I’ve been saying that the voice business is hot right now, but I’ll be truly amazed if this product works out: IPTV service provider Time Broadband (MyTime) has inked a deal with California based VoIP co Internet Speech to launch the Web-on-Call service in India, using the patented netECHO technology.

Apparently, Web-On-Call will provide an audio version of content from any website in a short and “easily navigable” manner, hence going beyond traditional voice portal services like music, news, weather etc. Future versions are expected to support shopping, stock market transactions, banking and e-commerce. A Voice based Internet…I really have to try this out before I believe it.

Even if the technology has the capability, I wonder if it has the speech recognition capability for Indic languages. Also, a lot depends on how they price the service – at the standard Rs. 6/min rate for Voice access, I don’t think it will work.

The rollout of Web-on-call is planned bundled with the launch of MyTime’s IPTV on BSNL network – over the next few months. The service initially cover 20 cities, and later available via BSNLs landlines. The Web-On-Call brand will be owned by both Time Broadband and Internet Speech. Media reports on the full commercial launch BSNLs IPTV network have been contradictory, and we have our doubts about whether it will be able to compete with DTH – a better technology can fail because of poor regulatory policy, inadequate marketing and lack of consumer education. Also note that now both IOL Netcom and Time Broadband have entered voice related businesses.

Time Broadband had earlier inked a deal with Stanton Technologies for entering the Chinese market, and announced plans to launch IPTV over Mobile. The founders – Amit Dev, Sujata Dev and Tushar Shah, and investor Aniyan Kutty Kunju, Chairman of the Clarion Group, own 60 percent in Time Broadband, while Dubai Ventures owns 40 percent.

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