The Mobile Value Chain is Choking Mobile Network Operators

Posted: September 25th, 2010 | Author: The Morodo Team | Filed under: Uncategorized | View Comments

Judging from his speech at last week’s Nokia World event Vodafone CEO, Vittorio Colao has a few demands of developers, mobile manufacturers and the general public. As reported in Mobile Europe, Colao believes the world has turned on its head, and where once he only had to worry about the network, now he has a whole new ‘ecosystem’ on his hands. Mobile Europe makes the point that most Mobile Network Operators are in the same boat.

Educating the ecosystem in the how Vodafone sees the new order, Colao made the following three points clear:

1. Someone needs to pay for the network. Bracing the backbone for the onslaught of increased consumer data is expensive and Vodafone would like to remain profitable, so expect to see tiered data pricing very soon. App developers bear this one in mind when you’re creating new products and services.

2. Real competition and choice in mobile phones means a diverse range of devices that meet the needs of rich and poor alike. Naturally, Colao wants budget smartphones for the emerging economies, but he also requires affordable top-end devices for the mature markets. Email, Social Networking, Videos, Games and Maps supported by smartphones will all drive data usage and create revenue.

3. Search, recommendation and carrier billing (supporting contactless payment) are all Colao wants to see from developers. The way we read it, between the lines, Vodafone have had enough of disruption, they need development on their terms.

At this point, one would consider oneself well lectured in the mobile ‘ecosystem’ as Vodafone see it, but the kicker is yet to come: Colao went on to say he had enough of the vertically integrated Mobile Operating Systems, in his view we need a truly open environment for mobile application development and that can only be provided by the Wholesale Applications Community (WAC).

Translating that into layman’s terms, Colao is fed up that Apple and Google destroyed Vodafone’s commercial relationship with customers that want to buy applications and consume (and pay for) content. Everyone should get with the program and join the cosy club of Mobile Network Operator developers, the WAC. To be fair, Colao stated very clearly that he understands that with more stakeholders in the value-chain, everyone needs a fair share of the revenue.

Forgive us if we have been a little scathing in our reportage, but as the Operators have had the upper hand for so very long, some twenty years, why should anyone give them back the keys to their beloved Walled Gardens now? The Gatekeeper days are done with, dead and buried. What good will come of that? Not much good, believe you me.

As reported in Fierce Wireless earlier this week:

France Telecom-Orange CEO Stephane Richard has invited the heads of the three competing operators to meet Oct. 8 to explore the creation of their own common OS–the report states the talks are motivated by a belief that iOS and Android are “Trojan horses” enabling Apple and Google to establish their own relationships with consumers, effectively minimizing the carrier’s role in the mobile services value chain.

The four Operators referred to are Orange, Deutsch Telecom, Telefonica and Vodafone. Obviously, less important stakeholders in the value-chain are not invited to this meeting, no, not even Nokia.

It’s clear to us that in the Ivory Towers of the Operators, the only significant changes being made to the ‘ecosystem’ are those driven by fear of lost market share, fear of lost customer ownership and fear of becoming the bit-pipe for a new generation of connected consumers.

Viva la revolucion! Viva MO-Call!


“Developers, Developers, Developers.”

Posted: September 19th, 2010 | Author: The Morodo Team | Filed under: Uncategorized | View Comments

New Nokia CEO, Stephen Elop, chose to make his first public appearance for his new employer at this week’s Nokia World event in London. His first public act? To handover a USD 1 million prize to a team of developers and paraphrase his former supervisor, Steve Ballmer, in stating that the most important part of the Nokia ecosystem is: Developers, Developers, Developers.

Elsewhere at Nokia World SVP of Design, Marko Ahtisaari, made it clear that Nokia have high hopes for their new Operating System Meego when he said:

“In order to cut through in the media environment, I think you need to do Operating System (OS) level innovation….in order for it to cut through and people to say, whoa, why didn’t somebody else think about that and that’s kind of what Nokia should do, it will be easier to cut through, from the media point of view, with MeeGo.”

We bet he’s got his eyes set on the all-important US market when he talks about cutting through the media environment.

We’ve been playing with Meego for some months now and are generally pleased with the performance of the OS but more work is needed to compete with the kind of ease-of-use consumer expectation that the iPhone has created. And ease-of-use, simplicity in app design, does not just stop there at the OS. There’s also what the Developer creates.

