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Danes Getting Hybrid IP Mobiles 97

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the still-waiting-for-mine dept.
praps writes "UMA (Unlicensed Mobile Access) technology is here — well, in Denmark — meaning users can access mobile and Internet (IP) telephony on the same phone. The same phone that works outside the home as a normal mobile phone that automatically seeks out a mobile network can also be used as an IP phone, which uses wireless technology to make very low-cost calls."
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Danes Getting Hybrid IP Mobiles

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  • Good thing! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cybert4 (994278) * on Monday August 28, 2006 @03:10PM (#15995984)
    Hopefully we'll get IPv6 going so we can speed up cost savers such as this.

    Although maybe the cell companies will see this and sabotage the IPv6 process.

    The only problem I see with this is taking off from the house while in a call. Cell phone latencies for connect are in the multi-second range. May not be an issue as we already have call hand-offs between towers. Also, sometimes my WiFi gets iffy for no good reason. I'd like a smooth handoff to cell in this situation as well. But anything to cut into rediculous cell bills is a good thing!
    • by AuMatar (183847)
      Although maybe the cell companies will see this and sabotage the IPv6 process.


      Why would they need to? Its doing poorly enough as is.
      • Re:Good thing! (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 28, 2006 @03:27PM (#15996082)
        Although maybe the cell companies will see this and sabotage the IPv6 process.

        Why would they need to? Its doing poorly enough as is.

        I work for a national telecom in an European country. You can have a guess which one, there aren't too many. Anyway, last autumn (2005) we got our first customer requests from businesses (corporations) for native IPv6 support and throughout 2006 there has been dozens of others who are wanting it - both from small to medium sector and from large multinationals. Granted, 9 out of 10 are only asking about it because all the consultants are now selling it as the latest buzzword because MPLS has already been sold to everybody, but others actually need it.

        Either they are software developers and need to test their IPv6 support OR (and this is a growing number) they are companies doing business in China (or in Asia in general), where IPv4 addresses are a prenium.

        So yes, we've got several customers who would be willing to pay for IPv6 support - and we're starting to offer it soon, due to DEMAND. Consumers don't care about IPv6 all that much yet, but consumer access is a loss leader anyway :)

        Anyway, China's economic growth is a major driver for IPv6.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      "Hopefully we'll get IPv6 going so we can speed up cost savers such as this.

      Although maybe the cell companies will see this and sabotage the IPv6 process."

      Huh? There are at least Nokia and SonyEricsson phones with IPv6 support. TeliaSonera and Ericsson demonstrated IPv6 over GPRS three years ago [ericsson.com].

      "The only problem I see with this is taking off from the house while in a call. Cell phone latencies for connect are in the multi-second range."

      GPRS has latency about 800-900ms, 3G has latency about 200-300ms. That'
      • Mod this guy up. Hope you're looking. Anyways, I meant for actual cell calls, the latency seems to be a few seconds for connect. I did notice horrid latencies with EDGE, around a second like you said. UMTS/HSDPA I heard has better latencies--thanks for the info.
      • by charlesnw (843045)
        Um Nokia and SonyEricsson don't provide cell service. They just make the handsets. If they can market more devices because people want wifi and cell in one package then they will. device manufacturers != to cell service providers
        • You dont know much about Nokia and Ericsson if you dont know that they earn substantial percentages of their incomes from supplying network infrastructure. Nokia supplies and manages networks for 180 service providers! They not only sell them networks, they make sure they work! This does not make the actual operators of course. To quote Wikipedia: "Nokia Networks provides mobile network infrastructure, communications and networks service platforms, as well as professional services to operators and service p
    • Not sabotage (Score:3, Interesting)

      Cell companies will likely not directly sabotage this, but they won't fund it either.

      Many/most premium phones are subsidised by the cell companies to customers on plans. Give 'm an email phone and they'll send emails, give 'em a camera and they'll send photos.

      There is no incentive to include Wifi to bypass the carrier.

