Bandwidth is offering voice app providers new messaging options that move them closer to being a complete replacement for traditional wireless voice service.
The wholesaler is offering phone numbers that are enabled for MMS -- or multimedia messaging service -- and for short-code messages, as well as SMS-enabled toll-free numbers that let consumers send text messages to a toll-free number for customer support or information. (See Bandwidth Targets OTT Apps With New Messaging.)
The services are available for app developers that want their voice apps to appear much more like a regular wireless voice service, says Jason Sommerset, director of product development at Bandwidth.com .
Today, MMS capabilities are limited to consumers using the same voice app, creating a walled garden of connections, he says. But by offering MMS-capable phone numbers to voice app providers, Bandwidth will allow them to offer their consumers the ability to send video or picture messages to anyone else, as wireless consumers do today.
"A capability like this will start to make them more of an alternative to traditional voice," Sommerset says. "Today we don't consider them a true alternative. Internationally they are more competitive, but here in the US, they are mostly an add-on service."
Bandwidth was able to use its own wireless subsidiary, Republic Wireless , to work out the ecosystem and the use case for supporting this kind of messaging from a voice app, Sommerset says. The technology isn't new, but getting partners to work together and recognize the value to end consumers is a significant change.
Bandwidth does have some voice app providers on its customer roll and is looking to add more, he adds. The company believes the additional messaging capabilities, for MMS, short codes and SMS to toll-free numbers, will be a product differentiator for Bandwidth in reaching more voice app providers and for those providers in reaching more consumers.
— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading