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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Mobile VOIP and the way forward....

Mobile VOIP is and has been a hot topic for years. I have been playing with many of the solutions. I like Truphone, find Jajah OK, dislike Rebtel. What prompted this post was my new favourite Fring.
Fring is exactly what I need now, a client allowing me to do VOIP over 3G, which enable me as a consumer to make international calls. In the past months, I have not made international calls on my mobile, as they are just too expensive. I have used Skype, iChat as much as possible. I have even scheduled my day around calls, to ensure I am in a place where I can make calls free or cheaply. This has lowered productivity as my calls become monotask, like they were in the good old days before mobiles. What is different is that many are video calls.

I had looked at Fring sometimes last year after my father (67) introduced it to me. He was hunting for free ways to call me, and he found Fring. What he did not understand was that it was only free if you had a data package and being a tech savvy senior citizen, when I explained to him that roaming in Spain using Fring is not free...we left Fring for some months, he was not happy.

I now loaded it on my N95 and it works very well, I use my Skype account on it and had several decent quality calls some good quality call and a couple of failed calls walking around inner London today. I got pinged, chatted and was surprised that the battery life was decent.

The thought that directly struck me, was that having presence in the list was such a big utility that I would happily skip the native Nokia phonebook. I think it is this feature that sets apart Truphone and Fring. Truphone uses the Nokia SIP framework so it integrates well into the UI, whereas Fring is a standalone client with own UI. The UI in Fring needs lots of work, but the utility it provides is so great that one will be flexible. I am very interested to see how Fring is planning to monetize, I am also really keen to find out how Fring can expand their scope, but for now they might become an essential service in my daily life.

What I would like to see, is Truphone evolve to leverage 3G as a bearer, I have my Web'n'Walk Max, which I like where I spend about 50GBP per month, I think this is a good deal for T-Mobile and a good deal for me. There is even some money that I put on the table for Skype.

I would like to leverage video in my Fring, would love to have headset connected and use the camera to show what I see!

01:04 AM in Technology | Permalink


Interesting Christian
I find presence services really useful for personal as well as business comunication purposes in the sense that you can see what the other is up to, like the presence in Jaiku.

It adds live to the phone address book but it still there aren´t so many users of this type of services.

But why should I update my presence on my Jaiku or Fring constantly?

I think that the effort of doing this suits more personal relations than community creation as we understand it from the web perspective.

Posted by: Álvaro at May 23, 2007 12:59:43 PM

Hi Christian...

I find your article very interesting.

I have also been trying some VoIP and MoIP services lately, like good old skype, jajah and lately Rebtel, which unlike you, I find it as my weapon of choice. I will explain why:

Mobility: Most VoIP or MoIP services out there require that you are either attached to your computer with a headset, or limited to your 3G area coverage. I read sailing was one of your hobbies, so think you are 2 miles away from the coast and your 3G is out of coverage. You only have 2 signal strenght bars on your mobile, but feel so inspired by the landscape that you HAVE to call a loved one who lives abroad. If you are able to make a local call, Rebtel is there for you.

Hardware requirements: Yes, I do also love to have a nice fancy mobile with WiFi and 3G and all the bells and whistles. The last 3 years I've been using a Nokia N-GageQD running SymbianOS and it works like a charm, and even if I can't fit it in my pocket properly, I wouldn't like to change it. And even if 3G/WiFi is growing wildly, I still have many friends that don't have and are not planning either to get a 3G/WiFi phone any sooner. So then again, with Rebtel I can reach ALL of my friends and family (yes, including grandma who's got an old Nokia 6110). I really can't afford to not call someone just because they don't have a modern and usually expensive mobile device.

Pricing: Did you just say you pay 50£ GBP a month???!!! Plus what you spend on Skype? I can tell you my friend, I've been using Rebtel for 3 months now and I've paid around 1/3 of what you pay per month and I've been calling like crazy.

UI: These is one of Rebtel's area of improvement, but I have to admit they have gotten a lot better since they started. You can sign up, add contacts, add credit, etc. directly from your mobile. How? Just by sending a SMS. Don't like SMS or think it is too difficult to remember the different commands? Go to and you will find a clean, fast loading site where you can manage your account, including a contact book where you dial your contacts just by clicking on them.

So yeah, if you're Yahoo's ex-vice-president of Global Mobile Products and pretty much have money to burn, go 3G/WiFi. I'm not. I'm a student and I want to be able to call my friends as cheap as possible.

Posted by: Efrain at May 24, 2007 12:09:39 AM

I have a couple of friends abroad. I've succeeded in calling to their Skype accounts using Fring from my home and work WLAN. We're also sending MSN instant messages frequently.

In my case calling and messaging really is free, because there's no extra charge for mobile VoIP when using fixed broadband.

However, I've had connection problems both with MSN and Skype accounts (I can't answer to Skype calls, only calling works, etc). Thus Fring still isn't a daily tool for me. Another problem has been lack of support for Scandinavian characters (äöå). I hope they have resources to further develop this promising application.

By the way, it's interesting Fring can offer Skype calls, but Skype itself isn't offering client for S60 3rd Edition. Skype co-founder Niklas Zennström said Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat there've been technical challenges and operator pressure making development slower. Developing the S60 version is taking amazingly long for company that prides itself as brave and innovative.

Posted by: Tero Lehto at May 27, 2007 2:24:18 AM

Thank you !
Best regards!!! :)

Posted by: Eddy Connor at Nov 29, 2007 2:24:46 PM

However, I've had connection problems both with MSN and Skype accounts (I can't answer to Skype calls, only calling works, etc). Thus Fring still isn't a daily tool for me. Another problem has been lack of support for Scandinavian characters (äöå). I hope they have resources to further develop this promising application.

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Posted by: Nike Dunks Shoes at May 22, 2012 7:04:14 AM

Can't say I'm surprised. Just about everything has gone mobile these days. It's only fitting that VOIP does too.

Posted by: voip business solutions at Jul 17, 2012 11:47:13 AM