VoIP service provider Jajah will close its doors on January 31, 2014, four years after being acquired by European carrier Telefonica for $207 million.
According to Monday’s announcement, Jajah customers will not be able to make any calls through any of its services, including Jajah.com or Jajah Direct at the end of January. While it is no longer accepting new registrations, users can use their accounts normally until the shutdown date.
Jajah is currently giving users their money back on any balance remaining on their account prior to Jan. 31. Customers must make a request on the support page in order to qualify for the refund.
While Telefonica has not shared any specifics around the closure, many speculate that Jajah may have been losing money, and simply couldn’t compete with Microsoft-owned Skype. According to a study earlier this year, international Skype-to-Skype traffic grew 44 percent in 2012 to 167 billion minutes, which is more than twice that achieved by all international carriers in the world, combined.
As prices continue to be driven down, and many users opt for free apps like WhatsApp to communicate, standalone VoIP services will likely continue to struggle. Partnerships and integration of existing VoIP services could be the best bet for hosting providers at least in the short term, and an emphasis on private communications and security could help drive customers to use VoIP services from their hosting provider. With Microsoft accused of giving the NSA access to Skype communications, services that offer more privacy could be successful.