Aspiring to serve the users as yellow pages for internet users, .tel domains are expected to go live within a week’s time. TelecomTiger catches up with Fabien Chalandon, Vice Chairman, Telnic who spells out the concept behind .tel and India business plans.
Q.1) What is the concept behind.tel?
Ans: .tel is the biggest innovation in the Internet since the launch of .com. We are using the system behind the World Wide Web (called the DNS) in a completely different way to publish contact and other information rather than website addresses to a variety of different devices. We are putting the control of that information back into the hands of the .tel owner. By registering your .tel you''''re effectively staking your claim to your place in the cloud that is completely under your control, for as long as you want it to be. And the independence stretches to the communications channels that you want to publish under your .tel domain.
Q.2) What is the global registration figures recorded for .tel and what are the numbers from the Indian market?
Ans: In the restrictive Sunrise period (Dec 3, 2008 to Feb 2, 2009) – the period when trademark owners can apply for domains to protect their trademarks, we received more than 10,000 application around the world. The quality of those brands and the breadth of companies are very impressive. Asian brands such as Honda, Sony, Samsung and PCCW, have registered. Many registrars that we are talking to who do sell direct say that they’re seeing much higher level of interest and pre-orders than other recent TLD launches.
Q.3) How do you think enterprise or individuals stand to benefit from the concept?
Ans: .tel aims to become the yellow pages for Internet users who are seeking contact information for both individuals and businesses. Unlike normal Web sites, which are often laden with graphics, animation and text, .tel requires no website and transmission of data from DNS directly is lighting quick as it hosts only ‘lightweight’ contact information. This expedites the process of information retrieval, a crucial consideration when users are surfing on their mobile devices. Traditional Web sites are about content while .tel is about contact information and cutting out the unwanted content in a situation where people just simply want to connect with an individual and business in the fastest way possible.
Q.4 ) Do you think lack of awareness of the concept may prove a major challenge to be overcome for its success?
Ans: All innovations take time to really catch on. 100 years ago when the telephone was invented it took some time to catch on. Now it evolves in a lot of formats like mobile phone and skype which we find indispensable. Time will tell how significant this launch becomes. We believe it has the potential to accelerate tremendous change in the way people find and connect with one another in ways we have yet to even imagine.
Q.5) Any particular instance or unique application which you have come across any where across the globe using the .tel concept?
Ans: .tel offers an open source platform for developers, enabling them to create new applications and services. As well as resources, code, toolkits and the .tel management console, Telnic has also released beta versions of applications on the site that can be used on BlackBerry devices, iPhones and Windows-based PCs. These applications integrate with the address book and make them dynamically updated with information stored in a .tel owner’s domain. They are free to download, under an open source license, and can be used as models for new types of applications around communications, directory services, location-based services, search and social networking, designed to exploit the DNS-based .tel service.
Since December 4th, .tel has been in a launch phase that has allowed trademark holders to reserve their domain and also to give individuals an opportunity to reserve a .tel before they become widely available on March 24th.
The first .tel domains are expected to go live within a week and we will see major brands and individuals starting to make use of the new domain.
Q.6) Your service depends a lot on mobile internet. In India the end-user experience with using mobile is not high owing to connectivity issues and also the price associated with the usage. Do you think it may prove bottlenecks against the adoption of .tel concept in the Indian market?
Ans: .tel has unlimited application potential. For example, an India telecom operator is looking into developing an application which will help their customers find the contact details of company or person upon receipt of SMS from user. They’ll then do a quick search on the DNS data in .tel and reply the requested contact information with SMS. This service does not only cope with the low mobile internet penetration at the moment, but also is a value-added service to consumers and extra source of revenue to the telecom operator.
.tel sites require virtually no data download, so they can be accessed rapidly from any mobile device with Internet access. The level of data transfer that occurs when a user accesses a .tel should mean that cost is not an issue at all.
Q.7) What are your business plans for the Indian market?
Ans: .tel sunrise registrations are already closed. Landrush is open to everyone and have begun from February 3, 2009. Landrush applications will be handled on a first-come, first-served basis. General Availability is open to everyone and will begin on March 24, 2009. General Availability applications will be handled on a first-come, first-served basis.
In India, domain name registrars like Net4India and Directi are inviting applications for registering the .tel domain, which is available for about Rs 3,000 for three years with a processing fee of Rs 13,500. The processing fee goes to World Intellectual Property Organisation. The General Availability will open on March 24, which will be available for Rs 999 for a year.