VoIP for T-Mobile phones?

Low-priced VoIP calls could soon be a standard call option for T-Mobile mobile phone customers following a major investment by parent company Deutsche Telekom in VoIP provider, Jajah . The strategic investment by Deutsche Telekom could see Jajah's VoIP service embedded in T-Mobile handsets by the end of this year, Daniel Mattes, co-founder of Jajah, told Tech.co.uk.

The move by Deutsche Telekom is the first time a major telecoms carrier has made such an investment in a VoIP company. The investment by Deutsche Telekom's T-Online Venture Fund follows another recent major investment in Jajah by Intel .

T-Mobile is currently working on embedding Jajah's web-based calling technology into its web-based properties, with services for consumers and businesses expected soon.

Mobile devices could also soon offer the low-cost calling Jajah service as an integrated application - bringing a mobile operator endorsed VoIP service to the mass market for the first time.

VoIP inevitability

Low cost web-based VoIP calling is usually seen as a threat for traditional telecoms companies. VoIP calls using mobile networks are often excluded from cheap mobile internet usage deals.

However, Mattes told Tech.co.uk that the recent investments by Deutsche Telekom and Intel reflected the realisation that that VoIP would continue to chip away at the mainstream market, as consumers demanded a better deal: "Such interest from major players within the PC and Telecoms industry suggest they see this is an irrefutable inevitability."

Mattes believes VoIP has hit a barrier for consumers in terms of usability, but that integration would be the key to accelerating the take-up. VoIP would really take off when people could use VoIP without changing their existing calling habits. Making VoIP calls simple, with the same experience as making any phone call, would be the key to break that barrier - like the way embedded Wi-Fi on laptops has boosted Wi-Fi take-up.

Jajah, which launched in March 2006, currently has over 2 million users of its VoIP service. It offers free and low-cost calls locally or internationally via its web-based service.