  • Gads. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ackthpt (218170) * on Monday August 28, 2006 @03:11PM (#15995989) Homepage Journal

    Just goes to show what you can do without corporations owning your lawmakers.

    I suppose any day now some vested external interest will claim this is denying them hard earned income and try to sway the Danish parliament to ban this or at the very least put it under the supervision of an oligarchy.

    • What law in what country is preventing a combo cell/VOIP phone from being sold?
    • Umm... Denmark's economy is pretty socialist. Many of the corporations, especially the ones providing core economic functions, are state-owned (wholly or partially). This is true of many European countries, to a greater or lesser degree.

      You want to talk about regulatory capture? Imagine just how much the lawmakers are in bed with the corporations when they OWN them.
      • Nope. (Score:2, Informative)

        by Dion (10186)
        Dude, update yoru worldview, most state owned companies have been sold off to private investors in the last 10 years.

        The two biggest examples are the railways and the telephone company, but there are many more.

        The Danish Radio (think: BBC), the hospitals and educational system are still run by the state, but to great benefit for all so that's not likely to change.
        • .. and maybe we should add that even the public companies (radio, hospitals etc.) must compete on market terms, and is regulated by the danish version of antitrust laws just like private companies.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Carewolf (581105)
        No they are not. Denmark is one of the most liberal countries in the world. Compared to the US, only hospitals are state owned, everything else have been privatized.
  • In the future, the technology "could also be used an IP phone if the user is in a Wi-Fi hotspot outdoors, such as an airport, cafe, or conference centre for example. But we chose to concentrate first on usage at home," TeliaSonera spokesman Rune Fick Hansen told AFP.

    I would like that hotspot capability more than at home.
    • by Strolls (641018)

      In the future, the technology "could also be used an IP phone if the user is in a Wi-Fi hotspot outdoors, such as an airport, cafe, or conference centre for example. But we chose to concentrate first on usage at home," TeliaSonera spokesman Rune Fick Hansen told AFP.

      I would like that hotspot capability more than at home.

      Indeed. That was the part of the article that leaped out at me, too. Without it the phone is completely freaking crippled. The ability to use the cheap wi-fi calls part of the phone at y

  • .... Which is WHY ISN'T THIS IN THE USA? Are our telcos not forward thinking enough?
    • by Red Flayer (890720) on Monday August 28, 2006 @03:17PM (#15996012) Journal
      Are our telcos not forward thinking enough?
      No, it's because the ARE forward-thinking. Why would they do anything on purpose to cut into their revenue stream? All that can happen is that they lose money, short-term and long-term... the long term is a lot easier to forecast and deal with when you have the force of law guaranteeing that the status quo will be maintained for a very long time to come.
      • by legoburner (702695) on Monday August 28, 2006 @03:25PM (#15996065) Homepage Journal
        No, it's because the ARE forward-thinking. Why would they do anything on purpose to cut into their revenue stream? All that can happen is that they lose money, short-term and long-term...

        This is half true. There is a lot to be gained for them in city areas where there is a lot of GPRS/GSM congestion as instead of needing to put up more towers in expensive areas with expensive fees, they can give vastly increased bandwidth through wifi points in key locations. This opens up a more stable connection for all, and allows more data services through, allowing more features and functionality on the phone with which they can then rip you off in some new, exciting way.
        • There is a lot to be gained for them in city areas where there is a lot of GPRS/GSM congestion as instead of needing to put up more towers in expensive areas with expensive fees, they can give vastly increased bandwidth through wifi points in key locations.

          But at the same time, the lose some of the revenue. Sure, putting up more towers is expensive -- but it's proportional to call volume, as is their revenue. As soon as you can use wifi for your cell phone, they lose a HUGE amount of money in call charges

          • I wonder if it would connect to any WiFi access points, or only carrier-approved access points. If it's the latter, it would make sense, because it's probably way cheaper to plop access points around a city than a new cell tower. If the telco controls the AP, it wouldn't really be any different to the user (cost the same, sound the same, etc).

