T-Mobile's VoIP play and Implications

June 26th, 2008 by · 6 Comments

T-Mobile rolled out a VoIP play yesterday, and the world yawned. They’ll be competing against cable voip and vonage, but from a wireless bundle angle – in order to get the very inexpensive $10/month voip package you have to be a wireless customer, plus you have to buy their router. But VoIP is dead if you’re not a cable company right? Well maybe yes, maybe no, but I don’t think VoIP is the end-all of this deal.  It goes to T-Mobile’s USA strategy and the rollout of their 4G network next year, and this VoIP play is a risk-free sideline.

What interests me is what wholesale VoIP provider T-Mobile is using to provide the service, from local numbers on up to E911. You see, I’ve been hearing rumors of a big wireless backhaul win at Level 3. Not flash in the pan rumors, but bits and pieces over the last 8 months. Lots of inexplicable T1 lines going to towers in lieu of future fiber, management hints, etc – but no names, none at all.  It strikes me that a VoIP offering that T-Mobile could bundle with its wireless offerings might be a nice sideline to an overall deal helping T-Mobile build out their 4G network.

And who else could or would do it?  Surely not the competition at VZ, T, or S… the strategic situation has changed since T-Mobile last had to build out in the USA, the ILECs are no longer neutral.   Amongst the nextgen carriers while they might be able to do the VoIP side, for a major wireless backhaul deal XO just doesn’t have the cash and GLBC doesn’t have the metro fiber.  On the other hand, Level 3 can do it all and are a natural partner for someone like T-Mobile here, and they could provide the VoIP service easily – T-Mobile wouldn’t have to invest anything in it and who knows it might work.    And Level 3 would surely like to break into the mobile backhaul market in a big way, heck they might even be able to use all that LMDS spectrum they got from Telcove.  Nah, that would be too much to ask.  But bundling a wholesale VoIP deal with a wireless backhaul deal seems very much like something they would do.

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Categories: Internet Backbones · Metro fiber · Wireless

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6 Comments So Far

  • p. Merch says:

    No one’s better at connecting the dots…congrats ,and keep it coming.

  • Alfred J. Beljan says:

    ” I’ve been hearing rumors of a big wireless backhaul win at Level 3 —- but no names, none at all. ”

    not strange at all with LVLT as we’re yet waiting for names of our CDN partners that Mrs. Robin almost promised we’d be given…

    Welcome Back , Toes

  • toddforthree says:

    toes you might check and see when the statue of limitations runs out on the spectrum lvlt has. its my understanding that you either use that stuff or you lose it and there is a time limit to it. sprint has been dealing with that issue for awhile.

  • skibare says:

    How much do you think T-Mobile would have to give Level3 for a NATIONWIDE rollout ???????
    also, MagicJacks, anything on them??????

  • Rob Powell says:

    You know, I keep seeing that MagicJack name come up, and I know little about it. I’ll have to look into it.

  • Frank A. Coluccio says:

    re: the new over-the-top VoIP device you referenced, see a first hand account of some concerns from Gordon Cook, publisher of the Cook Report on Internet:


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