Category Archives: Telecom

Aegis Mobility’s DriveAssistT software to disable cellphones while driving

A Canadian software company, Aegis Mobility, apparently has a software program, called DriveAssistT, that can be loaded into Windows Mobile or Symbian smartphones and will disable the phone when the software senses that the phone is moving at a speed that suggests the user is in a car. The purpose of doing so would be to promote safer driving.

Their business model is to offer the “feature” through carriers at say $10-20 per month. Aside from the fact that it means a non-driver passenger would also have their cell phone disabled, the only people who would pay for such a service are parents wanting to create a safer environment for their driving teens. However, I can’t see carriers offering a feature that reduces the ability of their customers to use their cellphone.

From the Globe and Mail.

Boost Mobile’s Unlimited Prepaid another good option for travelers

Boost Mobile‘s Unlimited by Boost service is another good option when traveling in the US so long as you plan to stay in one place for the majority of the trip. The cheapest phone available is about US$30. A GPS-enabled phone starts at US$50. Both come with $10 in calling credits. Add US$55 per month for Unlimited by Boost and you’ve got unlimited calling within a defined geographic area (a small per minute roaming charge applies for calls made outside the home calling area). On the next trip, bring back the phone and pay only US$15 to reactivate it. So unlimited calling for up to a month can be had for US$70-85. This includes US national long distance but not long distance to any foreign location (such as Canada). If you’re a Canadian roaming in the US, that translated into less than one hour of roaming fees payable to a Canadian home wireless carrier.

AT&T / Cingular’s GoPhone is a good option for travelers

Rather than paying high roaming fees, visitors to the US may benefit from purchasing a local prepaid phone. One option is Cingular/AT&T’s GoPhone. A US$100 prepaid card provides service for an entire year. Add another card before the year is up and the balance rolls over. From that perspective, the pricing is similar to that offered by TMobile in the US.
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Yak4Ever offers free international long distance

Yak4Ever offers free international long distance by calling a US phone number located in Minnesota. Unlike other similar services, it is necessary to first register a phone number and email address prior to using the service, and calls are limited to a list of 10 user-provided phone numbers. The specific subscriber is identified using ANI/CallerID and can then speed dial any of the 10 phone numbers by entering their speed dial locations. Set up is stated to take about 24 hours.
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Cell Phones and Recycled Phone Numbers

Whenever someone set up new phone service, whether wireline or wireless, there as always the possibility of being given a recycled number. On the old PSTN, phone companies usually held disconnected numbers for about 3 months before putting them back into service. This meant that a new customer that was allocated that number would receive periodic calls intended for the former owner. This is much more of a problem when cell phones are concerned because a call would be more likely to be intrusive and/or could be chargeable to the recipient. However, these days, the bigger problem is that the former user of the number may have signed up with various services to receive SMS messages and/or MMS messages, both of which are typically chargeable to the recipients, and being automated, are much more difficult to stop. So when comparing between various options, don’t just look at the phone features and the plan features offered by the wireless operator. Fijnd out how likely you are to receive a recycled number, what their policy is to change numbers and what features they may have to block incoming SMS and MMS messages. However, if you intend to actively exchange SMS and MMS messages, then simply having blocking capabilities is not enough. Getting a virgin phone number is what’s necessary.