      • +5 Interesting?! (Score:4, Informative)

        by squiggleslash (241428) on Monday August 28, 2006 @10:29PM (#15997835) Homepage Journal

        Do you actually know what UMA is? I have absolutely no idea why this complete confusion of ideas keeps coming up. I've even read the once excellent Ars Technica claim UMA is something carriers are scared of. Right now, the only major carriers that might be scared of it in the US are Verizon and Sprint. Because they can't use it. It's a GSM technology.

        UMA does not cut into an operator's revenue stream. It frees up revenue because the operator is not having to put up towers to get coverage and capacity for every single building in the world. If YOU, the user, save money, it'll only be because the operator is giving you discounts for using UMA, not because you're sticking it to the man by using it, somehow bypassing the carrier. Far from it. You're using the carrier either way.

        UMA is not "I can bypass the cellphone company to make free calls", it's "I can route the last mile of my calls through either the radio waves to a tower or via the Internet to a gateway at my carrier, either way getting to my carrier who'll then route the call as necessary." It's a great technology, but what makes it great is that it means that people can make coverage where they currently have blackspots.

        What's confused some people is they've read all this crap about Skype phones, and think that UMA is this. It isn't. It's GSM routed over the Internet. Skype phones are something else entirely.

        Other people are confused because they've heard it's VoIP. VoIP does not mean "Cheap ways to bypass the phone companies", it's a just a name given to any form of two-way voice traffic routed over IP packets. Just because using Vonage over cable is "sticking it" to AT&T&T doesn't mean that all forms of VoIP are.

        This is why T-Mobile and Cingular are members of the UMA consortium [umatechnology.org] and are planning to roll it out here in the US. Yes, they are. Yes, they've made announcements to that effect. It may make calls cheaper. More importantly though it'll make calling more reliable. No more blackspots in the kitchen. Nice.

    • by Rotten168 (104565)
      Errr, perhaps the answer to this cliched, posted-ad-nauseum, groupthink question is that there's no market for it in the US?
    • It is in the USA (Score:5, Interesting)

      by abelenky17 (548645) on Monday August 28, 2006 @03:25PM (#15996064)
      I have such a phone, in a beta-test. Its a cell-phone most of the time, but switches to my home WiFi network when I'm home. Tester-agreement prohibits me from saying much of anything about it. But it exists, its here, I use it, I like it.
      • but someone esle in the test should reply as AC with all the gory details. At least tell us who it is so that we can either be looking for it or give up all hope of getting it in our area.
      • by jamar0303 (896820)
        If this is what I think it is, then someone spilled all the details to Engadget (try searching their website- it was a while back). If it's another test, then I'm sorry for being mistaken. Also- open up a little more- look at that Engadget post. It said far more than you did, and nothing happened to that person.
    • It is in the USA... (Score:5, Informative)

      by MDMurphy (208495) on Monday August 28, 2006 @03:38PM (#15996151)
      Just because you hadn't heard about it, or aren't forward thinking enough to do a search, doesn't mean it's not in the USA. Just because the article said "world's first" didn't make it so.

      Business Week:
      http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/aug 2006/tc20060814_285305.htm [businessweek.com]

      Wi-Fi Planet
      http://www.wi-fiplanet.com/news/article.php/362874 6 [wi-fiplanet.com]

      Daily Wireless:
      http://www.dailywireless.org/modules.php?name=News &file=article&sid=5708 [dailywireless.org]

      From the Daily Wireless page:
      "Indeed, T-Mobile is not the only telco pushing into at-home wireless services. Already, AT&T (T) expects to introduce two new at-home offerings in the coming months."

      This page:
      http://www.blackberrytoday.com/articles/2006/7/200 6-7-28-Nokia-Takes-Dual.html [blackberrytoday.com]
      Says there's reportadly 20 UMA trials going on right now.
      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        You're right. This is available as "T-One" in Germany since the beginning of August. Don't know where that newspaper article got their "first ever".

        http://www.t-one.de/ [t-one.de] (German only, sorry)

        Connects to Telecom WLAN hotspots when available, though the site states "chooses most inexpensive WLAN found, or choose yourself". A cell phone when no WLAN is nearby. Use at home with your own DSL/WLAN.

