back to article Why lock your digits to a phone? Telefonica to flog cloudy numbers

Mobile operators are facing an inevitable squeeze as voice minutes disappear and the golden goose of messaging dies, but O2 owner Telefonica Digital has a plan: bring on the Chuckle Brothers and shell the OS out of existence. In the UK, mobile voice minutes are in decline for the first time in the history of telephony. It's an …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Telifonica? Hell no.

  2. Desktop Mobile

    Yac Yac Yac

    This is just a glorified version of the origination Yac concept ( of 10 years plus ago.

    Much watered down now since its acquisition.

    The infrastructure may be right for it now though...

    1. Jim 48

      Re: Yac Yac Yac

      Indeed. I signed up to Yac ("You're Always Connected") when it was free and still have a Personal Number through them. It's very rarely used but I have found it useful for fax and when somebody/site insists on a telephone number but I'm not going to give them a main one.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: insists on a telephone number

        I thought everybody just made one up, just typing numbers to fill the field.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: insists on a telephone number

          > I thought everybody just made one up, just typing numbers to fill the field.

          Yeah, and used to be so chuffed with his email address ;)

      2. Robert E A Harvey

        Re: Yac Yac Yac

        I still have a Yac number for fax-to-pdf.

        But for web sites that insisit on a telephone number I normally go to the 'contact us' page and cut-and-paste their head office phone number.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Up

          Re: cut-and-paste their head office phone number


          You have a convert :)

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That's Not A Chair!

    It's an open-plan unisex toilet.

    Just the sort of thing for one of those new let's do things differently business environments.

    You're right about the sprawled on the floor bit, though.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: That's Not A Chair!

      >Just the sort of thing for one of those new let's do things differently business environments.

      You're right - especially as it is designed by the same studio as the Olympic 'Cauldron' and the new London busses, Daniel Heatherwick. That would be the 'low cost' rotationally moulded version, though I suspect it ain't cheap.

  4. Dick Pountain

    Yes Please

    Something like this is inevitable, so bring it on soon. It also provides a way to destroy the roaming charges monster.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yes Please

      THE Dick Pountain? Wow.

      The roaming charges monster has at least been slaughtered in the EU (albeit taking a while to die), and elsewhere there's usually workarounds of swapping SIMs and the like.

      But surely this Telefonica plan isn't about reducing our costs, it is a reaction to competition and commoditisation driving costs down, and therefore this is how they plan to create margin in the future. Far from destroying roaming charges, this IS the new roaming charge?

      1. Jan 0 Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Yes Please

        > THE Dick Pountain? Wow.

        The man who likes fast computers and motorbikes!

        What are you riding today Dick?

  5. Steve Medway

    Wow an entiire article about VoIP yet not a single mention ;)

  6. gautam

    Dumb Pipes

    ..They still are and ought to remain.

    Frogs wanting to be princes, with our money.

  7. Dave 126 Silver badge


    A few years down the line, I can imagine us having an NFC tag on our key-rings that can make any device we pick up 'ours'.

  8. auburnman

    Some stuff...

    ...I'm loving and some stuff I'm hating here. It's high bleeding time we were able to easily roam to the strongest network available in our home country, not just when abroad. What I don't like is having it described as subscribing to a number. I want to OWN the number, and subscribe to the SERVICE. I also want to own the phone and the interface on it, so I'm not keen on operators getting their claws even further into handsets.

    We need one of the operators to grow some balls and just provide a proper, plan where they don't interfere with your pipe and in return you pay a non-subsidised sustainable price for what you use, be it voice or data.

    1. ian 22
      Thumb Up

      Re: Some stuff...

      I agree completely. My number, myself.

      Also, as someone once said, any problem can be solved with enough levels of indirection, and this is an excellent first step. Google Voice provide a similar though less convenient and flexible service, allowing calls to be redirected to whichever telephonic device a customer chooses.

  9. Anonymous Coward 101

    They are going to mess it up

    I know this, because they are a telephone operator.

    They will ensure that the pricing mechanism is baffling. They will ensure that additional fees for 'services' of low to non-existent consumer value will be charged, and that such services are automatically opted-in and difficult to cancel. They will ensure that many features are added, but that they are poorly implemented or do not work at all.

    They will fail.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't think I want the hassle of logging in to a phone...

    ...If only there was some small hardware tag which contained the number and authentication info. You could then swap it into different phones to move the number between them as needed. Hopefully a sensible small (but not so small as to be fiddly) size could be agreed between manuafacturers.

    1. Lith

      Re: I don't think I want the hassle of logging in to a phone...

      And it could be called a subscriber identity module card, or SIM card for short?

