Here’s a prediction: the first quarter of 2006 will see the introduction of a number of VoIP (Voice over IP) services in Jordan. For the better part of 2005, the newly registered telecoms have been busy, well, getting registered and approved by the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission and establishing their corporate presence. I am actually surprised that not much more happened in that regard last year. Sure, Batelco launched its Dunya long distance calling service and Jordan Telecom started introducing its LiveBox, but not much else happened.
That doesn’t mean there hasn’t been incoming VoIP traffic to Jordan. Have you ever received an international call on your mobile that appeared to be coming from a local mobile number. Well, that nothing more than some company (either working legitimately or in the so-called ‘grey market’) offering ‘voice termination’ services to international VoIP providers.
And hasn’t it been for Skype’s stringent credit card policy that’s simply consider our Jordanian cards as persona no grata many more of us would be making international phone calls over Skype, I actually consider myself lucky as most of my friends and business associates are Skype users. Any telcom company that will, in the near future, try to convince me to get a VoIP solution for my home or business will be facing an uphill battle with someone like me.
The services that will be offered in Jordan soon, will allow you to make call from a normal phone that is connected to your ADSL internet line. For an idea how this works have a look at Vonage (who recently changed their ad tagline to ‘leading the internet phone revolution’).
As things advance, callers will be able to make international (and national) VoIP calls from their normal telephones either by adding a prefix number to the number they want to call or by pre-selecting a certain carrier/telecom for their calls.
The day were international and local calling will be indistinguishable is approaching fast.
Interestingly, a story in the paper today reported that Sabih Al Masri, a prominent businessman is bidding for control of Jordan Telecom in a US$ 1.4-1.5 billion deal. He’s offering to but the shares of BOTH France Telecom and the Government.
In an age of dropping call costs and Skype (bought by eBay for US$ 4 Billion by the way), one wonders about such deals and what JT’s future projections are).
It’s an interesting story to follow.