoughts?  Leave a comment!  I'm off to pay my ATT cable, Comcast phone and T-Mobile internet bills...