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Wireless Utopia

The journey towards a free wireless world.

Toktumi: The Skype killer?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

There's a new VoIP kid on the block: Toktumi. I have been using it since it came out of private beta few weeks back. To put it in easy terms, its Skype + a free SkypeIn number + free voicemail. There's something similar to SkypeOut as well but the pricing is more like a monthly rental + call charges. The call charges are not laid out (5cents to most phones) so a side by side comparison cannot be done. But it should be competitive, given the state of VoIP minutes market. Whats more, it provides a USB adapter to which you can connect your normal phone to.

Their system is differs significantly from Skype though. The website claims that its P2P PBX which sounds like a bunch of Asterisk servers which are peered together on the internet for load balancing. Looks like that the PC is not invovled in routing other's traffic through your system. Contrast that to Skype where any PC can become a super node if its in a good bandwidth environment. The other thing about this approach is that QoS can be monitored closely. Which eventually improves the call quality. The approach certainly has mertis on its own. But can it be cost effective is the question.

The soft client is breeze to install and use. The interface is more traditional compared to Skype which is more IM'ish. After using it for a few weeks, it found some annoyances about it though. For example, it does not startup minimized: you have to close it and then click ok on the message box which pops up. Another feature lacking is that there's no way to set the ringer to your PC's speaker. So if you are using a headset and a call come's in, you are in a bit of trouble if you are not on your PC.

So can it really take on Skype? Skype is superstar of VoIP services today. It has been going through a bad patch recently, with troubles at the top. But a little competition in this market would not do any harm. As the founder of Toktumi, Peter Sission says on his blog, entrepreneurs can still challenge Skype. It remains to be seen whether Toktumi can be as viral a hit as Skype was. But I would still recommend this service. Especially if you are small buiness owner or working out of home. Or if you are looking for a free US number as me. :)

Tags: Toktumi, Skype, VoIP, Asterisk.
posted by Rajiv, 2:03 AM


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