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iPhone App Enables GSM To WiFi/VoIP Switching

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the voices-in-the-ether dept.

Cellphones 153

alias420 writes "You can save on long distance and air time with the new 3G iPhone. iPhone Hacks has the scoop on an upcoming iPhone 2.0 App named 'iCall', that will let you switch between VoIP and normal GSM calls anywhere in North America. You can check out their recently released video proof of call switching in action . This software requires no hacks and will be completely official. Here is a little quote from the developer: 'We are part of the Apple iPhone developer program. This is not an application for you naughty jail breakers ;-)'"

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newsflash (-1, Troll)

legallyillegal (889865) | more than 6 years ago | (#23997469)

fuck you rogers

Re:newsflash (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23997509)

Hi, I'm Edward Samuel Rogers, and I disapprove of this comment.

Re:newsflash (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23997759)

Hi, I'm Edward Samuel Rogers, and I disapprove of this moderation.

Carefull now ... (1, Interesting)

SplatMan_DK (1035528) | more than 6 years ago | (#23997483)

While the story does have a point, it is important to remember that the iPhone is not sold with flat-rate data subscriptions in all countries.

Especially the iPhone 2 will not be sold with flat-rate. Both Apple and the telcos have gained insight and experience in the customers actual use of the phone. Standard terms for an iPhone 2 will be around 300 megs a month - a number which is very high for browsing and the occasional iTunes purchase, but nowhere near enough to sustain heavy VoIP usage. Or constant radio-streaming. Or video conferences. Or porn-streaming.

- Jesper

Re:Carefull now ... (4, Informative)

chrb (1083577) | more than 6 years ago | (#23997597)

VoIP calling is only over Wifi, so the data tariff limitations are irrelevant - the SDK simply doesn't allow call switching over non-Wifi data connections.

Re:Carefull now ... (2, Interesting)

SplatMan_DK (1035528) | more than 6 years ago | (#23997733)

the SDK simply doesn't allow call switching over non-Wifi data connections.

Interesting. I didn't know that.

But if all new iPhones were sold with true flat-rate data, your can be sure that someone would create an app for hacked iPhones doing exactly that: call switching over 3G/HSDPA connections... ;-)

For the telcos, the only way to fight the problem is to ensure that the dataflow is too expensive - making normal calls a more attractive choice.

- Jesper

Re:Carefull now ... (4, Informative)

fdobbie (226067) | more than 6 years ago | (#23998101)

Actually, first hand experience of making calls over 3G (HSDPA) packet data connections using Fring on Three [three.co.uk] shows that call quality is terrible. Admittedly this was in central London, where cells may be quite heavily contended, but once people actually start using 3G you can quite regularly see bursts of latency - causing the throughput to go through the floor.

You get a guaranteed QoS with a proper voice call. You do not with packet data. In fact, Three's own "Skype" service is based on iSkoot, which does uses packet data for getting the contact list, setting up a call etc - but it actually carries calls over a proper voice channel.

I tried fring over wifi (4, Informative)

yabos (719499) | more than 6 years ago | (#23998323)

When I was at WWDC I didn't want to pay the $2.70 per minute(roaming) to call home so I tried fring with my skype account. It worked but the latency was terrible and the quality was only OK, not good. I was using the free public wifi at the conference and there were probably 2000 iPhones or more there so who knows, it could have been interference or something. I did however, try it at home and the call quality was still pretty bad. Latency was still kind of high as well but I was behind NAT in both situations.

Re:Carefull now ... (2, Informative)

Firehed (942385) | more than 6 years ago | (#23999313)

If they were sold with flat-rate data, there would be pretty much no reason to require call switching. At least in the US, the few areas that have 3G coverage have reliable signal. If you've got the bandwidth and you've got the reliability, why add in an additional point of potential failure?

I suppose something that would automatically re-route incoming cellular calls over the VOIP/data connection would be of use, but at that point you should just be giving out your VOIP number and avoid that whole problem.

Irrelavant (1)

extremescholar (714216) | more than 6 years ago | (#23998975)

This came up a month or so ago, so I call DUPE! Anyway. It isn't a matter of API, think functionality. Does it support 3-way calling or call transfer? A slick app would (in the background), sey up wifi, establish a VOIP client, dial VOIP client via 3-way calling, connect VOIP client, disconnect 3G/GSM line. Simple? Well, no. You'll need a "number" (a.k.a. some VOIP link to the telco network probably via SIP), that the iCall provider will gladly sell you or give for free in exchange for VOIP SPAM.