Last week, User Interface (UI) Guru Aral Balkan attracted some flak for making the case that User Experience, not bundles of Features, differentiates applications and devices. As we’ve made it something of a virtue to keep the MO-Call apps light, friendly and easy to use, we tend to agree with him.

Features should be useful and compliment the core strengths of your offer. There are too many ‘kitchen-sink’ apps these days that try to cram in every social network, messaging service and scheduling tool in the mistaken belief that more features mean better sales. Usually, this results in a process-hogging app that dominates the device and battery (and not in a good way).

The virtue of Morodo is that, wherever possible, the User Experience is not changed. Just use your mobile as you normally would, MO-Call is clever enough to do the money-saving work for you. As Balkan states, sometimes the best UI is no UI..


The Death Of The Phone Call?

Posted: September 19th, 2010 | Author: The Morodo Team | Filed under: Uncategorized | View Comments

Wired forecasting the Death of the Phone Call has caused a few ripples around the Internet. The crux of Clive’s argument is that:

“This generation doesn’t make phone calls, because everyone is in constant, lightweight contact in so many other ways: texting, chatting, and social-network messaging. These new forms of communication have exposed the fact that the voice call is badly designed.”

Here at Morodo we’d agree that the traditional phone call is indeed badly designed – expensive too. We’ve made a whole business around the need to change the way that phone calls are made by re-engineering calls made from your mobile and your desktop.

Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) with VoIP MO-Call provides Presence: you can see who is online; and Status: you can see the availability of your Contacts to take a call.

If your friend or colleague is online, you can call them for free if they have a MO-Call account. If they’re offline, send them an SMS. And for Generations Y and Z, we’ve added Facebook, Yahoo, MSN and ICQ Messaging and Presence right into the MO-Call User Interface.

These are just a few of the simple ways in which Morodo is improving communication for the better. The Phone Call may be struggling to find a future, the MO-Call is alive and well.


Are you going to invest against Mobile VoIP?

Posted: September 19th, 2010 | Author: The Morodo Team | Filed under: Uncategorized | View Comments

Not such a strange question and one asked by The Street’s Anton Wahlman this week in his column VoIP – Smartphone revolution is coming. Referring to the mobile voice cash cow that the Mobile Network Operators have enjoyed for this last decade and a half he states:

“..once there’s a crack in the Hoover Dam … and you can’t plug it … do you really want to invest against this trend?”

Wahlman’s points were picked up by Fierce VoIP and echoed in a further piece on IT Business Edge. Pundits such as Techcrunch’s Michael Arrington have picked up that Google Voice for Gmail leaves much to be desired, and where’s the Google Voice mobile apps?

Last week, we wrote about competition in our field. Reviewing these stories, we couldn’t help but spin the competition argument on it’s head: less than twenty Mobile VoIP companies have anything like Morodo’s edge in app maturity, network redundancy, ease of use and device coverage. And we’re all disrupting the business of upwards of one thousand Mobile Network Operators around the world, slashing prices and offering great customer service.

Are you going to bet against the Mobile VoIP revolution?


Press Release: Morodo Launches MO-Dial, Offering Cheap Calls from any UK phone

Posted: September 14th, 2010 | Author: The Morodo Team | Filed under: Press releases | View Comments

MO-DialLondon – Morodo Group launches MO-Dial for the UK market, which provides instant savings on international calls from any phone to countries all over the world.

MO-Dial is an access number based service, enabling users to make low cost calls from the UK without the need for pins, software downloads, credit cards, calling cards or setup fees.

Users simply dial an access number provided on the website then dial the destination number and the call is connected at MO-Dial’s amazingly low rates with no hidden charges.

About Morodo
Seeking to re-define the way we communicate via technology, Morodo helps people keep in touch with whomever they want, whenever they want, from any device they want.

Morodo provides telecommunications services to hundreds of thousands of people around the world through MO-Dial. Simple and seamless to use, MO-Dial offers easy access to low-cost calling from the UK to anyone and anywhere in the world.

