Google Voice and Truphone Local Anywhere both look set to have a significant impact on the mobile market. Even though neither have fully launched as of yet, they have managed to generate a fair amount of interest (especially Google Voice).
I believe both these services have a good chance of being successful in their own right, however I think both could complement each other if combined into a product which leverages the unique strengths of the other.
Why Google Voice should integrate with Truphone Local Anywhere
One of the biggest possible constraints to the rollout of Google Voice, in markets besides the US, will probably be the need to integrate with the local PSTN network in each country. Instead of doing all the leg work itself, Google Voice could plug-in to the Truphone MVNO architecture which can offer global PSTN coverage in one fell swoop.
Truphone integration could also enable Google Voice to be less reliant on mobile data connections by utilising Truphone’s sim technology. Google could then market itself as a truly global phone company.
Why Truphone should integrate with Google Voice
Google Voice could really complement the Local Anywhere product, the features added by Voice through the web app would make the product far more compelling as well as provide a unique selling point over other roaming sim providers. The halo effect from integrating with a Google product could also drive a lot more attention to Truphone.
Other companies integrating with Google Voice is not unheard of, for example Gizmo 5 has enabled integration with Google Voice already.
Google voice looks like an awesome service that could be a huge game changer in the UK telecoms market (especially if it was fully integrated into Android), however there seems to be doubt as to wherever the service will ever be rolled out in the UK market. One issue that might pose a problem is that the UK and US telecom operators follow a different billing model.
In the UK we have a “caller pays” model where the cost of the call is charged to the account of person who initates the call. Wherehas in the US the opposite happens: the subsriber pays for calls they receive on their line. This means it would cost google to forward a call on to a UK number, wherehas in the US system the user would pay the costs.
I’m not sure whether the caller pays system would present an insurmountable obstacle to Google Voice arriving in the UK, however if so Google could always leverage some of its huge cash reserves and purchase a mobile network. I realise this is exceedingly unlikely, but there would be several interesting benefits too Google:
- Direct path to the end-user to deliver web services without having to rely on 3rd party ISP’s
- Diversified revenue stream from line rental, reducing reliance on advertising
- Deliver high bandwidth content such as Youtube from servers embeded directly in the mobile network itself
It would be interesting to see what google could do in a carrier role, especially if they took the existing business model and tore it up.