Re:Carefull now ... (4, Informative)

nmg196 (184961) | more than 6 years ago | (#23998187)

I don't see why any of what you said is relevant as this software only works on WiFi and NOT on 3G connections??
Have you actually read the article?

From TFA:
"It promises seamless call switching between VoIP via WiFi and regular calls. "
and
"Apple has explicitly stated that VoIP is allowed, just not over Edge networks"

I'm not sure therefore, why you've been modded as insightful when your post is totally wrong - unless I'm missing something??

Re:Carefull now ... (1)

crazzeto (887234) | more than 6 years ago | (#23998589)

Very true, though you can always use the WiFi... It's also worth mentioning you can already do this with a Windows Mobile Phone, no hack required... Just install the app on your phone and awaaay you go, don't even need to worry about anyone deciding they hate the idea of you being able to do VoIP on your phone and shutting it down (such as apple has tried to do with previous hacks).

Re:Carefull now ... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23998933)

As a testament to the inability of current Slashdotters to trollspot, your comment is +4 even though you gave them a free and obvious trollclue.

iTMS is not available over the carrier's data connection, only WiFi. Even people who don't read articles, summaries, or headlines, should have known that coming in. So you left a clue for us normals AND for slow learners, and it was still missed by most.

Are you using Lynx to browse the web? (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000365)

[...] 300 megabytes a month [...] is very high for browsing and the occasional iTunes purchase [...]

I don't know which websites you visit, but most web pages in 2008 are from 100 to 500 KB (which is sad, considering that (X)HTML/CSS pages should be much smaller).

As for "the occasional iTunes purchase", a single tune will be around 3MB. So, let's remove 12MB for the four "single of the week" which are free, and you're already down to 288MB.

It also means you can only view from 19 to 100 web pages every day even if you only use your 300MB for web usage. And that's without any YouTube, internet radio, etc.

I'd take a guess and say that most people probably use 300MB every day with their desktop/laptop, so 300MB for the whole month, even if it's only on the iPhone, is way too low IMHO. Google Maps alone is probably going to eat a lot of that 300MB.

VoIP (1)

n3tcat (664243) | more than 6 years ago | (#23997487)

I'm surprised really that the cell phone companies haven't completely fucked the idea of VoIP in the public's mind yet. With as much as they screw people over on the price of SMS (glorified ICQ at 20 cents a message on my phone plan here in Germany), why haven't the phone companies switched en masse over to VoIP, and then continue to charge varied rates on distance?

Re:VoIP (5, Informative)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 6 years ago | (#23997671)

They have. I'm a yank living in Germany and I get Telekom's "country select" plan to call home for about 3.5 cents/minute. However, you can tell that the connection isn't over the wire, its voip.....however they are still charging me more than skype.

Re:VoIP (1)

tanveer1979 (530624) | more than 6 years ago | (#23998161)

I stay in India. Most Telcos here use VOIP backend for call transmission. i.e. when you make a long distance call, they charge you extra over a local call, even though it costs them the same. with competition getting stronger, hopefully this nonsense will be a thing of the past.

Re:VoIP (1)

martin_b1sh0p (673005) | more than 6 years ago | (#23999865)

Surprisingly some cell companies have done the exact opposite. In the U.S., T-Mobile has a plan where for an extra $10 a month you get unlimited VOIP over WiFi.

If your call starts on WiFi it still doesn't count against your minutes even when you switch over to GSM when you leave the WiFi area. Pretty nifty.

Fringe (2, Interesting)

hlopez (220083) | more than 6 years ago | (#23997503)

Fringe is a similar app that lets you connect to skype and make voip calls. What would be great is if these kind of apps worked over G3. Here in Mexico incoming calls to cellphones are free, so in theory you could us an all data plan and use skype for your outgoing calls.

Providing you have a flatrate data plan (4, Interesting)

SplatMan_DK (1035528) | more than 6 years ago | (#23997573)

so in theory you could us an all data plan and use skype for your outgoing calls.

Provided you have a flat-rate data plan with a price tag small enough to actually make your scenario work. Which will not be all that common for the iPhone 2. Telcos are not stupid. They will identify the exact amount of data transfer which is precisely enough for "regular" customers to never actually reach it, but no where near enough to use the device for streaming, VoIP, or similar services/technologies.

A normal smartphone users spends around 100 megs a month. Including constant syncs with his company exchange server. An advanced smartphone user spends about the double of that. The iPhone 2 will be launched with a 300 meg data plan. Not flat-rate. Coincidence? I think not.

300 megs is more than enough for just about every "normal" smartphone user. But not enough to throw in VoIP, radio-streaming on the road, or mobile pr0n.