Morodo news is available at the company website: www.morodogroup.com
MO-Dial information is available on the website: www.mo-dial.com

Media and Blogger Contact:
Ving Chou (e-mail: ving.chou@morodo.co.uk)
Morodo Limited


Press Release: MO-Call brings 3G and Wi-Fi Calling to the iPhone 4

Posted: September 7th, 2010 | Author: The Morodo Team | Filed under: Press releases | View Comments

MO-Call brings 3G and Wi-Fi Calling to the iPhone 4

London – Morodo Limited’s popular international calling application, MO-Call, has been upgraded to support Apple’s iPhone 4 and iPhones running the new iOS 4 operating system.

The updated application lets customers make cheap calls over Wi-Fi or through a 3G connection as part of their data package. In addition to the VoIP calling feature, users of MO-Call can also make cheap internet calls on lower bandwidth connections via the callback feature. The app also comes with low cost text messaging.

The MO-Call iPhone app can be downloaded direct from iTunes. New users get free minutes to try the application out. When the free trial is over, top-ups can be made from the MO-Call website or from the app itself.

About Morodo
Seeking to re-define the way we communicate via mobile devices and the Internet, Morodo helps people keep in touch with whomever they want, whenever they want, from any device they want.

Morodo provides telecommunications services to hundreds of thousands of people around the world through the MO-Call software applications for mobiles and computers. Simple and seamless to use, MO-Call offers easy access to free and low-cost calling for anyone, anywhere.

Morodo news is available at the company website: www.morodogroup.com
MO-Call specific related news is available from the MO-Call blog: www.mo-call.com/blog

Media and Blogger Contact:
Ving Chou (e-mail: ving.chou@morodo.co.uk)
Morodo Limited

Skype files for an IPO – good news for Mobile VoIP

Posted: September 3rd, 2010 | Author: The Morodo Team | Filed under: Uncategorized | View Comments

On Monday last week Skype filed its S1 supporting an IPO application with the SEC.  For many industry observers, this was not entirely unexpected news, many commentators would have prepared their ‘Skype goes public’ blog posts months ago.

http://www.businessinsider.com/skype-files-for-ipo-2010-8

Aside from the bizarre BSkyB litigation related to alleged trademark confusion over Skype’s name, we learned a fair deal about Skype’s strategy from the S1 documentation:

Freemium as a model works – just over 6% of Skype’s 560 million strong user-base pay for service, spending USD 96 per annum each. Skype is a cash machine (just as Morodo would be once we get critical mass).

Mobile, Value-Adds and Enterprise and key growth areas – now that Skype has established relationships with several Mobile Operators, it forecasts stronger revenue from mobile. Premium value-added services and SME (Skype for Business) are named as strategic growth areas.

Securing proprietary technology cost Big Time – Skype paid cash and equity at the value of approximately USD 300 million to the Founders to secure an audio-codec license from JoltID, something that was overlooked in the original eBay acquisition. That, right there, is the value of using Open Source codecs.

A number of people have asked us what this means for Morodo. It’s all good news as far as the team is concerned. Why?

  1. Continued competition in the Mobile VoIP space validates our business. If nobody was doing what we do, we’d be worried. We’re pleased to remain a leader in Mobile VoIP app technology.
  2. The Mass-Media loves Mobile VoIP. Use of an alternative voice and data carrier from a mobile has yet to reach mass-adoption.  The market is open, the technology is proven (and the benefits obvious), it’s all about growth.
  3. The incumbent giants have awoken.  We’ve been saying for some time that the big Mobile Operators would eventually adopt Mobile VoIP strategies and now they are. Interest in your company is growing.

Another big week in VoIP that brings yet more valid reasons that VoIP services and products are big business.


Google Voice for Gmail – not a MO-Call killer

Posted: September 3rd, 2010 | Author: The Morodo Team | Filed under: Uncategorized | View Comments

On Wednesday Google finally launched Google Voice for Gmail causing a big splash in the media and huge waves in the blogosphere. We fielded a fair few calls asking for comment so we thought it timely to share our thoughts with you.

Google Voice is a whole lot of unrealised potential. The addition of voice calling and text messaging to Gmail has been a long time coming.  The search giant bought Grand Central in June 2007,  Gizmo5 in November 2009 and GIPS in May of this year. Our initial thought was: it that it? Following the cancellation of Google Wave earlier in the month, it’s a wonder that so few features have been included in this release.  And most notably, why so quiet on the Google Voice mobile app?

