back to article Facebook VOICE is what telco barons should fear - not a Zuckermobe

Facebook disappointed anyone expecting the unveiling of a "Facebook phone" last week - including me. But device manufacturers and mobile operators should watch their backs: it's barely the start of what the social-networking website can achieve. As a thought experiment, put yourself in Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg's Adidas …


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  1. Craig McGill 1

    Still get some income

    ... from the 3G charge. Wifi still isn't as readily available in the UK as elsewhere so they would still make some cash.

    Interesting thought though: would a telco or handset maker take a chance and ban the Facebook app?

    1. S4qFBxkFFg

      Re: Still get some income

      would a telco or handset maker take a chance and ban the Facebook app?

      That sounds like it would be far too obvious.

      Crippling VOIP by applying some extra latency might work though (for all I know, it's happening already).

      1. Spearchucker Jones

        Re: Still get some income

        It is already happening. And much broader than just VOIP. I was in Cape Town last month where I consistently got a full 3G signal on my EE UK phone. As soon as I used a data connection (be that email, browser or a data call from an app) the signal (and speed) dropped to EDGE. I asked around, and it's accepted practice down there, not just for foreigners roaming.

        1. dotdavid

          Re: Still get some income

          @Spearchucker Jones - just curious, but what happens if you set your phone to 3G-only?

          1. Spearchucker Jones

            Re: Still get some income

            @dotdavid - It was set to 3G only. EE tells me that's the only way I can roam outside the UK on non-4G networks (I have a 4G Lumia 920).

      2. dotdavid
        Thumb Up

        Re: Still get some income

        Yup. They'll cripple VOIP (they're allowed to - no network neutrality here in Blighty) then allow bolt-on "VOIP" packages for an extra fiver or so a month (or better still service-specific packages like "Facebook", "Google" so they can charge twice people who use both).

    2. N13L5

      Facecrook will never get on any phone I own..

      I don't trust their privacy and frankly, I find checking my FB page once a month is completely sufficient.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh good picture!

    Would you want to be as rich as him if you had to look like him?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oh good picture!

      You're assuming that we think that we already look better than him. You're also assuming that people around you think you look better than him and that it's not just your own opinion.

      1. TeeCee Gold badge

        Re: Oh good picture!

        Ah, but we may be talking about inner beauty.

        Which is where Zuckerbitch loses out to a Pontiac Aztek being driven by Joseph Merrick.....

  3. frank ly

    telcos .... dumb bit carriers..

    What else can they be? They carry customer voice, SMS and internet data and it's up to the customers what 'value' they place on the conversations and the data that is transferred - with the OTT players helping the customers independently of any telco input to the value-added process.

    If the telcos want a slice of the pie, they will have to create a service or value-added 'thing' that customers are willing to pay for. They can of course block VOIP and whatever detectable activity they like, but if they do that then it will lead to a backlash and legislation against them.

    Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc, have had years to create and develop their value-added 'thing' and are well established with enourmous user-bases. What could the telcos provide, even if they tried?

    1. gujiguju

      Re: telcos .... dumb bit carriers..

      Dumb pipes have all they've ever been...and all they can ever aspire to be. While they seem to be able to push bounds on network design and cellular connectivity, mobile telcos are utterly worthless in building any value-added services (while raking in billions of your money).

      Can anyone name any service they've invented? SMS? MMS? Yeah, cool innovation from 1992 in a Danish pizzeria, any other enhancements after that? VOIP, high-res photo & video messaging, delivery & read receipts, HD video calling, mobile screen-sharing, etc...? Oh, those were BBM, Skype & FaceTime 10-15 years later.

      Do you remember when carriers were dictating handset designs before Apple's agreement with Cingular/AT&T to release iPhone 1...? And Nokia & Blackberry tried, but were perfectly powerless to stand up to the carriers before Apple got into the game.

  4. David Paul Morgan
    Big Brother

    Why are the traditional carriers still around?

    given the mountains of cash Apple, Microsoft and Google are sitting on, why are we still using O2, vodafone et. al?

    I'm genuinely surprised that the big three have not bought out a carrier already, to run facetime/skype/google+ etc. and sniff all the data as it's transferred!

    Big Brother - but beware the 'little sisters' too!

    1. gujiguju

      Re: Why are the traditional carriers still around?

      Not their core competency...Apple looked at starting an MVNO to support iPhones in 2006, but way too many issues.

      The sooner cellcos act like smart utilities for fast cellular connections & reliability and nothing else, the better.

  5. Mike Brown

    telcos dont really need to worry

    as customers still need a mobile device to use voip. the vast majority cant afford to buy a handset out right, so will still need to turn to the telcos to get subsidised handsets.

    1. RonWheeler

      Re: telcos dont really need to worry

      Disagree - they still pay. They're just stupid and doh't realise they're being royally shafted on poor value loans.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: telcos dont really need to worry

        Looks like T-Mobile is finally changing that here in US, with no-contract plans that get cheaper after 24-month subsidy drops off...finally getting official LTE & HSPA+42 (& HD Voice) support for iPhones won't hurt either. ;)

  6. Jack Prichard

    That would be...

    'Like a parasite that recompenses its host in some way'

    That would be a symbiote.

  7. cs94njw

    So obvious! Who do people phone? Friends. Where are all their friends listed and categorized? Facebook.

    I could see VOIP on a PC, perhaps not on a mobile, being an idea.

    But there's two problems:

    1. If someone really wanted to talk to a friend - they wouldn't be using Facebook in the first place ;)

    2. I can't see someone paying for it.

  8. trammel

    The ott action is happening elsewhere

    Whatsapp, viber and facebook are seriously behind the curve in terms of ott offerings. See whats happening in China with wechat/weixin ( ) where you get voice & text messaging, group chats, video, a facebook style wall with friends updates and "look around" functionality to meet close similarly bored people.

    The telco's there are directly threatening to impose per-message fees on such wechat, and presumably any other application that threatens to strangle the SMS / voice revenue base.

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