- Jesper

Re:Providing you have a flatrate data plan (1)

chrb (1083577) | more than 6 years ago | (#23997697)

As far as I can tell from observing the habits of my iPhone owning friends, YouTube (or RedTube..) is likely to be the biggest bandwidth hog. Possibly BBC would be second. The 300MB limit gives you 10MB/day, which would be fine for VoIP - you could probably get around 3 hours a day of calling. Of course, this will never happen, since the network operators would hate it and so the iPhone SDK doesn't support VoIP calls over non-Wifi connections.

Remember ... (1)

SplatMan_DK (1035528) | more than 6 years ago | (#23997761)

The 300MB limit gives you 10MB/day, which would be fine for VoIP

Provided the users never uses any other services which require data. Which I personally don't think is realistic.

Your point would be valid if the user had 300 megs only for VoIP, but that is not the case. Any VoIP usage comes on top of the existing data usage - and on top of that, the normal subscription includes regular call usage. These two things combined is what makes the scheme work for the telcos. :-)

- Jesper

Re:Remember ... (1)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 6 years ago | (#23997953)

The 300MB limit gives you 10MB/day, which would be fine for VoIP

Provided the users never uses any other services which require data. Which I personally don't think is realistic.

Considerably less than 300MB/month would be useful for many people to avoid occasional trunk call charges.

You don't have to make every call over VOIP for it to be tremendously useful.

Its a pity Apple places artificial restrictions on the phone & doesn't allow this sort of functionality.

Re:Providing you have a flatrate data plan (2, Funny)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 6 years ago | (#23997979)

300 megs is more than enough for just about every "normal" smartphone user. But not enough to throw in VoIP, radio-streaming on the road, or mobile pr0n.

That's what they think. Ascii pr0n FTW!

Re:Providing you have a flatrate data plan (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#23999591)

Provided you have a flat-rate data plan with a price tag small enough to actually make your scenario work. Which will not be all that common for the iPhone 2. Telcos are not stupid. They will identify the exact amount of data transfer which is precisely enough for "regular" customers to never actually reach it, but no where near enough to use the device for streaming, VoIP, or similar services/technologies.

No flat rate? ARGH! On my current phone, I doubt I use more than 10kb a month since I just call on it, no web-browsing, no texting, etc. How typical of these companies to sell you a phone that will make heavy demands on the network and only sell you enough bandwidth to meet a small fraction of your total demand.

How long are we going to have to wait for these carriers to give us a proper flat rate for mobile internet devices? How are the carriers charging for it in Japan?

Re:Fring (0, Redundant)

yabos (719499) | more than 6 years ago | (#23998329)

When I was at WWDC I didn't want to pay the $2.70 per minute(roaming) to call home so I tried fring with my skype account. It worked but the latency was terrible and the quality was only OK, not good. I was using the free public wifi at the conference and there were probably 2000 iPhones or more there so who knows, it could have been interference or something. I did however, try it at home and the call quality was still pretty bad. Latency was still kind of high as well but I was behind NAT in both situations.

Watch the UK networks disable it (0)

mattbee (17533) | more than 6 years ago | (#23997511)

When the new iPhone starts selling in the UK with its subsidised price and contract signed in the phone shop, you'll see how quickly Apple's application store becomes restricted for some customers. The developers say Apple has explicitly stated that VoIP is allowed, just not over Edge networks - ha ha. Once the networks start part-paying for the handsets, as I hear they are doing in the UK they get to say what works and what doesn't, and this application just won't be allowed.

Re:Watch the UK networks disable it (1)

Angostura (703910) | more than 6 years ago | (#23997635)

You are assuming that the cellular operators have control or say over which applications are available via the app store.

I'm assuming they won't.

Let's wait and see whose assumption is right. ... I'm never wrong, you know.

Re:Watch the UK networks disable it (2, Informative)

yabos (719499) | more than 6 years ago | (#23998339)

The reason it's disabled over EDGE is because EDGE is very high latency and low data rate. It would be terrible to try VOIP over it. Actually I remember when the iPhone voip app called fring first came out, the people at tuaw tried a call over EDGE and it was complete garbage.

fring... (1)

Fretje (988525) | more than 6 years ago | (#23997519)

does this like... for ages?

Re:fring... (1)

me at werk (836328) | more than 6 years ago | (#23997609)

Not really, Fring is pretty cool I admit but it's not fully there yet.

Re:fring... (3, Insightful)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 6 years ago | (#23997921)

Not really, Fring is pretty cool I admit but it's not fully there yet.

Which is better than this App - which is not there at all.

