FringOut phones home
Similar to SkypeOut but like totally different
Fring is trialling its own version of SkypeOut, the innovatively named FringOut, allowing Fring users to call fixed lines even if they still can't speak to Skype users.
Fring users can now call up people who aren't using Fring, without paying a monthly fee or connection charge, as long as they're using a Symbian handset and prepared to sign up to the trial, and don't mind being on a separate network from their Skype-touting mates.
Fring started out as a way of getting Skype onto a mobile phone, creating a gateway into the Skype service with an innovative business model that, unfortunately, proved too complicated to survive. The application then morphed into identity aggregation - offering a single logon to multiple messaging and VoIP networks with the intention of making money by hosting identities.
When that got more difficult, the business moved into an advertising model with banner ads embedded in the application, and that's still how the company hopes to make money. FringOut, therefore, is an additional service to hook customers, rather than a revenue-generating operation.
Such hooks are increasingly important to Fring, whose falling-out with Skype has left it without the killer feature with which it was spawned. Skype was happy to have Fring providing mobile access while it was free, but now there's advertising revenue to be gained Skype sees no reason it should allow Fring onto its network.
The question is if Fring can hang onto its users long enough to build a competitive service without Skype. Which is why it needs a FringOut capability, which it reckons is competitive with SkypeOut.
SkypeOut users have to either pay a monthly fee, or a connection charge of between three and six pence depending on the call. FringOut dispenses with both, but might cost slightly more depending on where you're calling (feel free to compare Fring with Skype, but remember that the former is inclusive of VAT, while the latter is not).
This kind of service is intensely price-competitive, so margins are paper thin with fickle customers willing to switch networks to save a few cents a minute. Fring is obliged to provide the service or lose customers, but it won't be easy to compete with Skype on rates given Skype's economies of scale.
That makes FringOut more of a retention service than one which will bring in new customers, though the company will be hoping to attract new users too. ®
Fring was product that allowed you to use someone else's product in a place it was not already available and was permitted by the original product as they were not in that market.
Now original product is in that market Fring has no place......
Maybe this is a lesson in selling YOUR OWN PRODUCT rather than building a spurious business based on someone else's product. Or alternatively don't fool yourself there is longevity in it.
Fring == SIP frontend
I thought most people just used Fring as a way of making SIP calls on their handset.
It's nice that they've added some SIP credit to fund the development, but... this is essentially a SIP frontend. A very, very good SIP frontend.
For example, I have a SPA3102 VOIP gateway at home which routes incoming calls from the BT landline to regular BT handsets, but routes outbound calls from those same handsets to VOIP.
Fring allows me to make calls from my bog standard Nokia mobile phone using the same VOIP account.
Given the huge amount of inclusive call-time most mobile contracts allow, I use Fring almost exclusively to make international calls only. For example, calling back to the UK whilst abroad in a hotel which has WiFi.
yeah, totally agree, fring is a great SIP client. If they punted it as being that , with IM and fring out thrown in, then the could easily start selling it to SIP users for a few quid a go.
Compete with eyebeam etc.
forget about skype tie in and concentrate on their own services