Don’t misunderstand us; we’re not playing up the weaknesses to hide the strengths of the offer. We should be very clear and state that we do not feel at all threatened by Google entering our space. It certainly didn’t stop anyone investing in Mobile VoIP companies this week.

Many a blogger led off with talk of Google Voice becoming a Skype-killer, well, that’s as may be, but for Morodo, it’s all good news. Why? Here are some the key points as we see them:

Competition is Validation (and Free Marketing)

MO-Call has been competing against thousands of mobile operators, fixed line incumbents and VoIP companies since it’s own launch.  One more player, however big, will not make a difference. In fact, the larger the alternative VoIP player, and the more marketing money they spend, the better. It’s about time the mass-market woke-up to the alternatives out there.

Profitable Pricing.

A lot of nonsense has been written about VoIP being a zero-sum game, a race to the bottom. It’s not. It may surprise you to learn that offering rates sub USD 2 cents per minute to European destinations is good margin business. Morodo can compete and be profitable.

Calling will not be free-to-all-destinations for a very long time, not whilst so many operators around the world (and let’s face it, governments) continue to earn revenue from call termination.

Mobile Applications.

MO-Call is a mature mobile VoIP application, tried and tested in the market on more than 1,800 different makes and model of phone. It’s simple to use, has a low memory footprint and doesn’t dominate the battery.

The existing Google Voice mobile app is complex by comparison and not friendly on power and processing. Many of our immediate competitors distribute huge, hungry and obtrusive applications, we say: Keep It Simple Stupid.

On the mobile, it’s about talk and text: that’s where the revenue is – that’s where the customer wants to save money.

Mobile Networks

Google is on the horns of a dilemma. A few weeks ago, in partnership with Verizon, Google provide a proposal on Net Neutrality to the FCC in the USA (the regulatory body for telecoms). If you’re not familiar with this news story, perhaps the best coverage can be found here at Circle ID.

In the light of the Google Voice for Gmail launch it is now somewhat significant that Google made their Net Neutrality play together with Verizon, the only US carrier yet to host a Skype service on it’s mobile network. We’re sure there are plenty of non-compete terms in that Skype co-op agreement.

This highlights a huge problem for Google moving forward, the ability to build a Mobile VoIP business where the carriers feel threatened. OK, you can remind us that we have written many words in the past about carriers embracing Mobile VoIP, and they are, but carriers view Google Voice in a very different and threatening light. It’s going to take a lot more than revenue share on Google Mobile Adsense and promised increased data usage before we see the search giant secure any Verizon-Skype-alike deals.

Mobile Manufacturers

Google’s Android Mobile Operating system is a massive success story. Chances are it’s a Mobile Operating System that most people who read the papers have heard of and that’s probably a first in the history of the cellphone (anyone remember Psion?).

Android’s market penetration has been led by the mobile manufacturers, the HTCs and Samsungs of this world. It’s license free, it’s completely Open Source and thousands of developers work on apps that run on it. What’s nice for Google is that the Operating System embeds some of their key services, like Gmail, on the device. Try using an Android mobile without a Gmail account, it’s a pretty poor experience.

Unfortunately for Google, these embeds and this diversity in production might not be much of a help in the long run, simply because the people that buy the most phones direct from the factory are the Mobile carriers themselves.  If Vodafone are going to buy 500,000 Samsung Galaxies, you can be sure they can ask for Google Voice to be removed.

The on-device playing field for Morodo is a lot leveler than it might first appear.

Google needs to pull something special out of the bag, it’s facing increased competition in it’s core search business, it’s been battered over privacy all over the western world, it’s struggling to compete with Facebook and it’s coming off the back of a string of failed public betas.

Twelve months ago it would have been inconceivable for John Gruber to write his recent piece on CEO Eric Schmidt, now it’s par for the course that any announcement from the company will attract a round of Google-Bashing.

This time next week, a hundred blog posts and news articles will be warning you of the danger of Google data-mining your call records so it can better target ads at you.


Press Release: MO-Call Putting Rate Cut Decisions in the Hands of Customers

Posted: September 2nd, 2010 | Author: The Morodo Team | Filed under: Press releases | View Comments

London – Morodo Limited recently let the users of their popular international calling service, MO-Call, decide which destinations they should drop their rates to next. MO-Call users voted and are now making the most of slashed rates to Poland Mobile, India Mobile and the USA with rates being cut by up to 50%.