Re:fring... (1)

yabos (719499) | more than 6 years ago | (#23998353)

Actually it is, look at the video. It does look like it works a lot better than fring. It's publicly available but to me it looks way better than fring, which, like many of the jailbreak apps is of pretty low quality and buggy as hell.

I am confused... (5, Insightful)

ulash (1266140) | more than 6 years ago | (#23997537)

... couldn't you do this anywhere in the world with a phone running Skype for Mobile [skype.com] or practically any VoIP provider of your choice using a PocketPC? Either that summary is way too summarized or there really isn't anything exciting here other than saying this is now possible on an iPhone too...

Re:I am confused... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23997571)

Think it's more of the latter, for those waiting to buy one and for the fanbois that can't get enough. You're right, big whoop-de-freakin-doo

Re:I am confused... (1)

me at werk (836328) | more than 6 years ago | (#23997613)

No, the idea is you get a call over GSM and then pick it up using SIP somehow, I don't know how that's possible but apparently it is.

Re:I am confused... (1)

chrb (1083577) | more than 6 years ago | (#23997647)

Don't be confused; you're correct - the only difference between this and PocketPC VoIP is that this is the iPhone. Skype for mobile is slightly different [arstechnica.com] - it uses the regular network for calls rather than a Wifi or other data connection, so you get charged at the usual rate for regular voice calls. However, Skype then proxy the call anywhere in the world for their usual tariff. The important point is you're still paying your mobile operator for the voice call.

Re:I am confused... (-1, Flamebait)

nine-times (778537) | more than 6 years ago | (#23998447)

Wouldn't it still be news if all it's saying is "this is now possible on an iPhone too"?

Oh, wait, I get it. You're one of those people who get angry that everyone else is interested in the iPhone, right? Oh, yeah, then I mean... Let's all hate big bad Apple and their horrible habit of making products that people are interested in. It's all their fault that nobody is impressed with my OpenMoko, which causes me to have an inferiority complex.

We cool?

Re:I am confused... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23998573)

I think his title says it all - he's not angry, he's confused. I'm confused too - apparently an essentially sub-par phone with a fancy interface has just obtained functionality that any other smartphone has been able to do for a long time, and it's being classed as 'news'.

The iPhone playing catch-up because of Apple's idiocy in restricting the hell out of it is not news - it's kind of sad.

Re:I am confused... (0)

intheshelter (906917) | more than 6 years ago | (#23999117)

I think you might also be confused. Why is the iPhone a sub-par phone? A a more accurate way to rephrase "fancy interface" would be the first intuitive and easy interface that leaves all others in the dust. If you honestly don't understand that the interface is very useful and not "fancy" then I think you might be suffering from the anti-Apple fanbois disease.

I also don't see how Apple is "restricting the hell out of it". I think you're indulging in more than just a little hyperbole with that statement. No, you can't do anything you want with it, but that hardly equates to "restricting the hell out of it."

If you hate Apple and/or the iPhone just have the balls to say it rather than hiding behind hyperbole and FUD.

Re:I am confused... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24000271)

No, you can't do anything you want with it, but that hardly equates to "restricting the hell out of it."

I would class a device that doesn't do what I want it to as restricted, I don't know about you.

If you hate Apple and/or the iPhone just have the balls to say it rather than hiding behind hyperbole and FUD.

How is it possible to feel that strongly about a piece of equipment or a company? I don't hate the iPhone, nor do I hate Apple. I think that the only bright point on the iPhone is the interface, hence why I called it 'fancy', which most would consider a compliment. I think other than that it's mostly useless and several years behind the curve in terms of functionality. I don't think I've seen anything on there that I couldn't do with my phone, and it was free with my contract.

Overreact much?

Re:I am confused... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24000393)

Or how about this alternate wording: the only smartphone that non-techies don't consider sub-par, thanks in large part to its innovative interface, has just obtained functionality that users want, and it's being classed as "news".

The rest of the industry playing catch-up to Apple because of their insight into what users want is not news-- it's been happening for years. But desirable features being added to Apple products is news, because their products are highly relevant in the tech industry.

Re:I am confused... (2, Insightful)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 6 years ago | (#23999465)

or there really isn't anything exciting here other than saying this is now possible on an iPhone too...

That's what's "exciting" about it. Every feature or rumour about the Iphone gets its own story, whilst every other phone manufacturer is ignored. Of course I predict that there will be replies saying that this feature is somehow different on the Iphone, because it "Just Works" or something.

See, next we'll have an article about the next Iphone supporting 3G...