        Also available as cell phone on the road / analogue phone at home variant.
        • by jamar0303 (896820)
          This looks like the German version of T-Mobile. Is it going to be called T-One in the US as well (When T-Mobile launches UMA in America)?
    • by dago (25724)
      Answer : it comes next month from T-Mobile [gigaom.com]:

      Other answer : the mother company (Deutsche Telekom), France Telecom, TeliaSonera, and many others are preparing the launch of similar products.

      IMHO, that was a pretty poor editing job.
  • I like how Denmark has it first... even though it was made by a swedish-finnish company. It would be great to have though.
    • by six (1673) *
      actually there is already such an offer here in france from isp neuf telecom [www.neuf.fr] ... afaik it was launched 1 or 2 months ago
  • by User 956 (568564) on Monday August 28, 2006 @03:19PM (#15996029) Homepage
    Meanwhile, we can't even get regular dual-SIM cell phones here in America, because the service providers are so paranoid about losing customers.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647)
      Meanwhile, T-Mobile is deploying UMA in the US this fall. And most Americans don't even know what a SIM is (considering that 2/3 of our phones use CDMA, that's not a surprise).

      We have a choice of standards hare in the US, and people are choosing CDMA over GSM.
      • We have a choice of standards hare in the US, and people are choosing CDMA over GSM.

        Yes, because some of us actually care if we can make and receive calls or not.
        I recently dropped T-Mobile. When I moved, I had crappy service at my house, if any at all, and going from my house to the next decent sized town, 10 minutes away was a complete dead spot. Going from Trenton to Manhattan on the train was a series of dropped GPRS connections when trying to get work done on my laptop connected to the phone for
        • by jamar0303 (896820)
          How about a dual-mode phone? Unlock the GSM portion and you can have GSM service with CDMA as backup when needed. At least, that's how it works in China (service plans are cheap here too- one number between CDMA and GSM for the phone, and you get about 400 minutes for $20, last I checked)
          • How about a dual-mode phone? Unlock the GSM portion and you can have GSM service with CDMA as backup when needed. At least, that's how it works in China

            Sounds like a good technical solution, but since there are no providers in the US that use both CDMA and GSM, you'd have a 2-provider phone. And I just don't see them cooperating enough to make that happen, especially with only one phone number.
  • by purpledinoz (573045) on Monday August 28, 2006 @03:21PM (#15996040)
    Do you think this will ever make it to North America? All the phone lines and cell phone towers are owned by a very small number of very large corporations. I don't see them allowing us to make phone calls cheaper. Even if we eventually are able to get full internet access via our cell phones, I'm sure they will make sure to block all VOIP technology.

    If you look at the current situation, the cell phone companies have already considerably restricted consumer choice with respect to the physical cell phones. Everywhere else in the world, you buy a phone, then choose a provider. Here, the phone is locked to a provider, so you're forced to buy the phone with the provider.

    For example, I'm with Virgin Mobile in Canada, which is on a CDMA network. However, there's only 4 phones available with Virgin Mobile, which really blows. I'd really like a samsung flip phone, but I'm stuck with a Nokia (the other choice was Audiovox).
    • I have a samsung sch-a630 that uses CDMA on Verizon's network. Since Verizon uses cdma you should be able to use any of the phones that samsung claims are verizon phones. http://samsung.com/products/mobilephones/verizon/i ndex.asp [samsung.com] I would suggest asking a Virgin Mobile representitive if they would be willing to activate a phone from that list before you buy it, I have heard on slashdot talk of vendor locked phones that will not let you switch networks.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by terrymr (316118) *
        Bet they won't do it. I can't even get qwest (a sprint reseller) to activate a sprint labelled phone. Their computer systems knows which ESNs were sold to which telco and won't activate one that came from another (even if its really the same) network.
      • by drinkypoo (153816)
        Generally speaking neither sprint nor verizon will let you use someone else's phone. The GSM providers won't offer you the option either, but at least it's GSM, and you can just pop your SIM into it, provided it's unlocked. (I have a V300 that I got unlocked as a backup phone.)
        • by jamar0303 (896820)
          I thought Verizon would (with a little or a lot of trickery)- How else do people get imported Korean phones on Verizon (5-megapixel cameraphones are the phones of my dreams).
    • no one says it will be cheaper for YOU.

