A Canadian startup, bOK, is offering free call-back based long distance for cellular phones. No downloads are required. Subscribers can simply send a text message containing the phone number they wish to connect to in order to initiate a call back. The service would also be useful for local calling by cellphone users who have subscribed to plans with unlimited incoming minutes.
According to PC World, Walmart is now selling Skype-compatible equipment and Skype pre-paid cards. The “Skype-certified” devices including products from Plantronics, Philips and Logitech. A three month subscription for unlimited calling to Canada and the US is available for $8.88. Seems like the perfect choice for someone who needs a short-term subscription in order to cover a vacation or business trip.
I recently acquired another SIP-based VOIP Wi-Fi handset, the Samsung SMT-W6100. The appeal was the inclusion of a mini-web browser (WAP 2.0) which could be used to log into hotspots that required authentication (or clicking on an “I accept” button before gaining access). The only other VOIP Wi-Fi handset that features a built-in browser is the Linksys WIP 330. However, the long term competition for this type of phone will likely be the dual mode (cellular/VOIP) handsets such as the Nokia N95.
Continue reading Samsung SMT-W6100
I was looking through a Circuit City flyer this morning and see that Vonage offers a US$175 subsidy to new subscribers. And that’s not just in equipment subsidies but actually includes a significant cash back component (which could be up to US$135 in cash to top of free equipment). There’s also a free month of service thrown in (US$24.99). Throw in some cash for the reseller and it looks like Vonage is spending $200-250 to acquire each new subscriber. Assuming its profit margin on its service if 50%, it would still take almost 2 years to recoup the acquisition cost. Wow.
I recently acquired one of Belkin’s new Skype Wi-Fi handsets and had an opportunity to conduct some testing. Overall, I am not happy with the results and have compiled a list of issues that I have identified.
Continue reading Belkin Skype Wi-Fi Phone – disappointing results
I was recently looking at acquiring a Linksys WIP 330 voip wi-fi handset. As far as I know, its the only voip wi-fi handset that has a built-in web browser that can be used to authenticate through public hotspots that require users to accept a click through agreement. So for example, if someone wanted to use any of the free public wi-fi facilities in Burbank, West Hollywood, Santa Monica or similar cities, or wanted to use a paid public wi-fi network such as T-mobile’s, then this is currently the only way to go.
Continue reading Linksys WIP 330 voip wifi handset
Canada’s telecommunications regulator, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), reaffirmed an earlier decision to continue to regulate what the major telephone companies can charge for VOIP services – at least until the incumbent telephone companies lose 25% of their market share. In doing so, it ignored the government’s desire to allow free market forces to play a bigger role. From the Globe and Mail.
Philips is apparently joining Netgear, Belkin and others in announcing PC-less cordless Skpe-compatible handsets. However, unlike Netgear and Belkin, who have announced wi-fi based handsets, the Philips offering will be based on DECT standards. Sounds like that means it will operate like a home cordless phone but without the need for a PC. For more information, see PCWorld.
I wonder when we will actually see these devices available for sale. In May and June, Netgear starting taking pre-orders for a June 30th launch. However, its now 2 months later and they are still not shipping.