Re:I am confused... (1)

Dare nMc (468959) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000833)

with a phone running Skype for Mobile or practically any VoIP...

the trick was "switching" the only way I can think of to do this, without telco support, is if you were to call a sip provider first, for all GSM calls, and they proxy your call to the final number. Thus when WiFi comes available your sip provider gets the SIP session started, and drops the GSM call. To switch back (if trying to save GSM minutes) I would assume it would need to see the WiFi getting weak, and call on GSM, before the WiFi call was dropped, again calling the SIP capable proxy, not the end number.

Probably not seamless (5, Informative)

bpkiwi (1190575) | more than 6 years ago | (#23997577)

From what they showed, they are not actually switching the call, they are establishing a parallel voip call, then dropping the cellular call. This is unlikely to work seamlessly the other way around, since if you are on voip and walk out of wireless range it will take some time before a cellular call can be dialled to replace it.

Re:Probably not seamless (1)

jrumney (197329) | more than 6 years ago | (#23997691)

They seem to be redirecting the call before answering it. To seamlessly transfer a call in progress requires cooperation from the cellular operator, which I can't see happening any time soon.

Re:Probably not seamless (2, Interesting)

Jason Pollock (45537) | more than 6 years ago | (#23998163)

I think it depends on your definition of "seamless".

I don't think it requires carrier interaction.

When transferring to VoIP, it can be done seamlessly, the application is launched and the call handed off to VoIP. Transferring out will result in a ring (needing to be answered) on the device, but it can still be done without loss of packets in the call.

If the application is smart, it could possibly track the strength of the WiFi network and transfer the call pre-emptively.

I would expect that their application is using a VoIP server with an entirely different number from your mobile number. That way they are able to perform their own call control, complete with multiple B-legs without needing any carrier agreement.

Re:Probably not seamless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23998615)

Didn't they invent UMA to handle seamless handoffs? iPhone with a UMA stack - sounds interesting?

iPhone VoIP SDK (3, Informative)

chrb (1083577) | more than 6 years ago | (#23997591)

There's an official VoIP SDK for the iPhone [phonesreview.co.uk] , so expect similar apps to follow from other providers. The only limitation is that you can't VoIP over the GPRS/Edge/3G data connection.

Re:iPhone VoIP SDK (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 6 years ago | (#23998265)

Why would you want to? Data tarrifs are extortionate, and are 'unlimited'.

Re:iPhone VoIP SDK (1)

chrb (1083577) | more than 6 years ago | (#23998445)

The data tariffs are reasonable for VoIP - depends where you live I suppose - in the UK cell calls to landlines and your provider's network are typically cheapest, calls to other networks are quite expensive, and international calls are extortionate. If it wasn't cheaper to use VoIP, then they wouldn't have to ban it. [zdnet.co.uk] They also ban instant messaging with a data plan, trying instead to force you to pay 10p or so for every SMS you send.

T-Mobile has had UMA for almost a year (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23997605)

GSM over wifi is nothing new.

When my crackberry is in UMA mode cals/data don't count towards plan minutes and while overseas the phone thinks its in the US and NO INTL ROAMING fees.

See www.umatoday.com

Re:T-Mobile has had UMA for almost a year (1)

Jason Pollock (45537) | more than 6 years ago | (#23997683)

This isn't UMA. UMA requires the handset manufacturer and the carrier to cooperate.

Essentially, UMA is tunneling the entire GSM protocol over WiFi. Very much a short-term hack.

american woes (3, Informative)

kubaZA (676589) | more than 6 years ago | (#23997623)

i suppose this is actually only "really" useful for americans. in other gsm coutries (at least in europe) we don't pay for recieving incoming phones calls. of course, making outgoing calls over wifi is pretty useful (especially considering the rates we pay for making calls outside of our own countries).

Re:american woes (2, Insightful)

Jason Pollock (45537) | more than 6 years ago | (#23997703)

It would be great when roaming.... Imagine sitting in your hotel room, receiving phone calls on your mobile phone and not paying the cell phone company a dime in international roaming charges.

Re:american woes (1)

PiSkyHi (1049584) | more than 6 years ago | (#23998025)

www.mo-call.com

Doesn't do anything too difficult. (5, Informative)

Jason Pollock (45537) | more than 6 years ago | (#23997653)

This would need you to take a new phone number, much like Grand Central.

Then, when the call arrives, the SIP Invite is forwarded to the application (if running), and the user is prompted to decide on delivery mechanism.

If the app isn't running, the call is connected. If at a later point, the user starts the application, the app registers with the service, and, if desired, the call is dropped from the mobile connection and sent to the VoIP link using a reinvite (probably).