      many people will tell you that they can't get cell reception in their homes and so still use a land line for most of their calling rather than going "mobiles only". this is aimed sqarely at those people.
  • Interesting.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Monday August 28, 2006 @03:25PM (#15996069) Homepage Journal
    ..as neat as the idea is, though, and ignoring for the moment how quickly the US telcos would put the arm on their purchased elected officials should any glimmer of this arrive here, I wonder about the privacy implications. Wifi network traffic is vulnerable to interception, as well as it being the responsibility of the provider (the airport, coffee shop, or whatever) to filter and moderate what's being done on their bandwidth and keep their asses covered in case someone decides to do something illegal and/or stupid from their public network. How secure could using an IP phone via a public hotspot be? And how quickly until the TLAs demand logs and tapping rights?
  • Nothing new... (Score:5, Informative)

    by elFarto the 2nd (709099) on Monday August 28, 2006 @03:29PM (#15996095)

    The Nokia E60 [nokia.co.uk], E61 and E70 are capable of SIP calls over WiFi.

    I'll hopefully be getting mine this week, in the UK.

    Regards
    elFarto
    • Nokia E-series. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Savage-Rabbit (308260)
      The Nokia E60, E61 and E70 are capable of SIP calls over WiFi.

      I'll hopefully be getting mine this week, in the UK.


      Mostly they are cool phones. I have an E70, the VPN sucks because you can't configure it without a special software suite from Nokia and the display rotation is a bit slow the E70's the fold open QWERTY keyboard is brilliant though and it has backlit keys like a MacBook Pro. The Blackberry and Exchange clients mostly make up for the sucky VPN client. Some people also gripe about the lack of a fr
    • by Greyfox (87712)
      I found a company that supplied me with an E70 on this (USA) side of the pond. Dropped my T-Mobile SIM card in it and it works fine on the cell network and connects to my asterisk server while I'm at home. It's not quite as smooth as I'd like it to be -- I sometimes have to turn it off to get it to pick up the wifi network and it seems like you have to manually toggle it between Internet and Cellular calls -- doesn't look like you can configure it to try one and fail over if that doesn't work. That's just f
    • Re:Nothing new... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Wesley Felter (138342) <wesley@felter.org> on Monday August 28, 2006 @05:47PM (#15996837) Homepage
      The difference is that UMA allows IP and GSM calls to use the same phone number.
    • I think the point is not that the phone can make VoIP calls, but that it automatically selects VoIP when its available. BT offer a similar service under the BT Fusion [bt.com] brand.

  • Nokia E61... (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    My Nokia E61 let me also use VOIP where WIFI is available. You don't have to have specials telco contracts, so I really don't get the scoop.
  • This made me think.

    Would it make sense for a hardware company to manufacture a purely IP-based phone which does not connect to the POTs at all? It would be designed to be used in cities which have wireless clouds; kind of like a nextel direct-connect feature.

    Call it, "Cityphone" or "Cloudphone".

    Sure, you could only use it to communicate with other phones of the same type on IP networks - but I think it could catch on as a handy, low-cost device for intra-city communications.
  • Just wait till Wimax (or something like it) takes off. You'll be able to bypass the mobile phone companies wherever you are.
    • Guess who's going to run most of the WiMax networks.
      • "Guess who's going to run most of the WiMax networks."

        And charge a ridiculous price for them too, just as they do now for cell phones. Some day they will be defeated however, just as the telcos have been by the likes of Vonage and Skype. And people will flock from them in droves after years of being fed up with being raped by their inflated prices.
        • by MrSteveSD (801820)
          Guess who's going to run most of the WiMax networks.