      1. jonathanb Silver badge

        Re: I don't think I want the hassle of logging in to a phone...

        Except it would be nice if Apple could use the same sized chip card as everyone else.

    2. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      @AC 10:17

      That sounds perfect, just what I need. I'll take 4 straight away. Just make sure that the ones you send me fit into a Cisco 7965 VOIP phone for when I'm in the cleanroom. Also It will need to be self-duplicating, so that my partner can also have it in their phone so that either of us may answer incoming business calls. Also it will need to unify itself with the ones Iget for m work number and personal number, so that I can answer any of them.

      Yay, I can troll too.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So ...

    is this the functional separation of VOIP (voice) and LTE (data)?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't we have this already?

    I'm missing something. How does this differ from Skype's online number? On Skype anyone can dial my number(s) and I can pick up calls on any device that has a logged in Skype session. Or, for quality reasons, I can forward the online number to any real fixed or mobile phone I happen to be near. After the subscription is paid for (and except for mobile redirects), all calls at zero cost

  13. Charlie Clark Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    False premise

    If telcos are going to avoid becoming bit-pipes with razor-thin margins, they desperately need to innovate beyond outbidding each other for scant radio spectrum

    The days of the UMTS spectrum auction are long gone as is thus the "outbidding each other". Infrastructure co-operation both between operators and manufacturers has become the norm in Europe in the last few years. And networks are continuing to make profits.

    This doesn't mean that they don't have to change their business model. Obviously, LTE makes no distinction between voice and data, which is the big change from UMTS and GSM, so it becomes very hard to prevent OTT like VoIP, although the licence terms are probably the determining factor there. What networks want to be is a customer's preferred (VoIP) provider largely because this allows for the most efficient use of resources from within the network. This can easily be achieved through a different tariff structure that makes calls via the network as attractive as competing VoIP - networks. Messaging is probably more of a challenge because it has been 100% profit all this time, but it's still doable. Using the peering billing structure already in place networks can squeeze out non-networks or encourage them to partner with them for a revenue share. As the advantage of using VoIP / instant messaging instead of network services declines, so does the business model. This has already largely happened in fixed line services with countrywide flatrates, etc.

    As it's all IP-based LTE also offers the networks plenty of scope for product differentiation with QoS: sell bandwidth instead of data volume, offer messaging only services, limited call minutes, etc. In fact it's possibly only the regulatory guaranteed revenues that have prevented these kinds offers: networks have been more or less obliged to avoid innovation offer extortionate tariffs to maximise returns for shareholders. Though quoted in the article as an apparently negative example. 3 is a good example of attracting people through its data tariff and still being able to charge them a premium for voice services.

  14. Alister

    As you mentioned the Chuckle brothers

    I thought the two services would be TuMe / TuYou

    Most disappointed...

  15. Simple Simon

    I genuinely don't understand. Help please.

    But, unless I completely misunderstand it, I've been doing this myself for years.

    I have a VOIP number (from Sipgate, but that's not important) - and that number rings on whatever device I use to log on to the VOIP service at that time. When travelling overseas, that's usually via a locally bought data-only SIM, and a VOIP app on my smart phone.

    So, I am "subscribing to a number" (from my VOIP provider), and simply using the data service of the telco of wherever I happen to be.

    What's new with this offering? The only thing I can think of is that there's some kind of QoS for the VOIP traffic?

  16. Scotty


    no different to what hitoori were doing via their hosted number service 20 years ago. both mobile and landline would ring, time set diverts, txt activated diverts to where ever nearest landline was, and voice mail straight to email. Are they that desperate for R&D cash to re-launch failed ventures of the past onto the cloud to fail again. :/

  17. James 100

    Google Voice, Skype, personal numbers...

    Exactly what Google Voice does in the US already, pretty much what you can set up for yourself with Skype - and exactly what the 07xx 'personal number' range was assigned for in the UK.

    Andrews & Arnold seem to offer something comparable as part of their VoIP service too, you can rent a number from them and have it terminate on a VoIP trunk, a landline, a SIM of theirs (on Three) or another mobile number. Appealing flexibility, certainly.

    The only snag is that personal numbers were ludicrous premium rate ripoffs, and forwarding from landlines to mobiles in the UK is still ridiculously expensive, though that is slowly changing now.

  18. Nifty Silver badge

    Current VOIP is not mobile

    With real mobile telephony, your phone waits in low power mode listening for a call for instant notification to the phone owner of an incoming call. I suppose you can call this 'push' notification.

    With VOIP of any type, 3g needs to be active all the time and will drain your battery flat in an hour or 2, plus give you a nice warm pocket.

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