When I invented call back in 1991 I was looking for a cheaper way to make an international phone call. US had liberalized, the rest of the world had not, and I started Viatel (originally Via USA) and came up with the concept of exporting US dial tone to the rest of the world. In 1999, when Viatel was worth around $1.2bn, I sold my shares in the company, which by then had evolved into being a budding internet carrier and went on to start Jazztel and Ya.com in Spain, where I had moved from the States in the 90s.

Since then I have been out of the “cheaper way to make a phone call business”. FON, even though its name sounds about a “cheaper way to make a phone call” company, it is not. FON is about building a global wireless network that is free to use for bandwidth donors. Nevertheless, our partners at Skype have built a formidable “cheaper way to make a phone call” community of 130 million people growing at 200,000 new members per day. Amazing. Now, after Skype you would imagine that the field was taken. And yet it is not.

More and more entrepreneurs come with ingenious ways to make a cheaper phone call. At the ETRE conference this week I ran into two of them, Hjalmar from Rebtel and Marc of Jajah. Maybe you thought that whatever had been thought about in the “cheaper way to make a phone call” business had been already developed. At least I thought so. But, so long, as Vodafone, Orange, Movistar and others continue to overcharge all of us (necessity is the mother), there always seems to be another (invention). Both Marc and Hjalmar are very creative entrepreneurs, each one in his own way. They are far from the success of Janus and Niklas, but they share their spirit. I recommend that you study their web sites and the extraordinary solutions they have found to make mobile phone calls cheaper.

Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars

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ale fuhrmann on October 12, 2006  · 

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Martin Varsavsky on October 16, 2006  · 

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