Internet telephony provider JaJah will soon introduce a cell phone version of its features, company co-founder Roman Scharf recently said, as the firm prepares to battle some heavyweight competition.
For now, JaJahs veritable Internet phone booth requires a personal computer. But when the mobile version debuts in May, itll be possible to trigger the JaJah service from a cell phone, Scharf said.
He hopes the new facet significantly expands the five-month-old companys potential customer base. After all, according to the latest tallies, Internet-enabled cell phones outnumber personal computers by about 10 to 1.
JaJah is the latest, and hottest right now, of the companies to dabble in VOIP (voice over Internet Protocol), which is freely available software that turns an Internet connection into a low-cost local, long-distance and international phone.
There are scores of VOIP operators, the biggest being U.S. cable providers, which are using VOIP to sell unlimited monthly calling plans that compete against local phone companies. Theres also Vonage Holdings of Holmdel, N.J. and Skype, the peer-to-peer VOIP operator based in Luxembourgh and owned by eBay.
Yet despite the heavy competition for attention, JaJahs been the subject of an extraordinary buzz after recent disclosures of an investment by Sequoia Capital, Menlo Park, Calif., a Silicon Valley investment firm known for spotting big Internet firms in their infancy.
Since news of Sequoias funding broke, the firm has been referenced in or the subject of 600 news stories appearing on television, Web sites and in magazines and newspapers.
To use JaJah, customers must point a Web browser to JaJahs site, then provide two phone numbers: the first is the phone theyd like to make a call from, and the second is the telephone number theyd like to call.
Whats happening, or so it seems, is that JaJahs infrastructure actually then makes two VOIP-based phone calls. One goes to the outbound number, and the other goes to the number to be called.
Using its own patent-pending technology, the two calls are then merged into one. JaJah then charges for the calls, on a per minute basis.
The inordinate buzz aside, JaJah is expected to face challenges given how crowded the VOIP market has become of late.
"Were confident we can rise above all that," Scharf said.