New cheaper rates as voted by MO-Call users:

  • Poland Mobile: $0.15 /min (40% cut)
  • India Mobile: $0.02 /min (50% cut)
  • USA Landline and Mobile: $0.01 /min (50% cut)

MO-Call provides various ways of making low cost international calls, including mobile apps available on over 2,000 handsets, computer applications and web browser apps.

There is no charge to set up a MO-Call account and new users receive some free credit to test the service. After the trial, MO-Call customers only pay for the minutes they use, making savings of up to 95% compared to traditional mobile and fixed networks.

“MO-Call provides one of the easiest, cheapest ways to keep in touch with the important people in your life. With our latest promotion we put it to the MO-Call community decide which countries they wanted to call for less. They voted and we listened.” said Andrew Reid, Morodo CEO.

About Morodo

Seeking to re-define the way we communicate via mobile devices and the Internet, Morodo helps people keep in touch with whomever they want, whenever they want, from any device they want.

Morodo provides telecommunications services to hundreds of thousands of people around the world through the MO-Call software applications for mobiles and computers. Simple and seamless to use, MO-Call offers easy access to free and low-cost calling for anyone, anywhere.

Morodo news is available at the company website: www.morodogroup.com

MO-Call specific related news is available from the MO-Call blog:www.mo-call.com/blog

Media Contact:
Andrew Reid  (e-mail: areid@morodo.co.uk)
Morodo Limited
Level 6
68 Lombard Street
London EC3V 9LJ
United Kingdom


5 reasons why WiFi and WLAN are the Alternative Mobile Networks

Posted: August 10th, 2010 | Author: The Morodo Team | Filed under: Uncategorized | View Comments

In a recent survey, MarketTools states that seventy eight percent of people in the USA who own smartphones with Wi-Fi capabilities would be interested in an application that would use Wi-Fi to deliver ‘five bars’ of coverage at home or in the office. Though the sample group was not exactly huge, the received wisdom underlines several key trends in the mobile industry:

1. Every smart device has WiFi. According to research from InStat, the next four years will see an increase in the number of Wi-Fi-enabled devices to nearly 2 billion by 2014. This includes mobile phones, laptops, Blu-ray players/recorders, e-readers, and digital televisions. The Internet of Things will be WiFi enabled.

2. Mobile Operators are already using WiFi to alleviate data bottlenecks on the network. In the USA, AT&T handled 68.1 million Wi-Fi connections on its network in the second quarter of 2010, compared to just 15 million in the same quarter last year. The AT&T WiFi hotzone pilot project has been building out trial municipal WiFi in North Carolina and will go live in Chicago on a few months time.

In the UK, a YouGov survey found that 50% of UK smartphone owners use WiFi every day – 40% of them because its faster for mobile internet access, and 50% because it is easier than using 3G. Most notably for Morodo, 80% would be interested in a mobile operator service that offers cheap calls through WiFi.

3. 4G is a long time coming. Wimax and LTE are much talked about high speed mobile technologies but they will be a long time coming to the mass market. As the Intelligence Centre points out, GSM provides better overall coverage globally. Mobile Network operators should leverage existing low-cost technologies, such as WiFi, to provide better data services in metropolitan usage hotspots.

4. The future is data – Western mobile markets are reaching 100% population penetration. New data services are the new revenue streams and cash-cows for Mobile Network Operators. VoIP is a data service. Browsing is a data service. Streaming and downloading are data services. Navigation is a data service. Pretty much everything the customer wants to do with their powerful mobile phone relies on a data service.

5. Wireless Local Area Networks are a growth business. Market researchers Dell’Oro Group say that overall Wireless LAN (WLAN) market revenues are expected to surpass $7 billion by 2014. The enterprise segment and the small office, home office segments will account for a majority of that growth, with enterprise revenues expected to expand more than 100 percent over 2009.

In summary, the Morodo Team predicts that WiFi enabled devices will drive data service usage for some time to come. This is great for us: WiFi is cheap to deploy, proven technology that works with Morodo’s voice and data services today. It’s also great for you:  WiFi knows no borders and unlike roaming with your mobile, is cheap to use when you travel, often free. The vast majority of VoIP MO-Calls originate over a WiFi network and we believe this will continue to be the case in the future. You can rest assured that we will be leveraging the abundance of WiFi for some years yet.