My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Why Japanese Line introduces Line Call for Landline and Mobile is WhatsApp and Skype Competition

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Why Japanese Line introduces Line Call for Landline and Mobile is WhatsApp and Skype Competition

“The ability to make calls directly to mobile and landline phones has been one of our most requested features”

Line Euro-Americas CEO Jeanie Han in a statement on Line Call

We are on the cusp of a VoIP Revolution it seems.

Japanese VoIP Calling App Line, best known for its very kawaii avatars, now allows users to make Voice Calls to Landline and Cellular numbers at US$0.02 per minute to anywhere in the World via its new service Line Call as stated in “Line goes live with calls to cell phones, landlines”, published March 17, 2014 10:48 AM PDT by Jennifer Van Grove, CNET News.

Currently available on the Google Play Store and the Apple iTunes Store, Line Call is an amazing App. It offers users the option to either have a pay-as-you-go or 30 Day subscription package to call Landlines and Mobile phones, putting Line Call in direct competition with Telecom Providers that provide 30 Day Voice Calling Plans in the following countries:

1.      Columbia
2.      Japan
3.      Mexico
4.      Peru
5.      Philippines
6.      Spain
7.      Thailand
8.      United States

This new service also puts them in direct competition with WhatsApp which has plans to announce VoIP Calling by the end of the Second Quarter of 2014 to possibly make money from Premium Video VoIP Calling for Corporate customers over 3G/4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) Networks as noted in my blog article entitled “WhatsApp VoIP Calling in Second Quarter of 2014 - WhatsApp kills International Calling at the Advent of Facetime-eqsue Premium Video VoIP Calling on smartphones”.

Skype upgrades to become cross-compatible with Microsoft Lync and usable via a purely Web-based App as noted in my Geezam blog article entitled “Skype-ing from your Browser now possible as WhatsApp conspires to kill International Calling” appear to be justified, as they bracing themselves for an onslaught of VoIP Calling over 3G/4G LTE Networks.

Good to note here that most VoIP Calling Apps offer free Voice and Video Calling between smartphones that have the app installed, but were for the most part restricted to making Voice Calls over Wi-Fi Networks.

Now that Telecom Providers are apparently easing restrictions on these Apps abilility to do the same thing over their 3G/4G LTE Networks, expect to see an increase in smartphone purchases. 

Not only that, but also a reduction in International Voice Calling and Roaming used by International Callers over Telecom Provider Networks. Apparently the increase purchase of Data Plans and smartphones on Plans is worth it for the Telecom Providers to sacrifice their International Calling Cash Cow.

Line Call the Japanese kawaii VoIP Calling App – Voice Calling to Telecom Networks still not free

Line is owned by Naver, a South Korean Search Engine giant. Line was popular in South Korea, with most of its 40 million subscribers being based in Japan having recently passed the 100 million user mark in January 2013 as they pushed towards Latin America and North America as stated in “Line is a messaging app meets social network headed for the U.S. market – here’s what to expect”, published January 29, 2013 By Francis Bea, DigitalTrends.

Their strategy has been to make their VoiP Voice and Video Calling app tailed to each region they compete in via having an adjustable Window Phone-esque style interface from which they are constantly adding and removing features based on user feedback.

Somewhat like Kik as described in my blog article entitled “Kik hits the 100 million member mark - Open Source Mobile Rise of the Planet of the Apes for Mobile Social Networks to develope smartphone OS Defense Against the Dark Arts of Google+”.

Their revenue model is also very interesting, based mainly on paying VoIP Customers (as not everyone likes the limited Free Version!), Games which are pay-to-play and surprisingly super cute and very kawaii Stickers, many of which are licensed Cartoon Characters that people actually pay good money to use as Avatars or even send to express emotions in their messages as noted in “Cute overload: Line messaging app hits 300 million users”, published November 25, 2013 9:23 AM PST by Tim Hornyak, CNET News.

Good to note that Line has since November 2013 passed the 300 million mark. They now have the 500 million mark in their sights, according to Line CEO Akira Morikawa, quote: “We're aiming for 500 million users in 2014”.

Will the idea of paying US$0.02 per minute for Calls entice North Americans, Latin Americans and Caribbean Nationals such as Jamaicans toting smartphones to plunk down money to pay for a 30-Day Prepaid Calling Package to call Landline and Mobile numbers? Or will they stick to VoIP Calling between Apps on their smartphones?

How it pans out is of interest to me as the statistics coming out in the next six month will indicate if this is benefitting the Telecom Providers or hurting them financially in terms of lost revenue from Roaming and International Calling.

Here’s the link:

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