This can be probably be done using Asterisk on the server side. The nifty bit is the VoIP client on the iPhone. Other than that, the service looks pretty bulk standard.

This definitely wouldn't need anything other than the standard APIs.

What they aren't doing is using the built-in Mobile Phone Application and intelligently re-routing outgoing calls based on the presence of a WiFi connection, the way that TruPhone was going last September.

I think they would have some pretty extreme problems constructing a business case around selling this through the AppStore. Apple's current billing and charging limitations pretty much kill it instantly.

Re:Doesn't do anything too difficult. (1)

intheshelter (906917) | more than 6 years ago | (#23999237)

I don't think this requires a new phone number. I also don't think the billing/charging limitations kill it at all. What are you basing these statements on?

im confoosed (1)

greyworld (802114) | more than 6 years ago | (#23997817)

..why would you want to transfer an incoming call to voip? Surely you make your call that way because its cheaper, but receiving calls... well they already chose to call u that way, their cost...? ...unless this has something to do with Americans spending their minutes to receive calls..? Andrew

Re:im confoosed (2, Informative)

weirdcrashingnoises (1151951) | more than 6 years ago | (#23997845)

yes, american minutes count up whether u made the call or not, if u are connected than it's counting the minutes.

Re:im confoosed (1)

greyworld (802114) | more than 6 years ago | (#23997885)

thanks!

Re:im confoosed (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 6 years ago | (#23997913)

Wow! That's a great way to screw your customers over. How have the customers not gone crazy over that when you don't get charged to receive land-line calls, only make them? Or do Americans get ripped off there as well?

Now all I need is more free WiFi hotspots in the UK, a cheap (~£20-£30) phone without a contract and SMS over WiFi capability, and then my £10 Pay As You Go credit will last years instead of just months!

Re:im confoosed (1)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 6 years ago | (#23998013)

Oh sure, it drives us crazy. The telco's did just win the previous /. poll for most irritating industry by a substantial 11%. Nothing we can do about it though if we want a cell phone.

Re:im confoosed (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 6 years ago | (#23998255)

You won't get a phone with WiFi for £30.

I bought a Nokia N51 off eBay with this in mind, and i'm on O2's Simplicity plan at the moment. When I get WiFi I have free internet, when I don't I pay £1 per day for unlimited 3G access. They don't like VoIP over 3G, though.

Re:im confoosed (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 6 years ago | (#23998299)

It was a hope for the future (albeit a far fetched one) rather than something I was intending to do now. My Nokia 3510 has more features than I need/use, and I'm 23. Give me a phone that phones, texts, and has some minor bits like alarms and it'll do everything I need.

US landlines have unlimited local outgoing minutes (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#23998515)

How have the customers not gone crazy over that when you don't get charged to receive land-line calls, only make them? Or do Americans get ripped off there as well?

In the United States, the land-line customer doesn't get charged to receive calls. But unlike in Europe, the land-line customer doesn't get charged to make calls either unless they're "long distance".

Re:US landlines have unlimited local outgoing minu (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000149)

I knew about the free local calls (but then given how big the nation is, you need to encourage them to communicate!) I just wasn't sure about receiving if the US got screwed over on receiving them, where you've got no control over how long the call lasts (unlike when you're making the call).

Re:US landlines have unlimited local outgoing minu (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000577)

I just wasn't sure about receiving if the US got screwed over on receiving them, where you've got no control over how long the call lasts (unlike when you're making the call).

I don't understand. Either party can hang up at any time, at which point the call ends three seconds or so later.

Re:im confoosed (2, Informative)

Jason Pollock (45537) | more than 6 years ago | (#23998181)

Several possible reasons

1) Americans/Canadians pay to receive calls.
2) When roaming, you can pay insane charges to receive a call, even on "caller pays" networks.
3) VoIP calls can use higher bandwidth codecs, resulting in better sound quality.
4) Coverage. If your carrier doesn't have coverage where you are (in a mall/building/airport), but you do have WiFi, you can still make and receive calls.

Having just come from the US and Canada, their GSM coverage was amazingly bad (compared to NZ/UK). I was in San Francisco, and I kept losing the signal!

Re:im confoosed (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 6 years ago | (#23998225)

2) you get a nationwide flat rate roaming plan. you can go anywhere in the uSA and it only uses up normal minutes. bonus long distance is essentially free, you can make calls across the country for the same price.

3) 3G coverage in the USA sucks at best. which means only major cities if your lucky.

