Gizmo offers 60-nation free calling: here's how competitors will respond

Today, SIPphone announced that Gizmo Project users will be able to call other Gizmo users for free in 60 countries. The free calling is not just Gizmo to Gizmo, but Gizmo to other Gizmo users from Gizmo to their mobile phones and landlines.

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Today, SIPphone announced that Gizmo Project users will be able to call other Gizmo users for free in 60 countries.

The free calling is not just Gizmo to Gizmo, but Gizmo to other Gizmo users from Gizmo to their mobile phones and landlines.

We now have to ask ourselves, is this yet another milestone on the march to what some see as the inevitable- free, unlimited calling from PCs to mobiles and landlines everywhere on the planet without any fine-print nation-based, frequency-based or offer-expiration time limit? And without a monthly subscription fee?

Termination fees in some nations are going to block no holds barred universal free calling for a while. That's not to say there won't be aggressive steps in that general direction, though.

The next logical step will be for softphone-based providers to offer free calling to fellow member's phones, no matter where on the planet that might be.

After that, I predict, we are going to see short-term free world calling to any phone (member or not) as a loss-leader sign-up incentive. Here's what's next:

Softphone-based services will routinely offer buckets of completely free calling for 30 days (or longer) as an incentive to sign up for inexpensive calling plans with additional features. So you download, sign up and activate additional, paid services on your account (such as video calling, conferencing, etc.) and you can call any phone, anywhere on the planet. The only restriction: to eliminate abuse, free minutes for that first 30 days will probably be capped at a high level.

As a necessary competitive response, ATA-based VoIP providers will be sorely tempted to offer universal free world dialing. This, I believe, will come as a feature of new monthly calling plans maybe a few dollars higher than current subscription price levels, but will offer free world dialing within plans that lock users in for a couple of years like cellular plans we all know and hate do.

This way, the ATAs will be saying, in effect, "OK, we'll let you call anywhere and anyone you wish for free, but you're stuck with us. No hopping around from provider to provider riding free offers. No churn. No commitmentphobes." 

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