Missed call communication protocol

Richard Bennett richard.bennett at skynet.be
Fri Feb 9 01:38:38 CET 2007

On Thursday 08 February 2007 16:20, Jonathon Suggs wrote:
> Telcos are not going to let this type of thing happen.  I'm all for being
> able to do things for 'free as in beer' with my 'free as in speech'
> phone...BUT if we start abusing some features/protocols then they will
> notice/retaliate.
True, using the altered CLI to pass messages could be regarded as abuse, but 
using the q931 Display field for passing information is a legitimate use of 
the protocol. 
> That said, this has been a great thread with some very good concepts and
> "outside the box" thinking.  However, the underlying concept of what we are
> doing/proposing *IS WRONG* no matter how you look at it.  We are trying to
> effectively use something that does cost money (air time) and instead of
> paying for it, manipulate it so that we get benefit and pay nothing in
> return.  
Just because a resource has not been monetized by the telcos yet, doesn't mean 
it 'IS WRONG' by definition, it just means nobody saw a business case in 
charging for it yet. When I started using SMS there was no charge for it, the 
telco's didn't think people would want to to pay for such a crippled service.

In this day of disruptive technologies it is sometimes not clear what is 
abuse, and what is progress.
Is it good or bad that Google decide they have the right to scan whole 
libraries of books without having permission from the authors? some call it 
progress, others theft. Is Skype good or bad? Don't they abuse a shared 
network originally meant for sharing data by sending voice over it without 

> This is also has potential for giving OpenMoko and open phones in general a
> bad name/press.  Headlines reading "renegade phones undermine network,
> higher charges for everyone coming" with some baseless statistics about how
> much it cost them to effectively ban this activity.
That's true, but it might also make it clear that there is a need for a cheap 
lightweight signaling mechanism. 
If you attended a VON you will notice mobile carriers are full of 'leveraging 
added value services' IMS is supposed to be the holy grail. In reality they 
are having trouble getting much beyond MMS, wallpapers and ringtones. They 
just don't have the imagination to find services that will allow them to 
recoup on their 3G investments.
Now if, instead of treating their customers like dumb terminals, they start to 
realize that given the correct tools the customers will find their own 
products, and be happy to pay for them, as long as the point of entry is kept 
low enough...
They need to supply a lightweight signaling protocol, access to their IMS 
infrastructure through an API, and the ability to prick holes in their walled 
garden, similar to the way we use firewalls. Sure it sounds radical, but 
everyone is doing it on the internet, why not in telecom?
This would allow really powerfull tools to be built, things the telco's could 
never imagine, similar to what people are doing with Googlemaps, or 
Openmoko/Neo for that matter.
I administer racks and racks of servers, and never thought I would use a 
third-party web-service. I like doing things myself, being in controll. 
Nevertheless I have ended up being an Amazon Webservices customer. Why? 
because they offer radically new ways of working with a very low initial 
cost. (I'm talking about EC2 and S3).

> With a project in its infancy we need to make friends not enemies.  We
> especially don't need to (unnecessarily) piss off the people that control
> the communication links...as without them (love or hate them) we can't
> really do anything.
With a product like Neo, and a platform like Openmoko we'll be breaking down a 
whole lot more doors than just this one. Telco's can be afraid of this, and 
most will be, but if there are any radical thinkers amongst them, like the 
people behind the Neo, they will recognize that this is an opportunity to use 
the community to help develop their products for them, and see that offering 
low-cost tools to allow a flourishing community to thrive will cost them a 
lot less than old-school R&D departments sitting on their hands coming up 
with overpriced stale offerings.
(Why is there still no presence indicator for SMS, no buddy-lists, no re-use 
of existing online profiles, no server-backup of your contacts, no online 
access to your SMSes, no online access to your voice-mail, or voice-mail to 
email forwarding, no multi-number accounts with online presence indicators 
for work/home and optional location information (Yes he has arrived in 
London, but is currently in meeting until 2pm) , why isn't all that 
integrated in the existing business tools?) The list goes on and on.

> I think it was brought up before that the underlying messaging protocol
> should be pluggable/interchangeable.  That sounds like a good way to
> proceed.  Being able to specify if you should get notifications via SMS or
> a persistent GPRS connection or even possibly through an out-of-band
> signaling method like what is being discussed sounds like a good way of
> proceeding.  Then, the user can have the choice of using the best method
> given their situation.  I would choose GPRS since I have a unlimited usage
> flat-rate plan, others have free/cheap SMS, so they could use that.
Yes. Personally i also have always-on GPRS (15 euros for 15 MB/month), so I 
wouldn't even need to use any less conventional solutions, but if GPRS and 
voice connections can not be open at the same time, you need a light-weight 
signaling protocol to alert the user that new email is available (for 
instance) so the user can choose to connect by GPRS to get the payload.

Anyway, thanks for the interesting points brought up.


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