By the end of next month, VoIP provider Jajah is ceasing its two services. The recent announcement is not a surprise – given all of the alternatives out there. There is, of course, Skype, as well as many other firms, which are also better known and have more users.
Still, there was a lot of promise with Jajah. Four years ago, it was acquired by Telefónica Europe for $207 million. Back then it had some 15 million users. Its early investors included Sequoia, Intel and Deutsche Telekom (News - Alert)'s T-Venture. In the past, it was seen as a serious player in the sector with a lot of promise. More recently, it appeared to keep a lower profile compared to the likes of Skype and Vonage (News - Alert). For instance, Skype had 663 million users in 2010. The next year, Microsoft paid $8.5 billion to acquire the service. Moreoever, Vonage announced earlier this year that it would be offering video calling on iPhone, iPad and Android (News - Alert) operating system devices – in a move to directly compete with Skype.
Nevertheless, Telefónica Europe will no longer be offering Jajah.com or Jajah Direct services for callers. Jajah.com, a Web-based service, serves as VoIP bridge to landline and mobile numbers. Jajah Direct, meanwhile, assigns local numbers to contacts worldwide. No more new customers will be accepted as of now, the company announced in a statement.
Unsurprisingly, it appears that there hasn’t been a steady increase in the number of customers signing up for Jajah.
Current customers can use their accounts as normal until Jan. 31, 2014. Also, users who want to receive a refund of the balance on their accounts before the service closes can do via the website’s customer page. Following the request and processing, the account will be closed in a month.
Meawhile, Israel continues to be an important place to do business for Telefonica (News - Alert). Over the course of three years, the Israeli-based Jajah development center increased its staffing by more than 70 percent, and it is now known as Telefonica Digital Israel.
“The closure of Jajah Direct and Jajah.com has no impact on communications services offered by Telefonica Operating Businesses, such as TU Go or Global Friends, and it has no impact on our presence in Israel which continues to represent the bulk of our communications engineering capabilities,” read a to a statement from Telefonica published by TechCrunch.
The statement adds, closing the service is “part of a re-focusing of resources to support future products” by Telefonica.
What’s confusing is that the statement claims Jajah came up with “innovative products such as TU Go, International Favourites, International Extras and Global Friends” and notes its industry “expertise” – yet the two services will nevertheless be closed down.
Regardless, new communication services are expected sometime in the future from Telefonica: “The closure will ensure that all of the Jajah capabilities and resources are focused on developing and supporting the new communications services we plan to bring to our customers,” the statement read.
On the other hand, there is a process provided by the FCC (News - Alert) whereby those customers who want to see the service kept in place can file a grievance. To keep it going, they would have to prove they couldn’t receive “service or a reasonable substitute from another carrier or that the public convenience and necessity is otherwise adversely affected.”