Receive new posts as email.
This site operates as an independent editorial operation. Advertising, sponsorships, and other non-editorial materials represent the opinions and messages of their respective origins, and not of the site operator or JiWire, Inc.
Entire site and all contents except otherwise noted © Copyright 2001-2006 by Glenn Fleishman. Some images ©2006 Jupiterimages Corporation. All rights reserved. Please contact us for reprint rights. Linking is, of course, free and encouraged.
The Wall Street Journal writes about the increasing amount of Wi-Fi found as a feature on cell phones, allowing VoIP calls outside carriers’ networks: A number of cell phones now include Wi-Fi for browsing, but on platforms that allow third-party applications to be installed—like Windows Mobile or Symbian, but not yet the iPhone (we know this before it’s released, even)—VoIP packages can make the phones even more useful.
This isn’t converged calling, like T-Mobile’s HotSpot@Home national network announced yesterday, in which Wi-Fi is used just like GSM, and is managed and controlled by the carrier and the handset. Rather, this is Wi-Fi used as an Internet connectivity tool over which arbitrary applications can run.
It’s one reason that Apple and AT&T aren’t allowing third-party programs on the iPhone at launch. With well-designed Wi-Fi and a powerful operating system, it might have been a matter of weeks for Skype, the Gizmo Project, Bria, and other soft phones and VoIP software with existing Mac OS X clients to be adapted.
The faltering VoIP provider suggests 2007 is the year: With Wi-Fi phones and converged cell/Wi-Fi appearing all around them, Vonage finally gets ready to release phones that will work with its calling service. There were no details about the offering beyond the fact that Vonage expects larger networks being built will offer more possibilities for use. The companies stock has dropped 60 percent since its launch.
Disclaimer: I was a Vonage customer at two different points, mostly recent having the service for several months ending in early 2005. I had a $30 balance that I owed them, and they were unable to charge my credit card as the number was stolen. Despite providing them with additional payment information, they never charged me. A few weeks ago, a collection agency mails me demanding (politely) payment. I expect this may violate two separate state and/or federal laws. First, collections for certain services are allowed only within a year. Second, sending an item into collection without making reasonable effort is typically not allowed, and must be documented. Of course, I owed the money, and I paid it. But immediately following my payment, I have been barraged with email and snail mail asking me as a former loyal customer to return! Bah.