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Phones and Gas: Commodities Both

Phoenix Gas StationNight time in Phoenix.  Howard, Andy, his lovely fiancee Helene, and I were on the way to dinner last night, when we passed the gas station sign in this picture.  If you doubted that metered telephony was a commodity, this sign should put those doubts to rest.  Along with unleaded at $2.42 per gallon, this Circle K is also selling prepaid long distance cards at 1 cent for US, and 3 cents for international.  Voice minutes are a commodity, just like gas.

In preparation for our demo (Wednesday morning) we needed more handsets.  We visited the local Cingular store, and bought 10 Motorola flip phones, each with 40 minutes of air time, for $35 per phone.  I remember my first cell phone.  It cost $1000.  The minutes were unbelievably expensive.  Like minutes, phones are now just another commodity business.

Incumbent telecoms are running a commodity business, plain and simple.  Now, more than ever, they have to reinvent themselves.  Voice 2.0 is simultaneously their greatest chance of survival, and their greatest threat.  And that, of course, is why iotum exists — to bring a few of those Voice 2.0 applications to market.

Ciao!  I’ve got a demo to rehearse.

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