          I hope not. The mobile companies should all be locked out of it via some anti-monopoly laws. It seems to me that sticking a few mobile phone masts around a city is a lot cheaper than digging a whole city up so that cable can be laid. Why therefore do we have to pay so much for mobile phone services?
  • ...In the future, the technology "could also be used an IP phone if the user is in a Wi-Fi hotspot outdoors, such as an airport, cafe, or conference centre for example. But we chose to concentrate first on usage at home,"...

    So from a functionality perspective, this is just a regular cellphone away from home. No wi-fi hotspot. At home it has the marginal added functionality of using wi-fi.

    A massproduced cellphone that also uses wi-fi hotspots would be *big* news. Otherwise, not very interesting.

    BTW: How d
    • by MemoryAid (675811)
      BTW: How do you implement the "wi-fi at home only" crippling?

      How about a network appliance that talks to the phone over IP and forwards the digitized audio to and from the handset?

      You know, an otherwise useless box to take up a port in your router that requires no administrative skills to set up.

      • i would moderate this "funny". Anyway how would this box be any different from the box down at the cafe with wifi? Why work at home, and not away from home?
        • by MemoryAid (675811)
          I was thinking of a one-to-one pairing that is advertised as keeping unwanted phones off your network -- a wardriving defense. Of course, it would also be zero-config as bait and vendor lock-in for the seller's benefit.
  • I need my phone to automatically seek out 'linksys'.
  • Mmmh, sounds tasty. Suggested campaign slogan: "Chat'n'Snack" (though users are advised to watch out for crumbs which might fall into the wireless Internet tubes).

  • In the future, the technology "could also be used an IP phone if the user is in a Wi-Fi hotspot outdoors, such as an airport, cafe, or conference centre for example.

    One problem with this concept is that many hotspot operators require you to authenticate through a browser. That won't work on Wi-Fi enabled phones. George Ou [zdnet.com] wrote about this. 802.1x may be a solution but there are currently few operators that support it.

  • I'm holding out for a wifi-enabled version of the trolltech phone [slashdot.org]. Give me that, and Asterisk, and the glorified bitpushers also known as wireless operators can kiss my ass.

    SIP for the vast majority of the traffic, and a pay-as-you-go SIM for E911 and occasional in-the-middle-of-nowhere use. Oh, and push email done right, without getting RIMmed with patent troll taxes.

  • I had heard T-mobile was test marketing this in the US to address holes in coverage in residential and rural areas. I've been a long time customer with them, and my move to a new house has made their service unbearable. An inside source told me to hold on a little longer, as they're planning the Wifi phones for US market soon. My biggest concern would be the handhelds we get. Are we going back to brick phones to support the battery requirements? Or will we just suffer with 30 minutes of battery life?
  • Cool. I was the tech guy in the beginning. We worked on Nokias and used bluetooth for the home network. But had to many problems with the bluetooth intergration. So the project was put on hold. Looks like they finaly got it to work. (Not thanks to me :) /M
  • by fantomas (94850) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @02:21AM (#15998398)
    Nokia has also been doing a pilot [mobilemonday.net] in the town of Oulu in Finland, using Nokia 6136 phones. From the article "The pilot project is a joint cooperation between Nokia, the DNA/Finnet group and the City of Oulu".
  • Selecting only "WiFi" on Nokia's web-based handset select web page
    left 3 handsets showing (when I used it a week or so ago); one is
    a "clam-shell" design that suggests you'd be more likely to use
    its WiFi features to access files to ber massaged & returned to a
    workgroup server.

    The other two handsets seem to be better suited to the cool feature
    of enabling cheap/free VoIP calls mentioned in this article.

    (I seem to recall hearing mention of an auto-roaming WiFi-based
    VoIP handset, eg, on Systm's Asterisk vide
  • Sounds like the Nokia e70 I've had for 2 months.

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