Re:im confoosed (1)

Jason Pollock (45537) | more than 6 years ago | (#23998279)

Yes, in the US, it costs the same wherever you are, but it still costs you. In Europe they have a "caller pays" system, where it is generally free to receive a call, unless you aren't on your home network. Then you pay insane prices.

For example, it costs me US$3.10 to place a call to a US number when I am roaming in the US. To call back to NZ, it costs NZ$3.23 (on AT&T).

You can realize some pretty amazing savings if you can avoid roaming.

As for 3G coverage, since the VoIP app isn't allowed to use 3G data, I don't think 3G coverage matters. 2G coverage is what is important, not that it is any better (in my experience). 3G UMTS phones will generally fall back to 2G GSM, if the 3G network isn't visible.

Re:im confoosed (1)

greyworld (802114) | more than 6 years ago | (#23998461)

ah thanks for that. 2,3,4 had escaped me! Paying to receive calls always seemed such a strange idea..

Where in the world is... (2, Informative)

linhares (1241614) | more than 6 years ago | (#23997937)

skype in all of this? Why haven't they even mentioned an iphone app? With dozens of millions in this potential market, can they really leave it to fring et al? since there are obvious network effects going on in VOIP, skype should try to lead in the iphone space, but as of now they're just silent. Does anyone have any info I'm missing here?

Great for Developing countries (2, Interesting)

nx6310 (1150553) | more than 6 years ago | (#23997975)

where the rates for international calls range from $0.60 to $1.5 for certain countries, once this iPhone and the service are made available in middle eastern countries like Iraq, Syria and the UAE...etc. Overseas business communication costs will see a significant drop.

"Naughty" jailbreakers? (4, Insightful)

StarKruzr (74642) | more than 6 years ago | (#23997977)

What exactly is "naughty" about using hardware you paid for in the way you want?

Value judgements on behavior that harms no one. Delightful.

I'm sure someone who has some amount of respect for freedom will come up with an app that delivers similar functionality soon.

Re:"Naughty" jailbreakers? (1)

Henriok (6762) | more than 6 years ago | (#23998089)

Well.. what is naughty about being naughty then? It usually doesn't breaking any laws just doing something fun which happens to be frowned upon or is breaking some taboo, i.e. value judgement that harms no one. Delightful!

Re:"Naughty" jailbreakers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23998159)

I'm sure someone who has some amount of respect for freedom will come up with an app that delivers similar functionality soon.

Someone who has some amount of respect for freedom wouldn't buy an iPhone in the first place!

"Ow! I saw this prominently labelled and lit mousetrap, but I thought I could get the cheese anyway and instead it hurt me!. Damn mousetraps!"

Re:"Naughty" jailbreakers? (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 6 years ago | (#23998341)

It's OK if Apple restricts freedom around here, didn't you know that?

I'd say 'You must be new here' but I've seen you posting since the beginning, Mr. Anonymous Coward.

Re:"Naughty" jailbreakers? (1)

intheshelter (906917) | more than 6 years ago | (#23999413)

"Someone who has some amount of respect for freedom wouldn't buy an iPhone in the first place!" Wow, I see you're taking advantage of your freedom to make ridiculous statements that don't make an ounce of sense.

Re:"Naughty" jailbreakers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23998215)

RMS? Is that you? Get off your DynaTAC and take a shower, hippie!

No harm? (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 6 years ago | (#23998305)

Didn't you hear? Because of all the jailbroken iPhones the CEO of AT&T had to cut back to only THREE buckets of caviar a month instead of the six he normally enjoyed.

Re:No harm? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#23998357)

You know the CEO of AT&T will still have his Six buckets. However if this problem gets too bad he will just drop the iPhone from his business if he is seeing growth not as expected, or he will find other ways to cut costs. You may blame the CEO just because he is the one the makes the most money, but lets be realistic most CEO got there threw hard work, and being smart and lucky enough to make it. If he sees something that is a drain on business he will change it one way or an other.

Re:No harm? (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 6 years ago | (#23998411)

*whoosh*

It was a joke...I don't blame AT&T. If we're going to wax serious on the topic, I blame Apple.

Re:"Naughty" jailbreakers? (1)

intheshelter (906917) | more than 6 years ago | (#23999469)

I guess this proves it's possible to read whatever you want into anything. I didn't see their "naughty" comment as a value judgement at all, but rather an attempt at humorous open recognition of the jailbreak market and a segue into the fact that this is an app that will only be distributed via the App Store.

