Spain’s mobile operators launch Joyn for Android: is the industry trying to bring Whatsapp and Viber users back?


    Are the clouds over Whatsapp , Viber , iMessage and their counterparts starting to thicken?
    The Union of the 3 largest mobile operators in Spain launched the Joyn service.
    Under this brand, the global Rich Communications Services program is being promoted . Only now, smartphones of socially active subscribers have long and firmly taken root by leading applications like Whatsapp and Viber, and with the growth of their distribution, subscribers around the world spend less and less money on SMS and MMS. Starting in 2013, Joyn will be massively integrated into phones, but has the platform that it had been carrying so long been late?

    The ever-growing popularity of Whatsapp around the world is estimated at 100 ... 200 million users(up to 500M according to Google Play), and its Asian counterpart, WeChat, is 200 million . Is it possible that in the future services like Whatsapp and Viber will be blocked?


    Finally, he came: the savior of the mobile industry, Joyn, professionally known as Rich Communications Services, or RCS for short. In February this year at the Mobile World Congress, the industry regulator GSMA said that all the major mobile operators will implement it, and now - the whole big three of Spain - Movistar (Telefonica), Orange and Vodafone - began to offer it to their customers.

    Joyn allows users to exchange instant messages, and "enrich" voice calls by exchanging videos and other files directly during a conversation. This is an independent service that is not tied to the operator, so in this regard you only need your operator to support it, regardless of the country. And Spain became the first country in the world where all the largest operators implemented it at the same time.

    In other countries, the service is already available in Vodafone (Germany), as well as in Deutsche Telekom, starting in December, as well as in the USA in MetroPCS.

    GSMA says VoIP and IP video calls will also be implemented in the future. Here are some marketing words from Michael O'Hara, GSMa Marketing Director:

    “This first introduction of the new technology clearly required a lot of effort and strong leadership in aligning the ecosystem of manufacturers, developers, integrators and operators. The three operators of Spain have pioneered and users around the world will benefit from this effort. ”

    Do not really understand what is being discussed? Watch a glossy video that demonstrates how to share files in Joyn:

    All these features are implemented deeply at the level of network infrastructure, as is Voice over LTE. Now, to use it, a special application for Android is required, but soon (in early 2013) devices with built-in Joyn should appear. Since the service works over IP, of course, it should work through Wi-Fi.

    Mentioned smartphones with built-in Joyn will have to pass rigorous compatibility tests, and after that you will recognize them by the bright yellow Joyn logo that will appear when you turn on the phone. The same logo will be shown next to the name of the contacts in the address book.

    What for?

    If you still do not understand, this is perhaps the most impressive attempt of the mobile operators in the industry to do something together. Why? Because operators want to stay in demand.


    The question is, maybe they are already late?

    Over the past 2 years, large operators have released a variety of applications that are doomed to failure - Bobsled from T-Mobile (USA), Tu Me from Telefonica and, of these, Libon from Orange. Each of these applications allowed you to make free calls and exchange messages, and subscribers of any network could install them.

    In each of these cases, the same goal was pursued: so that users stop thinking about WhatsAppand again began to think about their operator. Mobile operators woke up belatedly, realizing that users increasingly think of them as a provider of unlimited mobile Internet , and that it makes them crawl . Because there is nothing more to stand out.

    Now, all industry representatives are trying to unite. This fact alone shows despair - after all, some of them had already tried to do something similar before .

    The key problem is that users already have such services. Users have already trusted WhatsApp, Viber and Skype. Operators are now hoping that Joyn will become so ubiquitous that those that the most inert mass of users will switch to it at once, and it will become a new standard both in terms of user base and out-of-box device support.

    Do they believe it themselves? Maybe. If you look at the mentioned Tu Me, Bobsled and Libon and related additional services, you can see that the operators do not have much faith that Joyn will “take off”.

    This does not mean that Joyn will not be successful. Industry monsters are introducing him, and if they manage to maintain the unity of the “against friends” union, the blow will be a strong one. In the worst (for them) scenario, we observe the last gasp.

    Source: GigaOM: Spain's carriers unite on Joyn - is this the future of mobile? (David Meyer)
    Photo: Getty Images


    For those who think that mobile messengers are nonsense, you should pay attention to such facts in order to approximately understand the size of the SMS market:

    In Russia, perhaps the only example of a similar attempt is Multifon from Megaphone. It was launched several years ago and has not been promoted since then. A multiphone is actually much wider than trying to just make an alternative to mobile IM. It allows you to receive calls to your Megaphone mobile number through SIP, and make outgoing calls through SIP at more humane long-distance international rates than from a SIM card (although recently services like Youmagic have offered much more attractive rates , for some destinations 3- 5 times lower than in Multifon ).

    Multifon is an open service that can be used either through the (not very convenient and heavy) official Multifon client, or through any other SIP client that you like for a computer or mobile, as well as from hardware SIP phones. The megaphone does not mind that users connect the Multifon as a trunk to IP PBX (virtual telephone exchange) and flexibly manage calls as they like (for example, redirect incoming calls to any other numbers, including mobile phones in other countries - which in some cases is very helps to save on roaming).

    Therefore, we can assume that the grateful subscribers of Megafon use it specifically for voice calls, and that, perhaps, they created it as a competitor to Skype, and not Whatsapp. Why such a good (and successful!) Service does not develop is incomprehensible.

    Earlier there were reports that " VimpelCom mobile operator intends to create its own program for IP-telephony, capable of replacing Skype in functionality ," but it seems that things have not progressed more.

    Is such a lull a sign that our big three are preparing the introduction of Joyn?

    Whatsapp, Viber, iMessage and their analogues can be blocked?

    An even more interesting question is if users of Whatsapp, Viber, iMessage and the like do not want to switch to Joyn, will these services be blocked , for example, to “accelerate the popularization of the service” or “in order to protect the interests of subscribers”?

    Indeed, the practice of recent years shows that corporations are not very interested in the opinions of users, and prefer to unilaterally block the services of competitors or to make an “offer that cannot be refused”.

    upd: It turns out that such measures are already being considered, according to CNews :
    One of the problems that mobile operators have to solve is the introduction of voice services on 4G networks and the protection of their income from basic services. According to Informa Telecom & Media, the decrease in revenue of mobile operators from the use of third-party IP-services (OTT) by their subscribers, such as Skype, will reach 3.9 and 1.6% in 2012 for Western and Eastern Europe, respectively. Ovum estimated losses from OTT messaging services at $ 13.9 billion, or 9% of total messaging revenues in 2011. The

    response of mobile operators lies in four main areas:
    • blocking and prohibitions of OTT services;
    • decrease in the attractiveness of OTT services due to their charging;
    • joint projects in the field of mobile IP communications (an example is the European project Joyn within the framework of the concept of Rich Communication Services, RCS);
    • independent implementation of OTT services.

    Interestingly, in this case, Blackberry Messenger is likely to receive additional benefits in the battle of ecosystems .

    What do you think?

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