While you're condemning value judgements maybe you can take a minute and condemn your own. Your cheesy implication that the makers of iCall don't have a respect for freedom is about the most ridiculous conclusion I've ever seen.

n95 SIP over ATT 3G (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23998027)

i guess this is only news because its for the iphone, while other phones have done this for a long time. i have been able to use my n95 SIP client to make free calls over the 3G connection for a long time now. ATT doesnt seem to block that data traffic here in the states. unfortunately truphone promo finally ended so calling cell and landlines is no longer free. but for the last year i could do 100% of my calling totally free, as data, and not use 1 cell minute from my plan. rack up those roll over minutes:)

Should be built in (2, Informative)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 6 years ago | (#23998043)

If anyone has used ATT in southern california, you've probably noticed that it needs all the help it can get. It would be wonderful if I could use my wireless internet to make calls out of my apartment. As it is now, I have to run outside whenever my phone rings. More bars in more places my ass!

Check your Carrier's Agreement (3, Informative)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 6 years ago | (#23998067)

Your carrier may make VoIP over data connections against the ToS. I know O2 in the UK do.

As it is, I have an E51 and use WiFi for VoIP calling. I may drop the tarrif altogether and get a PAYG sim just to keep the phone active, and for when out of WiFi range.

If I can't use the data connection I pay for without limitations, they don't get my money. Simple as.

No jailbreak, not news... (0)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 6 years ago | (#23998087)

Try again when it's for hacked phones.

Sadly wont help me .... (1)

taniwha (70410) | more than 6 years ago | (#23998135)

I want a phone that keeps up with my home Asterisk exchange while I travel, or when I'm at home (I live in NZ) - rings anywhere in the world - and is smart about making outgoing calls depending on which sim card I have in and whether I can reach the asterisk exchange over wifi - of course this is going to be different for each user so it's going to have to be scriptable ...

Re:Sadly wont help me .... (1)

Anarchitect_in_oz (771448) | more than 6 years ago | (#23998389)

If it's based on an Apple API then here's hoping an Asterisk App isn't far behind opening day of App store

YOU FAiL IT (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23998157)

Hear you. Also, if can coonect &to both believed that say I'm packing be on a wrong

If you think that is great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23998369)

Has anyone tried these?

Mobile with TV tuner, FM, Dual SIM support, with a spare battery, touch screen with stylus, double speakers for stereo, 256 MB memory expandable, USB, Bluetooth, video and voice recording, MP3, MP4 playback support, handwriting recognition etc for around USD 120/- to USD 140/?
http://shop.rediff.com/shop/searchv3.jsp?Query=tv&catid=576&level=2&frompg=tv_search [rediff.com]

Or this:
http://www.uk2usa.co.uk/proddetail.asp?prod=ZTC838 [uk2usa.co.uk]

Would anyone here have any experience using phones like these?

Re:If you think that is great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23998565)

yeah they are shit

Re:If you think that is great... (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 6 years ago | (#23998777)

No, as they are too blatant about being a low-quality knockoff.

Try again when it's not obvious or made in a "free-trade, third-world" country.

Death of the cell phone service providers! (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 6 years ago | (#23998689)

Muahahahahaha! Finally VoIP over Wifi is becoming an option on cell phones!

Next step, VoIP over WiMax w/ GSM switching.

Next step, VoIP over WiMax only, and the death of the cell phone service providers. Rest in pieces, you bastards >:)

Nokia N95 and Gizmo (2, Informative)

kurt555gs (309278) | more than 6 years ago | (#23998967)

I have an N95, and Gizmo. If I want to make a call that would be expensive on the cell side, I just find a WiFi hot spot and use the Gizmo Voip program.

It works great, especially while traveling in areas where the the AT&T roaming charges would stagger a billionaire.

Not news, just iPhone news.

Anywhere in North America? (1)

ari_j (90255) | more than 6 years ago | (#23999731)

Surely, you mean anywhere in North America with both GSM and WiFi connectivity available. Even just the GSM part limits you to a very small portion of North America, where crummy CDMA networks dominate the land.

T-Mobile has had this for a while. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24000009)

It costs $10 a month extra and you get unlimited calls over wifi providing you have a wifi phone. I've heard the quality is excellent.

Divitas is this x 10000000 (1)

gigamonkey (973801) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000187)

I sell something way cooler from a new company www.divitas.com. Iphone 2.0 app is in the pipe and almost complete. Already works on dual band Nokia and Windows Mobile phones. Divitas is made for the Corporate user comes with its own SIP gateway and all kinds of other goodness.

recently released my ass (1)

socsoc (1116769) | more than 6 years ago | (#24000259)

Gizmodo covered this nearly a month ago, iCall is not brand-spankin' new and the video is not "recently released."
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